Sunday, June 27, 2010


[Q} I have been married now for four months to my cousin (father's brother's daughter), and we live with my family. One day, there was a misunderstanding between her and my family, so she returned to her father's house. She then requested a separate abode for her and me to avoid any further problems. Her other choice was for us to live in her father's house. I stipulated to her that we should continue to keep relations with my family. However, when I presented her idea to my family, they refused and were adamant about us living with them. Will I be sinning if I go against their request and live in a separate apartment with my wife or in her's father's house?

[A] This is an all too common problem that occurs between the husband's relatives and his wife. In this situation, the husband should expend all of his resources to create an atmosphere of peace and understanding between all parties concerned. If one of the two parties is in the wrong, he should reprimand them gengly and carefully, avoiding exacerbating the situation even further. Unity and harmony among relatives is consummately good.

But if such an end cannot be achieved, the husband can take his wife and live separately. In some situations this is in the interests of all' it gives an opportunity to remove any rancor from their hearts that might have been engendered while living together.

In this case, if he does separate from your family, he should stay close to them. This can be achieved if he finds an abode that is in clsoe proximity to them, making it easier for him to keep in touch with them. In this way if he can maintain his obligations regarding his family and his wife while living separate with his wife in their own home, then this is better.

Fatawa Islamiya, vol. 7, Sh Ibn 'Uthaimin

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Entering the marital bond :The wedding night

Entering the marital bond :The wedding night

For a woman, the wedding day is one of the happiest and most exciting days of her life. The preparations, the guests and the festivities are all in anticipation of this very special event. At the same time, many women also experience a great deal of apprehension and anxiety, particularly as the wedding night approaches. Many are concerned about how it will be for them, what will happen, how their new husbands will treat them. It is an unknown experience that stirs up many emotions and concerns.

Islam is a religion that has maintained the special nature of the wedding and the wedding night, providing specific prescriptions for those events. Intimate relations between a man and a woman are only allowed within the marital bond, ensuring the uniqueness of that day and that relationship. It is important to recall that the union of man and woman is an innate occurrence and, because of that, it will come naturally. Allaah (SWT) Says (what means): “And We created you in pairs.” [Quran 78: 8] Islam has regulated this relationship on the basis of wisdom and nature. Through marriage, the natural instinct is provided for within reasonable and appropriate limits. This prevents the disorder and disharmony that we see in societies where these limits are not in place. The Islamic prescriptions are the most beneficial for the human beings, as well as the society in regard to sexual and marital relations. The individual is able to fulfill his or her desires in a healthy and wholesome manner, while protecting the society from iniquity at the same time.

So, as couples unite, they should reflect upon the fact that they are fulfilling an important duty in Islam and will be rewarded accordingly. There is also a spiritual component to this union along with the other elements. This means that they will be accountable to Allaah (SWT) in all that they do in relation to this union. They are embarking on a new course in life, which will present new challenges and new joys. They will need to learn about each other – the other person’s needs, personality, temperament, and uniqueness. Patience will be needed since any match will not be perfect and there will most certainly be differences. This will be true regarding intimate matters as well, and this should be kept in mind as the couple begins their journey together on the first day of marriage. The couple should take time to get to know and understand one another and to discover the uniqueness and desires of their new life partner. This should be done in a gradual and sensitive manner. Each individual should be more concerned about the needs and wants of their partner, more so than his or her own self. This is a very delicate issue, especially for women who are generally more sensitive and emotional.

Mothers, sisters and friends who are experienced should assist in preparing the bride for the wedding night. They should be supportive and provide her with the necessary information. This will lessen her anxiety and make her feel comfortable knowing that other women have had similar experiences. All of this should be done, of course, without providing specific details of each individual’s experiences for this is a very personal matter. The discussion can be general and based upon the Quran and the Sunnah.
The following are some of the etiquette that should be considered in preparing for this special night. This information will also be valuable and useful throughout the marriage.

