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Originally posted on MuslimMatters

By Umm Reem

Some time ago, I gave a series of lectures on Taharah (cleanliness) to the sisters in my community. A number of questions were raised from the discussion. It was nice and a very open talk since the one giving the lecture was a female herself. The sisters felt quite comfortable asking questions, in detail, that they normally feel shy about.

One of the matters that we discussed was about the exact nature of female wet dreams. I realized that this issue is not only complicated for sisters but also a much neglected subject. This is why, I decided to have a full entry on this topic, for a number of reasons:

  1. This matter is not as simple and clearly distinguishable for sisters as it is for brothers, so it must be thoroughly explained.
  2. There are a number of lectures given from shayukh to the brothers, in detail; however, rarely do we ever hear any Shariah explanation for sisters, in detail.
  3. Mothers feel shy talking to their daughters about it. In which case, if the young daughter experiences a wet dream, she may not know the Shariah ruling on it or how to purify herself afterward.

Hence, I decided to contribute this piece, along with the help of a professional Gynecologist, Dr. Fatimah Lalani and Shaykh Yasir Qadhi, so it may help and benefit all the sisters who read this.

Wet dreams are as normal for women as they are for men. Although, the frequency may be lower compared to men, nonetheless, the occurrence of wet dreams among women does not indicate any abnormality.

Umm Salamah said: “Umm Sulaym came to the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alihi wasalam, and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, Allah is not too shy to tell us the truth. Does a woman have to do ghusl if she has a wet dream?’ The Prophet said: ‘Yes, if she sees water (a discharge).’ Umm Salamah covered her face and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, can a woman have an erotic dream?’ He said, ‘Yes, may your hands be rubbed with dust. How else would her child resemble her?’” (Bukhari)

Therefore, if a girl/woman sees a wet dream, it does not mean that she is sexually perverted, lewd or immodest in any sense. It is out of her control, especially for younger girls who may be experiencing many hormonal changes in their bodies. In fact, the Shariah itself recognizes wet dreams as a sign of puberty.

“And when the children among you come to puberty (al-hilm)…” [al-Noor 24:59]

The same term, al-hilm, is used for both puberty and wet dreams, marking wet dreams an indication of puberty.

Besides, Allah azzawajal created wet dreams as an outlet for men and women to release their sexual energy. It happens as a result of human nature which Allah azzawajal has created Himself and no blame can be put on a person. Moreover, since wet dreams happen during sleep, while a person has no control over himself/herself, theShariah frees a person from any blame.

The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alihi wasalam, said: “The Pen has been lifted from three: from the one who is sleeping until he wakes up, from the child until he reaches the age of puberty, and from one who is insane until he comes to his senses.” (Tirmidhi)

Also, keep in mind that the Prophet, sallallahu alihi wasalam, did not reprimand the woman who had a wet dream, neither did he declare it “abnormal” for women. Rather, he made it quite clear that women can have wet dreams just like men do and there is no oddity or incongruity with it.

Aisha (ra) said: The Messenger of Allaah, sallallahu alihi wasalam, was asked about a man who notices some wetness but does not remember having a wet dream. He said, “He should do ghusl.” He was asked about a man who thinks that he had an erotic dream but does not see any wetness. He said, “He does not have to do ghusl.” Umm Salamah said, “O Messenger of Allah, does a woman have to do ghusl if she sees something like that?” He said, “Yes, women are the twin halves of men.” (Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood)

And so, I want to remind the parents and the husbands to educate themselves on this subject before making any hurtful or psychologically damaging remarks to their womenfolk. This matter is as normal among women as it is among men.

Having said this, I want to encourage mothers to inform and educate their daughters about such dreams. Do not underestimate what others are capable of teaching your daughter, including her friends (inside or outside the schools, Muslims or non-Muslims) or even teachers. Even if they do not attend the “sex-Ed” class at the school, I can assure you that they will be taught by their fellow students. Most of my teen students learned about these issues from their classmates during 3rd and 4th grade. That was about ten years ago and over the time; our society has only become more corrupted.

It is best that a daughter hears and learns this information directly from her own mother rather than from someone else educating her in school or in the streets. A mother’s education is sincere, pure, and free of any vulgarity. Besides, a Muslim mother can/should always point out the Islamic recognition of the normality of our body functions and the Shariah rulings about it.

Do not wait until your daughter asks you, because she may never ask you. This is a step that a mother has to initiate and be the first to “break the ice.” My suggestion is to explain exactly what happens during a wet dream, next give her the biological/hormonal cause, and then explain to her the Islamic ruling about it. Make your daughter feel comfortable, do not pass any embarrassing comments, put a smile on your face but be precise.

Also, do not wait until her menstrual cycle starts. It is better to educate her once the signs of puberty start appearing in her. During my discussion with Dr. Lalani, I asked her if a girl could have wet dreams before she has her first menstrual cycle. And she replied:

“Yes I suppose it is possible. Puberty is a continuum and can begin around age 9-10, starting with development of breasts, pubic and underarm hair, a growth spurt, and then menses. Throughout this time you have hormonal changes, so I suppose you could have a wet dream, prior to onset of menses.”

It led to my other question: Can wet dreams in itself mark the onset of a girl’s puberty (balagha) making her accountable for her religious obligations like fasting and hijab? Of course as any fiqhi matter, this too, had ikhtilaf (difference of opinions). I do not intend to defend one opinion or the other, but I will briefly mention both opinions.

