Question: What is the opinion of Islam about singing and dancing in wedding ceremonies? The opinions of people are contrary; some say it is lawful while others say it is unlawful.
The answer: In Islam, they are unlawful. The Prophet (S) has said, ‘Allah has sent me as mercy to people, and to eradicate musicals, pipes, and the habits of the pre-Islamic era (jahiliyyah).’1 It is because play, amusement, and singing do not meet with the aims of mercy, worship, and closeness to Allah.
Jurisprudents have agreed that during the night of the wedding, singing poetry with good and polite meanings is lawful, especially if it has praises of the Prophet (S) and his progeny. Some jurisprudents have permitted classical and quiet dancing, which is not mixed (between men and women) and which does not excite lust.
This exception (in permitting singing and dancing) is limited to weddings. Abu Baseer narrated, ‘Once, I asked Abu Abdullah (Imam as-Sadiq) (a.s.) about the income of a songstress (the money she gains for singing) and he said, ‘It is unlawful for one, to whom men come, but there is no problem for the one, who is invited to weddings.’2
The wisdom in this exception is that Islam has made a distinction between marriage and adultery. Since adultery is done without the presence of people, Islam has intended for marriage to be performed openly and with attractive sound so that people can recognize this new marital relation between these two persons.
Many arguments have taken place between jurisprudents about the new methods in the world of singing and music. Many of them have considered singing and music unlawful because they cause many bad consequences. From the instruments of music and amusement, which incite lust, unlawful behaviors begin besides the bad poetry used in songs and the mixing between men and women until major sins are committed. Then, no excuse will remain for the angels to attend and bless that marriage.
Those who try to close their eyes to these unlawful doings under demonstrations of istihsan (approval) and assent have ignored that Islam wants weddings to be performed in spiritual and moral spheres fitting the principles of Islam and not the desires of the disease-hearted people who imitate the corruptive methods of the West.
We disagree with using instruments of amusements to turn weddings, which are acts of worship, to a stage of unlawful doings and behaviors. We reject the inviting of the Satan and the preventing of the angels to attend this honorable occasion.
The believers, who desire to be free from bad deeds until the Day of Resurrection, should avoid all that is performed by bad and disobedient people in their weddings, and thus they will be kept away from those upon whom Allah has brought His wrath.
Let us think about it in this way: would any of our infallible Imams (a.s.) attend a wedding in which singing and dancing were practiced if he were invited to it?
If we suppose that we are in the age of the reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a.s.) and he is amongst us now, what will he think about our behaviors in the wedding?
Come! Let us make this faith in the unseen and our love for the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) the criterion of our behaviors on the occasions of joy so that Allah may bless these occasions for us.
We hope that the believers adhere to the limits of Islam and do not follow the Satan who wants them to fall in his traps and lose the blessings of weddings, which are from the Sunna of the Prophet (S) and the recommendable acts that are semi-obligatory.
Question: The gold ring has become the symbol of correlation between spouses, while in the Sharia it is unlawful for men to put on gold. Is there any exception concerning wedding bands?
The answer: There is no exception. A Muslim man has to test his faith in this critical position — whether he should obey his God or his desire.
Then, for what is all this insistence on a ring of gold? If the golden color is inevitable before people and cameras, the ring could be gilded for this purpose.
In our opinion, it would be better for the wife to put on a silver ring with a stone of carnelian on her husband’s right pinkie while reciting blessings and peace on Muhammad (S) and his progeny and hoping that love will continue between them until they leave this world with a good end.
Question: What is the opinion of Islam about the period between the engagement and the wedding? Some people make the period too long and some make it short. Both have advantages and disadvantages.
The answer: The length of the period depends on the circumstances of the spouses. However, there are some manners that must be observed during this period:
1. Hearty love, intellectual closeness, and mutual visits between the families of the two spouses to better know each other and to strengthen the relations between them are recommended.
2. They should avoid all that may hurt this blessed relation; offensive words, insults, and bad behaviors that cause hatred must be avoided. If some of this takes place accidentally from any of the spouses, they should apologize, excuse each other, and determine not to do that mistake again.
3. The spouses should read books about marital relations to learn the principles, rights, and manners of marriage.
4. They should not mistrust each other or argue over every matter.
5. The wife should learn how to manage the affairs of her new house and should convince herself of her new responsibilities. The husband also has to undertake his new responsibilities outside the house and inside the house in helping his wife as much as he possibly can.
6. During this period, the spouses should avoid doing what should be done on the night of wedding!
7. It is better to make this period short.
8. They should take care of cleaning their bodies and getting rid of unpleasant smells, especially the smell of the mouth by brushing the teeth five times before every prayer, or at least three times, before and after sleeping, and after lunch. They should use perfumes because the Prophet (S) always used perfume and he had recommended his Umma to also use it, except for women who should not use perfume except for their husbands or their mahrams in order to not incite the lusts of others.
Question: I am afraid of the unknown and worried about the future. I feel inward turmoil and psychological instability. Can I find a remedy in religion before my marital life comes to an end?
The answer: The present makes the future. If you manage your present according to good foundations, you will build for yourself a happy future. There is no excuse for your fear if you determine and rely on Allah Who says, (And (as for) those who strive hard for Us, We will most certainly guide them in Our ways; and Allah is most surely with the doers of good)3.
Starting now, you have to spend every hour of your day in a way that pleases Allah, where if you think about your yesterdays (after your determination), you will be delighted, and this delight is the future that will make you proud of the right method you have determined to follow.
Dear brother, try to forget your painful past, your defects, and all of what hurts you psychologically! Set out towards Allah, Who grants success to whoever relies on Him, and submit to Him, and then, do not worry about any grief or distress concerning this life!
As for your marital life, you and your wife should read a lot to help you plan for a good and peaceful life.
Does he who wants to establish a successful company not read about all that concerns this aim?
You and your wife are two partners, who want to establish a happy life; therefore, you should read about all that concerns this aim.
When you follow this way, you will find in front of you your future clear and pleasant Inshallah.
Question: High and excessive dowries have become a sort of competition between people and a cause of pride and boast in the meetings of women. And this is the reason that prevents the youth from getting married, and therefore, corruption spreads and the number of spinsters increases. The worst of the matter is that girls lose more because of the excessive dowries whereas parents do not feel their sufferings, and then when girls do something against their parents’ will, the girls themselves are blamed and not the parents. The question is: what is the solution to this dangerous social problem?
The answer: A Muslim society that turns away from the true Islam strays into troubles and problems forever, unless it turns back to religion sincerely. This is the responsibility of all as the Prophet (S) says, ‘All of you are guardians and all of you are responsible for your subjects.’
Flagrant, material manifestations like high dowries and external beauty have overwhelmed the lives of Muslims to the extent of absence of morals and principles. At the same time, troubles, problems, and enmities have filled their lives.
Islam has openly prohibited excessive dowries. The Prophet (S) said, ‘Do not exaggerate dowries of women, lest enmity comes out!’ 4
When we correlate this saying with the saying of Allah in the Qur'an, (Surely the Satan is your enemy, so take him for an enemy)5, we conclude that exaggerating dowries is something pleasing to the Satan and thus is not a good deed. The Muslim family that accepts dowry as a means of happiness for their daughters actually brings them enmity and unhappiness by exaggerating that dowry.
The Prophet (S) says, ‘The best women of my umma are those of prettiest faces and smallest dowries.6’
In my opinion, “with prettiest faces” means happy mien and bloom and not physical beauty as many people think. There are many women with pretty faces who are sullen and gloomy; therefore, they would not be the best of women even if their dowries were small.
Certainly it is not this that the Prophet (S) has meant by “pretty faces”. Far be it from him to wrong the women who have not been created with pretty faces! Therefore, we are certain that the Prophet (S) has meant the moral beauty that gives woman happy mien, bloom, activeness, and high spirits, and these things are the most important factors of happiness in the marital life. When these qualities come together with a small dowry, a woman will be beautiful and one of the best women even if she lacks material beauty. The Prophetic traditions confirm what we have said. The Prophet (S) said, ‘Whoever marries a woman just for her wealth, Allah will subject him to the wealth. Whoever marries a woman just for her beauty, he will see in her what he dislikes. But, whoever marries a woman for her faith, Allah will gather for him all that he likes in her.’
This is sufficient evidence to destruct the ignorant concepts of the material civilization and restore the religious concepts to people. Whoever turns away from this right path, will be an easy prey for devils from the humans and the jinn.
Question: Some people exaggerate the dowries of their daughters to assure themselves of one of two things: first, that the husband will be unable to divorce his wife, and second, if the husband does divorce his wife, she will get enough money that she can live without troubles. Are these motives justifiable whereas they are contrary to the Prophet’s opinion?
The answer: Excessive dowries change marriage into a trade made for material motives, whereas easy and small dowries bring spouses closer to each other from moral and humane motives. In the first case, marriage is carried out with the mentality of traders, and then a woman is considered as any kind of goods. In the second case, marriage is carried out according to morals and values, and the woman’s actual value is realized.
We can close our eyes and say that a wise man does not say anything unless it has wisdom and benefit, that we may know some of it and not know most of it. This is for an ordinary wise man, then how about the wise Prophet (S), who did not say anything except that it came from the Wisest One of all?!
Yes! The Prophet (S) said, ‘It is from the good fortune of woman that her engagement is made easy, her dowry is made easy, and her pregnancy is made easy.7’
What people imagine then is definitely not true because first, they are not more aware than the Prophet (S), and second, when someone wants to divorce his wife, he does that either due to his shortcoming and injustice or due to other justifiable reasons. If he is unjust to his wife, he will leave her alone without divorcing her in order to force her to give up her dowry, and then she will accept divorce without getting a bit of her dowry; otherwise she will suffer until the end of her life, and in this case her dowry will be of no use to her at all. But if the husband is not neglectful of his wife’s rights, people will consider the wife to be mistaken and erroneous. Will she be happy with her dowry when people consider her so? Will someone come to marry her after her reputation becomes tainted, and it is said that she has mistreated her first husband? I think that no one would marry her except if he looks for wealth and lust, and these things do not make a happy marriage and a good life.
Third, why, at the beginning of marriage, which is a sacred and heavenly supported relation, does the family of the girl, who is about to be a wife, think of the guarantees of divorce? Does pessimism not kill the spirit of delight and joy of the ceremonies of marriage?
I think that the high ratio of divorce in our countries is due to the materialistic view, commercial thinking, and pessimistic spirit surrounding marriages from the start.
Thus, many people throw themselves and their daughters into what they would like to escape from because they mistrust what their great Prophet (S) has said to them.
At the same time, while Islam recommends low dowries, it recommends Muslims to not marry their daughters except to religious and honest persons. There is no guarantee better than faith and morals to prevent the occurrence of divorce and injustice after divorce, if it takes place, due to legal excuses.
If the husband is religious, he will fear Allah and refrain from acting unjustly towards his wife, and if he has good morals and treats his wife fairly and kindly, he will not divorce her if she is similar to him in faith and morals. Therefore, a high dowry is of no importance here.
If the wife deserves to be divorced and the husband is faithful but he cannot afford to pay the dowry because of need, the wife will remain suspended until she submits to a divorce without the dowry that she has looked forward to.
Would that these people ponder on this Verse, (And give women their dowries as a free gift, but if they of themselves be pleased to give up to you a portion of it, then take it and enjoy it with right good cheer)8.
Here, there are three questions:
1. What does “free gift” mean?
It is the gift that a husband gives with his own free will to his wife that is called a “dowry”.
2. What does “but if they of themselves be pleased to give up to you a portion of it” mean?
It means that the wife can give that gift back to her husband with her own free will.
3. What does “then take it and enjoy it with right good cheer” mean?
It is the fruit that comes out of the love that is founded by the mutual exchanging of gifts between the spouses where they enjoy it blissfully.
Therefore, the purpose of the dowry is to achieve true love that will not shake before the problems of life or the mistakes that often happen between spouses. If the dowry is given from a husband unwillingly, shall he love his wife sincerely?
Certainly not! The Prophet (S) said, ‘Be lenient in dowries, because a man may give a dowry to a woman (wife) but it may be as a cause of hatred in his heart against her.9’
The Prophet (S) also said, ‘The best of dowries is the easiest of them.10’
Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Do not exaggerate in women’s dowries, lest enmity comes out!’ 11
Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘…As for the evil omen of woman, it is her high dowry and disobedience of her husband.12’
You will notice that a high dowry of a wife is compared, in an evil omen, with disobedience of her husband.
From that, we note that the excessive dowry is as an evil omen in marriage and a cause of disagreement and divorce, unlike what people think. I ask: can ignorance succeed before the fact that Islam has already announced?
Question: People pay a lot of attention to the difference in age between a husband and a wife. Would you please show me the recommended amount of this difference according to Islam and what the other qualities are that must be paid attention to before the agreement of marriage?
The answer: We have not found any verdict in Islam concerning this matter. When we study the lives of the leaders of Islam, we find that the difference in the ages of the spouses is in different extents. Sometimes a wife is older and sometimes a husband is older. Lady Khadija, the mother of Lady Fatima (a.s.), was married to the Prophet (S) while she was fifteen years older than him, whereas Imam Ali (a.s.) was married to Lady Fatima (a.s.) while he was ten years older than her.
The same is said about the other faithful men and women in the history of Islam. We have not read that they paid much attention, in their marriages, to the matter of age, but rather, they paid attention to other important qualities (of the other spouse) according to the following order:
1. religiousness and faith
2. good morals
3. good family
These are the qualities according to which the believers are considered equivalent to each other. The Prophet (S) says, ‘The believers are equivalent to each other.13’
From these three main qualities, the following qualities ramify:
1. intelligence, knowledge, and social manners
2. intellectual and cultural equivalence
3. physical health and freedom from hereditary diseases
4. sufficient income to at least cover the necessary expenses
5. acceptable outward beauty but not at the expense of moral beauty
6. proportionality of bodies as customary
It is customary nowadays that spouses should be nearer in age according to the idea that cultural equivalence results from studying in the modern schools, which means that both are somehow close in age. Equivalence is not achieved when a young woman is a graduate of a secondary school while the young man has been a graduate of a university for ten years, which makes the difference in age between them over seventeen years. Therefore, there is no cultural and intellectual equivalence and accordingly marriage with this extent of difference in ages is not advisable.
Custom has another conception in this field that differences in age form a ground for marital disagreements because interests and hobbies of different generations always cause clashes.
A third conception says that differences in age make one of the spouses maturer than the other due to experiences and this is another cause that leads to conflicts in opinions and situations, which makes spouses disagree with each other.
Another traditional conception is that the difference in age means that the older spouse may die long before the other, and especially if the wife is still young, she will become a widow after the death of her husband and may remain alone.
We agree with these four customary conceptions, but not absolutely. There are many exceptional cases in which the marital life is of utmost happiness and pleasure in spite of the age difference between the spouses.
What is important in equivalence is the educational equivalence and mental maturity, which leads to good behavior, kindness, humbleness, and rapport.
If the main qualities we have mentioned are found in a husband and a wife, they will live happily; otherwise, there will be no happiness even if the spouses are of the same age.
Question: What are the qualities of an ideal father and an ideal mother?
The answer: An ideal father is one who:
1. undertakes his responsibility well to create a good marital and family life with humane atmospheres.
2. brings his family lawful livelihood without a bit of unlawful.
3. respects his wife as a human being who is equal to him in rights and duties, as Allah has said, (O people! be careful of (your duty to) your Lord, Who created you from a single being and created its mate of the same (kind) and spread from these two, many men and women; and be careful of (your duty to) Allah, by Whom you demand one of another (your rights), and (to) the ties of relationship; surely Allah ever watches over you)14.
4. cares for the intellectual, moral, and material needs of his children and is generous to them as much as possible.
An ideal mother is one who:
1. understands her role as a mother who has the most important position in educating children and feeding them with love and sentiment and teaching them the meanings of goodness, benevolence, and the afterlife.
2. undertakes her responsibility well and does not lose her patience or give up her task, which is like the task of the prophets and apostles.
3. repels evil with that which is best.
4. prefers the comfort of her husband and children to her own ease and comfort when there is a conflict between comforts.
5. always feels satisfied and content.
6. distributes her smiles of sincerity, satisfaction, and hope of success and progress among all members of her family.
7. does not remind her husband of the work she does inside the house.
8. does not uncover the defects of her husband before others and does not reveal the secrets of their life.
9. looks forward to the reward of the afterlife, pleasure of Allah, and the bliss of Paradise, which Allah has put under her feet if she devotes her intentions sincerely to Allah in this life.
Here, someone may question: why have you decreased the qualities and responsibilities of a father and increased those of a mother? This is not fair, O sheikh!
I say: if the wife has these ideal qualities, her husband will be affected by her and then she will be a practical teacher for her husband too. Then, the famous saying “behind every great man, there is a woman” will become true.
When we reach this fact, we find that it is inevitable to emphasize the great role of mothers in preparing our daughters in the best way to undertake their important roles in achieving the happiness of the society, the progress of the umma, and the guidance of the men and the youth.
To see this fact, you can ponder on the reasons behind the wretchedness of society, the underdevelopment of the umma, and the deviation of men and the youth. You shall find heedless wives, bad women, and deviate girls at the head of these reasons.
Therefore, it has been mentioned in traditions that wealth and women are the most dangerous weapons of the Satan in seducing man and deviating him from truth, justice, and goodness and removing him from the moral paradise of this life and from the real Paradise in the afterlife, in which the pious live in comfort and luxury forever.
History has proved this in the past and in the present. Woman has corrupted and still corrupts whatever is around her if she is corrupted. Even the sincere believers have been felled by corruptive women if they became heedless for a moment.
Thus, responsibility is very heavy for a good mother, especially in bringing up her daughters. Therefore, Islam has made her position higher than the position of a good father. The Prophet (S) has ordered people to be kind to their mother three times more than to their father.
If this becomes clear to you, you shall know the secret behind the plans of colonialists that aim at corrupting daughters and making mothers ignorant, because after that, colonialists can seize the wealth of our countries easily, for they shall not find before them save semi-men.
I have to declare something that is very bitter for every heart that wishes for the exaltedness of Islam and the happiness of man and society. It is that some women who are considered to be religious whereas faith has never entered their hearts have played a dangerous role in disrupting the Islamic unity, drawing the believers into disagreements and setting the fire of sedition among them.
This is clear evidence showing women’s ability of destruction even if they don the dress of religion.
Yes! If a woman has such a great ability of bad influence even over religious people, it is reasonable and wise that much attention should be paid to this great ability in order to direct it towards construction rather than destruction.
Thus, we find that a faithful woman and ideal mother is a more important factor of construction and happiness in life than a faithful man and ideal father.
Question: What is the philosophy of motherhood? What is the relation of woman to society with both positive and negative aspects? Can motherhood be one of the factors that contribute to building a good and faithful nation that can resist corruption and tyranny?
The answer: Once, I heard Ayatullah Muhammad Taqi al-Mudarrisi say in one of his lectures, ‘If you want a good society, you have to look for a good mother, because if you find society sinking under the pressures of corruption and loss, you should know well that all these evils shall reach mothers. A mother is not only a school, but she is also the life, origin, and essence of man….
In order to treat the problem from its roots, you have to turn to the mother and try to treat the problems that the mother suffers from, and then, you will know the reasons behind the deviation of society. Looking for another place to cure the social diseases will be nothing save a temporary tranquilizer that soon disappears and then the pains of the diseases will come back again.’
About the philosophy of motherhood and the qualities of an ideal mother, he says, ‘Before all, man has to ask himself: has he come to this life to enjoy its pleasures and live for a certain period and then he dies and everything finishes, or has he come to play a role and undertake a responsibility? If the second conception is true, then what is the responsibility of this man?’
To answer this question, I say: the greatest responsibility that man undertakes in this life is the good upbringing of his children. A mother who understands this responsibility knows well that all the affairs of this life are minor before her responsibility for her children…
An ideal mother makes her children be among the people of Paradise and tries her best to carry out this goal. She makes them love Allah and fear the punishment of the afterlife…
Things like these are not realized unless a woman pays a lot of attention to other things that are considered as bases to attain these goals. A woman does not become a good mother except when she becomes a good wife. As a man has to look for a good woman to marry, a woman does not have to accept save a good man to be her husband. After marriage, she has to try her best to raise and educate her children in the best way. Also, she has to watch her husband especially concerning the source of his livelihood. A good wife does not allow her husband to bring money from anywhere, because she knows that unlawful money causes unlawful sperm, and a man who is created from an unlawful sperm is difficult to be reformed.’
We invite the Ulama’, thinkers, preachers, and pious people to take extensive care to spread the culture of motherhood in societies, especially amongst the rising generation of girls. Islam has paid a lot of attention to the position of girls in the house due to her vital role in the future when she becomes a wife and mother.
The Prophet (S) said, ‘Whoever has a daughter and he brings her up well, educates her well, and is generous to her with what Allah has granted him, she will be as a fort and cover him from Fire.15’
In another tradition, the Prophet (S) declares that the right of a mother on her child is two times more than the right of a father. A child has been recommended to be kind to his father, while he has been recommended to be kind to his mother three times as much.
The best speech is that of Allah when He says, (And We have enjoined on man doing of good to his parents; with trouble did his mother bear him and with trouble did she bring him forth; and the bearing of him and the weaning of him was thirty months; until when he attains his maturity and reaches forty years, he says: My Lord! grant me that I may give thanks for Thy favor which Thou hast bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do good which pleases Thee and do good to me in respect of my offspring; surely I turn to Thee, and surely I am of those who submit. These are they from whom We accept the best of what they have done and pass over their evil deeds, among the dwellers of the garden; the promise of truth which they were promised)16.
Question: My husband travels too much, and the responsibility of the house and children has fallen on me. My back has broken due to this heavy responsibility; nevertheless, I have not received from him even a word of gratitude. What shall I do?
The answer: Your husband has to change his job, if it is possible, or bring you a servant. You may teach your children the household affairs to help you or you may make friends with the neighbors according to the familiar, social way among good people. If all these solutions fail, you should continue in your present state and look forward to the reward of Allah that the future may be better than the past.
Dear sister, be patient for patience is an effective weapon. Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘He, who rides in the boat of patience, arrives at the field of victory.17’
The husband, also, has to try his best to solve this problem. Islam does not permit the burdening of wives with heavy duties.
The Prophet (S) said, ‘Travel is a part of torment. Whenever one of you finishes his travel, let him hasten back to his family.’
If this husband does not change his severe behavior towards his wife, relatives have to advise him wisely, because supporting the cause of a wronged one brings good in this life and the afterlife.
