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Lesson 1: What should be our goal in life?

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Title: Lesson 1: What should be our goal in life?


1
Finding and Being a Winning Spouse Salim S
Yusufali shahr ramadhan 1431 / aug., sep. 2010
2
Is marriage becoming some of the past?
  • - In 2005, 51 percent of women said they were
    living without a spouse, up from 35 percent in
    1950 and 49 percent in 2000.
  • - In 2005 married couples became a minority of
    all American households for the first time
  • - Anecdotal evidence
  • So why should we get married? And what are the
    goals of marriage?

3
Reason 1 Because God desires that we marry
  • Marry off the singles who are among you...(Surah
    Noor (24)32)
  • The Prophet (s) said that the most beloved
    building built in Islam is that of marriage
  • Motto of our existence from Ameer al-Mu'mineen
    (a)
  • ??????? ????? ??? ?????? ???? ??????? ???? ??????
  • O Allah! Honor for me is to be Your servant

4
Reason 2 Because the Ahlul Bayt (a) want us to
marry
  • The Prophet (s) Whoever has the means to get
    married but doesnt marry isnt from me.
  • From Imam al-Sadiq (a) The Prophet forbade women
    from holding back and keeping themselves from
    marriage.

5
Reason 3 It is the way we are created
  • Shahwah / ???? (Lust) or attraction to beauty
    without regards to halal or haram is a force
    placed within human soul
  • Lust is a blessing from Allah
  • How to make use of this blessing?
  • Surah Yaseen (36) 36 Immaculate is He who has
    created in pairs of what the earth grows, and of
    themselves, and of what they do not know.
    (According to a interpretation)

6
Reason 4 Spiritual Perfection
  • A woman comes to Imam al-Baqir (a), saying that
    she has decided to not marry in order to gain
    perfection. The Imam (a) tells her, Desist from
    doing so! For if there were any perfection in
    doing that, Fatima (a) would have declined to
    marry, and none can surpass her perfection!
    (Bihar al-Anwar, v. 100, p. 219)
  • Hadith from Prophet (s) A muslim man gets no
    greater benefit after the benefit of Islam than a
    Muslim wife who pleases him when he looks at her
    and obeys him when he commands her and protects
    herself and his wealth when he is absent.

7
Reason 4 Spiritual Perfection (cont.)
  • A man comes to Imam Sadiq (a) and the Imam asks
    him if he is married. He says no. The Imam tells
    him, My father said that, 'I would not choose
    the world and all that is over it over sleeping
    one night when not being married. A married
    sleeping person who prays two rakaats is better
    than a fasting single person who spends the night
    in prayer.'
  • From the Prophet (s) A married person who sleeps
    is better in the view of God than the single
    person who spends the nights praying and the days
    fasting.

8
Reason 5 Self Building
  • Hadith Marry off your single people because God
    will better their akhlaq, and increase their rizq
    and their chivalry.
  • Dealing with problems that arise because of
    marriage helps one to mature intellectually and
    emotionally

9
Reason 6 Protection from Sinning
  • According to hadith, ½ to 2/3rd of of a young
    person's faith is protected from the Shaytan with
    marriage
  • From the Prophet (s) Marry, or else you will be
    among the sinners. (Bihar al-Anwar, v. 100, p.
    221)

10
Reason 7 Companionship
  • Allah (swt) created us with a lack of tranquility
    and placed that tranquility within our spouse
  • Imam Ali (a) regarding the rights of a wife over
    her husband Allah (swt) has made her a means of
    tranquility, calm, and companionship.
  • According to some leading scholars, this is the
    most important reason!
  • Misconception I can find this companionship
    without getting married!

