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The Four Predictors of Divorce

Four horses

Four destructive behaviors that lead to divorce

Couples who exhibit these “four horsemen of the apocalypse” are almost certain to end in divorce.

By Eric Brodwin

Ever been in the middle of a heated argument when suddenly the other person pulls out their phone and starts texting?

If the answer is yes, and if you find it happening constantly, we hope that person isn’t your significant other.

This behavior, known as stonewalling, is one of four reactions that John Gottman, a psychologist at the University of Washington and the founder of the Gottman Institute, has identified as a telltale sign that all is not well with a married couple.

In fact, when Gottman and University of California-Berkeley psychologist Robert Levenson lumped stonewalling together with three other behaviors — contempt, criticism, and defensiveness — and measured how often they occurred within the span of a 15-minute conversation, they found they could predict which marriages would end in divorce with striking precision.

When the psychologists added questions about things like relationship satisfaction and how many times the research subjects had thoughts about separating to the mix, they could predict which marriages would end in divorce 93% of the time.

The figure, which comes from a 14-year study of 79 couples living across the US Midwest (21 of whom divorced during the study period), was so striking it spurned the researchers to label the four behaviors “the four horsemen of the apocalypse.”

While that initial study, published in 2002, was small and focused on a specific population, a decade of research into marriage and divorce has lent further support to the idea that divorce is associated with specific negative behaviors.

One recent study of 373 newlywed couples, for example, found that couples who yelled at each other, showed contempt for each other, or shut off conversation about an issue within the first year of marriage were more likely to divorce as far as 16 years down the road.

So what do these four “apocalyptic” behaviors actually look like in a relationship?

1. Contempt

Contempt, a virulent mix of anger and disgust, is far more toxic than simple frustration or negativity. It involves seeing your partner as beneath you, rather than as an equal.

This behavior alone, says Gottman, is “the kiss of death” for a relationship.

Take an everyday argument about buying groceries, for example. When you come home and realize your significant other has picked up habanero peppers rather than bell peppers for tonight’s stir-fry dinner, do you listen while he explains that perhaps you didn’t ever tell him what type of pepper you wanted? Do you think this over, and, when you realize that maybe he’s right, do you apologize? Or do you adopt an attitude and think to yourself, What kind of an idiot doesn’t know that bell peppers are for stir-fry and habaneros are for salsa?

The reason contempt is so powerful is because it means you’ve closed yourself off to your partner’s needs and emotions.

If you constantly feel smarter than, better than, or more sensitive than your significant other, you’re not only less likely see his or her opinions as valid, but, more important, you’re far less willing to try to put yourself in his or her shoes to try to see a situation from his or her perspective.

2. Criticism

Like contempt, criticism involves turning a behavior (something your partner did) into a statement about his or her character (the type of person he or she is).

Say your partner has a nasty habit of leaving his or her used cereal bowl — calcified, uneaten cereal-and-milk remnants and all — around the house.

Do you wait until he or she gets home to mention that the behavior bothers you, and gently suggest that he or she put the emptied bowl in the sink or dishwasher instead? Or do you think to yourself, “Why am I dating the type of person who abandons half-eaten cereal bowls around the house?”

Over time, these personal detractions can add up, feeding darker feelings of resentment and contempt.

3. Defensiveness

If you find yourself regularly playing the victim in tough situations with your partner, you might be guilty of being defensive.

Take being late to a cousin’s wedding, for example. Are you the first to say, “It wasn’t my fault!” when you finally arrive? Or do you think it over before you accuse the other person, realizing you probably shouldn’t have taken a 2-hour shower when you only had an hour to get ready?

Taking responsibility for your role in a tough situation can be uncomfortable, but it’s often what keeps a bad situation from escalating, says Gottman.

He’s found that for couples who divorce within the first several years of their marriage — one of the times when divorce rates are highest — “entering negativity is like stepping into a quicksand bog. It’s easy to enter but hard to exit.”

4. Stonewalling

You know when an argument is about to start. You can feel your heart rate increase and your voice get just a tiny bit louder. But the moment things start to get heated, do you pull out your phone, walk away, or simply ignore your partner?

Stone wall


Blocking off conversation can be just as toxic for a relationship as contempt because it keeps you from addressing an underlying issue.

We know: Getting into arguments with your partner is the opposite of a good time. But these temporarily uncomfortable situations are oftentimes the place where you can start to come to big realizations about your own behavior and solve potentially damaging problems.

Don’t panic

It’s important to keep in mind that occasionally displaying any one of these behaviors — or all of them, even — is completely normal.

It’s when these negative behaviors happen so frequently that they replace more positive interactions with your partner that can be cause for concern.

Simply recognizing that you’re doing something that could be hurting your relationship is the first step to actively combating it. If you can figure out how to avoid the behavior or replace it with a more positive one, you’ll probably make the relationship even stronger.

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Enough about wives! What makes the ideal Muslim husband?

Muslim men at Friday prayer

Men at Jumah prayer

By B. Aisha Lemu
Reprinted from

Much ink has been spilled, and much breath, in defining the role of Muslim women; the rights of Muslim women; the duties of Muslim women, what constitutes an ideal Muslim wife. Maybe because there has so much misunderstanding of the role of women, we seem to give it special emphasis in lectures and books.

However since men and women are interdependent, it is not wise to concentrate on one and remain silent about the other.

The last time I was invited to speak about “The ideal Muslim Wife”, I made a promise that my next assignment would be to prepare a lecture on ” The ideal Muslim Husband”. Many men seem to feel that women, and their wives in particular, should be ideal Muslims, while they themselves and their fellow men behave as they like without reference to the Qur’an and Sunnah, and unchallenged by the Shari’ah.

This paper is therefore intended to redress the balance; to turn the spotlight on to the men, so that they might be aware of the Islamic standard for an ideal husband, as they try to reach that standard as much as they wish their wives to reach the standard of an ideal Muslim wife.

The obvious place to look for these standards of behaviour is in the Qur’an and Hadith.

Let us therefore start at the beginning. How does the ideal husband behave before marriage? After all, a man does not totally change his character with effect from his wedding day. The bride is joining her life with that of another person whose personality and habits have been in some degree already formed. What then should be the behavior towards women by a young man before marriage?

Islam does not accept the view common in the western secular society that before marriage a young man is expected to “sow his wild oats” – whether by frequenting prostitutes or by sleeping around, or having any form of “trial marriage”. For all such activities the Qur’an has prescribed a legal punishment of 100 lashes. [Qur’an 24:2]

The Qur’an moreover says;

“And as for those who are unable to marry, let them live in continence until Allah grants them sufficiently out of his bounty….”
[Qur’an 24:33]

To assist young men in this situation the Prophet (saws) in a Hadith recorded in Bukhari further advised;

“Young men, those of you who can support a wife should marry, for it keeps you from looking at women and preserves your chastity; but those who cannot should fast, for it is a means of cooling passion.”

For those who have the means to get married, how should they go about it? We have mentioned that the modern western practice of having girlfriends and trial marriages is emphatically unlawful for Muslims. Instead it is expected that the family and friends will play a big role in finding out in detail about the character and circumstances of the proposed partner before allowing the feelings of the boy and girl to be aroused has several advantages. Its effect is to cut out a lot of the embarrassment, temptation and heartache which are common in the western system of courtship and intimate relations before marriage.

The boy is expected to share with his parents certain priorities in the type of girl he hopes to marry, and this is mentioned in a Hadith related by Abu Hurairah in which the Prophet (saws) advised:

“A women may be sought for her wealth, her birth, her beauty or he religious character. But do look for the religious women. And if you do it for any other consideration, your hands be rubbed in dirt!” [Bukhari and Muslim]

In other words the key to success in marriage is seen as the moral quality of the partner. The ideal Muslim bridegroom therefore goes into marriage with the responsible attitude of a person establishing a family on the best possible foundation of love and mutual compassion, and not of infatuation over beauty, ambition for wealth or social position. The Qur’an has described the marriage relationship in these terms;

“Among His signs is the fact that he has created spouses from among yourselves, so that you may find tranquillity with them; and he has put love and mercy between you. In that are signs for people who reflect.”
[Qur’an 30:21]

and again:

“They (wives) are garments for you, while you are garments for them.”
[Qur’an 2:187]

Having sought his bride in an honourable way, and married her in the manner prescribed by the Prophet- that is with public celebration but the minimum of fuss and ostentation- what are the Muslim husband’s duties?

His first duty is maintenance and protection, and overall responsibility for the welfare of his wife, which is prescribed in the Qur’an:

“Men shall take full care of women with the bounties which Allah has bestowed more abundantly on the former than on the latter, and with what they may spend out of their possessions….”
[Qur’an 4:34]

This includes feeding, clothing and shelter for the wife and for any children of the marriage. This is a legally enforceable duty, which remains even after divorce until the expiry of the Iddah or even longer in the view of some of the scholars. Financial responsibility for the family therefore rests squarely on the husband, and the wife has no duty to contribute to family expenses unless she has the means and the wish to do so.

The legal obligations of a husband do not stop with provision of the basic requirements relating to maintenance and protection. He is also expected to give her company and marital relations, and to avoid doing anything that would harm her.

These obligations are enforced by the Shari’ah. If a man fails to maintain his wife or fails to visit her for more than a certain period of time, the wife has grounds to be granted a divorce by a Shari’ah Court. Similarly, if she can prove to the court that the husband is doing harm (Idrar), be it by drinking alcohol, or beating her without lawful cause, or abusing her or her parents and so on, she is entitled to be granted a divorce. In none of these cases can the husband claim back any part of the dowry or presents he has given to the wife. I would like to make a note here that every situation has to be evaluated on its merits and circumstances by a Shar’iah Court. These points mentioned above are general precepts in the Shar’iah.

The Husband is however urged in the Qur’an to avoid divorce and try to preserve marriage even if it is not ideal. This is to be done in the first instance by exercising patience with his wife’s faults. The Qur’an say’s;

“Live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them, it may be that you dislike a thing while Allah brings about through it a great deal of good.”
[Qur’an 4:19]

The Prophet (saws) also emphasised the undesirability of divorce in a Hadith found in Abu Dau’d’s collection:

“The most hateful of all lawful things, in the sight of Allah, is divorce.”

