Love Notes – Part 2

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Opinions on Marriage

  1. Marriage will make me a better Muslim
  2. Marriage will protect me from falling into fitnah and haram
  3. Marriage will make me live happily ever after
  4. In marriage, you cannot hate the person you love
    ○ One of the strangest things about love: the person you love the most…it’s a fine line between despicable hate and love
    ○ genuine love can transform into hate bc you’re investing so much love in that person
    ○ healthiest marriages: achieve equilibrium between love and hate knowing it’s okay to hate things the person does
  5. Marriage will heal all my past wounds
  6. Marriage is a piece of cake if you marry the right person
  7. Marriage benefits men more than women
  8. Love is enough to sustain a marriage
    ○ The economy is rough LOL – when the economy is rough, divorce skyrockets
    ○ Prophet (SAW) – One of the things we look for in marriage is “Malihah”, her wealth
  9. Religious practising Muslims have a perfect marriage FALSE
  10. Marriage is a natural process that you can figure out on your own FALSE

○ requires thought, DETERMINATION
○ Prophet (SAW) to Jabir (RA), a man who told him got engaged: “did you look into her eyes” – meaning did you find love in her eyes? Did you spend enough time looking into her eyes to know she’s the one? Marriage isn’t something you just come by!

Most of the marriages that occurred in the time of the Sahabah RA were not familial, rather they were cross-cultural.
Bilal RA did not marry someone from Habshah.
The Prophet Muhammad SAW married Mariyah RA she was from Egyptian background. He SAW married Safiyyah RA and she was from a Jewish background.
They did not always marry their cousins or within the family and the same caste.

○ 1. Optional love:

You lead yourself to love and you fall deeper in love. It can grow if you allow it to grow; you need to take concrete steps, not just sit back and wait.
■ eg: your love for your spouse gets deeper as the relationship progresses
■ there are things you didn’t know that you love today, and things you loved then that you love in a different way now
■ We live today in an era with a lot of “popcorn love” → it’s not how I met your mother; it’s how many people met your mother
● The types of love that we are fed is a vain type of imagery and people make millions off of it – it’s AN INDUSTRY
● eg: Adele’s Someone Like You – national anthem of a home wrecker. This is the kind of woman you want to keep away from your husband. — THAT’S WHAT’S PUT OUT THERE AS A LOVE SONG… but it’s actually the love of desire
● We raise a generation of people that think that a booty call is acceptable, that someone can ring her up at 9pm.

 

Surah Al’Imran:14
“Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire- of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return.”
■ “Beautified for people is the love they desire…”
● what they love is what they want to do with the person for a certain amount of time
● the guy/girl that compromises your relationship FSA, they don’t love you – they love, the desire (difference b/w love and love of desire): عشق andحب

Imam Ibnul Qayyim RH differentiates between ■ a was عشق whilst love noble and pure was حب says

He ● has forbidden, beyond the limits type of love. قشع is when someone goes to haram measures to be with the one they love outward same, set Allah boundaries the cross you – عشق ● characteristics as love
○ Anything you do in the name of love through sin/ compromising Allah’s boundaries is NOT love. Anything you do would you where love flaming that is عشق ○ for that person, that anything is what puts you in trouble
عشق as someone to love your explaining avoid to Try ○
○ If someone is willing to compromise their relationship with Allah swt, then nothing is stopping them from compromising you to have you why is that→ حب from your prevents عشق ○ heal and purify your soul from the love of desire
● The difference is simple, Allah loves when you love, بح , Allah loves that, but when you are upsetting Allah, that is قشع
● love is conciliatory, it’s being able to talk about the difficult things – “I didn’t like the way you said that”
○ you’re a tree that’s planted deep, not just fluff- you know the person is there to stay
○ 2. Non-Optional love
■ we’re asked to guard our gaze against the Haraam because we can fall for the unattainable
■ That love is not Haram, but acting upon it in Haram means is! The Sight/Eyes
● Hijab is not about the beauty of the women
○ if it WAS that, prophet Yusuf would need a hijab Lolz.(women cut their hands upon seeing him)
○ Yusuf, when they saw him they would “Akbar”, say Allahu Akbar, and they would cut their hands → if it was about beauty, then Allah would have put a niqab on him
○ that wasn’t the logical step
○ Cultural construct: Khateeb says something like “summer’s here bros, be careful” → cage them before they POUNCE 😛 → THIS IS A PERVERSION
■ sexuality and nudity was much more rampant at the time of Prophet (SAW)
■ At that time, if a woman was owned, a woman would be forbidden from covering above the navel… that is how pervasive nudity was
■ Paternity was so loose, that when someone was married they were married to the tribe, anyone from the tribe would lay claim to her
○ That is why we are told to guard our eyes → it is your duty as a man to run away from the Haram, it is inexcusable to say “I couldn’t help it”; it was much worse in other places
○ It is a sexist thing we have in our community is that we lower the standard of men; that is not Islamic
● One of the issues in marriage is a man who cannot guard his eyes – it is not embarrassing just for the women, it is embarrassing for him in front of Allah SWT.
● the sight is the quickest access to the soul/heart
○ Prophet (SAW) – that’s why you close the eyes of the deceased
○ Prophet (SAW) – The sinful glance is a sinful arrow of Iblis that strikes the heart
○ The eye is the easiest gate to the heart
○ There is no sinfulness in a man looking at a woman for identifying them, or doing something professional; the only problem is the fitnah in the heart
■ If you appreciate a person as a sexual being, then that is when you turn away
○ Prophet (ﷺ) telling Ali (RA) – the first look is for you. But if you return your gaze for a sinful reason (ie to “check them out”) then it’s sinful.

Narrated `Abdullah bin `Abbas RA: Al-Fadl RA (his brother) was riding behind Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and a woman from the tribe of Khath’am came and Al-Fadl RA started looking at her and she started looking at him. The Prophet (ﷺ) turned Al-Fadl’s RA face to the other side. The woman said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! The obligation of Hajj enjoined by Allah on His devotees has become due on my father and he is old and weak, and he cannot sit firm on the Mount; may I perform Hajj on his behalf?” The Prophet (ﷺ) replied, “Yes, you may.” That happened during the Hajj-al-Wida (of the Prophet (ﷺ).
Sitting behind the Prophet (ﷺ)
○ Ibn Abbas RA said, “a woman of spectacular beauty came up to Prophet (SAW)”
○ Ibn Abbas RA noticed the beauty and restrained himself so Prophet (SAW) didn’t turn his face
○ However Al Fadl RA was, so he turned his face for him
● During the time of the Prophet SAW, segregation was not a rule,
○ Prophet (SAW) stood on a pulpit at a woman’s request – so she could see him during khutbas
○ the same pulpit is going to be beside Al-Kauthar on the Day of Judgement

**SIDE NOTE** We will all pass through the sirat through Jahanam, each at different paces (based on your answer regarding your relationship with Allah)
● When we walk through we will say “Praise be to Allah who saved me from your torture”
● Then you will walk through the qantara ( a bridge), and that is when you will have to make the recompense for the wrong you have done to others
● Those that will have most against us are those that we have spent most time with..it’s there you’ll find your wife, kids…
● not an easy journey to set balance straight with others Pornography
● one of the most proliferated vices
● technology is driven by this proliferation
● around the time of VHS, Sony tried to patent “Beta”
○ Sony was owned and operated out of Japan
○ Japan = very ethical
○ Pornography industry wanted to use Sony for filming…
○ execs said no thanks
○ VHS said “okay let’s do it!”
○ Sony developed Blu-Ray gave access to porn industry to
○ → the web applications you and I use are primarily driven by companies that want you to watch their porn
● sociologists say it’s impossible to escape your teen years without exposure to some kind of pornography
● Addicting – Mind has these synapses, you watch something and you want it more
● BUT luckily your brain has this “use it or lose it” function – if you stop watching this kind of stuff

Story of Mughith RA and Bareerah RA

Bareerah RA was a female slave and A’ishah RA was interested in buying her. She was married to Mughith, and Ai’shah freed her (they were married in slavery); a free woman cannot marry a slave man, so after she became free, she had the choice to keep this marriage or to ask for the dissolution of the marriage. She said, “Alhamdulillah, I’m tired of this marriage, I’m going to get out.” Mugheeth loved her so much, sincerely and
honestly. After she left him, he couldn’t take it, so he went into public weeping, chasing
her, asking her “Ya Bareerah just look at me or talk to me.” He went to sahabah and said,
“Please talk to her for me (to Abu Bakr and Umar and at the end, even to the Prophet (ﷺ) to ask him to intercede. So Prophet (ﷺ), (as the mercy for mankind) felt sorry for him, and he said he’d do it. When he went to Bareerah, she asked, “Are you commanding me or are you just interceding?” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “I’m interceding.” She replied, “If this is the case, then I don’t want him”, and since all else failed, he spent his life chasing after her and crying for her. “The husband of Bareerah was a slave called Mughith. It is as if I can see him now, walking behind her and weeping, with tears running down his cheeks. The Prophet (ﷺ) said to ‘Abbas RA: ‘O Abbas RA, are you not amazed by the love of Mugheeth for Bareerah, and the hatred of Bareerah for Mughith?’