11
Reason 8 Forging Family Ties
  • Imam al-Rida (a) Even if Allah (swt) and the
    Prophet (s) hadn't commanded us to marriage,
    benefits such as the coming together of relatives
    and the formation of new family bonds would have
    been sufficient encouragement... (Mizan
    al-Hikmah, v. 2, p. 1178)

12
Reason 9 Serve God by Serving Others
  • One goal of marriage is to take each other to
    paradise
  • How Ameer al-Mu'mineen (a) and Sayyida Fatima (a)
    described each other to the Prophet (s) when he
    approached them after their wedding

13
Reason 10 Opportunity to Raise Children
  • Prophet (s) takes pride in the children of his
    ummah
  • Children increase happiness in life
  • After death they can potentially be baaqiyyat
    saalihaat
  • Widespread move towards not having children ?
    erosion of the family system

14
Reason 11 Increasing God's Provisions
  • Marry off those who are single among you...If
    they are poor, Allah will enrich them out of His
    grace, and Allah is all-bounteous, all-knowing.
    (al-Noor (24), 32)
  • In many ahadith, people who complain about
    poverty to the Prophet (s) and Imams are ordered
    to marry
  • From the Prophet (s) Take a spouse as it is a
    means of increasing your sustenance.

15
When am I Ready?
  • Important factors to consider
  • 1. Maturity
  • Can make important decisions using a rational
    process
  • Independence of thought
  • Can deal with difficulties
  • 2. Financial Readiness

16
When am I Ready? (cont.)
  • Important factors to consider
  • 3. Knowledge of what Islam says about marriage
    and spouse selection and rights of husband and
    wife
  • 4. Sometimes marriage can be wajib!

17
Benefits of Marrying when Ready and not Delaying
  • Accumulate the spiritual benefits early
  • God wants believers to enjoy this world better
    than others
  • Enjoying oneself according to religious
    guidelines (without going to extremes) can result
    in spiritual growth
  • Preventing fasad (corruption)
  • Hadith One who has the means to marry off his
    child but does not, and a sin occurs, he is
    partner in that sin.

18
Common Barriers Preventing Marriage On Time
  • Want to enjoy life and have fun before chaining
    ourselves down
  • We'll get tired of each other!
  • Young people aren't as mature as they were in the
    past
  • Children wouldn't mind, but parents do!
  • No money

19
Responses to Objections
  • Should we put aside the advice of the Ahlul Bayt
    (a)?
  • naudhu billah!
  • Instead let's understand the place of these
    ahadith in the entire corpus of their teachings
    regarding family life

20
Response to Objections (cont.)
  • Training our children at a younger age to be
    responsible! A child who is baligh is an adult in
    the eyes of Allah (swt).
  • When spouses do their responsibilities (for
    example, keeping up the physical presence and
    emotional support) love will only grow with time
  • Family level and community level financial support

21
Recommended Matchmaking Cycle
  • Intention
  • Tawakkul and Tawassul
  • Identify Potential Candidates
  • Investigation
  • Meeting
  • Proposal

22
Recommended 2 rak'at prayer and dua
  • Imam al-Sadiq (a) to one of his companions If
    you wish to marry, recite a two rak'at prayer,
    and then do hamd of Allah (swt) and then recite
    the following dua
  • ?????????? ?????? ??????? ???? ???????????
    ????????? ??? ???? ?????????? ????????????
    ??????? ?? ????????????? ??? ??? ????????? ?? ???
    ?????? ?? ????????????? ??????? ?? ?????????????
    ???????? ?? ??????? ??? ??????? ????????
    ?????????? ??????? ???????? ??? ???????? ??
    ?????? ????????

23
Meaning of the Dua
  • In this dua, the one seeking a spouse will pray
    for a chaste and virtuous wife who will protect
    herself for him, protect his wealth and be a
    source of rizq and blessing. He also prays for a
    righteous posterity in this world and the next.

24
Recommended Matchmaking Cycle
  • Intention
  • Tawakkul and Tawassul
  • Identify Potential Candidates
  • Investigation
  • Meeting
  • Proposal

25
Identifying Potential Candidates
  • Step 1 Identify your needs, and accordingly
    which traits the candidate ought to have.
  • Divide these into must-haves and nice-to-haves.
  • Other criteria can be added according to personal
    taste.
  • All are important not equally weighted (faith is
    most important)

26
Reasonable Expectations
  • Looking for 100 match is not feasible. Be picky
    but not too picky!
  • If a candidate were already at 100, there
    wouldn't be room to grow during the marriage!

