Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine’s Day



I want to talk about love. I want to talk about the cliché love, the boy and girl love. I know there are other kinds of love out there, such as the love for our Creator and Master, love to our prophet Muhammad (saw), our parents, sisters etc. But today I want to talk about boy meets girl.

For some of you who think that romance cease to exist for people who are married, oh boy oh boy have I got a bubble to burst for you. I’ve met so many uncle and aunties telling me that once you get married, life gets really tough and all your fantasies and bubbles are burst. And although I never experienced that, because I thought they are older and maybe wiser, I thought they might be right. Hmmm… It’s been nearly 6 years since I’ve been married and for now, I cannot disagree more.

And one of His signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest in them, and He put between you love and compassion; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.”
(30:21)

For those of you who think that it’s fine to be in love with a guy before marriage and have a boyfriend girlfriend thingy going on… oh honey, you sure ain’t getting the best deal in life. I can safely say that girlfriend and boyfriend is anything but ‘finding rest’. One time you’re so into the guy/ girl, the next you’re fighting. The platform of girlfriend and boyfriend is so uncertain. You love each other but you don’t really commit to ‘trying’ to be with each other forever. It is anything but rest. Even when you decide to do the haram and give each other hugs, kisses or hang on the phone just the two of you, you’ve barely touched the surface of ‘finding rest’. All you got is excitement in the spur of the moment and an intense feeling of being into somebody. I’m not saying you can’t love somebody unless you’re married to them. It might be possible to love someone without marriage, but definitely the combination of ‘rest, love and compassion’ is hard to attain unless you are married. You get my drift?

And is ‘rest, love and compassion’ a guarantee to those who do get to marry? I’m going to be honest and declare a big NO. Capital N and capital O. But hang on a minute, isn't making a relationship halal with Allah enough. Errr… no dude! Why is this so?

Have you seen couples that lie to each other? Have you seen people who are in denial of what honesty means? Have you seen people who are so into prayers, hijab, fiqh issues and are completely clueless when it comes to ethics and character? I’m not saying these things (prayers, hijab, fiqh issues) are not important, yes they are. But a guarantee to rest, love and compassion lies in your relationship with Allah swt. And this relationship is built with sincerity of trying to improve oneself though Qur’an and Sunnah. Quran and Sunnah are not to be used cheaply as a means to be in an argument or to prove that you know better. If you are within this group please just get over it and know that people can see right through you. Allah’s guidance (Qur’an and Sunnah) is a means to get closer to Allah, which is a guarantee of success in this life and the Akhirah.

This book is without a doubt, a guide to those who guard themselves
(2:2)

And what about those who marry someone who does have good character? I fall under this group. I married someone who is way not perfect, but he does have good character, all praises is due to Allah. If a guy works and provide for his family, is romantic to his wife, is generous to his family and in-laws, has humor and all, what better deal would there be right? So is this a guarantee for ‘rest, love and compassion’ in marriage? Nearly there, but still a NO and why? Because baby this is dunia. Get ready to face challenges, one after another.

“And We will most certainly try you with somewhat of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruits; and give good news to the patient.”
(2:155)

In a marriage, apart from the in-laws, you’ve got pregnancy, labor and the baby blues. Then you have the challenges of bringing children up. You think after labor you get to rest, errr no! You’ve just begun. And men don’t get any sleep either. Parents of infants are what I call walking zombies. Hahhaha… Then you have financial difficulties especially in the beginning of the marriage where the guy is just starting to build his career. Or the guy might expect you to work or you yourselves choose to work. And then comes the question of housework. I mean what’s up with the toilet seat not being able to be put down?! On top of that you have to adapt to each other’s preferences, perspectives on things and boy I can go on and on and on. But I am sure you know what I mean.

So even with the best of character, you've got so many factors that are going to pull you from so many corners[1] that its so easy to just put your hands up and say, “I give up.”

Loving a man or woman, has to first and foremost come from knowing that marriage is yet another form of getting closer to Allah. If we use the formula given by Allah swt, i.e. to use marriage as a way to please Allah, then yes, you will find ‘rest, love and compassion’ as the by product of that intention and actions. And yes I learnt this the hard way. I thought having a spouse with good character is enough, but I slowly learnt that I have to let go of my ignorant days of thinking good character is enough. Although I personally think it is easier than having a spouse who is ‘religious’ but is completely clueless on how to treat other people, it still is certainly NOT enough.

Slowly but surely Allah continue to guide us to ‘rest, love and compassion’. And yes romance is way better when a man is willing to take the decision to say, “I do”. Should you compromise if he or she is not willing to say, “I do”? Personally I say no. And because I hold on to this sunnah.

While I was walking with 'Abdullah he said, "We were in the company of the Prophet and he said, 'He who can afford to marry should marry, because it will help him refrain from looking at other women, and save his private parts from looking at other women, and save his private parts from committing illegal sexual relation; and he who cannot afford to marry is advised to fast, as fasting will diminish his sexual power."[2]

If you cannot afford marriage, or you the guy or girl won’t commit to ‘trying’ to be there for each other forever, I say dish it and start fasting J. As Imam Al-Ghazali says in his book Revival of the Religious Sciences, chapter 32 on patience and gratitude: If you don’t have something be patient. And if you already have what you want, be grateful for ungrateful can fall into disbelieve. 

Allah tests us in different ways and in no way should we think that just because we have something, it is because we are better, or we know better. Everything comes from Allah and only He gives and knows what is good for u. I’m just another sister looking to share her experience. So with much love, I bid you peace for yet another one of my attempts to reach out to my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters.



[1] This does not even include those that suffer from psychological and physical abuse, cheating on a spouse in relationships.
[2] Narrated by 'Alqama in Sahih Bukhari Volume 3, Book 31, Number 129.

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Sumayyah is currently exploring faith and fashion in Scotland, while awaiting to launch her own life of fashion wear in 2013. She writes on www.love-to-dress.com/

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