1. Special supplications and prayer

As the union for a man and a woman embodies an inherent spiritual component, the couple should remember Allaah (SWT) at this time. The husband should put his hand on his wife’s head and supplicate for her. The Prophet (SAW) said: “If one of you marries a woman, he should take her by her forelock, mention Allaah’s Name and supplicate for blessing by saying, ‘O Allaah, I ask you for her good and the good of what You have dispositioned her toward and I seek refuge (in You) from her evil and the evil You have dispositioned her toward.’” [Al-Bukhaari]

Following this, the couple performs two Rak’ahs (units of prayer) together.
Before becoming intimate, the man should say, “Bismillaah, Allahumma jannibnaa ash-shaytaana wa jannibish-shaytaana ma razaqtana,” which means: “In the name of Allaah, O Allaah, ward off Satan from us and ward off from Satan what you grant us.” The Prophet (SAW) said: “Then, if Allaah decrees that they should have a child, Satan will never harm him.” [Al-Bukhaari] This should be said before each intimate act in order to protect the children who may be conceived.

2. Cleanliness

Miswaak (tooth stick) –It is recommended for each partner to clean his or her teeth and mouth with Miswaak or a toothbrush. This will make it easier for them to come close to each other and enhance the relations. Shurayh Ibn Haani’ (RA) said: “I asked 'Aa'ishah (RA) , what the Prophet (SAW) would begin with when he entered his house and she (RA) said: ‘Cleaning his teeth.’” [Muslim]

Wudhoo’ (ablution) and Ghusl (ritual bathing) – after the couple have completed the sexual act and wish to repeat it, it is recommended to perform ablution before this. This is the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW) as demonstrated in the following narration. The Messenger of Allaah (SAW) said: “If one of you has gone to his wife and he wishes to repeat the act, he should (first) perform ablution.” [Muslim] After completion of intimacies, it is required for both spouses complete Ghusl (a ritual bath) before resuming prayer and other religious acts.

3. Appropriate behavior

The husband may approach his wife in any manner that he wishes as long as it is through the vagina. Allaah (SWT) Says (what means): “Your wives are a place of sowing of seed for you, so come to your place of cultivation however you wish and put forth [righteousness] for yourselves…” [Quran 2: 223] It is imperative to stay away from the anal area and to avoid intercourse when the woman is menstruating. The Prophet (SAW) said: “Whoever has intercourse with a menstruating woman or with a woman through the anus has committed disbelief in what has been revealed to Muhammad.” [Ahmad and Abu Daawood] These acts are to be avoided because they are unnatural and they may lead to various physical, psychological, and interpersonal problems.

The union between a man and a woman is a special gift which has been given by Allaah (SWT) . It is one of the bounties of this life and, as such, it should be treated accordingly. It is a relationship that should be based upon love, compassion, and concern for the other. It is an act of charity for which Allaah (SWT) will reward both partners. The Prophet (SAW) said: “In having intercourse (with your wife) there is an act of charity (for which you shall be rewarded).” The companions (RA) said, “O Messenger of Allaah, one of us fulfills his desires and he will be rewarded for that?” He (SAW) said: “Do you not see that if he fulfills it in a forbidden way that he will have its burden (it being a sin). In the same way if he fulfills it in a permissible way, he shall have a reward.” [Muslim]

As the couple begin their life together as husband and wife, they should keep to these important principles and, Allaah willing (inshaAllah), Allaah (SWT) will reward them with a long and happy life together.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Good Example at Home
A Khutbah by Sheikh Abdul Baaree' Ath-Thubaytee

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah and all his companions.

Fellow Muslims, I advise you and myself to fear Allah. Allah says,

"O you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not but in a state of Islam."

The God-fearing Muslim family is the heart of a healthy community. The piety of a family is dependant on the piety of individual members of the family, and the piety of a community is likewise dependant on the piety of the families who make up the community.

Islam attaches great importance to the family, how it is established and how to keep it together. For the Muslim family to keep up it's high position it maintains a state of love and harmony, and you find in it feelings of amicability and kindness. Allah says,

"And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy."

(Ar-Ruum 30: 21)

He also says,

"They are Libas [i.e. body cover, or screen, or Sakan, (i.e. you enjoy the pleasure of living with her)] for you and you are the same for them."

(Al-Baqarah 2: 187)

The Qur'an made it clear to married couples that each of them is essential to the other. Allah says,

"It is He Who has created you from a single person (Adam), and (then) He has created from him his wife [Hawwa (Eve)], in order that he might enjoy the pleasure of living with her."

