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.
When it comes to this sacred union, there are three factors to think about: ourselves, our spouses, and our Rabb.
1. The love of this world is instilled for a purpose
The following ayah is one of my favourites because even though the items stated might appear outdated from a thousand years ago, it is still very relevant today.
"Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire - of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return." [Qur'an, 3:14]
Allah has very clearly told us that He has beautified certain things for men – women, children, wealth, cars, and property.
Families fight and break up over issues that seem very materialistic and petty (read: all of the above), but those are the times to remind ourselves that the love we feel for these “things” is from Allah. So what do we do about it?
Understanding the need to balance the love of this world with our desire for Jannah is the first step to success.
A very important question to ask ourselves is: how will this help me get to Paradise?
2. Everything is a test
"And he (Shaytan) had over them no authority except [it was decreed] that We might make evident who believes in the Hereafter from who is thereof in doubt. And your Lord, over all things, is Guardian." [Qur'an, 34:21]
The Qur’an has many ayat on how Shaytan will free himself from blame on the Day of Judgment saying, “I never forced you to do anything. Why did you listen to me?” Thinking about that point is really scary, because of course it is very easy to pass on the blame in this world. But as Allah says, it is all just a test.
Whether it is your husband or wife or in-laws or children, every single person in our life – even a stranger we come into contact with – is a test, "that We might make evident who believes in the Hereafter", something we constantly need to remind ourselves of. Do we truly believe in the reward that is awaiting us for the patience we had here?
"And We have made some of you [people] as trial for others - will you have patience? And ever is your Lord, Seeing." [Qur'an, 25:20]
This needs to be inscribed and hung on all our walls, I think!
3. It starts with us
"That is because Allah would not change a favor which He had bestowed upon a people until they change what is within themselves. And indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing." [Qur'an, 8:53]
It is very easy to criticise and want our spouse to do better in areas that we feel they lack in, but we have to remember that we are not perfect ourselves.
We may not have the same faults, but if we focus on improving our defects, just us wanting to change reflects in our beloved husband or wife, prompting them to improve too.
4. Don’t be self-righteous
…So do not claim yourselves to be pure; He is most knowing of who fears Him. [Qur'an, 53:32]
I think this is a very strong verse that speaks for itself.
When two people come from different families and different upbringings, things are done differently.
You might find yourself wishing for a family that is more religious at some moments, inviting Shaytan to whisper to you about how you are better than them. Realise it as an act of the enemy, and don’t pay any heed - all it brings about in us is arrogance.
We do not know how close people are to Allah in the deepest parts of their hearts.
5.Life is a rollercoaster ride
"…And these days [of varying conditions] We alternate among the people so that Allah may make evident those who believe…" [Qur'an, 3:140]
This is such a beautiful verse! Such a simple fact stated so clearly – life is made of ups and downs. Allah gives us good days and bad days so that we are grateful, and to strengthen our character.
This is the simple reminder we need when the road seems long and the load too heavy to bear.
Between Husband And Wife
1. Be merciful
"And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought." [Qur'an, 30:21]
This is definitely quoted to all newly married couples, but I don’t think they necessarily understand what it means. When love is clouding your mind at the beginning of a marriage and the other can do no wrong, you are less concerned with “mercy”.
As someone so beautifully explained, mercy is for those days down the line when either you are having a bad day or your spouse is not your most favourite person for whatever reason, but you continue to take care of them – cook meals, clean the house, do the groceries, give them their medication, etc. – out of the mercy that Allah I put between both of you.
You may not love them at that point, but you still care for them.
2. Like a garment
"…They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them." [Qur'an, 2:187]
Have you ever wondered what this verse means? Our clothes protect us, give us warmth, make us look good, and shelter us from the weather outside. They are a part of us because we cannot imagine life without clothes!
This is exactly how spouses should be to each other – protecting each other from what happens in the outside world; providing warmth and comfort at home, not making it a place where all you do is fight; and covering each other’s faults from the world – and this is most important, because no one knows you more intimately than your spouse.
