An Open Letter from the Women of the Ummah to Its 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 ḥasanatan wa fil-ākhirati ḥasanatan 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.