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Islamic Voice Logo

NOVEMBER 1999

MONTHLY    *    Vol 13-11 No:155    *   NOVEMBER 1999/ SHABAN 1419H
  email: editor@islamicvoice.com

WOMEN IN ISLAM


Your Way to a Better Marriage
Do Not Trivialise Hijab!

Your Way to a Better Marriage

By Sister Muntaqima Abdur-Rashid

“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts). Verily in that are Signs for those who reflect” (30: 21).

Here are some tips that may benefit those seeking an Islamic marriage as well as those who are already married. I do not pretend to be an expert of any kind. I have learned what I know through marrying at the early age of 18, just 9 months after embracing Islam. I muddled my way through much of my 14 years of marriage, and consider myself a graduate from the ‘school of hard knocks’.

Be conscious of your physical appearance

No one was more conscious of this than the Prophet. He paid keen attention to personal hygiene and good grooming. He kept himself strong and muscular. Most likely the first aspect of you that attracted your mate was your appearance, so don’t think that simply because you are married the task is over. You can’t hide a weight problem under a robe. Your mate knows. Be aware that you live in a society that places high premium on physical appearance. It flaunts the shapely female and her muscular counterpart. Temptations that beckon non-Muslims beckon to Muslims as well. Don‘t allow your mate to get side-tracked by the likes of a ‘Raquel Welch or an Arnold Schwarzenegger’. Jog, join a gym, roller skate, swim and stay in shape. Insha’Allah, you will be more vibrant, more radiant, and more attractive to your mate.

Know your role, but do not fall into ‘role-playing’

Muslim spouses sometimes experience difficulties because they try to do things ‘by the book’ without giving due consideration to the conditions prevailing in their country.

For example, most female converts are taught that the role of the Muslim woman is to be at home raising her children. Supposedly, it is the man who works outside the home to maintain the family. She may have read about Birth Control and assumed that it has no place for the Muslim woman; yet, it is worth noting that the Prophet himself allowed coetus interruptus.

If ideal Islamic conditions prevailed, there would be no reason for a woman to worry about her financial situation interfering with her right to bear children.

However, without an Islamic society, needy Muslim families may have to resort to welfare and food stamps rather than Zakah and Sadaqah. This creates a feeling of dependence and humiliation that can place extreme stress on a marriage. In this case, it may be helpful for the Muslim couple to delay having children, for the wife to work while the children are young and until the couple‘s financial situation improves. Islam gives you this flexibility. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to use it.

Be a companion to your mate

Try to show enthusiasm for your spouse ‘s interests and hobbies. It is well-known that the Prophet (e) would run races with ‘Ayesha. By all means try to involve your mate in your interests.

Be active in Islamic community life

This will strengthen your commitment to Islam while providing you with a wholesome social outlet. Encourage your spouse to engage in activities that promote Islam. Have dinners at your home for Muslims as well as non-Muslims, and don’t neglect your relatives. These activities will indirectly enhance the quality of your marriage through widening your circle of activity and contacts.

Admit your mistakes and have a forgiving, generous attitude when your mate errs. This country is a difficult place to live in. Most Muslims fall short of the Islamic ideal. Contradictions abound. Be quick to admit your shortcomings and work to amend them. Be understanding when your mate does not live up to the Islamic ideal and gently try to motivate him or her in the right direction.

Have a sense of humour

Be able to chuckle at life’s minor aggravations.

Be modest when around with members of the opposite sex. Do not try to test your spouse’s affection by feigning interest in another. This will only cause dissension and bad feelings.

Share Household Chores

This is especially important these days when women work outside the home. The Prophet always helped his wives around the house and even mended his own clothes. Who knows? You might find you actually like preparing the evening meal or taking care of junior so your wife can have the afternoon off.

The Messenger of Allah said, “The most perfect of the believers in faith is the best of them in moral excellence, and the best of you are the kindest of you to their wives.” (at-Tirmidhi)

Surprise each other with gifts

Treat her to an evening out alone, away from the children. There are no words to describe the lift this can give to a marriage.

Communicate your feelings: Tell him how handsome he looks. Where there is disagreement, have an open discussion.

