All praise and thanks to Allahﷻ the Rabb of the universe. Salam on His Messengerﷺ and his family. To begin, Allahﷻ said:
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
Rum 30: 21. And among His Signs is this, that He created for you spouses from amongst yourselves, that you may find tranquility in them, and He has put between you love and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for people who reflect.
It was the Sunnah of Rasoolullahﷺ to advise newlyweds about their forthcoming life together as man and wife. In this advice are also reminders for us, their family and friends, wed and unwed. I will therefore request your attention.
Allahﷻ called the marriage one of His signs. The purpose of a sign is to remind you of the original. The sign shows the way, the direction. Let our marriages display this sign, the sign that honors us as it reminds those who look at us of Allahﷻ. Let the marriage be celebrated as a reflection of the goodness of Islam. Let it reflect the Noor of the Sunnah of Rasoolullahﷺ. Let the marriage be a reminder that one day we have to meet Allahﷻ. Let the spouses each be the helper of the other in pleasing Allahﷻ. If you please Allahﷻ, Allahﷻ will please you. He will put love for you in the heart of the other, because that is something that only He can do. Rasoolullahﷺ said, ‘Allahﷻ loves the man who wakes up for Tahajjud and wakes up his wife. And Allahﷻ loves the woman who wakes up for Tahajjud and wakes up her husband.’ The result of Allahﷻ loving you is that the whole world will love you. This is the great secret of life; that love, dignity, respect (Muhabbah, Izzah) all come from Allahﷻand He gives them only to the one who He is pleased with. So focus on pleasing Allahﷻ and you will find that the world is pleased with you.
Allahﷻ mentioned three qualities of the marriage which he honored by calling it His Sign; tranquility (Sukoon), love (Mawaddah) and mercy (Rahma). Today as we are all gathered to wish the best of lives in this world and the next for our dear children, let us reflect on what marriage means in the context that Allahﷻ defined it. All goodness can only come from obedience to Allahﷻ and following the Sunnah of His beloved Messengerﷺ.
The first term that Allahﷻused is Sukoon (tranquility), which means harmony, understanding, lack of conflict. Allahﷻ said, ‘We created your mates from among yourself so that Li taskunu ilaiha’, ‘So that they may take Sukoon from it.’ Allahﷻ called this the very purpose of the marriage – so that you may take Sukoon from one another. A marriage in which there is no Sukoon is not a marriage.
So what is Sukoon? In the language it is the absence of movement – no Fatah, Dhamma, Kasra. Sukoon is the absence of movement away from the spouse in any way. No movement away from the spouse of the eyes, actions, heart, thought. Sukoon is the presence of an atmosphere of complete safety that requires no defences. Having some level of defence from people in general is a sign of emotional maturity. Transparency, spontaneity and openness is a good thing generally speaking but overdoing it with all and sundry can be detrimental in many ways. But with respect to the spouse, a good marriage is one where there is no need to have any defences between spouses. Remember that this will happen only when both people feel safe. When they know that lowering their defence will not result in hurt. It takes a lifetime to build this trust and one single instance to destroy it. This is the meaning of Sukoon; the freedom to be yourself in a safe environment without the anxiety to guard yourself against attack. Many people treat the married partner as a sparring partner and are always trying to score a knockout. That is a very shortsighted and stupid policy as you will never be able to lower your guard and will never have Sukoon in your life.
This situation of tension happens when there is competition. Competition for control, for attention, for affection. Spouses many times unconsciously, compete to show who is the boss. They compete for attention from others in the family. They compete for affection from children, parents and so on. This comes from a basic insecurity about yourself and your relationship with your spouse which you always feel is under threat and so you need constant reassurance. Sukoon is the result of one overriding principle; ‘How can I make my spouse happy?’ Goodness in marriage is the outcome of mutuality. Of mutual consideration. Of the mutual desire to go out of the way to please the other. This is the opposite of individualism. It is the opposite of the focus on gaining one’s happiness even if it is at the cost of the happiness of others. Remember that you have rights and you have duties.