Question: My husband is unjustly undergoing a sentence of fifteen years in prison for a matter of the truth! I live miserably with my child. My husband’s relatives do not take any care of me or my little son. Whenever I count the remaining period of my husband’s imprisonment, which is ten years, I feel I will die before the actual death comes. I have a friend who asked her husband to divorce her as soon as she knew that he had been sentenced to life imprisonment and then she went to live with a good husband. She often advises me to do the same. I am confused and do not know what to do. Would you please guide me to the right way so that I may follow it and keep myself away from the whispers of the Satan?
The answer: Dear faithful sister, there is something called loyalty, whose light always shines in the stories of pious and dutiful people. Loyalty is an Islamic value, a human nature, and a moral jewel. One who has no loyalty lives with remorse his whole life and does not feel happy.
Yes! There are some exceptions that Islam has permitted and specified within certain boundaries. I prefer that these exceptional cases should be dealt with in the agreement between the imprisoned husband and the expectant wife. The husband who has entered prison after struggling to revive noble values in society, which has been deprived of these values, is able to make a decision to set his young wife free if she wishes to live away from the long wait. Nevertheless, I prefer that the faithful wife make a sacrifice for the sake of the values that her husband was thrown in prison for. Among these values are loyalty, patience, devotedness, and giving delight to her husband’s heart by visiting him continuously and making him feel that she is with him not only in ease but also in distress. Is life worth anything without values?
In a word, Islamic values must always be taken as the motives of our situations. They must be the criteria of divorce or waiting. Allah says, (…then retain them with kindness or separate them with kindness)18. Kindness is among the values to which Islam has invited and which also include loyalty, patience, cooperation, and mutual understanding.
Question: How can poor families overcome their financial problems, since the requirements of life are greater than the income these families receive?
The answer: Poverty is not a new problem for man. Islam has treated poverty with its wise verdicts and moral teachings and with supplications and with strengthening the moral aspects of man and family. We feel sorry for most Muslims who have virtually said to Islam: stick to the limits of books and lectures and do not enter our practical life especially in our closed rooms!! Therefore, they have brought upon themselves different problems in their lives.
Society, with its poor and rich, has kept away from the wide mercy and abundant blessings of Allah. Whoever divorces piety, Heaven divorces him. Allah says, (And if the people of the towns had believed and guarded (against evil)19
We would certainly have opened up for them blessings from the heaven and the earth, but they rejected, so We overtook them for what they had earned). The poor commit some disobediences that bring them poverty and the rich commit some disobediences that bring them distresses, and thus poverty increases in the society. Imam Ali (a.s.) has said, ‘There is no abundant blessing, unless there is a lost due beside it.’
Panting after the desires of this life, material pleasures, and lavish expenditures is failure to know the facts to which Allah has invited us.
From amongst the poetry ascribed to Imam Hasan (a.s.) is the following verse:
Observing this fact, the economical life of a family must be well organized. The husband, his wife, and the other qualified members of the family can manage the income of the family in the best way and spare some of it for emergencies.
It is useful to quote here what I have read in the al-Wa’iy al-Islami magazine, vol. 414: “Many problems happen to families because of disorganization of the income between the two spouses or the income does not cover their needs.
Nowadays, these problems have become more complicated because of the rise in prices, the high level of living, the change of life’s luxuries of yesterday into essential needs today, and the increasing number of population that leads to an increase in consumption.
The circumstances and the disagreements that emerge because of money and defects in managing the income and expenditures may be different from one family to another, but there are some important concerns such as the changes that affect the lives of the spouses are such that each of them will not have his/her own independent opinion about the financial matters. In fact, the opinion of the other side will be important, especially if the wife has a job and a personal income.
Some modern families suffer from serious financial problems, and some husbands may belittle the material needs, which may increase the disagreement between spouses.
But how can spouses face these financial crises?
1. Each spouse has to inform the other of his/her actual income so that they conduct all their affairs clearly and with fidelity.
2. The spouses, together, have to specify the most important points of expenditure.
3. They have to agree that the income of the husband and the income of the wife become one to build the family and not to satisfy their personal wishes.
4. They have to agree to balance their joint incomes so that nothing disturbs their expenditure.
5. They must avoid participating in different projects and many installments in order to not be overwhelmed by the great expenses required from each of them.
6. If one of them faces a financial problem, he/she has to frankly inform the other spouse so that they can make the necessary changes to their budget.
Each husband and wife should not place money and financial problems in the first position of their life, for the pillars of a happy family stand on mutual understanding and respect before all. Money alone does not bring happiness and tranquility, but it is a means to achieve the requirements of life.”
There are many Qur’anic verses and supplications to be recited to invoke Allah for livelihood. They are mentioned in the books of supplications. What I mention here is something that I myself have experienced. It is reciting the second and the third verses of the sura at-Talaq (65), (…and whoever is careful of (his duty to) Allah, He will make for him an outlet, and give him sustenance from whence he thinks not; and whoever trusts in Allah, He is sufficient for him; surely Allah attains His purpose; Allah indeed has appointed a measure for everything) three times after every prayer, attentively and sincerely20.
Question: A while ago, I married a young woman. After the wedding, I discovered that she had some defects. I tried to be satisfied and patient with her defect, but I could not. At last, I decided to divorce her, but her brother began threatening me and caused me troubles. He is an evil person, and I hate troubles. Frankly, I say that I am not brave in evil or in resisting evil. I do not know what to do. I hope that you may guide me to a solution.
The answer: Legally, you have the right to divorce her, but humaneness requires you to live with her if her defect is not so serious. If you decide to divorce her, you have to be prudent towards her brother. Allah says, (And the servants of the Beneficent are they who walk on the earth in humbleness, and when the ignorant address them, they say: Peace!) 21
Also we find this solution in a tradition narrated from one of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), ‘If you keep silent before an ignorant person, you answer him fully and punish him painfully.’
You should follow this conduct if his harm towards you is through speech, but if you fear that he may do more serious harm to you, you can send some notables to advise and threaten him implicitly. If he persists in his ignorance, you should try to move to another part of your country. If he continues harassing you, then you should lodge a complaint against him in court.
You should do so if there is no way before you except divorce, but if you can live with your wife, you should; otherwise, after agreeing with her, you can choose a second wife who can live with her without troubles.
Question: I have a friend whose wife is sick and she cannot satisfy his sexual desire. At the same time, she strongly refuses to let him marry another wife. She acts like she’ll die whenever he wants to discuss this subject with her, though he has the right to marry another wife even if his first wife is sound. Then, how about it when she is sick? I wonder at the selfishness and the unjust jealousy of such women towards their poor husbands! My friend is always nervous because of his wife who is not ready to talk about polygamy. What do you suggest for a solution? Should my friend continue living with his wife and remain without children, satisfied lust, or comfort or should he marry another one regardless of what will happen?
The answer: This husband has the right to get married whether in order to get children, to satisfy his sexual lust, or to relieve his strained nerves, but executing this right requires great wisdom in caring for the moral side. He, to the extent of his abilities, has to convince his wife and assure her that he will not leave her alone or ignore her if she agrees on his marriage to another wife, rather her agreement shall make him love and respect her more. He must carry out his promise to her after her agreement.
If this attempt does not succeed, he should send some wise relatives of hers to convince her and explain to her the divine verdict in this concern. They should explain to her that by preventing her husband from marrying another, she will bring upon herself the wrath of Allah that will lead her to the torment of the afterlife because, by doing so, she denies one of the verdicts of Allah and prohibits a lawful right of her husband on the one hand, and on the other hand, she may lead her husband to commit unlawful acts. In fact, her permission is not a condition for the validity of her husband’s second marriage, but it is just a moral requirement.
If this attempt does not succeed either, then the decision is up to the husband whether he wants to live with her and make sacrifices for her or if he wants to get married to another, regardless of the consequences.
I myself know someone who went ahead and married another wife in spite of his wife’s threats, and then she submitted to the reality. However, I also know other people who married additional wives in spite of their wives’ threats, and their wives did in fact carry out their threats and caused their husbands many troubles.
I do not know which type the wife of your friend will be! I pray to Allah that she recovers her health and makes her husband happy, and I hope she will find pleasure in submitting to the verdict of Allah because nothing will be more useful to her than the verdicts of Allah, which surely have wisdom and advantages that may be unknown by man, for Allah is more aware than us.
Such women have to think of the pleasure of Allah and their ends in the afterlife. This life is transient and ages are too short however much they last! Then, let these women do good deeds and leave good remembrances after them!
Question: The troubles between a wife and her husband’s relatives are among the problems that most often lead a marriage to divorce. It is seldom to find cordiality between a wife and her mother-in-law. My question is: how do you deal with this problem?
The answer: There are some points that must be obtained before the troubles begin.
1. Spouses, and their families as well, should have a good amount of comprehension, prudence, morals, and good faith, and this is what Islam emphasizes.
2. Spouses should try to keep away from the incentives of disagreement.
3. They should try to be independent in the abode and the domestic means.
4. They should refrain from spying on others in the family.
5. They should not reveal their secrets to others.
6. They should try to spread love among all by praising, thanking, and encouraging others.
However, if the problems begin, the following steps must be followed:
1. The problem must be belittled.
2. The problem must be limited only to the ones the problem relates to.
3. Others may give advice with lenient speech and smiles and some lectures about the afterlife, and they should avoid disputing. It would be better to mention some jokes to quiet the anger of the ones involved in the problem.
4. They should beware of suspecting and misunderstanding each other.
5. They should deal with the problem wisely and should humor the ones involved in the problem until the fire of the problem is extinguished.
Imam Ali (a.s.) says, ‘Humor people and you will enjoy their brotherhood. Meet them with smiles and joy and you will kill their spites.22’
Question: What is the meaning of this verse “Men are the guardians of women”? Many men take it as an excuse to impose unjust control on their women.
The answer: In managing the affairs of marital life, there must be one decision-maker; otherwise, the family will become divided and fall into parts. It is the same with companies, banks, and government departments. They have one head, who is called manager, minister, or president, to make decisions. This does not imply the permitting of despotism. A manager, a minister, or a president, in spite of his authority, has to consult with others and has to take counselors. Even the messenger of Allah (S), who is the most perfect one among all human beings, has been ordered by Allah to consult with others by saying, (…and consult with them in the affair; so when you have decided, then place your trust in Allah)23.
In this verse, you see two orders: one of consulting and the other of determining. In the first order, there is a plural pronoun (consult with them) whereas in the other order there is a singular pronoun. It is understood that a final decision must be made by one person, and no more; otherwise, disagreement will not be settled by one decision. As we have said, a decision must be made after consulting with persons of common benefit and common fate. This means that guardianship should be for a decision-maker.
Here, we discuss the following question: if guardianship is to be claimed by either the husband or the wife, which one of them is preferred?
Islam prefers the husband over the wife for the following reasons:
1. Man in most cases has a greater ability of administration, control over his nerves, courage, freedom in going out of home, dealing with people, and dealing with the affairs of life than a woman.
2. If a woman works outdoors, she will be – in most cases – an easy game for hunters.
3. Because the husband is the one who initially establishes the family and the wife is a newcomer to the family, man is worthier of making a decision on what he establishes. For example, if you establish a company and invite someone qualified to assist you in administrating the company, would you not keep the conclusive decisions to yourself though you may regard the position of the one you have invited as a partner with you in administration?
4. Because the husband undertakes the financial responsibility of the family, it is natural that guardianship is his right. This is clear in the Qur’anic verse (Men are the guardians of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property)24.
This matter, however, does not justify the unjust control of a man over his wife. Many men exploit their authorities to achieve personal benefits. This does not mean that this authority is wrong, but rather it is wrong when the authorized men misuse this authority selfishly to achieve their personal benefits.
If a keeper of a mosque or a Husayniyyah25 collects some money under the pretense of doing some religious projects, but he spends this money on his personal purposes, do we condemn the mosque, the Husayniyyah, and the religious projects or do we condemn that disloyal person?
When Islam gave this guardianship to man, it ordered him to be fair, honest, and wise. If man is not so, then the wrong lies in man himself and not in the verdict of guardianship.
I do not think that there is a woman who refuses to be the wife of a man who is bound by the conditions of guardianship and its Islamic principles.
We ask: can a husband authorize his wife with this guardianship?
The answer: Yes, he has the right to convey his right to his wife. Thus, Islam does not determine the despotism of men; rather, Islam organizes the administration of a happy marital life, and thus guardianship is a positive thing as long as the husband has positive qualities.
Question: I often hear from preachers that the person who arranges a marriage between a Muslim man and a Muslim woman will get a great reward. Once, I arranged a marriage between two young persons, and now whenever a quarrel occurs between them, they blame me because I was the cause of their marriage. This has made me refrain from attempting again in this concern. What do you think I should do?
The answer: The Prophet (S) has said, ‘He who marries his faithful brother to a woman who supports him and makes him feel happy and comfortable with her, Allah will marry him to a houri and will please him with the veracious ones of his relatives and brothers who love him and will make them pleased with him.26’
Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) has said, ‘Whoever marries a bachelor (to a woman) will be among those whom Allah will look at on the Day of Resurrection.27’
Islam has urged us to assist people in getting married. Islam does not urge anything unless it is to our advantage, giving us benefits in religion and rewards in the afterlife. But the approach to achieving this is important. The one who wants to arrange the marriage of two persons has to regard the qualities of the two persons and the extent to which they are near in ambitions and morals, and then he should tell them and their families that he is just an introducer. Then, those persons and their families must take the remaining steps. They should inquire accurately about each other and then agree on the details and conditions of marriage. The introducer has to tell them that he should not be blamed since it is the spouses and their families who make the final decision. He should tell them that a mediator does not know the unseen, and if he knew the unseen, he would prevent the quarrels of the spouses or would not prepare their marriage at all.
According to these points, you have to continue doing good to gain rewards in the afterlife. Do not let the justifications of the persons who are unable to deal with each other correctly prevent you from doing good. Actual blame should be on them and not on the one who has intended to do good and serve others.
Question: I separated from my first husband because he was a drug addict, and for the past ten years, I have been married to a good man. He speaks little with me and pays more attention to his business. I wish we could sit together and discuss our interests, life affairs, educating our children, the news of the society and neighbors, or the like. Sometimes, I feel that I am full of speech but I do not find anyone beside me to whom I can talk. I tell my husband: please listen to me! He says: I have no time, and my mind is not ready to listen. Would you please suggest a solution to my problem?
The answer: Dear sister, you have to understand that people are different in their natures but they are similar in other aspects. Your good husband is different from you in some aspect, but this does not mean that he hates you or hates to listen to your speech. Some aspects are hereditary, others are related with the zodiacs, some are acquired since childhood, and others are acquired because of the surrounding environment and pressing difficulties that man faces due to political, economical, or social reasons. These difficulties afflict all people, but they cause some melancholy, others handicaps, others madness, others failure and deviation, and others great success – and this kind is found the least in people.
Dear sister, I suggest that you should try to talk with your other relatives, such as your parents, brothers, sisters, daughters, or your trusted neighbors. If you do not succeed, then you should accept the reality because satisfaction is a treasure that does not end, as mentioned in the Islamic traditions. It has also been mentioned that keeping silent and speaking little are better.
Question: My wife used to take care of me (fifty percent of the time), but ever since she gave birth to our child, she pays all her attention to the child as if she does not see her husband is also in the house. I do not know how to deal with this situation without making her misunderstand that I may be jealous of my child.
The answer: This case results from a previous emotional void either in her father’s house or in your house. When her child was born, she tried to fill that void by excessive inclination towards him.
To repair the situation:
1. Bring her some books about the rights of the husband and marital relations or some cassettes containing lectures about this subject!
2. Do not resent and do not show her your anger at her action, but you should give her ample opportunity to return to her natural state!
3. Organize some time for both of you to talk and assure her of your love to her!
4. Let her see your love and attention for the child to make her feel that she is not the only one who loves the child!
5. Continue this behavior and do not give up because the fruits will not come to you immediately, especially if her emotional void is deep and old!
6. Send your friends’ wives to her to talk to her about her required legal duties towards her husband, without making her feel that they have come specifically to discuss this matter!
Question: My wife used to always attend religious meetings, but now she is interested only in material pleasures. She always insists that we change the furniture or I buy her clothes and other things that are beyond my financial ability. I talk to her about contentment, which I assume she has learnt about in those religious meetings, but she pays no attention. Once, I discussed this problem with a faithful man, and he advised me to prevent her from going to those meetings justifying that these meetings have become, in our present time, meetings of displaying fashions or discussing the matters of this material world. I did, but she became more obstinate and began disputing with me and threatened that she would go out in spite of me. Now, my life is full of problems with this wife. Would you please advise me what to do?
The answer: Acknowledging the miserable reality is the first step in repairing it. What you have mentioned about the meetings that are clothed in religion hurts the heart of every protective believer, and at the head of these protective people are Muhammad (S) and his pure progeny (a.s.).
Really, some meetings not only do not educate our women, but they also destroy the efforts of education made by the sincere people. The Prophet (S) warned us when he said to his successor Imam Ali (a.s.), ‘O Ali, whoever obeys his wife, Allah will throw him into the Fire.’ Imam Ali (a.s.) asked, ‘What obedience?’ The Prophet (S) said, ‘He permits her to go to meetings, weddings, meetings of weepers, and to put on transparent clothes.28’
The solution I suggest comes through the following points (whether you follow all of them or some of them depends on your discretion in dealing with the problem and its concerns):
First, after explaining to her your wife’s state, allow a wise woman to befriend your wife and advise your wife from the wisdom she has received from her Lord.
Second, you can hold religious meetings in your house, if possible, and entrust your wife with some suitable responsibility that will occupy her and allow her to feel her personality. If it is not possible, you can take her to certain meetings after previously arranging with the preacher to choose a suitable subject. For example, let him talk about the saying of the Prophet (S), ‘There are three woman, who Allah frees from the torment of the grave and resurrects with Fatima az-Zahra’ (a.s.); a woman who is patient with the stinginess of her husband, a woman who is patient with the bad morals of her husband, and a woman who gives up her dowry to her husband.’
Third, you should follow calm ways to convince her, because the harms of anger, nervousness, and scolding are greater than their advantages. Perhaps a nice word, a nice gesture, a present, a smile, or a joke would treat many problems in a short amount of time.
Fourth, consider your financial ability and be realistic and sincere to the best of your abilities. If she wants a necessary thing and you are able to buy it for her, do so and do not be stingy for Allah grants kind people His expansive and lawful livelihood.
Fifth, you should try your best to improve your living conditions because remaining in poverty is something that religion does not accept.
Sixth, if these steps are of no use, you have to be patient and bear the problem until Allah determines what is best between you and your wife.
Seventh, if all of these attempts are useless, you would be better off threatening to divorce her, and then you can carry out a revocable divorce, because then you can return to her after she repents of her bad behaviors.
Question: What is the opinion of Islam about birth control and stopping procreation? Some people in our family think that it is unlawful; therefore, they procreate in spite of their limited incomes, whereas others think that it is necessary to control birth though they are in a good economical state.
The answer: Basically, the Muslims should procreate and increase in number as it is understood from the Prophetic traditions. The Prophet (S) said, ‘Do you not know that I will be proud of you before nations on the Day of Resurrection even of miscarried fetuses…29’ .
However, Islam has taken the different stages and circumstances of people into consideration. Economical conditions, narrow residences, difficulties of upbringing and educating, dangers of deviation from religion, and the problems of controlling people’s affairs in general are factors requiring birth control for some people, but they may not require other people to practice that.
This is understood from other traditions too. The Prophet (S) said, when predicting some things to take place in a time different from his time, ‘A time will come to people, in which the best of people will be… those of less children.30’
Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘There are three things that are among the worst of calamities: big family, dominance of debts, and chronic diseases.31’
It is understood that a smaller family is better.
Imam Ali (a.s.) also said, ‘(having) few children is one of the two eases.32’
We conclude that this matter (birth control) is permissible and is a personal decision according to the circumstances of a person himself. It is not possible to impose or not to impose the concept of birth control on someone except if it harms others seriously.
It is thus if there are no imperialist plans behind birth control; otherwise, not controlling birth is obligatory on condition that one can bring up and educate his children properly, lest they become an easy game for the imperialists as mostly happens.
Question: My wife’s relatives interfere in the affairs of my marital life, and so they have made our life full of troubles. As for my wife, she is divided between her relatives and me. Her heart is with me, but her courtesies are with them, and all the while, confusion hovers as a cloud over her head. I do not know how to save her and myself from her curious family!
The answer: You can send some wise people as mediators to persuade your wife’s relatives to stop their interferences, which may destroy the happiness of their daughter if they truly want her happiness. But before all, let us be realistic. Please, think of yourself! Perhaps you practice a wrong behavior that needs to be repaired!
If you are certain about yourself, you should send mediators; otherwise, repair yourself and carry out these steps reasonably and with lenient morals:
1. Explain your opinions to your wife and let her stand with you in this ordeal to avoid any dispute or quarrel with her family!
2. Change your behavior towards her family and be lenient to them. Allah says, (Repel the evil deed with one which is better, then lo! he, between whom and you there was enmity (will become) as though he was a bosom friend)33.
3. Let you and your wife be busy with building your future, and do not listen to others’ criticism and disputes as long as you understand each other and look forward to the pleasure of Allah.
4. On some occasions, offer your wife’s relatives some presents to gain their love and to clear the old dregs from their hearts.
Question: In our building, we have a neighbor, whose wife is garrulous and he himself does not refrain from talking with the female neighbors and joking with them until their laughing becomes terribly loud, besides the disturbance they make in the corridors. What is the legal verdict of Islam on this bad behavior?
The answer: This is impermissible in Islam according to these Qur’anic verses: (…then be not soft in (your) speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease yearn; and speak a good word. And stay in your houses and do not display your finery like the displaying of the ignorance of yore)34.
Talkativeness and nonsense often revolve around backbiting, telling tales, and revealing secrets that often cause problems between spouses, families, and neighbors; and especially problematic is the mutual joking and laughing between non-mahram men and women.
Allah the Almighty says, (And say to My servants (that) they speak that which is best; surely the Satan sows dissensions among them)35 and (…and lower your voice; surely the most hateful of voices is braying of the asses)36.
From the recommendations of Prophet al-Khidhr (a.s.) to Prophet Moses (a.s.), Prophet Muhammad (S) quoted the following, ‘Do not be talkative and do not prattle, because talkativeness disgraces the Ulama’ and reveals the defects of silly people!37’
Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Do not talk to people about everything you hear because it is stupidity.38’
He also said, ‘A silence dressing you in dignity is better than a saying bringing you regret.39’
Question: My husband always repeats, ‘I am unable to manage the house and to educate the children. Do whatever you want and do not depend on me!’ This is not right, but I do not know how to correct his thinking.
