Sunday 10 May 2015

Appreciate Your Spouse

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

By Hadhrat Moulana Abdul Hamid Is`haq Saheb (Daamat Barakaatuhum

Generally, husbands and wives take each other for granted; to the extent of being off-hand in speech, insensitive of the other’s feelings and ungrateful for whatever kindness the other does.

Sadly, today, we are so proud that we cannot even say “JazakAllah khayran” to the wife (or to the husband) – when some kindness is shown. Whilst we choose not to recognise the favours of the spouse, we are very quick to identify the shortcomings and failings of the spouse.

Often, our fights stem from pride and from both sides, there is unwillingness to acknowledge when in the wrong or seek forgiveness. Many couples behave like little children and refuse to talk to each other for days – generally, over petty or worldly matters. The good character, humility, compassion and mercy of the Muslim seem non-existent.

Long term, this attitude harms the marriage since marriage involves two hearts – and the material and composition of the heart is not rock or wood or steel or iron. 

It is very important to deal with each other with mercy and patience and with appreciation. 

Look at the good qualities in each other. Focus on the good.

Be patient with each other.

My advice to the brothers is that we are living with our wives, so we should tolerate the little faults that they may have. We, ourselves, are not angels who have come down from the heavens!

My advice to the sisters is that men have their faults. No one denies this - but women are also not angels.

We don't say all women but commonly, a wife rarely praises or thanks her husband. Of course, there are those who do. ...However, it is a reality and also drawn from the Ahadith, that women incline towards cursing and being unthankful to their husbands. Due to these weaknesses, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) enjoined upon women to give charity and to seek forgiveness.

My humble observation is a wife praises her husband twice in her life. Again, there are exceptions. ...The first time she praises him is prior to marriage. She will boast that she is getting married to so and so. If he is a Hafez, Qari, Aalim, Mufti, etc. – then all these titles impress her and she thinks the world of the person she will be getting married to. After marriage, these titles no longer hold any sway over her. ...So whilst married to her, a person should not anticipate any praises. Perhaps, the next time she will praise the husband is when he dies and she outlives him.

Even if the people regard the person as a Waliyullah[1] - they can express their respect for him, honour him, kiss his hands, etc. but the moment he enters the home, there is a very different scenario.

At one time, my elderly aunt from Lenasia kept calling home to complain about my uncle. They were very, very elderly and old age comes with a different temperament and mood. Nevertheless she insisted that we resolve the issue, so we went there. Her list of complaints was not ending. …What could I tell my uncle who was eighty years old? We consoled her and said we will make Dua. I also said that I will speak to my uncle. After two months, my uncle passed away.

When we visited for Ta’ziyat (to console the bereaved), the same aunt said: “Abdul Hamid! I was married to your uncle for sixty years and he never once troubled me!

For many the loss of the spouse is that occasion that invites great regret. This is the time that a person looks back and realises that as a spouse, we did not play our part as we should have. Where we could have presented flowers, we threw pots of thorns. Where we could have offered sweetness in our words, we flung out bitterness or ingratitude.

Regret does not bring back one’s spouse. So whilst they are alive, we should not delay in expressing love and appreciation and we should interact with them with mercy and compassion.

The husband leaves home to earn his living and even if he is at home, he leaves home five times a day for the Masjid … We do not know if we will see each other again, yet we don’t care to make amends or part company on a gentle and loving note. Sometimes we go to sleep angry with each other, not considering that there is no certainty that we will see each other again.

If we look at the Sunnah, Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) would enter and leave the home with the most pleasant expressions, always smiling and greeting; even assisting with the chores at home. ...And his wives also did not lose out the opportunities of reciprocating his love and kindness.

Take the noble and exemplary example of Hadhrat Khadija (Radhiyallahu ‘anha): Despite being older, her love, gentleness, support and appreciation were manifest in her unrelenting and sincere Khidmat[2] to Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam). Despite being a wealthy, independent woman, she graciously assisted Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and sacrificed for Dien, in all ways.

Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said regarding this beloved wife (Radhiyallahu anha):  “She believed in me when no one else did; she accepted Islam when people rejected me; and she helped and comforted me when there was no one else to lend me a helping hand.”

This is the kind of wife a person should seek... someone who will support and assist us in Dien and preparation for the Aakhirah. ...Many Ahadith point to the rights of the husbands – and similarly, many other Ahadith highlight and emphasize the rights of the wives. Alhamdulillah, there is a beautiful balance established by Islam and there is harmony when we follow through practically on Dien and Sunnah.

Husbands have to play their part as well. Many are plain negligent when it comes to their wives and their families. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “The best amongst the Believers is he whose character is the best. And the best among you is the one who is best with his wife.”

Allah Ta’ala has interceded on behalf of wives, by instructing the husbands to live with them with kindness.