Those scholars, who support the opinion that wet dreams are an indication of a girl reaching the age of puberty, base their opinion on the signs of male puberty and do not make any distinction between the two genders; they include menstruation as an additional sign for females.

However, the other opinion is inferred from a number of ahadith that state that the rulings are to be established at time of menstruation, like the hadith of the Prophet sallallahu alihi wasalam:

“Allah does not accept the prayer of a menstruating woman [i.e who has gotten her menstruation] unless she wears a veil [khimar]“. [Abu Dawood, at-Tirmizi]

And like the narration in Sahih Muslim in which the Prophet sallallahu alihi wasalam indicated that a man’s prayer is cut off when a woman who has gotten her menstruation passes in front of him. In this hadith, the sign of abaligha (a woman who has reached puberty) was indicated by her menstruation, wAllahu ta’ala ‘alam.

To conclude, since the female wet dream may or may not be accompanied by a discharge, contrary to that of men, I posed a few questions to the shuyukh based on the discussion I had with other women and I received following answers from Sh. Yasir Qadhi:

These answers are by Sh. Yasir Qadhi:

To be honest we rarely find such DETAILED discussion in fiqh books, most likely because men are not as familiar with this topic as they should be.  However, based on the hadith of the Prophet, sallallahu alihi wasalam, I would say that:

Question: If a woman sees a sexual dream but is confused whether she had an orgasm or not, what should she do? (Please keep in mind that female genital area is always wet, and they do not necessarily always have extra discharge upon orgasm, so the matter is not as easy to discriminate as for men)

Answer: The ‘asl (original) is that she has not had a wet dream, so until there is yaqin(certainty) she does not have to take a bath. Therefore, if she does not remember an orgasm, and her private area is not extra wet, she doesn’t have to do ghusl (bath).

Question: If she sees extra vaginal discharge but is sure that she didn’t have any dream of sexual nature at all?

Answer: Vaginal discharge does not necessitate ghusl, no problems here.

Question: If she sees extra vaginal discharge and is confused about the dream (i.e. vaguely recalls something but is not sure either), again keeping in mind that extra vaginal discharge could be completely hormonal or due to the normal menstrual cycle?

Answer: She must have yaqin (certainty) or at least a very strong presumption that she’s had a wet dream (which includes an orgasm).

If sisters have any further questions, please feel free to post them here.

by SaqibSaab

Nikaḥ kitāba, otherwise known as “katb al-kitāb” or “celibate marriage,” has become an increasingly common and preferred way of marriage for many young Muslim couples. A young man and woman may find themselves wanting to marry one another, but at the time are unable to live together. So instead of being engaged for long periods of time and making things difficult for the two, they choose to wed by nikaḥ kitāba.

This practice is actually a tradition of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, who married Ayesha, may Allah be pleased with her, and delayed consummation until she was older.

After over 18 months of being married by nikaḥ kitāba, today marks the day my wife and I will be having our “ruksathi” wedding party after which will begin to live our lives together forever, inshaAllah. After a wonderful year and a half of a beautiful relationship Allah blessed us with, we came up with what we feel is an essential survival guide for couples undergoing the same journey we just completed. If you are married by nikāḥ kitāba or will be in the future, then this list is for you.

1. Know your intention

Unfortunately, having the correct intention is often overlooked as the typically cliché and skip-over introduction point to anything. However, here as much as always, you will find it to be critically important. You, your spouse, and your families have agreed to join together in marriage and delay living together until later. In addition to being a tradition of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, it may also serve as a means of worshipping Allah. You could have decided to practice other less sound relationship methods, but instead chose to perform nikāḥ right away. Always remember this goal of pleasing Allah, as remembering Him in times of good as well as bad will make it much easier to reach the light at the end of the tunnel.

2. Don’t play games

With long distance relationships, communication via the phone or internet may become your relationship’s only lifeline. With such limitation, you’re going to run into some roadblocks in getting important cues and messages through to your significant other. Since you have no avenue to use physical gestures to express your feelings, don’t play guessing games with your spouse. If you’re upset, just say it! Both of you don’t want things to drag and the sooner you speak up, the sooner you’ll find yourselves laughing together again.

3. Understand that your spouse has another life

You may find yourself at times frustrated that your spouse is busy and can’t speak on the phone, or they don’t pick up the phone whenever you find the chance to call. Don’t stress it. This is simply a natural result of having a long-distance relationship. Whether the distance is across the globe or across the street, understand if the other is busy or cannot visit. Always believe they wish they could talk to you or see you more, and never accuse them of the opposite. There may be things on the other end you just cannot see to understand why they are so busy (i.e. actual fatigue, stress with school or career, family responsibilities, etc). Understanding that your spouse can be busy will help during times when communication and visits are hard to get going.

4. Increase your relationship with your in-laws

Use your time wisely to get to know not only one another but each others family while you’re at it. Of course it may be difficult to remember your in-laws when all you can think about is the wonderful new person in your life, but don’t forget the people that helped culture them in the first place. Make time to speak to in-laws on the phone, and remind your spouse to do likewise. When you visit one another don’t only try to run off alone. Instead, spend time with your parents and siblings-in-law and build a relationship while everything is still sort of “casual”. Making way for in-laws may require more effort than is needed for one’s spouse, but it will only strengthen the bond between you two for the long-run.

