هُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَّـكُمۡ وَاَنۡتُمۡ لِبَاسٌ لَّهُنَّؕ
They are apparel for you, and you are apparel for them. (2:187)
The waxing and waning of the moon are meant to serve only as measures of time. The superstitious believe that the days when the moon is waxing are auspicious while the days of the moon’s waning are inauspicious. The moon, in fact, is an almanac of nature appearing in the sky so that people may plan the timings of their worldly affairs as well as their worship. But there are many people who have come to regard mere outward observance as religiosity.
WHEN A MAN and a woman come together in marriage, it is the joining of two different personalities. Each is different from the other in many respects. They are both conditioned to their different ways of upbringing and lifestyle. When a child is born, he is conditioned by the environment he grows up in. The environment inside the home, and outside molds him into what he eventually grows up to be. And this stays with him throughout his life. And as a result, he starts regarding his way of thinking as right.
When one starts to think in this manner, it is the result of conditioning. This happens to almost everyone. And so, when a man and a woman come together in marriage, this type of conditioning becomes a problem. The woman looks at things from a different angle from the man. And this can result in disagreements which can blow up to great proportions. The only solution to this problem is to de-condition one another. This can happen only when one opens up and engages in intellectual discussion with the other. And a prerequisite for deconditioning is that one must be willing to admit one’s mistakes. Admitting one’s mistakes is the only successful way to de-condition oneself.
The Greatest Blessing
ACCORDING to a Tradition, the Prophet of Islam once said: “Of all the good things in the world, a woman of good character is the best!” This means that every woman is born with this natural potential. And it is a man who has to realize this potential. Just as ore is nature’s gift to man and it is a man’s job to turn this ore into steel; so is a woman born with her natural capabilities, and it is a man’s responsibility to make her into a good woman. In order to do this, the first thing a man has to do is to regard her as an asset. He should look into her inner beauty and see her hidden talents. A woman has great value and potential in her and it is up to a man to convert this potential into actuality, or it will go to waste. This process is possible only when man realizes that the wife he has found is a gift from God. When he accepts her as God’s gift, then he will firmly believe that God’s choice for him can never be wrong. Just as God’s choice in all other matters pertaining to the whole Universe is right, so also is God’s choice in this matter. When a man understands this, he will see his wife as God’s gift, and realize that developing her potential is a matter of divine service. He will do anything to turn his wife into a treasure! Everyone wants a good wife. But a good wife is not available like ready-made goods. The husband has to perform the role of her transformer. To be successful in this role, he needs qualities like well-wishing from the heart, patience, and tolerance.
ABU HURAYRAH has narrated a saying of the Prophet Muhammad regarding family life in these words;
“No believing husband should have negative feelings for a believing wife. For if he does not like one of her traits, he may like other of her traits.” (Sahih Muslim)
The truth is that no man or woman is the embodiment of all good qualities. It is a law of nature that if one has some particular good qualities, he will be lacking in another department. For instance, we often see that one who is blessed with outward beauty usually lacks inward beauty; while one who is not so physically well endowed tends to have a beautiful soul. It is the tendency of man to look at the negative aspects of people rather than their positive aspects. This is a destructive tendency, which comes in the way of good relationships. But if we focus more on the positive aspects rather than the negative ones, we can form healthy relationships. And if we do so, we will find that our life partner is the best partner we can ever find! God did not create any man or woman inferior. They were perfect by creation. It is our perception that is at fault, and which makes us regard some people as inferior, and some as superior. If we were to realize this, there would be no mutual ill-feeling and we would be able to build our lives in the way God wants us to.
THE COMING TOGETHER of a man and a woman in marriage is the most unique event in the Universe. All the things created in the universe are created in pairs. But the compatibility that exists between a man and a woman cannot be found in any other created thing. When a man and a woman come together as life partners, it is evident that they have been made for one another through a conscious plan. Once life partners realize this, they will be overwhelmed with gratitude for having found each other. They will consider it a blessing. This happiness in each other will endure; they will feel as if they have found something priceless. Imagine a world without men, or a world without women! There would be life, but it would be totally bereft of happiness. There would be an over-powering feeling that something is missing, something is incomplete. Hence, a world without men is as meaningless as a world without women.
If both men and women ponder upon this reality, they will be far more thrilled than a scientist making a discovery, and they will find that grievances against one another are totally meaningless. Men and women are masterpieces of God’s creation. Marriage means the coming together of two masterpieces of creation.
WHEN A MAN is born into this world, he is like iron ore, raw in form. Nature has produced him like ore, and he has to develop himself on his own. Nature produces ore; man has to convert it into steel. In this process of development, intellectual development is of the utmost importance. In developing one’s personality, the most important thing is for man to broaden his mind by awakening his consciousness. To awaken one’s consciousness, three things are required—study, observation, and intellectual exchange with other people. Books are the greatest source of knowledge, and studying them is always beneficial. The world of nature is the greatest source for observation. And in the matter of intellectual learning, it is essential for man to form the habit of learning from others, and continue in this learning process. In the case of married people, they are each other’s, immediate intellectual partners. From this point of view, marriage is a great opportunity for intellectual development, as both can interact with each other and make progress together intellectually. Intellectual development is essential for everyone. Marriage offers an ideal opportunity for intellectual partners, who are always available for each other, to commune, with one another. And to be successful in this venture there is one condition—that is, to give intellectual development top priority and to make it a part of one’s daily life.
WHEN ANY TASK is assigned to two people, mutual trust between the two is required for the successful completion of the task. Mutual trust between a husband and wife is essential to successfully build a home. No good home is ever built without the existence of mutual trust between a husband and a wife. One may ask why mutual trust is lacking between most couples. It is because neither is completely committed towards the other in their relationship, despite being married. Such a relationship that is lacking in commitment results in the formation of a psychological barrier between husband and wife. Therefore, both are responsible for this lack of mutual trust in their relationship. The woman’s fault lies in her failing to adapt to and identify herself with her new family, her husband’s family. She continues to cling to her own parents. Her failure to adapt to her new family is reflected in her words and actions, and this naturally creates resentment on the part of her husband. On the other hand, the man’s fault lies in his obsession with the concept of the ‘ideal woman’. He often finds his wife falling short on many counts when he measures her by the parameters of the ‘ideal woman’. These are the obstacles mostly inherent in a man and a woman that come in the way of building mutual trust between them. To acquire mutual trust, both have to individually undertake introspection to diagnose their weaknesses and consequently to correct them. Once both the husband and the wife take such corrective measures, they will be able to live their lives in a practical manner. The psychological barrier between them will be removed, and they will be able to build a mutual trust between them which will enable them to lead a positive and successful married life.