Talaaq: Avoid it! By Maulana Faraz ibn Adam

Islam is a complete and comprehensive way of life which has taken into consideration all eventualities. It has not left any stone unturned. A  Jewish man once asked Ibn ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him),

“I heard your messenger has even taught you how to answer the call of nature?” Ibn ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him) said proudly,

“Yes and he has even taught us how to answer the call of nature.”  (Tirmidhi)

Such is the pristine quality of Islam.


Marriage is the union of two beings firmly grounded on love, companionship and friendship. Its termination is the last thing that should come to mind when something goes wrong. Remember life is full of twists and turns and marriage is just another roller coaster of emotions; sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry, but it’s the bond that was created and granted to you by Allah that we must strive to uphold.

 

If we reach boiling points, remember the sayings of our beloved Messenger Muhammad (Allah bless him & give him peace) on anger.

  • Cool Down!
  • Take a glass of water!
  • Change your position to a lower state; if you are standing sit down, if you are sitting lay down!
  • Recite Ta’awwuz!

 

The effects of anger:

So why does Islam pay so much attention towards controlling anger? Here are the straight facts:

Medical and psychological research has shown that no matter how much you exercise or eat correctly, you are putting yourself at risk if you do not manage your anger. Anger causes a widespread negative effect on the body.

 

It is important to understand what happens to the body when one becomes angry. In a moment of anger, you may experience muscle tension, grinding of teeth and teeth clenching, ringing in the ears, flushing, higher blood pressure, chest pains, excessive sweating, chills, severe headaches or migraines.

 

With chronic anger, people can also experience peptic ulcers, constipation, diarrhoea, intestinal cramping, hiccups, chronic indigestion, heart attacks, strokes, kidney problems, obesity, and frequent colds. Medical experts have found the heart muscle is affected by anger, and anger can actually reduce the heart’s ability to pump blood appropriately.

 

The results of prolonged anger can harm the body’s largest organ: the skin. People who hold in their anger often have skin diseases such as rashes, hives, warts, eczema and acne. Researchers have studied the relationship of anger and skin disorders and discovered that when a person resolves his anger, skin disorders dramatically improve.

 

One of the major effects anger has on the body is the release of chemicals and hormones, primarily the adrenaline and non-adrenaline. The adrenaline hormones act on all organs that reach the sympathetic nervous system, stimulating the heart, dilating the coronary vessels, constricting blood vessels in the intestines, and shutting off digestion.

 

Suppressed anger can also have psychological effects, causing depression, eating disorders, addictions to drug and alcohol, nightmares, insomnia, self-destructive behaviours, and can cause disruptions in the way a person relates to others.


The solution

The key to this whole chapter is communication! Talk to your other half and explain to them your feelings and thoughts, your wishes and your desires, your preferences and your dislikes.  Remember, if you don’t say, she/he may never know. Don’t just say that she should know how I am feeling.

 

If things just don’t seem to be working and you really can’t seem to making head or tails of the marriage, then we enter a different realm. A realm where there are rules on how to let go slowly.

 

The Quran speaks of these stages:

Allah the Exalted states,

“Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand. (Surah Nisaa (4): Verse 34)

“And if you fear dissension between the two, send an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both desire reconciliation, Allah will cause it between them. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Acquainted [with all things].” (Surah Nisaa (4):  verse 35)

 

These verses are regarding discord induced by the wife.  Even if the wife was blameworthy for the friction, the husband should make the first move to solve the issue.  Remember, women are very delicate by nature.  If the conflict was due to the husband, then all the more he should endeavour to restore harmony.  If your spouse is upset and isn’t responding as she usually does, then keep trying to win her over.  Understand that she is upset because of your wrongdoing.  Your guilty here, not her!

 

So how shall we solve this issue?

 

To solve our rifts, Allah has mentioned four steps in the Quran.  The first three steps only entail the couple.  The husband and wife should never broadcast their problems and conflicts to others.  This can result in irreparable damage.  Whatever happens at home should remain within the four walls of the home!