5. Make effort to schedule physical meetings

Not every couple in nikaḥ kitāba can easily visit one another, but if the means are there for you, take them. Physical interaction with one’s spouse is very important, and must be a part of your relationship if the possibility exists. Sure you’re limited to not being able to live with one another, but based on your agreed conditions in your marriage, make ways with your family and schedule to visit your spouse as much as you can. Being able to see one another can be one of the best ways to get through the time period which you have to endure before you eventually get to see each other every single day.

6. Strengthen your Iman with your spouse

You are undoubtedly going to find ways to visit one another, and even if you don’t you will find yourself talking to each other every day. Remember that you’re not just some random couple “dating” or in a relationship, you’re married and you’re Muslim. Therefore it’s important to build your Islamic relationship with one another. Find local events, seminars, classes, halaqahs, or conferences and make plans to go attend them together. Buy each other Islamic audio CDs and books to read and discuss. Or, just take it back to the basics: maintain a consistent daily reciting of Qur’ān and reading of the meaning to one another over the phone. Do something, anything; but just make you’re sure doing it and doing it consistently. You can have the best emotional, mental, physical and family relationship ever, but without a solid spiritual foundation, everything else will collapse.

7. Be yourself

Marriage can be a bit scary in the fear of wondering what the other person will think about your habits, tendencies, and weaknesses. However, one of its beautiful aspects comes when you are able to be yourself in front of your spouse just the way you are, and your understanding and acceptance of one another further strengthens your love.

Don’t try to hide behind formalities of what you think a spouse should or shouldn’t do. This is the time to be who you are and let your spouse get to know the real you without the added pressure of living together. If your spouse becomes familiar with your actual self before your wedding party, the transition should be a lot easier when that cherised time eventually comes, bi’ithniAllah.

Conclusion

We hope you’ve benefited from this list for your current or future marriage. This advice is in no way exhaustive, and there are many other tips for couples in nikāḥ kitāba, so if you have anything else, please feel free to share it here.

We ask Allah ‘azza wa jal to bless all couples everywhere and give us all the ability to preserve our communities’ relationships into the future, and that He makes marriage easy for those whom it is difficult and serve as a means to Jannah and His pleasure.

Hadith 25 Arabic text

Abu Dharr, radiyallahu ‘anhu, reported that some of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, said to him:

“O Messenger of Allah, the rich have taken away all the rewards. They observe the prayer as we do, and they keep the fasts as we do, and they give sadaqah (charity) from their surplus riches.” Upon this he (the Prophet) said: “Has Allah not prescribed for you (a course) by following which you can also do sadaqah? Verily in everytasbih (i.e. saying Subhanallah) there is a sadaqah, every takbir (i.e. saying Allahu Akbar) is a sadaqah, everytahmid (i.e. saying Alhamdulillah) is a sadaqah, every tahlil (i.e. saying Lailaha illallah) is a sadaqah, enjoining of good is a sadaqah, forbidding of evil is a sadaqah, and having sexual intercourse with your wife is a sadaqah. They (the Companions) said: “O Messenger of Allah, is there reward for him who satisfies his sexual passion among us?” He said: “Tell me, if he were to devote it to something forbidden, would it not be a sin on his part? Similarly, if he were to devote it to something lawful, he should have a reward.”

[Muslim]

<read the explanation>

Bismi Allah. As-salaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatu Allahi wa barakaatuh,

Your husband’s Love Tank ran dry, the engine broke down, and now your marriage is stuck in a ditch by the side of the road? No need to worry! Just sit back and have a nice cup of TEA while you call up Triple A to pull your marriage out of the rut.

TEA Triple A – roadside assistance for understanding the 6 primary love needs of men. (click here to learn about the needs of women)


T
– Trust
E – Encouragement
A – Admiration

A – Approval
A – Appreciation
A – Acceptance

Trust – When the wife’s attitude is open and receptive toward her husband, he feels *trusted*. To trust a man is to believe that he is doing his best and that he wants the best for his wife. This positive belief should be reflected by the wife’s interactions with her husband.

Example: The husband is trying to fix the kitchen sink. As he struggles with the wrench, the wife looks on and says, “Maybe you should call a plumber…” The husband feels crushed because he thinks she doesn’t trust him to do what’s best for them. Instead, the wife should refrain from giving unsolicited advice (except Islamic advice, of course).

Encouragement – When the wife expresses confidence in her husband’s abilities and character, it fills him with hope and courage and he feels *encouraged*.

Example: When the Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) received the first revelation from Allah, he was terrified and sought comfort with his wife Khadija. He said, “I fear that something may happen to me.” Khadija replied, “Never! But have the glad tidings, for by Allah, Allah will never disgrace you as you keep good relations with your kith and kin, speak the truth, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guest generously and assist the deserving, calamity-afflicted ones.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]

Admiration – When the wife views the husband with wonder, delight, and pleased approval, the husband feels *admired*. Telling him what to do as if he were a child does not make him feel admired. Admiration is when the wife is happily amazed by his unique characteristics or talents like humor, strength, persistence, integrity, honesty, romance, kindness, love, understanding, etc.

Example: Once the prophet (salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was sitting in a room with Aisha and fixing his shoes. It was very warm, and Aisha looked to his blessed forehead and noticed that there were beads of sweat on it. She became overwhelmed by the majesty of that sight was staring at him long enough for him to notice. He said, “What’s the matter?” She replied, “If Abu Bukair Al-Huthali, the poet, saw you, he would know that his poem was written for you.” The Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) asked, “What did he say?” She replied, “Abu Bukair said that if you looked to the majesty of the moon, it twinkles and lights up the world for everybody to see.” So the Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) got up, walked to Aisha, kissed her between the eyes, and said, “Wallahi ya Aisha, you are like that to me and more.”