(Al-A'araaf 7: 189)

It cannot be imagined that one could lead a normal, steadfast human life if there was a complete destruction of the normal family structure. Those people who call for the abolishment of the family structure do not do so for the good of humankind. Their call was - and still is - a discordant sound in the passing of history.

The family is established on mutual understanding, the exchanging of views and cooperation. Allah says in relation to nursing and weaning babies,

"The mothers shall give suck to their children for two whole years, (that is) for those (parents) who desire to complete the term of suckling, but the father of the child shall bear the cost of the mother's food and clothing on a reasonable basis. No person shall have a burden laid on him greater than he can bear. No mother shall be treated unfairly on account of her child, nor father on account of his child. And on the (father's) heir is incumbent the like of that (which was incumbent on the father). If they both decide on weaning, by mutual consent, and after due consultation, there is no sin on them."

(Al-Baqarah 2: 233)

A happy family which seeks stability and continuity builds its life on firm principles, the most important of which are: the raising of children, mutual respect of each others rights, courteousness in dealing with one another and widening one's family's and one's own horizons. Here, couples can find the pure quietude that the Qur'an spoke about, and if a difference occurs between them then true love will melt it away.

The Most Wise (Allah) knows that a person can sometimes be affected by an atmosphere of disagreement and feelings of hate, and then Satan finds what he is looking for sought after for destruction of the existence of the family. The Qur'anic viewpoint was to purify the emotions and to return to life its clarity and to the family its beauty. Allah says,

"…And live with them honourably. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings through it a great deal of good."

(An-Nisaa 4: 19)

And for this reason Imam Ibn Katheer said about this verse, "It means: and perhaps your patience in holding onto them despite your mutual dislike is much better for you in this world and in the hereafter."

If the members of a family exchange love for stubbornness; this is a bad sign and a defeated beginning; nothing can destroy a family as stubbornness and argument. Small disagreements can be blown out of all proportions and become huge points of stubbornness, and major disagreement. How often do we hear tell of or witness marriages failing though they are but newly wed?

Many researchers have decided that family breakdown is the main cause of juvenile delinquency; therefore the family is responsible for protecting itself from disunity before it experiences breakdown and ceases to function as a family unit. Also one cannot pretend that life is or should always be trouble-free; quite the opposite in fact; a normal healthy life will always have it's ups and downs.

Everything in this world no matter how insignificant has wisdom behind it and serves a purpose, so what is the role of the Muslim family? In a Muslim community, the family plays several important roles, the most important being:

Increasing the Progeny of the Muslim Nation
The Prophet said, "Marriage is one of my traditions, and whoever does not follow my traditions is not one of us. So get married, for that way you will increase the nation (in strength and number)." (Ibn Majah)

Having many children increases the strength of the community, in addition to increasing one's personal status and being well remembered after death. Advocates of birth control do not wish the Muslim community any good, and their weak arguments show that they have been afflicted with pessimism, uncertainty (in the truth of Islam and the Last Day) and mistrust (in Allah's Will).

Teaching and Raising the Muslim Youth

Teaching and raising Muslim youth is a job for the whole family. In fact, the home is the first school in which the child is introduced to the basic tenets of his religion, and this important job should not be left to maids and nurses. The child that nurses from his mother's milk also receives her compassion and affection. Conversely, a child which is cared for and raised by maids will never receive the same love, warmth and affection and nor will they have a correct Islamic upbringing.

The Muslim family is held responsible before Allah for the correct Islamic upbringing of it's children, instilling in them the concept of worship of Allah and following His prescribed way in their lives.

Do our families today fulfil their childrearing and educational responsibilities? Does our method of raising children give them the power to resist westernisation and secularisation? Do members of the family gather together to learn the Qur'an? Or do they gather to watch acts of disobedience to Allah (i.e. on the television etc.)? Do our children find in our homes useful lessons, good examples and good manners?

Any shortcomings or omissions in the family's job of raising its children will have negative effects on the behaviour of the children, and in turn this will have a negative effect on the thoughts, structure and security of the community.

