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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Marriage? Really?

Marriage? Really?

Hmm, really did not want to talk about this subject! But ideas have been floating around and I wanted to nail them down for you. I  have added experiences of other people but the names have been changed!

Many moons ago I was sat in a class of hadith with Sheikh Sa’ad Al-Attas when fireworks started going off in the background. I was quite angry and embarrassed. Angry because it was disturbing our lesson and embarrassed because it was bad manners to be disturbing so many people. He asked if it was for a wedding. Then he said, “Marriage is like that, fireworks at the beginning and then its followed by hard work.” That perfectly sums up what marriage is. Two weeks of fun followed by years of hard work! 

The worst thing that spouses can do in a marriage is play the 'tit for tat' game. You did this to me and I'll do the same to you. It can sour many things about a working marriage. Let things slide at home and if you have to mention them do but in respectful way. Note that many of us do things that we are unaware of its affect on others.

Cousin marriages

What those in western countries have lost is a sense of family history and keeping the family name alive. Hence many people marry without paying attention to maintaining family lineage. In many other countries maintaining the family lineage is very important. Therefore most Pakistani, and other denominations, marry cousins or those who are related to them e.g. children of uncles and aunts family etc. This is quite gross to many people but it’s a fact of life for those living in traditional cultures. Other traditional cultures have other criteria like certain villages or cities and so forth. This was true of the British culture around sixty years ago but its not longer the case. Charles Dickins writes about how a father forced his son to marry someone, in one of his books. The majority of traditional cultures are all the same.

One of the unwanted results of the cousin marriages are children born with rare birth defects. This would normally not occur in their homelands. Because even thought people would marry those in the same family it would not be direct children of brothers or sisters. Those in their homelands pressurize their siblings, living in Europe, into marriages of their respective children. Thus children are born with rare diseases and couples are married unhappily ever after.

Recently I read an article in a famous local paper which was nothing but racist. A man had murdered his wife and it implied that this was somehow due to his 'Islamic' upbringing. Lets set this record straight. It was everything to do with parents marrying off their daughters to the wrong man then not allowing a failing marriage to end. Well done parents you have destroyed the lives and three people in one fell swoop! Your daughter, son in law and their children.  

Choosing a spouse


In human history men have married women who are younger than them. It's just a fact of life, whether you like it or not. Its very rare that men marry those older than them. But my advice would be for people to look at compatibility first rather than age; for both genders. Men who marry those who are younger than them will find them childish and will have to put up with this. Particularly if there is a large age gap and you might wish that you married the older woman! Although there are many men-children on their game stations! More mature women are not that concerned about children and some simply do not want any children. People should try to marry those who are similar and not those who are opposites.


Please do not have a set criteria for marriage. With much regret we did this and many did not match up. The only thing that you should be concerned about is matching character and religious level. Look at those who are suggested to you and do not go through your checklist.

Those who marry but are not at the same religious level will find problems. Women are usually the worse off because the non-religious male is normally not receptive to his religious wife's practices. He can even stop her from praying and fasting. 

The main criteria men and women should be looking for is good character in a life partner.


Pictures can be deceiving so go and see the person face to face. You might be pleasantly surprised or not! But being face to face has many benefits that emailing or texting does not.

Fairy tales?

Fairy tales and happy endings only occur in books and movies. You are not Rapunzel waiting for her prince to rescue her from a life of celibacy! Nor is he waiting for the supermodel that he might meet by chance on the street! Rather look for a good person and do not turn someone down because you think that they are not your prince charming or does not have super model looks! Or they do not have the financial capability to maintain your standard of living. 

Hanafi’s meet someone half way and do not go overboard. A woman should not overbear her husband by making him feel guilty if he does not provide a certain standard of living. She should be happy with what he has.

The man who has not got a lot of money but has good character is better for your daughter than the rich man who has no character!

Internet sites

It works for some but not others. Also be careful in meeting strangers without family present on both sides. A lot of websites have spammers, false profiles and some are false sites.  Bilal’s Half our deen might be worth checking out if you are inclined this way. Know that many people have not had much success in these ventures. 