Live within your means

Stay away from credit cards if you can. Sisters, take note. Don’t envy the possessions of your friends, and belittle your husband because he can’t provide them for you. Muslim couples will do well to stay away from ostentatious living. The Prophet did not live this way, neither should you.

Respect your mate’s need for privacy

A quiet time to oneself, either at home or away from home, each day can make a disagreeable person agreeable.

Don‘t share personal problems with others

There are a few exceptions to this rule, but if you must discuss personal problems, make sure it is with a person in whom you have the utmost confidence.

If you have a learned Muslim brother or sister in your community, seek him or her out first.

Be sensitive to your mate’s moods

If you want to share a personal achievement, don’t do it when your spouse is ‘down in the dumps ‘. Wait for the proper time.

You may be saying to yourself, “This is easier said than done” Well, you’re right. A successful marriage doesn’t just happen. It’s not simply a matter of luck or finding the right person. It takes hard work and determination. It means being selfless and making mistakes. It means having vengeance on your mind but forgiveness in your heart. But, then, its perfection is “half of faith”.

Our Lord! Grant unto us wives and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and give us (the grace) to lead righteous. (Qur’an 25:74)

“The whole world is an asset and the best asset is a good wife” (Muslim)

“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts). Verily in that are Signs for those who reflect” (30: 21).

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Do Not Trivialise Hijab!

It has been my personal observation that some Muslim girls and women do not realise the significance of hijab. Hijab is Arabic for protection and cover. Some people put a lot of effort into their hijab, yet it serves no purpose. I am referring to the pointless hijab that some girls wear.

The first pointless hijab is the headband hijab. It is a band of fabric approximately 4 inches wide. It covers the back of the head and allows all the hair to be exposed. It does not serve much in terms of modesty, but at least it comes in handy in case of an unexpected tennis match.

The second pointless hijab is the dupetta, also known as the Saran wrap hijab. It covers all the hair, but it is totally transparent. Again it does not serve much in terms of modesty, but it keeps the hair nice and fresh.

The third type of hijab is known as the Mickey Mouse hijab. It is when a girl wears a black scarf and tucks it behind her ear, so that her ears stick out.

We now move to my favourites; the yo-yo hijabs. The first yo-yo hijab, also known as the Benazir Bhutto hijab, is the scarf that keeps falling down and needs to be constantly pulled back up... up, down, up, down, just like a yo-yo.

The second yo-yo hijab is also known to as the convertible hijab. This type of hijab is predominant at any type of social event, i.e. an Aqeeqah, Bismillah party, wedding etc., This is when an Imam or Qari comes up to the microphone and starts to recite Qur’an. At this point, all the convertible hijabs come up.. until he says “Sadaqallahul atheem”. I am not sure, but apparently in some cultures that translates to “ok sisters, you may now take off your scarves”. I am sure this may seem odd, but what is even funnier is when people do not anticipate the recitation of Qur’an at a social event and are forced to be creative and use accessories such as a purse to cover one’s hair. I was surprised to see a woman hold her purse over her head as “hijab”... as if the multitudes of men surrounding her are not a good enough reason to wear hijab, but some guy reciting du’a compels her to hold a purse over her head. Her friends were more creative.. one friend used her dinner napkin.

I was also laughing when I saw the communal hijab.. two or more girls draped under one dinner napkin during the recitation of Qur’an. Her other friend was still more creative. She used her coffee saucer on the back of her head. I was not sure if it was hijab or a yamka. I did not know if she was a Muslim or a Jew. I felt like going up to her and saying “Salam alaikum, sister”.

People should remember that hijab is not just protection from guys, but from a girl’s ‘nafs’ (ego) as well. It should prevent a girl from having to spend hours in front of the mirror doing her hair. But, unfortunately, you see girls in front of the mirror for hours doing their hijab as they would do their hair, with all sorts of elaborate braids and the like. I wanted to go up to a sister and say “Is your hijab naturally curly?” I also felt compelled to go up to another girl and say “Pardon me, but is your hijab naturally that colour, or did you dye it?” Well, the point to remember is that some people make an effort to wear hijab, but it is futile, because it is not fulfilling its purpose. It’s like using an umbrella with holes in it. Hijab is used for protection from guys as well as from the girl herself, and should not be used as an accessory or for beautifying oneself.

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