Parents will be asked about the fulfilment of their parental duties. Ibn Umar related that Prophet said, "All of you are guardians and all of you are responsible for your wards. An imam is a guardian, and he is responsible for his wards (among the local community); a man is a guardian in his family and he is responsible for his dependants, a lady is a guardian in her husband's house and she is responsible for her charges (children, property under her control &c.)…" (Bukhari & Muslim)

One responsibility of a parent is to cleanse the house from all vice, to ensure that all members of the family perform all of their religious duties, and to encourage them to perform good and loved deeds.

Teaching Children to Love the Mosque

One of the main goals of the family is to teach its children to love and respect the mosque, and build strong ties between its children and the mosque, for the mosque is an essential part of the life of a Muslim. Instilling love of the mosque is a great and important part of upbringing; deep in effect, and implants in a child respect, good values and manners.

A Muslim family, which is based on faith in Allah, will be able to hold on to Islamic morals and manners, and feel a great attachment to the mosque. It is able, by the light of the Qur'an, to bring into the world children who will become brave heroes, scholars, ascetic slaves (of Allah), sincere leaders, pious men, and worshipful women. Such families fill a glorious page in the books of history.

The Modern Muslim Family

Today the Muslim family faces a grim offensive aimed at shaking its very foundations, by undoing the family ties, spoiling the women's characters, discarding family values, and calling towards nudity, mixing of the sexes and disinhibition. And if the family is destroyed, will there then remain any Muslim nation? And if it does remain it will be marginalized.

In some Muslim countries, the families' hearts have been disunited as a result of the slavish adherence to Western values, drifting blindly behind any vogue that comes out of it; divorce cases have risen, and many youths have turned away from marriage followed by a frantic rush after brutish desires.

The following much-followed trend is a sensitive subject, which touches many of us closely; it has a share in social change in decreasing the role of the family. Satellite dishes have taken over the family's time, had an effect on its progress, and loosened its values; and the family loses - in some cases - some of its influence over the children. These devices (satellite, TV. etc.) compete with the family in controlling the children inside the safety of their own homes by their carefully researched attractiveness, and attack directly and indirectly to destroy their relation with their community, weaken their religion, and diminish their enthusiasm. However, one thing that is very painful to consider, is that some families completely abandon their role in the task of religious and intellectual upbringing, and surrender their children to satellite dishes and such like, that distort young minds and destroy faith unchecked.

Brothers in Islam! Building a family on a sound, rational basis is not an easy task; conversely it is a momentous duty that requires preparation and preparedness. Married life is not all fun and games; rather it is a series of responsibilities and duties, whoever proposes marriage without ability or suitability is ignorant, unaware of the wisdom of Allah's Divine Law, and whomsoever uses marriage for evil purposes, or denies its rights deserves the anger of Allah and His punishment; so one must always behave righteously in this life. Allah says,

"O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones…"

(At-Tahreem 66: 6)

Leadership in the Family

Family life is a life of work. And life has its costs and burdens; so it needs someone to be in charge to direct its actions, and supervise its safety this leadership is called Qiwaamah in the Qur'an and it is the lot of the man. Leadership is not for the purpose of reverence and domination but it is a post of supervision and upbringing. It does not mean denying the wife her own personality and wishes, or preventing her from expressing her opinions or having any say of what goes on in the family.

Allah has prepared the woman for certain jobs, and has prepared the man for certain jobs. They are each suited to their own jobs by reason of the physical and mental differences between them. If women were made to be the protectors and maintainers in place of men the woman would be charged with more than she could handle, and the family would be deviated from its normal course and would face trials and difficulties. There are essential differences between men and women, which enable them to perform the gender-specific tasks which have naturally and traditionally been theirs to perform. If the roles of men and women were reversed, it would harm the family, and ultimately the community at large. Those people who call for the removal of man's natural assertiveness and leadership are fools because that goes against the natural Law of Allah.