The ideal husband should therefore, if need arises, make full use of Qur’anic provisions for reconciliation and arbitration [Qur’an 4:34] before proceeding with divorce

If a man does divorce his wife, he should follow the steps approved in the Qur’an and Sunnah regarding a revocable divorce. This allows for cooling off and reconciliation before it becomes final on the final pronouncement. The divorce is not to be pronounced while the wife is in menstruation, but when she has finished menstruation and not yet resumed marital relations with the husband. (Qur’an 65:1) In other words divorce is not to be pronounced in anger or at random, but at a specific time when the husband is in control of his reason, and the wife herself is not in the state of emotional upset that sometimes occurs whilst she is pregnant or may accompany menstruation.

The husband is to continue good treatment of his wife even if divorce decided upon. He is to keep and feed her as before in his own house until the expiry of her iddah (waiting period) without harassment, [Qur’an 65:1, 65:6] and to make provision for her according to his means.

He is not to take back any of the gifts he may have given her before or during the marriage:

“The parties should either hold together on equitable terms or separate with kindness. It is not lawful for you (men) to take back any of your gifts from your wives.”
[Qur’an 2:229]

On the contrary, the husband is to give her a gift or some form of maintenance to sustain her after divorce [Qur’an 2:241]. Moreover, he is not to interfere if after divorce she wishes to marry someone else:

“……and when you divorce women and they have reached the end of their waiting term, hinder them not from marrying other men if they have agreed with each other in a fair manner.”
[Qur’an 2:232]

The husband should also know that according to the Shari’ah he is not always the one to have custody of his children after divorce, contrary to the common practice in some countries. It is the wife who is given priority in custody of children in many cases, in accordance with a Hadith related by Amru b. Shu’aib in Ibn Majah, which tells how a woman came to the Prophet (saws) and said:

“Truly my belly served as a container for my son here, and my breast served as a skin bag for him (to drink out of), and my bosom served as a refuge for him; and now his father has divorced me, and he (also) desires to take away from me.” The Prophet (saws) said: “You have a better right to have him as long as you do not marry again.” [Ibn Majah]

We would also like to point out again however, that the decision as to the custody of the children has to be evaluated by a Shar’iah Court, which will consider the particular circumstances surrounding the family and the children’s best welfare.

In the Maliki School of Islamic Jurisprudence, this rule is systematised to give priority in custody of children to the mother and to 5 other relatives before the custody could be claimed by the father. This custody lasts until puberty for a son and until marriage for a daughter, while the financial responsibility for their maintenance remains with their father.

The knowledge of the necessity of separation from his children must certainly act as a reality check when a husband is indiscriminately deciding to divorce.

It should also be realised the husband is required to be faithful in marriage as the wife must. The punishment for adultery of a married person, male or female, under the Shari’ah is death. The fact that the punishment may not be applied in this world, does not make the sin any less in the sight of Allah. A sin that is not expiated in this world is after all going to follow a person to the grave.

Therefore the husband should not fail to follow Allah’s command in the Qur’an:

“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and to be mindful of their chastity: verily this will be most conductive to their purity (and) verily Allah is aware of all that they do.”
[Qur’an 24:30]

Those married men who cruise around in their cars looking for school girls to pick up are surely disgracing themselves, and forfeiting all right to require chastity of their wives.

If for some reason, the husband cannot manage with his first wife but does not want to divorce her, he is not prohibited from contracting another marriage, provided it is done in a legal and honorable way.

The permission to marry more then one wife at a time is however conditional:

“…….if you fear you cannot do justice between them, then marry only one.” [Qur’an 4:3]

This condition is often taken very lightly in some countries, where polygamy has long been a social custom. No words in the Qur’an, however, are without meaning, this verse should not be taken lightly. A weak husband will not be respected and will not act fairly between his wives, whereby, his marrying more then one is likely to lead to injustice, constant disharmony and the break up of his family. This is not in his interests or theirs or in the interests of the Muslim Ummah.

If having married more then one, however, a husband finds his heart inclining to one at the expense of the other, he is warned that this inclination should not reach the stage of neglect of the needs of the other wife:

“And you will not be able to treat your wives with equal justice however much you desire it. But do not incline towards one to the exclusion of the other, leaving her as it were in suspense.”
[Qur’an 4:29]

This warning against injustice is strongly reinforced by the Hadith in which Abu Hurairah (raa) reported the Prophet (saws) as saying:

“Whoever has two wives and does not treat them equally, shall come on the day of resurrection with half his body hanging down.” [Abu Da’ud, Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah]

We have so far examined the legal framework of marriage and divorce as outlined mainly in the Qur’an. This now needs to be filled in with illustration and elaboration drawn from the Sunnah, since the Qur’an tells us :

“You have in the apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern of conduct for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the last day.”
[Qur’an 33:21]

How did the Prophet (saws) then, behave as a husband? Obviously he observed the legal framework, but how did he behave in his day-to-day relationships with his wives?

A lot of information is to be gathered about this from the Hadith, both directly and indirectly, and also from the Sirah (the biography of the Prophet (saws)).

His guiding principle on the treatment of wives is stated in some well known Ahadith;

“From among the believers are those who have the kindest disposition and are the kindest to their families- such are those who show the most perfect faith. “The best among them are those who are kindest to their wives.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Indonesian Muslim couple

Indonesian Muslim couple

How did the Prophet (saws) himself exemplify this kindness?

Firstly he was not a difficult or remote or tyrannical husband of the type who regards all household chores as “women’s work”. In a Hadith in Bukhari:

Aisha (raa) was asked by Al-Aswad b. Yazid what the Prophet used to do in the house. She replied: “He used to work for his family, that is serve his family, and when prayer time came, he went out for prayer.” [Bukhari]

Other Hadith tell us that he used to mend his own clothes.

Secondly he didn’t make a fuss about food. It is recorded in a Hadith from Abu Hurairah (raa) in the collection of Muslim:

“Allah’s Messenger never found fault with food. If he liked something, he ate it, and if he disliked it, he just abstained from it.” [Muslim]

Implying that he never complained about the food or it’s cooking.

Aisha (raa) reported that whenever she was sick, the Prophet (saws) would come to her to show his sympathy. Nor, was he ashamed to let it be known that his love for his wife was greater then his love for any other human being. It is recorded in the Hadith collections of Bukhari and Muslim that someone asked the Prophet: “Who among all the people is most beloved by you?” And he said “Aisha”.

This love and understanding for Aisha did not eclipse his high regard for his first wife Khadijah, who had been his only wife for about 25 years until her death. Aisha (raa) reported that he always treasured the memory of Khadijah who had supported and encouraged him through the difficult years in Mecca, and that he use to regularly give gifts to Khadijah’s closest friends as an expression of his undiminished esteem and love for her.

The Prophet (saws) never held himself apart from his wives as if they were by their nature as women inferior. On the Contrary, he included “playing games with one’s wife” as one of the legitimate entertainments. According to the following Hadith:

“…….There is no amusement which is praiseworthy except three, namely training a horse, sporting with one’s wife and shooting arrows with a bow.” [Abu Da’ud, Ibn Majah and Baihaqi]

In illustration of this practice, Aisha (raa) records that on more then one occasion she and the Prophet (saws) ran races and sometimes she won and sometimes he won. Most men nowadays consider it far beneath their dignity to play any sort of game with their wives, and their marriages are the duller and poorer for it.

I think this is one of the problems we encounter in the way we learn about the life of the Prophet (saws). Most of the history books dwell on the political and military aspects of the Prophet’s (saws) life, and his personality, which was obviously very attractive, eludes our knowledge. We tend to, for this reason picture him as always serious, while the Hadith informs us that although he rarely laughed aloud, “Nobody used to smile as much as he did.” This is fully in accordance with the Hadith: “Smiling at your brother (Muslim) is a charity.”

The Prophet’s (saws) attitude towards female children and female education is a beautiful elaboration of what is found in the Qur’an. The Qur’an not only forbade the jahiliyyah practice of female infanticide, but even condemned the practice of showing disappointment or anger over the birth of a female child. [Qur’an 16:58-59]

A Hadith related by Ibn Abbas in fact encourages the reverse:

“Whoever has a female child and does not bury her alive, nor hide her in contempt, nor prefers his male child over her, Allah will allow him to enter Paradise.” [Abu Da’ud]

The Prophet (saws) showed the greatest love and affection for his female children, particularly for Fatima. Aisha (raa) related that “Whenever the Prophet (saws) saw Fatima (raa), he would welcome her, and rising from his seat would kiss her, and then taking her by the hand would seat her in his own seat.” [Bukhari]

He decreed that every Muslim – male and female- must as a duty seek knowledge and prescribed education for all children in the following words:

“No present or gift of a parent, out of all the gifts and presents to a child, is superior to a good broad (general) education.” [Tirmidhi and Baihaqi]

He laid special emphasis on the education of daughters:

“Whoever brings up two sisters or two daughters, and gives them a broad education, and treats them well, and gives them in marriage, for him is Paradise.” [Abu Da’ud, Tirmidhi]

This concern for the education of girls was reflected in his teaching of Aisha (raa), who was still a young girl when he married her, and was only 18 when he died. She had a natural ability for learning and a strong sense of reasoning, and he taught her as much as she was ready to learn. He was so impressed and pleased with her learning that he even told people:

“You can learn half your religion from this rosy-cheeked girl.”

He therefore encouraged people to consult her in religious matters, and after his death she became one of the major sources of Hadith.

From all this we can see that some people’s resistance to allowing their daughters to have access to knowledge is not only misguided but quite contrary to all the Prophet (saws) preached and practiced. An ideal-Muslim husband is therefore expected to be deeply committed to and involved in the education of all his children – the daughters as much as the son’s.

The Prophet (saws) respect for a wife’s intelligence and understanding was also reflected in his readiness to consult his wives and respond to their good advice. An instance of this practice is recorded on the occasion of the signing of the treaty of Hudaibihiyah. Many of the Muslims were reluctant to accept treaty. They did not want to go home without performing pilgrimage and they considered some parts of the Treaty disadvantageous to the Muslims. They were therefore reluctant to obey his instructions to slaughter their sacrificial camels and shave their heads, which would symbolise that the Pilgrimage was over and the matter closed. The Prophet (saws) withdrew to his tent in perplexity, and told his wife Umm Salamah what had happened. She advised him: “Go out and speak to no man until you have performed your sacrifice.” The Prophet (saws) followed her advice, and slaughtered the camel calling: “Bismillah, Allahu akbar” in a loud voice, whereupon the Muslims forgot their reluctance and raced to make their own sacrifices.

The presence of Umm Salamah on this journey exemplifies another aspect of the Prophet’s (saws) dealings with his wives. One or more of them almost invariably accompanied him on his journeys and campaigns. To ensure fairness they would draw lots as to which wife or wives would accompany him.