The answer: It is very odd that the master of the family would declare his inability to manage his house, which he himself has established, or to educate one, two, or three children, whereas we find the heads of companies, foundations, and governments managing, in addition to their families, tens, hundreds, thousands, and millions of people.
What is the reason behind this difference?
The reason lies in the following points, which are absent from an incapable person’s mind and present before the mind of a successful manager:
· First point: methodology
By this we mean recognizing the goals of marriage, procreation, and forming a family, on which basis the master of the family plans for the future of his children – the future, which stems from him first and foremost. Does man, when he invites some guests, not think of the aim of his invitation and then plan how and what foods he will offer appropriate to their ranks and positions? In the same way, concerning his family and children, he should specify aims and then think and plan accordingly to execute them.
· Second point: organizing
It means distributing the domestic duties in such a way that each member of the house knows his duty and also to ensure that the greater part of the duties will not fall on the shoulder of any one person while the others live without offering any help or feeling any responsibility.
The master of the family is the one who divides the household duties amongst the members of his family according to their ages and abilities; for example, one for sweeping, the other for cooking, the third for shopping, and so on. Allah says, (…and help one another in goodness and piety)40.
· Third point: coordination
Parents must agree on and settle many things between themselves so that each of them knows his duties, such as buying the school supplies of their children for example. If there is no prior arrangement between the parents, the father may buy the supplies and the mother may also buy them at the same time, or neither will buy them, and thus the affairs of the children may become troubled at school.
Coordination, which is a part of organization, prevents the waste of time, abilities, and efforts and the confusion of the family members through different instructions in the house. Have you not seen Allah with your mind and heart through His great organization of the creatures and the coordination among them with the utmost accuracy? If it were not so, all life would be in tumult.
· Fourth point: leadership
The master of the family, and especially the father, should touch the hearts of the members of his family through love to attract them towards his educational instructions, and this is one of the qualities of an understanding leader. It is a stage higher than household management. A successful leader is one who does not make others submit to his will by force, but he instead uses wisdom and prudence to convince them to submit. The leader who uses severity and violence will certainly produce severe, impolite, mutinous, and wicked offspring with weak personalities.
We do not deny the importance of using strictness and firmness in some occasions. A wise leader is aware of those occasions, and he knows how and when he should become strict and firm without making others feel that he has a power over them that may deprive them of their freedom and also without making them feel that responsible supervision is of no importance. Leadership is the art of mixing many items, the most important of which are knowledge, wisdom, tact, and good practice.
· Fifth point: knowledge
The master of the family should know the actual value of these points in correlation to what Islam has legislated in its view towards the universe, life, man, and their legislative and moral concerns.
Finally, this husband should strengthen his morale by relying on Allah the Almighty. The nearest one who can help him in this matter is you, O wife. You can inspire in him the spirit of responsibility. You can encourage and praise him whenever he carries out something. You can tell him that the greatness of the famous personalities in history came about because they did not think of the difficulties in their achievements, but they instead thought of the great achievements they would get.
Question: What is the reason behind insomnia and lack of sleep, and what is the treatment? If it is due to marital problems, it is enough to make one think of not getting married.
The answer: The main reasons behind this case are:
1. Physical pains
2. Problems pressing on one’s mind
3. Worry, especially about one’s job and future projects
4. Watching films of terror and libertinism
5. Reading books that incite lust and the nerves
6. Feeling guilt
7. Marital problems, as you have mentioned in your question
To treat yourself, you have to perform the following steps:
1. Perform (wudu’) ritual ablution before going to bed!
2. Recite some suras of the Holy Qur’an especially the sura of al-Hashr (59)!
3. Pray to Allah to forgive you your every sin!
4. Make planned efforts according to the orders of Allah!
5. Believe sincerely that Allah manages all affairs and He is the Generous Giver!
6. Try to be outwardly and inwardly loyal and pure!
7. Be satisfied with what Allah has granted you of wealth and your marital life!
8. Be certain that this world is transient and man’s age is short!
9. Read about the problems of others and always thank Allah for His fate!
10. Tire your body out before going to bed with, for example, sports or reading!
Question: My husband has a weak and infirm personality. He does not manage the household affairs. He neither enjoins nor does he forbid the children. He pays no attention to their school education. How should I behave towards him in order to make him act according to his suitable position?
The answer: This is the negative side of your husband’s personality, but surely he has some positive qualities too. Try to regard these qualities as well. But as for the negative side:
First, entrust him with some tasks even if he hesitates or refuses to do them!
Second, try to give him self-confidence. For example, you can say to him: I am sure you can do this work.
Third, declare to him that you want him to be with a strong personality, and tell him that this is the wish of your children as well. Tell him that the responsibilities in marital life are common and divided according to Islamic teachings and the human nature!
Fourth, plan with your children to ask their father to interfere in their affairs and to discuss with them different issues. In other words, he should be involved in the family affairs in every way.
Fifth, if he does not change after these steps, you have to adapt yourself to his state and convince yourself that it is a good state, for every person has his own independent personality and private mentality.
Question: Once, a dispute took place between my wife and myself about managing our marital life and our children’s affairs. She accused me of insanity. This word, instead of making me angry, has made me ponder about myself – am I really as my wife said? Would you please show the connotation of sanity that I may understand my mentality for myself and change accordingly, or I may convince my wife that I am not as she says?
The answer: I congratulate you for this liberal spirit and I wish there were more like you in our fanatic societies. The Prophet (S), who was definitely and without a doubt on the path of truth and guidance, invited the polytheists, who were on a definite path of deviation, to an open argumentation without fanaticism or omitting the argument of the other side before showing the truth. (And most surely we or you are on a right way or in manifest error)41.
See how the Prophet (S) made the matter of disagreement between him and the polytheists as though unresolved between guidance and deviation. Thus, he encouraged them to begin argumentation. However, in our societies, if two Muslims (or maybe two scholars) disagree, each one of them determines that he is in the truth and his opponent is in the falsehood and each one of them turns away from the other with enmity and grudge!
Dear brother, as for your question, you should be aware that sanity has some signs, most of which begin with the following don’ts:
1. Do not be inclined to violence, revenge, or transgressing against the rights of others!
2. Do not show off in your deeds!
3. Do not like despotism!
4. Do not lie!
5. Do not be lazy to spend your life idly with no aim or productivity!
6. Do not be greedy for what other people have or envy them!
7. Do not hate others, and do not fill your heart with grudge against your opponents or whoever does you wrong!
8. Do not be selfish and think yourself better than all others!
9. Do not ignore religious beliefs throughout your life!
10. Do not disperse your mind, for then your concentration on your tasks will scatter here and there!
After that, you should feel stable in your mentality and behaviors before problems, look at life positively, become hopeful of your tomorrow, and promise those whom you are responsible for a happy future. Thus, you bring yourself and your family vitality, vigor, and constructive activity.
These signs will indicate to you that your inner complexes have disappeared, and then you will live with a pure nature that will repair the condition you live in, and then you will understand your goal in this life and the duties required from you.
Dear brother, with these points, you have to prove to your wife that you are sane and you love your family, and for the sake of your family, you are ready to tolerate all difficulties in order to continue towards your goal, regardless of whether you are in difficulty or ease.
I confirm here that your not being angry with your wife when she called you insane proves that you are mentally sound, and from this point on, you must set out towards a better sanity and mentality.
Question: I often become so angry that I burst out against whoever and whatever is around me. I confess that I am not happy with myself when I am angry with my wife, my children, or others, but I do not know how to treat this psychological disease!
The answer: Dear brother, be sure that anger harms your health because you burn with it your physical powers and the cells of your brain and heart. You may also, because of anger, lose your family and job. Remember that most of the dead in our present time have died because of apoplexy after a case of anger and nervousness.
If you believe in this information, be sure that your case is curable and the key to the cure is in your willpower, which may be difficult to control in the beginning, but later on it will grow stronger until you will find it easy to control your anger and change your behavior.
Here are some points to help you cure yourself inshallah:
1. When angry, try to orient your thinking and senses to something besides the subject that provokes your anger!
2. Leave the place you are in when you become angry and walk to another, and do not come back to it except after forgetting the situation or when your anger disappears!
3. Assign an hour or half an hour every day for practicing exercises, swimming, or breathing deeply! It would be better for you to practice such exercises at the seashore.
4. Teach yourself to be merry through smiling, joking, and mentioning pleasant events and comments within the limits of politeness and honesty! In other words, be good-humored, lovely, and attractive!
5. Trust in the abilities of others, and do not think that they cannot achieve something!
6. Choose some wise person with whom to discuss your sufferings, entrust him with your secrets, and consult him regarding your affairs!
7. Always perform wudu’ and mention Allah with your tongue and heart and remember that you are under His accurate watch!
Question: I married recently, and I suffer from much psychological worry and turmoil, fearing that I may fail in my marriage and become a sad divorcee sitting in a corner of my father’s house like thousands of divorcees. Would you please help me solve my suffering before what I fear takes place though my husband is a good man?
The answer: Dear sister, your problem shows that you lack self-confidence and your fears are not real. They are outcomes of scruple and imagination. Your worrying about your future with your husband may be a sufficient reason for you to fear as you do. To solve your problem, you have to get rid of its cause by following these steps without hesitation:
1. You should think deeply about why you scorn and belittle yourself while you have been created with the divine dignity. Allah has granted you honor and virtue as a highly respected being, so it is unjust for you to do away with your position and value.
2. After discussing the matter with yourself, you will arrive at the critical result that you are precious, and then you will know that a precious one is she who tries her best to remain precious or become more precious. This requires you to offer to your husband whatever good you can offer. This will make you more attractive before your good husband.
3. Seek refuge in Allah from the evil of the sneaking whisperer, who whispers into the hearts of mankind, of the jinn and of mankind!
4. Read some books about the aspects of a successful wife and apply them to yourself, and then do not doubt your ability to continue living with your husband in a happy, joint life with your good offspring!
5. Always take lessons from successful wives, and do not spend your time thinking of sad divorcees!
6. Always, convince yourself that you are happy, successful, strong, and brave!
7. Keep these advices before your eyes throughout your life!
Question: My friend is a shopkeeper. He said that there is a married woman often tried to seduce him. Many times he chided her but with no use. One day, she came to his shop and insisted for him to commit adultery with her, justifying that her husband paid no attention to her emotional needs. Would you please talk about these dangerous corruptions and how to treat their causes?
The answer: The Prophet (S) said, ‘The wrath of Allah is so great on a married woman who fills her eyes with other than her husband or one of her mahrams. If she does so, Allah will nullify all her deeds, and if she sleeps with other than her husband on her bed, Allah will definitely burn her in Fire after torturing her in the grave.42’
Dear brother, what is important is that your friend should overcome his desires and not fall into the trap of this adulteress, for then he would throw himself with her into the fire of Hell.
I would like to say to your friend and those like him what Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘Be abstinent from the women of people, and your women will be abstinent!43’
Does his conscience accept that the honor of the women of his family should be violated? If his answer is “NO”, let him beware of opening a way for his own honor to be violated.
This tested man and that enticing woman should ponder deeply on the sayings of the Prophet (S) narrated by Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.), ‘You have to be abstinent and avoid adultery’44 and by Imam al-Baqir (a.s.), ‘There is no worship better near Allah than the abstinence of the abdomen (not to eat any unlawful thing) and genitals.45’
Let them, also, ponder on the great reward of the martyr who struggles for the sake of Allah! It is less than the reward of one who is able to commit adultery but he abstains and forbears. We have been informed of such by Imam Ali (a.s.) who added, ‘An abstinent is about to be as one of the angels.46’
Imam Ali (a.s.) also said, ‘Satisfaction and suppressing the lust are the best of abstinence.47’
He said to Muhammad bin Abu Bakr when he appointed him as the wali of Egypt, ‘Know that the best of abstinence is piety in the religion of Allah and doing according to His orders. I recommend you of fearing Allah in secrecy and in openness…48’
Dear young man, you should resist and not permit yourself to commit adultery because it is one of the major sins. Remember, when the Satan invites you towards adultery, Allah sees you as do your great Prophet (S) and infallible Imams (a.s.), who know your secrets every Thursday by the will of Allah, Who knows every secret49.
You should remember that sin has destructive effects and bad consequences that disgrace man in this life and bring him distresses and griefs.
Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘He who hastens towards lusts, hastens towards plagues.50’
He also said, ‘Whoever enjoys himself by disobeying Allah, Allah afflicts him with meanness.51’
Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) said, ‘No disaster afflicts man except after a sin…52’
Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘Allah the Almighty says: when he, who knows Me, disobeys Me, I will set up one, who does not know Me, over him.53’
This is in this life, but as for the afterlife, the Prophet (S) said, ‘He who shakes hands with a woman who is unlawful (non-mahram) for him will be afflicted with the wrath of Allah, and he who sleeps with a woman who is unlawful for him will be tied by a chain of fire with the Satan and they both will be thrown into Fire.54’
I would like to draw the attentions of the husbands who are indifferent to the sexual rights of their wives and also the husbands who are lenient towards their wives in allowing them to watch erotic films or in letting them go out without surveillance that they are partners in the crime of adultery their wives commit.
Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘Allah has given woman patience of ten men, but if she is excited, the power of her lust becomes as of ten men.55’
The Prophet (S) ordered husbands by saying, ‘Wash your clothes, cut your hairs, use miswak (tooth cleanser – i.e. brush your teeth), clean your bodies, and adorn yourselves! The Israelites did not do that; therefore, their women committed adultery.56’
Adultery is not just a moment of pleasure which ends with the act; rather, hundreds of problems come after it such as sudden death, which is the worst of them, illegitimate children, who form a main cause of crime in societies, and so on.
Question: My wife is sterile, and I love children very much. I do not want to die without leaving righteous descendents after me. I spoke with my wife about marrying a faithful girl who would be as her friend and assistant so that Allah may grant me good offspring, but she refused and was about to attack and kill me. Several weeks passed until our relation was restored to its natural state. I then suggested to her that we might look for an orphan and adopt him as our son, if it was acceptable to her. She accepted, but I do not know whether she was sincere or she just accepted out of courtesy. Nevertheless, how should we go about finding an orphan? How can we be sure that he is not illegitimate?
The answer: In the first part of the problem, the wife should understand the truth and submit to the verdict of the Sharia, which is the verdict of Allah, Who has given man the right to marry two, three, or four wives (on condition that he will treat them all fairly and equally) in normal cases, then how about if the first wife is in a state like that of your wife?
Let this wife be sure that when Allah sees her submit to His judgment, He will grant her goodness that will make her happy in this life and in the afterlife. If her husband does get married, whether she agrees to it or not, let her beware of the whispering of the Satan, who is the bitterest enemy of man.
In the story of Sara, the wife of Prophet Abraham (a.s.), there is a big similarity to the story of this tried wife. Sara was sterile. Prophet Abraham (a.s.) got married to Hagar. Sara became jealous of Hagar with the jealousy of unfaithful women. Therefore, Allah punished Sara by granting Hagar a good son whose name was Ishmael (a.s.), who was the forefather of our Prophet Muhammad (S) and the millions of sayyids throughout these past fourteen centuries after hijra, whereas Sara has gone without any mention.
As for the second part of the problem, if you agree on adopting an orphan, this will be a great deed if you carry out its conditions.
The Prophet (S) said, as narrated by Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.), ‘Whoever adopts an orphan until [the orphan] becomes secure from his needs, Allah will assure Paradise to him for it just as He assures Hell to the eater of an orphan’s property.57’
The Prophet (S) also said, ‘The best of your houses is a house in which there is an orphan treated kindly, and the worst of your houses is a house in which there is an orphan treated badly.58’
He also said, ‘Whoever shares his food and drink with an orphan so that the orphan becomes secure from his needs will be in Paradise.’
As for the matter of looking for an orphan who is not illegitimate, this matter has its own method that requires personal efforts and great accuracy, and in some countries, certain official places can help you out. I pray to Allah to make you and your wife successful in doing good deeds.
Question: My wife is faithful and from a respectable family. Before marriage, we read together some books about marital life in the light of Islamic values. Now, we are about to enter into a new stage of our shared life: it is the stage of fatherhood and motherhood. Would you please show us what is required from us in this stage so that Allah may grant us a sound child mentally and physically? I have read a tradition saying, ‘The unhappy one is made unhappy in his mother’s womb, and the happy one is made happy in his mother’s womb.’
The answer: Your question shows your purposeful culture in life and your association of Islam as a responsible mission. First, I would like to congratulate you for this constructive culture and sincere association of your beliefs.
As for the answer, I would like to say that there are some previous procedures necessary before a sperm and an ovum should convene:
1. Close relation and true love; you should have the utmost satisfaction and mental comfort with this relation!
2. Lawful food; the unlawful bite, the bite whose legal due is not paid, and the bite, on which the name of Allah is not mentioned, have a great negative effect on the offspring.
3. Suitable time (of making love); let your sleeping with your wife not be on the first day of the lunar months nor at the middle of them, nor in the nights of Eid ul-Adha (after the annual Hajj to Mecca) and Eid ul-Fitr (the end of Ramadan), nor under a fruitful tree, nor before the sun directly, nor on the roof of the house nor in the night of travel.
4. Praying to Allah to make the child sound
5. Performing wudu’ when sleeping together
But, after the creation of the fetus:
1. Adhering to mutual love, eating lawful food, supplicating to Allah, and reciting the Qur'an
2. Avoiding smoking
3. Avoiding being angry and nervous
4. Avoiding chemical drugs
5. Performing wudu’ throughout the period of pregnancy
6. Eating spinach for it is rich in iron, eating dates for they plant patience in the spirit of the fetus, eating quince for it gives the fetus good morals and strengthen its mind and brain, and eating pears, apples, and melons for they have an influence on the beauty, bloom, and complexion of the fetus
And, after birth:
1. Reciting the azan in the child’s right ear and the iqama59 in its left ear
2. Suckling the child from the mother’s breast while the mother is in a good moral state, such as performing wudu’, sitting with the face towards the Kaaba, and smiling at the child when suckling
3. Paying charity and aqeeqa (a sacrifice distributed amongst the poor as a sacrifice for the newborn baby)
4. Choosing a nice name that has a good meaning, and there are no better names than those of our infallible leaders and their pure progeny. If there is an insistence on new names, they can be derived from Qur’anic or historical words. For females, there are names like Aala’, Asma’, Ayaat, Ru’ya, Fadak, Ghadeer, Hidayeh, etc. For males, there are names like Zahir, Zahid, Tahir, Sabir, Bassim, Shareef, etc.
As for the tradition you have mentioned, it has been narrated from the Prophet (S) in this way, ‘The unhappy one is he who is unhappy in his mother’s womb, and the happy one is he who is happy in his mother’s womb.60’
This is the correct quotation of the tradition; the one you quoted implies a sense of compulsion, as if it has been pre-determined from the period of pregnancy whether a man will be happy or unhappy. Compulsion is rejected in Islam because it does not go well with its teachings that invite man to practice it by his own choice and will.
The phrase in the actual tradition means that happiness or unhappiness begin from the ground parents prepare for their child, from the moment the sperm and the ovum convene and throughout the period of pregnancy. This has been confirmed by modern scientific researches, which say that alcohol, smoking, narcotics, psychological turmoil, disturbing noises, and harmful meals have negative effects on the health and mentality of the fetus and will have bad effects on his behavior and life in the future.
Parents must not be satisfied with their care in only the above-mentioned stages, but they must continuously educate their children of virtuous concepts and good morals as a farmer does to the seed. He continuously waters, looks after, prunes, and protects it from blights. If he delays or is slack in any one of these activities, the fruits will be affected and his efforts will be lost.
Hence, Imam Ali (a.s.) said to his son Imam Hasan (a.s.), ‘The heart of a youth is like an empty land; whatever is planted in it, [the land] receives it. So, hasten towards good morals before your heart becomes hard and your mind becomes busy…61’
Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘Educate your youth about the Hadith before the Murji’ites62 deviate them!63’
The Murji’ites were deviants in their beliefs. They were active among the Muslims at the time of Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.). This movement was like any movement that appears in our age, and every age, to close the way before the youth and turn them away from the guidance of Allah the Almighty. This often happens under the name of religion and guidance.
However, if man, from his early childhood and youth, learns the true religion, he will discover the falsehoods and will be safe from the deviants.
Question: My daughter-in-law is one of the laziest people! She does not heed her responsibility as a human being let alone as a wife! Even after eating food, which others cook and serve before her hands, she leaves without even picking up the leftovers on the table or the plates she eats in. How strange this girl is! She lacks a conscience, or so I think. She sees how tired her mother-in-law is, but she does not help her. I kept silent and did not talk to my son about this matter until I became impatient. Instead of reforming herself and accepting the truth, she became angry and stopped talking to us. She has begun paying no attention to us. I wonder at these strange types of youth from this generation. What would you advise me and my daughter-in-law and those amongst your readers who are like her?
The answer: This girl and those like her are the results of bad education in the houses of their families. Bad cultures and some TV programs produce dependent and lazy people who do not feel any responsibility or any value of time and age. This is a general aspect of luxurious societies, which is not an aspect of good and faithful people.
True faith makes man active, generous, merry, loving, cordial, cooperative, and eager to do good whenever he can, and humanity makes man an attractive being with his behavior. If man loses these two elements, what value does he have then?
In Islam, we have moral incentives that make us hurry to serve people and carry out their needs.
Once, the Prophet (S) suggested to his companions to build a bridge over a river to help the weak people cross. Some companions said they would build the bridge the next day. When they came the next day, they found the bridge was already built. They went to the Prophet (S) to tell him that. The Prophet (S) asked who had built the bridge and some people replied, ‘O messenger of Allah, we went before them and built the bridge just for the reward of Allah.’
The Prophet (S) prayed to Allah for these companions for their actions and also for the other ones for their intention. Thus, faith led the believers to accomplish great achievements with which the Islamic civilization was formed. It is the civilization about which the scholars of the West and the East have said that it was the source of the modern sciences and the source of the positive aspects of the Western civilization.
This spirit that the great Prophet (S) had inspired into Muslims has died in most Muslims of nowadays. Some of them are lazy to such a degree that they are indifferent even to their personal affairs and what brings happiness to their marital life. However, this does not mean that it is not possible for that spirit to come back to them or for it to be revived in the souls again.
This is on the level of Islam, civilization, and life, but the same can also be said for individuals and their families.