 

As for the fourth step, Allah instructs us to get the two immediate families involved, nobody else.

 

Step 1:

  • Talk to each other for God’s sake!

 

Marriage is a relationship just like other relationships, prone to ups and down.  Best friends, brothers, sisters at times seem to be like magnets, yet those dull days are also witnessed, where there is nothing but repulsion!  Marriage is no different!  Yes, marriage is a special relationship, a bond of unshakeable love and affection, but it still has the element of being a ‘relationship’.  Hence, marriage will have its summers and winters just like any other friendship.  We aren’t living in paradise, so don’t expect everything to be perfect!

 

Picture the following:

 

After a long day at work, you arrive home.  You converse with your wife as she serves you food.  You’re eating your favourite meal when all of a sudden….your temper begins to rise…Don’t know who served, but a rally of remarks is underway between you and your spouse!  Both hitting on the volley in an attempt to smash the opponent!  Your spouse is expressing herself and her version of the tale.  Anger courses through her veins, whilst your eyes seem to be rimmed with anger.  Her eyes turn into a sinister glare all the while her mouth thins, your eyebrows furrow.  Voices are raised, smoke seems to be billowing out from your ears and nostrils….STOP!!! Snap out of the scene for a second!

 

This point is the MOST CRITICAL juncture; you can make or break your marriage!  Keep control of yourself here, and you will have somebody making you your eggs and toast in the morning.  If you blow your top off, well, you’d better learn to cook, iron, sweep the floor, wash the dishes etc!

 

You’ve just had a confrontation with your spouse, the atmosphere is sizzling hot!

 

What now? Here are a few options you have:

1. Remain in the same room silently

 

This is not advisable.  Your temper is high, you can easily be provoked into saying or doing something you will cry over for the rest of your life.

2. Leave the room or allow me to say….the boxing ring!

If you are out of the ring, no more punches can be thrown, leaving minor cuts and pains, nothing needing surgery.


Get out of the house, go to the masjid, perform salaah, and repent to Allah the Almighty.  Go for a stroll in a nearby park.  This will help you to calm down and think straight.  Your other half will surely be in tears at home, wishing it didn’t happen.  You both need a few moments apart to think, breath and quite honestly, sob.


To overcome this thorny situation, remember:

  • All the good times you have shared with your spouse.
  • Understand we are all human and have deficiencies.
  • All that she does for you; when you are ill, she tends to your needs, she cooks the most delicious of meals yearning to please you, she is always there to listen to your moaning and groaning.
  • The character of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and how he tackled such state of affairs.

 

3.In the heat of the argument, say you are sorry and give in to whatever your partner feels right

This demands for a man of true bravery and courage.  Despite your anger and systems going haywire, if you pluck the courage to apologise on the spot and agree to your spouse, then surely you deserve a pat on the back!  Even if you know your spouse is wrong, give in to what she says.  Be humble with your spouse, she is a human after all, it is very likely that you could be the criminal in this case!


Once you’re both cool as fridges, make the first move!

The move:

  • Buy her a gift, a rose or even chocolates.  Present this to her with your heart, and she will melt before your eyes.
  • Talk to her about any neutral topic, then later, slip in the ‘hot topic’ and apologise over the whole drama!
  • Display sincere remorse and put the blame on yourself in front of her.
  • Tell her you love her and can’t live without her!

 

Just talk to her!

If we are humble and sincere, then all of our problems and indifferences with our partners will be solved.  Never let a night pass without resolving an issue.  Hopefully, you will not be in need for step 2, as you love your spouse too dearly!  Once again, if the husband played the leading role in the conflict, he should keep practising on step one.  Remember the key principle here is talk!


