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Affection and Compassion Between Spouses

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

category: Marriage Advice


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One of the greatest aims of marriage according to the laws of Allaah is so that affection and compassion may prevail between the spouses. This is the foundation on which married life should be built. Allaah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): 

"And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy." [al-Room 30:21] 

al-Haafiz Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Affection means love, and compassion means kindness. A man keeps a woman either because he loves her or her because he feels compassion towards her because he has children from her. 

Our advice to you is not to ignore the affection and compassion between spouses that Allaah has mentioned in this verse. Think about the Mothers of the Believers, and the womenfolk of the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them all), especially the role of Khadeejah (may Allaah be pleased with her) with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Try to make your family happy and you will see the effect of that in sha Allaah. 

One of the greatest means of attaining happiness and cheerfulness is what was narrated from one of the righteous: Kindness is something easy: a cheerful face and a gentle word. So try to adopt this kindness towards your husband – until it becomes ingrained in you – and you will win his heart and make him be affectionate and compassionate towards you. 

But before all that, and above all that, our Lord says (interpretation of the meaning): 

"The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better (i.e. Allaah orders the faithful believers to be patient at the time of anger, and to excuse those who treat them badly) then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend.

But none is granted it (the above quality) except those who are patient — and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion (of happiness in the Hereafter, i.e., Paradise and of a high moral character) in this world." [Fussilat 41:34-35] 

Shaykh Ibn Sa'di (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: i.e., Good deeds and acts of obedience that are done for the sake of Allaah cannot be equal to bad deeds and sins that earn His wrath and do not please Him. Kindness towards others cannot be equal to mistreatment of them. "Is there any reward for good other than good?." [al-Rahmaan 55:60]

Then He enjoins a specific type of kindness which has a great impact, which is kindness towards the one who treats you badly. He says: "Repel (the evil) with one which is better" i.e., if someone mistreats you, especially if he has great rights over you, such as relatives and friends and the like, and he mistreats you in word or in deed, then respond by treating him kindly. If he cuts off ties with you then uphold ties with him; if he wrongs you, forgive him; if he speaks against you, in your absence or in your presence, do not respond in kind, rather forgive him, and deal with him by speaking kindly; if he shuns you and does not speak to you, then speak nicely to him, and greet him with salaam. If you respond to mistreatment with kind treatment, that will do a great deal of good. 

"then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend" i.e., as if he is close to you and a good  friend. 

"But none is granted it" i.e., this praiseworthy quality is not given to anyone "except those who are patient" and put up with what they dislike, and force themselves to do what Allaah loves, for souls are created with a natural inclination to respond to bad treatment in kind and not to forgive it, so how can they respond in a good manner? 

If a person is patient and obeys the command of his Lord, and understands the great reward, and knows that responding in kind to the one who mistreats him will not achieve anything and will only make the enmity worse, and that treating him kindly will not cause him any humiliation, rather it will raise him in status, because the one who shows humility for the sake of Allaah, Allaah will raise him in status thereby, then the matter will become easy for him and he will do that with joy and pleasure.  

"and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion" because this is a characteristic of the elite people, by means of which a person attains a high status in this world and in the Hereafter, which is one of the greatest and noblest of characteristics. End quote. 

Tafseer al-Sa'di (549-550) 

If all of this applies to the rights of people in general, then what about the rights of your wife? The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "If I were to order anyone to prostrate to anyone else, I would have ordered women to prostrate to their husbands, because of the rights that Allaah has given them over them." Narrated by Abu Dawood (2140) and al-Tirmidhi (1192); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah (1203). 

We have started by speaking to you, because you are the one who asked the question, and we think that you are more likely to listen and respond to our advice. If that means giving up some of your rights and forgiving the one who has wronged you, then there is nothing wrong with that. Who can say that giving up some of one's rights or forgiving some mistreatment is shameful or a shortcoming? Rather it is perfection.  

Muslim narrated in his Saheeh (2588) from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Charity does not decrease wealth. No one forgives, but Allaah increases him in honour, and no one humbles himself before Allaah but Allaah raises him in status." 

As for speaking to your husband or rebuking him, it is words of sincere advice and a rebuke from those who love good for him and fear for the bad consequences that he may face as a result of his actions; they want to warn him against obeying Iblees and making him happy, and disobeying and incurring the wrath of the Most Merciful, may He be exalted. 

As for his obeying Ibleese, Muslim narrated in his Saheeh (2813) that Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Iblees places his throne over the water, then he sends out his troops, and the one who is closest in status to him is the one who causes the greatest amount of fitnah (tribulation or temptation). One of them comes and says, I have done such and such, and he says: 'You have not done anything.' Then one of them comes and says: 'I did not leave him until I separated him and his wife.' Then he draws him close to him and says: 'How good you are.'" Al-A'mash said: I think he said: "and he embraces him."  

As for his incurring the wrath of the Most Merciful and disobeying Him, let him listen to what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Fear Allaah with regard to women, for you have taken them as a trust from Allaah, and intimacy with them has become permissible to you by the word of Allaah." Narrated by Muslim (1218)

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