The Raw Reality of Marriage

When I first got married, I was just in love with the idea of love. 

 I thought it would be many things: lovely, romantic, fun, just downright enjoyable all the time. We were trained to think that things would be rainbows and butterflies… too much TV and Indian movies. But like the rest of the song goes.. it’s compromise that moves us along. The problem is, most people put marriage up on an extremely high pedestal, up there with Paradise and sorts. It’s not, Paradise is Paradise for a reason – there are no trials. Marriage is in this world so naturally it’s going to be full of trials, screw ups, full of times to repent, to get better, to get closer to Allah – that is why it is half our faith. Pre-marriage life was a cinch compared to the trials of marital life.

Looking back (going on our 8th year of marriage Alhumdulillah), I see that our marriage went through 3 distinct phases. 1) The Honeymoon Phase, 2) Conflict Phase, and 3) a slow Path to Tranquility. Amazingly, as I started studying the Quran more, I heard an amazing piece about “order” of words in the Quran, and all of a sudden the ayah that was so oft-used at marriage ceremonies started to make more sense about the 3 phases of my marriage.


Allah says in the Quran,

وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا

وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you love and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought. (Surah Ar-Rum: 21)

Nothing about the Quran is “random” so there had to be a reason that Allah put mawaddah-love before rahmah-mercy, and the fact that he put “tranquility” as the goal (the ل in لتسكنوا connotes that “sakeenah” or tranquility is the goal/objective).

Indeed, in my own marriage, I saw these three phases pan out exactly as mentioned in the ayah:

1) “Mawaddah” Love – Honeymoon Phase:

Immediately after marriage – I’m on cloud 9, it’s like a high. I love everything about being married, having a husband, a companion. We are perfect, life is perfect. In the beginning of marriage, love is the first emotion. It attracts you to the other person, and you are overcome by this feeling of love. In this phase, you’re absolutely in love with the idea of love. You so badly want to be married and happy that you overlook any flaws that your spouse could possibly have. I mean, you never had a spouse, so everything is new, amazing, real.

2) “Rahmah” Mercy -Conflict Phase:

A few months in – what ON EARTH is going on? From cloud 9 it plummets down to the depths of the earth. We are smacked back into the real world and we hit the ground running – work, school, finances, the responsibility of another person, clash of cultures, different points of views. This is the conflict phase.

Nobody said this was going to happen. Why do we fight all the time? Why does he hate everything I do? Why do I hate everything about him? Why is everything so wrong? No one said it was going to be like this. I hate everything, I just want to go home…

This was the first one to two years. Statistically, researchers say that the first 1-2 years of marriage are the most critical. It sets the foundation for the rest of your marriage. This is where that much needed mercy comes in. After the high of love dies down, reality strikes and we start seeing each other’s flaws. Mercy and patience is the only thing that helps you through this phase.

In phase 2, it starts falling apart. You notice their flaws, and the things you thought you could change are not changing. And they expect more from you than you ever expected to give. The small fights, then the big ones… and themarriage is so new, you still don’t even know how to fix things. You have to learn it all by yourselves.

Naturally, two people who have lived their entire lives independently, in their own ways, can’t just in one quick swoop be able to harmonize. It takes a lot of time, a lot of fail, trial and error, and a lot of tears. The reason it starts plummeting down is because you’re forcing harmony into two separate entities, and the pain of that harmonization is terrible. But without pain there is no gain.

3) “Sakeenah” A Path to Tranquility:

Alas, There IS light at the end of the tunnel. But it requires WORK. Slowly, you start picking up on the things that are important. Like, the things you won’t be able to change, the way things have to be done even if you don’t want to. He starts picking up on that too. You have to give time and LOTS LOTS LOTS of care to a marriage. It doesn’t just flow. It requires hard work.

Baby steps, we’re getting there. We come to accept that we are two different individuals with different lives, and we have to start figuring out a way to harmonize. We’ve climbed out of our deep caves, up onto the green grass, looking up at the skies… we know we never really can go back to cloud 9, but we aim for it. We stick around clouds 3 through 6, sometimes higher, sometimes lower. We’ve accepted this, because it is happiness, and we know that slowly, very slowly it is building up.

Alhumdulillah, now, almost 8 years in, I feel likeIS a lot of the things I thought it was going to be in the beginning. No, not all at once. It’s certainly not romantic 100% of the time, nor is it all fun and games. But it CAN be, at some moments. You can get back to cloud 9 at times, but you really have to work at it. It may not last more than 1 day, 1 hour, 1 minute, but the potential is there if you work it right.

The Prophet (S) said, “Marriage is half of your faith” and I never truly understood that until after I got married. Yes, it gives you experiences you’ve never had in the first part of your life – love of a spouse, protection, security, a BFF for life, eventually children, a family of your own. But I feel like it’s also called “half your faith” because it tests you in ways you’ve never been tested before: patience, anger, responsibility, knowing how to stay silent, not being selfish.