Know that the people on these sites are either nasty, timewasters or not serious. Very few are genuine, others have outdated information and some are false profiles. Also some websites are fake so beware of putting in your details especially if there is no security. Some of these sites are just there to steal your details.

Marriage events

Very rarely do people marry from these events but you might be that rare breed. Most of these events are more about meeting and viewing others. Most are not serious about marriage and are more concerned about looking at what's available. Those who are more family orientated events might be worth considering rather than ‘date’ events!

Marrying abroad

This has become a problem for those on a low wage as without £18,600 in wages. There is no possibility of a man or woman taking a spouse from outside the EU. This is something that has been causing many people who are unable to find a spouse in the UK problems. For many men this is a solution because they wives are somewhat sheltered from society. But for women this is a problem because the man who comes from abroad has many difficulties adjusting to life in another country. Culture shock is something that is very common for people who move to other countries.


This could be a way to marry those who are already married but it depends if the male can actually take care of the other women in a correct manner. Its based on being fair with his money and time towards both spouses. Also look at what English law says about this matter. It could be a solution but it could also cause more problems.

High maintenance?

Men do not like women who are high maintenance. What we mean is that they are always demanding or nagging or anything of that nature. Men do not like women who are demanding because they have been working all day and come home to relax. So when you are making requests and other things it makes men think their wives are high maintenance. So choose your times to make requests.


We have spoken about abuse of women in a previous post so look them up by clicking here.

In laws?

This is just a fact of marriage so you need to be aware of this. Women are especially aware of the harm that women receive from in laws, namely the dreaded mother in laws. I can understand why many women do not want to live within in-laws because many have been harmed by the mother in laws. I do believe women hate other women; because they see them as threats. Anyone who feels threatened act in ways to harm their competitor which is the incoming woman. Women have to be aware of this and at the same time take each case as it comes. Husbands you have to beware that women do not like other women. So men you have to find separate housing for your wife, its wajib.


Get them involved in the process as soon as possible. Do not go and see someone about marriage without their prior knowledge. Even though it's not unlawful, because you meet in a public place, it still could lead to people backbiting or slandering you. Meet with families on both sides.

Whoever is the decision maker must be taken with you. We have heard of crazy parents who do not wish their children to marry anyone, except their own choice, and block anyone else. Parents should not think that they have the right to destroy their children's lives. Many times parents want kids to marry their own cousins. So parents if your child comes to you with a potential spouse that they want to marry and there is no reason for you to say no then accept them into your family, for the sake of Allah (the Exalted). You cannot say no unless you have a real cause for potential harm. Like the man is known to harm women or something like that. Not allowing them to marry your child for a silly reason like cast or nationality and they are not is not a valid excuse. This is a sin that the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) warned us about. The Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) warned us that if people refuse the proposals without valid excuse then corruption would be widespread. Do we not see this now?


Divorce is a way out for people who are in a marriage that simply does not work. The children of a marriage, that it is not successful, must be the priority and not be discarded. Even though the parents are no longer married they are still responsible for them before Allah (the Exalted). Do not allow the contempt that you have for each other cloud your responsibility for your child.

Try to deal with the divorce in a reasonable manner and if you can avoid the courts. Allow each other access to kids and try not to undermine each other's efforts. Heres some  humour to brighten up our moods!

Solve my problems?

Everyone has problems and thinking that by getting married will solve them is a mistake. It does not solve ones problems. Find happiness by living for Allah (the Exalted) and then get married. Otherwise you are letting yourself in for a potential fall.

Find happiness and let your spouse into it. Do not think getting married will solve all your problems because they are new problems to deal with that you might have never thought of.

The married and the unmarried both have problems. The men who complain about their marriages the most are those who are very obedient to their wives inside their homes. Hence complain about them outside the homes. They are lions outside the house and cats at home! Their wives are normally the generals and they are the only soldier; so they are following orders and as well as curfews! 

Kids don’t help

Having kids, in a loveless marriage, rarely makes it work. This is also harmful for the child; to be with parents who do not like each other.