[This was narrated in Dala’el Al-Nubuwa for Imam Abu Nu’aim with isnad including Imam Bukhari and Imam Ibn Khuzaina. Can someone please check its authenticity?]

Approval – When the wife acknowledges the goodness in her husband and expresses overall satisfaction with him, the husband receives the *approval* he needs. An approving attitude looks for the good reasons behind what the husband does (even if she doesn’t agree with the act itself). Every man wants to be his wife’s hero. The sign that he’s achieved that is his wife’s approval.

Example: If the wife expresses her upset feelings indirectly with rhetorical questions like, “How could you do that?” he feels she has taken away her approval of him. He no longer feels like the good guy.

Appreciation – When the wife acknowledges having received personal benefit and value from her husband’s efforts and behavior, he feels *appreciated*. When a man is appreciated, he knows his effort is not wasted and is thus encouraged to give more.

Example: Acknowledge what your husband has done for you instead of just complaining about what he has not done. If he doesn’t hear your appreciation, he won’t continue his efforts.

Acceptance – When the wife lovingly receives her husband without trying to change him, he feels *accepted*. This accepting attitude does not mean that she believes he is perfect, but it indicates that she is not trying to improve him and that she trusts him to make his own improvements.

Example: Don’t nag him about his bad habits or try to control his behavior by sharing upset or negative feelings. Sharing feelings is ok, but not when used to punish or manipulate.

Ok, time to memorize it:

TEA Triple A
T – Trust
E – Encouragement
A – Admiration

A – Approval
A – Appreciation
A – Acceptance


Let’s share more examples by quoting ayat/ahadeeth that illustrate each category, in sha Allah! State the categorie(s) and the ayah/hadeeth that depicts it.

(Based on the work of John Gray, author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus)

Bismi Allah. As-salaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatu Allahi wa barakaatuh,

So you think sending your wife to the plastic surgeon will put that spark back into the relationship? Not likely. Actually, you’re the one who needs to go to the Curv Dr.

The Curv Dr. will teach you the 6 primary love needs of women. If you fulfill these needs, the bonds of love will only strengthen.

C – Caring
U – Understanding
R – Respect
V – Validation

D – Devotion
R – Reassurance

Caring – when a husband shows interest in his wife’s feelings and heartfelt concern for her well-being, she feels *cared for*.

Example: Anas ibn Malik narrates, “I saw the Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), making for her (Safiya) a kind of cushion with his cloak behind him (on his camel). He then sat beside his camel and put his knee for Safiya to put her foot on, in order to ride (on the camel).” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]

Understanding – When the husband listens without judgement but with empathy and relatedness to his wife expressing her feelings, she feels heard and *understood*. Don’t presume to already know your wife’s thoughts or feelings when she is trying to communicate them to you. Instead, gather meaning from what is being said.

Example: If your wife is talking about the frustrations of the day how unbearably long the line was at the supermarket, just listen to her and when she’s finished, say, “Wow, that must have really tried your patience!” Show her that you understand her feelings and can relate to her experience. Don’t say, “Ummm… You should have just used the self-checkout.” Instead, just listen and show you understand without offering solutions. Later on, when she’s not venting, you can suggest that she try the self-checkout.

Respect – When the husband responds to his wife in a way that acknowledges and prioritizes her rights, wishes, and needs, she feels *respected*. Physical expressions of respect like flowers, gifts, keeping her likes/dislikes in mind, and showing your appreciation are essential.

Example: Make an effort to look good for her. Give her gifts – they don’t have to be big or expensive. Always show her appreciation for even the little things she does.

Validation – When the husband does not object to or argue with a woman’s feelings and wants, but instead accepts and confirms their *validity*, she feels loved. Confirm her right to feel the way she does. (You can confirm her point of view even if you have a different point of view).

Example: Once during a journey, Safiyyah (radi Allahu ‘anha) was crying because she had be made to ride a slow camel. The Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) didn’t tell her she was being unreasonable. Instead, he wiped her tears, comforted her, and even tried to find her another camel. [Can someone find the actual hadeeth and its reference?]

Devotion – When the husband gives priority to the wife’s needs and commits himself to supporting and fulfilling her, she feels adored and special. When she is more important to him than work, television, etc., then she feels his *devotion*.

Simple example: Look at her when she talks to you. Don’t be afraid to show your devotion. The Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) openly stated his love for his wives.

Reassurance – To repeatedly do all of the above *reassures* the wife that she is continually loved. The husband must reassure his wife of his love again and again.

Simple example: Give her a hug and say “I love you” 4 times a day at least.

Ok, guys, time to memorize it:

CURV DR.
C – Caring
U – Understanding
R – Respect
V – Validation

D – Devotion
R – Reassurance


Can anyone share more examples of each category? Even better – give us hadeeth that illustrate each category!

(Based on the work of John Gray, author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus)

Bismi Allah Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem

THE FIVE STAGES OF NEWLYWEDS

Hast thou not seen, and learned by it,
How, when a lamp is freshly lit,
The flame burns feebly, and one puff
To put it out is quite enough?

But when the wick is well alight
And blazing broadly through the night,
To puff and puff will only go
To fan it into fiercer glow.