Al-Qiwaamah means that the head of the household is responsible for the physical safety of his family, and for their safety from a religious standpoint. He protects them from evil fashions and deviation, and provides the perfect example in the way he abides by the Limits set by Allah, and his exaltation of his religious rites and ceremonies, unashamedly and with the best of character and moral standard. He is like a shepherd that protects his flock. The head of a household is required to strike a balance between his work, his acts of worship and being free for his family; to give each one it's due, e.g. the rights of the wife, bringing up the children etc. If the head of the household is unable to make time to sit by himself or with members of the family to talk to them and listen to them, later on, when it is too late to do so, or is no longer possible, he will regret not having made the time. 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr ibn Al-'Aas said, "The Messenger of Allah said to me, 'I have been told that you fast all day and then stay up all night (in worship) Don't do so; For your body has it's rights on you, and likewise your wife has rights upon you: fast and break your fast; fast three days in each month for that is (as if you were) fasting your whole life.'" (Bukhari & Muslim)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Mean Moms

Someday when my children are old enough to
understand the logic that motivates a parent,
I will tell them, as my Mean Mom told me:
I loved you enough to ask where you were going,
with whom, and what time you would be home.

I loved you enough to be silent and let you
discover that your new best friend was a creep.

I loved you enough to stand over you for
two hours while you cleaned your room,
a job that should have taken 15 minutes.

I loved you enough to let you see anger,
disappointment, and tears in my eyes. Children
must learn that their parents aren't perfect..

I loved you enough to let you assume the
responsibility for your actions even when the
penalties were so harsh they almost broke my heart.

But most of all, I loved you enough to say
NO when I knew you would hate me for it.

Those were the most difficult battles of all.
I'm glad I won them, because in the end you won, too.
And someday when your children are old enough to
understand the logic that motivates parents, you will tell them.

Was your Mom mean?

I know mine was.
We had the meanest mother in the whole world!
While other kids ate candy for breakfast,
we had to have cereal, eggs, and toast.

When others had a Pepsi and a Twinkie for lunch,
we had to eat sandwiches.

And you can guess our mother fixed us a dinner that was
different from what other kids had, too.

Mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times.
You'd think we were convicts in a prison.

She had to know who our friends were
and what we were doing with them.
She insisted that if we said we
would be gone for an hour, we would be gone for an hour or less.

We were ashamed to admit it,
but she had the nerve to break
the Child Labor Laws by making us work.

We had to wash the dishes, make the beds,
learn to cook, vacuum the floor, do laundry,
empty the trash and all sorts of cruel
I think she would lie awake at night
thinking of more things for us to do.

She always insisted on us telling the truth,
the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
By the time we were teenagers,
she could read our minds
and had eyes in the back of her head.
Then, life was really tough!

Mother wouldn't let our friends just honk
the horn when they drove up
They had to come up to the door
so she could meet them.

Because of our mother we missed out
on lots of things other kids experienced.

None of us have ever
been caught shoplifting, vandalizing other's
property or ever arrested for any crime.
It was all her fault.

Now that we have left home, we are all educated, honest adults.
We are doing our best to be mean parents just like Mom was.

I think that what's wrong with the world today is that it doesn't have enough mean moms!

... dedicated to the best mom in the world! our jannah defintely lies under her feet! love u  B!  happy birthday! May you have many many more to come.. ameen xxx

Monday, June 7, 2010

Infertility in the Qur'an

Infertility in the Qur'an

The Qur'an is true guidance for all mankind, complete and lacking nothing. It touches on every aspect of life, infertility is on the vast array of topics. The Qur'an teaches in many ways, showing us a glimpse of the lives of others before us is one way. There are two main stories of infertility which we should draw and learn from. The first story is that of Ibrahim s.a.w. and his wife Sara r.a. There are two main accounts of this story, given as follows.

And his wife was standing (there) and she laughed: But we gave her glad tidings of Isaac and after him, of Jacob. She said "Alas for me! Shall I bear a child, seeing I am an old woman, and my husband here, is an old man? That indeed would be a wonderful thing!" They said: "Dost thou wonder at Allah's decree? The grace of Allah and His blessings on you, O ye people of the house! For He is indeed worthy of all praise, full of Glory!" 11:71-73

...And they (angels) gave him (Ibrahim) glad tidings of a son endowed with knowledge. But his wife came forward clamoring, she smote her forehead and said: "A barren old woman!" They said "Even so has thy Lord spoken and He is full of wisdom and knowledge." 51:28-30

Not much detail is given in the Qur'an concerning the lives of Sara or Hagar. Much of the detail comes to us through the narration of hadith. And Islamic exegesis also rely on Biblical (Old Testament) information about Sara. What we do know from the Qur'an was that Sara was old and barren when Allah blessed her with a child. Exegesis placec her age at about ninety, while Ibrahim was over 100 yrs old. Long before this Sara gave her hand maiden, Hagar, to Ibrahim in marriage so that he may have children. Many women going through infertility can relate to the sense of guilt for "denying" their husbands children. This is a common feeling that is present, as we see with Sarah.

