RAMADAN is the time of year in which we engage in a month-long process of introspection, repentance, and self-renewal. It is not only a time when we are to increase our commitment to performing various acts of worship such as fasting and prayer, but it should also be a time for reevaluating all aspects of our lives. As Muslims men, this process should include room for assessing our performance as both husbands and fathers.
The life partnership and commitment that marriage entail should be approached as a spiritual undertaking that can be an important facilitator of individual spiritual development. Just as we are essentially spiritual beings in a human existence, marriage is a journey that if approached as such can be a rich source of learning and personal development for both spouses. As Muslim men, much of what we are taught about family life pertains to our roles and responsibilities as husbands, i.e. the X s and O s of marriage and family life.However, too often the spirit of marriage is ignored or missed. Too often, in the course of trying to manage our families, we completely overlook the nuances that make marriage and family so important a human experience. Often we overlook the patience, sacrifice, compromise, love, understanding, humility, strength, and so many other inputs that are needed to be a good husband and father.
These are the fruits of the dedication and hard work that go into family life that help us to develop into better and more universal human beings. Though certainly there is no magic formula for achieving a successful marriage and family life, selflessness, love, and service are a few key principles from the teachings of our tradition that, when applied, can have remarkable transformational qualities on our roles as husbands and fathers and subsequently, our families in general.