Dr. Jamal Badawi – The Muslim Family in the West
The only two criteria for marriage are religion and character. Everything else is second to these two criteria. The problem for North American Muslims is that there is a focus on ethnicity, wealth and beauty. The merit of religion is seldom considered.
- In the engagement period, be proper but not overly strict
- Do not make mahr (dowry) a problem. Whatever amount is easy and affordable is what should be given. There is actually more blessing in the mahr this way. Because of unrealistic demands for mahr in many countries, sometimes exceeding thousands of dollars, women remained unmarried in for years. This is a disease.
- When married, treat your spouse with love and compassion, and show them they are appreciated
- Shura (consultation) is mandated in the family life. You have the responsibility to make decisions with consideration and consultation, known as Qiwwamah
- You must adjust mutually. Accept the other persons faults as you yourself are not perfect
- Avoid sheer hypocrisy. Admit when you’re wrong. You can teach a great deal to your children simply through your good example.
O you who have believed, why do you say what you do not do?
[Surah Al-Saf 61:2]
- Have a constructive and loving discipline with your children. Do not simply command without taking their advice, thinking that they are too young to advice you.
- NEVER CUT OFF COMMUNICATION FROM CHILDREN. Even if they are involved in bad behavior, even if they did something wrong that displeased you, always advise them. If not, their situation can quickly go from bad to worse.
- Raising righteous children is a joint responsibility.
O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are [appointed] angels, harsh and severe; they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded.
[Surah At-Tahrim 66:6]
There is definitely a gap between the ideal and actual when it comes to marriage. We have to be self critical, honest and address the problem. We need sound knowledge to change our behavior. We repeat the same mistakes we have seen. Seek help, have patience and educate.