Mothers should not blame or take out the harm they receive on their kids which is very easily done. This occurs more than just marriage situations. As even though children can be testing they have to be brought up right.

Violence and arguments have an affect on the children. If you want to argue then do it away from the kids. Know that children learn from the parents by copying the things it sees the parents do. Whatever you do before the child is teaching it. Beware of teaching them bad things because you are responsible for them.

Kids general

Bringing up kids in the west is extremely difficult because they are torn between western and eastern culture as well as religion.

You have to keep an eye on what your kids are doing. Leaving them at the mercy of the school system is not a good idea. Sending them to the best schools is a start and ask them about what they are learning.

In terms of after school studies choose the madrasa that are concerned about their pupils progress.

Kids need you to spend time with them. Children who misbehave are those who do not see their fathers often, in many cases.


I have seen this predominantly in men who have one wife at home for their families and another girlfriend outside the home, that their parents are unaware of. This is so wrong that I cannot put my disgust into words. If you want two wives then fine do it that way. Instead this fool has one wife at home who washes his dirty clothes and one girlfriend outside the house who spends all his time with. He really mocks marriage and has preferred the unlawful over the lawful. How can he be successful on the day of judgement when he has involved himself into such haram acts? You are truly an oppressor.


There are many couples who are in loveless marriages and do not sleep in the same beds or even bedrooms. There are many reasons for this. I do think parents have made them marry cousins and there is little love between them but its about family honour. It's very sad and parents should think that there is a better option than force their choice.  

Just because you were forced into an awful marriage that ruined your life does not give you the right to do the same with your children. Many peoples problems stem from failed marriages, the parents, those involved and the kids. Do not ruin your childrens lives for the sake of inflated family honour which means nothing on the day of judgment.

They do not want me

This can happen and is more common than one may think. People who want a particular spouse and but find their advances rejected, this causes much harm. How can one understand that someone feelings about the other are not reciprocated by the other? It does happen and a person cannot waste their life crying about the past and must move on. Otherwise they have not learnt the lesson, waste their present and fail to make a better future. Do not waste your time on someone who does not care about you. So be hopeful, let it go and move on.

Final words

Try your best to look at each offer that you receive. Pray the istikhara prayer seven times and see what occurs. Facilitation is a good sign and the opposite is not good.

Marriage is not a party and you have a lot of hard work to do, each and every day. Your spouse has rights and you have to do your best to fulfill them. Please Sheikh Abdullah Adhami's article on Advice to Husbands click here

Money should not be a concern to the fathers of daughters, rather look at the man not the wallet. Rarely is this the case because many look at the papers in the wallet and the man is seen as secondary. 

Finding a spouse is hard and then maintaining a spouse is hard but do not let that put you off. Know that there is no such thing as a perfect spouse because, guess what, you are not perfect. Yet there might be someone perfect for you but not as you imagine perfection. Accept each other for one others faults and thats why its half your deen. I do believe that some men have got a lot to answer for because of their bad treatment towards their wives. See link about treatment of women. But most men, in general, have a lot to answer for regardless of religion.

We hope this has given you some food for thought and that those of you that are not married find wonderful spouses; in sha Allah.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sheikh Hamza Yusuf

How Islam treated non-Muslims

Noble Character?

Ponder why Allah (the Exalted) praised the character of the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessing upon him). Why not the prayer or hajj? Because deen is not about merely the five pillars. Most of your deen is your character. Thats where most of the work needs to be done.

Following the deen is not about forcing your opinion over others by being arrogant and condescending as these are NOT part of the Sunnah. Yet somehow you think reseaching on the internet makes you a master! Yet you are slave of misunderstanding and flawed misinterpretation.

When I meet brothers who quote hadith without understanding I realise one thing. They do not understand the religion at all. Look your character and please click here to read forty hadith about Honorable character complied Sheikh Yusuf Al-Nabahani (may Allah show him mercy).

Deen is not just belief it mostly about action and character is a major part. You can't reach everyone with your deen but you can reach everyone with your character.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

What is Sunnah?

