Monday, 16 Sha'aban 1445 | 2024/02/26
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بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

 Nafsiya Reflections: Happily Ever After

We all go through marital challenges. What relationship doesn’t? We have disagreements with family members, friends, co-works, etc. It’s the nature of relationships. The nature of Dunya; thinking any differently is a fantasy we will only see in Jannah. The effect of society, social media, and Hollywood directly affects our expectations. Young children may have grown up with fantasy stories, telling us they lived happily ever after. Every movie or show we watched, there was an exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution., where at the end, we lived happily ever after. “Their love prevailed, overcame all circumstances”. It is ingraining in us how relationships should be. And most importantly what they are based upon.

I am not saying that love doesn’t exist in relationships, on the contrary. As was the relationship with our beloved Prophet Muhammad saw, and Khadeeja (ra), and later our mother Aisha (ra). Allah (swt) describes the relationship between and a husband and wife. The problem is when these relationships are founded on worldly values and expectations. We imagine our wedding, the dress, the make-up, the flowers, the hall; but are not aware that this is the relationship that is half our Deen, the relationship that is established to procreate believers in Allah (swt), to find comfort in one another, to be established on the grounds of Emaan and Taqwa. ‏ A relationship, a home, in which we face this Dunya in order to care for one another, as Allah (swt) said so beautifully,

(أُحِلَّ لَكُمْ لَيْلَةَ الصِّيَامِ الرَّفَثُ إِلَىٰ نِسَائِكُمْ ۚ هُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَّكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لِبَاسٌ لَّهُنَّ ۗ)

They (your wives) are as a garment to you, and you are as a garment to them" [Surah 2: Aya 187].

The husband and the wife are for mutual support, mutual comfort and mutual protection, fitting into each other as garments fit into each other.

( وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً )

"He it is Who created you from a single soul, and of the same did He make his spouse, that he might find comfort in her" [Surah 30: Aya 21].

“Comfort" implies much more than a mere sexual gratification, it is charged with spiritual and moral ideas. Ideas in how to treat one another, how to respond when angry, or enraged, how to find in each other the comfort based on the love of Allah (swt), created from a single soul. How beautiful!

Now comes the challenge, in trying to understand one another. In trying to preserve this beautiful kinship. Of course, since this beautiful relationship is half our deen, why wouldn’t shaytan aim to destroy it? Our beloved Muhammad (saw) said:

«إِنَّ إِبْلِيسَ يَضَعُ عَرْشَهُ عَلَى الْمَاءِ ثُمَّ يَبْعَثُ سَرَايَاهُ فَأَدْنَاهُمْ مِنْهُ مَنْزِلَةً أَعْظَمُهُمْ فِتْنَةً يَجِيءُ أَحَدُهُمْ فَيَقُولُ فَعَلْتُ كَذَا وَكَذَا فَيَقُولُ مَا صَنَعْتَ شَيْئًا قَالَ ثُمَّ يَجِيءُ أَحَدُهُمْ فَيَقُولُ مَا تَرَكْتُهُ حَتَّى فَرَّقْتُ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَ امْرَأَتِهِ قَالَ فَيُدْنِيهِ مِنْهُ وَيَقُولُ نِعْمَ أَنْتَ»

“Verily, Satan places his throne over the water and he sends out his troops. The closest to him in rank are the greatest at causing tribulations. One of them says: I have done this and this. Satan says: You have done nothing. Another one says: I did not leave this man alone until I separated him from his wife. Satan embraces him and he says: You have done well.”

This is shaytan’s favorite job. Destroying the contentment, the strength of the Muslim home. Once he destroys the family unit, society in a whole may begin to collapse. It is more challenging to raise strong believers. How do we push shaytan away? How do we mend the home? Well, we can go back to the manners taught in Islam. Speak kindly or remain silent. We should sit or lay down when angry, try not being angry, by trying to control our emotions, to think rationally, give the benefit of the doubt, forgive. We should try to be the first, to reconcile, to understand, and acknowledge one another, look at the good, fulfill our specific duties to one another, as Allah (swt) commanded, and as was taught in the Sunnah of Rasool Allah (saw). We should try to pray together, make Duaa, play and laugh together.

At times we may be carried away with interpreting the intentions of our spouse, thinking we know them best, “they did this because of that” or “they meant it” but later find out it was all a misunderstanding. We must remember that we as humans don’t feel or think identically, even when we have a lot in common. We were all born and raised in different environments with different people and experiences just as siblings who were raised together in the same households can have opposite personalities; what makes us believe our spouses won’t? It would be illogical to expect that from our spouse. It's the nature of Dunya. Yes, there will be things we dislike, like truly dislike, and there will be things we like. Allah (swt) said,

( فَإِن كَرِهْتُمُوهُنَّ فَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَيَجْعَلَ اللَّهُ فِيهِ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا )

For if you dislike them - perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good. [Surah 4: Aya 19]

We need to see the good in one another knowing that this world is a place of rest not our eternal home. We are not perfect (it is silly to believe that any of us are). This life, in the end, is a test; let us remember to focus on our Akhirah, the next and final life. We need to strive to gain Allah’s (swt) pleasure, for in the end that is the only thing that will bring us contentment both in this world and the next and truly living our happily ever after.

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