27
Objections to this Structured Approach
  • Need to see if we love each other before
    committing!
  • Many examples of matched marriages breaking, or
    holding together precariously

28
Why Marriages Fail or Have Problems?
  • Success is likely but with conditions
  • Spouses identified using Islamic criteria
  • Spouses meet in Islamic way
  • Spouses lead married life in Islamic way
  • Most problematic marriages can be recovered

29
The Love Marriage
  • Can work, but is not recommended because
  • Chastity and reputation can easily be compromised
  • Decisions are made based on emotion
  • Statistics indicate high failure rates
  • Emotional cost of such failed relationships is
    high
  • May lead to questioning of spouse's fidelity
    (especially from the husband)

30
Love Marriage
  • From Imam Ali (a)
  • Love of the People of the Hereafter lasts due to
    the everlasting nature of its cause.
  • Love of the People of this World will cease to
    exist due to the transient nature of its cause.
  • Love in marriage is created by Allah (swt)
    ...And He places love and compassion among you...
    (al-Room (30), 21)

31
Finding and Being a Winning Spouse (part
2) Salim S Yusufali shahr ramadhan 1431 / aug.,
sep. 2010
32
Ideal Traits / Traits to Inculcate
33
Traits of an Ideal Spouse
  • Why did the Ahlul Bayt (a) emphasize certain
    traits? They must be important and ought to be
    used to
  • Characteristics to aim at building / nurturing
    for those who wish to (eventually) get married
  • Compile a list of must-have and nice-to-have
    characteristics to be found in spouse candidates
  • Motivation for those who are already married and
    want to improve and have successful marriages

34
Recommended Matchmaking Cycle
  • Intention
  • Tawakkul, Tawassul, and Self-Building
  • Identify Potential Candidates
  • Compiling list of must-have and nice-to-have
    traits
  • Investigation
  • Meeting
  • Proposal

35
Compiling the List
  • Understand your personality type and your
    strengths, weaknesses, and future needs from a
    spouse
  • This process is itself rewarding
  • The ignorance of a man with respect to his faults
    is among the biggest of sins. Imam Ali (a)
  • When Allah the Exalted desires good for a
    servant, He disattaches him from the world, gives
    him deep insight into the religion, and shows him
    his faults. Imam al-Sadiq (a)
  • Seek to understand advice from the Ahlul Bayt (a)
    in this regard

36
Trait 1 Taqwa
  • Taqwa protection acting in a way that one is
    protecting himself from turning away from God and
    receiving His punishment
  • Taqwa has varying degrees
  • Traditions greatly emphasis this trait
  • Example One who marries his noble daughter to a
    sinner receives 1000 curses daily.

37
Importance of Taqwa in Marriage
  • When home alone and God is not in the picture,
    many things can go wrong. From Imam Hasan (a)
    Marry your daughters to a man who has taqwa, for
    if he loves her he will honor her, and if he
    dislikes her he will not be unjust to her.
  • If things go sour, divorcing someone with taqwa
    will be considerably smoother

38
How to improve one's taqwa
  • Strengthening one's creed
  • ...Do not marry your daughter to one who doubts,
    as the wife will adopt the etiquette of her
    husband and he will impose his faith upon her
    (Imam al-Sadiq (a), al-Kafi, v.5 p. 34)
  • Learning about our practical responsibilities and
    acting upon them (starting with halal and haram)

39
How to improve one's taqwa
  • Have a small, regular program of mustahabaat
  • Receive spiritual admonishment at least once a
    week

40
How to improve taqwa (cont.)
  • Participating in congregational activities
  • Keeping good company
  • From Imam Ali (a) If someone's level of practice
    isn't clear to you, see whom he keeps company
    with, religious people or irreligious?
  • Matters relating to Chastity and Modesty to follow

41
Trait 2 Good akhlaaq
  • Reality of akhlaaq ilm (knowledge) amal
    (action)
  • Examples of good character that emanates from a
    soul illuminated with Divine light honesty,
    contentment, compassion, friendliness,
    pleasantness, patience, dignity, forgiveness,
    thankfulness, amenability, humility,
    respectfulness, softness, optimism, ettiquette