His wives were thus not kept locked up so that they could not experience what was going on in the outside world. They wore modest clothes (hijab) and went out and saw everything that was going on, and they participated when necessary, for example in nursing the wounded on the battlefields.

The following Hadith is narrated by Aisha (raa):

“Umar once criticised the Prophet’s wife Saudah for going out, saying he had recognised her in the street. So she appealed to the Prophet (saws) for support and he supported her saying: “Women have the right to go out for their needs.” [Bukhari]

Similarly the Prophet (saws) allowed his wives and other women to go out to the Mosques for their prayers. He also advised other men:

“Do not prevent the female servants of Allah (i.e. from the Mosques).” [Muslim]

The ideal Muslim husband therefore does not impose restrictions on his wife greater then those imposed by Allah (swt), or by the Prophet (saws) on his own family.

All the foregoing indicate that the women who is married to an ideal Muslim husband is protected but not suppressed, and is therefore likely to be happy and contented.

However, the Muslim husband is not expected to please his wife at all cost, if what pleases her may be wrong or against her interests or the interests of the family.

The Qur’an say’s:

“O you who have attained to faith! Ward off from yourselves and your families
that fire (of the hereafter) whose fuel is Human beings and stones.”
[Qur’an 66:6]

In this respect a husband has a duty to ensure that his wife is fully educated as a Muslim. If this has been neglected in her parents’ home, he must take necessary steps to remedy it. Either by teaching her himself or by arranging for her Islamic education by other means. The husband is expected to give leadership in the family. We have seen that this form of leadership is not dictatorship or tyranny. The wise husband will, as indicated, consult his wife on important matters concerning the family, and if he sees her advice is good, accept it. However, Islam has given the man authority as the head of the family, and he is expected to abide by the Qur’an and Sunnah and endeavour to ensure that his family do not violate Islamic norms of behavior. The kind of treatment required should not therefore include condoning her misbehavior.

The Qur’an has prescribed a specific graded series of three steps, which the husband should take if the wife shows that she is rebelling against Islamic norms of conduct.

His first step should be to speak to her seriously about the implication and likely consequences of what she is doing. If she fails to respond to this sincere admonition, his next step is to suspend marital relations with her for a period of time.

The Prophet (saws) himself very much disliked the beating of wives, and never beat any of his own. In Abu Da’ud’s collection of Hadith he is reported by Laqit B. Sabrah to have said:

“Admonish your wife, and if there be any good in her she will receive it; and beat not your wife like a slave.”

In another Hadith from Ayas b. Abdullah he specifically said:-

“Do not beat Allah’s female servants (i.e women).” [Abu Da’ud, Ibn Majah]

In Tirmidhi’s collection is another Hadith related by Amru b. al Ahwas:

“And enjoin on one another goodness towards women; verily they are married to you: you have no power over them at all unless they come in for a flagrantly filthy action; but if they are devoted to you, then seek no way against them. And verily, you have rights over your women, and they have rights over you.” [Tirmidhi]

The Muslim husband therefore has no right to beat his wife indiscriminately or habitually for petty offences, and if he does, the wife has a right to seek divorce by a Shari’ah court. Similarly, as we can see, Islam has not authorised men to beat up their wives.

The phenomenon of wife beating is not peculiar to Muslims – it is found in all parts of the world among certain types of men. However, some Muslims unjustly claim that they have religious sanction when they beat their wives, while in most cases they are beating them only because they themselves are brutal by nature, or just in a bad temper.

Bad temper is to be controlled, not vented on the weaker sex. The Prophet (saws) referred to this in another Hadith when he said:

“He is not strong who throws people down, but he is strong among us who controls himself when he is angry.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Aisha observed this self-control in the Prophet (saws) behavior:

The Prophet (saws) never beat any of his wives or servants; in fact he did not strike anything with his hand except in the cause of Allah, or when the prohibitions of Allah were violated, and he retaliated on behalf of Allah.

The ideal Muslim husband therefore strives to emulate the Prophet’s (saws) practice by avoiding beating completely and discouraging it from others. It is not at all becoming for a Muslim to be a wife-beater in defiance of the Prophet’s (saws) explicit dislike of the practice.

This brings us to another interesting aspect of the Prophet’s (saws) relationship with his wives.

He apparently allowed his wives to do what is called “answering back” to men who think that women, like children, should be seen and not heard. There are several recorded instances of the Prophet’s (saws) companions remonstrating with him or with his wives about this practice. Nevertheless he chose to allow his wives to speak their minds.

An incident related in Ibn Ishaq’s sirat Rasul Allah (An early biography of the Prophet) makes an interesting reading:


One day Umar rebuked his wife for something and she sharply answered him back: and when he expostulated with her she replied that the wives of the Prophet (saws) were in the habit of answering him back so why should she not do the same? “And there is one of them,” she added, meaning their daughter (Hafsah), “Who speaks her mind unabashed from morning until night.”

Greatly troubled by this, Umar went to Hafsah, who did not deny that what her mother said was true. “You have neither the grace of Aisha nor the beauty of Zainab,” he said, hoping to shake her self confidence; and when these words seemed to have no effect, he added: “Are you so sure that if you anger the Prophet (saws), Allah will not destroy you in his anger?” Then he went to his cousin Umm Salamah (another wife of the Prophet) and said: “Is it true that you speak your minds to Allah’s messenger (saws) and answer him with no respect?”

“By all that is wonderful,”said Umm Salamah, “What call have you to come between Allah’s messenger (saws) and his wives? Yes, by God, we speak our minds, and if he allows us to do so that is his affair, and if he forbids us he will find us more obedient to him then we are to you.” Umar then realised he had gone too far and withdrew.


Lebanese Muslim couple

A Muslim couple enjoying the sunset

In this anecdote we can clearly hear the voices of women who respect their husband not because they are afraid of him or out of hypocrisy, but out of genuine admiration and love. The fact that he allowed them to speak their minds shows that the Prophet (saws) never regarded women as slaves or second-class citizens but as human beings to whom Allah (swt) has given reason and the ability to distinguish right from wrong as he has given them to men.

Aisha went further in a Hadith to say that when the Prophet (saws) told her something she would question him closely about it so that she could understand its justification before she was satisfied. The Prophet (saws) did not tell her she had no right to cross question him because he was a Prophet and a man, while she was only a young woman. It appears on the contrary that he appreciated her critical faculty and clear thinking.

*Retold in Muhammad- his Life based on the Earliest Source by Lings (Islamic Texts Society/George Allen & Unwin 1983)

From this we can see that the Prophet (saws) had such calm inner certainty and natural leadership qualities that he did not need to assert himself over his wives, or be on the defensive against them. Those men who behave like tyrants in the home, who assert their rule in an arbitrary or violent manner, are usually the weak ones who actually suffer from hidden inferiority complexes and are afraid of being shown up as mentally or morally inferior to their wives. To forestall this they physically frighten their wives, who are then afraid to open their mouths in their husband’s presence, let alone to disagree with him.

Another incident illustrates how the Prophet (saws) asserted his leadership of his family without harsh words or violence. This is revealed in the way he treated his wives when they became too demanding of the comforts of this world. Aisha (raa) related that before the capture of the oasis of Khaybar she had not known what it was to eat her fill of dates. The Prophet’s wives, fully aware of the general poverty of the Muslims in Medina, asked only for their basic needs. After the capture of Khaybar with it’s rich agricultural produce, the Muslims were better off, and the Prophet (saws) was able to give his wives some presents, and they were not slow in learning to ask for more comforts. This led to problems because in fairness, what was given to one should be given to all, and this could not always be exactly fulfilled. There developed considerable resentment among some of his wives, which disrupted the peace of the household. When his advice to them was not heeded he followed the next Qur’anic step and withdrew himself from them all and stayed in a roofed verandah that was the only room he had apart from his wives’ apartments.

Rumor soon spread that the Prophet (saws) had divorced his wives, and the wives, in suspense, regretted bitterly their demands on him. He then let it be known through Umar that he had not divorced them but that he did not wish to see any of them until a full lunar month had elapsed.

At the end of the month he asked his wives one by one to make their own choice in accordance with the newly revealed verses of the Qur’an:

“O Prophet, say to your wives: If you desire but the life of this world and it’s charms, then come and I will bestow it’s goods upon you, I will release you with a fair release. But if you desire Allah and his messenger and the abode of the hereafter, then verily Allah has laid in store for you a mighty reward, for such of you as do good.”
[Qur’an 33:28-29]

Aisha replied without hesitation: “Verily, I desire Allah and his Messenger and the abode of the hereafter” and there was not one of his wives who did not choose the same. These events are related in a number of Hadith books, including Bukhari and Muslim.

Here we see a husband who in spite of his love and sympathy for his wives, would not be carried away to commit injustice between them, not put himself into difficulties or wrong -doing in order to satisfy their desires beyond what was necessary. He was not ready for the role of the “hen-pecked husband.” His firmness in the matter quickly made his wives see it in its proper perspective, and peace was restored to the household without recourse to divorce or even harsh word.

It is incidents like these that make it quite clear why the Prophet (saws) is held up a beautiful example to the Muslims in every aspect of his life.

There are of course numerous other facets of his personality and behavior, which contributed to making him an ideal husband.

He was of course clean and pure both in his thoughts and person, and very generous in accordance with his own saying:

“Verily Allah is pure and loves the pure, is clean and loves the clean, is beneficent and loves the beneficent, is generous and loves the generous.” [Tirmidhi]

Another very important characteristic was his love of children. Love of her own children is almost automatic to a mother and with that love goes a care and concern for their children in any matter with the same degree of love, and consider the children to be “women’s affair”. In our own society today this is a common phenomenon where it is the mother who often plays the major role in ensuring that the children are clothed and cared for, that their school fees are paid, that they learn good behavior and so on. While it is good that the mother shows this love and concern, it is not approved for father to abandon his own moral and financial responsibilities and ignore the proper education and upbringing of his own children.

We have mentioned the Prophet’s (saws) own role in the upbringing of his own daughters (it was only the daughters that survived to maturity) and on his emphasis on education for both sexes. There are also numerous Hadith indicating his love for children and his practice of showing his love for them.