And the Prophet (ﷺ) said to her: Why don’t you take him back, for he is the father of your child?’ She said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, are you commanding me (to do so)?’ He said: ‘No, rather I am interceding.’ She said: ‘I have no need of him.’ ”

 

THE CIRCLE OF LIFE
Two Major Theories on Love (according to marriage therapists)

  1. Bank Account Theory
    ● When a relationship develops, it is like you opened a bank account with them
    ● You deposit feelings and actions and emotions and you expect a reciprocation or “debit”
    ● It makes people feel like the person is drawing more than they are credited.
    ● ihdina siraat al mustaqeem
    ○ istiqamah – balance. So that if it shakes, you don’t fall over.
    ○ You don’t take out more than what’s in the bank 2. Gas Tank Theory
    ● most brothers don’t mind coasting with the yellow light on
    ○ in counselling: I didn’t know anything was wrong
    ● sisters – don’t wait till the breaking point
    ○ in counselling: I was giving him so many yellow lights
    ● we think about the same problems in different ways

A Husband’s Guide to Ruining a Good Marriage

  1. Show thankfulness to everyone for kindness to show you except your wife. Let your wife see you CAPABLE of saying thanks to others, but INCAPABLE of showing gratitude to the person who shares your life.
  2. Mention your wife’s faults. Keep them on file. Use the mistakes she’s made to cover your own stupidity.
  3. Randomly/unnecessarily spend time out of the house, for no reason…and when she calls you, don’t answer.
  4. Be connected to all your social media/devices simultaneously and ask her to make you a sandwich. Do all of that while the kids are up and she gets aggravated.
  5. Monitor her level of attire and conduct…all while watching mature content on TV (not just porn…just TV shows of people dressed inappropriately).
  6. Say things like “kids…what kids? Am I responsible for them?” Be that absent father
  7. Argue and fight in front of your kids because your kids need memories, those loving moments of tenderness.
  8. Say things like, “I forbid you” and “you’re not allowed” and “I command you” (because she’s 2 years old and you can’t have a conversation while sharing each other’s view).
  9. Strike, push, shove your wife – and then feel bad and say, “I’m sorry, but you’re the one who ____” as if it’s her fault as if there was anything that warranted your hostility.
  10. Spend a lot of your disposable income on luxury items…but refuse to pay AlMaghrib course costs because Islam should be for free.
  11. Put down your wife’s cooking, attire, shape, clothes…in front of your family and say “I’m just joking!”
  12. When you walk beside her in public, don’t lower your gaze. Instead, sleazily check out other women. Because that’s classy.
  13. Be insensitive, quiet, withdrawn, sarcastic all day…and at night expect intimacy
  14. Motivate her by comparing her to your own sisters, friend’s wives, etc …And keep her at the bottom of the list
  15. Never reconsider a decision you made after she advises you she’s wrong because she will never respect you thereafter so she should never win those arguments.
  16. Show how close you’ve come together by sharing your vulgar sounds and smells at random moments of the day and night.

 

A Wife’s Guide to Ruining a Good Marriage

  1. Forget that hijab begins within as an attitude and not just fabric. Act/talk in weird ways. Forget that hijab is not in the clothes that you wear but the attitude that you have.
  2. Tell your friends near and far about your family problems in detail and tell them “shh don’t tell anyone” because of course, they’ll keep it.
  3. Nagging is an art. You must perfect it. The more you repeat yourself, the better he will understand you
  4. When your husband is tense, stressed and had a bad day…push his button. You know the button.
  5. Your Motto: Treat them mean, so they’ll be keen. If you soften and they see it as a weakness, they’ll walk all over you
  6. When you’re upset with each other privately, make sure you let the kids know how horrible he is.
  7. RUIN – Intimacy is a weapon. Randomly/ for no apparent reason, restrict it, just to teach him a lesson.
  8. When your friends get a new TV, you get a Smart TV. When they get bling, you get bling bling. Keep up with the Patels.
  9. If your husband is having troubles with his parents/siblings, stick your nose in it. Everyone will love you later. a. if he asks for your advice…say you love them at least neutral/distant
  10. Get your father and mother to talk to him about problems you have with him that you never shared with him…surprise!
  11. The silent treatment IS communication. There’s nothing wrong with keeping him guessing.
  12. If your husband succeeds in something, don’t encourage him…you don’t want him to think he’s special but if he makes a mistake, bury him.
  13. Argue in front of your children. In fact, use vulgarity in front of your kids in front of each other.
  14. Say things like, “I don’t trust you”, “why are you late”, “where are you going” – without cause for suspicion…because no man can be trusted.
  15. TV-ing is a verb. Always have the TV on. It’s a good babysitter and it passes the time. Always let it be part of your home life.
  16. When you feel that spark of love is missing, by recalling past loves and make him feel that your thoughts are still with them

 

Love in the Sunnah pg 81
→ He didn’t just marry to help people, or just for sexual appetite.
→ Sometimes people asked him to marry them and he wasn’t interested, some of the prophet’s wives weren’t “sexually available” so that’s not why he married them

 

  1. When you eat, eat with her
    ○ it’s kind of a vulgar translation to say, “when you eat, feed with her”
    ○ Prophet (SAW) never ate from a plate alone
    ○ That’s why you can give even half a date
    ○ Way to a man’s heart is through his stomach
    ○ There’s comfort/barakah in food
    ○ Prophet (SAW) – make sure the people who have open access to your food (because of frankness) are people of piety

 

  1. When you buy yourself something, buy her something as well
    ○ it’s not about what you buy her – it’s about when you think about yourself, you think about your spouse
    ○ People wouldn’t gift the prophet without gifting Aisha (RA) a gift – other wives were jealous sometimes

 

  1. Seek her counsel
    ○ When Prophet (ﷺ) said “she obeyed her husband” – it’s qualitative. There’s no obedience to anyone unless there’s obedience to Allah
    ○ Day of Hudaibiyya – rumour spreads that Uthman has been killed. so they make a treaty under a tree to avenge his death…but it was a false alarm
    ○ …Prophet (SAW) took counsel with Umm Salamah

 

  1. Seat her where you sit=
    ○ sit together
    ○ Prophet (ﷺ) would have a cushion and when his wife/daughter would come in, he’d give it to her

 

  1. What you ask of her, be willing to give her
    ○ Surat Al Baqarah
    ○ Abdullah Ibn Abbas, one of the greatest mufassiroon, would get ready (clothes, smelling, looking nice) to go into his home – his students would be like why are you getting ready to go into your house instead of getting ready upon leaving
    ■ lahunna….(for her what u expect of her?)

