Every prospective married couple aims to live happily ever after. But many do not anticipate the challenges that come with maintaining a marriage. Two esteemed Ulema participated in a panel discussion, on this topic.
Moulana Taahir Amod stated that "as a believer, we can make our marriages happy if we do things correctly". He mentions that nowadays happily ever after is often depicted in the media by having the best of material possessions. However, this is not reality. He emphasized that " marriage is a very important union, and we should go into it with the aim of pleasing Allah (SWT)". A person has to prepare for the ups and downs before he/she enters into marriage. Adequate preparation includes seeking advice from elders and ulema. Marriage is like a journey. Just as one prepares for a journey, so to should one prepare for marriage. A Mu'min's destination in marriage is the pleasure of Allah (SWT) and transportation is your Deen. It is possible to have a good marriage but one should not look at how the media portrays it, as it causes unrealistic expectations in a marriage. However, if you follow the Deen of Allah (SWT), then Allah (SWT) will give you blessings in your marriage. Your happily ever after will only come, if Allah (SWT) is happy with you.
One of the questions raised in the discussion was, "are senior relatives doing enough to prepare the youth for marriage?" Moulana Muhammed responded, "the youth need to educated about marriage and what it entails". Ways of ensuring this include, sending young people for pre-marriage counselling conducted by a scholar or alim who deals with marital issues. This will help them understand the concept of marriage better. He emphasised that "marriage involves compromise and one should go into it with the right mindset". By educating the youth, we will help them understand the possible challenges they may face and learn ways of coping with such issues, instead of giving up.
During the discussion, it was mentioned that dating has become a norm in our community, but we all need to be reminded that this goes against the teachings of our Deen and that it is completely impermissible. Moulana Taahir Amod stated that “the greatest obstacle between a person and Allah (SWT) is an illicit relationship because it draws your attention away from Allah (SWT)”. We as Muslims are instructed in the Quran to not commit Zina. Dating is a great deception from Shaytaan - false hopes and aspirations are linked to it.
Another question raised in the discussion was, "does a pre-marital relationship with a person have a negative effect on the marriage or either spouse?" To which Moulana Muhammed responded, “the bigger question is how can parents allow this?” He elaborated that when a couple spends time together before marriage, it makes their marriage less exciting as they have already experienced the novelty of being together. A pre-marital relationship is not an Islamic concept, it is completely impermissible. Moulana explained that many couples spend time together prior to marriage, under the pretext, “but we are going to get married." The fact that they are going to get married months later, allows them to do impermissible things. Instead, when you find the right person you should not delay the marriage. Just as we do not delay a janaazah and salaah, one should not delay marriage.
Lastly, the Moulanas were presented with the question, "when is a person ready to get married?" Moulana Taahir mentioned, “a person has to have a certain level of maturity before getting married”. The higher the level of Deen in a person, the higher the level of maturity. Marriage includes varying responsibilities including taking care of the household and ensuring that the Deen is upheld within the home. Moulana Muhammed explained that if you follow your Deen correctly it will result in maturity and understanding which allow you to compromise and have a successful marriage. Maturity plays a vital role, and generally, it is the parents who will know when their offspring are mature enough to enter into a marriage.
The discussion concluded that before one enters into a marriage one should be mature enough to understand their responsibilities as a Muslim and include making Deen (salaah and tilawaat of the Quraan) the priority in their homes.