A Conversation with Amathur Razzaq
Category : Marriage Special
Author : Muhi Nishath
Aura spoke to Amathur Razzaq, Secretary, Women’s Wing, Jamaat e Islami Hind, Karnataka; Member, AIMPLB, and Member, Council of Representatives, Jamaat e Islami Hind. The discussion revolved around issues related to marriage, and the role of elders in resolving disputes.

“If you fear a breach between the two, appoint an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both want to set things right, Allah will bring about reconciliation between them. Allah knows all, is well aware of everything.”

Role of Elders in a Healthy Society

The elders have a great role to play in the marriages of youngsters and thereafter, guiding them to lead a happy married life. As you know, if you just have a look at our society, the picture which comes before us is late marriages. When you ask the boys why they delay marriage, the reason they give is, they still want to settle down. ‘Please give us time’, they say. We ask their parents and even they say our son needs some time. Actually, the parents sometimes themselves delay the marriage of their sons because they think that once their son is married, they cannot have their dreams fulfilled. They think he will only listen to the girl whom he is marrying and consequently, they will not be able to do anything. Second reason is they want to have a big walima party and other extravaganzas which are there in our society.

The story of girls not getting married or delaying marriage is different. when I counsel them sometimes they say have seen their parents’ bitter relationship and experienced how their parents have lived together without any peace of mind. This has made them decide that the same thing should not be repeated with them and they think it is better we stay alone, it is better if we delay. The second reason is the wrong understanding of empowerment by the girl and the parents, they think empowerment is: if she starts earning something or gets a job she will get respect in her in-laws’ house or have a strong hold there. So they go on delaying marriage till she gets a good job. Thirdly, it’s our society which is responsible for late marriages of girls – the wrong things that have crept into our society – a big nikah party, dowry…The parents will have to wait until they arrange for all these. One more reason is that both girls and the parents are very choosy; they go on rejecting proposals thinking that the boy is not up to the mark, and this goes on and the girl reaches an age when she is not able to get a good proposal. So you can understand what role elders can play. First of all, an awareness has to be brought in society regarding the purpose of nikah, of marriage. Every human being has a physical and natural urge. To fulfil this urge, it’s better to enter into a legal relationship. If not, they will go the wrong way. We need to bring an awareness that having a big party or giving dowry is not what will make the girl and boy happy or lead a happy married life.

“Marry those of you that are single, (whether men or women), and those of your male and female slaves that are righteous. If they are poor, Allah will enrich them out of His Bounty. Allah is Immensely Resourceful, All-Knowing.” (24:32)

Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an, get the single ones among you married – whether unmarried or even divorced or widowed. It’s an advice to elders. The purpose of nikah is to legalize the relationship, and to continue the human race.

Whatever is obligatory in the nikah should be highlighted in public. Only two things are obligatory: the ijab-o-qubool; one proposes, the other accepts. Secondly, the presence of two witnesses. This is obligatory, not nikah parties or other wrong things which we are practicing and spending money lavishly. Wajib (obligatory) is mahr. Sunnah is khutba-e-nikah, distribution of dates, and the walima. If we observe these things, it’s enough. But what is happening in our society? It’s the duty of everyone in society to make people aware. What is wrong and what is right; what is obligatory and what is disliked by Allah SWT should be publicized in society. Elders can play an important role in this – to convince youngsters to get married as soon as possible and stay away from all sorts of evil things.

One more important thing is that millennials are avoiding marriage; late marriages are found very often. We should show them how their life will change after marriage, how they can be happy. Even after the marriage, they can be counselled if they are going wrong, they can be shown the right path.

Living with In-Laws: Ground Rules & Issues

See, there are many challenges which young couples face. One of them is if a girl comes from an entirely different environment and suddenly she steps into a new home. If the in-laws expect her to be an ideal wife or daughter-in-law then the girl will have to face challenges. And you know, if the mother-in-law is dominant, then also it is a great challenge for the girl.

These young couples seek privacy. They need time to understand each other, they want to go for outings. It becomes a challenge when in-laws don’t give them privacy or don’t allow them to go out. If there is a joint family, it will be a great challenge for the girls especially.

These are not impossible to overcome. They can be overcome by sacrificing, compromising and adjusting with each other. The girl and the boy should be counselled before marriage. The girl should be mentally prepared about the environment and the people she is about to encounter. Sometimes, sisters-in-law are present and that also can be a challenge. Mothers-in-law sometimes have a fear. Whenever their son tries to become closer to his wife, the in-laws think, oh, he’s moving away from us! And if he tries to give time to his parents, the girl thinks, ‘what was the need to marry me when you want to stay with your parents and don’t give me any attention!’ So, if the boy understands his responsibility and discharges it well towards both his wife and parents, challenges can be overcome.You were asking me about joint families and whether it is advisable that the couple stays with the in-laws. Supposing the parents are old and he is the only son – can we advise him to leave them and go out? But if the son has the capacity to discharge his responsibility both towards his parents and his wife, then he can manage keeping them separately. Giving time to parents is important, looking after their happiness and medical needs, not just giving money. He must make them feel that just because he is staying with his wife separately he has not gone away from them. The in-laws should also think that if our son is giving us our rights and when he can look after us, then we should not object. It’s advisable that they be managed together – for example, if the wife lives on the first floor and the in-laws on the ground floor, or side-by-side, as is comfortable. It’s not advisable to stick to one rule – that I’ll not separate them or the other way around. It depends on the situation.

