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Book Title Ingredients For A Happy Marriage
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Ingredients For A Happy Marriage


Book’s Introduction

Our subject concerns a very important aspect of social life. This is why I would like to present a gift to all those who are getting married – and in fact, to everyone in general.

A gift, as you all know, is an expression of true love and gifts also breed happiness in the hearts of both spouses. Although, in everyday life, people are used to receiving material gifts, I will offer you a meta-physical gift (choosing the permanent over the perishing).

I would like to tackle the issue of marriage which is an issue that many young men and women are concerned about. I pray that Allah makes this endeavour a means to bring about happiness for them in both worlds.

Allah assumes responsibility for that and He is also quite Capable of making that a reality. 

There are certain factors that have prompted me to speak on this issue. I will mention those issues first.

 1. The importance of this issue A happy and successful 

marriage is a necessary goal for anyone who is either 

already married or is thinking about it. 

2. Frequent marital arguments and fights that lead to 

separation and then divorce. This is not exclusive to our communities alone. It is a phenomenon that prevails – with staggering statistics – throughout the world. For instance, the divorce rate in the USA is 48%; in Germany 35%; in some parts of Europe and in some states in USA it has reached 62% and in some Arab states it has reached 20%.

Then, there are so many families that live with the turmoils of conflicts and arguments.

3. A stable and secure family will produce generations of 

Muslims who can carry the message of Islam. We desperately need pious young men and believing women who are raised in an environment of happiness, not in one of disruption and disunity.

Children can then grow up in a healthy and pleasant climate and instead of having to cope with family tensions. These households will produce Da’ees (invitors to Islam) and reformers.

I have consulted experts in this field (of marriage) and 1 have also referred to some books. I have then endeavoured to write a book entitled: “Ingredients for a happy marriage”.

I will enumerate these ingredients briefly and emphatically. But before I begin, I would like to draw your attention to the importance which Islam gives to marriage through verses of the Qur’an and relevant Hadith. 

Relevant Verses from the Qur’an 

“O mankind! Fear your Lord Who created you from a single soul and then created from that soul its mate. He then disseminated from them many men and women.”

“And of His signs is (the sign) that He has created from among yourselves your spouses – that you may find tranquillity with them – and put love and kindness between 


“And We have created pairs from everything so that you may take heed.” 

Among the qualities of believers, Allah also lists the following: 

“And those who say: ‘O our Lord! Grant us from our spouses and offspring the apple of our eyes and make us leaders of the pious.” 

They seek good fortune in their spouses and children from Allah Who is The Capable. 

Relevant Hadith 

The Prophet (SAW) said: “O young men! Whoever among you is able to wed he should do so... “S 

Anas (RA) says that a group of people asked the wives of the Prophet (SAW) what he did at home (if there were any special acts he performed).

After they had enquired they felt that because the Prophet (SAW) was forgiven for his sins, he could afford not be extraordinary with regards to his actions. One of them said that he would no longer wed; another resolved not to eat meat and another was determined not to sleep on a bed.

When the Prophet (SAW) heard about this he immediately said: ‘What is wrong with people who resolve not to do such and such. I pray and I sleep. I fast and I eat. I get married to women. Whoever dislikes my way is not of me. Dear friends! Building the family is essential for the establishment of this Deen (Islam). The family is the cornerstone of the social structure

. A successful and purposeful marriage is the indispensable foundation of this cornerstone.

 A purposeless and weak foundation will not bear any fruit in any marriage. For example, those who take on temporary marriage (mut’ah) merely to fulfil their desire without even thinking about the honourable ideals in the institution of marriage, become very bored with their marital’ life because they fail to identify the goals from the very outset. 

When Islam came with guidance for mankind, it came with a complete and comprehensive legal system: “Today, I have perfected for you your religion.”? 

In Islam, there is a solution for any legal problem. Abu Dharr (RA) says: “The Prophet (SAW) left us with such knowledge that even if a bird changed course in the sky we have already been given signs for it. ” 8 

Ibid Surah Al-Ma’idah (5), ayat 3. 