The story goes that after Hagar conceived she became "haughty" in her ability to have children, and Sarah's inability at that point. From this rose a jealousy in Sara in which she threatened to do harm to Hagar. Nothing came of this threat and evidently the waters were calmed in Ibrahim's household. The family continued to remain together until Ibrahim's command to take Hagar and Ishmael to the valley of Mecca and leave them there.

We have reference in the Qur'an of Sara striking her face and laughing in the astonishment of being blessed with a pregnancy at 90 yrs of age. It appears Sarah, naturally, had long since given up hopes of conceiving. She had given Hagar to Ibrahim as a way not to deny him and personally accepting the Qadar (fate) that Allah had set for her. In this we can take a lesson from Sara, at some point we must learn to just accept what has been written for us and go on. All too often couples become obsessed with having a child to where it is harmful for themselves. We as Muslims must learn to seek the balance of a healthy striving for pregnancy and knowing when to stop striving. A woman's (or man's) life does not end because they have no children. Sarah, although barren, remained firm in her faith, true to her husband, and a full woman in all senses of the word.

It was written for Sarah that she would bare a son and live to see her grandchild. It is said she conceived Ishaq on the night when lots of people were destroyed (the angels where on their way there). And she delivered Ishaq on a friday night.

We should also take notice at the example set by Ibrahim responding to his barren wife. He was not harsh to his wife even though she was unable to conceive. Nor did he abandon her, he stood by his wife as she stood by him. He did not seek out another wife or "right hand possession" to have children, it was Sara who suggested Hagar to him. This bond of marriage, faith, love, and tenderness kept this couple together even in infertile times. Working together in cooperation in the process, something we all should take notice of. And men, or cultures for that matter, who blame women for not conceiving and dumb them as if they were no longer a complete woman should take heed in this example set by Ibrahim.

Ibrahim was indeed a model... 16:120

Another Qur'anic example of infertility is that of Zakariya and his wife Ishba. The story focuses more on Zakariya than Ishba herself. In fact very little is said about her in the Qur'an, hadith, and exegesis.

There did Zakariya pray to his Lord, saying: "O my Lord! Grant unto me from Thee a progeny that is pure: for Thou art He that heareth prayer! While he was standing in prayer in the chamber, the angels called unto him: "Allah doth give thee glad tidings of Yahya, witnessing the truth of a Word from Allah, and (be besides) noble, chaste, and a prophet,- of the (goodly) company of the righteous." He said: "O my Lord! How shall I have son, seeing I am very old, and my wife is barren?" "Thus," was the answer, "Doth Allah accomplish what He willeth." 3:38-40

(This is) a recital of the Mercy of thy Lord to His servant Zakariya.Behold! he cried to his Lord in secret, Praying: "O my Lord! infirm indeed are my bones, and the hair of my head doth glisten with grey: but never am I unblest, O my Lord, in my prayer to Thee! 19:2-4

And (remember) Zakariya, when he cried to his Lord: "O my Lord! leave me not without offspring, though thou art the best of inheritors." So We listened to him: and We granted him Yahya: We cured his wife's (Barrenness) for him. These (three)were ever quick in emulation in good works; they used to call on Us with love and reverence, and humble themselves before Us. 21:89-90

Mary r.a. was placed in the care of Zakariya and her aunt Ishba. Ishba was barren, so the caring of a child was a blessing in her family. Zakariya at times marvelling at how well Mary had grown appears to have instilled the urge in him to have a son. One who would not only inherit the family lineage, but one who would carry on the teachings of Allah, something which he did himself. Perhaps Mary r.a. fulfilled the natural urge in Zakariya to have children for a limited time, but when she had matured and no longer a child, the desire seems to have rekindled. Whatever the exact emotions that Zakariya had, he prayed in secret to have a son.