As for the problem presented in the question, it can be treated through the following steps:
1. Attract this young wife by showing her more respect and encouragement so that she can undertake some responsibilities without becoming angry.
2. Give her some books that discuss concepts like cooperation, undertaking responsibilities, purposefulness, and the importance of winning the love of others in the family by performing domestic affairs.
3. Avoid forcing and scolding, whether implicitly or openly, for these things will lead her to resist.
4. Your son (her husband) should teach her the Islamic teachings concerning the moral sides, part of which is the wife’s work in the house such as cooking, cleaning, and other things; though they are not obligatory like prayers and fasting, this work nevertheless is a moral duty that has a direct influence on the happiness of the marital life. She should know that intentional cooperation increases love, which is the basis of the marital life.
As there are certain duties and responsibilities incumbent on the husband, there are certain duties and responsibilities incumbent on the wife too. Without mutual cooperation, their life will be full of troubles and then it may reach a painful end.
5. The husband should also help his wife by performing some household affairs whenever he has time and is ready, for he will be rewarded for that.
6. The household affairs can be forced onto this wife in a clever way. For example, those who usually perform the daily affairs in the house may travel and leave this wife in the house so that she would be obliged to work in the house. I hope that she will not be cleverer than you like a certain lazy wife whose husband and mother-in-law planned to involve her in the household responsibilities as follows:
The husband and his mother would compete for the broom; each of them would try to sweep so that the wife might feel shame and come take the broom from them and start sweeping herself. One day, she came to them and surprised them by saying to her husband coldly and with a soft voice: O dear, there is no need to dispute. One day you can sweep and the other day your mother can sweep.
After this witticism, I would like to recommend this dear wife and those like her of some things that have advantages and rewards for them:
1. Work has a virtuous value that raises man to a high position and makes him respected and beloved.
2. He who exerts himself becomes healthy, while the lazy ones are often sick. Work activates the circulation of blood, joints, and muscles while laziness does the opposite.
3. Willpower is a power that works miracles. It must be used in constructive ways.
4. Humbleness is a quality of those who sit on the top of the good life, so wherefore is this haughtiness, which throws man into the abyss of meanness?
5. Man must have practical experiences in his life. In life, there are many sudden events that a woman may fall into, and then she can rescue herself based on her knowledge from previous experiences.
6. In order for the difficulty of the household affairs to become easy for you and in order to get rid of your laziness, you should think of the rewards of the afterlife. The infallible Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) have narrated, ‘When a woman gives her husband a drink of water, it is better for her than the worships of a year spent in fasting during the day and praying in the night. For every drink she gives to her husband, Allah will build her a town in Paradise and forgive her sixty sins.64’
Question: The phenomenon of spinsterhood in Muslim countries is painful and full of grief. In Egypt for example, statistics confirm that there are three million and eight hundred thousand unmarried girls who are past thirty years in age.
Studies attribute this matter to the excessive dowries and high costs of marriage besides that there are a great number of girls who are afraid of marriage itself.
Ahmad Rif’at, a member of the Royal Society of Psychological Diseases in Britain, says that the reasons for spinsterhood are due to the competition between men and women in the field of work after the competition has been limited to men for many years. Woman now wants to prove her existence in the practical fields before she wants to participate with a man in marital life; therefore her marriage becomes delayed and marriage opportunities also decrease.
The Egyptian doctor Mahmood Abdurrahman, a specialist in psychological medicine, thinks that the reasons behind the delay in marriage are due to the conditions girls or their families make (such as excessive dowries, the number of rooms in the future house, the job of the husband, and even his shape), and also the conditions men make (such as the age of the girl and a restriction that she must not have been engaged or married before).
Dr. Muna Jad, the dean of the College of Kindergartens in Cairo, says that the problem appears due to contradictions in which the youth live that have placed the youth in a state of being torn apart and feeling unstable and unsafe. The youth live in an atmosphere of imaginary wealth like they see in some foreign films and serials. They wish to live in those societies, but unfortunately they only see the outward characteristics of those societies and not the actual characteristics there. They see the good things only and not the bad things of those societies.
Dr. Muna Jad mentions that the problems of the youth increase when they cannot get married at a suitable age. Disappointment and despair overcome them, and then they deny their society and all that is around them. In fact, some of them may commit crimes and sins because of that, and hence, they destroy themselves and all that is around them.
Your Eminence Sheikh al-Muhtadi al-Bahrani, regarding this information, what is your opinion about the phenomenon of spinsterhood?
The answer: What these scholars have mentioned is true, but the researchers must study the hidden reasons for this phenomenon, which has never been a big problem in the history of Islam.
I ask: who attracts women to work in the common fields with men? The problem originates from the minds that are separate from the Islamic mentality and have been educated with Western cultures and have come back to manage the life of the Muslims according to what those cultures inspired in them. Those cultures have all the means to make people Muslims by name only while they are very far from Islam in their behaviors of solving their psychological and social problems and their political and economical crises.
Foreign films and serials undoubtedly have a great and dangerous influence on the phenomenon of spinsterhood. The films that have been produced in Egypt are not any less in their bad influences on Muslim societies than those that have been produced in foreign studios. The Egyptian libertine films and serials have played a serious role in taking Muslims away from their Islamic values and in destroying their moral principles. These films still affect the Arabic societies and serve the imperialistic plots there. Excessive dowries, denial of polygamy, encouragement of women to prefer divorce and spinsterhood in some way or another, justification of sins and family treason, and emphasis on the material aspects and indifference to the moral aspects in the marital life are Zionist goods that have been sold out to the public by the Egyptian films and serials. It is well-known that behind the cultural attack to corrupt the youth of the Islamic umma and to distribute the products of Zionist companies, like libertine films and other such things, are great foundations, abundant capitals, and hellish plans.
Of course, I am excluding the religious serials and good films that Egypt produces although, in comparison with the bad ones, they appear as withered flowers between huge thorns.
There is no doubt that spinsterhood has political, economical, and other reasons. The companies dealing with unlawful sex and its means are the first beneficiaries of deviations resulting from spinsterhood. The politicians of this material life and of sleepless nights also are beneficiaries, and they usually have authority over the media and culture. The reasons are interlaced and spinsterhood is one of the consequences of the great deviations of the umma.
As for the cure, it ought to be considered from four sides:
First, the state, which has the greatest abilities, can direct the culture of its people toward Islamic resolutions through schools, universities, and the media, especially through films and serials. It also has the ability to prevent economical foundations and establishments from exploiting spinsterhood by restricting employment of unmarried women in cabarets, ballrooms, and studios of libertine films and in their commercial requirements.
Second, charitable organizations can play a great role in resolving the problem of spinsterhood by collecting charities from good people and giving them to the youth whose poverty prevents them from getting married. These organizations can also make use of the successful experiment of collective weddings, as do charitable organizations in some Islamic countries, where they arrange one party for the weddings of hundreds of couples.
Third, Ulama’ and preachers play an important role in convincing society of the conception of the Sharia and the sunna of the Prophet (S) concerning the matter of polygamy and how a husband must be just to all of his wives equally. Explaining moral principles and emphasizing concepts like satisfaction, avoidance of selfishness and envy, contentment with the fate of Allah and His just determinations, regard for the afterlife, and management of worldly affairs according to reason and good morals will help the society do away with the problem of spinsterhood or limit it. What gives good news though is that when the temporary marriage (missyar), that has begun to find its way among the Sunni, is practiced according to its moral conditions, it will limit spinsterhood and secret debauchery; and if the temporary marriage of the Shia is also practiced according to its legal conditions, it will solve a great part of the problem.
Fourth, psychologists can play a great positive role in persuading society of the comprehensive resolutions of Islam if they first convince themselves of those resolutions and want, sincerely, to participate in resolving the problem.
Finally, I suggest forming a committee including notables of each of these four sides to study the problem in all its dimensions and then generate suitable solutions and cooperate in implementing these solutions.
Question: It has been mentioned in Prophetic traditions that marriage is half of religion and it protects men and women from slipping into sexual corruptions. However, in our present age, we find married men and married women practicing adultery as they like. Is this a defect in the tradition or what? What is strange is that some religious, married men are very lustful. How do you interpret this phenomenon?
The answer: There are several reasons behind this kind of corruption of married persons:
1. Sexual impotence of one of the spouses
2. Excessive lustfulness
3. Leisure, recklessness, and wealth
4. A wish for variety, discovering and tasting different kinds of things
5. A wish for revenge, where, for example, one of the spouses may practice adultery to take revenge on the other because of a quarrel between them or something like that
6. Poverty and need, i.e., a person may practice adultery to obtain some money
7. Dislike for the spouse because of unattractiveness or ignorance in practicing sexual intercourse
8. Seduction and slipping into adultery at a moment of neglect
What is common between these reasons is a weakness in faith or the absence of faith. Therefore, we always insist on strengthening religious motives in man and continuing to instruct, remind, and warn him.
As for the excessive lust of religious people, the matter is different, because a religious person, if he really is religious, can satisfy his sexual lust with his wife; otherwise, religion permits him to marry another wife either in permanent marriage or temporary marriage within the legal conditions of each type of marriage.
If we suppose the opposite that it is the wife who wants to satisfy her sexual lust but her husband is unable to satisfy her (and this is very rare among religious women or may be impossible), here, a religious wife should try to occupy herself with something else and soon her excitement will go out. However, if she cannot satisfy herself with this resolution forever, she has two choices: either to agree with her husband to separate and get married to another man who is able to satisfy her sexual lust, although it is not recommended, or to be patient and satisfied with her fate based on “the important thing and the Most Important,” and this is something praiseworthy.
It is thus if the lust is too strong and cannot be controlled except through these resolutions. But the advice that I would like to give to spouses in religious families is that they, in order to not fall into sins, should lower their sights before the provocations in the television, magazines, and streets and avoid heavy meals, which excite their lust.
Allah says, (Say to the believing men that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts; that is purer for them; surely Allah is Aware of what they do, and tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their private parts, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to their own husbands or fathers or husbands' fathers, or their sons or their husbands' sons, or their brothers or their brothers' sons or sisters' sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male attendants who lack vigor, or children who know naught of women's nakedness. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn unto Allah together, O believers, in order that you may succeed)65.
A religious man and a religious woman, even if they lower their gazes, may look at something unwillingly, and then their lust would become excited despite their wills. In this case, Islam has recommended the following:
‘If someone of you sees a beautiful woman and he admires her, let him go to sleep with his wife, because the pleasure is the same and what is got from sleeping with that woman is like what is got from sleeping with his wife.66’
Islam has forbidden women and girls from displaying their charms even inside the house before their brothers, uncles, and even their fathers. Imam Ali (a.s.) narrates that one day a young man came to the Prophet (S) and asked him, ‘Should I ask my mother’s permission when I want to come in to her?’
The Prophet (S) said to him, ‘Do you want to see her without clothes?’
He said, ‘No, I do not.’
The Prophet (S) said, ‘Then, you should ask her permission.’
Then the young man asked, ‘Can my sister uncover her hair before me?’
The Prophet (S) said, ‘No, she cannot.’
The young man asked, ‘Why?’
The Prophet (S) said, ‘I fear for you that if she displays something of her charms before you, the Satan may provoke you.67’
We understand from this story that the Prophet (S) has perceived the power of lust in this young man, as in any other young man, and recommended that before such persons, charms must be covered to avoid excitement and sin.
One who observes social cases, marital treasons, sins, files of the courts, and the news of the terrible events of sexual rapes, even against children, discovers how wide the gap is between Muslims and the warnings of the Qur'an and the Prophet (S). If they were closer to the Qur'an and the Sunna, they would not live in quarrels, corruption, and disgrace.
Dear young men and young women, do not follow the steps of the Satan, because they will lead you to his traps. Fear Allah secretly and openly, and let jealousy, abstinence, and wariness be your dress! Avoid scenes and situations that will incite your lusts to be safe from sins! Occupy yourselves with work, sport, and worships to be close to Allah, the Giver of happiness!
Question: It is customary that young men go and propose to young women. It is considered ugly among people when young women go and propose to young men, whereas we find the Qur'an saying, (…and a believing woman if she gave herself to the Prophet, if the Prophet desired to marry her- specially for you, not for the (rest of) believers).(33:50) My question is: which is right – what the Muslims did at the time of the Prophet (S) or what is customary in our present age?
The answer: Customs, sometimes, control the affairs of people while people have no choice in it. The position of Islam in this concern is that the more important thing has to be preferred to the important thing while preserving the benefits of people and moving gradually towards the teachings Islam has established.
Yes! This Qur’anic verse is clear in this concern. Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) narrates that once a woman from Medina came to the Prophet (S) and said, ‘O messenger of Allah, a woman does not go to engage a husband. I have been a widow for a long time and I have no child. Do you want me (to be your wife)? I have given myself to you if you accept me…68’ .
This woman came to the Prophet (S) by herself and asked him to marry her, and the Prophet (S) neither chided her nor disapproved of her doing so. This means that this matter was natural in Islam. Besides, the Qur'an has mentioned this matter without any implication of ugliness. Khadeeja (a.s.) herself asked the Prophet (S) to marry her, and she was the head lady of her time.
A proposal made by a virgin or a widow is not prohibited in the Sharia, but customs have their respected position if they do not oppose the Islamic values. In fact, in our present time, there does not have to be a contradiction between customs and the wishes of a girl when she finds a suitable husband. The potential husband can be informed secretly of the wish of the girl. If he accepts, he can go and propose to the girl according to customs; otherwise, he should bury the matter and keep the secret forever. This is a trust and a traitor will be answerable on the Day of Resurrection. In this way, as I think, the two manners can be practiced together.
Question: I am a twenty-five year old girl. I have undergone an unsuccessful marriage that ended with divorce. My family prevents me from choosing my second marital life by myself. Legally, do they have the right to do that or am I free to choose my husband?
The answer: Legally, you are free to choose the husband whom you think will be suitable for you, but you would be better off, in order to live free from family troubles, to agree with your family in any way you find will have an influence on them.
Always decide to avoid what causes quarrels in your life, because a life full of quarrels and nervousness is nearer to death than to life.
Man lives happily with his family and relatives when he behaves with them leniently, smilingly, and wisely. It is wrong when man thinks of attaining happiness through violence, nervousness, enmity, and hatred. Those who think so are but moving corpses until a certain day.
Support for your situation in convincing your family of your free will in choosing is a saying of Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.). When he was asked a question similar to yours, he said, ‘She is worthier of herself. She can entrust a qualified one with her affairs if she likes after she has got married to a husband before.69’
Imam ar-Ridha (a.s.) has said, ‘The permission of a virgin (concerning marriage) is her keeping silence and the permission of a widow or divorcee is up to her.70’
And you should not forget that a family often prevents their daughter from choosing her husband by herself because they do not want her to be involved in another failure, for it is quite often that young girls and women are deceived by the nice words and shapes of men, and then when those men satisfy their desires with these women, they leave them to look for other victims. Therefore, Islam has emphasized the necessity of the interference of a father in the matter of marriage of a virgin because she has not had enough experience in this concern and she may be liable to be deceived more than divorcees or widows who have some experience in this matter.
Yes! There is a special exception that if a virgin is rational and prudent, and her father is ignorant and cannot decide for the advantage of his daughter, Islam permits her to choose a suitable husband by herself even if her father objects to her choice.
Ibn Abbas reports that one day a bondwoman came to the Prophet (S) and told him that her father had married her to somebody while she was unwilling and the Prophet (S) gave her the choice (either to accept her husband or to leave him)71.
Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘There is no problem in marrying a virgin if she agrees without her father’s permission72.’
In the light of this, our jurisprudents have given a fatwa that if a virgin’s guardian prevents her from getting married to a qualified man whom she wants, her guardian’s permission will be of no effect.73
Question: We have seen and heard about many accidents that have happened during wedding ceremonies and changed them into ceremonies of sorrows. Would you please guide us as to how we can avoid such bad accidents in order to make the ceremonies of joy the best moments in the lives of spouses?
The answer: The ceremonies of marriage, especially those which take place during the night of wedding, are based on joyous traditions that leave sweet memories in man’s life. Therefore, spouses care a lot for these ceremonies. They take pictures to remain with them until the last days of their lives and to remind them of those special hours, which are different from any other hours of their life.
How nice are those moments and especially the influence left in spouses’ hearts by the words of this supplication, which is read by the marriage official in the midst of the songs of the relatives who gather around the bride and bridegroom:
“O Allah, bless their marriage, unite their hearts, make their offspring good and their life happy, send Your blessings on us and them! O Allah, support whoever supports Your religion and disappoint whoever disappoints the Muslims! O Allah, make them (these spouses) among those who support Your religion and the people of Your religion and make them successful in receiving Your contentment! O Allah, satisfy our and their needs in this life and the afterlife by virtue of Muhammad and the pure progeny of Muhammad!”
Such a beautiful scene from amongst all the scenes of life deserves the best efforts and cooperation of relatives so that these ceremonies are carried out with joy and delight in the best way. However, unfortunately, in some of these weddings, quarrels take place by some irresponsible persons that do away with the joy of the young spouses who will not experience this occasion again with the same pleasure.
Such quarrels take place due to ignorance, bad education, whims, drunkenness, mixing of sexes which provokes lusts, and making passes on others that leads to disputes and suspicions, and consequently many troubles are caused.
Blessings and happiness do not come to marriages that begin with unlawful acts or encourage opportunities to commit unlawful acts. Handicaps in newborn children and disagreements that lead to divorce or griefs and distresses are the results of such unlawful actions during weddings. Exciting songs, transparent clothes that display women’s charms, bare faces with flagrant makeup before non-mahram men…all of these will extinguish the marital happiness sooner or later. Let people not think that it is harmless to celebrate the joys of a night or two in one year! Everything has its enduring effects, and how often it is that a simple matter troubles the situation and frustrates a marriage whereas its beginning was simple and trivial.
Hence, since religion and its moral teachings are very important, we continuously insist on and invite all classes of society to revive themselves in a modern and attractive way and in a language that is understandable by the youth.
Besides all that, the wedding ceremonies should be carried out accurately. Supplications and charity to the poor should not be ignored because they ward off misfortunes.
Question: My husband has good characteristics, but nevertheless he also has some extreme bad conducts. I do not know how to advise him without causing his anger against me and throwing my marital life into troubles.
The answer: Dear sister, criticizing and advising are like surgical operations but are not conducted on the body; rather, they are done on the spirit and the soul. Therefore it is a very difficult operation requiring accuracy besides the following points:
1. Criticism must be preceded by love and a close relationship on both sides because without these, criticism becomes more a cause of disagreement and reluctance between spouses.
2. You should begin your talk with him by praising his good characteristics and then proceed little by little to criticize his bad behaviors. Praising him will make him trust in your love for him and will strengthen his morale, and then you will find he will accept your criticism sincerely.
3. After professing his fault, you should encourage him and give him hope and confidence. For example, you could say to him “I think you are able to change” or “It is not like you to say ‘I cannot’” or “I trust in your will and I admire your personality”, etc.
4. You should not repeat criticisms on the same subject too often, because repetition causes obduracy and anger.
5. Sometimes it would be better to criticize indirectly such as, for example, by a hint, mentioning a tradition, mentioning a story that has something to do with the matter, or playing a cassette of a lecture discussing that specific problem.
6. Let your criticism be free of insult and mockery, because the goal is to reform and rescue and not to destroy or avenge.
7. You should ask him for his criticisms about you, and when he tells them, you should accept them and thank him. This will make it easier for him to accept your criticisms about him, for humbleness brings humbleness.
8. You should limit your criticism to the matter of the fault itself and not generalize it to other sides of your husband’s personality.
9. Your criticism against your husband should be done when you are alone with him and not in the presence of anyone else. It has been mentioned in one of the traditions that “he who advises his brother secretly does him good, and he who advises his brother openly does him wrong.”
Here, I have to mention an advice aimed at myself first and then to this husband and those like him. It is a saying by the greatest of the wise and the master of the pious, Imam Ali (a.s.): “He who advises you, fears for you, does good to you, thinks of your ends, and reforms your defects, in obeying him lies your guidance and in disobeying him lies your corruption.74”
Imam Zaynul Aabideen (a.s.) said, ‘The right of the one who asks you for advice on you is that you have to give him sincere advice and be kind and pitiful to him. And the right of the advisor on you is that you have to be lenient with him and listen to him carefully…75” .
My wife is often nervous and angry. She scolds my children for anything they do that she does not like. I fear for their education and future if she continues in this state. In fact, I fear for my sincerity to her and the remaining of my life with her. What would you advise me to do?
The answer: Anger, as stated in the traditions, is a soldier of the Satan and a flame of Fire like any other destructive means. If your wife continues in her state and you also lose your patience, you both will in fact arrive at the end that you fear, and the first losers will be your children except if the stepmother will act towards them as a sincere and real mother, and such stepmothers are few.
Hence, I advise this wife to be prudent and patient and I advise you also to be more patient and to give her enough opportunities to ponder on the outcome of anger, which has destructive results in the family. You also have to think about the outcome of your patience because a day will come where your wife will awake out of her errors, and then she will appreciate your patience and compensate you for your previous days with her. And a day will come to you when you will find your great reward near Allah, and then your eyes will be delighted on (the day when wealth and sons avail not (any) man, except him who comes to Allah with a heart free (from evil))76. You must try to identify the reasons for her anger and when you are able to remove the causes of her anger, you will be happy with her. You have to be patient with her, advise her, and pray to Allah for her.
Question: I have been married for six years now to a husband who speaks little with me. He always keeps silent. Would you please tell me how I can bring happiness to my marital life with this silent husband, though he provides me with all I need for living? Sometimes the Satan whispers to me that my husband hates me. Am I normal?
The answer: As spouses have to follow an appropriate program to run the economical affairs of their joint life, they also have to follow an appropriate program to achieve the most balanced sentiment possible, because when love becomes firm between a husband and a wife, it gives them tranquility, liveliness, and interest in their shared fate, and then little talking between them does not affect their life.
Dear sister, what is important is that you have to do your best to strengthen the love and the feeling of interest in your mutual fate with your husband. Do not let your husband’s silence deprive you of his love to you, because when love dries up, the train of your life will enter into a tunnel of problems that will lead to a bad end. I think that talking little is not an excuse for you to throw your life into dangerous problems.
Your behaving lovingly towards him will defeat his hatred for you, if he has any hatred towards you. In fact, not every silence of a husband means that there is a hatred towards the wife. It may be a habit in the husband since his childhood. However, if it is a new habit, you can talk to him about it openly. Perhaps he may have suffered a psychological shock, and this can be cured by your wisdom or that of other wise people or specialists.
