An Open Letter from the Women of the Ummah to Its Men

Open letter from women to men

Our dear beloved husbands,

As-salāmu alaykum waraḥmatullāhi wabarakātuh…

When we embarked upon the journey of life as a team in marriage, while keeping the ākhirah in mind, we had certain ideas, thoughts and aspirations.  And we assumed that you had similar ones too.  Our lives needed a strong relationship and some economic stability to help us along the journey, so we felt the need for a spouse to share those aspirations.  

 

Our parents had willingly given what they could to see their kids fed and happy, keeping their hearts content and satisfied, and we took that for granted.  They built on this foundation of love and care and taught us the nitty-gritties of life.  And they tried to teach us how to actualize ‘rabbanā ātinā fid-dunyā asanatan wa fil-ākhirati asanatan wa qinā adhāban nār’ -- ["Our Lord, give us in this world [that which is] good and in the Hereafter (that which is) good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire."] -- in the best way they knew.  We love them and will always pray for them.

But they let go of us to send us away as chief architects of our spouse’s house in accordance with the Sunnah.  It is important to understand that we put a lot of hope on you.  We entered this house of brick and mortar and started adding subtle touches of colour and warmth.  The building of a home.  We didn’t even realize we were doing it since it comes so natural.  But some colour was not approved so we tried to change, some shades disliked so we sought to modify, and some master strokes frowned upon so we just gave in so as not to rock the boat.  We planned and prepared fresh ones; there has to be harmony because that’s our role.

In this, our beautiful painting, we might have smudged some, used inappropriate paint some, and even made small errors or used a frame too large or too narrow.  But it is all beautiful because it is our personal painting.  We did it to please you so that we can enter Jannah together.

In doing so, our dear spouses, we never meant to hurt you, we never meant to disregard you, we never meant to not respect or to belittle you.  But it is also true that you might feel so.  It is only human nature.  Sometimes we've disagreed.  But we too have a mind.  Our Rabb gave it for us to use to attain His acceptance and approval.  Sometimes we see things different.  Our lenses are different.  

We've tried to do what you wish but sometimes didn’t do it so well, as His will was more important.  We've tried our best to be good wives, but the things that bothered you most were often when we were working to seek our Lord's approval in in the manner prescribed by Him.  We were doing our duties and we knew our rights.  Like you, we have to purify our souls and strive.  We each have a personal responsibility, and we work to fulfil it in our distinct way of thinking, evaluating how best it is to be done.

So if we didn’t measure up in your eyes, or couldn’t live up to your standards, or always do as you expected, and often seemed out of sorts or were ill, it is the nature of women to be driven by emotions, caring, giving and attachment.  These for us are stronger than that certain toughness and hotness by which the male force survives.  But each of us strives in his or her own way.  We surely appreciate all that you do for us and ask Allah to accept it from you.

If we didn’t become ideal wives as visualized by you it is because we had to be mothers and daughters, and above all mu’mināt (believer women) doing His will, finding His way, treading His path, in the manner prescribed by Him.  Our plea to you is:  Do accept our apologies, do forgive us, do be generous in your evaluation of us and pray for us.  Give us the benefit of the Islamic directive governing all relationships: pardon, overlook, forgive.  For our Lord said:

But if you pardon and overlook and forgive - then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.  (Sūrah at-Taghābun, 64:14)

This, in sha Allah, will help your account as well.  It matters so much to us because we want to be together in Paradise.  And because we want to be forgiven by our Lord, we have forgiven you your imperfections, so please forgive us too.  For His forgiveness is most deserved by those forgiving of others, who overlook faults and ignore errors and mistakes.  Knowing that death can overtake us at any time, we wish to be returned to our Creator as  ʽābidāt, ṣābirāt, dhākirāt, shākirāt, qānitāt. Then, in shā Allah, bi-idhnillāh can we expect His forgiveness and together attain His mercy.

Was-salāmu alaykum waraḥmatullāh.


