How Islam Solved Marital Problems, By Imam Murtadha Muhammad
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Brothers and Sisters! Marriages usually start off so nicely and happily. Everyone cooperates-the couple, their parents, other relatives, friends and associates. Things usually run smoothly.
But somewhere along the way, marital disputes pop up. This is of course natural and must, but these can escalate to dangerous levels if not dealt with correctly, as we are witnessing today.
My people! Both spouses should have a realistic view of marital troubles, because, if tackled correctly, they may be a factor in enhancing dialogue and understanding. Marital discord can either be solved or made further complicated, according to the way the couple chooses to deal with it.
It is important to remember that uttering bad words and using abusive language in the course of an argument, has an undoubtedly negative effect that lasts even after the problem is over. Furthermore, it causes emotional wounds and distress that accumulates in the heart. Conversely, remaining silent instead of discussing a problem is also a negative and temporary solution, as it later leads to unexplained sudden and violent outbursts over trivial matters. Hence, repressing feelings is the beginning of psychological complications and gives rise to impatience.
Therefore, either a person should pretend to forget the problem, overlook it and voluntarily forgive the other party or the problem must be tackled. In doing the latter, the solution should address whatever troubles one’s soul and be applied with satisfaction and willingness. Both spouses should avoid any outcome that instigates feelings of victory or defeat in either one, as this only serves to deepen the rift. For example, they should avoid mockery, denial and rejection, and insistence on winning. Further, one should watch his or her speech; Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn al-As may Allah be pleased with them, reported:
“The Prophet (Peace be upon him) was never unseemly or lewd in his language; he used to say, ‘The best among you are those who have the best morals.’” [Al-Bukhari]
Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, also relates that some Jews came to the Prophet, and said:
“As-samu alaika (death be on you)”. So, she (Aisha) says she replied: “‘Alaikum as-samu (death be on you); and may Allah curse you and inflict His wrath on you.” The Prophet said to her: “O Aisha, take it easy and be moderate; beware of violence and obscene language.” She asked: “Did you not hear what they said?”The Prophet replied: “Well, have not you heard what I said? I responded to them [by only saying ‘and to you’]; and my supplication against them will be accepted while theirs against me will not.” [Al-Bukhari]
That illustrates why, when Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, was asked about the morals of the Prophet, she said:
“The Prophet was never rude or indecent, nor was he loud-voiced in the streets, nor did he return evil for evil, but he would forgive and pardon.” [At-Tirmithi]
Another witness to his character is Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, who said:
“I served the Prophet (Peace be upon him) for ten years and he never blamed me for doing anything or questioned me about something that I did not do.” [Ahmad]
Indeed, we are warned by the Prophet, from being:
“The worst person in the Sight of Allah on the Day of Judgment”; that is “one who is avoided by people because of his evil.” [Al-Bukhari]
Brothers and Sisters! There is no doubt that women, especially those who are more sensitive, become confused, unsettled and worried when they have problems with those they love and appreciate. Moreover, a relationship can be completely damaged because of it, as is the case when, for instance, one of the spouses feels superior to the other in terms of status, property, beauty or culture. Indeed, the Prophet, said:
“Haughtiness is arrogant denial of the truth and contempt for people.” [Muslim]
The solution must only be decided after the issue has been carefully examined. Otherwise, a husband, for example, would say something, then change his opinion over someone’s interference or resort to quibbling even though he knows he is wrong.
* Steps to solve marital problems
- There must be an attempt to discover whether the problem stems from a disagreement or a misunderstanding. Each of the spouses must express his or her version of the problem and feelings regarding it. This should be done in a direct and clear manner that eliminates any probable misunderstanding, as sometimes that is all there is to what is assumed to be a serious disagreement.
- Every person must call his or her own self to account and realize how greatly negligent he or she is toward Allah The Almighty. In this way, other’s infringements on his or her right would seem trivial.
- It must be remembered that tribulations in life occur because of one’s sins and having problems with those a person loves, is considered an affliction. Muhammad Ibn Sirin said:
“I could see the effect of my sins in the behaviour of my wife and also, in my animal companion.”
- Marital discord must never be disclosed to the public and kept among those it concerns, i.e., the spouses.
- One of the errors in resolving a problem is referring to previous mistakes of either spouse, as that only widens the scope of the conflict. The trigger of the disagreement must be defined and focused on.
- Each of the partners should talk about the issue from his or her own point of view, without considering his or her understanding to be infallible or an uncontested fact, as that will destroy any chances to solve the problem.
- It is better to initiate a discussion with common points of agreement along with its benefits because this softens the heart, drives the devil away, draws both viewpoints closer and encourages both parties to offer concessions; Allah The Almighty Says:
“And do not forget graciousness between you.” [Quran, 2:237]
If one of them, for instance, says to the other:
“I have not forgotten your favour in such-and-such or your positive qualities. And, I can never deny whatever we see eye to eye on”; this would generate an atmosphere of willing compromise.
- It is also imperative to not focus on one’s own rights, exaggerating them or demanding what is not due of others, especially while overlooking one’s responsibilities and duties toward others.
- A person must also be able to admit a mistake he or she realizes has been made by him or her, without contention. Both parties should have the courage and self-esteem to do this. When either spouse has admitted to a mistake, the other must praise him or her for that and not persist in what is wrong. More importantly, this admission of guilt must not be used as leverage, but rather be counted as one of the other’s merits that should be added to his or her record of good deeds and virtues, which must be cited.
- Some inherent female qualities, such as protectiveness, must also be handled delicately and patiently. The Prophet, even described how one of his wives once felt, by saying:
“Your mother felt jealous.” [Al-Bukhari]
We should follow the example of the Prophet, who would take into account the circumstances surrounding an incident and people’s temperaments and other factors that are beyond one’s control. Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, narrates:
“I have never seen a cook like Safiyyah. She sent the Prophet a container of food as a present; I could not contain myself and I broke it. I asked the Prophet about the expiation of this. He [understandingly] said, ‘A container for a container and food for food.’” [Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’i]
- It is also of utmost importance to be satisfied with what Allah The Almighty has bestowed on everyone. If the wife notices anything good in her husband, she has to praise Allah The Almighty and if she finds otherwise, she must realize that faults are not particular to only him. On the other hand, the husband should know he is not alone in facing marital problems.
- The husband should not hasten to solve a crisis in a fit of rage. He should wait until he calms down because any solution reached when angry, is usually far from being right.
- There must be an ability in both parties to accede to forfeiting some of their demands as a problem cannot be resolved if every party insists on retaining every one of his or her rights. There must be a room for adaptability to varying circumstances and conditions.
- Each of the spouses should be calm and never reckless or hurried. They should neither display boredom or annoyance. A good atmosphere is one of composure and deliberation to have a positive overview of the problem.
- Both spouses should be aware and know for certain that money is not the cause of happiness and that success does not result from living in big palaces and having servants. True success lies in leading a tranquil life that is free from worry and greed.
- Nothing can emphasize enough the importance of overlooking minor slips and unintentional mistakes on either part.
Wallahu ‘Alam, and success belongs to Him.
And all praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our Noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.
Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, from Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached through: firstname.lastname@example.org or +2348038289761.