Question: I am overcome with despair for my marital life to proceed happily. This is because, as I think, of the difference between my husband and me in intellect, culture, and understanding affairs of living. I am a university graduate while he has not even finished elementary school. I have a scientific position while he is weak and he stammers when he wants to show what he intends to say. Therefore, I feel that we do not understand each other. Do you think that divorce will guarantee happiness for both of us?
The answer: Dear sister, there are three choices before you:
The first: you may choose to be satisfied with the situation you are in and to not compare your life with the lives of others. This requires you, first, to not think of others besides your husband, and second, you should try your best to make him understand what you understand. You should be aware that the basis of success in this life is sincerity in love and looking forward to the reward of Allah and the good end of patience.
The second: you may continue feeling dissatisfied and continue worrying about your life and relationship, which definitely means eliminating marital happiness.
The third, you may choose divorce, which is lawful but Allah hates it and His Throne shakes for it except when the joint life of spouses reaches a dead end.
If you ask me, I will not hesitate to advise you to follow the first way. Mutual understanding most of the time means submitting to the lawful wish of the husband and neglecting your personal wishes, but with making him feel that this is only for the love of Allah and for the continuity of a happy marital life.
Beware of being proud of the elements of preference you have, such as a university diploma and the like, because this is a way leading to a bad end and is a defect that does not befit a learned Muslim girl. Your intellect requires you to know that happiness is gained through morals and faith while university diplomas and scientific information alone do not produce happiness and ease.
Dear sister, I hope that you pay attention to this fact before you are filled with regret. This is my opinion if the reason for your despair is as you have mentioned. However, if your husband is in a state that makes him unsuccessful and unfit for you, the solution will be to follow the third way. May Allah be with you!
Question: I am a mother of seven children. I suffer from physical troubles because I do too much work in the house that is beyond my ability. My husband is a hard-hearted man who does not appreciate my efforts and this increases my exhaustion. Would you please tell me what to do?
The answer: Distributing tasks in the marital life should be done fairly and consensually. If you have children, they should be entrusted with some tasks according to their ages and abilities while instilling sincere motives inside them to do those tasks willingly and with interest.
This is what should be done, but when the opposite takes place, it means that there is a defect in someone’s mentality and this defect can be cured by a sound mentality.
Dear sister, what you suffer can be cured by patience while expecting your reward from Allah and showing love and respect towards your husband so that he may someday awake out of his severity towards you. Besides these steps, you should encourage him to attend the meetings of good Ulama’ and scholars and listen to the speeches of good preachers so that he may be affected by a word from those Ulama’ and preachers and then he may be rescued from his injustice, for the true religion has brought man solutions to all problems if he believes in religion.
Question: Why am I so forgetful? My wife is angry at my state, and my dignity does not permit for her to raise her voice against me. This is the focal point of our problems.
The answer: Forgetfulness has several causes, such as worry, problems that press on one’s nerves, psychological troubles, fright, melancholy, and sins, especially the hidden major sins. From among these reasons, there are also some diseases and accidents.
These things are like black clouds lying heavily on a man’s memory. In order to cure this case, you have to organize your life. For example, you should assign a certain time for sleeping, follow a healthy diet, practice sports, and strengthen your relation with Allah the Almighty by performing the obligations and avoiding all kinds of sins.
There are some tested things that strengthen one’s memory such as memorizing Qur’anic verses, always being with wudu’, reciting supplications, and avoiding quarreling with others.
Question: Between my wife and me there are several differences in intellect, physique, and wealth. These things often cause disagreements and quarrels between us. Sometimes, these quarrels break out before our children. We are well aware that these disagreements and quarrels have bad effects on the children’s mentality and education, but our violent anger is uncontrollable. How can we get rid of this state and live tranquilly to build the future of our children?
The answer: There is no doubt that religious beliefs, cultures, arts, traditions, and good habits have good effects on the manner of the relationship between spouses, their views on life, and their way of making use of the abilities they have. However, reason and wisdom lead us to the knowledge that these differences between spouses do not mandate disagreements and quarrels. In fact, a reasonable person should deal with these natural differences wisely. He should look at them from these five viewpoints:
First, these differences complement each other. The existence around us is composed of different elements, but they all complement each other in the best way. Spouses should not let their natural differences destroy the bridges of love and understanding between them.
Second, spouses should try their best to change the cultures and habits that Islam does not accept. How many habits and ideas have families planted into their children who grow up with them without pondering on whether they are right or wrong, and how many habits have the social milieu (school, friends, the media, etc.) planted into children while these habits and ideas are far removed from the pure Islamic culture. Therefore, spouses should change the ideas and bad habits that trouble them.
Third, to make the mutual understanding between spouses easy and to decrease disagreements between them, each of them should give the other side the right to show his\her opinion freely without suppressing or interrupting him\her before completing his\her speech and clarifying his\her opinion.
Fourth, we should know that the differences between people in general, and between spouses in particular, are trials that people are tried with. Instead of thinking of running away from these differences or sinking into melancholy and psychological distresses, we should know how to deal with this divine decree, which is inevitable. It is a trial for man in this life, and Allah will accordingly determine for him the reward and Paradise or the punishment and Hell. Therefore, let man think deeply of where he wants to be!
Fifth, life is too short to comprehend problems and troubles that are trivial. Hence, a reasonable person should overlook problems and live his life, which he does not know when it shall end, happily with good fame and honor.
The Prophet (S) has asked husbands to forgive their wives’ mistakes even if they are seventy in one day. Once a man asked the Prophet (S) about a wife’s right on her husband and the Prophet (S) said, ‘He covers her body with clothes, satisfies her stomach with food, and forgives her if she commits mistakes.’ The man asked, ‘How many times does he forgive her?’ The Prophet (S) said, ‘seventy times a day.77’
Question: My husband is a rich, young man and because I am not from a rich family, the mother and the sisters of my husband gibe at me at every occasion and even before the guests sometimes. Would you please tell me what to do with this problem, which has begun to deprive me of my happiness with my husband, who does not defend me before them?
The answer: Material poverty is not a defect; rather the defect lies in lack of morals. You are actually rich while they are the real poor ones. Your faith, good morals, and patience will make you defeat your problem and these are the strongest weapons in defeating unjust situations against yourself.
Dear sister, try to be a strong wife who seizes her success from the depths of her suffering to enjoy real happiness! Even if your husband does not defend you, it does not mean that he agrees with his family’s being unjust towards you. He may not know the proper way of defending or he may think that his defending you shall complicate the problem further; therefore, he is trying to keep the stability of the family. Waiting for a suitable time of defending and in a wise way will be better.
Thus, you would be better off appreciating the situation of your husband and being more patient. Be sure that the right side will win at the end of any crisis. Beware of pride when one day you shall feel your success, because pride then shall make you as blamable as those who gibe you today!
Besides that, you should try to be more humble and kind towards them, and especially to the ones who gibe you, so that they may feel ashamed and regretful when they are alone with their consciences and when they find your good morals and kindness in return for their bad doings. Do not hesitate, whenever the opportunity comes to you, to say good sayings with smiles to those who do you wrong that they may be more reasonable and stop their injustice towards you!
Question: Fifteen years have passed since I got married. These years have been like a countdown of the love between my husband and myself. What should I do to go back to the love that was between us at the beginning of our marriage?
The answer: Sometimes the seed of love exists inside the spouses’ hearts, but accidents of life and discovering the defects and deficiencies of each other throw some dust on that seed and prevent it from growing in the marital life.
If your husband suffers from this, as I believe, then following these steps may restore your love as it was:
First, love will blossom if spouses try to water it sincerely with positive acts and if they overlook the negative acts.
Second, the goal of love is not controlling the beloved, possessing or monopolizing him as some women think. If love comes out of heart, it will undoubtedly enter into the other heart. Nothing will disturb it except selfishness and attempts to control the other, which has been referred to in traditions as “the jealousy of women”. In men, this jealousy is opposite to that of women, because when a man becomes jealous for his wife, he will protect her from bad men, whereas if a woman becomes jealous for her husband, she will practice mastery, possession, suspicion, and watching him. This will lead her husband to an aversion for her and then what she does not like will take place.
Third, do not expect much from your husband; for example, do not expect him to speak the same words of love that he used to speak during the period of engagement or the first days of marriage. If he forgets to offer you something that he used to offer on certain occasion, you should not be angry with him. You should know that these things do away with the love between you. Be discerning, easy, and humble because when a husband sees his wife is inflexible, often angry, and complicated, he will begin thinking of another wife or he will treat his wife likewise or he may submit to her unwillingly and then no place for happiness will remain in these cases.
Fourth, do not blame your husband too much because too much blame hurts one’s dignity and causes disputes and quarrels, which destroy the marital relationship. Try to understand his circumstances, appreciate his efforts, and praise the positive sides of his personality, and then refer to what deserves to be blamed in a lenient way, implicitly and smilingly.
Question: Islam has emphasized much on pondering and thinking, as you know. I, like other people, have my own ambitions in my marital and family life in the midst of hundreds of obstacles and frustrations. Would you please show me practical steps based on the right thinking in order to solve these problems and push the obstacles out of my way?
The answer: You should know that thinking, like breathing, is a vital operation for man. Just as you live through breathing, you enjoy the pleasures of life through thinking because you can defeat problems one after another without exhausting yourself, and then you can feel the ecstasy of victory.
Do not think that there exists a life without problems. The problems for a person who does not ponder and think keep accumulating until that person perishes while his accumulated problems remain.
The difference is that you, with the right thinking, feel, as you should, that you can conquer a problem and are ready to conquer the next one, without thinking you will be defeated or will suffer until you die without achieving any success or gaining any benefit in your life.
As for the practical steps you have asked about, they are as follows:
1. Devote your heart to Allah the Almighty and ask Him for success!
2. Give charity as much as you possibly can to the poor without letting any human being know about it!
3. Explain the problem you face to yourself and try to understand it well!
4. Obtain as much information as you can to solve the problem!
5. Make a real estimation of your actual state!
6. Think of several solutions and consult with reasonable persons about your problem!
7. Compare the advantages and disadvantages of each one of those solutions, and then choose the best of them based on your actual abilities!
8. When thinking of a certain matter, do not occupy your mind with another one!
9. Concentrate all your abilities on solving your problems according to the level of their importance!
10. Before beginning (to solve the problem), think well of the things you need for the solution!
11. Carry out each step in its time!
12. Let your wife participate with you in these steps and cooperate with her at all times!
Question: The state in my house is not as I would like. I am tired when I come back from my work, I find my wife tired of the housework and my children let loose and noisy, I beat them but with no use, etc. I feel that my marital and family life is disorderly. I hope that you can guide me with what may illuminate my way and save my life from this disorderliness.
The answer: There are five educational facts you have to comprehend in order to get out of your troubles:
First, whereas when any one of us exhausts his powers in the problems of life and then looks for comfort in peace and quiet away from noises, children, on the contrary, feel pleasure and joy with disorderly movements and with making noises that annoy adults, though children do not mean to annoy others of course.
You expend your energies in working outside the house, but have you ever asked yourself where your child expends his energies?
In the past, houses were big with wide yards where children would spend their energies while their noises and cries would not reach their parents’ resting places. But nowadays, since houses are small with narrow yards, children should not be blamed for disturbing parents.
Second, a man, throughout the week, works outside the house while his wife works inside the house. On days off, the man likes to rest in the house after being tired outside it all week, whereas his wife likes to go out on her husband’s days off after being tired of remaining in the corners of her house all week.
This difference, if it is not treated with leniency by the two spouses and especially the husband, may become a cause for disputes and quarrels that also bring pain and boredom, of which children pay the costs.
Here, it would be better for the two spouses, who are different in their wishes, to understand and agree with each other, and then they can teach their children how to understand each other and agree with each other when their wishes are different.
Third, beating children without certain rules and criteria encourages them to commit crimes and repeat the same act they were beaten for. Let us be very careful not to lead our children to commit crimes in their childhood and adulthood through excessive scolding or severe beating.
Fourth, the father may say something harsh to the mother in front of the children, and this word may leave bad effects on their mentality and life while he is unaware of where these effects may have come from. For example, one day the wife might cook some extra food and then the husband would shout at her loudly in front of the children, “you have not tasted poverty to know the value of my efforts and the money I bring you!”
These words, which can be said in other ways and in private to the wife, can plant a fear of the future inside the hearts of the children and cause them mental disturbance and anxiety of the unknown. There is no doubt that this matter will be an obstacle that stops the progress of the children’s learning and affects their efforts to build their futures besides the fact that it will make them desperate and absent-minded all their lives. All this leads to disorderliness in life.
Fifth, try not to tire yourself with work outside the house, for your duty towards your wife and children is not only to satisfy their material needs. Psychological, educational, and spiritual needs are also important. These aspects require you to sit with them, look after their different affairs, and make them feel that you love and pay a lot of attention to them. It is reported that Imam Hasan (a.s.) said, ‘I wonder at how one who thinks of his foods does not think of his mentalities!’
Dear brother, man is a compound of body and spirit, the material and immaterial, the outward and inward. The food he eats satisfies the two elements, but the spiritual side may be the most important. Therefore, you should assign a certain time for your family. You should sit with them, enter their life, play, laugh, and be indulgent with them. The happiness and delight that you will get in this side, you will not get in the material side regardless of how much you tire yourself and regardless of what money and material needs you offer to your family.
Question: I want to be a successful wife. With what would you advise me to achieve my goal? Of course, this is the feeling of all married women. I hope they will benefit from your apposite advices.
The answer: Thank you for your noble feelings, and as for the answer: First, assign an hour of your time every day to review and ponder over your qualities. Get rid of your bad qualities and strengthen the good ones. You should, first and foremost, get rid of the ones that invite you towards disobedience and sin because these will destroy your happiness and throw your life into torment.
Second, assign some hours for worship! In order to make your worship fruitful, recite the Holy Qur’an meditatively and read some good Islamic books, especially those that concern your life directly.
Third, for the sake of the goal to which you aspire, you should observe the following values:
1. mutual understanding and using nice words and fine comments when talking with your husband
2. pardoning and overlooking trivial things
3. not following the husband and watching his goings and comings
4. caring for the cleanliness of the house and clothes and putting everything in its place especially that which belongs to the husband
5. using good perfumes and wearing nice clothes
6. showing love for him and for the life with him and for everything he likes if it pleases Allah
7. asking him about his worries and griefs and asking him to uncover to you whatever is in his heart if he wants to reveal it but without insisting on it or being angry if he refuses to reveal his secrets
8. being kind and humble in treating his relatives
9. relying on Allah in any case and not being angry or upset when facing difficulties
You should always remember that practicing these values will bear fruit if you behave naturally without pretence, though artificiality of manner is the beginning of learning.
Question: My husband was a rich man, but later on his wealth was lost in a terrible economical crisis. After that his morals, mentality, and conducts changed. His face became angry, and his tongue uttered bad words. He threatened anyone and anything at any excitement. Our house became like hell, and our relatives and people decreased their visits to us and some of them stopped visiting us at all. I cannot help him except through speech, which does not change or reform him. Please, what would you advise me to do in order to save him and my children from the effects of this crisis?
The answer: In order to recover, your husband has to:
1. believe in asceticism and subject himself to it. It has been mentioned in a tradition that “he, who renounces the worldly pleasures, makes little of misfortunes”. Imam Ali (a.s.) has said, ‘All asceticism is between two words in the Qur'an. Allah has said, (So that you may not grieve for what has escaped you, nor be exultant at what He has given you)78.
He who does not grieve for the past nor becomes glad at the future practices asceticism from its two sides.’
2. strengthen his belief in the will and fate of Allah. Imam as-Sajjad (a.s.) is reported to have said, ‘O my Lord… delight my soul through Thy decree, expand my breast through the instances of Thy wisdom, give to me a trust through which I admit that Thy decree runs only to the best…’.
3. ponder over the dimensions of this tradition narrated by Imam al-Baqir (a.s.), ‘whoever keeps people safe from his anger Allah will keep him safe from the torment of the Day of Resurrection.79’ He who ponders on this tradition will not throw himself into the torment of the afterlife after getting out of the torment of this life in order to not lose both.
4. know that the Giver is Allah and the Withholder is Allah too and know that a part of material losses belongs to man himself. Many times the losses come after having disobeyed Allah by lying, cheating, doing wrong, wasting, excessive misspending, and abstaining from giving the deserving people their legal dues. I do not ascribe these qualities to your husband, but I invite him to review the reasons of which he is aware and then try to reform himself first. If he truly reforms himself, Allah will grant him great livelihood again and abundantly.
Imam Zayn al-Abidin (as-Sajjad) (a.s.) said, ‘good saying increases one’s wealth, grows livelihood, delays death, makes one beloved to relatives, and enters him into Paradise.80’
6. convince himself that losing wealth is much easier than losing one’s children or family and the loss of wealth is easier than the loss of health. Nothing is more precious than good morals and comfortable nerves, by which wealth and glory can be regained.
I pray to Allah to grant us a happy life with lawful wealth, even if it is little, and to keep us away from unlawful wealth, even if it is a lot, because it increases grief and distress and does away with the sweetness of living with loved ones and close relatives.
Question: What is the cure for sexual impotence, and what are its causes? My wife has begun thinking of divorce because I am frigid and impotent.
The answer: There are many causes behind sexual impotence:
1. neurotic fatigue
2. addiction to alcohol, drugs, and smoking
3. practicing masturbation during the period before marriage
5. a defect in the testicles
6. practicing excessive businesses and interests like trade, reading, watching films, and offering excessive individual worships
7. misunderstanding the woman’s sexual need or being indifferent to her need
8. the wife’s weak sexual culture or her lack of beauty or exciting body
9. certain kind of foods
As for the cure, each cause has its own particular cure. Before all, one who is sexually impotent must discern the cause of his case, and then he should try to cure it. Neurotic fatigue, for example, can be cured by strengthening one’s faith in Allah. It is not right to utilize tranquillizers because most of the time they leave dangerous effects on man’s health.
The following foods have great effects in strengthening the nerves: honey with ginger, pepper, saffron, the cooked head of a cow or sheep, beets cooked in milk, mulberries, bananas, eggs with onion, mutton, carrots, pears, grapes, liver, sweet pomegranates, and endives.
As for the cure for addiction, abstaining from its causes can cure it. There are certain methods to assist in this, the key of which is first and foremost the will and determination of the addict himself.
As for masturbation, if a person practices it excessively during his youth, it will be difficult for him to restore his sexual power quickly, unless if he begins practicing morning sports, climbing mountains, and taking cold baths.
Some doctors think that those persons who have practiced masturbation deprive themselves of sexual pleasure in the marital relationship.
As for the rest of the causes, we say that a person should care for himself and cure his state before his problems grow and their complications destroy him.
The wife has to help her husband cure himself because the train of the marital life will not arrive at the stations of happiness and bliss without participation, cooperation, and mutual understanding.
As for thinking about divorce, it is a sign of selfishness and lack of morals, and this does not befit a Muslim woman except when the motives of divorce are legal, like when the husband neglects to cure himself while he is able to do it. Then, divorce is excusable and it is a just recompense for this husband.
Question: Is temporary marriage lawful or unlawful? If it is lawful, then why do people dislike it? And if it is unlawful, then why is it unlawful? Would you please answer frankly? Thanks a lot.
The answer: Permanent marriage is the basis for this answer. The sexual instinct is the strongest in man after the instinct of living. This instinct must be satisfied in the below-mentioned cases; otherwise, it will cause bad complications. Temporary marriage can be practiced under the following conditions:
1. The inability to secure a permanent marriage because of financial difficulties or not finding a qualified spouse
2. The impossibility of making love with the wife because of her illness or something else
3. Traveling or being away from one’s homeland
Since the view of Islam of the needs of man is a real, curative, and purposeful view, Islam therefore has made temporary marriage lawful according to this clear Qur’anic verse, (And those of whom you seek content (by marrying them temporarily), give unto them their portions as a duty. And there is no blame on you in what you do by mutual agreement after the duty (hath been done). Lo! Allah is ever Knower, Wise)81.
It suffices us to ponder on the two words “Knower, Wise” to see that there is wisdom behind the lawfulness of temporary marriage in Islam, for Allah is aware of the actual need of man and He is wise in making things lawful or unlawful.
The end of the next verse confirms what we have said. The verse reads, (This is for him among you who fears to commit sin)82. He who fears to fall into sin because of his lust should practice temporary marriage though patience is better for one who can be patient.
The next two verses confirm this meaning where Allah shows His great mercy and accurate wisdom on the one hand, and on the other hand, He uncovers the mean goals of those who prohibit the lawful blessings of Allah.
Allah says, (And Allah desires that He should turn to you (mercifully), and those who follow (their) lusts desire that you should deviate (with) a great deviation. Allah desires that He should make light your burdens, and man is created weak)83.
Man has been created weak when it comes to his lusts and desires. It has been declared by the Creator, Who is aware of what benefits man and what corrupts him when He makes one thing lawful and prohibits another. Things are declared lawful to satisfy man’s weakness before those lusts and desires, and things are declared unlawful to protect him from what weakens him and destroy his happiness.
Umar bin al-Khattab has confirmed the lawfulness of temporary marriage at the time of the Prophet (S) when he prohibited it according to his personal opinion. He has announced, as mentioned in the sources of our Sunni brothers, ‘Two pleasures were permitted at the time of the messenger of Allah, but I prohibit them and will beat people for practicing them.84’
In our sources, his saying has been mentioned as the following: ‘Two pleasures were lawful at the time of the messenger of Allah, but I prohibit them and will punish for them.85’
Jabir bin Abdullah al-Ansari, the great companion of the Prophet, in the Sunni sources likewise, has said, ‘we practiced temporary marriage at the time of the Prophet (S), of Abu Bakr, and Umar, and then Umar prohibited it.86’
Imam Ali (a.s.) has commented on Umar’s decision by saying, ‘If Umar had not prohibited temporary marriage, no one would have committed adultery except a scoundrel.87’
This is an accurate social analysis, which every researcher in sociology and psychology arrives at. Because of these proofs, the followers of Imam Ali (a.s.) did not pay attention to Umar’s decision in order to not fall into adultery, wretchedness, and psychological and physical diseases of suppression, while most of those who heeded Umar’s decision and disliked practicing temporary marriage, whether from the Sunni or the Shia, fell into those sins and diseases. Consequently, the result of prohibiting and disliking temporary marriage is that the sexual lust forces some people to commit adultery and forces others to suppress their lust and face psychological diseases, except those whom Allah has protected and they are very few.
