From a counselor’s point of view, the number of questions we receive would lead one to believe that there is a communal crisis in regard to marriage.
As counselors, we get our share of questions from concerned spouses regarding the struggles of marriage.
Whether it’s young people trying to make difficult decisions about getting married, married people trying to make difficult decisions in the context of their own marriages, or others who are heartbroken due to failed marriages; our community is no stranger to marital struggle.
We all know that marriage is of primary importance in Islam. Numerous Qur’anic verses and hadiths point to this fact.
“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.” (30:21)
And the famous hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him):
“When a man marries he has fulfilled half of the religion; so let him fear Allah regarding the remaining half.” (Al-Tirmidhi # 3096)
In the country where I live, Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim country, there is much concern about the rising divorce rates among Muslims, which happen to be higher than among any other religious group. A recent article published claimed that new statistics in Malaysia show that a Muslim couple gets divorced every 15 minutes.From a counselor’s point of view, the number of questions we receive about marriage would lead one to believe that our community is in the midst of a communal crisis in regard to marriage.
Only recently efforts have been made to begin to try and understand the causes of the escalating rates of divorce. These divorce trends reflect a general, more universal, mega-trend occurring globally. Only within the past few years, the U.S. announced that divorce rates have only begun to stabilize after years of steady increases.
It is not only the divorce statistics that are of concern, however. Even among married couples, there is much concern with the perceived health of marriages. Many of the people that we counsel are involved in relationships scarred by physical, sexual, verbal and psychological abuse.
Some even doubt whether being happy in marriage is possible; many of our young people are scared to death of getting married based on what they see happening to married people all around them. The reasons for this are many, and it is not the focus of this article to get into all of them.
From what Islam teaches, along with what we know from various branches of contemporary knowledge and experience, marriage is a unique relationship that is meant to be a struggle at times.
Being a struggle, however, does not preclude the possibility of happiness, fulfillment, joy, love, and even romance. If we have the right orientation about marriage and have realistic expectations, understand ourselves and our spouses, know what true love really means, and realize that marriage, like any other type of relationship in life has its ups and downs, then marriage can be a wonderful and valued experience.Building a life and family with someone (and managing it) is hard work and far from the absolute ‘bed of roses’ that some people unrealistically expect.
Many people whose marriages fail do not realize that it is often due to outright negligence of the relationship. Too many people – myself included — don’t go out of their way enough to nurture their marriages and therefore end up taking them for granted.
One of the important topics on people’s minds these days is that of romance in marriage, and whether it is a possibility, especially after a certain marital longevity, age and especially after having children.
Unfortunately, I think it’s an undervalued and under-represented topic in most of our discourse on marriage. Especially since the messages that we get on a daily basis from the various media that influence our five senses tend to overload us with sexual and romantic themes that rarely match our own living realities.
We should be fully aware that these messages are not intended to make us more attracted to our spouses, mind you, but rather are designed to arouse our desires so that we will go out and buy something. And that – commercialization and corporatism — is the real story behind the over-sexualized global culture that we are forced to wade through everyday, bombarding us with messages that actually work against us and our marriages but are good for corporate bottom lines.
In the context of Islam, love and romance in marriage is a topic that is directly dealt with in both the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and there are many traditional texts that provide rich insight and guidance on how Muslim husbands and wives can enhance their marital experience.
Nevertheless, times have changed and with it, new stressors and unforeseen challenges that make love and romance something that seems out of reach for many couples.
I sincerely believe, however, that this does not have to be the case. If people are willing to work at it, make small changes to their lives and their own ways of doing things, and always, always start with and go back to our religious and spiritual oceans of wisdom when times get tough, that love and romance in marriage is achievable.
But let’s dispense with the negatives; rather, let’s look at some strategies and general reminders about marriage, inspired by teachings from our tradition that can help infuse more genuine love and romance between Muslim husbands and wives.