-Ibn Hazm, The Ring of the Dove

* * * * *

Introduction:

Newlyweds should not act as if they’ve been married for years. They should think twice about what they say and how they act so as not to be misinterpreted. They should gradually ease into the relationship, making the compromises and changes in themselves necessary for a solid marriage. At first they need to show their most positive self. Gradually, they can reveal themselves more deeply to their spouse. It takes perseverance, but the rewards are substantial. Remember, marriage is half of the deen for a reason. It pushes you to change and grow into a fuller human being with stronger character. You gain the skills, characteristics, and wisdom to make you a more effective worshipper of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala.

The following is a guide to the 5 stages that newlyweds go through. By following it, it is hoped that, bi idhni Allah, the couple will help each other to build a solid foundation for their marriage. If successful, they can, in sha Allah, easily resist any assault from the accursed shaytan who seeks to divide husband and wife.

* * * * *

Stage One – Attraction:

You’re attracted to the piety and character of your new spouse. You’ve gotten married for the sake of Allah and you are both looking forward to your collective journey in pursuit of Allah’s Pleasure. Now is the time to express your attraction for your spouse and get to know the best, most positive side of each other.

In this stage, you must put your best foot forward. The idea that marriage is a matter of, “This is how I am, take it or leave it!” is a mistake. Marriage is a very delicate balance of give and take and continual compromise. We have to be very careful in the way we express ourselves so as not to be misinterpreted by our spouse. In Stage One, we must portray our most positive side. Do not start dumping your problems on each other from the get go. The idea is to sustain the attraction in Stage One. Be very careful about what you say and what you do.

MEN: Be a good listener and ask questions to show your interest in your wife. Take the risk in doing special things that make her feel cherished. Women like it when men have the courage to do things that make her feel special. Sweep her off her feet and always show your most positive side.

WOMEN: Share yourself in a positive manner. Be receptive to your husband’s efforts to make you feel special. Show appreciation without reciprocation. Let him pursue you. If he does something special for you, all you need to do is let him know that you thoroughly enjoyed it. Don’t pursue him by returning the favor because that may kill his attraction. He wants to pursue *you*, so let him! You’re worth it!

* * * * *

Stage Two – Uncertainty:

Almost all couples go through a period of feeling uncertain that their partner is right for them. In this stage, it is important to recognize this uncertainty as normal and not be swayed by it. Always remember that you prayed istikhaarah and put your trust in Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala.

MEN: You might become somewhat distant or disconnected and feel less inclined to pursue your wife. Push yourself to continue to do little creative things for her to make her feel special. You need to repeatedly experience the idea that you have the ability to make her happy, bi idhni Allah. When you experience this, the doubts will disappear and, in sha Allah, you’ll be confident about the relationship.

WOMEN: You may start to worry about where the relationship is going, especially if you notice that your husband is starting to pull away. Don’t ask him questions about the relationship and don’t try to win him over by pursuing him. Resist the enormous urge to find out what has happened or to do something about it. Let him pull away like a rubber band. After some time he’ll come springing back to you. When he does, be receptive and welcoming. Meanwhile, fill your time with other things like memorizing Qur’an, listening to Islamic audios, going to halaqahs with friends, and so on.

* * * * *

Stage Three – Negligence:

We start to feel more confident in the marriage and comfortable with our spouse. Naturally, this leads us to relax and we stop pushing ourselves to put our best foot forward. It becomes easy to take our spouse for granted and stop doing the little things that make him/her feel special. This is a huge mistake. This is the stage when those things that you did as newlyweds start to become “memories”. Instead, take the opportunity to make that “newlywed drive” into a habit that will last with you for the rest of your lives. This is the time to continue to do special, romantic things with each other.

MEN: You may think you’ve won her over and don’t need to pursue her anymore. This attitude causes the relationship to lose its momentum and causes the husband to lose his edge. He becomes that dull man that nobody wants to be with. He ceases to be the leader that pushes the relationship to new heights. Instead, he slacks off thereby opening up the relationship to shaytan’s attacks. You must keep pushing yourself to cherish your wife. This is the time to make this attitude a permanent habit. It will soon become as natural as riding a bike or driving a car. When that happens, shaytan will lose all hope, in sha Allah. One very important thing to do in this stage in particular is to *anticipate* your wife’s needs and offer to help without her asking. Take the romantic initiative and be a leader. In a word, be a MAN!

WOMEN: Do not assume your husband knows what you want. He simply doesn’t! Sad but true. Instead, practice *asking* for support if you’re not getting it. Be sure to ask in a friendly, non-demanding way without using negative feelings as a means of manipulation. A woman actually becomes more attractive to a man when he knows what she wants. When the wife tells her husband what she wants, he becomes confident that he can please her and is encouraged to act. This helps the husband to take the lead in the relationship and keep his edge against shaytan. Also, the wife must remember to never give more to the relationship than she’s getting [for explanation, see footnote]. If you’re not getting enough support, ask for it in a non-demanding way (ask for it like it’s simply a favor he can do for you if he chooses to). When you get what you want, then you can start giving back, but never give more than you’re getting (i.e., don’t give more than the bare minimum rights of the husband unless you’re getting more than the bare minimum rights of the wife). Failure to do this can lead to resentment, which will be devastating to the relationship in later years. And, as always, be very receptive, excited, and encouraging when your husband does something for you, even if it’s something he always does, like opening the car door or complimenting you. Focus on making this appreciative attitude into a habit. Thankfulness should become second nature to you.

