Dear Friday Jemaah,
In the last khutbah, we were reminded of how important it is for married couples to strive to raise righteous families; families that will heed all of Allah’s commands and leave behind what He has prohibited upon us.
This sense of taqwa will bring about calmness in our hearts, happiness, and strengthen the bonds within our family. This is because the love that exists between the couple is a love that is solely for the sake of Allah s.w.t.
However, a marriage is not always smooth sailing. There are times when we face tough situations and conflicts. The source of the conflict and misunderstanding can be internal (within the husband and wife) or external, and may at times end in a divorce. This can happen to any couple – the newlyweds or even those who have been married for many years.
My brothers, stories about the life of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. and that of his Companions r.a., show that they also faced challenges in their marriage. In fact, Rasulullah s.a.w. was once tested with a slanderous rumour fabricated by the Munafikin. In the event referred to as ‘Hadith Al-Ifk’ or the ‘story of the slander’, the Prophet’s wife, Sayyidatina Aisyah r.a. was slandered saying that she had transgressed her boundaries as a Muslimah and a wife. Allah s.w.t. says in surah An-Nur verses 12-13:
Which means: “Why, when you heard it, did not the believing men and believing women think good of one another and say, ‘This is an obvious falsehood’? Why did they [who slandered] not produce for it four witnesses? And when they do not produce the witnesses, then it is they, in the sight of Allah, who are the liars.”
Imagine if there is a rumour going around that our spouse is cheating on us and doing something that is despicable? How would we feel? What would our reaction be? We would definitely be emotionally affected and our relationship with our spouse will sour.
Despite this difficult situation, we must look to Rasulullah s.a.w. and learn how he was strong in facing a great slander. Even though he was distressed, the Prophet s.a.w. remained calm and was not easily taken in by the accusation made by the Munafikin. Rasulullah s.a.w. did not recklessly scold or reprimand his wife.
Despite the confusion, he investigated the matter clearly and sought the opinion of the companions and his closest and most trusted friends.
It was reported that Rasulullah s.a.w. had called upon Sayyidina ‘Ali bin Abi Talib and Usamah bin Zaid r.a. when the revelation was still not revealed, in order to get their opinion.
Usamah said: “Ya Rasulullah, she is your wife. And we do not know anything about her except for her good character.”
Ali r.a. said: “If you however, ask her (a slave girl by the name of Barirah), she will tell you the truth.” So Rasulullah called for Barirah and said, “O Barirah! Did you ever see anything which might have aroused your suspicion?” (with regard to Aisha). Barirah said: “By Allah Who has sent you with the truth, I have never seen anything regarding Aisha which I would blame her for.” [Sahih Bukhari and Muslim]
I would like to share with you several lessons on how we can overcome conflicts or crisis in our marriage, based on this story of how the Prophet s.a.w. dealt with this challenge:
First, to seek help from those who are more experienced in dealing with marital conflicts and crisis
In this matter, the couple facing a marital conflict should quickly seek advice from experts such as a social worker or marriage counsellor. Or, they can also turn to their closest family members or trusted friends who are experienced in solving marital problems. It is best if the person is someone who is trusted by both the husband and wife.
Avoid seeking the opinion of a third party who is not qualified; this may lead to inappropriate suggestions which may not help to solve the problem. Avoid confiding and seeking help from friends of the opposite sex, especially in non-formal channels such as over the phone, SMS, meeting outside etc. This may lead to a bigger fitnah and worsen the situation.
Second, seek support from a couple who has been married for a long time, or ask them to be your mentor
Get to know couples who have been married for a long time, couples who are mature and experience. In fact, we can look to those closest to us – our parents, aunts and uncles, siblings and close friends.
We can also share experiences and ask them for tips and useful advice that will be beneficial in overcoming certain conflicts. In fact, we should not limit seeking their guidance only when we face a conflict, but we can also seek their opinion on how to strengthen our relationship, deepen our love for our spouses and strengthen our marriages.
Third, increase our supplication to Allah and seek for the best solution from Allah s.w.t.
Despite having sought help from those who are more experienced, only Allah s.w.t. knows what is best for us. It is Allah s.w.t. who will determine whether our efforts to improve the situation will succeed or otherwise.
Thus, as narrated by Imam Bukhari dan Muslim when Sayyidatina Aisyah r.a. felt helpless, she placed her hope solely on Allah As-Samad and recited the verses which were recited by Prophet Yusuf a.s.:
“So patience is most fitting. And Allah is the one sought for help against that which you describe”. [Yusuf: 18]
In facing whatever difficulties and challenges in life, let us never forget to place our hopes on Allah, and seek His help. Verily, it is Allah who is the best in helping us and who will always be there for us.
Hopefully, by holding on to the sunnah of Rasulullah s.a.w., we are able to strengthen our marriages with love, iman and knowledge. May Allah gather us with our families under the protection of His Arasy in Paradise, Amin.
Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
Friday Sermon, 21 June 2013 / 12 Sya’ban 1434