Focus on rights and you will neglect your duties and be unhappy. Focus on duties and the rights will fulfill themselves. The duties of one are the rights of the other. It is the duty of the husband that he should cover his wife with love and mercy. It is his right that he should be obeyed. Allahﷻ said, ‘Ar rijaalu qawwamoona alan Nisa,’ ‘Men have been given authority over women.’ It is the duty of the woman that she should obey her husband and her right that he should treat her with respect, affection and dignity. If the woman fulfills her duty of obeying her husband, his right that he should be obeyed gets fulfilled. And if the husband covers his wife in love and mercy, her right that she should be treated with respect, affection and dignity will be automatically fulfilled. Focus on duties and not rights because you will be questioned about your duties, not about your rights.
Sukoon is the result of compassion, kindness and sensitivity. It is not the result of selfishness, self-centeredness and conceit. Sukoon is the result when you stop competing; for attention, for demonstration of love, for power and control. The married home is the harbor, not a boxing ring for you to score a knockout. It is the place of safety that the ship seeks when it returns from fighting the storms of life. What would be the fate of the ship which returns to find a new storm brewing in the harbor?
Remember that in a marriage all those who compete can only lose. You lose if you win and you lose if you lose. Everything in a marriage can decline; beauty, strength, power, influence; sometimes even money. But the only thing that not only doesn’t decline but actually increases over time in a good marriage is Sukoon. Sukoon is companionship without speaking, it is the communication in a look, it is the thought that transfers from one to another without any conscious effort.
It is magical to see one spouse completing sentences for the other; supplying names without even being asked; giving one something they had only thought about and hadn’t even asked for. Alhamdulillah I have the honor of being from a family where this was and is common and I am sure I am not alone in this. If there is one reliable sign of a good marriage, it is the amount of Sukoon. I wish all of you, great Sukoon in your marriages.
The second word that Allahﷻ used is Mawaddah – love. Love is not like. Like needs reasons. You like or dislike someone for something. But you love someone despite something. Love has no reason behind it. It is that Neymah from Allahﷻ which enables you to only see the good in the other and in the relationship. Love is reflected in this world in the relationship that a mother has for her child. A relationship which is blind to his faults. It is not that the mother is really blind to the faults but she loves the child despite his faults. Love is what characterizes our relationship with Allahﷻ. Allahﷻloves us not because we are particularly lovable. But because we are His creation. He loves us not because of but inspite of our faults. We ask Allahﷻ to forgive us not because we deserve it but because He loves us. Love has no reason but itself. Love has no logic but itself. Love is fulfilled by itself, not by the response it gets. Truly blessed are those who can love and truly blessed are those who are loved.
Love needs to be expressed. It is expressed by showing appreciation and giving thanks. Thanks to Allahﷻ who gave you a spouse who is good to you and thanks to the spouse who adds value to your life. Love is expressed by giving the other precedence in fulfilling her needs and preference over what you want for yourself. Love is expressed in being a mirror to the spouse; giving critical feedback with care. Love is expressed in listening to that critical feedback without taking offence, knowing that it comes from a sincere and genuine concern for your welfare. Love is expressed in sharing your hopes and aspirations, fears and apprehensions. Love is expressed in taking an interest in things that interest your spouse, in giving him/her space to aspire to excellence in their field and in taking the pressure that this may put on your married life. Love is expressed most of all by standing in the night before Allahﷻ and making dua for your spouse.
To love your spouse is to love them at the time when they are not particularly lovable, because that is the time when they need love. To love your spouse is to find joy in looking at them, talking to them, simply being with them. To love your spouse is to love those he/she loves. Love needs no reason. Love is not for what the person says, or does or gives. Love is for what the person is, what he or she means to you. Love needs no words to be expressed and indeed all the ‘I love you’ in the world can’t communicate love if it is not there. When it is there, it is like light; it permeates the darkness of loneliness, of grief, of despair. Love is unconditional. What is conditional is not love – it is self-interest pretending to be love. Allahﷻ called love something that He put between the spouses. It is His Neymah, His blessing, so cherish it, enjoy it and thank Him for it. Love is the sign of our connection with Allahﷻ. It is His gift and it is from Him. Thank Allahﷻ both for a spouse who reminds you of Allahﷻ and who makes you practice Sabr. Allahﷻis with the Sabireen.