* * * * *

Stage Four – Intimacy:

Up until now, we’ve been focusing on putting our best foot forward and sharing our most positive self. We’ve been working on building up our patience and perseverance in the relationship. At this stage, we feel comfortable enough that we share ourselves with our partners in a deeper way. The opportunity arises to experience the best of our spouse and, at the same time, deal with imperfections. This is when real, solid love develops – when we can share our vulnerable side yet still receive loving support from our spouse. We can start to successfully deal with negative aspects our lives. The man goes into rubber band mode and the wife starts to rise and fall like a wave. Equipped with the skills developed in previous stages, you will be able to overcome the challenges in this stage, bi idhni Allah.

MEN: Your wife will rise and fall like a wave. This is natural. At times she may be very loving and happy – her wave is reaching its peak. Then her wave crashes and she’ll have very little to give. This is when your previous skills come in. You have to keep giving her your love without expecting immediate return – she has nothing to give so don’t expect her to react to your kindness the way she usually does. By continually sharing your love, this will help her wave to rise again. If she shares feelings of resentment or she feels overwhelmed, validate her feelings and let her vent. Be a good listener – hear her out and take the time to understand what she’s saying without offering solutions. If she feels insecure about the relationship and your love for her, give her the reassurance that she needs. Love her even if she’s not loving you back. If you can hug her while she’s blaming you for her misery, you’re on the right track. That’s what real love is all about. Be a man!

WOMEN: Your husband will start to pull away like a rubber band. This is natural. When he does this, do not chase after him or interrogate him – if you do, he’ll just want to get away even more. Give him his space and let him be alone for some time. He’ll come springing back to you on his own, just like a rubber band snaps back. When he does, be receptive and welcoming. Don’t give him a guilt trip over something that is really out of his hands.

* * * * *

Stage Five – Perpetual Growth:

The bonds of marriage have a strong foundation and only grow stronger each day. Now is the time to raise walls on that solid foundation and build your fortress against the attacks of shaytan. The building and repairing of these walls will be your task for many years to come. Eventually, your walls will become so high and so strong that shaytan will give up all hope of dividing you from your spouse.

MEN: Learn to apologize. Your focus should be on correcting your behavior to be more considerate of your wife’s feelings and needs. When you make a mistake, it is imperative that you humble yourself and apologize to your wife. When apologizing, don’t give an excuse or explanation for your mistake. Just apologize for it. Then patiently listen to her response – it may be uncomfortable, but this is your chance to hear her feelings and gain insight as to what she regards as important. When she’s done, validate her feelings and respond with a negative description of your mistake like, “You’re right. It was really insensitive of me,” or, “Yeah, that was very inconsiderate of me,” or, “Yes. It was wrong of me to be so selfish/insensitive/over reactive/defensive/etc.” When she realizes that you understand the way she feels about your mistake, it makes it extremely easy for her to forgive you and let go of her resentment.

WOMEN: Learn to forgive. Your focus should be on correcting your attitude toward his behavior. When he apologizes, it is imperative that you be positive and receptive to his apology. This will make it easier for him to apologize in the future. When forgiving him, don’t just say, “I forgive you.” He might feel that you still hold some resentment in your heart. Say something substantial like, “That’s okay. I’m glad you understand how I feel.” You can even tack on a friendly suggestion of what you would have liked him to do. For example, let’s say he came home late from work without letting you know and you’ve been waiting all night to have dinner with him. When he apologizes, you can say, “It’s all right. Just give me a call when you have to stay at work late, okay?” He’ll think, “Wow, what a lady! I’ll be sure to call her next time this happens!” Through forgiveness, you’ve turned a failure into a victory!

* * * * *

Final Advice:

Take it slow and ease into the relationship. Don’t try to zip through all 5 stages or skip a stage. Each stage is a vital part of building the foundation. If you skip a step, the foundation will be incomplete and the marriage could collapse. Take it slow and easy. And have fun along the way! Use this as a framework for the first year of the marriage. Also, keep in mind that there are other nuances about marriage that are not discussed in this article. Seeking knowledge is a never-ending process!

* * * * *

Recap:

Stage One – Attraction: Share your most positive side. Men need to pursue the woman with small, loving gestures. Women need to respond to his gestures in a positive, receptive way, but not return the favor. Believe me, your simple excitement is more than enough repayment for him.

Stage Two – Uncertainty: Don’t be swayed by feelings of uncertainty. It’s normal. Men need to continue the pursuit. Women need to continue to respond positively to his pursuit. If the man distances himself, she has to resist the urge to try to win him over or interrogate him. She should fill her time with other things until they both feel confident that they can make each other happy.

Stage Three – Negligence: You’re confident in your love for your spouse. You assume the marriage is set and start to take your spouse for granted. Avoid this pitfall! This is when you must make your newfound skills a permanent part of your character. Men must make the tendency to do nice, romantic things for the wife into a habit and take the initiative in offering help without being asked. Women must make their appreciative, positive responses into second nature. Learn to ask for things that you want from your husband but aren’t getting. Ask for it like it’s a favor he can do if he chooses to (i.e. he’s free to say “no”).

Stage Four – Intimacy: Now is the time to share your vulnerabilities with each other. Men will start to pull away like rubber bands. Women must be patient and give the husband his space and time alone without questioning him. Women will start to rise and crash like waves. Men must give loving support to the wife when her wave has crashed without expecting love in return. He must be a good listener and be understanding and patient. This stage is where real solid love develops.

Stage Five – Perpetual Growth: The foundation has been laid, now build the walls. Men need to learn to apologize and correct themselves so that they are more considerate human beings. Women need to learn to forgive in a positive, welcoming way and become more benevolent human beings.