42
Importance of Akhlaaq in Ahadith
  • Story of Imam al-Sajjad (a) marrying a woman
    based on her excellent behavior
  • Do not marry your daughter to one who has bad
    character. (Imam al-Kadhim)
  • The best of your women is she who, when she is
    angry or angered, she tells her husband...I will
    not sleep until you are happy with me. (Imam
    al-Sadiq, man la yahdur)

43
Importance of Good Character in Marriage
  • Particularly important in times of difficulty
  • Crucial to keep marriage successful. Examples
  • Wife preparing herself for her husband every day
  • Husband making compliments and demonstrating love
    every day

44
Means of Improving Akhlaaq
  • Keep company with one who is honest and
    righteous, can influence positive behavior and
    whom can be asked to point out faults
  • From Imam Ali One's enemies can be more useful
    than his brethren for the enemies gift him with
    his faults.
  • Observe faults in others and strive to eradicate
    them from one's self
  • Muraqabah (self-awareness) and Muhasabah
    (self-accounting) ? Particularly emphasized by
    the Ahlul Bayt
  • Taking a qualified mentor

45
Trait 3 Compatibility
  • From the Prophet (s)
  • Marry those who are compatible matches
    (al-akfaa').
  • Most important aspect of compatibility
  • Similar level of faith (Islam shia) and
    character.
  • Believers are the compatible matches of other
    believers.
  • Marry a suitor whose practice of religion and
    trustworthiness please you, whoever he may be.

46
Other factor that will make marriage go smoother
  • Similar background
  • Similar income bracket
  • Similar societal status
  • Intellectual compatibility
  • Family compatibility
  • Ideal age gap 3-7 years (Gulbarg, Dehnavi p. 37)
  • Couple (and in some cases their families) will
    need flexible personalities and sophistication if
    these are not in place.

47
Trait 4 Good Family
  • Meaning a family known for its religiousness,
    etiquette, noble character
  • The Prophet (s) Avoid the beautiful woman who
    grows up in a corrupt environment.
  • The Prophet (s) The best of your women is
    she....who is respected in her family.
  • Coming from a good family is good but not a hard
    and fast rule
  • Good families can be created

48
Trait 5 Chastity
  • From the dua O Allah grant me the most chaste
    among them.
  • Encompasses
  • Hijab
  • Limited mixing of genders
  • Modest interaction, language, and body language
  • Keeping appropriate company

49
More about Chastity
  • Should be in place before and after marriage
  • Couples will try harder to satisfy each other's
    physical and emotional needs
  • Husband will take more pleasure out of his wife ?
    stronger love ? more care and reciprocal love
  • Need to re-evaluate ties and behavior with
    non-mahrams
  • Different than being suspicious! We need to
    suspect ourselves more than other party.
  • Not being friends is different than being
    unfriendly

50
Traits 6 and 7 Responsibility Good Planning
Skills
  • Hadith The best of men is he who takes care of
    his wife so that she doesn't have to rely on
    others.
  • Women tend to find these traits a source of
    attractiveness in men
  • How can these traits be measured?
  • Taking care of parents / siblings
  • Is he hard-working?
  • How does he manage his money?
  • Does he make impetuous decisions that he later
    regrets?

51
Trait 8 Good Looks
  • Physical attractiveness is particularly important
    for man to see in woman and should not be ignored
  • Also shouldn't be the only criterion
  • From a hadith A wife should be religious (???
    ?????) and beautiful (?????)
  • True beauty is on the inside and outside.
    Eventually inner beauty (taqwa, akhlaaq, ilm)
    outshines outer beauty

52
Practical Tips Regarding Good Looks
  • Extreme beauty can lead to arrogance
  • Can be addressed in upbringing and self-bulding
  • Being attractive is working with what you have
  • Regular exercise routine (without going to the
    extremes) and observing Islamic dietary
    guidelines is necessary for personal and marriage
    development

