I asked my daughter about how to give advice to someone contemplating marriage across cultural/religious lines.
She wrote back some good pointers and added this link:
It triggered some memories and my struggle in life. So here are some of my thoughts on the subject, hope you too put on your thinking cap and comment on it:
ADVICE FROM ELDERS; SOUGHT? Hmmmm……rarely now and rarely in the past too:)
Dear S, Asalaam o alaikum!
I enjoyed the article you sent me, it reminds me of exactly what I read when I was in my early twenties and had freshly graduated from medical school and thought I knew everything and that my elders were dinosaurs. Here are my thoughts on the subject.
This article comments on how nowadays people mostly seek peer advice. This is partially true. Though we do seek advice from our peers, it is when advice from peers fails miserably, lands us into even greater trouble, or is out of context with our Deen that we turn to our elders. In my case my mother was a fount of wisdom as was Khalaji.
The wisdom of our elders came not only from experience in life but was enriched by our Deen and its practice. Beyond our elders we always had the example of our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the mothers of the Believers, a hidden secret that could be tapped anytime, I felt I needed to.
When leaving for the States your Nano gave me some advice. She said:
” All inhibition to indulge in what Allah has forbidden must come from inside you. Even if no one is there, Allah is watching you!”
This has helped me with decision making in my life in many stages, but only because I had some semblance of idea of what Allah has forbidden.
The wild card nowadays is:
“Desire and the absolute unquestioned freedom to follow it”
Anyone or everyone who wants to redefine what Allah has forbidden rationalizes it to refit it in according to their desires and rewrite or “work around” the intent of the command.
The best example in the Quran that helps me when I want to do that (and I did for many years with hijab) is that of the commandment in the Torah for the Jews.
In the Torah Allah Subhanawataala commanded that the Jews must not do business/work for a living on the Sabbath…………..so what did they do? Their business was fishing, so they set their nets to catch fish on Friday night and gathered the fishes on Sunday morning, rationalizing that they really were not doing business or working during the Sabbath.
Allah Subhanawataala gives this example in the Quran to us to beware of disobeying the intent of His commands by rationalizing them by time, place and circumstance. He (Subhanawataala) says his commands (there are only a few absolute commands) are for all times, circumstances and for all people.
The article does not take into account that we do not live in a closed box by ourselves. We have to consider the circle of rights of human beings (Huqooq al ebad) as defined in the Quran (Surah Baqara), which creates harmony in society.
These include the rights of human beings on each other, parents, spouses, relatives, neighbors, other human beings, needy people etc. We are accountable to Allah Subhanawataala for fulfilling them in the most honorable manner and we will be questioned about them on the Day of Judgment.
Thus as Muslims just like medical students, while everyone is having “FUN” we remain in a state of “delayed gratification”.
We consciously endeavor to obey the “rules” in this life of 75-85 years even if we do not like them, thus opting for harmony, peace and beauty in the Eternal Life of the Hereafter.
Thus when someone is considering marrying across the the religious domain, one has to remember what sows potential harmony in a marriage relationship.
when one marries a Muslim it levels the conjugal playing field, each partner enters the game of love, marriage, children, work and pursuit of happiness with uniform rules.
Any injustice that happens during this time is evaluated in the light of the uniform rules designated by Allah and are corrected using the same rules.
If the conjugal field remains filled with strife or injustice and appears uncorrectable despite effort of people who love and care for the couple and fear Allah then Allah Subhanawtaala gives leave to dissolve the union and make another one with a righteous God-fearing person who will abide by these rights.
Finally I think the song that you and Tariq used to listen and while you thought it was a stalker it used to remind me of my mother’s words:
“Remember Allah is watching (over) you!”
The opening lines of this song describe the life of a Muslim:
Every breath you take, every move you make I am watching you, except this time it is not some creepy person it is Allah Subhanawataala who is watching you not only your mistakes but also when you ask for help.
He (Subhanawataala ) is also watching you like a mother watches her child approaching a hot stove. Every time you stray (towards the hot stove) from the Straight path, He (Subhanawataala) gently picks you up out of harms way and places you back on on the path to happiness………….. You only have to ask Him!
Allah knows best.