 

  1. Say “I love you” often and show it through your consistent behaviour – Who do you love the most?
    ○ “don’t tell me you love me…why…because my parents”
    ○ ‘Aisha (May Allah Be Pleased With Her) would often seek reassurance from The Prophet (Peace & Blessings Be Upon Him) that he loved her. “How is your love for me?” she once asked. “Like the rope’s knot,” The more you pull at it and stress it, the stronger it gets. Many times after that she would ask, “How is the knot?” and he would reply:” “The same as the first day it was tied!”
    ○ Prophet (SAW) had sweat on his brow and…Aisha related it to the poetry about the blessed nature of his sweat… being like the pearls in the ocean. Prophet (SAW) came over, kissed her forehead and said “you’re more beloved to me than all of them” ♥
    ○ Ali RA came home and saw Fatimah brushing her teeth with miswak and he started spouting poetry to the toothbrush “no one got to that place before me like you, if you were a man I would have killed you, etc.”
    ○ Three qualities of being a MAN in Arabic folklore
    ■ courageous in battle
    ■ eloquent in words
    ■ passionate about family
  2. Be generous with your money on her and your children
    ○ spend on your family
    ○ Prophet (ﷺ) – charity with the greatest barakah is the money spent on the family
    ■ lan tanalul birr
    ■ Abu Talha upon the revelation of the verse said “I have these two gardens”…Prophet (SAW) said no, distribute it among your fam 8. Travel together
    ○ Prophet (SAW) always took along a wife on his travels.
    ○ There were 2 instances when Aisha (RA) lost her necklace.
    ○ Tayammum was a result of Aisha (RA) losing her necklace in a place with no water, and they spent so much time looking for it that they had to stay till morning, and everyone was upset because they couldn’t do wudhu, so Allah SWT sent the ayat regarding tayammum○ Everyone has heard of the hadith regarding Aisha and Prophet SAW racing, but it wasn’t an olympic style race…Shaykh Yahya would say that “they romantically frolicked through the sand dunes of Arabia”
  3. Let her feel your concern for her well-being
    ○ Safiyyah comes to masjid where Prophet (SAW) is doing i’tikaf to talk to Prophet (SAW)…and he left the i’tikaf to walk her home
  4. Show chivalry (mar’oo-a)
    ○ one of the things we don’t demonstrate enough – you do the best of what is right) – sense of honour that you’re the server (open door, serve food
    ○ Prophet (SAW) the server should always be the last to eat
    ○ Safiyyah RA – wanted to get on top of a camel but she was too short…so the Prophet (SAW) got the camel to come down but she still couldn’t reach. So he gets down on a knee and she steps on top of it to get on the camel

 

  1. Be flexible & Humorous
    ○ Aisha (RA) was younger – not much experience in housework, cooking.
    ○ Aisha (RA) once cooked something and presented it to Prophet (SAW)
    ○ When Prophet (SAW) didn’t like a dish, he never said no to it but suggested an alternative.
    ○ Prophet (SAW) suggested going over to Sawdah’s house
    ■ When Sawdah came out with the meal, Aisha (RA) was jealous so she smacked down the plate, it fell and broke.
    ■ Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Why don’t you try it, maybe you’ll like it?” – diffuses the situation, doesn’t call her out on her jealousy
    ○ Then when he got home, he said: “You liked her food, so why don’t you send her a plate of your food?” – This way, he subtly got Aisha to replace the dish she broke.
  2. Kissable & Hygienic
    ○ Prophet (ﷺ) was very affectionate
    ○ Prophet (ﷺ) would kiss his wives before leading prayer – but he had the strength of a 1000 men – it was to make them feel loved, out of intimacy, not sexually
  3. Nicknames
    ○ Prophet (ﷺ) had nicknames for his wives, he would call Aisha “Ya Eish” – that it is through her that he gets “Eish” (life)
  4. Closer than your garment
    ○ hadith about bathing from a bowl with dough residue in it
    ○ allowance to bathe with the spouse
    ○ Ibn Hajar RH derives a lot of fiqh from it
  5. Intimacy not just sexually
    ○ Aisha (RA) – Prophet (SAW) knew that I liked to touch his skin so he’d remove his shirt so my skin could be on his
  6. Allah is first
    ○ “When it was time for prayer, it was like he didn’t know us”
  7. Time away – 1 month can be 29 days.
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When You’re Gay and Muslim – Finding Allah’s Meaning in All of It

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/altmuslim/2017/07/when-youre-gay-and-muslim-finding-allahs-meaning-in-it-all/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaignFBCP-MU&utm_content=altmuslim

Waheed Jensen is a Muslim male in his mid 20’s, struggling in this world with being young, open-minded and gay, trapped in a global community of Muslims who claim to follow Islam but lack the application of its most basic tenets. Working to make the world a better place for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. A version of this article appeared on Altmuslimah and VirtualMosque.com.

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Ever since I began trying to understand life, one of the crippling realizations about the Muslim communities I reached was this: We tend to bury our problems in a dark hole, dismiss them and hope they will never come back to haunt us. But they often do. We overlook many of our familial, social and cultural issues until they multiply and are about to explode in our faces; at that point, we are notorious for pointing fingers and crying over spilt milk.

Our room is filled with elephants that we barely have an inch to stand, yet we remain oblivious and hope things will get better.

Allow me today to describe one of those elephants. A strange elephant. Allow me to dissect it and hand it over to you, that you may ponder and hopefully open your heart and mind.

Let me start off by saying these three words: I am gay.

Even though you do not know who I am, and maybe the mere fact that I just came out to you right this instant may offend you, confuse you or drive you away from reading the remainder of this article. Let me assure you, this is not one of those articles that tries to promote homosexuality or deliver an airbrushed and Islam-oriented version of all those pro-homosexuality arguments.

Yes, I am gay and I am Muslim, and I am here to offer you a small glimpse into a journey of struggles, passions and hopes. I do not intend to delve into the story of Prophet Lut and his people, talk about the evolution and progression of the LGBT community during the past century, present arguments for or against same-sex relations, or even try to prove my own opinion. I really hope you can read and reflect, and I pray that this small effort of bringing the picture a little closer to you might make the slightest bit of difference in raising awareness, and hopefully open healthy discussions on the topic.

I wholeheartedly believe, in concordance with Islam and its teachings, that sodomy is a major sin. I am against same-sex marriage and intercourse, and I am not in favour of any progressive movements that attempt to explain Quranic verses about People of Lut or sodomy from a modernist or post-modernist approach – in other words, arguments that try to find a leeway and claim that that is a legitimate Islamic perspective.

I hope that this will not drive away readers who are excited about the topic but may be uncomfortable with my statements. I have adopted this position after years of introspection, research, counselling and personal prayer, and I am coming forth today to share with you some of those experiences.

Why Am I Different?

Homosexuality has been present in humanity for centuries, and for as long as it has been there, homosexuals have been struggling with themselves, their families and society at large. To me personally, there was always something different. I could feel it in me from a very young age. Something that I could not explain to others because I thought they would not understand, let alone accept, or maybe because I was too young and immature at the time that I was not entirely sure what ‘it’ was.

It crystallized around puberty; when all the raging hormones started kicking in, those tendencies became obvious. And then the real struggle began.

The struggle led to an explosion of questions. “Why am I different? Why am I not like the rest of my friends or family members? Is this even normal? Am I sick?” Not finding the proper answers, I kept on putting these questions aside. “Maybe it’ll go away. Maybe it’s just a phase.” In my case, it never went away and it was not a phase.

With time I learned that this is something abhorred religiously, culturally and socially. So I tried to adapt. “How do I balance between the feelings and tendencies I have with what my religion, culture and social norms dictate?” So I began a journey of self-exploration and interacting with others, learning from religion, media as well as prominent persons, like religious scholars and major social figures. My schemas kept changing, and I kept on adapting.

Many of us may be brave enough to rebel against what others seem to ‘dictate’ on us, while others suppress their urges, often hiding their identities from those closest to them, generally out of fear, or maybe because they are not just ready to come out yet. I belong to the latter group.

To this date, I have never had the courage to tell my parents or close family members, but I have come out to a close friend of mine a few months ago, and he was extremely supportive Alhamdulillah (all praises to Allah).

One of the most dangerous pitfalls I have personally experienced was thinking that God hated me. He was mad at me. “I must have done something wrong in my life to deserve this ‘punishment’… If God does not accept homosexuality, then why am I a homosexual?” Whether Muslim or not, people struggling in silence can be more prone to deviating to dangerous paths.

So, you find many struggling homosexuals also dealing with bullying, drinking problems, substance abuse, domestic violence, poor academic performance, career problems, pornography or sex addictions, sexually-transmitted diseases, mood disorders like depression and anxiety, and many other issues. (1) I had my own share of bullying, academic problems and mood disorders. Our struggles multiply with time, and many even contemplate suicide.

This is especially true in cases where the individual tries to discuss the issue – often it is just those desires or thoughts that are tackled, not the actual act – with his/her parents or family members who are not receptive to those ideas. If not shown sympathy, care and love, he/she is often shunned, harassed, scorned and sometimes even tortured.

A lot of gay men and women are forced into arranged marriages, taken to local Imams to ‘heal them from their calamity and wrath of God’, or even killed. (2) Some of them take their own lives by themselves. Others live in constant torment while some flee their homes and families in search for a more welcoming environment. That and many have not even yet engaged in any sexual acts whatsoever.