This is a complicated question that could take someone years and volumes to explain and even then perhaps the explanation is not sufficient. Or perhaps the person listening cannot fully grasp the understanding of what it is.

Our previous attempt to answer this question seems  pitiful now. We would like another attempt to answer this question and explain the impossible.


Literally the word (sunnah) means practice and that's what we want to focus on here. The practice of the Beloved (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him).


As we said before we hear the Imam screaming about following the Sunnah. Yet he nor most of the crowd know how or what it is. We understand the hadith about the flesh being removed from the face because of not following the Sunnah. This understanding needs to fleshed out and understood properly.

The greatest Sunnah of the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) was performance of the commands of Allah (The Exalted) and avoiding all prohibitions. We should never do what he never did. The greatest aspects of the Sunnah are ignored in this time. Instead we think that Sunnah is merely putting the right shoe on first. No the Sunnah is much more than actions of the limbs. This is just the tip of the iceberg as the Sunnah is all encompassing and it has more than one facet. It is multifaceted and more complex than the understanding of the Imam.

So if we are not performing the commandments of Allah and are performing unlawful actions; now we are opposing the Sunnah. This is what will make the skin fall from the face. This is what we should be concerned about but most are unaware of this aspect of the Sunnah. This is a basic level and anyone who opposes the Sunnah opposes authenticated actions. So where is the proof of this? Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) was the blessed wife of the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) and she said, "His character was the Quran." (Muslim). Our partners know us well and know all our secrets that we hide from everyone. So what does the Quran teach us? Stop lying, cheating, stealing, spying, be just, tell the truth, pray five times a day, believe (be Muslim), believe in prophets, respect authority, maintain family relationships, give non-Muslims their rights, avoid backbiting, tale bearing and slandering; and so on and so forth. These are the major points that everyone misses when they explain the Sunnah.

In Fiqh

There different types of Sunnah in fiqh. You can have Sunnah Muzabaha/Frequent Sunnah which is something rarely left and Sunnah ghaar Muzabaha/infrequent Sunnah something done infrequently. Sunnah Mukada and Sunnah Mustahab: these are similar to the above definitions (See Commentary of the Initiation).

In Fiqh Sunnah is that which the evidence is not as strong as wajib or Fard. Now if Sunnah reached a level of transmission of mass transmission then it would be wajib/necessary. So anyone who is doing the wajib and fard action of something has not  broken their action but has failed to adorn their action with the Sunnah. Performing ablution in the wrong order is valid with the Hanafi's because the order is Sunnah. Had it been fard then its non performance would break the action. It does with the Shafis but the point here is that without the Sunnah there would no adornment of the action. How few people would actually understand what one would be doing in they did ablution without the Sunnah.

Emotional arguments

Please detach your emotions now because getting in a huff by shouting 'We should follow the Sunnah' is not as simple as the person making the statement. As its often made by those who are outside the four Sunni schools of Islam. Islam has reached us by the four schools of law otherwise it would not have reached us. When sacred law was upheld it was by these schools. So anyone coming in now screaming that we should follow Sunnah has ignored the fact that we have been following the Sunnah from the first century of Islam; long before they came.

Sunnah and Hadith difference
Sunnah is anything that the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) continually performed within the following definitions. Hadith differs from Sunnah by the fact hadith can be correct, weak or fabricated (so on) but the Sunnah is what we know as the normalised practice.

Three types of Sunnah

The Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) made things easy for people and would not burden them with actions that they could not perform. So we can differentiate between three types of Sunnah:

One the Sunnah adheres one to the commands and avoidance of prohibitions and the Sunnah that is extra beautification of actions. The latter is more important but people place more importance to the former.

The second Sunnah, if performed is rewarded and not punished if not rewarded. Like standing under a tree and half of you is in the shade. Not following this Sunnah is not going to send you to hell but if its better if you do it. Do not misunderstand me if you are doing any Sunnah then keep doing it. 