8 Ahmed 

Married life, like other issues, has been given its due share of legislation and Islam has tackled all its aspects such that it makes for a happy and prosperous life. I used to ask myself why Allah’s enemy attacks the concept of the Muslim family and why they constantly try to catch us in their nets of disunity and chaos. I have now realised that they have understood that the collapse of the Muslim family is just as good as destroying the whole of Muslim society. When havoc runs loose in the family there is no hope that it will breed a good and useful nation. I once visited a juvenile detention centre and, to my astonishment, I found out that between 70% and 80% of these young children were admitted because of husband and wife problems or divorce. It is quite obvious that the more a household is prone to problems, the more likely it is that the children will be sent to these ‘homes.’ So do you see, O Brothers, what such disunity and argument create? It is this phenomenon that the enemy has capitalised upon and they try their utmost to destroy the very foundation of society. May Allah protect us all from their schemes and plots. Ameen. 

Ingredients for a happy marriage 

I would now like to draw your attention to those factors which make a marriage work effectively. I will try to use real examples so that it becomes more comprehensible. 

In brief, a happy marriage should have the following ingredients: 1. Elements that should be considered before marriage; 2. Fulfilling marital responsibilities; 3. A realistic approach to married life; 4. An understanding of the spouse’s psychological frame of 

mind; 5. Children; 6. Good relationships with other people, 7. The ability to solve problems and 8. Miscellaneous issues. I will shed some light on all of these issues and, as much as possible, I will try to be brief, unless it is necessary to elaborate. 


1. Elements that should be considered before marriage. 

A Good choice: 

Abu Huraira (RA) narrates that the Prophet (SAW) said: “A woman is married for one of four reasons: for her beauty, her wealth, her genealogy or her faith. So be successful with a woman of faith. May Allah bless you.” No one disagrees that the right choice has to be made. The issue is what constitutes a good choice. 

Many people give importance to beauty, wealth and genealogy. This is fine except when they are given priority over faith. Faith is the most important criterion in the choice of a spouse. And just as men are advised to make a good choice for a bride, the parents or guardians of the girl should also consider the right choice for their daughter. It is disappointing that people ask many questions about how much a man earns and what kind of house he will provide for his wife but do not care to ask about the state of his faith. The principle in marriage is faith. The Prophet (SAW) said: “When a man whose character and faith you like approaches you (for marriage), then marry him. If you do not then there will be great trials and widespread disruption on earth. 0 When looking for a good choice, the family of the spouse-to-be should also be considered. Sometimes, the family of the spouse may influence their children so much that they can break up the marriage. 

Bukhari and Muslim 10 Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah 


Looking at the prospective spouse 

People have taken two extremes in this issue. Some parents detest the very idea that the bridegroom see their daughter before marriage. Whereas the Prophet (SAW) encouraged the idea and in fact ordered Mughairah (RA) to do so: ‘Look at her because that will be more conducive to a longer marriage.” Abu Huraira (RA) says that once he stayed with the Prophet when a man from the Ansar came and informed that he was about to marry a woman from the Ansaar. The Prophet (SAW) told him to go and look at her. “2 

To sum up, the Prophet (SAW) encouraged people to look at their future spouse because that would breed love and produce a better relationship. Not allowing someone to see one’s daughter is a violation of this practice and tradition, On the other hand, there are others who have blown this practise out of proportion. Not only does the prospective husband look at the bride-to-be, but he also mixes and mingles with her as if he were dating” her. This is in complete violation of Islamic values and traditions. Islam only allows the man to look at her face and hands and part of her hair. All this is in the company of a Mahram (someone whom the girl cannot marry). 

Consideration in Mahr and marriage parties 

Aisha (RA) says that the Prophet (SAW) gave his wives 12 awqiya” as Mahr (marriage gift given by the husband). 