Why We Have Difficulty with Other Muslims

This is why I, along with many fellow homosexual Muslims, find the Western alternative very striking: It offers acceptance and understanding. Things that we dearly miss in our communities, even though we may realize deep down that there is something terribly wrong, the fact that there is someone who accepts us and fights for us and not against us is incredibly more appealing. When we try to talk to other Muslim seemingly-pious and God-conscious brothers and sisters about our sexuality and are shunned by their lack of empathy, respect and understanding, would you find it surprising that we take comfort in talking to non-religious people about our struggles in hopes to find an open mind and a loving heart?

Ironically, the spirit of Islam is all about empathy, tolerance and understanding, yet the practice of Islam carried out by many Muslims shows the opposite.

Trust me, I understand that it is a difficult topic to open up with others, especially people coming from conservative backgrounds. It is difficult news for you to receive, just as it is difficult for me to handle, let alone share with others. However, the fact that I choose to come out to specific people means that those people are exceptionally special to me. To us.

It takes a lot of courage, incredible determination and a full dose of anxiety and fear to even think about coming out to someone, that you can imagine the damage we have to endure when the other person dismisses us or shows no empathy or mercy. It seems like a lot to handle if you ask me.

I remember the first time I decided to come out to someone, I was going through an overwhelming period in my life, yet Alhamdulillah I had some seeds of piety and religiosity inside me. I was around 18, and he was a non-religious psychologist and counsellor. I went to an appointment with him, tried to beat around the bush but ultimately came out to him. And, he was accepting. Later on, I found out that many struggling homosexuals came to him for advice and counselling.

I was hoping that, with the aid of therapy, my orientation would change – this is scientifically known as reparative or conversion therapy; while many studies have been conducted on it and some patients have reported success, a great number of psychiatrists and counsellors have reported failure and more harm done to the patients than good. The progress of my visits culminated in him putting forward the idea of accepting who I am and going all the way with it – in other words, experience my entire sexuality without restraints.

At that point I was really uncomfortable with his proposal, as it was against my Islamic beliefs and my own virtues.

During that same period, I was doing my own reading and researching, trying to find a proper Islamic “solution,” crying for help and praying that I am guided to what Allah pleases. One of the most heartwarming responses was given by a psychiatrist who also has a profound knowledge of Islamic shariah (legal rulings). He was hosted on a TV show, and he was speaking so graciously, so open-mindedly, that his words hit the right chord and I was immediately awe-struck. I cried after finally having found an answer with which my heartfelt ease.

That was pure bliss, Alhamdulillah.

Why Am I Homosexual?

The gist of the talk is the following: Homosexuality as an orientation is a disorder in one’s fitrah (human nature and disposition). “Treatment” of such a disorder involves therapy, familial and social support, personal discipline and a whole lot of other things. However, this therapy, which is tailored on a case-by-case basis, may or may not work. The mode of therapy is different between individuals, just like every case of homosexuality is different between people.

Mind you, the term “therapy” here is used loosely to mean dealing with the issue from different aspects rather than reverting one’s sexual orientation.

If many of us, homosexuals, dive deeper into our childhood and upbringing, we can pinpoint certain events that have taken their toll on us one way or another. Many of us have experienced child abuse, be it sexual, physical or intense emotional abuse that was brutally damaging to our body and soul, or lived in dysfunctional families that ultimately caused a lot of psychological damage. (3)

I, for one, had my own share of psychological and sexual abuse as a child from people closest to me and witnessed intense domestic violence that crippled my mind for a decent period of time. Such events were so incredibly powerful that they became ingrained in my psyche and took their toll on my thinking and behaviour.

Others have been desensitized to issues related to sexuality and gender roles from a young age, that their perception of masculinity and femininity is quite erroneous. I can recall several stories of struggling homosexuals I know who grew up in homes where one parent was more dominant in their life (e.g. present most of the time while the other was absent, provided greater emotional, psychological and social support while the other did the exact the opposite), such that either parent’s gender became more dominant on their lives and personas, and hence their perception of gender and sexuality deviated from the normal.

It is worth noting, however, that many people grow up in normal environments with no such issues during childhood, yet end up finding themselves attracted to the same gender. So there is no discrete thumb rule or cause as to whether someone will end up identifying as a homosexual or a heterosexual. It is not a simple black or white situation.

In addition to the above, it has been asserted that there are other acquired causes – we are bombarded on a daily basis with sensual and sexually-explicit material, from billboards, magazines and newspaper articles, to online material on social media websites. Sex and sexuality are heavily emphasized in TV shows, readings and discussions, whether openly or not. We have become accustomed to seeing semi-naked and naked bodies, our concepts of beauty, femininity and masculinity have radically evolved over time and we have become desensitized to these matters. (4)

There is an unbelievable amount of time and resources spent on creating better bodies: muscular, dreamy and good-looking men, and gorgeous women with “perfect” facial and body features. In addition, many of the inter- and intra-gender boundaries have drastically changed over time. Taken together, these matters overwhelm the human mind, and the effects are undoubtedly palpable.

Again, these and countless other events affect people’s heart, mind, body and spirit differently. People struggle to cope in different ways. Some people, like myself and countless others, may eventually find themselves with a specific worldview, having had a culmination of experiences, as well as a specific orientation that may or may not be modifiable. Just like these examples are struggling in and of themselves, homosexual thoughts and tendencies are no less than struggles as well.

Will I Have a Partner in Life?

When I see married men and women sharing affection, enjoying companionship and raising children, it hurts. A lot. Not the jealous I-hope-they-lose-all-that kind, but the painful realization that this is not something I can ever attain. Because of my situation, my ibtila’ (struggle in life), the idea of marrying someone from the opposite sex is not practical at all or even fair for me or my potential spouse. Many shuyukh advice homosexuals to get married for their tendencies to dissolve; while this may work with a handful of people, a large number of us does not find it physically or mentally plausible.

Many of the things other people, including those shuyukh themselves, take for granted – like relationships, marriage and having children – are the exact things we struggle with day in and day out. Personally, and unlike Muslim heterosexuals, I do not have safe and lawful options through which I can channel and fulfil those desires. Therefore, I try my best to remain steadfast and struggle for the sake of Allah. If that is not incredible Jihad, I do not know what counts as such.

While it may seem unfair and even preposterous to some people to keep struggling and not fulfil our desires, especially in this time and age, that is where the beauty lies. Within Islam, we are not held accountable for our thoughts, feelings, desires and tendencies as long as we do not act upon them. There are three ideas worth mentioning here.

First, Allah has promised in the Quran that He “does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity” [2:286]. Taken in line with Islamic teachings, this means that Allah knows how painful my struggle is and knows that I can handle it. Every time I ponder upon this idea, I am overwhelmed with incredible awe and gratitude. Of all people across centuries, He has chosen specific people for this particular test. Indeed, life is nothing but a few years and the True Life is in the Hereafter, so no matter how agonizing the struggle is, there will be an end to it.

Second, there is an immense reward and unimaginable blessings, both in this life and the Hereafter, by staying true to God’s decree and struggling for His sake. The greater the struggle, the more the rewards in sha Allah (God willing).

Third, and just like the popular saying goes, “when God closes one door, He opens another.” So, if issues like intimacy and procreation may seem like dead ends for Muslim homosexuals, we find openings in other aspects of life. Many homosexuals across history have been known for incredible gifts in writing, public speaking, music, cinema, scientific discoveries, literature and art. (5) Studies have reported that homosexuals exhibit high levels of empathy and compassion compared to heterosexuals. (6)

Because we have suffered and are constantly struggling, we have big hearts that know no boundaries. If we utilize our God-given gifts wisely and for the greater good, we can do wonders inshaAllah.

We All are Trying to Find Answers

Of course, there are Muslim homosexuals and pro-gay rights advocates who adopt a completely different perspective. Some try to balance between their religious duties while keeping in line with their orientation; in other words, they carry out their desires yet remain true to their duties. Others denounce Islamic rules altogether arguing that in modern times, such rules do not apply, hence they call for a reformation in Islamic laws taken for granted as solid foundations of religion.

Others are still struggling between balancing Islamic law and their own sexuality, searching for answers that provide them with ultimate satisfaction.

I am in no way trying to prove myself right and others wrong. This article is solely intended to highlight some of the struggles I go through as a Muslim homosexual, and I have taken the liberty at some points to speak on behalf of fellow struggling homosexuals because of our shared tribulations. Whatever your position is on this matter, I respect you and love you as a human being, your desires are legitimate and in no way make you less of a human being.

However, based on my beliefs, I do not accept specific actions that you may do which go against Islamic law. And there again, you are no less of a human being, and I still respect you as an individual. This falls at the heart of Islam – if someone like me who is struggling with his/her own desires can adopt such a stance, then so can everyone else. Maybe if we focus less on demonizing other people and concentrate more on helping one another, things would start to change for the best.

