Marriage is sacred and Islam is a strong advocate of it. The act of marriage is considered a religious duty through which the social unit, the family, is established and can dwell in peace and tranquillity. It is important for us to reflect on its objectives and to understand its significance from the Islamic frame of reference.
The family life of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. is the best example for us to emulate. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. was an exemplary family man. He was an effective, responsible and loving husband, father and grandfather.
Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. taught both men and women that the key to a successful marriage and a blissful family is a healthy relationship between husband and wife. To attain an abode of tranquillity in a marriage, he showed us that there must be mutual love and respect between husband and wife. The Prophet s.a.w. was kind, gentle, understanding, forgiving and respectful towards his household.
Allah s.w.t. said:
“They - your wives - are as a garment for you, and you are as a garment for them.”
Mutual love beautifies a marriage but having taqwa (God-consciousness) is the most important factor because love may fade over time. If love does fade, Islam still emphasises on the importance of mutual respect between husband and wife.
This was Hasan Al Basri’s advice for a father who was choosing a spouse for his daughter:
“Give her to a man who has taqwa. If he loves your daughter, he will treat her well and if he loathes her, he will not oppress her.”
A person is not seen by God as a true believer if he or she does not treat his or her family with kindness. A true believer is one who adheres to the teachings of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. wholly, and does not nitpick based on his or her own personal inclinations.
Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. grew up in a time when women had little rights. They were considered inferior to men and treated as property. It was normal for female infants to be buried alive. While spreading Islam, Prophet s.a.w. called upon everyone to treat women with respect and honour. It was narrated from Ibn Abbas that Prophet s.a.w. said, "There is no man whose two daughters reach the age of puberty and he treats them kindly for the time they are together, but they will gain him admittance to Paradise."
Kindness is the most legitimate type of romance.
Ibn Abbas r.a. narrated that the Prophet s.a.w. said:
“The best among you is the best towards his wife and I am the best of you to my wives.”
Abu Hurairah r.a. narrated that the Prophet s.a.w. said:
“The most complete of the believers in faith, is the one with the best of character. And the best of you are those who are best to their women.”
The biography of the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. is rich with examples of the acts of kindness he showed towards his family, particularly to his wives. He would lie down on the lap of Sayyidah Aisha r.a. and call her by a nickname “Humaira” to show his affection. Prophet s.a.w would do housework and wash his own clothes, without troubling his wives. Even when his patience was tried, he was never unkind in his words or deeds. Do we treat our spouses the same way?
Communication is essential in a relationship. Speaking in a gentle manner is one of the traits of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. The Prophet never used harsh words with anyone. He was immensely gentle towards his wives and children, even when there was a need to correct them.
There was a great deal of communication in the Prophet’s household. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. respected and valued his wives and their contributions and opinions. He listened, acknowledged inputs from them and heeded their advice.
Prophet s.a.w loved his daughter Fatimah so much that whenever he saw her entering, he would stand up and kiss her, and get her to sit where he was sitting. His actions towards his family provide a clear reflection of the values he upheld. His tenderness in dealing with his wives and children provide examples for us to follow in his footsteps, as we interact with our own family.
Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. is indeed the best example for any family aiming towards establishing an abode of love and tranquillity in their household.