The last word that Allahﷻused in this Ayatul Kareema is Rahma. Rahma is a quality and attribute of Allahﷻ Himself. In its highest form it is His name – Ar Rahmanur Raheem. The most merciful whose mercy never decreases and lasts forever. Allahﷻ honored the marriage by saying that He placed this quality in the marriage. Truly blessed are those who find it in their marriage and cherish it.
What is Rahma? Rahma is to return wrong with good. Good for good is justice. Evil for evil is justice. But good for wrong is mercy; Rahma. Allahﷻ is full of mercy because He continues to fulfill the needs of all; those who obey Him and those who don’t; those who please Him and those who anger Him. His Mercy encompasses all His creation. His Mercy permeates all His actions. His Mercy overrides His anger. He has written Mercy for Himself (6:54: Kataba Rabbukum ala Nafsihir Rahma) and we ask Him for His Mercy when we meet Him. We ask for His forgiveness, not because we deserve it but because He is Ar-Rahman.
Happy marriages are not made up of a set of perfect behavior from both spouses. Actually that expectation – holding others to a standard that you don’t apply to yourself – is the cause of conflict and unhappiness. Happy marriages are the result of forgiveness. Happy marriages are the result of a selective memory. A memory that remembers only the good and not the bad. A memory that doesn’t even keep junk in the folder for a month like most spam filters, but deletes it immediately; but retains every little good action or word permanently in the RAM; instantaneous random recall. So I wish you all memory that retains only good. Mercy is forgiveness. Mercy is the basis of forgiveness. We need mercy because we need forgiveness. Mercy is to honor all those times when the spouse did all that could be expected and more and to remember this when they are no longer able to do it anymore. Mercy shows that we are not merely transactional beings like animals who respond as long as they are being fed but that we have the nobility never to forget any good that came to us from the other. Mercy is the light of the face and the expanse of the heart. Mercy is the quality that Allahﷻblesses those He loves with; so that they do what they expect Him to do for them. Mercy is Allahﷻ’s special attribute and that which He blessed Rasoolullahﷺwith when He called him Rahmatul-lil-A’alameen. To have mercy is to ennoble yourself because mercy is about you, not about them.
I want to end with dua for both our children, Fatehma and Ali. I ask Allahﷻ to give you the greatest of strengths, Ta’alluq Ma’Allah; the greatest of wealth, Contentment with His Qadr; the greatest of Honor, following the blessed Sunnah of Rasoolullahﷺ. I ask Allahﷻto make your marriage full of Khair, full of His Ridha and the fulfillment of your dreams. I ask Allahﷻ to give you children who will be the coolness of your hearts and a credit to your name and a means of Sadaqatul Jaariya. I ask Allahﷻto make you among those who never disobey Him and never go against the Sunnah of His Messenger Muhammadﷺ. I ask Allahﷻ to open your hearts to Hidaya from Himself and make you among those who will be living walking, talking Standard Bearers of Islam. I ask Allahﷻ to grant Hidaya to those you make dua for, to those you present Islam to, to those who you meet, to those you look at and to those who look at you. I ask Allahﷻ to guide you to make Tawba and to forgive your transgressions and to convert them to good deeds, as He promised to do.
I ask Allahﷻ to give you Khushoo in Salah and make it the sweetness of your life so that you look forward to it. I ask Allahﷻ to make you among those whose dua is never rejected and when you raise your hands in dua to accept it before you lower your hands. I pray that Allahﷻ makes each day of your life better than the previous day; the last of your deeds, the best of your deeds and the last day of your life, the best day of your life, when you will meet Him. I ask the same dua for all of you who are gathered here and for your families who may not be here. May Allahﷻaccept my dua.
Voice Recording: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AmvJrLlWGmcWpTJP6-Rw2_nDuzCj
Voice Recording: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AmvJrLlWGmcWpTJP6-Rw2_nDuzCj