If you are a homosexual reading this, please know that my heart is with you. I of all people understand the daily struggles you are going through, and I salute your bravery and high spirit. Please remember that Allah is Merciful and Forgiving, no matter how much people tell you otherwise. Stay strong, and if you ever fall into the traps of Shaytan (the devil), repent to the Almighty with a pure heart and know that He accepts and welcomes the sincere. Pray to remain steadfast. Fasting is a powerful weapon so try your best to fast regularly.

Also, try to do sports and channel your energy in healthy ways. Surround yourself with the good company of pious people, and keep daily companionship of His Book. Pursue a higher purpose in life, for you are already on a high track. Trust me, I understand that the struggles may reach excruciating levels – it is at those moments that our inner cores are tested.

Make your struggles entirely for His sake, and they will be worth it. You will come out stronger and braver than before. With today’s explosion of sexuality and acceptance of same-sex relations, do not swallow the bait. Keep yourself in the company of Him for that is all that ultimately matters.

If you are a heterosexual reading this and assuming you may be uncomfortable with such a topic, I understand that this may be overwhelming for you at first glance. Take it easy on yourself, and certainly take it easy on others. We all have our own struggles, so let us make this journey we call life a little bit less difficult for one another. Let us shift our focus from pointing out each other’s faults and instead work together for more empathy, compassion and love.

There is a difference between respecting someone and accepting his/her actions; the former must be there at all times. If we disagree or have different lifestyles, and certainly if we make mistakes, please do not judge us. Bear with us. Listen to us, be there for us, for if you ever need us we will be there for you.

Even though we may not get the chance to experience what it means to have a spouse, be intimate or even raise a family in this life, I pray that Allah accepts our struggles for His sake and fulfil our desires in the Hereafter. Yes, I am a gay Muslim, and I am proud – proud that Allah has chosen me and many other brothers and sisters for this particular struggle in this life. And for that, and for all His countless blessings we say, Alhamdulillah.

“I hope that the world turns and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that, even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you… I love you. With all my heart, I love you.”
(V for Vendetta)

1. Lee, R. (2000). Health care problems of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients. Western Journal of Medicine, 172(6), 403–408.
2. Kesvani, H. (2015, April 18). Meet The Gay Muslims Living In Straight Marriages. http://www.buzzfeed.com/husseinkesvani/gay-muslims-in-straight-marriages
3. Schneeberger, A. R., Dietl, M. F., Muenzenmaier, K. H., Huber, C. G., & Lang, U. E. (2014). Stressful childhood experiences and health outcomes in sexual minority populations: a systematic review. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology, 49(9), 1427-1445.
4. Qadhi, Y. (2009, April 13). Dealing With Homosexual Urges: Yasir Qadhi to Muslim Student. http://muslimmatters.org/2009/04/13/dealing-with-homosexual-urges/
5. Rictor Norton (compiler), “The Great Queers of History, Part 1: Born before 1800″, 1 May 2004 <http://rictornorton.co.uk/greatgay/greatgay.htm&gt;.
6. Salais, D. A., & Fischer, R. B. (1995). Sexual preference and altruism. Journal of Homosexuality, 28(1-2), 185-196.

10 Green Hadith

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

10 Green Ahadith
By Muhammad Fathi
1 Muharram 1440

federico-beccari-633001-unsplashDid the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) say anything about saving our planet? Did he promote any ideas or practices relevant to the world’s growing concern about the future of the earth and its resources?
Below is a collection of the Prophet’s Ahadith
 
Plant a tree even if it is your last deed:
1. Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “If the Hour (the day of Resurrection) is about to be established and one of you was holding a palm shoot, let him take advantage of even one second before the Hour is established to plant it.” (Reported by Ahmad and Al-Bukhan on the authority of Anas in Al Adab Al-Mufrad,)
 
Planting trees is a renewable source of hasanat:
2. Anas also reported that the Prophet said, “If a Muslim plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, it is regarded as a charitable gift (sadaqah) for him. (Bukhari)
 
Conserve resources even when used for rituals:
3. Abdullah ibn Amr ibn Al-`Aas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet passed one day by Sa`d ibn Abi Waqas (May Allah be pleased with him) while he was performing wudu’ (ritual cleaning of body parts in preparation for prayer). The Prophet asked Sa`d, “What is this wastage?” Sa`d replied “Is there wastage in wudu also?” The Prophet said,Yes, even if you are at a flowing river.” (Ahmad and authenticated Ahmad Shakir)
 
Keeping environment clean is important:
4. The Prophet warned, “Beware of the three acts that cause you to be cursed: relieving yourselves in shaded places (that people utilize), in a walkway or in a watering place.” (Narrated by Mu`adh , hasan by Al-Albani)

5. Abu Zarr Al-Ghafari (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Removing harmful things from the road is an act of charity (sadaqah).” (Narrated by Abu Dharr Al-Ghafari)
 
No for over-consumption! Consider recycling and fixing before buying new items:
6. Abdullah ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet said, “The believer is not he who eats his fill while his neighbor is hungry.” (Saheeh al-Bukharee (112))

7. Asked about what the Prophet used to do in his house, the Prophet’s wife, `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), said that he used to repair his shoes, sow his clothes and used to do all such household works done by an average person. (Sahih Bukhari)

8. The Prophet said, “Whoever kills a sparrow or anything bigger than that without a just cause, Allah will hold him accountable on the Day of Judgment.”  The listeners asked, “O Messenger of Allah, what is a just cause?” He replied, “That he will kill it to eat, not simply to chop off its head and then throw it away.” (An-Nasa’i)
 
Animals should be cared for:
9. Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet said, “A man felt very thirsty while he was on the way, there he came across a well. He went down the well, quenched his thirst and came out. Meanwhile he saw a dog panting and licking mud because of excessive thirst. He said to himself, “This dog is suffering from thirst as I did.” So, he went down the well again, filled his shoe with water, held it with his mouth and watered the dog. Allah appreciated him for that deed and forgave him. The Companions said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Is there a reward for us in serving the animals?” He replied: “There is a reward for serving any living being.” (Bukhari)

10. Abdullah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet said, “A woman entered the (Hell) Fire because of a cat which she had tied, neither giving it food nor setting it free to eat from the vermin of the earth.” (Bukhari)

The pen is closest to my heart, so may Allah make a means of hidayat for me and a change for all. In sha Allah…
Ameen

Valuing the Last Ten Days of Ramadān

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

By Shaykh-ul-Hadīth, Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

The month of Ramadān is full of blessings. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said:

And it is a month the first part [first ten days] of which is mercy, the middle part [middle ten days] is forgiveness and the last part [last ten days] is emancipation from the Fire (of Jahannam). (Ibn Khuzaymah)

Having passed through the first ten days of ‘mercy’, we find ourselves in the second ten days of ‘forgiveness’ and approaching the last ten days, wherein Allāh ta‘ālā emancipates His servants from the Fire of Jahannam. Now, we will find people with different mind-sets; some will count down the days in eager anticipation of ‘Īd after which they will not have to stay hungry and thirsty for long hours anymore; some will have spent the major part of Ramadān exerting much effort in devotion to Allāh ta‘ālā and thus feel that they can now relax in the last ten days as they have, in their opinion, carried out much ‘ibādah already; and some will not have done anything of note until now and feel that there is no point of doing anything in these remaining days.

All these mind-sets are incorrect, as the last ten days of Ramadān hold great significance and virtue over the first twenty days of Ramadān. One only needs to examine the conduct of Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam during the last ten days to understand their virtue.

The Conduct of Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam during the Last Ten Days

Sayyidah ‘Ā’ishah radhiyallāhu ‘anhā reports that when the last ten days of Ramadān would enter, Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam would tighten his waist belt, stay awake at night and awaken his family. (Al-Bukhārī)

In this hadīth, Sayyidah ‘Ā’ishah radhiyallāhu ‘anhā has mentioned three things:

1.  Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam would tighten his waist belt, which refers to preparation for exerting himself in ‘ibādah.

2.  Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam would stay awake throughout the nights of the last ten days of Ramadān and worship Allāh ta‘ālā.

3.  Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam would awaken his family also for ‘ibādah and tahajjud so that they too can acquire the blessings of the blessed nights.

