Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam
13 May 2016
I am fast
approaching the time when I have to call on one of the duties to you. That is,
of passing on to you some of my thoughts on Marriage, which you will be
registering in couple of months’ time in writing. What has prompted me to pen
this is the rising trend of Divorces that beset our young couples. What is
meant for you here is also meant for yours would be Partner. As the saying goes
“what is good for the goose is good for the gander”, so share it.
embark on the main task at hand I have to say this. In the context of you born
as a ‘true blue Aussie’ and your engagement to a Pukka Brit, has the common
element of being the ‘Westernised Brown Muslims’! This is lucky as they say; in
that neither of you will have the hurdle of jumping over the cultural divide
except for your ethnicity.
There is in
London a humble Muslim man elected as Lord Mayor, and there is an Australian
Navy’s Senior Officer Muslim woman Engineer. Many more such people in other
fields are there in both countries that have set the pace. Take them as your
role models in order to be worthy citizens, maintaining your proud ethnic
identities. When all is said and done, unlike our home countries, these
countries do rise above the bigotry and recognise and reward positive
contribution of their citizens of all hues and religions. Let us give them this
Now for the
task in hand. Marriage is a complex issue and young people are left to swim at
the deep end on their own; mainly because of our cultural taboos! Schools do
not brace this subject even in our enlightened western countries.
essentially a legal process to register the union and issue a certificate,
signed by two witnesses, to legitimise and announce your union to the world via
the invited community at reception. In olden days churches in the West took
this responsibility of keeping written records for centuries, that of Births,
Deaths and Marriages. Our mosques have never done such things. Marriage has
nothing to do with organised religion, for we begin every act of ours in God’s
name, without the help of a priest.
attraction is Natural instinct. However among humans it is a huge societal,
legal, cultural and family issue. Unfortunately, rarely treated intellectually!
We think of marriage but never of its long term consequences and never talk of
Divorce-- the flip side of the same coin. We pay more attention to the
suitability for us of choosing a car and its colour than choosing a
I take the liberty to make few points, for you two to ‘consider’ in order to
have a happy marriage--a union of two different adult personalities--who chose
freely to live in companionship of marriage. Aristotle had said “true love is
two different people in one soul.
have picked from lifelong experiences and observations and so as a grandfather
want to share with you, they are:-
· Priorities (Ranking in importance). For
each of us, these form our ‘higher values’ and these must be discussed mutually
to prioritise them before marriage, that is, between engagement and marriage.
To do so there must be an open channel of communication between the two would
· Communication (Frank and open
discussion to impart understanding). This, plus openness to discuss all matters
on equal terms.
· Trust and Respect are the foundation of
a happy marriage and must be established from the very beginning.
· Suppressed and bottled up feelings,
emotions and frustrations are cancers that spread widely over time! Therefore,
for marriage to be a happy union there must be trust, and to be trusted one
must be honest and to be honest be truthful. Therefore, never express your
grievances to your partner out of context, years later and in public. This is
insulting and humiliating, besides it is cowardly and mean. It puts the partner
at a disadvantage!
immediate but timely expression of grievance in private produces far happier
outcome. Be sensitive to each other’s body language and the tone of voices.
Brace the subject with love and affection at the first private opportunity.
· Never take the other for granted; that
is, assume that the other being your committed partner will automatically go
along with your decisions. Each of us has an “ego”. The feeling that ‘I am
being taken for a ride’ generates victimhood and in time it expresses
negatively. I learnt this late in life!
· Sharing mutual interests and likes
makes a happy marriage. The saying goes that ‘those who play together stay
· Intense and Opposite dislikes ruin
partnership, particularly if they conflict with our values. Accepting them for
the sake of staying in the bondage of marriage is a self-imposed and long-time
imprisonment that must be avoided.
· Divorce, if unfortunately is
inevitable; it must take place amicably, with equal rights to both. The process
is the same as marriage, that is, to be followed according to the “law of the
land”. (I wonder why families do not
invite at least a few dozen people to announce the Divorce!)
· Weightier issues such as: living and
caring for parents, living in extended family, one’s career, family size,
marriage across religious and cultural divide and income sharing are just a few
very important ones also.
commonly called Mehar/Hadia, is given before marriage to the Bride by
the groom (4.4). The dowry/Jahez demanded by the Groom’s side is
happier married-life each partner must make a list, and both must discuss
seriously all the issues before committing to marriage. Acknowledged by both,
minor compromises can be made to make the partnership happy. And that is where
maturity comes in.
is marriage for a mature, educated and enlightened person like you?
It is a
commitment for Partnership declared in public, based on Equality, and Equity.
Equality means equal-half share but Equity is the strength of one making up for
the weakness of the other. The shortfall may be physical, biological,
educational, intellectual, financial etc. It is that going one step further
called willing sacrifice- but not like a lamb to the slaughter house!
Happy Marriage These Are Also the Essentials:-
· Marriage is an “Honourable commitment”
and a Contract of coexisting of two ‘adults’ mature woman and man. Adult means
a person physically grownup, capable of withstanding the physical rigors of
married life and mature (Baaligh) means mentally and emotionally
developed to comprehend the responsibilities of Commitment and the commitment
honourably made. Marriage is more; it is a moral as well as ethical obligations
undertaken by two compatible people. Hence the legal Registration.
compatibility (capable of coexistence) then? There was an English song in my
days—“love and marriage go together like horse and carriage”. Rather simply put
but when you think of it, it sums up the entire reality, design, mechanics and
dynamics of the whole package in order to have a smooth safe and happy ride,
even on rough patches. Everything has to be perfectly compatible, matched and
strongly constructed and pleasantly decorated for the journey!
· Family, friends and foes too, all play
important part in the Union of two people. This is a very important issue,
unless one lives on an isolated island. The saying goes that ‘human being is a
social animal’. So Shared friendship of friends and relatives and common
interest are joys of marriage. We of the older generation have inherited the
pagan genes of disputes. You must discard them and attempt to keep balanced
relationships with all!
· Finally, as in any consultative
partnership one has to be a senior partner within accepted and just limits of
equality. This is common sense.
both mature, educated and enlightened modern people, more so than my generation
was. Our ‘rough-rides’ were somewhat smoothed over by our sense of loyalty and
of obligations to each other, family, society and even so called ‘religion’.
They were not with any understanding, for we had no idea what psychology was.
With you it is different in that you are-- God bless you, more mature to put in
perspective the demands of ‘honour and self-respect’ – the ego. I am endowed
with dignity 17-70-should be your motto in life, taken from Quran.
consultative marriage-partnership is a joyous life. The romance of unexpected
small gestures made with heart and a smile and reciprocated heartily takes it
beyond the limits of ordinary life.
remember, an insulting word said even in jest can break a heart; the meanest
phrase in the English language is “let bygone be bygone”, it is pure
selfishness. Avoid the situation where
any of you would have to say that.
I thank God
for the capacity to have made it to this day. So my dear, I hope you accept
this wedding gift.
HAPPY, HAPPIER AND HAPPIEST MARRIED LIFE
A regular contributor to New Age Islam, Rashid
Samnakay is a (Retd.) Engineer
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