Ahmed, Tirmidhi and Hakim 

12 Muslim 

13 An awqiya is equivalent to 40 silver Dirham (128 grams of silver) 14 Muslim 


Umar (RA) narrates the same hadith about the wives and the Prophet’s daughters. The Prophet (SAW) also said: “The best Mahr is the one that is the easiest (to give).”6 An expert on this subject writes: “Adopting the middle road and avoiding extreme measures, vanity and show bring about a successful marriage. The rich and famous should take the lead in these issues because they are the ones who start trends whereas others follow.” Extravagant mahr and marriage parties require great resolve and expenses. Again, people adopt two extremes in this issue. Some people are stingy to the point that they merely give their wives a few coins. Then there are those who spend so much on the first night that they could afford to get many others married for the same amount of money. Both extremes are condemned. 

Someone might ask: What does extravagant spending and stingy mahr have to do with a successful marriage? The answer is that when a person takes on the responsibility to earn money beyond his capacity and starts to spend extravagantly, he will soon run dry on emotions and then begin to blame his wife for every little thing that goes wrong in the marriage. He starts to say things like: ‘I earn for you and all you do is spend and you are the reason for all my problems.’ Then, when all this is accompanied by the demands of loan sharks” and others, matters get from bad to worse. Eventually, he can no longer cope and resorts to divorce. And even if he does not, the marriage is a total nightmare. 

“Ahmed, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi and Hakim 16 Abu Dawood, Baihiqi and Hakim 

However, if a certain amount of foresight is used and the ceremonies of marriage are offered according to the practice of the Prophet (SAW) it is most likely that the expectations of all concerned will be more in line with reality. 


Fulfilling marital responsibilities 

This issue has many points of discussion. I will try and run through them in brief. The issue is really summed up by two verses of the Qur’an: “And treat them with kindness,”17 “They have as many rights as duties with kindness.”1

There are three types of rights involved. The first is the right of the husband over the wife. The basis of this is found in the verses: 

“Men are supervisors over women because Allah has made some of them superior over others; and also because of what they spend from their wealth.”19 “Men are a degree higher than them (women).920 

The Rights of the Husband over his Wife 

The rights of the husband may be summed up as follows: a. Being a supervisor. This is a right that many men have 

waived by their own choice and deem such conduct as being good for the wife. This is wrong. This is because women, by their very nature, wish to lean on someone’s shoulders. And even though many women love to boast in front of their peers about how obedient their husbands are, they still fill 

17 Surah an-Nisa’ (4), ayat 19. 18 Surah al-Baqarah (2), ayat 228. 19 Surah an-Nisa’ (4), ayat 34. 20 Surah al-Baqarah (2), ayat 228. 

that vacuum of not having a strong foundation in their own house. 

In contrast, the woman who complains that her husband is too domineering will always know, deep in her heart, that she has the comfort of a strong husband to fall back upon. Perhaps I should elucidate this with an example. 

When a certain town or country loses control over its security, the towns-people can do whatever they like. There is no psychological reassurance and therefore the fear of violence always lingers in the air. In contrast, when a certain town or country is controlled by strict security measures and leadership, even those who detest the government will feel safe and secure. So when men relegate themselves from the position of supervision, they are not actually doing women any favours. In fact, they are doing them a great disservice. The Prophet (SAW) spoke the truth when he said: 

“No nation can prosper when they relinquish their authority to a woman.” This hadith applies in general, even in the house. I believe that when a woman asks her husband to be firm and fulfil his role as a supervisor – just as she demands him to spend on her – her request will be a source of stability to the family. 

21 Bukhari 

The aunt of Hussain ibn Muhsin (RA) came to the Prophet (SAW) who asked her if she was married and if so, how she was with her husband. She said she made every effort to serve him and keep him happy as much as possible. The Prophet (SAW) said: “Be careful how you are with him. He can either be your Paradise or (means of your Hell.”23 

c. Not to allow anyone in the house without his permission. 

This is borne out by the narration of Abu Huraira (RA) who says: “No woman should fast while her husband is present except with his leave. No woman should allow anyone in his house while he is present except with his leave... “24 Nawwawi (RA) says: this is when she does not know of the husband’s pleasure in allowing the person inside. When she knows that her husband would not mind at all, then this rule does not apply.925 This is the usual practice. To sum up, an understanding of the husband’s desire and permission (either explicitly or implicitly) should be considered. 26 

d. Serving the husband. 