For example in a Hadith from Abu Hurairah (raa) it is related as follows:

“The Prophet of Allah kissed his grandson Hassan the son of Ali in the presence of Agra’ B. Habis, whereupon Agra’ said: “Verily, I have children and yet I have not kissed any of them.” The Prophet looked towards him and said: ‘What can I do for you if Allah has taken away mercy from your heart. He that shows no mercy shall have no mercy shown to him.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

The Muslim family is therefore ideally a very united family. Mutual understanding between husband and wife lies at the root of it. The Islamic upbringing of children is one of its most important functions. For it to succeed as the basic unit of the Muslim Ummah, both husband and wife need to know their duties and to practice self-control in trying to abide by the Islamic code of conduct within the family.

I wish to draw this paper to a close by approaching the subject briefly from a different angle. We have so far looked at the duties of the Muslim husband as spelled out in the Qur’an and seen how these points were expanded and added to in the Sunnah. We have also taken recorded incidents in the life of the Prophet (saws) as an illustration of an ideal Muslim husband in action.

Lastly, I approached the question “What is an ideal Muslim husband” by asking Muslim women to tell me what they thought.

To this end a questionnaire was passed to a random group of Muslim women, who informed me what they considered the most desirable qualities for an ideal Muslim husband to be.

To this end, a random group of 35 Muslim women living locally, mainly married ones were selected.

The five most important qualities scored 2 points each and the five next most important qualities scored 1 point each. The result is shown below:

Women’s Order of Priority in the Desirable Qualities of an Ideal Muslim Husband


  • 1st. A Pious Muslim 49
  • 2nd. Truthfulness and honesty 47
  • 3rd A good leader 40
  • 4th Justice and fairness 38
  • 5th Love of children 37
  • 6th Kindness and consideration 31
  • 7th Readiness to consult his wife 30
  • 8th Good manners 29
  • 9th Chastity and good morals 26
  • 10th Trustworthiness and reliability 25
  • 11th Avoids quarreling and beating 22
  • 12th Clean habits 20
  • 13th Strength of mind and will 19
  • 14th Gentleness 17
  • 15th Generosity 14
  • 16th A loving nature 16
  • 17th Ability to be contented with one wife 15
  • 18th Sense of humour 13
  • 19th Reasonableness 11
  • 20th Firmness 9
  • 21st Intelligence 8
  • 22nd Seriousness 7
  • 23rd Good looks 6
  • 24th Physical strength 4
  • 25th Wealth 1

This list of qualities is not of course comprehensive, and there are a few important omissions. However, it raises many interesting points for our brothers to consider in their endeavor to qualify as a potential or actual ideal Muslim husband.

Those who feared that by adhering to Islamic piety and moral standards they would frighten women away will see that they are actually at the top of the league.

This information also confirms the natural order of things referred to and upheld in the Qur’an, in that women do apparently want their men folk to lead and not be led. Leadership has to be deserved and qualified by all the other qualities mentioned in the upper part of the list, such as piety, truthfulness, fairness, kindness, consultation, good manners, good morals and so on.

It is interesting to go over in one’s mind the qualities of the Prophet (saws) mentioned in the earlier part of this paper and match them with this list to see how far the Prophet’s (saws) behavior to his wives demonstrates perfectly those qualities to which women give priority.

Therefore any man who wants to make a success of his marriage cannot go wrong if he takes as his model and example the practice of the blessed Prophet (saws).

For our brothers I pray for Allah to give them the faith and moral strength to attain those great qualities and thereby make a success of their marriages.

For our sisters I pray for Allah’s guidance to make each of us worthy of being the ideal wife of an ideal Muslim husband.

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Will that Muslim player marry you? 10 red flags to check for

Marriage red flags

Red flags

By Ibtahal Minhaj
Reprinted from

Sarah officially started her professional career by working in a small news agency in her city. As a fresh graduate she was profoundly happy about her new job. She felt as if her four years of hard work had finally started to pay off. Throughout her time at University she looked at couples roaming around and taking care of each other. However, she had also witnessed some painful ‘break-ups’ and detachments. – the reason Sarah never believed in love before marriage.

At her office her thinking started to change a little as she genuinely began to develop feelings for her boss. She felt as if he too liked her in the sincere sense. They became good friends and occasionally went for lunch together. The boss told Sarah that he will marry her after 3 years. Over a brief period of 15 days her affiliation grew stronger.

However, something irked her and that was his demand for physical contact. After a few pecks and hugs he apologized that he can’t convince his family for the marriage. Both of them agreed on remaining friendly colleagues, but even as professional friends the boss tried to provoke her for an illegal relation by requesting Sarah to meet at a private and secure place. This was an eye-opener for her and she realized that someone truly in love with her would never provoke her for such things. She knew that she had fallen for the wrong person.

Although she used to cry a lot and the detachment has left her emotionally traumatized, but Sarah implored Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) for His mercy and forgiveness. There was no one in her life to share this pain with.

Rabbi Zidnee Ilman
“My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.”

Dear Sisters in Islam, Sarah is not the only girl who has experienced this. Many girls have gone through even bitter experiences that have left them emotionally shattered. There are so many sisters who get trapped in this emotional abuse and regret afterwards, even while knowing that these attachments can be painful if not bound legally (i.e through Nikkah) girls still get caught up. The aim of this article is to share with you the 10 red flags which can tell you that a Muslim player won’t marry you and there is no point of indulging in activities that will lead you to nowhere in life.

1.He feels uncomfortable when you talk about marriage
Whenever you try to discuss with him the future of your marriage with him, he tries to change the topic and gets irritated. He also asks you to think about it when the time will come. He is more interested in planning out dates and enjoying secretively.

2. He doesn’t talk to your Wali
He insists on keeping the relationship as secret as possible. Claiming that he loves you with all his heart and wants the best for you in life, he still doesn’t talk to your Wali (father/guardian) about the possibility that he will take your responsibility in the future.

3. He hides your relationship with him
A Muslim man who truly loves you would never keep you like a filthy hidden part of his life that doesn’t deserved to be shown to the world. He doesn’t want to declare the relationship openly. If he hides you from his family and is afraid to confess his inclination towards you then understand that he doesn’t plan to marry you.

4. He asks for your photographs without proper hijab
Any man who would know that you will be his future wife would never asks you to stoop down to unethical levels. Every man dreams of a modest and chaste girl, how can he push his future life partner to embrace immodesty? Think about it!

Anybody, encouraging you with ‘haram’ can never be your well-wisher in life, let alone being a lover. If he is demanding under-dressed photographs then bear this in mind ‘he will never marry you’, no matter how tall his claims are. You will be a temporary temptation of his life. Every man wants his wife to act with a certain level of dignity, if you don’t belong to him, you definitely do belong to someone else, do not harm your dignity out of stupidity.

He's a player

He might be a player if…

5. He doesn’t care for your pain and worries
You are spending nights crying for him and hoping to hear just a few comforting words from him, but he is least bothered. This speaks volumes about his indifference towards you. A person who wishes to make you his spouse will own your pains and worries and have an empathetic approach.

6. Everything depends on his convenience
He talks when he wants to and ignores you for the rest of the time. This explains that you are just a leisure sport in his life. When he is too bored he decides to spend time with you.

7. With words
Genuine words aren’t hard to identify. He hasn’t even discussed the size of the wedding ring or told you about the dress he wants you to wear on Nikkah day – still you expect him to marry you – don’t get trapped!

8. Friends with Benefits
Some men use the word ‘friends’ to keep the relation going so that girls remain hooked up and they can enjoy their company. If he uses all chances to take advantage of you and even if it involves paying the bill at lunch then this is yet another red flag for you.

9. Doesn’t trust you with his secrets
If he is reluctant in discussing his past and doesn’t open up to you then believe it, you are not worthy enough. Had he been serious about including you in his life, he would’ve shared every single detail about himself. Not necessarily his past sins. But things that matter and life choices and incidences that are of importance.

10 Finally! When your ‘NO’ to his demands distance him from you
This is the final red flag and an evident one indeed. When you refuse to meet him alone or to fulfil his obscene demands, he would start distancing himself from you, just like a useless paper in his wallet.

Dear Sisters, falling in love the halal way is not wrong. Islam itself is a religion of love and compassion. You do have a right to decide who your future life partner will be, but getting involved in pre-marital physical bonding/infatuation will only lead to affliction. So maintain your chastity for the one who deserves you the most and promises to be your guardian for the rest of his life. As it is mentioned in the Holy Quran:

“Certainly will the believers have succeeded: They who are during their prayer humbly submissive. And they who turn away from ill speech. And they who are observant of Zakah. And they who guard their private parts. Except from their wives or those their right hands possess, for indeed, they will not be blamed. But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors”.
{Surah Al Muminun 23 : Verses 1-7}

Moreover, it is never too late to repent and retreat, if you have gone through this make sincere ‘Taubah’ and wait for the right man to hold your hand after signing the Nikkah papers ofcourse.  

May Allah bless you all with righteous spouses who will be the means of you entering Jannatul Firdous al Alaa.

Notes by Fakiha Hassan Rizvi
Edited by Ibtahal Minhaj

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10 ways to avoid marrying the wrong person

Arab Muslim couple

Arab Muslim couple

By Dr. Nafisa Sekandari & Hosai Mojaddidi
Source: Mental Health 4 Muslims

There is a right way and a wrong way to get to know someone for marriage.

The wrong way is to get caught up in the excitement and nuance of a budding relationship and in the process completely forget to ask the critical questions that help determine compatibility.

One of the biggest mistakes that many young Muslims make is rushing into marriage without properly and thoroughly getting to know someone.

A common myth is that the duration of a courtship is an accurate enough measure of how compatible two people are.  The logic follows that the longer you speak with someone, the better you will know them. The problem with that premise is that no consideration is given to how that time is spent. Increasingly, young Muslim couples are engaging in “halal dating,” which is basically socializing with each other in the company of friends and/or family. This includes going out to dinner, watching a movie, playing some sport or other leisure activity, etc.  Depending on the family or culture, conversations are either minimal & chaperoned or worse, unrestricted and unsupervised.

When you consider these  limitations it makes one wonder when exactly, if ever at all, would the critical conversations take place?  Unfortunately, for many, the answer is never and they live to suffer the consequences.  If you or someone you know is in the “getting to know someone” phase,  the following guide offers advice on exactly what to look for and avoid:

1) Do Not Marry Potential:  Oftentimes men consider marrying a woman hoping she never changes while a woman considers marrying a man she hopes she can change.  This is the wrong approach on both accounts.  Don’t assume that you can change a person after you’re married to them or that they will reach their potential.  There is no guarantee, after all, that those changes will be for the better. In fact, it’s often for the worse.