Zakariya beseeched Allah for this blessing, perhaps not expecting the answer, he appears surprised with it. Perhaps it was not so much the answer of "yes" but rather the means in which the child would come to him. His old barren wife, cured by Allah, was to conceive. Zakariya responded in natural amazement that his wife would conceive. He was told by Allah that such a thing was easy for Allah.. and it is. His son would be given the name of Yahya a name not before given. Ishba and Mary were pregnant during the same time, six months being the difference. The issue of Pregnancy in light of Qur'an will be given more attention at a latter date.

As with the story of Ibrahim we have the example of a husband who remains with his barren wife. She is not shunned, shammed, divorced, or looked down upon as a incomplete woman. As many men and cultures do to women in present times. This is a lesson that all of our ummah must learn, as Allah says "...He leaves barren whom He wills" (42:50) It is a decree from Allah. This does not make one less of a woman (or man) and one should not be treated as such. We are to remain firm in our faith in Allah, knowing that He brings about things that we may not like, thinks we are tested with. And it appears with the stigma placed on couples who do not have children we are failing our test.

I know many women are thinking, that these two stories have such happy endings (babies) and yet it does not happen with all of us. Why does not Allah bestow on all of us pregnancies.. why must "I" be barren.. why me. As I sit here and write this my mind searches for an example of a woman with no children.. suddenly I remembered one so full of faith.. one which is mentioned in the Qur'an as an example for those who believe

And Allah sets forth, as an example to those who believe the wife of Pharaoh: Behold she said: "O my Lord! Build for me, in nearness to Thee, a mansion in the Garden, and save me from Pharaoh and his doings, and save me from those that do wrong"; 66:11

Her name was Asya, and she never conceived a child. It is said that her marriage was one of sacrifice she made for the safety of her people. But the marriage was never consumated, for Allah had stricken Pharaoh with impotence. Whatever the case may have been, here was a childless woman, who is set forth as an example for all believers. She nurtured a Prophet from infancy even though he was not her own, and she was a martyr. It is said that Pharoah had killed several believers in the palace, among them a maid, her children and her husband. Asya picked up an iron stake to kill Pharaoh, she failed, and Pharaoh had her tortured by piercing iron stakes through her breast. The same childless woman sought Allah to build mansions in the Garden, and to save her from those that do wrong. Do we dare to say that such an example as stated by Allah is an incomplete or less of a woman because she bore no children? Do we not take heed in the examples given to us? So anytime one attempts to make you feel low, or less of a woman (or man) think of these examples, draw guidance and strength from them. Rely on Allah, and seek Him to give you strength.

May Allah give us All that is good for us, make it easy for us to obtain it and keep us on the straight path when we do.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Restoring and maintaining intimacy in marriage

Couples can return to the state of intimacy from conflict, if, and only if, they stop hurting each other and return to meeting each other’s emotional needs again.
What is intimacy?

Intimacy is closeness to each other. In an intimate state, spouses communicate smoothly, rush to do whatever it takes to make each other happy, and avoid what might upset or annoy the other. Couples can achieve this state only through meeting each other’s psychological, emotional and physical needs.

Reviving and maintaining intimacy: Mainstream-counseling perspective
From Dr. Harley's research and experience in trying to save marriages through counseling, he concluded that couples negotiate from one of three states of mind, each having its own unique negotiating rules and its own unique emotional reactions. He called these states of mind, 'intimacy', 'conflict' and 'withdrawal'.

Couples can return to the state of intimacy from conflict, if, and only if, they stop hurting each other and return to meeting each other's emotional needs again. The first and most important concept that Dr. Harley produced to help couples understand the rise and fall of romantic love is "the Love Bank Account". In his study of what it takes to build love bank accounts, he learned that habits were much more important to consider than isolated instances of behavior. Habits that deposit love units build very large love bank balances because they are repeated over and over almost effortlessly. Isolated behaviors, on the other hand, usually do not affect the love bank much. Similarly, habits that withdraw love units tend to destroy love bank balances because they are also repeated almost effortlessly. In marriage, one of the most destructive behaviors is an angry outburst, where one spouse intentionally tries to hurt the other one, causing massive love bank withdrawals.