Step 2

  • Forsake their company in bed

You spoke to your spouse, brought her chocolates, apologised and told her all the sweet things you say to her.  Problem unsolved!  She is persistent in her negligence, unmindful of her duties and oblivious of what you say and do.  Allah the Exalted advises us in such a situation to forsake her company in bed.  We are only instructed to change beds and not rooms. The husband should sleep on different bedding in the same room.  A sleeping bag or something of the sort will be ideal!  If the spouse involved has any dormant feelings for her husband, they will surely be active once again after this step.


Once again, if the husband adopts the character and gentleness of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), then without any doubt, the wife will return to her husband.  Marriage is one of the most beautiful and enchanting features of Islam, but you have to keep working on your marriage to keep it running smoothly and remain beautiful.


Step 3

  • light disciplinary action

The Holy Quran urges husbands to treat their wives with kindness.   In the event of a family dispute, Quran exhorts the husband to treat his wife kindly and not to overlook her positive aspects.  Allah Almighty says,

“Live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good.” (Surah Nisaa (4): verse 19)


It is important that a wife recognises the authority of her husband in the house. He is the head of the household, and she is supposed to listen to him. However, the husband should also use his authority with respect and kindness towards his wife. If there arises any disagreement or dispute among them, then it should be resolved in a peaceful manner.


However, in some cases a husband may use some light disciplinary action in order to correct the moral infraction of his wife.  This is only applicable in extreme cases and it should be resorted to if one is sure it would improve the situation. However, if there is a fear that it might worsen the relationship or may wreak havoc on him or the family, then he should avoid it completely.


The word “strike” is used in the verse, but it does not mean “physical abuse”. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) explained it in Arabic as “dharban ghayra mubarrih” which means “a light tap that leaves no mark”. He further said that face must be avoided. Some other scholars are of the view that it is no more than a light touch by siwak, or a toothstick.


Generally, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to discourage his followers from taking even this measure. He never hit any female, and he used to say that the best of men are those who do not hit their wives. In one Hadith, quoted by Imam Bukhari, he expressed his extreme repulsion from this behaviour and said, “How does anyone of you beat his wife as he beats the stallion camel and then embrace (sleep with) her?”


It is also important to note that even this “light strike” mentioned in the verse is not to be used to correct some minor problem, but it is permissible to resort to only in a situation of some serious moral misconduct when admonishing the wife fails, and avoiding from sleeping with her would not help. If this disciplinary action can correct a situation and save the marriage, then one should use it.  It is the final straw to save the marriage, a detterent.


Step 4

  • Seek help from immediate family

You’ve tried every trick in the books, left no stone unturned, but still no breakthrough.  The issue just can’t be solved.  Despite being under one roof with your spouse, you feel miles apart from her.  In such a dilemma, the Quran instructs us to get a third party involved.


Two arbitrators should be appointed in the following circumstances:

  • If dissension occurs between the two spouses and it is not clear which of the two (if either) is stimulating the discord.
  • if the husband refuses to keep his wife in a proper manner or to set her free in a good way.
  • If the wife refuses to fulfill her rights that Allah has imposed upon her toward her husband, arbitrators should intervene.

 

The jurists also agree that one of the arbitrators should be from the husband’s family and the other from the wife’s family if possible. If that is not possible, other people may be appointed depending on what is in the best interest of those concerned.


Hopefully, through one of the aforementioned avenues, the problem should be solved and you will find your way again.  To highlight once more, gentleness works wonders!

A million dollars can’t buy that which gentleness achieves.

The messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said,

Allah is kind and loves kindness and gives for gentleness what he does not give for harshness nor for anything else.” (Muslim)


In another Hadith, it is reported that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Whenever kindness is in a thing it adorns it, and whenever it removed from anything, it disfigures it.” (Muslim)


He has also been quoted as saying,

“Whoever is deprived of kindness is deprived of all good.”. (Muslim)


Saint Francis De Sales once said,

“When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time. “


Gentleness, love and kindness will extinguish every fire, and in turn will sow fruit bearing results.

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