The fact that Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam would especially exert much effort in devotion during the last ten days of Ramadān, shows the virtue and significance of these last ten days. And why would Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam not exert effort during these last ten days, when they have been specified for the Night of Qadr. Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said,

Seek Laylat-ul-Qadr during the last ten days of Ramadān. (At-Tirmidhī)

The Virtues of Laylat-ul-Qadr

Laylat-ul-Qadr is a night full of blessings and goodness. ‘Ibādah carried out on Laylat-ul-Qadr is better than ‘ibadah carried out continuously for a thousand months (83 years and four months). Allāh ta‘ālā says:

Verily! We revealed it (the Qur’ān) during the Night of Qadr (from Al-Lawh Al-Mahfūz to the first heaven). Do you know what is the Night of Qadr? The Night of Qadr is much better than a thousand months. The angels and the Rūh (Sayyidunā Jibra’īl ‘alayhis salām) descend in it by the Command of their Rabb with every decision. It (this night) is full of peace. And (all of this) remains (from sunset) until the break of dawn. (97:1-5)

Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said:

During the Night of Qadr, Jibra’īl ‘alayhis salām descends with a group of angels and they make du‘ā of mercy for every servant who stands or sits remembering Allāh ta‘ālā (engaged in worship). (Al-Bayhaqī)

Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam also said:

Whoever stands in worship during the Night of Qadr with Īmān and hope of reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven. (Al-Bukhārī)

If we understood the virtues and the blessings of this great night, we too would exert great effort towards acquiring these blessings just as our pious predecessors did. It is reported regarding Qatādah rahimahullāh that he would complete the entire Qur’ān every three nights during the first twenty days of Ramadān and every night during the last ten days. In order to become deserving of the virtues of Laylat-ul-Qadr, one must exert every effort and do everything he can. One easy way of becoming deserving of the blessings of the Night of Qadr is to observe the i‘tikāf of the last ten days of Ramadān. Sayyidunā Abu Sa‘īd Al-Khudrī radhiyallāhu ‘anhu narrates that Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said,

Verily, in search of Laylat-ul-Qadr I performed i‘tikāf of the first ten days and then extended it to the next ten days for the same purpose; then I was told that this night is in the last ten days; so those who are performing i‘tikāf with me should perform the i‘tikāf of the last ten days. (Al-Bukhārī, Muslim)

The Importance and Virtue of I‘tikāf

We learn from the Sīrah of our beloved Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam that the i‘tikāf of the last ten days of Ramadān was a practice that he sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam would not miss. Sayyidah ‘Ā’ishah radhiyallāhu ‘anhā said that Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam would observe i‘tikāf in the last ten days of Ramadān until he passed away. (Al-Bukhārī, Muslim)

Sayyidunā Anas radhiyallāhu ‘anhu said that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam observed i‘tikāf during the last ten days of Ramadān. One year he could not observe the i‘tikāf, so the following year he observed i‘tikāf for twenty days. (At-Tirmidhī)

Mentioning the virtues of i‘tikāf, Sayyidunā Ibn ‘Abbās radhiyallāhu ‘anhu says that Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said,

He (the one observing i‘tikāf) refrains from sins (as he confines himself to the boundary of the masjid) and is rewarded for all good deeds (that he cannot do due to being in i‘tikāf e.g. visiting the sick or participating in janāzah salāh) like that person who carries out good deeds. (Ibn Mājah)

The one performing i‘tikāf, through the blessing of staying within the confines of the masjid, is able to refrain from sins which he may have committed outside of the masjid. Along with this, he is able to engage in so many worships e.g. salāh, dhikr, tilāwat, du‘ā. Moreover, every moment of his is a means of reward as i‘tikāf in itself is also a worship; hence the one performing i‘tikāf gains the reward of i‘tikāf even whilst eating and sleeping.

I‘tikāf: A Fortune

The one observing i‘tikāf is extremely fortunate for he disassociates himself from everything and throws himself into the Court of His Lord and Creator. He remembers Him, praises Him, glorifies Him and sincerely seeks His Forgiveness; he cries over his past mistakes and beseeches His Creator for His Mercy and seeks nothing but His Pleasure. His days and nights are spent only in this pursuit. The author of Marāqī-Al-Falāh states that if i‘tikāf is observed with sincerity, then it is amongst the most virtuous deeds.

Our Task in Hand

So if one is able to perform i‘tikāf during the last ten days, he should most definitely do so. The ladies should also perform i‘tikāf at home. If one is not able to perform i‘tikāf for all of the last ten days, he should perform i‘tikāf for however many days he is able to. And if one is so busy that he cannot spend even one day in i‘tikāf then the least he should do is value each and every moment of the last ten days, especially the nights. He should refrain from every minor and major disobedience to Allāh ta‘ālā carry out actions which please Him to acquire Divine Pleasure.

May Allāh ta‘ālā grant us the tawfīq to value the remaining days of Ramadān, especially the last ten days. May He bless us with the virtue of Laylat-ul-Qadr. May He accept those who have intended to carry out the Sunnah i‘tikāf and may Allāh ta‘ālā make this Ramadān a turning point in our lives and enable us to live a life of obedience until we depart from this world. Āmīn.

© Riyādul Jannah (Vol. 27 No. 5/6, May/June 2018)


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WORLD WAR III: Mother-In-Law VS Daughter-In-Law

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

“I am not perfect. Let’s both assume that the other is doing the best she can.”

Mother-In-Law-HeartWeddings are usually such happy occasions, full of love and hope for the future of the bride and groom. As wonderful as it can be, it can also mean mother-in-law problems. Something happens the moment a bride says, “I accept him.” Not only does she get a husband, but in most cases, a mother-in-law as well.

But far too many women describe this relationship as fragile, tense, and even competitive.

It’s no secret that in-laws are the subject of many marital arguments. The rivalry between wives and their mothers-in-law is a major source of tension in many marriages. You may find it interesting that many new brides get along very well with their husband’s parents at first; it isn’t until later—sometimes years later—that friction develops.

Time-after-time, daughters-in-law say things like, “My husband’s parents welcomed me into their family immediately and treated me as their own daughter.” Likewise, “My own in-laws showered me with gifts and included me in everything”. It’s not uncommon for young women to be very fond of their husband’s family, and vice versa… in the beginning.

Later on down the marriage, dealing with in-laws can be an overwhelming challenge—whether you are dealing with an overbearing mother-in-law who believes her opinions are superior to yours—or someone who tries to make you feel guilty whenever your needs conflict with hers. It may be tempting to gossip, hold silent grudges, or cut off all communication with troublesome in-laws – but that often just adds to the problem.

 

Mother-in-law problems can be one of the biggest issues in an engaged or married couple’s life. In some cases, they’re really more like out-laws. Some mother-in-laws have a way of letting everyone know their displeasure with the new family member over issues big and small – and yet seem to forget their own son or daughter can think or speak for themselves, and in most cases, should.

Why is it that the mother-in-law relationship can be so difficult? When you think about it, it really shouldn’t be. You have so many meaningful things in common: love for the same person, wanting what’s best for that person, and for them to be happy. For some though, it’s these same things that make for fast adversaries.

Some mother-in-law problems arise out of a competition for the attention of the adult child. Because they are now spending all of their time with their new spouse, there may not seem to be room enough for mum, which can be seen as not loving them as much anymore. When they visit mum, of course your spouse is going to take you with them – you’re now a package deal. Mother-in-law’s can be very resentful of having to share time and space with someone else.

Who would know what’s best for their kids better than a mother? As adults, however, we know what’s best for ourselves, not our mum. Some mothers, however, feel that they should reign supreme over our lives – even when we’re 45-years-old. It can be a hard habit for parents to break and some never feel compelled to stop parenting, even adult children. What makes that more difficult is that some of us don’t know how to let our mothers know that we are now adults who think for ourselves.