How odd it is to see that in Muslim societies, people do not consider adultery, ballrooms of the naked, scandals of the hotels, cabarets, and buildings in whose rooms are practiced all kinds of perversion as ugly while they consider temporary marriage, which Allah has made lawful and which Muslims have practiced during the time of the Prophet (S), Abu Bakr, and a period of Umar’s caliphate and which the Muslims who disregarded Umar’s prohibition have practiced, as ugly!
Who do you think is behind this silence or this encouragement of corruption and open debauchery? Who is behind denying the lawful blessing that Allah has determined as a mercy for Muslims and as a protection from falling into sins?
Is it not shameful recklessness and mockery at the Qur'an and the Sunna? Who is responsible for that and who should defend the Qur'an and the Sunna?
“It would be better for those who look for the welfare of man to have had freedom as ibn Umar has had. Ibn Umar often practiced temporary marriage. He was blamed for that. It was mentioned to him that his father (Umar bin al-Khattab) had prohibited it. He said, ‘I just have followed the saying of my father because he has said, ‘Two pleasures were lawful at the time of the Prophet (S), but I prohibit them and punish for them.’ I abide by his tradition and leave his own opinion to him.”
A lesson must be taken from this saying of ibn Umar. The Ulama’ should not emulate anyone having an opinion opposed to the Qur'an or the sayings of the Prophet (S). Fanaticism should not lead them to turn their backs on the Book of Allah and the Sunna of the Prophet (S), for they will spoil the general welfare and cause corruption. This does not befit any one, especially not the people of knowledge. If some people of the Middle Ages were so, the people of this age, in which freedom of speech is of the highest value, must be far above such conducts.
They should not be like the judge Yahya bin Aktham, about whom Ibn Khillikan has cited in his book (Wafiyyat al-A’yan) some verses of poetry that were composed to censure the Abbasids for their employment of Yahya as their judge:
It has been reported that once al-Ma’mun (the Abbasid caliph) saw Yahya play with a beautiful young Turk boy, insert his hand between the boy’s clothes and body, and do other things to him saying, ‘Had you not been there, we would have been faithful.’
Then al-Ma’moon commented on this event by reciting:
Yahya was so bad and was infamous for committing sodomy. However, when al-Ma’moon announced that temporary marriage was lawful and addressed Umar by saying, ‘Who are you…to prohibit what the messenger of Allah has made lawful?’, Yahya bin Aktham resisted him (al-Ma’moon) and began roving in the countries to incite people against him and to criticize him because he had permitted what Umar had prohibited. This dullness and blind fanaticism lose sight of the general welfare, bring corruption, and deny the mission of Prophet Muhammad (S) as the last of missions, because belief in the last prophethood and last mission of Prophet Muhammad (S) means believing that it is a sufficient Sharia to rule human beings and to satisfy all their needs however much they and their lives change. Thus, the Ulama’ should be like ibn Umar. They should not emulate just anything. They should give fatwas according to the Qur'an and the Sunna of the Prophet (S), even if they have to oppose their fathers. They should not be like those who say, (We found our fathers on a course, and surely we are guided by their footsteps)88. The rulers of the Muslims should also be brave like al-Ma’moon for the sake of the general welfare. They should legislate laws according to the Qur'an and the Sunna, even if they contradict the laws of those who have preceded them. Thus, goodness will spread and corruption will be denied.89”
Hence, we have confidently confirmed our clear opinion:
1. Temporary marriage is lawful according to the Qur’an and the Sunna and according to the confession of Umar that it was lawful at the time of the Prophet (S) but it was he who had prohibited it. Perhaps, he might have meant to prohibit it during his rule only, and so it was a temporary prohibition. Then, for what is this insistence on following this prohibition while the Qur'an and the Sunna have declared the lawfulness of temporary marriage? Is it to keep the doors of adultery wide open before furious lusts?
Many faithful men and faithful women live suppressed between their natural lusts and the suffering of difficulties and pains in order for it to not be said that they have practiced temporary marriage! Is this not ignorance that the believing men and women have been afflicted with?
For us, the Shia, temporary marriage is lawful. Once, Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) was asked about temporary marriage and he said, ‘Allah has made it lawful in His Book and through His prophet (S). It is lawful until the Day of Resurrection.90’ And this refutes the false sense of its unlawfulness.
2. Temporary marriage is recommendable. It is reported that Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘It is recommended for a man to practice temporary marriage. I do not like for any man of you to leave this world without having practiced temporary marriage at least once.91’ This also refutes the false impermissibility of temporary marriage.
To confirm the recommendations of temporary marriage, it has been narrated in traditions that the fall of the drops of water with which one performs ghusl92 after having slept with his wife in a temporary marriage is an excuse for his sins to be forgiven. It is also mentioned that Allah has prohibited alcohol for this Umma and has instead permitted temporary marriage93.
3. The abuse of temporary marriage by some people is possible, but this does not justify prohibiting it or considering it ugly. Because there are many legal verdicts that people of weak faith can exploit for the sake of their bad personal benefits, is it right to annul these verdicts just because of this reason? Certainly not! These verdicts must be practiced according to their Islamic rules and morals to be lawful in the full sense of the word.
4. As for the one who has a wife in a permanent marriage, it is hated for him to omit her rights for the sake of the wife of a temporary marriage. It may be unlawful in this case if temporary marriage causes him to neglect his wife of permanent marriage and usurp her rights.
Therefore, Imam ar-Ridha (a.s.) said, ‘It (temporary marriage) is absolutely lawful and permissible thing for one who is unable to get married. Let him protect himself through temporary marriage. If he is able to get married, it (temporary marriage) is permissible to him when he is absent from his permanent wife.94’
In short, temporary marriage is legally and rationally permissible in all cases unless it leads to disregard for the permanent wife, which means ignoring her sexual rights.
Though temporary marriage is permissible, it is not appropriate for one to practice it excessively until he becomes famous for it among people. One should pay careful attention to the moral aspects. He should be moderate and avoid indecency.
Let us be realistic and not follow our fancies to establish verdicts against the verdicts of Allah. A pious one never does that. I ask the readers, who are protective of their religion, to follow what Allah and His messenger have permitted because we are in an age where adultery is desired by many people and where looking lustfully at girls and women by non-mahrams has become the adultery of the eye, which causes problems of another kind.
However, even with all these recommendations and confirmations of the lawfulness of temporary marriage, I do not invite people to practice it except those who are in dire need of it, and then they must follow the juristic and moral conditions of it.
Question: Is there a sexual culture in Islam? In other words, does Islam teach its followers the practical way of practicing sexual intercourse between spouses? My question stems from a discussion with one of my friends who says that Islam is far above such trivial matters! I think that the sexual culture, from which several marital matters arise besides the safety of the offspring, is not considered trivial. What is your opinion about the subject?
The answer: Islam has not ignored the issue of sexual education. In our traditions there are clear talks about this matter. Imam ar-Ridha (a.s.) said, ‘Do not make love with a woman except after you have played with her a good deal and have played with her breasts. When you do that, her lust will be excited and her organs will secrete, because her secretion begins from her breasts and her lust appears on her face…95’
Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘If one of you wants to sleep with his wife, let him not hurry (in satisfying his lust) because women have some needs (to be satisfied).96’
The Prophet (S) said, ‘If someone of you makes love with his wife, let him not withdraw until she satisfies her need just as he likes her to satisfy his need.97’
There was a situation with one of the Prophet’s great companions, Uthman bin Madh’oon. Once, his wife came to the Prophet (S) and said to him, ‘O messenger of Allah, Uthman fasts during the day and offers worships all night. (It was a metonymy that he did not meet her sexual rights).’ The Prophet (S) went out angrily holding his shoes until he came to Uthman, who was offering prayers. Uthman finished his prayers and then saw the Prophet (S) who said, ‘O Uthman, Allah has not sent me with monasticism, but He has sent me with an easy religion. I fast, offer prayers, and sleep with my wives. Whoever loves my nature let him follow my Sunna, and making love (lawfully) is from my Sunna.98’
The traditions reported from the Prophet (S) and Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) show the necessity of separating the beds of boys and girls and for having everyone sleep in his/her own bed because contact between boys and girls incites the sexual lust and causes premature sexual ripeness.
The traditions also talk about the necessity of paying attention to the suitable age of kissing children. The Prophet (S) said, ‘When a girl becomes six years old, she should not be kissed by a man, and a boy should not be kissed by a woman if he exceeds sevens years old.’
The traditions emphasize the importance of knocking on the door and asking permission before entering the room of two spouses. The spouses also must be careful when sleeping together that no adult or child hears their sighs or other sounds.
Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) narrated that the Prophet (S) said, ‘I swear by Him in Whose hand my soul is that if a man makes love with his wife while there is an alert boy or girl in the house who sees them or hears their speaking or sighing, he/she will not succeed at all. If it is a boy, he will become an adulterer, and if it is a girl, she will become an adulteress.99’
You notice that sexual education has been mentioned in the teachings of the Prophet (S) and the infallible Imams of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) but in polite words and purified phrases, away from indecorousness or incitement of one’s imagination as we find in the Western cultures and books of sex, whose destructive effects are more than their advantages. In fact, what are intended by those cultures are those very destructive effects.
Question: My father has taken another wife. My mother is angry with him, and I am confused between them. From one side and according to my belief, I see that Islam does not permit anything unless there is a benefit in it, and from another side and according to the reality, I have pity on my mother though I do not approve of her anxiety, which may be the reason that led my father to get married to another wife. Would you please guide me with which of these views I should adopt? I hope that you will give me a glance at the subject of polygamy and the problems that result from it. How can Islam, by permitting polygamy, want to solve problems whereas we find more problems in polygamy?
The answer: As you said, Islam does not permit anything unless there are advantages in it, but those advantages are not achieved except by studying the subject in a real and comprehensive way. If getting married to a second, third, or fourth wife is just to satisfy a sexual desire without other humane purposes, it will not achieve the sought after advantages besides the motive, which will languish after the sexual intercourse and will then be replaced by problems that will destroy everything even the pleasure of sex itself.
Islam is very wise in permitting polygamy, but as for the appropriate situations and times to practice it, they will only be realized by the man who has been brought up under the shadow of Islam itself, and the one who does not care for justice (in dealing with his wives) will face many difficulties and be in a critical situation.
The Prophet (S) said, ‘He, who has two wives but does not treat them equally concerning sentiment and financial affairs, will come on the Day of Resurrection handcuffed and bent over, and then he will enter into the Fire100.’
Following Islam according to practical conditions definitely solves all psychological and social problems, whether those of individuals or families. But following Islam according to one’s mood and worldly desires takes one to the forbidden division and complicates his problems.
An understanding Muslim woman would be better off submitting to the verdicts of the Sharia to emerge from the trial successfully; otherwise, she will be resurrected with those who deny the Sunna of the Prophet (S) and the verdicts of Islam.
Just as envy is a bad quality that one should drive away from his heart and conducts, so is the jealousy of women. When a wife harms her husband by doing something wrong out of jealousy, she violates the moral and legal limits.
Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘The jealousy of woman is unbelief and the jealousy of man is belief.101’ Would a Muslim woman accept to bring herself unbelief?
Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) explained the above-mentioned tradition by saying, ‘The jealousy of women is envy and envy is the origin of unbelief. When women become jealous, they become angry, and when they become angry, they disbelieve except the faithful ones of them.102’
Dear sister, do not live in confusion. For what is this confusion? Your father has chosen his way, and he is a part of you and you are a part of him. Your legal duty is clear. You have to be kind to both of your parents equally and with no difference, but with more help and respect for your mother because she is weaker and more tired as you say.
Give advice to your mother and father whenever you find a suitable opportunity. Tell them that a Muslim is one who submits to the verdicts of Islam and does not obey his desires and his personal opinions instead of obeying Allah.
Question: My husband hates me because he wants male children from me, but Allah gives me females. What is my guilt in this? Why are men so severe? I hope that you do not misunderstand me. I want to express my suffering and show the ignorance of some husbands who ignore the wisdom of Allah in His people. I offer my question so that you may show my husband and those like him the viewpoint of Islam in this concern. Thanks a lot.
The answer: Dear patient sister, I appreciate your feelings and I do not misunderstand you. In fact, I agree with you on what you say. Men are severe, but just some of them or maybe most of them. As for your husband and his like, they are unaware of the following points:
1. A husband should be happy with what Allah, Who knows the benefit of man, gives him. Let him read, for example, this saying of the Prophet (S), ‘There is no house having girls in it except twelve blessings and mercies come down to it from Heaven every day. The visit of the angels to that house does not stop. They (the angels) write to the girls’ father every day and night (the reward of) worships of a year.103’
2. Doctors have proved that the semen of man determines the gender of the fetus, and the wife has nothing to do in this concern. She is just like a vessel, and the husband has to thank her because she protects his deposit in her vessel until she lays down this heavy burden. She suffers much pain and difficulties throughout the period of pregnancy.
Allah says in the Qur'an, (And We have enjoined on man doing of good to his parents; with trouble did his mother bear him and with trouble did she bring him forth; and the bearing of him and the weaning of him was thirty months; until when he attains his maturity and reaches forty years, he says: My Lord! grant me that I may give thanks for Thy favor which Thou hast bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do good which pleases Thee and do good to me in respect of my offspring; surely I turn to Thee, and surely I am of those who submit)104. Thus, Allah appreciates the efforts of a woman; then why should the husband not appreciate them if he believes in Allah?
3. The roots of hating female children stem from the pre-Islamic era. A Muslim husband should protect himself from falling into the abyss of that age of ignorance.
4. The Creator is Allah the Almighty and the husband should feel ashamed of himself if his ignorance leads him to oppose his Creator.
5. The vigor and vitality of the wife bring happiness to the marital life and make the husband recover his senses. A nice story in this concern has been mentioned by al-Jahidh in his book al-Bayan (p.186). He says,
‘Once, Abu Hamza ad-Dhabbiy left the tent of his wife and went to live with one of his neighbors when his wife gave birth to a girl. One day, he passed by his wife’s tent while she was playing with her daughter and singing,
Then Abu Hamza came into his wife’s tent and kissed his daughter’s head and her mother.’
6. Nevertheless, to be given a male child, there are some scientific and religious ways and others of the unseen, which a man can follow without harming his poor wife.
It is reported that Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) has said, ‘Whoever wants a male child to be born, let him place his right hand on his wife’s navel on the right side (when making love), recite the Sura of al-Qadr (97) seven times, and then make love, and every day in the morning and evening he should recite (subhanallah: glory be to Allah) seventy times, (astaghfirullah: I ask Allah to forgive me) ten times, (subhanallah al-adheem: glory be to Allah the Great) nine times, and the tenth time he should say: (astaghfirullaha innallaha kaana ghaffara yursilis samaa’a ‘alaykum midrara wa yumdidkum bi ‘amwaalin wa baneena wa yaj’al lakum jannaatin wa yaj’al lakum anhaara: I ask Allah to forgive me because Allah (is the most Forgiving. He will send down upon you the cloud, pouring down abundance of rain, and help you with wealth and sons, and make for you gardens, and make for you rivers)105 ’)106.
Question: I am sterile and there is no hope for a cure for me. I want to know why I have been afflicted with this injustice, and what the guilt of my wife is that she will not have a child to call her “mama” all her life and be delighted like all other mothers! O sheikh, please, excuse me for this question! I do not object to the wisdom of my Lord, but Satan whispers into my heart.
The answer: Dear brother, since you know that Satan whispers to you, you must seek the protection of Allah against him. You have to submit to the Lord of the worlds because He is aware of you, your wife, and millions of people like you. He is more aware of what benefits His people and what harms them. You do not know; perhaps when you are given a child, it may be born handicapped and then you and your wife will suffer difficulties and insomnia all your life, or when your child grows up, he may be a source of troubles to you and to your wife. Many accidents have happened in this life, any one of which is sufficient to give people big lessons. Many parents wished they had no child after being involved in great troubles because of him.
Then, why should you let the Satan affect your faith even a little? Thus, you will lose your faith and this loss is bitterer than your not having a child.
You should believe in the wisdom of Allah sincerely, adhere to your faith and certainty, shut out the whispers of the Satan who destroys you through your passion, and say, when the Satan begins whispering to you, ‘Perhaps that I have not been given is better for me because my Lord is aware of the ends of things’ and Allah is the Guardian of the believers.
Question: My wife is sick. In fact, she is handicapped, and I want to get married to another wife, but I am confused as to what the consequences of doing this will be. I cannot tolerate living with her forever. Whenever I think of my state of continuing to live with my wife versus getting married to another one, I find so many difficulties gather in my heart, which seems like it is about to stop beating. Please, guide me to the right way, and may Allah reward you with goodness!
The answer: Dear brother, take it easy! Let your mind think, and do not put dams of illusion before yourself! Every problem has a solution by the will of Allah the Almighty. This world, with all its defects, has good people yet; otherwise, it would have sunk with its people.
Things are not dark, and life is not melancholy as the Satan shows it to you. You asked me to guide you to the right way, and I say that it begins from the following:
First, pray to Allah to guide you to the right path and to not allow you to follow your desires at all!
Second, consult with reasonable people about the steps you should take!
Third, treat your sick wife with kindness and mercifulness only whenever your circumstances allow you to do that!
Fourth, assure her that your marriage to another one does not mean that you will ignore her, and tell her that her cooperation in this matter will make you love and respect her even more!
Fifth, in your dealings with her, be understanding and lenient in all situations and expect your reward from Allah, Who rewards good-doers, and the reward of whoever does good will not be lost!
Finally, if you decide to get married while your first wife is unwilling in spite of all the previous steps, and your second marriage has legal reasons, try to get married without letting her know in order to not increase her sickness. If temporary marriage can solve your problem, you may prefer it to a permanent marriage. And then if she finds out about you and becomes angry, you should not reply to her angrily or harm her for it has been mentioned in traditions that it is not a habit of generous people to avenge immediately.
Nevertheless, I think that you would be better off being patient if observing patience is possible for you.
Question: My husband was handicapped after a traffic accident. How can I continue living with him until the last of my life while I am still young?
The answer: If the love between you is true, the matter is easy, but if the love is weak or you think selfishly, the matter is difficult.
Dear sister, I hope you accept reality because faithfulness and patience are much higher values than personal ambition, except if the husband does not appreciate this faithfulness and you cannot be patient with him. In this case, you would be better off to ask him for a divorce, and if he does not divorce you, then you can go to the legal judge (the religious authority) to determine your situation.
The basis of a happy life is love and devotion. Try to live with this valuable reminder, which if lost for some reason or other, there will be no reason to make you continue your life with your husband except if you have a greater power of patience, sacrifice, and altruism and if you want the reward of the afterlife.
In general, you should deal with your problem wisely and prefer what is more important to any important thing. I pray to Allah for you.
Question: My question does not concern me. It is about how to deal with a husband or a wife who has qualities of nervousness, stupidity, ignorance, indifference, obscenity, or haughtiness but insists on adhering to these qualities and does not accept advices or think of reform.
The answer: I advise the people, who are afflicted with such spouses, to regard what they consider to be important things in the light of their benefits. Sometimes patience and silence are preferred because they are the best ways to defeat the problems that lie in the way of success as mentioned in one of the traditions “He is happy whose tongue is silent and whose speech is little but meaningful”, whereas at other times divorce and separation must be preferred.
Question: What is the right behavior to adopt if one of the spouses is polite and high-minded but not religious and pays no attention to lawful or unlawful things, purity or impurity?
The answer: If this does not cause a conflict, it will be better for them to live as two spouses and continue loving each other, hoping that Allah may guide the unreligious one to be religious and then they may live happily according to the principles of Islam. But if this attitude will cause a conflict between them, for example, if the husband forces his religious wife to take off her veil before his friends or to serve drinks for his guests or to give up prayers and fasting, first, he must be advised either directly or indirectly by other persons. If this is useless, then the rupture of relations should be followed. Sometimes, the rupture of relations is in the form of a separation to force the other side to reform himself/herself and sometimes in the form of divorce. It is better that these stages should be carried out under the supervision of a religious and wise family counselor. The objective is not to give up the religious obligations, for no obedience to a creature is worth disobeying the Creator. What is the value of the creature for whom man disobeys his Exalted Lord?
A religious wife has to take the Pharaoh’s wife as her example, as has been mentioned in the Holy Qur'an, and a religious husband has to notice the example of Prophet Lot towards his wife. Man will withstand if he looks forward to the happiness of the afterlife, for this life with all its sweetness, which is mixed with the bitterness of problems, is evanescent and not eternal. Sudden death often happens in our present age. Do you not see how our youths are surprised by death and swallowed by graves without a prior notice? Being caught up in the pleasures of this life, which may be for a short time, is followed by deprivation of eternal pleasures in the bliss of Paradise, which Allah has prepared for the pious.
Question: I have a young friend whose husband is very old. Sometimes, she asks me: what is a suitable conduct that meets the rights of the husband in order to please Allah? Then what are the rights of this young wife with a great ambition on her husband? What will her fate be after the death of such an old husband? I am not able to answer my friend’s questions except in general points, which are not sufficient. Would you please say what could persuade her and those like her? Thanks.
The answer: First, we should say that she has married willingly. She has not been forced to accept an old man as her husband. If it is so, she has to accept the consequences of her choice and be a good wife to her husband without comparing him to young husbands. The first one to compare and perish, and cause others to perish with him, was Iblis, and Allah has warned us of following him.
As for death, people’s ages are in the hand of Allah. How often it is that young people die and old people participate in their funerals! Let us suppose that her husband dies as others die, whether she is young or old at the time. Then, she has to do as widows do. She must wait for a new prospective husband or become patient as most widows or as spinsters do who accept reality and adapt themselves to its requirements. This kind of marriage does not mandate worrying about the future or being melancholy. A polite and religious old man is better than a reckless young man.
The important thing is submission to fate and then to behave according to the Islamic morals. Satisfaction, as stated in the traditions, is a treasure that has no end, and contentment is a rest that discontented people will not taste.
Question: I live with my husband in emigration. He is very kind and does not deprive me of my rights as a wife. I am proud of him and of the sound children Allah has given me through him. Praise be to Allah. However, being in a state of emigration away from my relatives and country troubles me. I have been deprived of my relatives and country because of my husband who is one of the political oppositionists to the state. This matter causes me continuous worry. I do not know how to convince myself of the reality around me while my heart is aching with memories and longing for my country. I fear that my state may affect my relationship with my husband. Please, show me a solution to my case and accept my thanks!
The answer: Dear sister,
First, thank Allah for the faithful, mujahid107 husband you have! Those who have such qualities are few. As a part of thanking Allah, you should continue being patient with the difficulties of emigration and requirements of jihad. You should always remember that Allah has promised the mujahidin great reward and virtue, and they will enter Paradise without any reckoning.