If you can’t accept someone or imagine living with them as they are then don’t marry them.  These differences can include a number of things such as ideological or practical differences in religion, habits, hygiene, communication skills, etc.

2) Choose Character over Chemistry:  While chemistry and attraction are no doubt important, character precedes them both. A famous quote follows, “Chemistry ignites the fire, but character keeps it burning.” The idea of falling “in love” should never be the sole reason for marrying someone; it is very easy to confuse infatuation and lust for love.  The most important character traits to look for include humility, kindness, responsibility, & happiness. Here’s a breakdown of each trait:

  • Humility: The humble person never makes demands of people but rather always does right by them. They put their values and principles above convenience and comfort.  They are slow to anger, are modest, and avoid materialism.
  • Kindness: The kind person is the quintessential giver. They seek to please and minimize the pain of others. To know if a person is a giver, observe how they treat their family, siblings, and parents. Do they have gratitude towards their parents for all that they’ve done for them? If not, then know that they will never appreciate what you do for them. How do they treat people they don’t have to be kind towards (i.e. waiters, sales associates, employees, etc)? How do they spend their money?  How do they deal with anger; their own anger and their reaction to someone else’s anger?
  • Responsibility: A responsible person has stability in their finances, relationships, job, and character.  You can you rely on this person and trust what they say.
  • Happiness: A happy person is content with their portion in life. They feel good about themselves and good about their life. They focus on what they have rather than on what they don’t have.  They very rarely complain.

3) Do Not Neglect The  Emotional Needs of Your Partner:  Both men and women have emotional needs and in order for a partnership to be successful those needs must be mutually met.

The fundamental emotional need of a woman is to be loved. To make a woman feel loved give her the three AAAs:  Attention, Affection, & Appreciation.

The fundamental emotional need of a man is to be respected and appreciated.  To make a man feel loved give him the three RRRs:  Respect, Reassurance, & Relief.

It is the obligation of each partner to make sure the other is happy and this extends to intimacy as well. As long as each partner is fulfilled by the emotional needs of the other, the intimate relationship will thrive.  When a man takes seriously the emotional needs of his wife she will feel more encouraged to fulfill his sexual desires. Likewise, when a woman takes seriously the emotional needs of her husband he will feel more encouraged to give her the affection, love and appreciation she wants from him. Working together in this way encourages both giving and receiving.

4) Avoid Opposing Life Plans:  In marriage you can either grow together or grow apart. Sharing a common purpose in life will increase the chance that you will grow together.

  • You must know what the person is into. In other words, what are they ultimately passionate about?  Then ask yourself, “Do I respect this passion?” “Do I respect what they are into?”
  • The more specifically you define yourself, i.e., your values, your beliefs, your lifestyle, the better chance you have of finding your life partner, your soul mate, the one you are most compatible with.
  • Remember, before you decide who to take along on a trip, you should first figure out your destination.

5) Avoid Pre-Marital Sexual/Physical Activity:

  • Recognize that there is incredible wisdom in why God has ordered us to refrain from intimacy before marriage; they are to prevent great harms as well as to keep sacred what is the most blessed part of a relationship between a man and a woman.
  • Aside from the obvious spiritual consequences, when a relationship gets physical before its time, important issues like character, life philosophy, and compatibility go to the wayside. Consequently, everything is romanticized and it becomes difficult to even remember the important issues let alone talk about them.
  • Intellectual commitment must be established before emotional or sexual commitment.

6) Avoid Lack of Emotional Connection:  There are four questions that you must answer YES to:

  • Do I respect and admire this person?  What specifically do I respect and admire about this person?
  • Do I trust this person?  Can I rely on them?  Do I trust their judgment?  Do I trust their word? Can I believe what they say?
  • Do I feel Safe?  Do I feel emotionally safe with this person?  Can I be vulnerable?  Can I be myself?  Can I be open?  Can I express myself?
  • Do I feel calm and at peace with this person?

If the answer is “I don’t know, I’m not sure, etc.” keep evaluating until you know for sure and truly understand how you feel. If you don’t feel safe now, you won’t feel safe when you are married.  If you don’t trust now, this won’t change when you are married!

7) Pay Attention to Your Own Emotional Anxiety: Choosing someone you don’t feel safe with emotionally is not a good recipe for a long-lasting and loving marriage.  Feeling emotionally safe is the foundation of a strong and healthy marriage.  When you don’t feel safe, you can’t express your feelings and opinions.

Learn how to identify whether you are in an abusive relationship.  If you feel you always have to monitor what you say, if you are with someone and you feel you can’t really express yourself and are always walking on eggshells, then it’s very likely you are in an abusive relationship.  Look for the following things:

  • Controlling behavior: This includes controlling the way you act, the way you think, the way you dress, the way you wear your hair/hijab and the way you spend your time.  Know the difference between suggestions and demands.  Demands are an expression of control and if the demands are implied, than you must do it or there will be consequences. All of these are clear indications of abusive personalities.
  • Anger issues: This is someone who raises their voice on a regular basis, who is angry, gets angry at you, uses anger against you, uses put downs, and curses at you, etc.  You don’t have to put up with this type of treatment.  Many people who tolerate this behavior usually come from abusive backgrounds.  If this is the case with you or someone you know, get help right away.  Deal with those issues before getting married or before even thinking about getting married.

8) Beware of Lack of Openness In Your Partner:  Many couples make the mistake of not putting everything on the table for discussion from the onset.  Ask yourself, “What do I need to know to be absolutely certain I want to marry this person?” “What bothers me about this person or the relationship?”

It’s very important to identify what’s bothering you, things that concern you, and things you are afraid to bring up for discussion. Then you must have an honest discussion about them. This is a great way to test the strength of your relationship. Bringing up issues when there’s conflict is a great opportunity to really evaluate how well you communicate, negotiate, and work together as a team.  When people get into power struggles and blame each other, it’s an indication they don’t work well as a team.

Also important is being vulnerable around each other. Ask deep questions of each other and see how your partner responds.  How do they handle it?  Are they defensive?  Do they attack?  Do they withdraw?  Do they get annoyed?  Do they blame you?  Do they ignore it?  Do they hide or rationalize it?  Don’t just listen to what they say but watch for how they say it!

9) Beware of Avoiding Personal Responsibility: It’s very important to remember no one else is responsible for your happiness. Many people make the mistake of thinking someone else will fulfill them and make their life better and that’s their reason for getting married.  People fail to realize that if they are unhappy as a single person, they will continue to be miserable when they are married.  If you are currently not happy with yourself, don’t like yourself, don’t like the direction your life is going now, it’s important to take responsibility for that now and work on improving those areas of your life before considering marriage.  Don’t bring these issues into your marriage and hope your partner will fix them.

10) Watch Out For Lack of Emotional Health and Availability In Your Potential Partner:  Many people choose partners that are not emotionally healthy or available. One huge problem is when a partner is unable to balance the emotional ties to family members, the marriage ends up having 3 (or more) people in it rather than two. An example of this would be if a man is overly dependent on his mother and brings that relationship into the marriage; this is no doubt a recipe for disaster.  Also important to consider are the following:

  • Avoid people who are emotionally empty inside.  These include people who don’t like themselves because they lack the ability to be emotionally available. They are always preoccupied with their deficiencies, insecurities, and negative thoughts.  They are in a perpetual fight with depression, never feel good, are isolated, are critical and judgmental; tend to not have any close friends, and often distrust people or are afraid of them.  Another clear indication about them is they always feel their needs are not getting met; they have a sense of entitlement and feel angry when they feel people should take care of them and they don’t.  They feel burdened by other people’s needs and feel resentment towards them.  These people can not be emotionally available to build healthy relationships.
  • Addictions can also limit the level of availability of the partner to build a strong emotional relationship.  Never marry an addict.  Addictions are not limited to drugs and alcohol.  They can be about addictions and dependency on work, internet, hobbies, sports, shopping, money, power, status, materialism, etc.  When someone has an addiction, they will not and can not be emotionally available to develop an intimate relationship with you!

Additional Points to Consider:

  1. The fact is no one looks 25 forever.  Ultimately, we love the person we marry for more than their appearance.  When we get to know someone we love and admire, we’ll love them for their inner beauty and overall essence.
  2. Once we find someone, we consciously or subconsciously want so badly for it all to work that we decide not to question or see what is clearly in front of our eyes: they were rude to the waiter, speaks ill of others, is rude to you, etc.  We don’t stop to ask, “What does all of this mean about their character?”
  3. Never separate someone from their family, background, education, belief system, etc.  Asking clear questions can clarify this.  Ask questions like, “What does it mean to have a simple lifestyle?” “What are your expectations of marriage?”  “How would you help around the house?” Compare your definition with theirs.
  4. Be flexible.  Be open-minded!
  5. Giving in a happy marriage should not be confused with martyrdom.  It should be about taking pleasure and seeing the other person as happy because of your connection with them.
  6. Morality and spirituality are the qualities that truly define someone in addition to beauty, money, and health.  The morally upright and spiritual person will stand by your side during adversity and hardship.  If someone isn’t God-conscience and doesn’t take themselves into account with God then why should you expect them to fulfill their rights owed to you? The ideal partner is someone who considers giving a gain and not causing a loss.  Having a mutual and shared spiritual relationship will foster a successful marriage.  Furthermore, a successful marriage is one that keeps the laws of family purity which require a certain degree of self-control and self-discipline, as well as the belief that the physical side of the relationship includes the spiritual and emotional side as well.  Finding commonality and balance between the spiritual and emotional aspects of a relationship is a strong key to a healthy and thriving marriage.
The above article was [in part] inspired by and adapted from a presentation by Rabbi Dov Heller, M.A.
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5 ways you are unknowingly destroying your husband and killing your marriage

Muslim husband and wife

Muslim couple

You might be surprised to figure out you are doing these five destructive things that will ultimately ruin your relationship with your spouse.

By Katelyn Carmen
Reprinted from

When I got married, I was amazed at the instant, overwhelming sense of responsibility I felt to love and care for my husband. Suddenly, a huge part of someone else’s well-being and happiness was largely affected by my choices and actions.

Women, we need to be careful about how we are caring for our husbands and marriages. Don’t let the small stuff ruin the things that will bring you the greatest happiness in life.

Here are just a few ways you might be unknowingly destroying your husband and killing your marriage (as a caveat, please understand that although this article is directed toward women, it applies to men as well):

1. Living outside of what you can afford

A wise old woman from my church congregation once advised: “The best thing you can do as a wife is to live within your husband’s means.”

