TO BE MARRIED : MORE THAN JUST #RELATIONSHIPGOALS
In the previous article, we have understood that having self-knowledge would benefit us greatly whether we are single or married women.
For a married woman, self-knowledge would help her understand that she is sharing her life with another person and it takes real work from both parties to sustain a marriage. It’s the kind of knowledge that tells them not to chase perfection or constantly expect romantic gestures worthy of an instagram shot, but cherish both the good and challenging times they endured together, for only through overcoming trials and tribulations can a couple gauge the strength of their relationship.
Self-knowledge would help us immensely in managing our emotions toward our spouses. Surah Ar-Rum : 21 has always been famously quoted when the topic of marriage comes up.
“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.”
2 kinds of emotion or feeling are mentioned in the ayah; affection and mercy. Prof. Dr. Harlina shared a beautiful insight regarding this ayah that she received from her late father. According to her, “mawaddah (affection)” in the ayah is referring to the feeling of love and romance felt in the early years of marriage, when all feeling is brand new. However, “rahmah (mercy)” , the second emotion, is referring to the way a married couple should treat each other, when the “glitter” of love and romance starts to fade after years of being together. When patience and tolerance towards each other act as the glue that holds the marriage, this is when rahmah or mercy plays its role.
TO BE SINGLE : I AM ALONE BUT I AM NOT LONELY
Single people are not exempted from acquiring self-knowledge, for this knowledge would also help her in discovering herself and understanding her own emotions whilst she traverses the path of a single life.
While a single woman may not have a husband to love or her own children to raise, she should take this opportunity to serve her parents and protect her siblings. Self-knowledge and knowing her roles as a Muslim woman would push her to strive in living a productive life, sans husband. It would help her understand that while she is alone without a partner, it does not mean she is feeling lonely, for she still has her family and close friends around her.
We should never be quick to judge a woman who is unmarried despite the increase in her age. In the meantime, women who are still single should never lose hope of the mercy of Allah. Being married or not would not lessen Allah’s love and mercy towards us. As much as people often tell single women to “be patient, your time will come”, I’d like to advocate for single women to be productive as well and live a meaningful life.
Self knowledge tells us that it is within our power and capacity (not to forget by the will and permission of Allah) to take charge of our life and lead a life that will make us happy. We should not wait passively for something great to happen to our lives or depend on another person to bring happiness into our lives.
In the previous post, I promised that I’ll share what Shaykh Omar Suleiman told me regarding my questions : “If a person in not married, is his or her deen half incomplete?” and “Where do single people stand in Islam?” . The basis of the the question stemmed from a hadith we often hear about how marriage would complete half of our deen.
But what about people who are not married or who are not destined to be married in this world because there are greater causes for them to fight such as going to war (for those in countries that are in crisis like Gaza or Syria) or caring for sick parents or even pursuing the jihad of knowledge like Imam Nawawi, or for any other reasons only known to Allah, where do these people stand? Is their eeman not complete? Also, what about those who are divorced, is their deen, which at one time was half complete, now only a quarter complete?
1. The actual context the hadith :
The “half-complete” part in the hadith isn’t referring to the “getting married” part. Islam is about 2 things. HABLUM MINALLAH wa HABLUM MINANNAS (Your relationship with Allah & your relationship with people, with mankind).
When you get married, you are provided a bigger (and more challenging, might I add) platform by Allah to test your “Hablum minannas” (Relationship with people and how you generally deal with people around you). There’s the spouse, the parents-in-law, the brother or sister in-law, the uncles, aunties, nephews and nieces in law. And then there are the future kids. The mini you. All these, are blessings indeed but they also pose as a test for you. A test to see how well you deal with these new additional people in your life. Allah wants to see just how excellent and kind you are in treating your wife/husband. Allah wants to see how merciful you are to the ageing parents in-law. Allah wants to see how patient you are in dealing with your kids when they are no longer your cute, bundle of joy but a full fledged tantrum-throwing teenager. Allah wants to see how just and fair you are in tackling the “Should I side with my wife or my mother” crisis.
So all these, are your platform to ace that test. You ace the test, your eeman increases and Allah will elevate your rank.
The “completing-half-your-deen” part isn’t referring to the act of getting married. It’s referring to how you deal with all the responsibilities that come after the joyous wedding ceremony.
You could be married but if you were to end up treating your spouse cruelly or unjustly, your deen is still not half complete. Those who abuse their children, those who mistreat their wives, and those who are not faithful to their husbands, their deen are still not complete.
So you’ll only complete half of your deen when you have aced your test. How will you know you’ve aced it? That is for Allah to decide. That is His job. Our job is to strive with Itqan (perfection) in everything that we do.
Marriage is just a way. A method for you to complete half of your deen.
Just because you get married today, it doesn’t mean your deen will automatically become half complete tomorrow.
2. Where do single people stand in Islam?
So for the singles, what does that leave us with? Sh. Omar Suleiman said :
“Some people will be tested in this life with being alone. But this shall be the time for him/her to reaffirm his/her faith in Allah“.
And, let you not be discouraged by the fact that you do not have that “platform” to ace your tests, as mentioned above. Allah is Most Just. Most Merciful. Most All-Knowing. What He withholds from us single men or single ladies, He blesses us with something else even more awesome. Trust me, take a moment to assess your life of singlehood, there will be something, one thing that makes you the most happy, that makes you the most thankful for.
Does this mean single people do not have the opportunity to be tested by Allah? Does this mean we are not qualified to be in the race for that golden ticket to enter Jannah? Nope, not at all.
In fact, (and this is my most favourite part of Sh. Omar’s answer), Maryam A.S had the biggest test of all. Her test resulted in her having the most perfect faith. “Yet she isn’t married”, says Sh. Omar.
Maryam, who was the epitome of a woman of purity; had to face the colossal test of bearing a son (Isa A.S), even though she was not married at that time. As beautifully stated in ayah 20 of Surah Maryam :
“How can I have a son, when no man has ever touched me, nor am I a woman of loose morals?” [Qur’an, 19:20].
Maryam A.S was given one of the biggest tests a single and pious woman could ever face. The test of people questioning your purity when you are not married. (This is to point out that whether you’re single or married, Allah will give you equal opportunity to face His test and work on acing it.)
Because of her test, she had one special surah in the Quran named after her. How amazing is that? It’s like Allah is acknowledging the status of all the single ladies out there (provided we are as pious and as protective of our purity and chastity as Maryam did, that is).
So what’s the lesson I received from Shaykh Omar?
That Allah is amazingly fair. That Islam is amazingly merciful. It doesn’t make me feel bad for not being able to find my “Imam-Till-Jannah” but actually appreciates and acknowledges single, unmarried people who guard their haya/modesty, who strive to contribute to the ummah and who work just as hard to ace their tests like married people do.
IN CONCLUSION ….
So now I’ve understood this matter from the perspective of two scholarly people that I respect.
The lesson that I gained from Prof. Dr Harlina is that whether a woman is alone or married, she must first know herself, know her purpose, identify her emotions, identify her values and live the best version of herself.
If we decide to get married and start our life with a new person, we need to identify all the things mentioned above and manage them in a way that will benefit not only ourselves but our marriage. Choosing to live with a partner or choosing to live a single life comes with its own set of responsibilities that all parties have to honour and be accountable for.
Allah is As-Somad (The Eternal Refuge, Al-Ikhlas : 2). By this fact alone, we should make Allah the centre of our universe regardless of our marital status. A married life, a single life, those are just the ways and platforms for Him to test us.