Beyond Comments, Criticism and Negative Intervention: Cultivating a Positive Advice-Based Environment

Elders should keep in mind the likes and dislikes of boys and girls. If they force their choices based on their own likes when their son, for example, has no interest in the girl, or vice versa, it takes a long time to adjust. Many times, what happens is, when the reverse happens – if he marries someone he likes whom they do not like, they try to find faults with her. She will always be criticized. This will affect the health of the girl. Many times, girls even get depressed. Even if she tries to keep them happy, they complain to the son. They will complain about the upbringing of the child as well. What happens is, if the grandparents try to bring their children too close to them, this is not liked by the daughter in law and she might complain to her husband that your parents are spoiling my children – I want them to do homework, or study for the test, but your parents distract the children. I don’t like that. Vice versa also happens; if the girl is very modern and she is deviating from the Islamic way, they worry about the grandchildren and want them to be brought up in an Islamic way. The same complaints ensue. What is advised in such cases is that the grandparents should not interfere too much in matters of child upbringing. If they notice something wrong, they should explain with love, citing their experience. Sometimes the grandparents are also in the wrong, and when objected to they will say – even we have brought up children, you’re not the first one.

These things matter a lot particularly for the wife. She is subjected to a lot of stress. There is a clash of upbringing and it can only be settled by sitting down and having a conversation within the family to create a good environment where the one who is wrong will accept his or her fault. As they say, ‘asal se sood pyara’ – grandparents dote on their grandchildren much more than they ever did on their own children.

Major Relationship Problems in the Contemporary World

The major problems cropping up among couples these days includes the financial crisis, especially after COVID. Many cases came to our Trust – wherein the wives complain of their husbands not giving maintenance etc. When financial crisis comes in the spouse, they forget the love they had for each other, money begins to matter a lot.
Another thing is when the boy is abroad and doesn’t take the family there. He leaves the wife with his parents. The girl wants either to join him or she asks him to come back. Both are not possible – he doesn’t have a job, and he cannot maintain a family there. If girls see their friends and neighbours living lavishly, they start complaining to their husbands – why can’t you earn like my friend’s husband? Expecting more than what the husband can give leads to a lot of problems. Khula has become very common – for reasons that could have been solved. These problems become major problems. One of the counselling cases that came to me, the girl wanted to send her mother in law away. When I asked why you cannot stay with her, she said I just cannot live with her. Often when there is a single mother in law who is a widow, where else will she go? Many girls want a standard of life their husbands cannot afford. One more thing is mistrust – the girl starts doubting her husband. One more thing is selfishness – he wants her to care for him all the time, he wants only the wife to do all the chores of the house. All these things create a lot of problems.

Conflict Resolution – Closed Door or Third Party?
“If you fear a breach between the two, appoint an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both want to set things right, Allah will bring about reconciliation between them. Allah knows all, is well aware of everything.”

Initially, the husband and wife should try to sort out their problems, as early as they can. If it’s not possible for them to solve the problems by themselves, then, I think a third party involvement is necessary. Third party involvement should not be done in the way we do generally, that the girl immediately complains to her mother that this is happening, I will not stay here, and the mother immediately asks her to come back to the natal home. Sometimes, she doesn’t even inform the husband and leaves the house. This kind of wrong third party involvement can also include the boy going and complaining to the mother for small things. The mother will say, send her to her mother’s house and let her learn a lesson. This is not elders’ intervention. You need someone who is wise – the Qur’an says in 4:35, quoted above – if you have wise persons in the family, or the many counselling centres we have these days. The spouses can approach these centres where they give you Islamic solutions, instead of thinking ‘it’s our problem, we don’t need anyone to come in between us.’ This attitude ultimately ends in separation.

Advice for New Couples

The best guidance is the guidance from the Holy Qur’an – “They are your garment, and you are theirs.” (2:187). Let them remember three letters – S, C, P. Support, Comfort, Protection. This is what spouses are for each other. The other advice from the Qur’an is of course, the verse, “And of His Signs is that He has created mates for you from your own kind that you may find peace in them and He has set between you love and mercy. Surely there are Signs in this for those who reflect.” (30:21)
It is one of the signs of Allah SWT that you have entered into wedlock not just for worldly enjoyment, but as comfort. Mawaddah is more than love. If mawaddah is developed, then even if the couple grows old, they will be for each other. They will be a support for each other, they will care each other. Even if there are any problems, they can be easily overcome if mawaddah is developed between them. The newlyweds should remember that just as stronger the foundation of the building, the stronger the building will be. Love, trust, sacrificing for each other – if you remember this ayat, I think it is enough for spouses to live a happy life till the very end. The love will be as fresh as the first day.

2 Comments

  1. MAHABOOB GANIYAR

    Alhamdulillah very good narration of marriage and obligations and rights of couple, parent in laws. Need to follow and honour each other’s obligations.

    Reply
  2. Dr. Faraz Mohammed

    Very well explained.

    Reply

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