Wives, show sincere appreciation and respect to your husband by carefully following a budget and making the most of what you have. Be wise about your finances.

Constantly complaining about not having enough to fulfill your lavish desires or racking up astronomical amounts of debt on your credit card is a poor way of saying “thank you” to a faithful spouse who works hard every day to provide for the family.

Yes, you may not have enough to buy that Kate Spade bag you’ve had your eyes on for months, but your husband will love and appreciate the fact that you honor him and are grateful for what he provides.

2. Constant negativity

You hate your hair, the messes around the house, the neighbor across the street, your dumb co-worker, the old dishwasher, and everything in between. As soon as your husband walks through the door, you launch into action and dump every negative and angry thought that’s crossed your mind throughout the day.

Can you imagine having to carry that burden? Negativity is draining. Men like to fix things, and constantly being hounded with complaints makes it difficult for him to help solve your pains.

If there is one thing I’ve learned from marriage is that a good man wants you to be happy, and if he can’t help you do that, it makes him unhappy. It’s okay to have a bad day once in a while, that’s totally understandable, but don’t make it a way of life.

3. Putting everything else first

When your children, mom, best friends, talents, or career in front of your husband, you send a clear message to him that he is unimportant. Imagine having that message sent to you every day for many years. What would that do to your self esteem?

Put your husband first.

Although it sometimes seems counter-intuitive and counterproductive, I think you’d be amazed to find that it’s often the key to the greatest happiness in marriage. So many couples get divorced these days, because they neglect to care and love one another and put each other first.

If you choose to put each other first, you will find a lot of joy.

4. Withholding physical affection

Men crave and need physical affection with their wives. When you constantly decline intimacy, it wears on them.

Sex should not be used as a tool to control your spouse; it should be viewed as a sacred tool to draw you closer to one another and to God.

It is a great blessing to be wanted and needed by a loving, romantic husband who wants to share something so beautiful and important with you — and you only. Even though you might not always be in the mood, it’s worth it to give in (when you can) and spend that time bonding.

5. Not speaking his language

Women love to drop hints. (I think it’s part of our DNA.) But men just don’t get them. (I think that is a part of their DNA.)

Don’t waste your time giving subtle hints that he won’t understand: Speak plainly to him. Be honest about your feelings, and don’t bottle things up until you burst. If he asks you what’s wrong, don’t respond with “nothing” and then expect him to read your mind and emotions. Be open about how you really feel.

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The problem with Muslim weddings today – and three crazy ideas for fixing it!

So crazy, it just might work!

So crazy, it just might work!

Author Unknown – Edited by for clarity

Assalamu Alaykom wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh,

So here goes…

There’s a disturbing pattern/tendency to be found in Muslim weddings these days. People waste too much money!

The Prophet, peace be upon him, said that the least blessed weddings/waleemas are the ones were the rich are invited and the poor are not. And these days we’re seeing people who are spending tens of thousands of pounds on a wedding and they’re only inviting SOME of their friends.

Just some.

So it’s not just that they’re only inviting their friends, it’s that they’re inviting SOME of them.

This is really quite sad.

And of course, because they’re only inviting some, they don’t want to offend the others, so they don’t even tell them until AFTER the big event.

Which is even more offensive !

That’s the irony of lacking approval though – you get that which you were trying to run away from.

Why do they do this ?

1. “It’s MY big day.”

Actually, in Islam, the waleema is supposed to be for ish-har (to make the knowledge of your union public)
… so actually, it’s the community’s day.

Secondly, who benefits more? You or the hotel that’s receiving your 10 grand? So it’s not your big day, it’s the hotel’s big day.

2. “I want this to be the best day of my life!”

Are you sure about that? There will inshaAllah be many more days after you get married. Are you sure that you want them to be not as good as the day of your wedding?! Sounds like a bad deal to me!

And it probably will be the best day of your life with that attitude:

  • you will lose friends
  • the husband and his family, and maybe even the bride’s family are now steeped in debt and the stress makes it hard to enjoy your actual marriage and each others company!

3. “We can’t afford to invite everyone.”

Well, sure, if you’re giving all your money to a 5-star hotel, then it’s going to be kinda hard to invite everyone. They charge you per seat, so now people even say ‘no children’. Cos why should they pay for a full adult meal when the 3 yr old isn’t going to eat a full meal – let alone even know what’s happening! So now parents have to decide which one of their children goes and which one stays. Or they just respect themselves and none of them go.

The above 3 points and all their sub-points are just SOME of the problems that come with modern day marriages.

Just some.

Now imagine it differently:

Imagine that you didn’t so badly lack approval for yourself that you needed to be Cinderella.

Imagine that you didn’t lack approval for yourself that you felt obliged to pay so much money just to prove that “you’re worth it” (just buy some Loreal shampoo!)

Now here are three “crazy” ideas for fixing the whole problem:

1. Have the wedding in the mosque

  1. You give that same $10,000 you were going to spend to a mosque, even though they would only ask for $1,000 or $2,000.
  2. Non-Muslim friends come and it’s dawah.
  3. The mosque benefits and is able to provide more services.
  4. You are rewarded for every person that prays during your wedding, that wouldn’t have in the hotel.
  5. It’s still much cheaper than a hotel.

2. Employ Muslims

You want the place to look amazing, so why not employ low-wage local Muslims to set the hall up for you? You’ll be making their lives MUCH easier with that additional money and whoever brings a smile to a Muslim family, Allah (swt) finds NOTHING to give him/her worthy of that smile that’s less than JANNAH!

… no actually, maybe you want to do it in that big hotel and only invite 50 of your closest friends/family and fight about who gets invited !!! (sarcasm).

The thing about Hollywood weddings is that most of them end in divorce. …Good luck with that !

3. Don’t pay per head !

Just go to a Muslim catering company and ask to feed 300 people. It’ll come to the same price as the 50 that the hotel were going to charge you for! And all those people will make dua for you, and the barakah will mean that 300 people’s worth of food will probably feed about 700 !! … rich and poor.

Or… get the local Muslim community to cook it for you !! Buy high quality food, organic chicken, nice lamb, organic vegetables, and get them to cook it for you !

Pay them per hour. That’s even cheaper, and you’re employing your brothers and sisters, and the community becomes cohesive.

SubhanAllah… marriage.

Marriage… that which is meant to bring two families together and glue society together has now become a reason not to invite people !!

That’s disgusting.

There’s something else:  Why should you invite people by name? Why should you pay stupid money to print cards and then deliver them ? Facebook, tweet, tell everyone to tell everyone else… and make it an open invite.

If anyone finds this offensive (that they didn’t receive a card)… well you could employ your local gangster to stand by you on your big day and to answer those people back for you.

And don’t just invite the poor Muslims. Take it even further! How many homeless NON-MUSLIMS exist within the district/area that the mosque resides in? There are homeless people two streets away from the white house ! I’m sure there are some near your mosque too! In Western countries, these homeless people will see the joy that comes from Muslims…

… THIS is dawah.

NOT annoying people on the street with a stall:   “What if you die tonight as you think about it? … say the shahadah now !!!”

lol. such low calibre dawah. Better than no dawah I guess.

Marriage. Everyone repeats with an accent as they bop their heads left to right: “marriage is half of your path.” Do it this way and the blessings from it will create your akhira (here-after) insha Allah. Bless your union, bless your life, bless your community, bless your here-after … with a blessed wedding. (the opposite is true also).

Learn to think this way by eliminating your whims and desires.

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Is this the best mahr in the world?

Muslim woman signs marriage contract

Muslim bride signs the marriage contract.

Hiba Ammar writes:

When my father proposed to my mother, he dedicated Surah Al-Imran, which he memorized by heart, as her “Mahr” (dowry).

Many years later, when my husband proposed to me, my father told him that he would have to memorize a surah of the Quran as my mahr. The wedding would not take place unless I received my mahr.

I was asked to pick one of the surahs. I chose Surah Al-Noor, for all the laws that surah contained within it and for the fact that it seemed hard to memorize on my behalf.

Before our wedding day, besides being busy preparing for our “newlywed nest”, my husband was constantly memorizing Quran. The Quran did not leave my husband’s hand an entire month as he was memorizing the surah.

A few days before our wedding day, my husband came to recite to my father the surah which he had completed.

My father told him every time you make a mistake, you must start from the beginning all over again :))

My husband began reciting Surat Al-Noor with his calm and gentle voice in such a beautiful scene which I will never forget. My mother and I would look at one another and would smile awaiting my husband to make a mistake so he would have to start all over again and by that increase my reward.

But my husband – may Allah bless him – had memorized the surah by heart and didn’t forget one single verse.

Once he finished my father hugged him and said to him: “Today I shall marry my daughter to you, for you have fulfilled her mahr and your pledge to me.”

He didn’t pay me a financial mahr… And we didn’t buy gold worth tens of thousands. He sufficed me with Allah’s words as an oath/contract between us.

The question is…. I wonder what surah my daughter will chose as her mahr in the future? Editor’s Comments:

What do you think of this practice? Some have pointed out that the mahr is required in Islam because it provides some financial security to the bride in case of divorce. Therefore reciting a surah a as a mahr bypasses this important function.

Also, a substantial monetary mahr may restrain the husband from divorcing too quickly or in a moment of anger, as he will lose his investment, so to speak.

Others feel that in a world consumed by materialism and greed, this practice reminds us of what is truly important. It also avoids placing an undue burden on a young groom who may not be wealthy or who is just getting started in his career.

What do you say, readers?

Wael Editor

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Stop Marrying Cousins!

Muslim couple enjoying an evening together

By Wael Abdelgawad |

The religious and cultural barriers between men and women in the Muslim world (especially in the Arab world and the Indian subcontinent) make it difficult and even impossible to meet marriage partners outside one’s immediate circle. On the other hand, people see their cousins at family functions and are able to interact with them and get to know them. So they end up developing attachments and falling for their cousins.

The other thing that happens is that families arrange cousin marriages as a way of keeping wealth inside the family circle, or because they don’t trust outsiders, or as an expression of extreme racism and caste-consciousness.

The problem is that persistent cousin marriage is unhealthy for the children and for society.

Increased Chance of Birth Defects

I’m totally against first cousin marriage. For one thing, first cousin marriages have a statistically higher chance of resulting in children with serious birth defects. This is especially true when consecutive generations of first cousins marry.

A study of Pakistani families in Britain – which are known to have high rates of first cousin marriage – found a double than normal rate of children with congenital abnormalities. Six percent of all Pakistani-origin babies in the study had birth defects. Six percent!