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Personal Responsibility: Every one of us is a shepherd

Everyone is a Shepherd

Abdullah ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with them both, reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The leader of people is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects. A man is the guardian of his family and he is responsible for them. A woman is the guardian of her husband’s home and his children and she is responsible for them. The servant of a man is a guardian of the property of his master and he is responsible for it. Surely, every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock.” [Sahih Bukhari 6719, Sahih Muslim 1829]

 

When I first heard this hadith, I didn’t pay much attention to it because I didn’t have a “flock” that I could think of – I was not married, and I had no major responsibilities that involved anyone else, so I figured it wasn’t really applicable to me. Sure, I had chores that my parents had assigned me; my belongings that I had to be responsible with; and assignments from class that I had to hand in on time – but all of it still didn’t feel like a flock that I was answerable for. When I heard it more recently though, I gave it a little more thought. Who would come under my flock? My husband, family, students? It dawned on me then that I had never thought of myself.

If I had realized it all those years ago, I might have paid closer attention to what it meant. We are taught to be responsible for our words – speak good or keep silent; for our actions – do good unto others, don’t harm any living creature; and so on. What is mostly not brought to our attention is responsibility with time. Everyone’s probably gotten told off by their parents – or felt guilty at least – for wasting time, but how do we turn that around? How do we make the most of every second that we have been given, so that it benefits us in the next life?

Think about your day: the amount of time spent on worship never amounts to the time taken up by other activities, whether they be chores, entertainment, work or pleasure. Certain things just have to get done, and all of it cannot be accomplished by sitting on your prayer mat the whole day.

How then do we please Allah? The Muslims of old used to fit so much in their day that they appeared to have more than 24 hours to work with – Imam Abu Hanifa would finish reciting the Qur’an 30 times in a month – once a day; while Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal, despite being a traveler and a student, prayed 300 rak’ahs every day, reducing it to 150 rak’ahs only when he wasn’t feeling well; and Imam an-Nawawi wrote 50 books in his lifetime even though he died at the age of 44.

In addition to their ‘ibadah, they were merchants, teachers and students, and they still had time to spend in society. They seemed to get so much done while we, with our productivity tips and time management apps, are still struggling. The complex with the world today is that we are all caught up in a whirlwind of activity. We think we are saving time by sending voice notes instead of typed messages, or because Google pulled up search results in 0.12 seconds; but our phones are really a vortex that suck up enormous chunks of our time every day. With a landmine of information out there, we feel like we are using it for good, only to look up at the clock and realise that an hour has slipped by.

How do we fight against this tornado?

  1. Distance yourself from your phone – Out of sight, out of mind! This really does work if you are completely immersed in your work and are not looking out for a distraction.
  2. Be mindful of your time – Think “If I were to die right now, would I be ready to go? Is this the best use of my time?”
  3. Work on your intentions – This is the best productivity tip: make everything you do for the sake of pleasing Allah, if you want to maximize your time here to reap the most rewards in the Akhirah. When our parents told us not to waste time, they probably followed it up with something like, “Did you recite the Qur’an today?” to get you to do something good. However, that is not the only action that is beloved to Allah ﷻ. Every little thing done with the right intention gains us reward – even if it is as small as taking a shower (because Allah ﷻ loves those who are pure), or cooking for the family (because feeding people is beloved to Allah), or even holding your tongue when you want to be rude (because Allah loves that we only speak good words).

Your entire day can be in line with pleasing Allah ﷻ, by being mindful of the things you say and do, and connecting them back to Him. This is easier said than done though, for it takes a lot of practice to be conscious of all our little actions and thoughts; but with greater awareness of them comes better awareness of the fact that Allah ﷻ is always watching us.

So we are all responsible – for ourselves first, before anyone else. For our bodies that were entrusted to us to take care of – not abuse, and to keep healthy; for our souls, to maintain a constant connection with our Rabb; and most of all, for our time, because that is an asset that we can never regain. A second lost is gone forever. Are we making the most of it?

‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him said, “Call yourselves to account before you are called to account…”


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Tahleel Marriage and Triple Talaaq

triple talaq and halala mariage

THE exploitation of women in the name of tahleel marriage has surfaced and caused a lot of debate. This practice mainly on the backdrop of "triple talaaq" has been going on under cover for ages in countries like India.

But it was condemned by the Prophet (ﷺ) and has no sanction in Islamic law.