If we look at the variety of teachings from Islam about marriage, we’ll notice that making it successful starts with the right orientation of what marriage is, which leads to managing and setting realistic expectations.
Our world today is filled with arrested development – adults who aren’t really adults, who want to live their lives like children who just won’t grow up. ‘It’s about me!’ is the clarion call of our narcissistic age.
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), however, taught us to fulfill the needs and concerns of others before focusing on ourselves.
Well, this goes for marriage too; rather, this goes for marriage ESPECIALLY.
Several Western scholars have cited mounting evidence about the narcissism epidemic that defines not only the culture of our younger generations, but adults as well. This has, in the author’s opinion, had both direct and indirect effects on how we view marriage.
It’s no secret that in the West, marriage has deteriorated to an institution that is not much more than glorified dating. People don’t ‘work through’ problems anymore it seems, like many of our parents did. They don’t ‘stick it out through thick and thin, for better or worse, in sickness and in health,’ as the Christian wedding vows go.
Many claim that this has much to do with the ease of getting divorce, as well as the narcissism epidemic, which causes people to only think about themselves.
“What about me?” is the mantra of our age!
Unfortunately, the Muslims have not been immune to this epidemic, and the ‘me’ syndrome has spread throughout our ranks as well.
We need the correct orientation about marriage: it is love, it is intimacy, it is building a life together as partners, but it is also struggle, it is also sacrifice, it is also acceptance, it is also compromise, and it is very much a relationship of mutual service, which only then leads to mutual benefit.
It is also practicality; let’s not forget, for it is a joining of resources and energy to build a family as an extension of community and society. It is the perpetuation of the human race. And it is an economic unit as well.
Marriage is therefore many things and it plays many roles in society, not all of which are related to love and romance. Although it is the love that binds it, keeps it and makes it special; and it is love that allows a husband and wife to walk together with, in and to Allah.
As such, it is a holy relationship. Romance is a celebration of gratitude for whom Allah has given us in the form of a spouse, a partner, a lover, and a companion in a life lived in Islam.
It is a special intimacy that should be shared; for some, it happens more frequently while for others, maybe only on special occasions.
The frequency is not what matters, however, but the level of appreciation for the other and expressing that appreciation and love through action.
Get married, free, on muzmatch.
My name is Halima and I'm from Gauteng, South Africa and my husband (Arshad) is from Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa; we are both South African Indians.
He liked my profile on muzmatch on the 8th of April 2018 and on the 9th we started chatting and Alhamdulillah, today we are husband and wife.
About a month before I joined muzmatch I remember speaking to my mother in the kitchen as we cooked supper and she had full confidence that I'd be getting married soon.
I told her that I felt that maybe I'm just not meant to get married and be happy, taking into consideration that I personally felt like one could never find a decent man whose intention is to make Nikah in this day and age.
My Moulana had recommended that I join Nikah/Muslim match-making groups and muzmatch populated amongst my searches, so I downloaded the app and registered. After a while I had lost hope so I deleted the app from my phone but did not deactivate my profile.
It was a Monday morning, I had woken up to get ready for work,
I checked my phone and I had an email notification from muzmatch which read "Arshad likes you".
I was quite surprised; I looked at his profile and his biography was quite captivating but it seemed so surreal - this was too good to be true.
I used the link in his bio to view his Facebook profile, we had a mutual friend which was my cousin that also resides in Kwa-Zulu Natal, so I felt a bit more assured that this is definitely real considering that I had started to think that this could potentially be a catfish.
We started chatting that very morning and there was an instant click. It felt like we were long lost friends because of how well we understood each other and could complete each others sentences. We had the same interests and the same intention; we could speak for hours on end without running out of things to say.
We had realized that we are most definitely soulmates.
Within 2 weeks he called my parents to ask for my hand in marriage. In July 2018 (21st), I booked a flight to visit him and his mum for the day and after spending time together we knew that this was the right decision and that Allah SWT had created us for each other.