I personally know of one married couple – first cousins – whose son is severely autistic, and another couple whose son is badly deformed and mentally retarded. Inbreeding causes a wide variety of maladies, collectively known as inbreeding depression.

Mad Royals

When we read about the royals and emperors of the past, so many of them were psychotic, retarded or physically deformed. The insanity of kings wasn’t just power madness. It was the result of persistent inbreeding among royal families.

King Charles II of Spain was a well-known example. He was severely disfigured from birth with a huge elongated head, a misshapen body and a jaw that could not close. He was considered an idiot and was given no education. Carlos’ relatives all died leaving him the throne and an over-bearing mother to rule in his stead. He thought of himself as bewitched because of his suffering, but today most of what he suffered would have been recognized as a result of inbreeding. Fortunately he was also infertile, and his death ended the Habsburg line forever.

History is replete with such stories of mad, inbred royals.

Narrow Mindedness and Tribalism

Beyond the increased incidence of birth defects, persistent cousin marriage leads to inbred mental attitudes, if you will. I’ve noticed that cultures that consistently interbreed tend to be narrow minded and tribal. They are closed off to new ways of thinking and doing things, closed off to different cultures, and suspicious of outsiders in general, even when those “outsiders” are Muslims.

If you examine the particular cultures that have the highest rates of cousin marriage, you’ll find that they are societies that are highly fragmented into castes, tribes, and religious sects. In some cases these societies are wracked by violence. I’m not saying that cousin marriage is responsible for that, but it’s reflective of a wider xenophobia in these societies.

Use Common Sense

Obviously Islam has allowed cousin marriage, so I’m not saying it should be banned. Remote tribes with small populations have no choice but to engage in cousin marriage. The occasional cousin marriage is not a problem. It’s when it becomes a persistent pattern that problems emerge.

There are many things that are allowed in Islam that are nevertheless unhealthy. One would not eat fried foods and half a pound of salt every day and expect to remain healthy. We know that constant overexposure to the sun can cause skin cancer. Yet these things are not haram. We must use common sense when making important life decisions.

We need to open our eyes and look beyond our own families for marriage partners. We must build bonds among the Ummah, bring in fresh blood and share our unique cultural traditions. The world is wide, and full of new and exciting cultures. Let’s open our minds and embrace people outside our circle. In doing so we will have healthier children Insha’Allah, and a healthier Ummah.

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3 Problems with Muslim Weddings Today

Muslim couple saying a dua' (prayer) at their wedding.

Muslim couple saying a dua’ (prayer) at their wedding.

By Ajmal Masroor
September 1, 2013

What’s wrong with our weddings?

This month I have attended many weddings and I have invitations for many more. I am invited to conduct the nikah for most of these marriages. I thoroughly enjoy getting people married as this brings people of various backgrounds together and most importantly it unites two people in love and commitment. Marriage is the only way we can maintain a healthy and sustainable society. There should be more weddings and we should celebrate that.

However, I have noticed three terribly disturbing things in wedding celebrations in our community:

1. The wastage and extravagance: Many of these wedding functions cost tens of thousands of pounds. People vie for outdoing each other in wedding halls, décor, costumes, wedding dress, wedding cars, jewelry, and gifts. I have even seen people hiring helicopters to arrive at their weddings! The food is the most expensive part in these functions. Yet in most cases the over spicy and greasy food causes great distress with indigestion, heartburn and other digestive complications!

I can understand people spending reasonable amounts of money to make their special day memorable but spending to show off is certainly in total contradiction to the spirit of weddings in Islam. People should always spend within their means but I am hearing people are borrowing huge amounts of money from banks, remortgaging their properties or using multiple credit cards to pay for their wedding bills.

If marriage is an act of worship in Islam and is performed to seek the Grace and Blessings of God, surely contravening the principles of God would be the cause of disgrace and misery. The question is, are all these expenses for one day of celebration really worth the heart ache and waste?

Allah warns us against those who waste and are extravagant. He calls them the partners of Shaytan (the devil). “Eat and drink, and do not be wasteful or extravagant.” And in another verse he says, “surely the wasteful and extravagant are partners of the devil”. You can never buy true happiness with money or materials. The true happiness is found in moderation, humility and selflessness. Marital bliss is embodied in the spiritual and physical heart of two people coming together to create a safe space for their emotional, physical and spiritual journey and growth. It is in this safe and tranquil space God bestows part of His Love (Mawadda) and Mercy (Rahma). You can never buy this with money. Weddings should always be modest!

Too late


2. Atrocious timekeeping: I went to a recent wedding where the guests were asked to arrive by 1pm and I was told to be there at 1.30pm at the latest.

Unfortunately the bridegroom didn’t turn up until after 4.00 and the bride until 5 and lunch around 5.30pm. People were hungry, kids were distraught and to make things even more complicated, the event was organized outdoor in blazing heat of the sun. There were elderly people who were suffering from diabetes and were feeling their blood sugar level altering to alarming levels.

I asked one of the organisers about the reasons for the delay and any indication of time. I was told it was an Asian wedding, what do I expect?

There is no excuse that can justify this rotten culture of bad time keeping. It has become so acceptable that everyone assumes everyone else will be late and they deliberately set off late for such functions. Unfortunately the Muslim community has gained notoriety for the abuse of time to such a degree that now many people would ask, if the event is following GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) or GMT (generous Muslim time)? It is a disgrace that people do not keep to time and it is terrible that Islam has been tarnished by the attitude of some Muslims.

I have learned from waiting for hours, I ask those who invite me to conduct their Islamic Marriage ceremony to give me the precise time. Sometimes they complain about the Imam being late for their ceremonies. Lateness is bad but Imams turning up late is very disturbing. I have been told that many imams do not turn up on time, and that is the reason the families give an earlier time so that Imam would arrive on time. I was very sad to hear that and I make it my duty to arrive on time.

There is a direct connection between time and God. We should all remember that God is time and to abuse time is to abuse God. Not keeping to time disturbs other people’s programme and causes unnecessary pain. I remember I had to leave a wedding reception event recently without performing the Nikah because the bride and the groom were 4 hours late.

3. Too many pretentious people: I have attended so many weddings in my life and have met so may amazing people who are genuine and are truly great inspiration. I have also met people who are extremely pretentious and fake. I have failed to understand the real merit in such people.

Many people attend weddings for the wrong reasons. Some attend purely to show off. They wear clothes for people to take notice of them. They wear luxurious suits or dresses for people to recognize their wealth. They talk in the most artificial manner and worse they pretend to be your best friend.

Wedding celebration is all about bringing friends and families together to rejoice in the physical and spiritual union of two hearts. The heart is ruined when artificiality and pretense is at play. People who vie for false attention contaminate the wonderful blessings contained in marriage. Such people attend weddings for promoting themselves. They will make deriding comments about the décor; they would snigger at other people, complain about the food, provide unsolicited advice, be critical for the smallest thing and demand to be the centre of attention.

I can spot such people from miles away. I do not enjoy their company and it is hard for me to pretend to be unaware of their pretentiousness. They really lack confidence but pretend to have loads of it. They are in constant need for attention and other people’s approval. They do not have sophistication but pretend to be most cultured and sophisticated. You can notice this in the way they dress and their mannerism. Unfortunately, weddings tend attract such people.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy conducting nikah and attending the celebrations. I thoroughly enjoy meeting and talking to people but I do not like phony people and I do not like people who live to showoff. I long for simple, classy, naturally managed, time maintained and unpretentious wedding celebrations. I desperately look forward to easy, relaxing, entertaining and fun filled weddings. You don’t need to dress to impress or seek other people’s approval to have fun. Wedding celebration does not need extravagance, wastefulness and pretentiousness.

© Ajmal Masroor September 1, 2013. Reprinted here with the author’s permission.

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Conversations with a Pregnant Wife, Part 3: What’s in a Name?

Choosing a baby name.

Choosing a baby name is not always easy.

By Yasser Aboudouma
Writer, Civil Engineer – Egypt

Part 1: “Honey, I have a craving!”
Part 2: Watch out, she’s moody!

Husbands, you have reached the final stage of the pregnancy marathon! The last three months of pregnancy can be called the months of mass destruction. The pregnant wife will be fond of knowing the baby’s gender; you too, of course. She will start shopping for the baby. She will have emotional “alterations” — in some cases, depression!

Month Seven (Boy/Girl)

Sure, the doctor can tell the baby’s gender. It is common in Egypt that most families dream that the first baby is a boy, which means your wife will dream of that too

Wife: That doctor is really weird. She is telling us “may be a boy, may be a girl.” What does she mean that the baby can be a girl? I want a baby boy, and all my friends and family are prepared for that. If we had gone to a male doctor from the beginning, he would have told us, easily, whether the baby is a girl or a boy.

Wife: Huh! I need to think about baby girl names. What you do think? Layla, Dalia, or Du`aa’? or let’s call her after my close friend. You know, I want her name to be unique — something that combines Arab, Egyptian, Western, Islamic, and Pharaonic cultures all in one name!

Husband: (teasing her) Don’t worry about the name. we’ll give her the name “Saffron.” I’ll complete all the official paperwork before you leave the operation room after delivery.

Wife: WHAT? Saf … what? No, please. Let me choose her name. I want to name her after my mom, your mom, or your sister — just don’t choose that name.

Of course, the name choice argument will give you some power to control her mood, but remember, don’t use it too much ; otherwise, you will find yourself flying out of the window!

Month Eight (Clothes)

Various researches describe this month in different ways, but they all agree that the pregnant woman wants to buy the entire world for her baby. She will feel jealous if she knows or hears about other mothers buying something for their babies, and she will do her best to buy the same or better. You as a husband have to accept that and get prepared to spend your savings on it. Husbands, never ever dream of saying “no” or complaining if she asks for baby shopping.

Wife: My colleague came to work with her baby today, and the baby wore a very sweet, pretty outfit that made her look like a princess. In the evening, I’ll go shopping.

Husband: OK! We can shop at the weekend.

Wife: Thank you, honey. I knew you would agree, so today I bought fancy brand-name clothes for her from that famous store. Our daughter must get the best!

Husband: I thought we were going to do the shopping together.

Wife: Don’t worry. There’s still a lot to buy. Hey, see this is a shampoo for the baby when she sleeps and that shampoo is for when she wakes up. These are diapers from the US, and this is a brush for her hair.