No one wants or needs their mother-in-law (or future one) telling them what’s best for their partner or worse, guilt-tripping them because of some imaginary slight or that they don’t measure up to her expectations. Big or small, whatever the issue may be, if she can’t refrain from commenting or speaking out inappropriately, it’s up to our spouse to talk to her. This can be difficult for our partners since for some it can seem unthinkable to speak out “against” their mother and be independent.

mother-in-law-problems

Advice for mother-in-laws:

  1. Pray for your daughter in law, rather than prey on her. Hope and pray that the marriage of your son will be successful. Don’t sit in the background and hope for your daughter-in-law to fail. Ask Allah to show you how to love your daughter-in-law as your own daughter.
  2. Try to be understanding more than criticising. Ask questions to understand. Don’t tell your daughter-in-law how things should be. Don’t expect your son to do what you want him to do anymore. Expect and encourage him to consult with his wife. Rather than question or criticize your daughter-in-law, speak to her and reason with her.
  3. Compliment your daughter-in-law; never complain about her. Honour your daughter-in-law in the presence of your son. Compliment your daughter-in-law; never complain. Make an effort to applaud, praise, and thank your daughter-in-law. Tell her how much you appreciate her positive influence on your son and why you think she’s a good mother. Your daughter-in-law may be different from you. Accept her for who she is. Realise that your daughter-in-law wasn’t raised the same way you raised your son and maybe doesn’t have the same standards you have. Perhaps she is from a different family or caste or race…Try to understand her mind set and the way her family operated. Do not try to change her into who you would like her to be.
  4. Act like a family, fight like a family, not an enemy. Encourage your son to build, develop, and define his marriage role. Don’t fight for position by grasping and grabbing for your son’s time and emotions.  Good mums want their kids to have good marriages. If you are a family, act like one. Families fight, they discuss their issues and that’s how they get resolved. This can be done lovingly and constructively, not destructively! It doesn’t have to be a he said/she said/you said situation. Tiptoeing around the problems and acting like they don’t exist doesn’t help anyone, it only hurts everyone in the long run. Ask your daughter-in-law to let you know if/when you offend her. Remember that Shaytan wants to destroy your relationship.
  5. Your son isn’t perfect, not before marriage and certainly not after. Remember that your son has always had faults. Your child was not perfect before she married him. You love your son, so does your daughter-in-law. Every change that you see in your son is not her doing. Every change that you see in your son is not her doing.

 

A good mother-in-law doesn’t make the wife feel like she doesn’t measure up, or give the impression that she wishes her son would have made a ‘better’ choice.  A good mother-in-law encourages, accepts, and loves unconditionally. Allow your daughter-in-law to disagree and know that it isn’t something personal.  Don’t be offended if a daughter-in-law does not share your tastes, dreams, and values. Tell her about decisions you faced as a mother of infants, toddlers, teenagers, young adults, etc. Talk about more than superficial things. Get to know her for the person Allah created her to be. Then, come alongside her to mentor, encourage, and build a relationship so that if/when you need to give loving input or direction, it is not taken as meddling. Express your gratitude towards her: “You truly are the wind beneath my son’s sails and I really appreciate and love you. You understand my son far better than I do, and I thank Allah for you.” “I’ve got the best daughter-in-law God could give. I am so blessed.” Finally, offer to take care of the grandkids so your daughter-in-law can have a day to herself.

Okay, mothers-in-law, there’s the list. What are we going to do about it?

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The second year of my son’s marriage, he and his wife had Thanksgiving with us. My daughter-in-law made a delicious sweet potato casserole. My mother and I complemented her on it and asked for the recipe. “It’s a family recipe,” my daughter-in-law said. “So I don’t give it out.”   —Anonymous mother-in-law

Whoa! I had thought that daughters-in-law were the ones with the in-law stories. Well, apparently mothers-in-law have their share of stories, too.

One mother-in-law wrote something that brought back memories. “That little boy that brought me dandelions and messy hugs,” she said, “is now a grown man with a family of his own. I need to fully release him so he is allowed to change and adapt to his wife and adult life.  I don’t want to be a parent who says or does things that grate in the mind of my daughter-in-law. She is the one who knows my son best now.”

Yes, a mom relinquishes her title of “first lady” in her son’s life on his wedding day. Perhaps that’s why some have described the relationship between a mother- and daughter-in-law as fragile or tense. Allah certainly didn’t intend it to be that way.

Advice for daughter-in-laws:

  1. She is still his mother, she gave birth to him. Even though you are the woman in her son’s life now, be considerate of the fact that she used to be the woman in his life. The most important thing that you can do for your mother-in-law is to love her son unconditionally…You’ve now taken the spot as her son’s biggest
  2. Respect her for who she is, think of her as your own mother. Don’t try to change your mother -in-law. Accept her eccentricities. Realise that she may do things differently in her home, try to understand her ways. Especially, if you live with them. Bear in mind her age, think of your elderly parents.

 

  1. Do not assume things, rather ask and clarify. If I have offended you, I may not know this. You have the freedom to say to me, nicely, ‘Remember when you said ______. Did you mean _____?’ I am not perfect. Let’s both assume that the other is doing the best she can. Don’t judge, there are two sides to any story.
  2. Remember, you are family and not foes! Ring your mother-in-law off your phone not your son’s phone. Take her out, just the two of you. Go shopping! Discover what you have in common. Keep your in-laws informed of their grandchildren, don’t deprive them.
  3. Express gratitude, not a bad attitude! Post on your Facebook page: ‘I am thankful for my mother-in-law! I am so grateful for our great relationship. It is so important! And ever since I got married our relationship has become so natural and I love spending time with her!’ Please take time to express your appreciation for a gift by writing a note or calling just to say, ‘Thanks!’ If she or any of your in-laws visit you welcome them in with a smile, prepare something special for them. Show your happiness, don’t block yourself from them.

Some mothers- and daughters-in-law form close friendships very quickly. For others, this may take years. But most mothers- and daughters-in-law do want to connect with each other. They want to find common ground. They want to know each other as individual women with feelings, beliefs, and ideas. Do not fight your mother-in-law over your husband and same to the mother-in-law over your son. If the daughter-in-law cooks something or buys something for her husband, please do not compete with her for praises.

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Ten Rules for a Happy Life.

Notes taken from a course:
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1. Sins – Will destroy happiness
2. Envy – Asking why me all the time, jealousy, forgets his blessings, those who have Hasad hurt themselves and will burn your good deeds.
3. Greed – Never satisfied, always wanting more.
4. Never get satisfied – Boring life avoids to unhappiness. Children with less toys are more happy than children with hundred of toys.
5. Be Innovative – Introduce change in your life.
6. Victim Mentality – Why people are always against him/her.
7. Excessive Fear – Being scared of father/husband. Afraid to discover new, to start anything new. Musa AS live in a society of fear, when he became Prophet, there was no fear then. Fear  is associated with worry. Look forward, don’t look at your past.
8. Optimism – Makes you happy. Doughnut example – Take  a pessimist to a doughnut shop and he will ask why there is a hole in the doughnut rather than choosing which one to eat. The Prophet SAW loved optimism. Seeing Allah as positive, thinking good of Allah.
9. Didn’t accomplish things in life, they never feel happy. Set clear goals. Obey the commands of Allah. Focus on your goals, no goals in life is boring. Set goals to achieve.
10. Arrogance – Major sin in Islam; reject the truth, belittle people, racism etc.

Yusuf Issat
17 Muharram 1436
Be around people who are happy.
Staring and not smiling, when going to mosque.
Have a YES face.
After Allah, only you yourself can make yourself happy.

The Thorns in the Path of a Blissful Marriage

By Mufti Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf, Londonuntitled

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

As humans, we have a natural desire for companionship. A desire to have a person with whom to share one’s life, someone who will bring us happiness and joy and be a source of comfort in times of difficulty is a very essential human feeling. Islam acknowledges this need and makes it permissible through nikah (marriage). This sacred act not only unites two individuals in a moral and honourable way, but also pleases Allah to such a degree that it is considered half of our din. According to hadith, a pious husband and wife who have had a successful marriage will be together in Paradise. A person will not be with their mother, father, brother, sister, daughter, son or anyone else in Paradise but with their spouse.

Isn’t it everyone’s dream to be in paradise with their beloved for eternity? How do we attain this level of bliss when we individually are only one half of the equation in marriage? If we each make the necessary effort to know and understand the ins and outs of marriage and the ways of making our Lord happy, we will be able to contribute to the success of our union, insha Allah.

Marriage can seem very daunting. Statistics show that marriage rates have declined to historic lows but, despite the record low in numbers getting married, divorce rates are at their highest. It doesn’t help that in this day and age, marriage has become something that is taken very lightly, to the extent that divorcing a spouse has become as easy as returning an unwanted item recently purchased. What people seem to have forgotten is that marriage is a very significant and sacred component of life and must be treated as such.

There are many talks and books on marriage and how to make a marriage successful. One of the most important things in this regard is that we be mindful of what can sabotage a marriage, so that we can avoid the harmful consequences. A person starting a business does not just look at how to set up the business and make a profit, they also learn about the risks involved so that they can mitigate and manage those risks. This allows the entrepreneur to avoid potential issues or at least have some awareness of what they might face.