We then saw each other once again in August 2018 (25th - A surprise for my 21st birthday planned by him and my mum); and again in November 2018 when he flew up to attend my younger sister's wedding with his mum, younger sister and brother-in-law.
Slowly the long distance had become difficult, our younger sisters were both already married and settled and we started wondering when would we actually get married. In February this year he decided to relocate to Gauteng and found a temporary job.
His dad visited my parents and they decided to set a Nikah date, Alhamdulillah once the date was set everything fell into place by the will of Allah. He found a job as a PC Engineering lecturer and we were able to find our own place with our parents help and support.
Today I am happily married, living my dream with my husband and I have wonderful in-laws that love me as much as they love Arshad.
The most important quality I wanted in a husband was someone that could take my family as his own and Alhamdulillah I found that in Arshad.
We are now a huge happy family Alhamdulillah.
Jazak'Allah muzmatch! Arshad has found me due to the creation of this wonderful app (He always says that he found me, not the other way around).
I would advise everyone to put their trust and faith in Allah SWT, never give up hope that Allah SWT will send the one who is meant for you when the time is right - for Allah is the greatest of planners. May all the other individuals find their spouses through this app as well Insha'Allah.
Halima & Arshad
My name is Yasmeen and I found my husband, Taymoor, on muzmatch on the last day of last ramadan. We were both divorced.
The first time we talked on muzmatch was in June and we got married one month later in August 2018. I always wanted to send our story to inspire others who are searching for a good husband and wife.
We are both Egyptians, from Cairo, we even work & live very near to each others in New Cairo city. I am a digital marketing manager and Taymoor is an IT manager. I am 37 years old and he is 40.
I have a daughter who is 12 years old, and I was searching for a real Muslim man who would be a good husband and father. Finally I found Taymoor, who is a good man and a good Muslim, he is very kind.
I am telling my friends that I found someone who really looks like me from the inside. He was divorced and also has a kid, who is 5 years old. When we first chatted on muzmatch we spoke for over 6 hours, he was surprised much we got on, he even thought that this was a prank!
I couldn't believe that I finally found the man I was looking for. The first time we met, was after Eid al futr, in the House of Cocoa, as Taymoor knew that I loved chocolate. We talked about ourselves for over six hours, I did not want to leave and neither did he.
After we met I told my family and friends, and he did too. He and his family visited us and we got married in only two months, I never imagined that I would find my soulmate and marry him that fast.
I always wanted to find a man to trust and love, after being a single mom for years, I found out that my dream man was hard to find, but alhamdullah I found him on your app.
Alhamdullah, we are very happy together, my daughter lives with us and his son visits us on the weekends. You cannot imagine how much I am now recommending muzmatch to all my friends.
It didn't even take me long to find my husband. I used the app for almost one month or less.
I am so happy alhamdullah now that I married a real muslim I always wanted.
Get married, free, on muzmatch.
My name is Sara and I just wanted to thank muzmatch and let you know that I finally got engaged on 24th December 2018 and found my Fiance - Ghazunfar on the App.
We are really happy Alhamdulilah and just wanted to thank you for creating a platform for Muslims to find a suitable match for marriage!
I believe it's a real blessing because initially we matched but we didn't talk as he hadn't read my messages and was not appearing online. After around 4 weeks, I unmatched however after some weeks I logged in and I came across his profile again. After some giving it some thought I decided to rematch and give it a try again.
The next day he replied to me and the is history. Its been a almost a year since we matched on Muzmatch and we have set the Nikkah date which will be 1st March 2019 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
Our families are very happy and we are looking forward to entering into the blessed union of marriage Insha'Allah. We just wanted to say keep up the good work, may Allah bless you and request that you keep us in prayers.
One last thing to everyone using the muzmatch App - please do not give up, there is someone out there for us all!
Get married, free, on muzmatch.