[This article is based on the work of Dr. John Gray, author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus]

Footnote:

In explaining ahadeeth regarding the great rights of the husband upon the wife, Shaykh al-Jibali writes, “The above hadiths refer to a man who fulfills all of his responsibilities as husband and family-head. He constantly offers to his wife and children guidance, protection, support, nurturing, and so on. Neglecting any of that would proportionally reduce his rights upon his wife.” [Muhammad al-Jibali, The Fragile Vessels, p. 65, emphasis mine]

The Prophet’s next beloved, A’isha, recorded:
`Although I had never met Khadija, I was never more jealous of anyone than her.’ Once, when Khadija’s sister Hala came to visit the Prophet (s), and called from outside for permission to enter, he trembled, being reminded of Khadija, for the two sisters had very similar voices. `It must be Hala,’ he said. A’isha said, `Why do you keep thinking of that elderly woman who has been dead for so long, when Allah has given you such good wives? ‘No, no, no,’ the Prophet (s) answered, `I was given no finer wife than her. She believed in me when everyone else belied me; when they denied me she became a Muslim; when no one would help me, she was my help. I had my children from her.’ And he asserted, `Allah gave me my love for her.’


Ibrahim (as) once went to the house of Ismail (as). He knocked and a young lady opened the door and invited him in. He asked about Ismail (as) and she said that he was out and not at home. So he asked the lady (who was apparently Ismail (as)’s wife) how he was towards her and the house. She started complaining and whining… saying things like…”he doesn’t do this for me”… “I wish he would be more caring”…and she went on venting for a while. After a while Ibrahim (as) got up to leave and said to her, “Tell Ismail when he gets home to change his door matt.” He then left.
When Ismail (as) came home and his wife informed him of an old man and what he had said, Ismail (as) said to her, “That was my father and he wants me to divorce you”- and he did.
Many days later, Ibrahim (as) again went to his son’s house. This time another lady opened the door (his new wife). Again Ismail (as) was not home so Ibrahim (as) asked her the same question about her husband. She started praising her husband and told him how much she appreciated him, how caring he was, and so on. Ibrahim (as) got up to leave and said to her, “Tell Ismail when he comes home to keep this door matt.”
When Ismail (as) came home and was told about what had occurred, he said to his wife, “That was my father and he approves of you and wants me to keep you.”


The Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said, “…Then I saw the (Hell) Fire, and I have never before seen such a horrible sight as that, and I saw that the majority of its dwellers were women.” The people asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! What is the reason for that?” He replied, “Because of their ungratefulness.” It was said. “Do they disbelieve in Allah (are they ungrateful to Allah)?” He replied, “They are not thankful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favors done to them. Even if you do good to one of them all your life, when she seems some harshness from you, she will say, ‘I have never seen any good from you.'” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]


Ibrahim (as) to fulfill Allah (swt)’s commandment brought his belovd wife and son, Ismail (as), to a deserted, isolated, barren valley of Makkah, which did not exactly exist at that time.
As Ibrahim (as) was leaving them alone in Makkah and walking away, Hajar asked him (as in the Hadith): ‘O Ibrahim! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is neither any person nor anything else (to survive)?’ She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look back at her. Then she asked him, ‘Has God instructed you to do so?’ He replied, ‘Yes.’…
That was enough for her, she said, “Then God will not neglect us.’ (In another version): ‘I am pleased to be (left) with God.”


The Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said, “The best of your women are those who are bearers of many children, loving (to their husbands), comforting, and tolerant – provided that they have taqwa of Allah.”
[Recorded by al-Bayhaqi in as-Sunan. Verified to be authentic by al-Albani]


Maymuna or Barra as she was then called, yearned to marry the Prophet. She went to her sister, Umm al Fadl to talk to her about that and she, in turn, spoke to her husband, al-Abbas. Al-Abbas immediately went to the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) with Maymuna’s offer of marriage to him and her proposal was accepted. When the good news reached her, she was on a camel, and she immediately got off the camel and said, “The camel and what is on it is for the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).” They were married in the month of Shawwal in 7 AH just after the Muslims of Medina were permitted to visit Mecca under the terms of the treaty of Hudaybiyya to perform umra. Allah Almighty sent the following ayat about this:

Any believing woman who dedicates herself to the Prophet if the Prophet wishes to wed her, that is only for thee and not for the believers. (Quran 33:50)

The Prophet gave her the name, Maymuna, meaning “blessed”, and Maymuna lived with the Prophet for just over three years, until his death. She was obviously very good natured and got on well with everyone, and no quarrel or disagreement with any of the Prophet’s other wives has been related about her. ‘A’isha said about her, “Among us, she had the most fear of Allah and did the most to maintain ties of kinship.” It was in her room that the Prophet first began to feel the effects of what became his final illness and asked the permission of his wives to stay in A’isha’s room while it lasted.


The story of Asmaa bint Abu Bakr remembering the gheerah of her husband, Az-Zubayr ibn Awaam. One day Asmaa’ was walking and carrying date stones on her head, and the Prophet (sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) saw her and stopped. He (sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was with a group of Companions and her offered her a camel to ride behind them. However, Asmaa’ remembered the gheerah of her husband (Gheerah is the sense of pride that a man has which causes him to dislike his wives, daughters or sisters from being seen or heard by strangers. It is this gheerah which makes a man protective about his women) and she became shy. The Prophet (sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) understood her shyness and left. Later when she narrated this to her husband, Az-Zubayr replied, “By Allaah, the thought of you carrying date-stones upon your head is more severe a burden to me than you riding with him.”


