22/11–Building a Strong and Resilient Muslim Marriage

BismillahirRahmaanirRaheem

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Source: 22/11 khutbah–Building a Strong and Resilient Muslim Marriage

Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
Friday Sermon
22 November 2013 / 18 Muharram 1435
Building a Strong and Resilient Muslim Marriage

Dear blessed Friday Jemaah
Let us work together in increasing our takwa towards Allah
s.w.t. Fulfill what Allah has commanded upon us. Leave
behind what has been prohibited. Be consistent in fulfilling the
responsibilities that Allah s.w.t. has entrusted us with,
specifically in building a successful family and community.

My brothers blessed by Allah,
Over the past few weeks, we have reflected on the
importance of equipping ourselves with faith (iman) and
beneficial knowledge in order to be able to fulfill our
responsibilities as parents and children, and to build a
successful family that Allah will be pleased with. On this
glorious Friday, let us also examine the foundation for the
development of a family which is marriage itself. Allah s.w.t.
says in surah ar-Rum verse 21:

Which means: “And of His signs is that He created for you
from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them;
and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in
that are signs for a people who give thought.”

Allah s.w.t. has made marriage as a sacred tie between a
husband and wife. It is through marriage that both will enjoy a
sense of tranquillity, warmth, love and kindness towards each 3
other. A strong marriage requires effort, commitment and
honesty.

Brothers,
The high rate of divorce in our community has often been
reported time and again in the news. Various programmes
and initiatives have been undertaken to help build stronger
families and reduce the rate of divorce. There are many tips
on the conduct and ethics of married life, which we can hold
on to, in the hope that we could successfully sail through
married life. Today’s sermon will share several fundamentals
of marriage which many couples may have taken lightly.
Among them:

First: Treating our partners well and communicating with
them with kindness and respect. Rasulullah s.a.w., through
various hadith and examples of his daily interactions with his
wives, taught us the ethics and ways of good communication
between spouses.

One example that reflects the Prophet s.a.w.’s efforts in
understanding the character and personality of his wife in
order to prevent any conflicts, can be seen in a hadith
narrated by Imam Bukhari and Muslim. Rasulullah s.a.w. said 4
to ‘Aisyah: ‘I know when you are angry with me and when you
are not.’ And ‘Aisyah asked: ‘How can you tell oh Rasulullah?’
Rasulullah s.a.w replied: ‘If you were content with me you say
no and by the God of Mohammad. And if you were angry with
me you say: no and by the God of Ibrahim.’ In another
narration, ‘Aisyah replied: ‘That is right oh Rasulullah! Indeed
I was just trying to avoid saying your name.”

This narration has deep and meaningful lessons for every
Muslim couple. It reflects how the Prophet s.a.w. brought up
something that had happened in the past in a calm and warm
manner, and when the situation has reverted to normal. This
is a good approach that we can learn from in bringing up
things that we might have said or done in the heat of anger,
which may then have hurt our spouse without us even
realising it. We may even regret our words or actions when
the situation has calmed down. The approach as shown by
Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. is hence a good example; we
should, discuss a problem with our spouse when the situation
is calm and quiet. Any misunderstandings can be resolved
more effectively if we are not overwhelmed by emotions or
anger.

Second: Appreciating the contributions and sacrifices of our
spouse. When we are busy with many responsibilities like
work, children’s schooling, our responsibilities towards our
parents, managing the household and so on, we may
sometimes feel that we are not being appreciated for our
contributions and efforts. When that feeling crops up, we
should quickly realise and be grateful to Allah s.w.t. for
granting us a partner, and we should thank our spouse for
going through thick and thin with us.

It was reported that a man once wanted to meet with the
Caliph Umar al-Khattab r.a. to complain about his wife who
often nagged at him and would raise her voice to him when
reproving him. However, when he arrived at Umar’s house,
the man heard Umar’s wife doing the same thing to the
Caliph. And so, he decided to return home and did not
complain about the matter to the Caliph. When Umar r.a.
went out of his house, he saw the man who was hurrying
home, and he asked the man: “What was your intention of
coming to my house?” The man replied: “I came to complain
about my wife but when I heard that your wife (also) nags at
you, I told myself: “If the Amirul Mukminin himself is treated
as such by his wife, let alone myself.” Umar then said to him:
“By Allah, (my wife) has prepared my bed, prepared my 6
meals, and bear all my burden and responsibilities, isn’t it
appropriate for me to bear and listen to her nagging?”

Subhanallah, just look at how a Companion and Caliph, who
was known for his strictness, accepted his wife’s behaviour
towards him simply because he wanted to show his
appreciation for all her efforts and contributions.

The third attitude that we can adopt is: Maintaining limits
or boundaries when we mix with others. Islam teaches us to
maintain boundaries when we mix or deal with those who are
not our mahram, be it in our dressing (by covering our aurah)
as well as in lowering our gaze. For example, the command
to lower our gaze, found in surah an-Nur verses 30 and 31, is
not just specific for those who are not married, but is
applicable for all Muslims.

This is an important matter which we must be aware of,
especially when we interact with our colleagues, and in
working on projects together, we need to maintain our
boundaries and limit communication to only work and
professional matters. This is encouraged in Islam through the
Islamic principle of sadd al-zari’ah (avoiding bad deeds), 7
which teaches us to stay away from matters that may lead to
transgressions or sinful acts.

Outside of work, we must be honest, truthful and maintain our
boundaries in our interactions with friends and
acquaintances, be it physical interaction or via social media
platforms. Mixing freely, whether it is intended or not, may
lead to distrust and disharmony in our marriage. Statistics
reveal that 24.8 percent of the divorces registered with the
Syariah Court, or the number one cause of divorces is
infidelity and the spouse had pre-marital relationship.

Surely, this is enough to make us realise how important it is
to preserve our marriage and our family. Do not let our own
weaknesses cause the marriage that we have built to rock
and then fail, thus affecting ourselves, our spouse and
children.

The fourth attitude that we should uphold: Not to reveal
our marital and household secrets to others, unless in certain
situations where we need to seek the advice of someone
whom we are confident can help our family. Any problems
should be solved between the couple through honest and 8
heartfelt discussions. If need be, we can include another
family member or a counsellor as the mediator.

Avoid spilling our discontentment with our spouse to others,
especially not through social media platforms such as
Facebook. Airing our dirty laundry in public will only worsen
the situation and may even cause other bigger problems such
as infidelity when we feel others may be able to understand
our problems better than our own spouse. Such negative
matters can destroy our marriage and should be avoided.

Dear jemaah
Let us all appreciate our spouses better. We have taken on a
promise with them, on Allah’s name and law, to bear all
responsibilities together, and stick by each other through thick
and thin, till death parts us. They are blessings from Allah
s.w.t. to be by our side as we sail through life and as a source
of tranquility for us. May we always be guided by Allah s.w.t.
in building strong families and a successful community, and
to always be under His protection, blessings and Rahmah.
Amin Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.

Salaam…

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