53
More Practical Tips
  • Good character, faith, optimism, speaking well,
    smiling appropriately, humility, grooming and
    hygiene all lend to outer beauty
  • Community emphasis on championship sports
  • Husbands should buy their wives those things they
    need in order to make themselves beautiful at home

54
Recommended Matchmaking Cycle
  • Intention
  • Tawakkul, Tawassul, and Self-Building
  • Identify Potential Candidates
  • Compiling list of must-have and nice-to-have
    traits
  • Using list to find potential spouse matches
  • Investigation
  • Meeting(s)
  • Investigation
  • Proposal

55
Identifying Potential Candidates
  • The boy / girl seeking to get married may rely on
    a champion or a few champions who are trusted
    individuals (perhaps in the form of community
    matchmakers)
  • Parents' buy-in is very important
  • The champion's job is to find potential
    candidates based on the criteria and detailed
    information about the boy / girl
  • Start looking locally and then branch out if
    necessary
  • Don't feel shy about using matchmakers

56
Recommended Matchmaking Cycle
  • Intention
  • Tawakkul and Tawassul
  • Identify Potential Candidates
  • Investigation
  • Meetings
  • Investigation
  • Proposal

57
Importance of Investigating the Traits of a
Candidate
  • From the Prophet (s)
  • Marriage is like slavery. So if one of you
    marries off his daughter, he has given her to
    slavery. So look carefully at whom you marry your
    noble daughter to.
  • From Imam al-Sadiq (a) Women are a necklace so
    look carefully to ensure you get the right one.
  • According to one expert, marriage is the most
    important event in your life. (Dehnavi, p. 31)

58
Investigation
  • Applies to both males and females
  • Talk to those who know the candidate in-depth
  • Revealing negative information in this situation
    is not backbiting!
  • What about that part we can't find out?
  • Have to do our duty. From Imam al-Sadiq (a)
    Whoever acts upon what he knows, Allah (swt)
    shall take care of him with respect to what he
    does not know
  • Investigation will take place even after meetings
    are completed to clear up any issues that arose

59
Common Reasons for Not Investigating Properly
  • Putting full trust in one person who knows both
    parties
  • I know his father and his father's father...
  • Not knowing whom to talk to
  • Misinterpreting the hadith If a suitor comes to
    you whose character and religion please you then
    marry your daughter to him or else there will
    be turmoil on the earth and great corruption.
  • False sense of tawakkul
  • False understanding of istikharah

60
What to Investigate
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Leadership Qualities
  • How Well Promises are Kept
  • Level of Honesty

61
Recommended Matchmaking Cycle
  • Intention
  • Tawakkul and Tawassul
  • Identify Potential Candidates
  • Investigation
  • Meeting
  • Proposal

62
Meeting Potential Candidates
  • Looking at picture
  • Rules
  • Can be alone in a room together as long as
  • Others can easily enter in upon conversation
  • No fear of falling into sin
  • Looking (for a man)
  • Without intention of lust (though lust will
    naturally follow)
  • In order to determine her physical appearance (if
    you already know, cant look)
  • No barrier preventing marriage (for example she
    shouldnt already be married)
  • Possibility of proposal being accepted

63
Meeting Potential Candidates
  • What to discuss
  • Try to send questions from beforehand
  • Write down quotes for later observation
  • How many times can we meet before deciding?
  • How close can you get without being married?
  • The fun in marriage is getting to know each
    other!

64
What to Discuss
  • Casual Conversation
  • Beliefs
  • Practice (for example, taqlid)
  • Socializing
  • Life histories
  • Expectations of Future
  • Living alone or with family
  • Raising children
  • Education / work plans

65
How to decide
  • Using your intellect
  • Seeking advice from wise people
  • Taking istikhara
  • Tawakkul and Tawassul
  • Do we need to like each other before saying
    yes?
  • How sure do I need to be?

66
From Culture
  • Need to wait for older siblings to get married
  • Education is more important than getting married
  • Sayyids can only marry sayyids
  • Mutah is scandalous
  • Cant interact with fiancee after nikah is
    recited before rukhsatee
  • I liked him/her, but the istikhara came out
    badly
  • Culture of expensive weddings
  • But not all culture is bad
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