A’isha the wife of Allah’s Apostle (salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), reported that one day Allah’s Messenger (salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) came out of her (apartment) during the night and she felt jealous. Then he came and he saw me (in what agitated state of mind) I was. He said: “A’isha, what has happened to you? Do you feel jealous?” Thereupon she said: “How can it be (that a woman like me) should not feel jealous in regard to a husband like you…” [Sahih Muslim, Book 39, #6759]


The secret rhyme for a divorce-proof marriage, in sha Allah:

Kilometer Carts = Hearts!
KM CARTS = Hearts!

K – Know: Know your spouse. Know her/his likes, dislikes, hobbies, interests, life story, ambitions, personality, talents, what’s going on in her/his life at the moment, etc.
M – Meaning: What’s the shared meaning of your marriage? Have shared goals, rituals, symbols, etc. For example, your shared goal could be to enter jannat-ul-firdaws together! A shared ritual might be reading Qur’an together every night.

C – Compromise: Compromise on areas of conflict whenever possible.
A – Admiration: Remember why you admire her/him and keep those feelings of fondness and admiration alive.
R – Respond: Respond to the small talk and chit chat your spouse makes. Don’t ignore it.
T – Tolerate: Some of your conflicts may be rooted in deeper differences in your personalities. Tolerate those aspects of her/his personality that simply aren’t going to change.
S – Shoora: Take shoora from your spouse when making decisions and actually act upon her/his advice. For women this comes naturally. Men tend to find this difficult!

Time to memorize it:

Kilometer Carts = Hearts!
KM CARTS = Hearts!

Some of these things may seem trivial, but their impact upon a marriage is immense. Of course, this little rhyme will mean a lot more (and be a lot more useful) once you read the book on which it’s based: The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman*.

km Carts = Hearts!

May Allah bless the Muslims with awesome, divorce-proof marriages. Ameen!

* This book contains a few points I disagree with for Islamic reasons. However, over all it is an excellent read.

Assalaamu Alaykum,

We asked several brothers and sisters who were recently married to share their insights, experiences, and reality checks regarding marriage…responses will be posted periodically under “advice from” inshaAllah.  If you’d like to share something with us, please send over an email or leave a comment.  aisha.meghani@gmail.com

Getting married.. where oh where to start.. I think my best advice would be to out due each other in kindness towards each other and others. Try to put his feelings before yours, try to keep your in laws happy before yourself, and InshAllah you will be successful! Also, marriage is not always 50/50-most days you will put in 90% and he will put in 10% and other days he may put in 75% and you only put in 25%. Accept that men are immature-they are going to play video games to wii hours of the night and its going to be very annoying, he will pick his friends over you some days and thats even more annoying-but its okay. The sooner we learn and accept this and move on the happier we and our husbands will be. Allah puts us in situations with people that we may not always agree with or like but it’s our challenge and dealing with it could be our way to Jannah. Last, the grass is not greener on the other side-its fake grass.

Praise be to Allaah.

 

It is not permissible for a woman to show her adornment except to those whom Allaah has mentioned in the verse (interpretation of the meaning):

“… and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or one eye or dress like veil, gloves, headcover, apron), and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their (Muslim) women (i.e. their sisters in Islam), or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigour, or small children who have no sense of feminine sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allaah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful”

[al-Noor 24:30-31]

The suitor is not one of these, rather he is only permitted to look for the purpose of proposing marriage, and the woman does not have the right to adorn herself for him.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: It is permissible for the suitor to see the woman to whom he is proposing marriage, but that is subject to certain conditions:

1 – That he needs to see her. If there is no need then the basic principle is that a man should not look at a woman who is a non-mahram to him, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things)” [al-Noor 24:30].

2 – He should have made up his mind that he wants to propose. If he is still hesitant then he should not look, but if he has made up his mind then he may look, then he should either go ahead or give up the idea.

3 – This looking should be without being alone with her, i.e. it is essential that she have one of her mahrams with her, either her father, brother, paternal uncle or maternal uncle. That is because being alone with a non-mahram woman is haraam, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No man should be alone with a woman without a mahram being present.” And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Beware of entering upon women.” They said: O Messenger of Allaah, what about the in-law? He said: “The in-law is death.”

4 – He should think it most likely that she and her family will accept. If he does not think that is most likely, then there is no point in looking in this case, because his proposal will not be accepted, whether he looks at her or not.

Some scholars stipulated that his desire should not be provoked when looking, and that his aim should be only to find out. If his desire is provoked then he must stop looking, because before the marriage contract is done with a woman, it is not appropriate to enjoy looking at her, so he must refrain. In this situation the woman must come out to the suitor looking ordinary; she should not come out wearing beautiful clothes or makeup, because she is not yet his wife. Moreover, if she comes to him looking beautiful and wearing her best clothes, then he may propose because he was dazzled by her the first time he looked at her, then he will find out that she is not as she appeared to him at first.

End quote from Fataawa Noor ‘ala al-Darb

Elsewhere he (may Allaah have mercy on him) indicated that this may have the opposite effect, because if he looks at her when she is wearing makeup and fine clothes, he may see her as more beautiful than she really is, and in that case when he enters upon her following the wedding and sees her as she really is, he may be put off her and no longer interested in him.

To sum up: If a suitor comes to a woman it is permissible for her to uncover her face and hands and head and that which usually appears, according to the correct view, but without wearing any cosmetics or adornments.

And Allaah knows best.

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