Second, man has the ability to adapt himself to all environments. He can grow accustomed to whatever is around him, but it is culture and willpower that lead him to either happiness or wretchedness. Try your best to strengthen your willpower and culture but in a way that pleases Allah the Almighty!
Third, you may read the biographies of those who have preceded us in faith, emigration, and jihad for the sake of Allah, for history has great, useful, and inspiring lessons!
Fourth, you should be certain that life is unstable. It does not remain as it is; a wind brings the tide and another brings the ebb, and Allah has the power to do anything at any moment.
Fifth, you should read a lot about the decree of Fate, because believing in this great concept cures many of our psychological and material problems.
Sixth, you should put your griefs and ambition in the frame of your marital life and darling children and make their happiness be the first and last goal in your life. It is this that will benefit you in this life and the afterlife. Let other matters and that which concerns other people be in the second and third degree. Do not mix up what is more important and what is important, because preferring the second one to the first will make you fail.
Seventh, you should know that the problems in the present age have spread in all countries, and your mother country is different now from what it was in the days of your memories. Conducts, morals, new generations, imported cultures, the types of economical and social relations, and whatever else you can imagine have become different and have changed since your emigration. It is not right, in evaluation, to dream of life in the past criteria and then walk behind their mirage.
Eighth, in your spare time, you should occupy yourself with social relations with your neighbors and with families who are in the same situation as you. The feeling of emigration disappears when man mixes with people of identical sufferings.
Ninth, you can assign yourself a mission to work for, according to your circumstances and intellectual level. Being busy with a certain goal closes the gaps of tiredness and exhaustion and brings one closer to success.
Tenth, you should always remember that life is short and a reasonable person is he who takes advantage of it to choose the best fruits before he misses the boat. Many are those who have emigrated and lived with their faith and then died (while in emigration) and will be in Paradise; whereas, if they had remained in their countries, they may have been among the people of Hell. How often it is that living in the motherland country for some believers, and even for those who have lost their faith, is bitter and difficult while it is not so after emigration.
Question: In our family there is a divorcee, and amongst our relatives there is a widow besides three spinsters. I see this state as irregular, though it is as a result of our society’s ignorance of Islam, which they construe as just praying, fasting, and some other traditional rituals. They have turned their backs on the verdicts of Islam concerning polygamy, temporary marriage, facilitating marriage, and avoiding the habits from the time of ignorance. Would you please show us the verdict of Islam towards the situations of these women?
The answer: The phenomenon of the large numbers of divorcees, widows, and spinsters is universal. In our Muslim societies, it is supposed that this painful phenomenon would be limited if we followed all the principles of Islam without preferring one to another as we like, but, unfortunately, most of the Muslims have missed this way!
Islam is clear in its position towards this phenomenon. We can notice this through the following points:
First, Islam places certain conditions and limits for divorce, which cannot be executed easily.
Second, when a divorce takes place, Islam gives the option to a divorcee to remarry and not remain single.
Third, Islam has legislated the laws of polygamy and temporary marriage within conditions of justice and morality.
Fourth, Islam has facilitated the procedures for marriage with no strictness or difficulty.
Fifth, Islam has recommended people to treat these women with the utmost politeness, kindness, and respect and to feel and care for their sufferings. Islam has promised a great reward for this.
Sixth, wealthy people should establish centers and foundations to employ these women in works befitting their abilities, such as sewing, nursing, cooking, weaving, handiworks and the like, and then the products should be sold, and the profits should be given to the workers themselves, to help the orphans, to cure the sick, or to establish other charitable foundations.
Question: I was an unveiled girl at the university. I fed on the worldly cultures until I became self-conceited and thus killed my chance for happiness. One young man after another would come asking for my hand, but I kept refusing, wishing for the knight of my dreams to come, but he never did, or he might have been one of those who came but I could not discover him because of the mirage of my illusions and the facade of my wishes. Thus, I missed the boat of marriage and now I am one of the millions of spinsters. I regret, but uselessly. I have repented to Allah of what I have committed against myself. I do not know where I shall be after my death. I hope that girls and their parents might take a lesson from my case and refrain from complicating the conditions of marriage when a religious, high-minded young man comes asking for the girl’s hand. How long does man plan on living that he complicates this life for himself? Our Islam, the religion of ease, has emphasized religiousness and morality when selecting spouses because it sees in them a sure guaranty to achieve the rest of the conditions of happiness, which are just branches of these two conditions. After this foreword, my question is to ask for instructions for what remains of the life of a spinster who regrets being unjust to herself. Would you please answer me?
The answer: Dear sister, may Allah bless you! I pray to Allah to make your present and future better than your past and to recompense you for what you have missed with the best of that for what you wish as a reward from Him for your repentance, change, and loving heart that wishes goodness for others. I pray for you sincerely that you may defeat the obstacles in your way, and Allah will be with you in this life and in the afterlife if you are with Him.
I have read in your letter bitter sufferings and I feel sorry for your state. May Allah help your heart and damn that culture which has killed your happiness. I join my supplication and the hope and call of your supplication to warn Muslim girls of this predicament before they fall into the same error into which you fell.
Yes, there is no happiness save in going back to the pure culture of Islam. It truly is the culture of ease and bliss.
My instructions to you are as follows:
1. You should build your afterlife with every good deed.
2. You should spend your time with satisfying the needs of the believing women and guiding them to good and righteousness.
3. You should spend the rest of your life in spreading religion by every wise means, for example by publishing books, collecting donations for charitable projects, and the like.
4. Try to learn literary writing and giving speeches and practice them for the sake of Allah only and not to show off!
5. Always ask Allah to forgive you!
6. Adorn yourself with Islamic morals in every case!
Question: My husband asked me to agree to his marriage with another wife in a temporary marriage, but I refused. However, when I pondered on the verdict of the Sharia in permitting temporary marriage, my mind and senses guided me to agree and encourage him to do so. I asked myself: this woman’s husband has died, but her sexual lust has not died. Then, how should she satisfy it? Unlawfully or by suppressing it or by lawful temporary marriage?
There is no doubt that the third choice is the right one, which Islam has legislated. However, Umar bin al-Khattab prohibited it, and it was his personal opinion and for a certain period, as I think. If temporary marriage was not prohibited (by Umar) and if this prohibition did not last for the following ages, the doors of adultery would not have been opened to society. It is mentioned in traditions narrated from the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) that if temporary marriage was not prohibited, no one would commit adultery except scoundrels. No noble man will go towards adultery while the door of lawful temporary marriage is open to him. This door has been opened by the Wise Creator, Who is more aware of the truth of man and the requirements of his lust than anyone else.
Yes! This was my thought when I gave my husband my permission to marry that widow, but after that, he did me wrong. He went too far and exceeded the limits in practicing temporary marriage until he started ignoring me. He did not even think of the family’s needs.
I am still satisfied with the verdict of our great Sharia and will not allow myself or others to deny or suspect this verdict, but I hope that you can give some advice to men who are like my husband. Is this my fair reward? Has Allah not said, (Is the reward of goodness aught but goodness)108? Please, excuse me for lengthening my speech and thank you for answering me.
The answer: Dear faithful sister, it is mentioned in one of the traditions that “do not put wisdom near other than its people for you will wrong it, and do not prevent it from its people for you will wrong them”.
Dear sister, your situation results from your kindness and religious understanding, but your mistake is that you have put this wisdom near other than its people for whom it was intended. A man like your husband, whether you do him good or not, will carry out what he wants and will cover his actions with religion if he pretends to be religious; otherwise he will commit his wrong in an irreligious way, paying attention to nothing.
The problem lies neither in the verdict of the Sharia nor in your good situation, which pleases Allah, but the problem lies in your guilty husband. Be certain that Allah will not waste your reward because He is just and you are benevolent and patient. Besides, you will get your reward for your feelings towards that widow. May Allah bless you and make you succeed in your life and afterlife.
Question: My friend and his wife, after spending two years in the West, came to their country to visit their families and friends. The shameful clothes of this wife, the exciting colors on her face, and the perfumes she sprinkled on herself inside and outside the house attracted the attentions of all. When she sat with the women, she showed off and became proud to such a degree that she made them laugh at her shape.
Unfortunately, she is from a religious family. She had not been so before she emigrated to the West. All her family disputed with her, but she faced them with pride and haughtiness and spoke to them impudently and with no Islamic morals. The least of her words to them was “you are still reactionary”.
It is said that her husband fears to resist her; therefore, he lets her alone lest she fall into sin as has happened to many women in those countries, which support the independence of women from the economical side and that paves the way for them to go wherever they like.
What is the obligatory way to deal with such a wife, especially when her husband is weak before her?
The answer: This phenomenon results from previous causes. The most important cause is a weak religious education in beliefs and morals. It was obligatory on her family to plant the facts of religion inside her and to teach her the realities of this world and its deceiving faces.
If this woman is submitted to psychologists, they, unanimously, will say that she suffers from an inferiority complex and she, with her behavior, wants to repair her defect and solve her complex according to her illusory imagination.
Since this wife is insolent and throws her silly words impudently, I think it would be better for her husband to treat her with wisdom and good exhortation, but whenever it is possible, he should dispute with her in a wise manner to achieve a good result. But, if it is possible that this may lead her to be stubborn or to fall into sin, it would be better then to be patient with her until Allah will bring forth the fruit of the wise efforts and good exhortation.
It is important in dealing with women like her, that have been dazzled with the West and have collapsed in fancies, to pay careful attention to politeness and to the Islamic morals when repelling evil with good in order to limit their stubbornness and to prevent their fall.
The husband of this wife must not neglect her case, especially not her emotional satisfaction. Let him permit her to wear any kind of clothes she likes as long as it is inside his house. He should prove his love for her in every possible manner. At the same time, he should speak to her frankly that her behavior, which displeases Allah, disgusts him and shakes his love for her. Does any lover like to disgust her beloved and shake his love for her? This husband should realize that the shameless behavior of his wife makes other men covet her and visualize her in their laps. Does this please a husband with jealousy and a wife with abstinence and conscience?
This is besides other problems that she may face from men who she may excite and who may unexpectedly rape her. As for the problems of the grave, the afterlife, and the torment of Fire, the matter is very difficult and the talk is very long!
I hope that this Muslim woman and those like her are criticized with attention to the previous points and with emphasis also on another important point and that is to explain the disadvantages of displaying a woman’s charms before foreign men. Some examples from Western societies can be shown besides showing stories of western girls who have been guided and have believed in Islam and kept to the veil and abstinence.
Here, as an example and to encourage our girls, I would like to mention the story of a Danish woman who was the wife of a young Shiite man from Lebanon. He told me that his wife had become a Shiite Muslim and resigned from her job, from which she gained a lot of money. She made spreading the teachings of Islam her honorable job. She said that she did not want to see Muslim girls and women fall into what the Western girls and women had fallen into.
She always read Islamic books and after reading them, she would give them to other girls for the sake of Allah and to guide those girls to Islam and to its high humane teachings109.
He said about his active wife that she offered prayers a lot and she was very devoted to her religion and veil. Whenever she met a Muslim woman who was a deviate or inclined to the Western way of life, she would enjoin her to do good deeds and forbid her from doing bad deeds saying, ‘we have known the emptiness of our material civilization and given it up and become proud of Islam. Why are you so dazzled by what we have tried and desisted from?’
Indeed, this Danish woman is a source of pride. There are millions like her in the Western countries. Allah has made them as a proof for our women and girls who are emigrants in those countries and for those in our Muslim countries who imitate the western fashions and way of life. Thus, Allah gives them His full proof lest they will have an excuse against Him on the Day of Resurrection, the day of painful torment.
I ask this young woman, who is captured by her fancy and who calls her family reactionary, to ponder over the words of Imam Ali (a.s.) when he said, ‘Shyness and abstinence are from the qualities of faith, the natures of the free, and the aspects of the pious.110’
Is the bondage to lusts and desires considered freedom or the belief in Allah the Almighty and obeisance to Him?
Question: I imitate (follow) a religious authority (mujtahid) that I have chosen by my will after I have read his Islamic thoughts, which comply with the present age. There are millions who imitate him all over the world.
My wife agreed to marry me even though she knew about this matter (my choice of mujtahid111). But now, a year after our marriage, she asks for me to either imitate the mujtahid she imitates or for me to divorce her. Before this request, we used to discuss the matter a lot. I did not imagine that someday it would deserve to be discussed to this extent or that it would be a cause for wasting our time and annoying our nerves besides that it might be a cause for divorce!
In the beginning, I paid no attention to her request. I heard from one of her relatives that she had known, since the beginning of our marriage, about my imitating this mujtahid but she had said that she would be able to make me change. Now, after her attempts have failed, she comes to me asking me to divorce her.
I am confused and indignant at the same time. I am confused as to what I should prefer; should I submit to this stickling wife who asks for an illegal and inhumane thing or should I submit to the destruction of my marital life and the wealth I have spent in establishing this life?
I am indignant too because I thought that religion was a means of happiness and mental comfort for man, but why do those who ascribe to themselves religion and call themselves Ulama’ throw their ignorant followers into fanaticism? By doing so, they distort the truth of religion and the fame of the good Ulama’ and mujtahids and destroy the happiness of man. Why do the honorable religious authorities and scholars not deny these calamities, which deal deathblows?
I heard about such a matter that happened or caused marital disagreements, but I did not expect that it would happen to me.
Why do some speakers stress the disagreements and political disputes between some religious authorities and leaders while praising their own leaders and exalting them to the level of infallibility and charismata? Why do they think that no one is good besides them and that those who do not adopt their opinions are deviates and misled?
For what is this extremism? Whereto do these persons want us to get with their narrow-mindedness? Has the time not come yet for our authorities to fight these mockeries, which are practiced under the pretence of supporting the religious authorities themselves? I apologize for violating the decorum of politeness. Please, excuse me if I was somewhat harsh in my speech! There is no power save in Allah, the Exalted, the Great.
The answer: Dear brother, I find you right, wronged, and calling for reform. These are the qualities of one who does not leave the true religion just because the pretenders have practically left it.
May Allah bless your faith, certainty, and taqlid112. I pray to Allah to bless your marriage and your patience too. Allah always blesses the intentions of the sincere people because He has promised that He will not waste the reward of good doers.
Dear brother, this problem is one of the results of entering into the world of politics without having an immunity of piety in the heart. The manifestations of piety that do not come from the heart are too many! The philosophy of these manifestations is that man is to be tried and then he either becomes more faithful or he perishes along the way. Without being tried, man shall not attain the high degrees of Paradise nor shall he be thrown into the abyss of Hell. May Allah protect you, us, and all the Muslims from the flame of Hell and the moaning of its inhabitants.
You should know that when piety abides in the heart, immunity, which resists the prevailing of envy, fanaticism, injustice, oppression, superiority complex, and the omitting of others from the religious and social stations of activities, will be born.
I wish that those people would at least once in their lives ponder over the speech of Imam Ali (a.s.) about the qualities of the pious people. Piety, as the master of the pious Imam Ali (a.s.) explained to his companion Humam who flew high towards his lofty goal longing for Paradise and fearing the Fire, is the required immunity for every true Shia. If anyone finds this piety inside him, let him enter any field to which his legal duty guides him, whether the field of culture, trade, politics, war, family, sitting in loneliness, or at the table of negotiations. However, this piety has disappeared from the lives of many people in our present age and so their lives have entered into the darkness of injustice; sometimes it is the injustice of the husband to his wife, the wife to her husband, the parents to their children, the members of the family to each other, or the neighbor to his neighbor and sometimes it is the injustice of the government to its people, the people to their leaders, or countries to each other, and so forth. I ask: can he, who is unjust to others, defeat injustice?
There are many Qur’anic verses and prophetic traditions that have warned Muslims of injustice. The Prophet (S) said, ‘Beware of injustice, for it is the darkness of the Day of Resurrection!113’
About party spirits the Prophet (S) said, ‘He who is fanatic fanaticizes will take off the noose of faith from his neck.114’
In some books I have written about denying fanaticism and disagreements, especially concerning the religious authorities. The most important thing that I have written criticizing this phenomenon and giving curative alternatives you can read in my book (Stories and Ideas from the moralities of Clergymen). In more than 700 pages of the book you will find important instructions about this concern that you and your wife can both benefit from. You can also refer to our books in general where we have tried to treat this destructive disease through Qur’anic verses and the instructions of the Prophet (S) and Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). I pray to Allah to make us succeed in treating our intellectual, mental, familial, and social diseases or in limiting them.
(He said: O my people! have you considered if I have a clear proof from my Lord and He has given me a goodly sustenance from Himself, and I do not desire that in opposition to you I should betake myself to that which I forbid you: I desire nothing but reform so far as I am able, and with none but Allah is the direction of my affair to a right issue; on Him do I rely and to Him do I turn)115.
The reform that all disputers feign has certain morals and principles, the head of which is piety as Imam Ali (a.s.) said in one of his traditions116. With true piety and by knowing its criteria, man can understand the limits of truth and falsehood in all cases.
Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Does it please you that you are from the triumphant party of Allah? Fear Allah the Almighty and do good in all your affairs, because Allah is with those who guard against evil and those who do good (to others).117’
The Prophet (S) recommended Abu Tharr by saying, ‘O Abu Tharr, in working with piety be more careful than your care for work.118’
However, we find that most of the fanatics who feign religiousness are enthusiastic in their actions but inattentive in their positions with regards to piety and to what the Holy Qur'an has said, (Allah only accepts from those who guard (against evil))119.
Dear faithful brother, be pious and let your worships and situations be sincere to Allah to receive His great contentment!
Politics, presidency, fame, praises, and lifting pictures without piety or the acceptance of Allah are but mirages leading to perishment.
I know some persons who expended their efforts in boyish disputes and quarrels that turned the happiness of some spouses into unhappiness and began spreading rumors against whoever disagreed with them in thought until they set the fire of disagreements and quarrels. However, some of them changed their positions after they realized that the facts could not be seen in the dust of the quarrels and the smoke of disagreements.
I hope that those who come after us will take a lesson from this historic period, whose bad deeds have eaten away its good deeds. I hope they will not intrude on each other and kill their powers and abilities over trivial things. Let us heed this advice from our pure leaders of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) who said, ‘Strive and make every effort! If you do not do so, then do not disobey. Whoever builds and does not tear down, his building will rise even if it is simple, and whoever builds and tears down, his building will not rise120.’
I wonder at the followers of different religious authorities who defy death in their disputes!
These authorities differ in opinions because they are mujtahids, and the legal duty of any mujtahid is to stick to his own opinion; otherwise he will be an imitator of other than himself. However, the blame is on the followers; why do they dispute, on which basis do they quarrel, and by what right do they exchange names against the names of the mujtahids!
We are proud of all of our mujtahids, and we tell the world that we believe in freedom of opinion and our evidence of that is the multiplicity of opinions of our mujtahids. Is it not wrong for the followers to deform this shining face of the freedom of Ijtihad 121 in our Hawzas122?
You can see in the following one of the situations when our mujtahids disagree in opinion and how nicely they deal with each other. One of the great Ulama’123, who has written many books and accompanied many mujtahids in Iran, told me that in the beginning of the year 1962 AD, and before the uprising of Khurdad124 took place in Iran, when Imam Khomeini (may Allah have mercy on him) began increasing his criticism against the extinct regime of the Shah, the great Ayatullah al-Akhond al-Hamadani thought that the position of Imam Khomeini would not serve the goal that Imam Khomeini intended; therefore, he sent Sheikh Abdurraheem, the teller of this story, to Imam Khomeini to tell him word by word: “Al-Akhond al-Hamadani sends you his greetings and says to you, ‘O Abu Tharr, slowly, slowly!’”
Sheikh Abdurraheem said, ‘I went to the meeting where Imam Khomeini was giving his lecture. After he finished his lecture, I went out after him and waited for him to be alone so I could deliver the oral message to him, without allowing it to fall into the trap of spies or being heard by any of his attendants because the message was special. I followed him until he stopped near the tomb of the late mujtahid Ayatullah Sayyid al-Buroojerdi to recite the sura of al-Fatiha for him. I seized the opportunity, approached him, and told him the phrase as it was, no more no less. Imam Khomeini replied to me saying, ‘Send him my greetings and say to him: O Salman, rise, rise!’
Dear reader, notice how these mujtahids respected each other. Al-Akhond al-Hamadani addressed Imam Khomeini as “Abu Tharr” because Imam Khomeini was revolutionary in his actions like Abu Tharr was and did not submit to injustice and deviation. Imam Khomeini addressed al-Akhond al-Hamadani in his reply as “O Salman!” He compared him to Salman al-Farsi in his steadfastness, devotedness, and asceticism. Both Abu Tharr and Salman were great companions of the Prophet (S); they might have been different in their situations but with no enmity to each other, rather each of them had his own opinions according to the area of his legal duty. In the same way, those who bore the similitudes of Abu Tharr and Salman sent each other highly polite messages within the morals of Islam although they were different in analyzing the situations and different in their opinions.
At the same time when you see our mujtahids have the morals of the first companions, you see those who pretend to be their followers have the morals of other than them.
Is this the right line of Islam, which Imam Khomeini and other mujtahids wanted and made great efforts throughout their lives to serve?
Yes, there are mistakes, but they are distributed amongst all. No one can be proud that he is free from mistakes or defects. No one is infallible. Since it is so, let each side keep silent! They should not provoke each other or criticize each other baselessly, for ultimately the two sides would lose.
Therefore, each one should act according to the mujtahid whom Islamic freedom has permitted to be imitated and followed. Let the youths undertake legal responsibility with all its moral dimensions. This is the method we impart in our instructions, as we have received from the Holy Qur'an, the conducts of the Prophet (S) and his guiding progeny (a.s.), the events of history, and our experiences in this age.
Acting according to this method requires some important steps:
1. Acquiring knowledge and information by continuously reciting the Qur'an and reading its interpretation, reading traditions and their meanings, and reading good books published by this Islamic school
2. Heartily concentrating on achieving the good end
3. Watching one’s deeds to serve that very goal
4. Respecting others even if they are dissenters
5. Observing equanimity, solidity, morality and gravity
6. Being certain of the truthfulness or falseness of any news that comes to one’s ear
7. Improving one’s mental and intellectual abilities and all the means leading to Islamic goals, and this requires paying attention to these listed steps and also avoiding selfishness and dictatorship
8. Being courageous in taking decisions to change what one has accustomed himself to
9. Complying oneself with news events and being aware of contemporary issues
10. Always praying to Allah for success and being humble to the truth
Dear brother, with these points in mind, I hope your wife will return to her reason. If she is sincere to her religion, she should ask the mujtahid whom she imitates to give her a fatwa. I am sure that he will deny her situation, and ask her to be reasonable and live in peace with her husband.