Three: Sunnahs we are not commanded to do and if we do them, we will be sinful. Marrying more than four women is haram, continually fasting without break and so forth. The Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) was allowed by Allah (the Exalted) to have six wives but this is unlawful for anyone else. Continually fasting will harm to the body of most people.

There are things that the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) did that no one can do and these are known as Khasais/specific characteristics or actions.

When we talk about scholars of the past following the Sunnah they already had adhered to the Halal and haram. Then they beautified this by following the additional Sunnah as explained in the second definition.

So do not get emotional and start sending me insulting emails. Why? Because the companions followed the Sunnah better than us and they did not get emotional statements like you have to follow the Sunnah. They knew the Sunnah and adhered to it. We just make statements. Many companions followed just what they knew and that was sometimes one statement.


Know that in terms of the hadith of the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) only the mass transmitted hadith/Mutawatir give certainty. So other categories of hadith do not give us certainty but that does not mean we do not follow them. It means that we cannot condemn its non performance but we advise instead when the matter is obvious.

In terms of Hanafi Mutsalah Hadith the singular statements of gharib and Aziz are not considered, especially when they oppose stronger evidence. Like the hadith that states Surah Fatiha should be read in every prayer when there is Quran ayah to say read what is easy from the Quran. So we go with the Quran ayah not the hadith. Weaker hadith are allowed to be followed by the agreement of the scholars in extra forms of worship. There are also times when weaker hadith have been accepted and stronger/sahih hadith have been left. Because the weaker hadith agrees with other evidences that other does not. The stronger hadith opposes other evidences. As we have said before hadith and reports of varying degree of certainty and Sunnah is the relied upon practice of the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him). Hadith science is not about following the sahih hadith; it's about following the more reliable evidence. It's not a straight forward science because the majority of hadith have to be known, about one field, before a judgement can be given. The chains of other than Mutawatir are scrutinised.

The Sunnah is the confirmed practice of the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him); look for specific compilations of hadith like Riyad Al-Saliheen by Imam Nawawi and his forty hadith collection,  Imam Birgwis Path of Muhammad (may Allah bestow peace and blessings be upon him) which is an excellent book. Know that there are many other beneficial works. Picking up the collections of Al-Bukhari and Muslim will confuse you because you do not have the tools to check what scholars have said about so and so hadith. So taking it out of context, without understanding is a dangerous game. There are hadith that are simple to understand but when you are unaware of the reliability of the narrators; how can you be sure of the meaning? When you have deleted the commentary of the scholars! The companions understood hadith and followed them as much as they could and when they needed assistance they would ask the scholars of the companions like Ali, Ibn Mas'ud, Ibn 'Abbas, Ibn Umar etc. Umar would gather those who attended Badr; they did not read hadith and say it means this and no other possible meaning. Mu'awiyah used to send Ali questions (may Allah be pleased with all the companions). So the companions did not rely on themselves like the Wahabis and Selefis.

The Hanafis come from the teaching of Ibn Mas'ud (may Allah be pleased with him). The Malikis come from Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him). Imam Shafi studied with Imam Malik and Imam Muhammad Al-Shaybani (Abu Hanafi's student) then Imam Ahmed studied with him. Its interlinked even though they disagreed on some points. Knowledge is passed on by the hearts of men and not from books. As there were no collections of Al-Bukhari that the companions referred to!

Internal states

The Sunnah is not just external actions it was coupled with internal realities. This is not simple to understand. His (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) external and internal state were the same. He did not act one way outside his home and another way in the home. He never committed sin ever. This was his internal state that was a secret between him and Allah. He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) was the greatest being to walk the earth.

Correct understanding

Know to actually understand the Sunnah needs major study. And it's not something that can be understood without study as I am sure that you can now relate. So we hope that this has helped clear things up. The confirmed Sunnah has its place and the rare Sunnah are different.

So when you hear the hadith 'Whoever desires other than my practice is not from me.' You realise that following and adhering to hadiths is by seeing what the scholars practice. So find a reliable scholar of the four schools and see the Sunnah in action, hopefully. Only then will you understand what Sunnah is. Picking up books is not going to help.

Sheikh Jihad Brown

To love a Muslim