3. Be grateful always
"And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, 'If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe." [Qur'an, 14:7]
This is definitely an ayah that is quoted often, yet it is one that we do need constant reminding about! It is so easy to take for granted the people that are in our daily lives, and instead, pick on their faults.
One of the scariest truths is the hadith that states that Hell will be filled with more women than men because they were ungrateful wives. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “I was shown Hell and I have never seen anything more terrifying than it. And I saw that the majority of its people are women.” They said, “Why, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “Because of their ingratitude (kufr).” It was said, “Are they ungrateful to Allah?” He said, “They are ungrateful to their companions (husbands) and ungrateful for good treatment. If you are kind to one of them for a lifetime then she sees one (undesirable) thing in you, she will say, ‘I have never had anything good from you.’” (Bukhari)
For all the things a husband does not do in comparison to either the wife or someone else’s husband, he does so much more. We need to train ourselves to see the good and overlook the negative. Show gratitude in words and gestures, because everyone likes to be appreciated.
4. Be gentle
"So by mercy from Allah, [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him]." [Quran: 3:159]
When we live with someone and spend that much time with them, it is easy to let our tongues slip, forget our manners, and show our worst side. We can be the nicest to strangers yet monsters to our closest family. Why?
Even if you are bound by a contract, be kind, be gentle, and speak with love. And if there is an argument, ask forgiveness. No one likes to live in a harsh environment.
Connecting Back To Allah
1. Provision comes from Allah
"Say, "Indeed, my Lord extends provision for whom He wills and restricts [it], but most of the people do not know."
"And it is not your wealth or your children that bring you nearer to Us in position, but it is [by being] one who has believed and done righteousness. For them there will be the double reward for what they did, and they will be in the upper chambers [of Paradise], safe [and secure]." (Quran; 34:36-37)
Too often fights have been wrought over wealth and children – worrying about managing finances, overworking to make more money, spending on each other’s families, having children or not, and so on.
It is so vital to reiterate the fact that absolutely everything comes from Allah – wealth or offspring, or the absence of them, is a very personal test for each of us.
What Allah gives or withholds is by His Will, based on what we need to learn from the experience. It is easier said than done, but patience, rather than fighting, holds more virtue in the long run.
"And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah]." [Qur'an, 2:45]
There are some things in marriage that can’t be discussed with anyone, whether it is because it is intimate, embarrassing, or for fear of disclosing the faults of a spouse.
When such problems are not talked about, they can fester, and create a volcano out of a molehill. Where are we supposed to turn to in these times? To our Rabb, of course.
There is no One Who knows us better than Him, and no One Who wants to hear from us more. There is nothing that we can’t say to Him without feeling disgraced, and there is no fear of disclosing something that we are not supposed to because He knows it all. We can pour our hearts out without worrying about a thing, but we need to remind ourselves of this small fact.
Turning to Allah gives such peace of mind and tranquillity in our soul, if we only took the time.
3. Heart lies between the two Fingers of our Rabb
"It is He who sent down tranquillity into the hearts of the believers that they would increase in faith along with their [present] faith. And to Allah belong the soldiers of the heavens and the earth, and ever is Allah Knowing and Wise." [Qur'an, 48:4]
He Who gave us the love of our life can settle our hearts in matters that concern them too. It can get frustrating when things are not working out the way we want them to, but sometimes life tests us just so we can remember and turn to our Rabb.
4. Don’t complain to the world
"…I only complain of my suffering and my grief to Allah…" [Qur'an, 12:86]
This advice has been given more to women than men, due to their tendency to feel the need to talk to everyone about everything that is happening in their lives.
It’s alright to seek advice on a matter, but Allah put love and mercy between a husband and wife that He did not put between her husband and her parents, or sister, or friend. Even after the issue is long resolved, people will still remember the pain the wife felt, and hold onto it.
However, we do need to relieve the burden on our hearts, and our religion is so beautiful that we do not need any intermediary between us and our Lord.
There is no one who understands how we feel more than the One Who created us – He knows us better than we know ourselves. So even if we don’t have the right words, just the act of unburdening our hearts, turning to someone, and seeking guidance soothes us.