As a starting point to build the love bank balance, dr. Harley encourages spouses to get into the habit of doing whatever it takes to make each other happy (deposit love units), and avoid habits that make each other unhappy (withdraw love units). Through his counseling experience, he proved the success of his approach in saving marriages and restoring intimacy. As soon as he realized that a large love bank balance triggered the feeling of love, he tried to discover what spouses could do for each other that would make the largest love bank deposits. "What could your spouse do for you that would make you the happiest?" He asked each couple that he counseled, and then he compiled the answers he had in a set of audiotapes that teaches what a husband needs from his wife and what a wife needs from her husband.

Reviving and maintaining intimacy: Islamic perspective
As committed Muslims who believe that the Islamic message is the absolute final truth that provides the cure for every ailment and grants the ultimate happiness in both this life and eternal life, we weigh any information or research findings with the message of Islam to accept what is compatible and reject what contradicts any of Islam's teachings. Dr. Harley's recommendations in the twenty first century were not any different from what Allaah Almighty, and his Messenger (SAW) taught us fourteen hundred years ago.

Marriage unites the souls
The Quran emphasizes the essential unity of men and women in the most beautiful metaphor for intimacy. Allaah (SWT) Says (what means): "…They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them…" [Quran 2: 187]

Just as a garment hides our nakedness, so do husband and wife, by entering into the relationship of marriage, secure each other's chastity, and cover each other's faults. The garment gives comfort, grace and beauty to the body; so does a husband find comfort in his wife's company and she in his.
The Quran has given the comprehensive description of intimacy in marriage, and considered it one of His Signs. Allaah (SWT) Says (what means): "And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought." [Quran 30: 21]

Islamic tips to restore and maintain intimacy in marriage

Islam gave us detailed instructions that identify rights, responsibilities and characters of both husband and wife to build their relationship on mutual love, respect, and mercy. Here are the most important tips that lead to a successful and happy marriage.

1. Faith: Common faith binds the couple strongly. Since Islam is a way of life, it becomes an integral part of a Muslim's life. Couples with strong faith will share the same values and the frame of reference and communicate smoothly and effectively. Faith plays an essential role in developing a loving relationship.
Couples who work on strengthening their faith, for example by performing the Prayer, reading Quran, and seeking Islamic knowledge together, become closer. They love and please Allaah (SWT) through loving and pleasing each other. The commitment couples make to Allaah (SWT) are excellent facilitators for enhancing their family's spiritual development and commitment to Allaah (SWT) and His Religion.

2. Forgiving: When the Prophet (SAW) said to his Companions (RA): "Do you wish that Allaah should forgive you?" They said, 'of course, O Prophet of Allaah.' He (SAW) responded: 'Then forgive each other.'"
One of the main components of a happy marriage is forgiveness. It is a challenge not to blame and to move past an incident when one hurts the other. This can only happen if we are not too proud to ask for forgiveness and we are not too stingy to forgive.

3. Friendship: A relationship based on friendship is more able to withstand outside pressures. We mean the friendship that is based on honor, trust, respect, acceptance and care for each other, in spite of our differences.

4. Feelings: The Prophet (SAW) stated that Allaah (SWT) forgives all sins if we repent but not those we have committed against others, i.e., hurt their feelings unless the person we have hurt forgives first. Couples must be very careful not to hurt the feelings of each other and if they inadvertently do, they should apologize as soon as possible. Since one does not know when someone they love will leave this world, is it not better to make amends when we have the time?

5. Openness: Marital relationship is where the partners must feel safe to speak their mind honestly with due consideration to the other's feeling, without compromising their own views. When the communication is not sincere it hinders the development of closeness and deep understanding of each other's inner self.

6. Flattering: Paving compliments and indulging in honest flattery is a very inexpensive way to win your spouses heart. Everyone likes to be appreciated and noticed. So being scant with compliments is actually depriving one of being appreciated in return.

7. Unconditional giving: The heart does not put conditions or make stipulations. It gives without expecting anything in return, but such selfless giving is always rewarded tenfold.

8. Fallibility: When couples start to demand the impossible they must remind themselves that only Allaah (SWT) is Perfect.