“ …Live with them on a footing of kindness and equity…”
 [Surah An-Nisaa 4 : 19]

Our Sheikh, Hadhrat Moulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) set an extremely noble example of being a husband, always concerned about the well-being and comfort of Hadhrat’s wife. Whenever Hadhrat Moulana (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) visited us in South Africa, it was his habit to call his wife repeatedly during the Safr (journey), to enquire of her health, etc. And he would speak to her with great compassion.

In the latter part of his life, before suffering a stroke, Hadhrat (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) undertook a Safr for Umrah and Ziyarah. On reaching Makkah Sharief, the Umrah was just completed when Hadhrat received a phone call to say that his wife was admitted into hospital.

Hadhrat had only arrived in Makkah Sharief a few hours earlier, but immediately booked the next available flight to Karachi. 

Since there were some hours before departure, Hadhrat (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) took a flight to Madinatul Munawwarah, made Salaam at the Roudha Mubarak, flew back to Jeddah, boarded the flight to Karachi and within hours was besides his wife in hospital – to support, care and comfort her. Such happiness filled her heart and so much of appreciation when she saw Hadhrat (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) at her side. Allahu Akbar! 

If only we could take lesson: It is immensely rewarding to put happiness in the heart of a Muslim. The rewards would be far greater, when the husband is making his wife happy or vice versa. Of course - and it should go without saying - that this be done within the parameters of Dien, and should not entail anything Haraam and displeasing to Allah Ta'ala.

Hadhrat (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) composed some loving words, in praise of his wife – when she was in her old age. The translation of which is:

‘O my dearest wife,
You are sweeter than sugar,
and beautiful like a doll…

Hadhrat (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) was so particular about husbands fulfilling the rights of their wives and taking good care of them, that when anyone requested permission to spend time in the Khanqah, Hadhrat would first enquire about the condition of the wife and family, and the arrangements made for their comfort, ease, etc.

On one occasion, a brother, from another country, visited the Khanqah in Karachi with the intention to spend time with Hadhrat (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh). In conversation, he requested Hadhrat’s Dua for his wife, who was due to have a baby. When Hadhrat was informed that the baby was due to arrive any day, Hadhrat immediately instructed the person to return home, and offer his wife support in her hour of need.

So husbands should also adopt this care and concern, mercy and compassion. May Allah Ta’ala grant us Taufeeq.

On any shortcomings, there should be patience. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) has said: ‘No man should bear ill-will towards a believing woman, for if he resents some trait in her, he might be pleased with some other trait in her.’[3]

Also: One very common cause for not appreciating one’s wife – to the extent of disliking her and staying away from her – is the sin of casting lustful glances at other women.

When a person looks at other women, his own wife has no appeal for him. He sometimes cannot even stand to look at his wife, let alone spend time with her and express love to her. There is then no appreciation because the person is constantly comparing her with other women. This then pushes him further into sins. This is due to the very serious crime of evil glancing.

Hadhrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) had said that casting lustful gazes is the sickness and disease of fools. There is no good and no gain in this habit; rather there is great, great harm. ...Due to lustful glancing, the person activates restlessness and turmoil in his heart. …A person can admire a girl forever but never have her. Whoever is meant for him, will be for him. Allah Ta’ala has already decreed her. So when the matter is decided already, it is only a fool who will waste his life looking at strange women.  

…There has to be some effort made not to look at strange women; not to look at the street women and billboards with pictures of women. We will have to avoid all of that. In this manner, we keep our gazes pure and we keep our thoughts pure.

If the gaze and thoughts are kept pure and clean, then Wallaah, I guarantee that Allah Ta’ala will make the person’s wife look like a beautiful Hoor of Jannah. …There will be no question of looking at other women. One’s wife will be the coolness of one’s eyes.

Surprisingly, the same weakness of evil glancing is found in many women. Women, who were once upon a time, so bashful that they would not raise their gaze to a strange man, now write that they find no attraction for their husbands. And they too acknowledge that they admire other men, interact with other men, view them on television, YoutTube, at sports matches, etc. They then compare these strange men with their husbands and become dissatisfied in their marriages.

So from both sides, there is disloyalty and infidelity – and this creates a huge chasm between the husband and wife. There is no love and no mercy between the two, and there is no enjoyment in marriage. This is the direct consequence of lustful glances and our free interaction with the opposite gender. …May Allah Ta’ala grant us the understanding.

The Command of lowering the gaze is directed to both men and women, married or unmarried. In this lies the protection of one’s marriage, one’s chastity, one’s happiness and one’s peace of mind.

Both husband and wife need to work together towards establishing the Sunnah of living with each other and both need to give up all sins. This invites great success and happiness in marriage. 

May Allah Ta’ala give us true appreciation for the bounty and blessing of our spouses and the Taufeeq of good treatment to them.

[1] Waliyullah: Friend of Allah Ta’ala
[2] Khidmat: service
[3] Abu Dawood