The correct opinion in this disputed matter is that it is compulsory for the wife to serve the needs of her husband. Obviously, this will differ from husband to husband, but nevertheless, it still remains one of her duties. The aforementioned hadith of the aunt of Hussain (RA) is testimony to that. We find that many wives – merely for the 

23 Ahmed, Ibn Sa’d and Hakim 24 Bukhari and Muslim 25 Nawwawi’s Commentary of Muslim: 7/115 26 Fathul Bari: 9/296 

The correct opinion in this disputed matter is that it is compulsory for the wife to serve the needs of her husband. Obviously, this will differ from husband to husband, but nevertheless, it still remains one of her duties. The aforementioned hadith of the aunt of Hussain (RA) is testimony to that. We find that many wives – merely for the sake of boasting and following others blindly – demand their husbands to provide servants for them in chores which they can carry out themselves.

This is one practice that ruffles marriages because it puts an extra financial burden on the husband. You might perhaps be taken aback by the story of someone who broadcast his lifestyle on the radio. His salary was 7,000 riyals and he lived in a rented apartment with two servants. He justified this expense by saying that it was the wife who wanted this kind of standard. 

Also, what can be said to the wife applies equally well to the husband. He should consider her well-being and happiness when asking her to do chores. 

e. Not to assume voluntary fasting without his permission. 

The hadith for this has already been cited. This is because the husband will not be able to enjoy her if he so desires during her fast. This applies only to voluntary fasting and not to compulsory fasting. 

f. She should safeguard herself, his wealth and his children. 

The wife is the caretaker of the husband’s house while he is absent. The most precious belongings of any human being are honour, wealth and children. These items are a trust in the hands of the wife and she will be questioned about these. The Prophet (SAW) said: “The wife is a caretaker in the house of her husband and she will be questioned about it 

This is sufficient information about the rights of a husband. 

The Rights of a Wife over her Husband 

There are several issues here: a. Mahr, or a gift from the husband. 

The wife has the right to demand this from the husband because Allah says: “And give women their mahr as gifts.9928 The previous discussion on mahr should be re-emphasised here, 

b. Expenses and residence. This is borne out by the verses: 

“And it is a duty for the father of the child to provide her (the mother) with food and clothing in kindness.”29 

27 Bukhari and Muslim 28 Surah an-Nisa’ (4), ayat 4. 29 Surah al-Baqarah (2), ayat 233. 

“Lodge them where you dwell, according to your means.”30 

Hakim ibn Mu’awiyah narrates from his father that he (his father) asked the Prophet (SAW) what rights the wife had over the husband. The Prophet (SAW) said: “To feed her when you eat; to clothe her when you wear clothes, not to hit her in the face, nor to be profane and not to separate from her except in the house.”

Both Bukhari and Muslim narrate that the Prophet (SAW) said to Hind, the daughter of ‘Utbah, when she came to complain about the stinginess of her husband Abu Sufyan (RA): “Take what is reasonable for yourself and for your child.” 

c. Living with kindness and a good moral character. 

This is also something the wife can demand from her husband. Allah says: “And deal with them in kindness.”32 The Prophet (SAW) said: “The best among you is the one who is the best with his family. I am the best among you with my family. ** 

It is because of these mandates that we urge husbands to follow the noble Islamic method in their treatment of their wives.

Even in the event of divorce Allah instructs us to be kind and not to follow sadistic temptations: 

30 Surah at-Talaq (65), ayat 6. 

Ahmed, Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah and Hakim 32 Surah an-Nisa’ (4), ayat 19. 33 Tirmidhi, Ibn Hibban and Hakim 

“Divorce is pronounce twice. Thereafter, the wife should either be kept in honour, or allowed to leave in kindness.”34 

It should be remembered that people may choose to be too patient and lenient or too harsh and stringent. The middle path is the one to adopt. 

d. The right to sleep and live in peace. 

This may sound obvious, but there are those who either overlook this point, or ignore it. There are many men who come home late at night after having a “fun time” with their friends, and expect their wives to fulfil their desires immediately.

