According to a recent report released by an official UK organisation, National Statistics, there were 153,399 divorces in 2004 in England and Wales (that’s around 420 per day). I personally believe that in many of these cases it may have been due to four main reasons. Firstly, the marriage may not have been based on love and attraction but merely on worldly matters e.g. for wealth and status. Secondly, the ignorance of the couples’ responsibilities and duties towards one other. Thirdly, the ignorance of the psychological and physiological differences between both genders which will consequently lead to the ignorance of how to deal with each other. And finally, the lack of respect towards the institution of marriage itself, due to the fact that in some societies people fail to understand its importance and benefits.

Muslims believe that Allah (Almighty-God, in Arabic) created both men and women from one soul i.e. one origin. This was done so that they will find tranquility, love, and compassion between each other : “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect” [Quran 30:21]. In Islam, marriage covers and regulates all needs in the couple, e.g. the spiritual, mental, physical needs including the sexual pleasures, not only for procreation but also for legitimate enjoyment.

Marriage is a social necessity, because only through marriage stable families are established. History has proven beyond doubt that, in spite all socio-economic differences and political changes mankind has witnessed, the family has been, is, and always will be the fundamental building unit of all societies. It was also prescribed for the continuation of the human race in this life “And He it is Who has made you successors in the land ” [Quran 6:165].

As humans, we tend to imitate other people in aspects where they appear to be successful. So for example, if a person wants to get wealthy he or she will try to read the history of a millionaire and follow their footsteps etc. The same is also true if one wants to have a successful marriage. You would agree with me that we should follow people who were successful in their marriages. Not only that, they should also be successful in other aspects of life. Michael Hart in his book , The 100, studied the history of 100 of the most influential people in history and ranked them from the highest to the lowest. He said: “My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels”

So, how did this noble Prophet deal with his spouse and what were his techniques? Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) has said to his male companions : “The best among you are those who are kindest to their wives” Among his advice was to spend quality time with each other, to counsel each other, to play games with each other etc. Aisha, his beloved wife, when asked about his home life, was reported to have said : “He was in the service of his family” The Prophet also used to sew his clothes, mend his sandals, and do other household chores. This great Prophet made sure that he would always be clean, Aisha has said : “The first thing the Prophet would do before entering his home is to brush his teeth (with a sewak)”. This sewak is the precursor to the toothbrush, a small stick typically made from the twigs of the Salvadora persica tree grown in the Middle East, as well as other trees. Scholars have taken from this, the first thing the Prophet did when he saw his wife is to kiss her and he wanted to have a nice breath while doing so. People often have unrealistic ideas about their spouse-to-be, expecting perfection in all aspects, but this is not the reality. Prophet Muhammad told his companions not to have any malice against their wives, because if there is something about her he does not like, he will find several characteristics which he will like, and the same could be said vice-versa.

In addition to this, his blessed companions have also left a legacy that if we take it on board we will be successful as well. Omar, the Prophet’s second successor, was once approached by a woman wanting a divorce. Consequently, Omar asked to see her husband and once he saw him Omar knew what the problem was. He saw that her husband had a rough and unkempt appearance. He then ordered for her husband to clean himself up, wear clean clothes, comb his hair etc. This man came back to Omar with his wife present and she didn’t recognise him! Thus the problem was solved and the marriage was saved. Another of the Prophet’s companions by the name of Abu-thar advised his wife by saying: “If you see me angry try to calm me down and if I see you angry I should do the same otherwise we won’t be friends.” Also Ibn Abbas, another companion and great student of the Prophet said: “Verily, I like to dress up for my wife (nicely) as I like for her to dress up for me”

These are some of the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) and obviously there are many more which I don’t have the opportunity to list all of them here. So instead, I would like to ask you to have a look at his biography and study it thoroughly to achieve a joyful and content life in this world and in the afterlife “Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the last day and remembers Allah much” [Quran 33:21].

Abdullah Al-Qenaei