Question: My husband is a heavy smoker. The place in which he smokes is like a chimney. Everything in our house has the smell of cigarettes. Thus far, my children and I have not even felt the smell of perfumes. Doctors say that the harms of smoking are more dangerous to those around the smoker than to the smoker himself. My husband knows well how much we suffer from his smoking, but he often says that his willpower does not help him in giving up smoking. What would you say to me, to him, and to those who suffer like us?
The answer: One’s will becomes strong if he strengthens his culture, which is mixed with piety and caution for the ends. When we read that medical researches and actual experiments have proved smoking to have serious harms for the smoker and for others, we become certain that a smoker is a victim of his desire and his saying that his will is weak is but a justification for his submitting to his desire.
I know a man who smoked for 40 years and then he gave up smoking, and his son smoked for 20 years and then he gave it up. I also know an old man who smoked up until 25 years ago, but then he gave up smoking. When smokers say they have weak wills and determinations, they just uncover the control of their desires over them. I say that because I myself have suffered from the harms of smoking in my larynx because smokers would not abstain from smoking in the meetings where I ascended the minbar to give speeches. I still suffer from this harm and ask Allah to forgive those who have caused me to suffer.
The fact is that cigarette smoking, which is the worst thing Muslims have adapted in their lives, cannot be justified by any rational reason, especially when it causes harms to others and violates their right of breathing pure air.
Therefore, most jurisprudents consider smoking unlawful on the basis of its “harm and harming”, and even if some jurisprudents are lenient to smoking addicts in permitting them to harm themselves, they do not permit them to harm others. The atmosphere is for all, and keeping it safe is obligatory on them. A permitted smoker has to smoke in a place where he shall not harm others.
Hence, it is required of every religious person who smokes to ponder over his act from the legal aspect and the aspect of the moral principles associated with it.
This is in general, but as for this sister and her question about her smoking husband, I would like to present to her a story of a clever wife that she may benefit from this successful experience.
Once, a wife of a smoker said to her husband, ‘Every day you spend a dinar to buy two packets of cigarettes. Would I also not have the right to take a dinar from our expenditures every day if I were a smoker?’
Her husband agreed, and based on this logical evidence, she took a dinar every day. She saved them until there were 358 dinars after a year. Then she called her husband to the yard. She brought the money with a match in her hand to show her husband that she wanted to burn the money.
Her husband cried out, ‘Have you lost your mind? Do you want to prove the saying of Imam Ali (a.s.) that “women have deficient minds”?’
The wife said, ‘Do you see any signs that I have lost my mind?’
He said, ‘Is there a sign clearer than setting fire to these dinars?’
She said, ‘It is my money and I could have burnt it every day like you but I collected them in order to not lose more than one match and in order to not burn with them my health and the health of those living with me who have the right to breathe pure oxygen. And since you take the word of Imam Ali (a.s.) as an excuse, let me tell you that Imam Ali (a.s.), the great leader and the generous man, was far above to mean with his wise words what you and your like interpret, O my dear husband!’
Being defeated before this clear, practical proof of his wife, the husband opened his mind and submitted to the inevitable truth. His intelligent wife went on to say, ‘Imam Ali (a.s.) was afflicted with a woman who was used as a means to fight him by some men who called themselves companions. Imam Ali (a.s.) gave a speech on this occasion, and said those words to reduce the influence of their plot. In this speech, Imam Ali (a.s.) said about those men, ‘O semi men and no men!’
The faithful women understood what Imam Ali (a.s.) meant by these words, and therefore, they did not object to him or ask him about his intention because it was so clear. In fact, those women supported him in all situations and they remained sincere to him and defended him even after his bloody martyrdom when his soul ascended to the Kingdom of Allah and to His great contentment.’
With these words this wife was able to make her husband stop playing with the meanings of the words of the infallible imams (a.s.) and to make him give up smoking.
The husband was enlightened by the intelligence of his wife and her good analysis of religion and history. Therefore, he made his decision to immediately give up smoking.
Soon, his wife decided to give him that money as a gift for his willpower and as a reward for his humbleness.
Dear sister, this is an experiment from which you and others in your position can benefit. I hope that husbands may take lesson before they meet intelligent wives, for the facts show that when some women know the truth of religion, they definitely become more reasonable than men.
Question: I divorced my wife twenty years ago. Recently, my daughter, who is married, asked me why I divorced her mother. I was confused as to how to answer her. After she repeatedly insisted, I told her that one day I saw her mother commit adultery with my friend who used to visit me in the house. I beat him severely until he fled from me, and then I immediately divorced her mother. I am regretful that I uncovered this secret to my daughter. Am I sinful before Allah and mistaken in my frank answer, for her mother may have repented after that?
The answer: You would have been better off to cover the sin of your wife, for Allah is the Coverer of defects. By your frank answer, you have placed a thick wall between your daughter and her mother who might have repented (God willing), and furthermore, you have made your daughter live with worry about her reputation and suffer continuous psychological suffering, fearing that her mother might be exposed one day. This is a kind of injustice. You could have covered the matter if you had answered wisely.
A Muslim must prefer the principle of covering and being indifferent of others’ defects, except when there is a greater advantage like in reforming or warning. In some traditions, it has been narrated that whoever covers the defects of others Allah will cover him.
As for marital treason, it may happen to anyone besides you; therefore, its causes must be known to prevent the tragedy and its bad consequences from occurring. Being unveiled, incitements, ballrooms, cinemas, movies, and videos, for example, are among the most important causes for committing this sin. Besides this, when some husbands bring their friends to their houses and their wives participate in those meetings with poor veiling, exciting laughter, speaking softly followed by suspicious looks and desires of touching, traitors and traitresses (curse be upon them and upon whoever paves the way for treason) are encouraged to commit their great sin when the simple-minded husband is absent.
What is the guilt of the innocent daughter who lives away from her mother and father? When this daughter grows up, she looks for the reasons why she has been deprived of the warmth of her parents.
Why do people not think of the consequences of their violating the Islamic Sharia?
Yes, for these reasons, Islam has prohibited such preliminaries and imposed the veil, abstinence, and modesty on Muslims.
Question: My wife and some of my relatives believe in magic, jugglery, and the like. I did not believe in this and I would often say to them that they lived in superstitions. However, a little time ago, I began coming nearer to their beliefs when I saw some signs and heard some stories. What is the view of Islam regarding this matter, to which some Muslim families and communities and even some western people pay a great deal of attention, to a degree that they associate their unhappiness and wretchedness or happiness and success to it?
The answer: Magic and its likes, such as divination, jugglery, conjuration, and employing the jinn for bad purposes, are prohibited in Islam because they are based on lying, cheating, ill-gotten moneys, and neglecting reason and religion. There is no doubt that magic has an external influence on some people of weak, diseased hearts and much illusion. Allah says, (…they taught men sorcery… and from these two (angels) people learn that by which they cause division between man and wife; but they injure thereby no one save by Allah's permission).125
The wisdom of prohibiting magic is that when Allah the Almighty created man, He honored him with reason and invited him to use reason to build his life according to its guidance, whereas magic and other things like it contradict the high divine goal and make man and society live in ignorance and illusion away from the truth and the real facts.
Islam has contended against magic and declared that a magician must be killed if he does not repent. The money gained from magic is unlawful. Teaching magic, learning it, and taking wages for it are all unlawful126.
Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘He, who learns something of magic whether little or much, disbelieves…127’
Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘A diviner is like a fortune-teller, and a fortune-teller is like a magician, and a magician is like an unbeliever, and the unbeliever will be in Fire.128’
If magic and its likes had no harmful effects, Islam would not have prohibited them. We do not say that magic has no effects, but one must seek the protection of Allah the Almighty from magic and its bad effects. Allah says in His Book, (So when they cast down, Musa (Moses) said to them: What you have brought is magic; surely Allah will make it naught; surely Allah does not make the work of mischief-makers to thrive. And Allah will show the truth to be the truth by His words, though the guilty may be averse (to it))129.
This verse and what happened to Prophet Moses (a.s.) with the magicians shows that magic was practiced by the followers of the Devils, but Allah curbed it so that its influence would not reach those who believed and relied on Allah sincerely such as Prophet Moses (a.s.) and the believers whom the influence of magic and jugglery did not affect.
We conclude that when man believes in Allah with sincerity and certainty, magic and its like will not have any influence over him. If magic was able to have influence over anyone, the devils from the human beings and the jinn would do to the believers whatever they liked; however, we find the believers stronger than them, and, moreover, they are able to even annul the effects of magic on others by reciting some Qur’anic verses and certain supplications, through which they strengthen the spirit of a bewitched one and help him overcome the magic and the magician.
Dear brother, herein, I recommend you, your wife, your relatives, and whoever else experiences these fears with the following:
1. Connect yourselves to Allah sincerely, abide by the legal obligations, refrain from unlawful things, always be pure and always busy yourselves with the remembrance of Allah! Thus, you will protect yourselves from the evil whisperings of the Satan, from magic, and from every evil doing of man and the Devils.
2. Keep these ideas away from your minds as if they do not exist! Thinking of these matters in itself prepares the ground for such illusions and makes the soul fertile to receive misfortunes.
3. Try to keep away from enmities and from those who would use unlawful means to harm you!
4. Beware of those who deal with what are called “unusual sciences”, for they look forward to your money before they think of your treatment!
5. Always recite the Holy Qur'an and the supplications of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) inside your houses, and especially the ziyara of al-Jami’a al-Kabira, the ziyara of Ashura, the tradition of al-Kisa’, the Verse of al-Kursi (2:255) five times, and “astaghfirullah” (I ask Allah to forgive me) seventy times!
Question: I am a mother of three girls and two boys. This is the production of twenty years of my marriage, which my husband openly describes as being a bad choice. He says that he stays with me just for the sake of the children. He does not feel any love towards me as his wife. He is sad and nervous. He insinuates that he wants to get married to a girl that matches his ambition. Now, after my hopeless attempts, I have become like him. I do not feel a deep love for him. I have lost my patience. I do not know what my fate or the fate of my children will be. I cry when I am alone. Does my crying solve my problem or could you show me a solution that would take me near happiness and success with my husband?
The answer: To have a happy marital life, one should think deeply before getting married. One should think of the culture, ambition, wishes, and morals of the other person to whom one wants to get married. Without that, life will be full of troubles and sufferings as you suffer now. This is the problem of most of those who get married just to satisfy their lusts; they do not think of what will happen when the lust extinguishes and children come.
Now, let us think of a solution on the basis of “something is better than nothing.” We suggest that you should:
1. care for yourself by using adornments, perfumes, attractive clothes, and nice (unaffected) words even at ordinary times.
2. care for whatever he is interested in, because this is the key to get to his heart.
3. read more about Islamic culture in general, the Holy Qur'an, and supplications because knowledge relieves the heart and guides to the right way.
4. show love to him and to your children and pay careful attention to the sacred instinct of motherhood so that he may understand that you are ready to tolerate every difficulty for the sake of the happiness of the family, of which you and your husband are two inseparable parts.
5. be smiling and ease the atmosphere in the house with jokes and delightful comments. You should not say that what he has done to you has killed this spirit in you and beware of being desperate!
6. not scold him if he insinuates that he wants to get married to a second wife because he will be more stubborn until he achieves what he wants just to avenge his personality.
7. Lastly, supposing he does achieve his second marriage, you should continue acting according to the aforementioned points as if no difficult matter has happened. In other words, you should convince yourself with the reality. Between you and the other woman, who has the right to live her marital life with your husband, there are certain rights and duties that have been determined by the wise Islamic Sharia. Therefore, do not let the Satan throw you into jealousy against the verdicts of Islam, for then you would destroy your religion and lose your life and afterlife. Life is too short and temporary and it is not worth being selfish or wasting time in troubles.
You should realize that when it is difficult for some men to be alone with their wives, either because they have old children or too many guests come too often or the like, they begin thinking of another marriage for some reasons, the first of which is to satisfy their sexual lusts. I do not know whether your husband or your circumstances in the house are like this or not. The assessment is up to you.
Besides all this, I have a word to say to your husband and I hope he will read it with his mind and not with his desires. I would like to say:
Dear brother, I do not doubt that you look forward to a happy and easy life for there is no reasonable person on earth who wants the opposite, not even the scoundrels! Then, try to ponder on your state through answering the following questions:
1. How will you benefit if you destroy your life and get married to another wife? Will your conscience leave you free to be happy with the second wife while you have destroyed the first one?
2. What will you lose if you remain with your wife and children and stay satisfied with your fate?
3. Suppose that you get married to another wife, will you be able to treat your two wives equally and fairly?
After this, I invite you both to think of the following principles and agree, according to them, on what brings you happiness.
1. Be certain that Allah does not determine anything unless it has an advantage for man that most of the time is hidden to him, and when it appears to him, he thanks Allah for not fulfilling his wish, which he had wished for but was not granted.
2. This world and its pleasures are transient and man’s age is too short for him to achieve all his wishes. How many young people are there upon whom accidents come unexpectedly and cut the rope of their hopes and wishes!
3. The value of man is in his good deeds that lead him to Paradise, which has the everlasting bliss that no eye has ever seen, no ear heard, and no mind imagined.
4. It is great for a man to leave behind him after his death a nice picture about himself. This nice picture is contingent on one’s good morals and his respecting others’ rights, which makes others pray to Allah to reward him with good. Will the soul have a pleasure greater than this?
Question: I would like to build my family on sound bases according to Islamic teachings. What is the guiding principle to achieve this goal?
The answer: First, you should know the features of a good family and those of a bad family, and then you can decide which of the respective features to follow.
The features of a good family are as follows:
1. The absence or fewness of controversies between the members of the family, especially between the husband and the wife
2. The parents’ being as a successful example for their children through their conducts and thoughts
3. Observance of religious occasions, both the happy and sorrowful ones, and also of family occasions, like birthdays, as much as possible
4. Exchanging visits with good people and especially with relatives
5. Communal meetings with interactive discussions, jokes, and narrations of amusing incidents
6. Satisfaction of the material needs of all family members such as clothes, food, shelter, and others, besides the moral needs like love, sympathy, care, respect, and the like
The features of a bad family are as follows:
1. Always or often criticizing and disparaging each other and not respecting or encouraging each other
2. Looking at problems from a pessimistic view, as if they are not experiments from which success can be derived
3. Excessively watching others and suspecting every behavior of the family members
4. The dictatorship of the responsible member in the family and his autocracy in making all decisions
5. Cold relationship between the husband and the wife, while the children live in separation and with bad relations
6. Not reciprocating visits with relatives and other people
Of course, you may not find a family with all the ideal qualities, but you should try your best to raise the moral level of your family to be as near the ideal qualities as possible. When you find a good family, try to become acquainted with it and cooperate together to reach the required level of sound social relations. Beware of being ideal theoretically because reality has its own area that is narrower than in theories.
Generally speaking, to achieve your goal, you should try to achieve the following four points as Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘There are four things that bring happiness to man: a good wife, dutiful children, good friends, and living in one’s own country.130’
Question: Noisiness, quarrels, and idle talking prevail in our family life. There is no moment of tranquility that allows us to rest and think quietly. The flame of disputation burns at everything and at every moment in our house. I can say that there is no ordinary word said in our house unless hundreds of words burst after it like splinters everywhere, and that does not even include the quarrels between the families of our relatives. Would you please show us the reasons and solutions for this destructive phenomenon?
The answer: First and foremost, let each one of your family members and relatives remember that his life is short, then how would it be if he spends it in quarreling and brings himself senility and death before time? Let them remember too that happiness comes in the boat of discernment, tranquility, delightfulness, and reasonability. Happiness does not approach a person or a family leading a disorderly life. If one loves his life, health, and happiness, surely he will not involve himself in troubles and idle disputations. I do not think that there is someone who knows this fact and does not abide by its conditions!
In order to avoid disputations and quarrels, each person who lives in this house should bear in mind the following points:
1. The house is a place of tranquility and peace of mind
2. When disputations and arguments begin, the more reasonable one from both sides is he who keeps silent, regardless of whatever the other side encroaches upon him
3. The subjects of disputations or the situations that take place during quarrels should not be revealed to those outside the house or to those who are not present when the quarrels take place
4. One should be satisfied and not pine for the blessings others have
5. One should be aware of the mentalities and the ways of thinking of others before dealing with them
6. One should avoid violence
7. One should avoid any differentiating in dealings with others when there is no excuse
8. The Qur'an and other supplications should be recited in the house, and on different occasions, religious meetings about Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) should be held
9. Gifts should be offered on occasions of joy
10. One should constantly be mentioning words praising Allah, such as (la ilaha illallah-there is no god but Allah), (la hawla wela quwwata illabillah-there is no power save in Allah), (alhamdu lillah-praise be to Allah), (astaghfirullah-I ask Allah to forgive me), (aamantu billah-I have believed in Allah), (tawakkaltu alallah-I have relied on Allah), (ya Allah- O Allah), (ya raheem- O Merciful), (ya haleem- O Clement), (ya ghafoor- O Forgiver), etc.
What may prevent family quarrels is if children heed the following points in regards to their parents:
1. They should respect their parents and not raise their voices before them.
2. They should acknowledge the fact that their parents do not wish anything for them save goodness and success.
3. They should be patient with their parents whenever the parents unintentionally make a mistake, especially since we know that because of the pressures of life, parents may sometimes do unwelcome things towards their children but they definitely do not intend to harm them.
4. They should provide their parents with financial assistance before they declare their need, and then they should not remind them of that as a favor to them.
5. They should not ask their parents for what they cannot provide, especially when it comes to buying some things.
6. They should greet them courteously and always ask about their health.
7. They should try their best to treat them when they are ill.
8. They should provide them with all of what they need in the house.
As for the behaviors of parents towards their children, they are as follows:
1. They should care a great deal for the religious education and modern scientific learning of their children.
2. They should praise their children in the presence of others.
3. They should satisfy all their needs as much as they possibly can.
4. They should treat them with love, kindness, mercy, and smiles.
5. They should be friends with them.
6. They should not beat them except when it becomes necessary in order to educate them.
7. They should not insult them in the presence of others.
8. They should give them some pocket money.
9. They should buy them good books and encourage them to read more and more.
10. They should watch their relations with others.
11. They should teach them Islamic teachings and the true beliefs.
12. They should accompany them to picnics and travel with them if it is possible.
13. They should encourage them to learn swimming, archery, and handicrafts.
14. They should marry them to suitable spouses at the suitable time.
Question: We are quarrelsome spouses. We love each other, but we do not know why we quarrel, and over very trivial things too. After that, we sit crying and then come to an agreement with each other. After sometime, we return to another quarrel. Our marital life is ridiculous, is it not? Sometimes I think of divorce, but then I regret and ask Allah to forgive me. I am confused, my wife is confused, and so are our children.
The answer: The most important factor in solving marital problems is for the spouses themselves to be determined to solve their problems. Without their intention and determination, they will not arrive at any solution at all. As for divorce, it is not the first nor is it the second solution, but it is the last of the last of solutions. Statistics have proven that those who hurry towards divorce, even in their new marriages their problems remain with them. You should be certain that unstudied divorce is not a suitable solution; rather, it will be a cause for bigger problems.
The best solution lies in following these instructions:
1. One should be quiet and have calm nerves. This is done by turning to Allah and remembering that man will be afflicted with the wrath of Allah if he submits to his fancy and desires. One should go to religious centers, talk with religious scholars and ethicists, and call to mind the horrible terrors of the afterlife. These things will have a great effect on man in encouraging him to find a suitable solution and carry it out.
2. One should be fair in disagreements. This is an important factor that leads to a solution. Both disagreeing sides have to pay close attention to this moral value that will lead them to the truth.
3. One should have an actual understanding of things; this means that spouses should know that life is not free from problems, disagreements, and differences of taste. Therefore, each one has to ignore the wrong the other side has done to him.
4. Disagreement in itself does not cause problems; rather, it is made by the methods each of the disagreeing sides takes in dealing with the disagreement. Hence, good and reasonable methods should be taken whenever there is a disagreement.
5. Let us learn how to listen to whoever disagrees with us! This principle helps the disagreeing spouses reduce the intensity of their disagreements, and they may, after that, discover that they have disagreed over a trivial thing.
6. Whenever we discover our fault and become certain that the other side is right, we must accept the truth and apologize and then discuss the details little by little.
7. Whatever the disagreement, alienation, and separation, spouses must not give up the joint duties and responsibilities that keep the family sound and safe, especially not those concerning their children. The experiences of quarrelsome spouses, who adhered to their joint responsibilities in spite of their disagreements, have proven that they, after a short time, agreed with each other and picked the sweet fruits of happiness and felicity.
8. Spouses should take sufficient time for thinking, for this helps to solve problems. Each one of the disagreeing spouses should sit privately, reviewing himself to discover his own mistakes and determining to repair his faults.
9. Spouses should not keep problems in mind except when trying to find a solution for it.
10. They should try to limit the problems and not relate these problems to previous ones, because limiting the problems helps to find easy solutions and achieve a happy marital life. Let us always remember that willpower and determination are the keys to these solutions and instructions. And on Allah let the believers rely!
Question: My wife does not visit our relatives or my friends’ wives, because she dislikes visiting them without taking presents with her to give them. Unfortunately, the presents she thinks of are not cheap, and my financial state does not allow me to buy such presents. What would you suggest?
The answer: This kind of thinking results from the influence of worldly cultures, which have prevailed over the life of people and made them forget their religious culture. The worldly life always exhausts people, separates them from each other, and deprives them of their happiness and joy. It was so and is still so, but people still do not take lessons.
Islam has emphasized the necessity of interconnection with relatives and good friends. As for presents, they are recommendable because they deepen the interrelations and bring the hearts closer to each other. However, it is not right to give up necessities and social obligations just for luxuries.
It is not necessary for a present to be materially expensive, because a present has its moral meaning. A brave one, who will get a great reward from Allah, is he who breaks the idol of ignorance resting inside the souls and tries with high confidence to derive a good principle by giving a greater moral value to a present than its material value. A visit with smiles and nice words and some chocolates for the children is much better near Allah than a visit with carrying presents that overburden the backs, exhaust the selves, and empty the pockets! Rather it will have no reward from Allah because the gift was bought just for pride and showing off.
In a word, our society is in terrible need of a moral and cultural revolution to overturn many thoughts, one of which is “either to go with expensive presents or give up interrelations and mutual visits completely.”