 They believe, or at least their actions suggest they believe, that the wife is merely a servant who cooks, cleans, looks after the children and then presents herself for their enjoyment when they so desire. Men have been prevented from engaging in voluntary forms of worship to ensure that they do not ignore the psychological and emotional needs of the wife.

Worship is a virtue. Having a “‘fun time with one’s friends may become a sinful act. 

Salmaan (RA) went to visit Abu Darda (RA) (they were both made brothers when the latter came to Madinah), but he had not yet reached home. Umm Darda (RA) complained to Salmaan (RA) that her husband had no need for her anymore. He fasted during the day and prayed at night. Abu Darda (RA) came and offered food. Salmaan (RA) implored his host to break his fast (since it was a voluntary one) and made him eat with him.

He stayed the night with them and prevented Abu Darda (RA) from praying and said: “Your body has a right over you; your Lord has a right over you and your family has a right over you. So fast and do not fast.

 Pray and spend some time with your family and give everybody their due right.” When morning came they made ablution and went to the mosque where they narrated the saga to the Prophet (SAW) who said: “Salmaan spoke the truth. »35 

e. Education. 

Perhaps this is sometimes even more necessary for the husband to do than providing his wife with food and clothing. Especially when she has not had any Islamic orientation.

This is in line with the practice of the Prophet (SAW), who not only taught his own wives but also allowed a poor man to give his wife education as her mahr. Many men are quite lazy and indifferent in this matter. May Allah help us 

f. The right to be kept in honour and dignity. 

This is one of the most prominent rights of the wife over her husband. The husband should do everything to protect his wife’s honour and dignity particularly in front of other people.

 There are animals in the jungle who are more considerate of their mates’ honour and pride than humans. Yes, this does mean that there should be a certain amount of possessiveness.

The Prophet (SAW) described the brother in-law as being death (when alone with the brother’s wife), so how can men justify their women mixing and mingling with strangers and others without any supervision. Sa’d (RA) was the most possessive about his wife among the companions. The Prophet (SAW) said: “Are you amazed at how much Sa’d is possessive?

 By Allah, I am much more possessive than he is and Allah is much more so than 1.”37 So this is very necessary for men. The wolf will always devour the lonely sheep. 

The Rights of both Husband and Wife over each  other 

The third type of right is common between the couple. No one is precluded from these. Those are: 

a. Not to reveal secrets. 

This is a general rule for both parties and both will be held equally responsible to uphold the other’s confidentiality.

The Prophet (SAW) said: “The man who will be the most wretched in status, in the Eyes of Allah on the Day of Judgement, will be the husband who confides in his wife and she in him, and then he goes and reveals her secret: “3

b. Mutual advice. 

This plays a very big role in the development of marriage and the household in general. Spouses should advise one another and even take account of and check one another.

It is a mistake to think that this role is reserved for the husband and the wife should tolerate the mistakes of the husband.

 Each should point out, with affection, the mistakes of the other and each should accept their own faults. 

c. Mutual consultation. 

This applies to the everyday running of the house and family affairs. The husband should not belittle the advice and opinion of his wife, in case her opinion proves to be more practical and correct than his.

The best example to follow in this issue is the Prophet (SAW) when he sought the advice of Umm Salamah (RA) at the treaty of Hudaibiyah. The Companions were in no mood for any compromise with the Quraish, but the Prophet (SAW) had, through divine inspiration, signed a peace treaty with the Quraish.

The Prophet (SAW) had the difficult task of consoling his Companions and asking them to shave their heads and release their Ihram (Hajj garments).

 Umm Salamah (RA) advised him to shave his head first, then the Companions would automatically follow him. That is what happened. 

d. True love between the couple. 

Marriage cannot be successful without this. And although this is an issue which does not follow any rationale, each spouse should at least express love towards the other. The 

Prophet (SAW) used to offer words of love and affection towards his wives. We should follow him and not be shy or reluctant about the matter.

Allah describes the houris of Paradise as being extremely compassionate (‘urub) towards their spouses.

A marriage which is devoid of good and warm words is one that is bereft of any happiness.

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