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How To Establish Islam In Your Homes

Islam In Your Homes

FOR a lot of parents, one of the biggest responsibilities of having a child is to raise them righteously. While they draw on their own childhood and what they may read or hear from others, a major part of it is simply a lot of du'aa.

A righteous child is one of the biggest blessings, as they are sadaqah jariyah for the parents – Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah said, “When the human being dies, his deeds come to an end except for three: ongoing charity, beneficial knowledge, or a righteous child who prays for him.” [Muslim] – but when they are simply children, it is hard to know quite how they will turn out, when to start teaching them their deen, and how much is too much.

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Marriage Advice In The Qur'an

Marriage Advice In The Qur'an

TOfind marriage advice in the Qur’an might appear straightforward, for we have heard the verses in context to marriage multiple times, but there is truly so much more than that.

The Qur’an is an ocean of gems for those who seek them. This is by no means a complete list of advice that the Qur’an offers, but just a reminder that no matter what kind of day you are having, this Book holds the answers for you.

One ayah can benefit different people in different ways, and that is one of its miracles, SubhanAllah.

I deliberately tried to stay away from the oft-repeated verses related to marriage (although you will find a few in there), instead opting for seemingly general ayat that can be applied to marriage.

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How To Raise And Discipline Boys

boy watching people pray

THEbest of discipline is that which is done at a young age. If a child is left to his own characteristics and he or she matures into an adult possessing those characteristics, changing the person would be difficult.

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Things Every Muslim Home Should Have

Home-Sweet-Home

WHEN I did some research on this topic, what I mostly got was the usual: a Qur’an, a prayer rug, a copy of the translation of the Qur’an, etc. And of course those are important things, but I wanted more.

I’m sure almost every Muslim home does have the above mentioned items, and I’m sure that we don’t need a whole article out there stating that they need it.

So it got me thinking: What should every Muslim home have then, besides the typical list?

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5 Questions To Ask Before You Take The Marriage Plunge

5 questions to ask before marriage

BOOKS can be written – and indeed, have been written – on scores of pre-marital questions to ask prospective spouses. From ‘1001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married’ to ‘The Hard Questions: 100 Essential Questions to Ask Before You Say I Do’ to ‘Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts: 7 Questions to Ask Before and After Marriage’ bookstores are inundated with self-help books that indicate that the phenomenon of getting married and staying married is being taken seriously.

Among Muslims, a woman’s wali (legal guardian) is often assigned the important, but uncomfortable task of playing Grand Inquisitor and giving prospective suitors a thorough grilling that would do the FBI proud, in order to protect a woman’s best interests.

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Mothering the Ummah

mother and son playing ball

OUR Ummah is formed through blocks of families, and each block contributes to our society. A mother plays a vital role in it as upon her lies the upbringing of the children who eventually have a family of their own.

The mother is mainly responsible for the upbringing of sensible and virtuous children who would be an asset to our community. Our Prophet Muhammad stated: “The best of people are those that bring most benefit to the rest of mankind.(Daraqutni, Hasan)

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Why Families Should Spend Quality Time At Home

home

“And Allah has made for you from your homes a place of rest…”  [Surah An Nahl, 16:80]

The Prophet  said, “Travel is a portion of torment. It prevents one of you from eating, drinking, and sleeping, so when you have finished your purpose then quickly return to your families.[Sahih al-Bukhari: no 1710; Sahih Muslim: no 1927]

FANCY curtains, super soft couches, colorful wall paint, modern kitchen, and spacious bedrooms are thoughts that may come to our mind about a good house, a blessing alhamdulilah. But for it to be a home and an abode of tranquility and serenity, it takes more than just bricks and cement; it takes a family to make a home.

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'My Husband is Not Religious'

muslim couple

IF you were brought up with a religious background – where it was normal for you to wear hijab once you were supposed to, to attend religious talks, and seek knowledge – the expectations when you had to get married would have been high.

A lot of women conscious of the deen look for someone who is stronger than them – so that they can be their anchor, pull them up when they need it, be their support, and help them on their path to Jannah.

However, that expectation is, more often than not, left wanting. When that happens, it can create frustration in the women, disappointment, despair, and wondering if there could have been a better person out there, who fits their criteria perfectly. Another life.

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