Saturday, February 14, 2009

A marriage based on love, mercy and cooperation


By: E Mansor, F Eunos and O Sidek

"... He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts):..." (Quran 30:21)

Living in Tranquility with Love, Mercy and Mutual Cooperation and Consultation
A marital relationship is conducted based on love and mercy so as to achieve peace both within ourselves and with our partner. We should strive conscientiously to make our home a Darussalam (Abode of Peace). A peaceful and loving home is truly a pleasure to return to after a hard day's work. Imagine being greeted with a warm smile, a kiss and soothing words to ease your frazzled nerves. Even the most ordinary meal shared with your spouse becomes the highlight of the day if it is served with care and enjoyed in peaceful companionship.

Subsequently, having peace within the family will enable us to find Peace with our Creator.To facilitate the task of building a harmonious marriage, it is essential that both spouses adopt a forgiving and merciful attitude which will enable them to put aside each other's mistakes, focusing instead on their strengths and their efforts to change. Helping each other is a crucial step in actualizing our desire to have a tranquil home. We should adopt a charitable attitude by assisting to remove any difficulties that our partner may encounter and anticipate his or her needs, trying to fulfill them without being asked. Each partner should look forward to being of assistance to the other. Such an attitude will create the impression of putting our partner's needs beside our own, serving to express the love and concern that we have for one another.

One simple way to help one another is to try to make things easier for each other."Make things easy and convenient and do not make them harsh and difficult. Give cheers and glad tidings and do not create hatred..." (Hadith reported by Bukhari and Muslim)

Throughout our marriage we will be adjusting to each other's expectations and needs. This is to be expected because, as an individual develops and changes throughout their life, the dynamics of their relationship with their spouse will be affected. Adjustments will be most intensive during the early par: of the marriage. Thus, it is crucial that both parties adopt an attitude of making things easy for each other.

The Prophet's attitude of not causing inconvenience to others, and his charm and care in ensuring that his family members were not unnecessarily 'pressurized', is poignantly illustrated in the following hadith:"Jabir relates that the Holy Prophet once asked his household members for seasoning. They told him that there was nothing but vinegar. He called for it and started eating his food with it exclaiming: 'The best seasoning is vinegar; the best seasoning is vinegar'." (Hadith reported by Muslim)

When the marital relationship is conducted based on helping each other, the couple will develop mutual cooperation in their dealings. This could range from helping your partner when he or she is in financial need, to doing chores. The organization of the household, although seemingly mundane, can become a source of stress and inconvenience. A couple can actually quarrel over matters as simple as not putting the toothbrush in the right place! Therefore, we should never discount the importance of the management of our daily necessities. Although traditionally the wife is expected to manage the household, she may not be able to cope, especially if she is both working and having to care for the children. Not to offer help is like treading on thin ice.

Therefore, we are advised to manage our household based on mutual co-operation.The examples from the life of Prophet Muhammad demonstrate that he dealt with his wives most supportively. There are reports of the Prophet being self-sufficient by mending his own clothes and helping out with chores. All these were done with the clear understanding of mutually maintaining a home environment that would be conducive towards the attainment of peace.

Aswa Bin Yazid, one of the companions, inquired from Aishah, the Prophet's wife, as to what the Prophet did when he was inside the house:"She replied, 'He used to remain busy serving and helping the inmates of his house, and when the time for swalah (prayer) would come, he would go out for the same'." (Hadith reported by Bukhari)

The principle of consultation, which is used in Islam to conduct all affairs, be they private domestic matters, business matters or affairs of state, is derived from the following verse of the Qur'an: "Those who hearken to their Lord, and establish regular prayer; who (conduct) their affairs by mutual Consultation; who spend out of what We bestow on them for Sustenance;" (Quran 42:38)

Husband and wife are each other's best companions and advisers, complementing one another in their various roles within the family. A wife who acts as an adviser to her husband shares her views when consulted by him. A husband can count on his wife's knowledge and expertise when he asks for them. By consulting one another or seeking each other's views we can better understand an issue or problem and will be better advised in generating a solution.Being able to conduct our family life with love, mercy and mutual cooperation and consultation will open the doors for the couple to develop tranquility within their home.

Source: "Tranquil Hearts" by Enon Mansor, Fatimah Eunos & Osman Sidek.

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