In the same way, having a successful marriage is not easy and it takes effort from both spouses. Both should be aware that life is not always a bed of roses and there will inevitably be difficult times as well as good. It is extremely important to know and understand some fiqh related to marriage before embarking on this journey. It is more than just coming to the masjid, repeating a few words in front of the imam and paying the agreed mahr (marriage payment).

There are opportunities for us to please Allah each step of the way, from choosing a partner, to the engagement and the marriage ceremony itself. When the marrying couple strives to follow the laws of Allah throughout the process and during the marriage itself, they will gain more blessings in their union.

Finding the Right Spouse:

Once you’ve decided that you’re ready for marriage, the first step is finding the right partner, which can sometimes be a difficult experience. Some things to consider when choosing a partner are personality, character, beauty but, most importantly, how and how much they follow Islam and the Sunnah. If you truly want a happy marriage, it must be to someone who will treat you well because they know your rights and realise that they are accountable to Allah. With that in mind, it would make sense to marry a Muslim who is seeking the same qualities in their partner? It is sometimes disastrous to marry someone primarily on the basis of their wealth, beauty or occupation if they are not at your level in faith and practice and then expect them to become practicing at your level.

A current trend is that many Muslim men want to marry non-Muslim women (Christian or Jewish) under the pretext that they will bring them into Islam. The problem with this is that, more often than not, the husband does not try very hard to guide his wife to the faith and is very weak himself. His commitment to his faith is complete uninspiring. Marrying people of other faiths many times poses great heartache and difficulties, especially when children enter the equation. Agreements and promises can be made on how to raise the children during the marriage contract, but what happens if the marriage breaks down? That is why interfaith marriages have been highly discouraged.

Moving on, whoever you choose to spend the rest of your life with, know that you have ended up together because Allah decreed it. When two people come together for marriage they do not know the future and whether or not they will be compatible. But remember that Allah can create love and understanding between two people who are complete opposites of one another. It is essential to make du’a’ and rely solely on Allah for His support as only He controls our hearts.

Once the introduction has been made and both parties agree to marriage, some form of engagement normally takes place after which the couple may desire to get to know each other. It is important to note that according to Islamic Law, engaged couple are still technically strangers and unlawful for one another, and thus, spending informal time together is not permissible. It is therefore strongly recommended to avoid having a long engagement and to perform even a simple low-key nikah as soon as possible once both families have committed. What I mean by this is that a private nikah be performed with two witnesses. Parents should be flexible in this regard and not stubbornly insist on long engagements without nikah. By taking these steps, the couple will not destroy the blessings and good prospects in their marriage and will avoid the evil that comes about from unlawful associations. After a nikah, they can interact and get to know each other in a lawful manner even if they are not living with each other. Later, a more elaborate nikah ceremony and reception can take place where the extended family and friends are invited.

A Double Nikah?:

Another nikah? Yes! Contrary to popular belief, nikah can be performed more than once. In fact, according to some scholars such as Imam Ibn ‘Abidin al-Shami, couples should refresh their marriage once in a while. People sometimes utter blasphemies or obscenities without realising it to be a statement of disbelief (kufr), which takes them out of their faith and causes their marriage to break. The faith is reinstated by reciting the shahada or performing the next salat, etc., but a nikah does not automatically renew, and must be performed again, otherwise, the couple will be living together in sin.

The late Mufti Nizamuddin A’zami of Deoband had for while counselled a couple with marital problems. One day, he called in two witnesses and conducted their nikah again. Their conflicts soon disappeared. They came to him and wondered what had made the difference. He explained that during his interaction with them, he had noticed that they were not very careful with their tongues and it was likely one of them had had uttered a blasphemy whilst angry, thus nullifying their marriage. Due to the absence of nikah, they had been deprived of the blessings and had been living a life of fornication. Therefore, re-establishment of their nikah restored the blessing of a lawful union and many of their problems disappeared.

Divorce Should not Be in Your Vocabulary:

Small or large conflicts arise in many marriages. The key is never to let divorce be an option or even a word in your vocabulary.

Unlike some other religions, divorce is permitted in Islam but it is described by our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) as one of the worst of the permissible acts in faith. Islam recognises that sometimes divorce is the only way forward, so this avenue is left open, but it should be a last resort. When the threat of divorce is removed from the marital equation, there is trust between the spouses that they are both committed to making things work rather than resorting to threats of divorce as the easy option.

The concept of divorce is taken so lightly these days. Divorces are issued on the flimsiest of excuses or used as a threat to emotionally blackmail a spouse. Imagine being in a marriage where you’re in constant terror and treading on eggshells because you don’t know what you may say or do that will cause your spouse to threaten to say or ask for the “D” word?

Muslims should know how delicate this matter is and how easy it is to issue a divorce. Ignorance is rife in this regard. Even if a wife asks her husband for a divorce during an argument and he says “OK” the divorce is effective. Similarly, if the husband says “I divorce you” or “you are divorced” it is done! This is why the word divorce should be removed from your vocabulary so that it is not inadvertently issued without a great deal of thought.

Divorce is one of three things in Islam which, if said intentionally or even as a joke, is effective as a legal statement. The only exception is if someone is not of sound mind (clinically insane) and does not know and cannot remember what they say.

After a clear revocable divorce (talaq raj’i), there is a waiting period (or ‘iddah, equal to 3 menstrual cycles) in which the husband and wife may reconcile their differences and the original nikah remain valid. If the period of ‘iddah ends before the husband decides he wants to take his wife back, then the couple must perform their nikah again to remarry. However, this process where the original nikah remains valid during the iddah period can only happen twice. Upon a third divorce, if the couple want to get back together, they must first go through a process called halala.

The Halala Process:

Halala is when the wife, after her ’iddah has passed, marries another man and consummates the marriage with him. After consummation, if the second husband divorces her, she may return to and marry her first husband. If the second husband divorces her as an act of kindness to help the couple, it will be considered a virtuous act as long as he does not make his intentions apparent to the two from before the marriage. So an important factor, along with the marriage having to be consummation with the new husband, is that the halala cannot be pre-conditioned, i.e. the woman cannot marry another man on the condition that he divorces her after consummation of the marriage in order that she may return to her first husband. If it is preconditioned, it will be haram and all parties involved will be cursed according to the Prophetic hadith.

Sound complicated? That is probably intentional. It cannot be emphasised enough that a couple should think long and hard so they do not find themselves in this predicament. All too often, for whatever reason (either ignorance or anger) some men issue all three divorces at once. They think that only three work and any less is not effective. What if they want to reconcile once emotions have calmed down? Imagine having to go through the process of halala described above and putting the woman you love through it? I am addressing the men here specifically because they are the one’s guilty of issuing all divorces at once. They abuse the discretion granted to them. Even If divorce is the only way forward, then a single divorce is more than sufficient. Why give more and then regret it?

The Khula’:

Islam also provides an avenue for the woman to instigate a divorce through the process of khula’. This is when the wife returns her marriage gift (mahr) or another sum of money back to the husband in exchange for an irrevocable divorce.

According to a hadith from Bukhari, relayed by ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him), the wife of Thabit ibn Qays came to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and said she had no complaints about her husband’s din or character but could not reconcile between being a Muslim and being ungrateful [to him]; she was unable to appreciate this great person and this made her uncomfortable as she thought she was compromising her own faith with her lack of appreciation. In Islam, the husband and wife are expected to benefit from their relationship and not suffer due to it. Our beloved Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) recognised her dilemma and suggested that she return her mahr to her husband and that he grant her a divorce. He did not insist that they stay together.

More often than not, a khula’ cannot be mutually arranged between the spouses themselves due to the acrimony between them, and sometimes due to the obstinacy and stubbornness of the husband in his refusal to divorce his wife while at the same time not fulfilling his role as a proper husband. In this case, the wife would be advised to seek redress through a Shari’a court.

It would not have been accurate to paint a rosy picture of marriage without exposing the thorns. This is something I am consulted on month after month and many times I feel helpless in the face of the mass ignorance that is rife about the rules of marriage and divorce. Knowing the good as well as the bad of marital relationships should help us see things clearly. While many couples put their utmost efforts into attaining the rhetorical “happily ever after” end, some marriages undoubtedly endure struggle and discord. It is up to each individual to try their best to salvage their marriage and be the best spouse to their partner, remembering that we will all have to answer to Allah for our actions one day. Along with that, we should have sole reliance on Allah, as only He knows what is best.

Transcribed by Zahira Omar

Edited by Ahmed Limbada