Husband: WHAT? Shampoo for what? How do you know that the baby wants to sleep or not to and how to decide ahead of time which shampoo to use? You might bathe her with shampoo used for waking up and then she will want to sleep… oh yes, then you’ll wake her up quickly and give her a shower with the right shampoo?

Who told you that the baby will be born with hair; as I understand it, a lot of babies are born without any hair, so that hairbrush is useless. In addition, why did you buy diapers made in the US? What’s wrong with the ones made in Egypt? It’s just a diaper, not a fancy thing!

Wife: Arrrgh! Don’t worry, babies know the right shampoo! She’ll sense which is the correct one and then act accordingly; that’s what’s written on the bottle. And I got the US-made diapers because I want my daughter to feel unique. Anyway, I bought three towels for the baby, one to use after shower, the second to dry her as the first one will be wet, and the third to cover her the second we are sure she is properly dried. Also, I got her hair clips, skin cream — one for night and the other for the morning, three pair of shoes, socks, underwear, and four dresses.

Husband: Are you sure you’re shopping for a baby, not a girl who is getting ready for marriage?! By the way, did you buy her a make-up box? There’s something especially for babies. You have to run to buy it now, and don’t forget the baby’s teeth brush, too!

Muslim family

Wife: Oh my God! You’re right, I really forgot that. I’ll arrange with my mom and sister to go out with me to complete my shopping.

Wife: By the way, you have to be more careful; my close friend told me that anger and nervousness are not good for pregnancy. Today at the meeting, all my colleagues were perfectly behaved; once any one just thought about arguing with me, I told them that I was in the eighth month and the baby would be delivered prematurely if I argue! There were no arguments, and the meeting ended in 10 minutes!

Husband: I think you’ll get fired soon.

Days pass slowly, and the pregnant wife returns home with many things she bought from different stores. The husband gets used to seeing his wife sitting on the floor and spreading all the baby’s stuff around her to check, kiss, hug them and find out what is missing!

Month Nine

Husbands, congratulations! You’re in the ninth month. You have waited eight months to reach that final month. You controlled your temper throughout, you worked and helped with the housework, And you are tired; you deserve some relaxation.

The pregnant wife knows that the time of her being spoiled will end; finally, she will be responsible for a baby, so she will start acting as poorly, trying to show you that she is weak and powerless. Do understand that she is worried about delivering her baby — it is her first time, and she knows virtually nothing about giving birth. So you will have to –be, even more, patient!

Wife: Honey, I feel sorry for you! The past eight months have been very hard for you. I rarely cooked and you stopped eating dinner, while your breakfast was just a cake; you lost 20 kg. I have to cook today. I’ll make a surprise for you. I’ll boil some eggs and prepare white cheese, but would you please prepare the salad for us?!

Husband: … .

Wife: Do you think I’ll deliver the baby naturally or will there be a C-section? You know, most of my pregnant friends had a cesarean. Maybe my doctor will deliver it naturally as she is a female doctor.

Husband: Ah yep, but the doctor’s gender doesn’t affect the type of delivery.

Wife: Anyway, I prepared two suite cases for the baby and me.

A natural phenomenon: All pregnant women become nice and kind to their husbands just a few days before giving birth. So be careful, because that kindness will turn to hell if you were at work while she starts labor.

Wife: OHHH, HELP! Mom, Father, Brother, Sister, Uncles, Aunts, United Nations, Egyptian people, the Universe, … any one! Help me, I’m in pain! The baby!

Wife: (addressing her husband) Honey, I’m in pain, tell that doctor to give me any painkiller. I can’t handle it any more. I feel weak. Promise me if anything happens to me, never ever get married again! Don’t give our baby a stepmother. Please, promise me!

Husband: You’ll be fine, and everything will be OK. It happens to all women; you’re not the first one. Just a few minutes from now, and you’ll hold in your arms a sweet baby girl.

Wife: Did you bring a video camera with you? Don’t take any shots from my left-hand side; my right side is more photogenic! Choose good angles for the shots, I want to look pretty in the video. Take shots while I’m not screaming and before my face appears in the video screen, just tell me to smile.

Husband: We’re recording the birth of our baby, not making a movie! You’ll be in the operation room, and you won’t care about anything of that sort.

Wife: Labor hurts. I’m crazy and stupid; I don’t want to get pregnant again. This is the first and last time. If anyone had told me about that pain, I would’ve never thought about marriage.

A big scream from the pregnant woman calls for the baby to come out and get introduced into this world to join the mother’s community.

Wife: Honey, what is the gender of the baby?

Husband: What? The baby is a girl. We knew that a long time ago.

Wife: Yipeeee… I thought the doctor would change her mind. Is she pretty?

He: (Teasing her) Who, the doctor? Yes, very.

Wife: No, silly! I mean the baby.

Husband: Oh! yes, she’s very, very pretty.

Wife: OK, next time we’ll have a baby boy. Now tell them I want to hold her.

Husband: (in amazement) Next time? You just said … You were … What happened? Women! Women! Women!

Husbands, don’t worry. Pregnant women are all like that — in a state of confusion and amazement. And they will continue to be like that until the last second of their lives. Congratulations!

Part 1: Honey, I Have a Craving!
Part 2:  Watch Out, She’s Moody!
Part 3:  What’s in a Name?


Yasser Aboudouma is an Egyptian-Canadian who lives between Cairo and Ontario. He holds a B.Sc. in engineering and a diploma in project management. He is interested in issues of social and cultural differences.

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From Heinz 57 to Islam

Heinz 57 ketchup

Before Islam, Mary was a “Heinz 57” of religion Editor’s comment: I want to state clearly that I don’t approve of the way sister Mary went about things here. She and Ahmed carried on a secret affair and were unfaithful to their spouses (in spirit, if not in deed). I understand that she was abused by her first husband, and I’m happy that things worked out for her, Alhamdulillah – if indeed they have worked out. But it could easily have been disastrous. She could have ended up in a secret relationship, not given her full rights, and with a new husband she could not trust. With that said, here’s the story:

By Mary Farrag

Reprinted from

Before reverting to Islam I was, well, let’s say Heinz 57 (Editor’s note: for those of you not familar with American colloquialisms, Heinz 57 is a sauce with a lot of different ingredients – in other words, a mix).

I was baptized Catholic, made my confirmation as a Lutheran, and we attended whatever church was near to our house. Which probably turned out to be a good thing.

I left my family’s house when I was the age of 17. As soon as I graduated from high school, I moved into the one bedroom apartment that my boyfriend had. We only lived there for a very short time. Then we moved to a larger apartment.

At this time I really wasn’t going to church anymore because I was too busy working for God. My boyfriend wasn’t religious at all. Actually he was agnostic. Always, he needed things proven to him.

Well, eventually we married but never had any children. We stayed together a total of 18 years.

I didn’t know anything about Islam at all until my current husband wanted to start chatting with me. We were both using a program called Freetel. I don’t think it is even available anymore.

I was used to chatting with many people but never chatted with an Arab. One night I saw on the top of the screen: Ahmed is Calling. I had never even heard of this name before, so I was reluctant to accept the chat.

After a few times of him trying to call me, I accepted. We started off with the usual chat. Where are you from? Are you married? Do you have any children? Then we continued from there.

We were both very unhappy in our marriages. So we became friends. After six months of chatting everyday, I decided that I needed to know this man that I was now in love with. So I came to Egypt and stayed for 23 days.

It was confirmed that yes, we were actually in love. Neither one of us could imagine this was true. We toured most places in Cairo and some parts of Alexandria. At this time, I still didn’t know very much about Islam.

So after the 23 days, I returned to USA. My visit to Cairo confirmed what I needed to do. I needed to get a divorce from my current American husband.

He was very bad to me. He physically and emotionally abused me. During the next six months I was away from Ahmed and fell into a very deep depression.

Learning About Islam

Also during that time, Ahmed, now my husband, started to tell me about Islam. I was interested in anything he had to say.

I was working for low income public housing at the time of all of this. One day, one of my tenants came into the office to pay her monthly rent. Her name is Aminah.

She said to me “Miss Mary, you look different, something has changed in you.”

I told her about my trip and how I was in love with an Egyptian man who was a Muslim. She said that it was so cool. She said that her mom also is a Muslim and she asked me if I would like to meet her mom.

So I agreed and I met Rashida and we instantly got along. She also was a revert, but had reverted 25 years ago. So we started to meet more often, and she also started to teach me about Islam. So between Ahmed and Rashida, I became very interested in Islam.

I started to also study on my own. I started to go to meet Rashida; she had a shop that sells incense, oils and Islamic clothing. So now I was on my way with Islam.

One day I asked my husband-to-be, Ahmed, if he was going to make me become Muslim? On my trip here to Cairo, we got engaged, even though he was still married. So, he said “Mary, look I love you, but I can not make you become Muslim”.

He said, “That is between you and Allah.”

This is exactly what I needed to hear. So, Rashida started to take me to many places where Muslim sisters were. I loved them. They were so nice and peaceful and loving.

Declaring Shahadah

So 3 days before I was to move to Egypt to marry Ahmed, which was 6 more months after getting engaged to him, I called Rashida and told her that I wanted to become Muslim.

She told me to come to her and bring a hijab. So off I was to Rashida’s house. We stood outside on her balcony and she started to say “Ash Hado An La Ilaha IlaAllah”. I said, “Wait, please.”

She said, “Ahh, you have changed your mind.”

I said, “No, no, wait.” I went into my purse and took out my cell phone and called Ahmed in Cairo .

I said, “Ahmed, I want you to hear something.”

He said, “What is that?”

I said, “Here, listen.”

So Rashida said, “Ash Hado An La Ilaha IlaAllahwa Ash hado anna Mohammadan Rasollah,” and I repeated after her word for word.

I started to cry and heard Ahmed crying on the mobile and looked at Rashida and she was crying, Masha’Allah. So then I left Rashida and went home, took my ghusl (special shower). I am sure I did it wrong but Allah knew my niyyah (intention).

So then three days after, I came off the plane. I didn’t tell Ahmed that I wore the hijab.

I walked past him just a little to see if he would know me.

He didn’t, so I walk back and said, “Excuse me, are you waiting for someone?”

He looked at me and just kept saying, “SubhanAllah”, maybe four or five times. I thought he was going to have a coma. I told his friends to watch him until I came past the people to make sure he wouldn’t fall.

Then we were off to get married.

So that is basically my story of coming to Islam. It was so hard for me in the beginning, but now I am so happy and thankful to Allah for guiding me to the straight path.

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