How amazing is Allah, that He knows so well the ins and outs of His creation. He knows that “love” is what starts it all, it’s what brings us together initially. He also knows that “love” can’t sustain a relationship alone, and so “mercy” is needed when the problems start occuring. But He reassures us and encourages us to seek the path of “tranquility” after realizing that a balance of these two is what makes things work.

May Allah bless all of our marriages, Ameen!

Safiya Ravat graduated with a degree in Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh and Usul al Fiqh) from the International Islamic University of Malaysia, as well as a Journalism degree from the University of Houston. She and her husband live in Dallas, TX where they are working under the Bayyinah Foundation. Full bio here. Follow them for more videos and posts on Facebook at Mahad and Safiya.

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The scholars’ 2 OPINIONS:

-The junub (sexually impure person after intercourse) is told explicitly in the Quran (Nisa: 43) not to stay in the masjid. And the junub, by analogy, is similar to the menstruating women because they both have an impurity that requires ghusl.
– Rasulullah (S) said to tell all women (menstruating and not) to come to the Eid prayer, but he said “let the menstruating women avoid the prayer place.”
-Rasulullah (S) in said, “The mosque is not permitted for menstruating women or anyone who is in a state of janabah (sexual impurity).”

(minority opinion held by Ibn Hazm, Al-Muzani a scholar of the Shafi’I madhab, Dawud Ad Dhaahiri, and modern day scholars such as Shaykh Yusuf al Qardawi and others)

-The hadeeth mentioned above (“The mosque is not permitted for menstruating women or anyone who is in a state of janabah (sexual impurity).”) was classed as da’eef (weak) by Shaykh al-Albaani as well as other scholars, so it is not permissible to make a ruling of fiqh based on a weak hadth.
– The ayah talking about the junub cannot be applied to the menstruating women because they are not analogous.
When Aisha is on her period during Hajj, Rasulullah (S) told her “do everything but don’t do tawaf of the kabah” which indicates she could stay at the Kabah and do worship, dua, etc.
-A slave woman who was freed set up a tent and lived in the masjid. And Umm Mihjaan (the caretaker of the masjid) would regularly take care of the masjid, and was not told to avoid it during menses.
-Therefore, these scholars are of the opinion that if it were really impermissible for a woman to not stay in the masjid, there would be an authentic direct hadith or ayah about it, as women around the messenger regularly had their period. The evidences brought by the majority are not strong enough to make it haram upon her to stay in the masjid.


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Did you know that the wives of the Prophet (S) traveled together WITHOUT a Mahram from Madinah to Makkah to make Hajj?

In short – there are two opinions on the matter. 1) No, she has to have a Mahram. 2) Yes, she can, as long as her safety can be ensured, and that she uses safe public transportation where others are around.


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Rasulullah (S) said “Whoever fasts during the month of Ramadan and then follows it with six days of Shawwal will be (rewarded) as if he had fasted the entire year.” [Muslim]


2 Opinions of the scholars:

1) NO, FINISH RAMADAN FASTS FIRST: Some scholars, amongst them the Hanbalis, say that one must finish the obligatory fasts of Ramadan first before you do any other voluntary fast, as obligations are more important than voluntary fasts and because the Hadith says “Whoever FASTS Ramadan and follows it up with 6 of shawal…” indicating one must finish all 29/30 of Ramadan first and foremost. Some of this group say, if one cannot do all of Ramadan make up fasts in Shawal, then they can complete their 6 Shawal in the next month (Dhul Qa’dah).

The other opinion of scholars (amongst them the Hanafi, Shafi, Maliki madhhab) is that the obligation of finishing off Ramadan is an obligation that is given an extended amount of time to fulfill. So since it is given a wide time of 11 months to finish the Ramadan fasts, it should NOT be limited to finishing them off in the very next month (shawal). Shawal is a limited amount of time, and Ramadan is given a long time, and therefore it would be permissible to fast 6 shawal first as long as the Ramadan fasts are accomplished throughout the next 11 months. This is from the mercy of Allah in giving us a long time to make up all the Ramadan fasts.

The precedence that we have in the seerah, is that of Aisha (R) who said that she regularly made up her Ramadan fasts in the month of Shaban, which is the month right before Ramadan. But it is also known that she did many voluntary fasts throughout the year. Scholars conclude that she thererfore saw it acceptable to do voluntary fasts, EVEN though the Ramadan make up fasts had not been completed yet.

It is also very difficult for women to make up Ramadan fasts (maybe 7-8 days) & finish shawal (another 6 days) within one month – because obviously her menses will come (maybe 7-8 days). That almost requires her to fast another WHOLE month minus her period just to accomplish Shawal. And that is definitely a great difficulty.

**Majority of scholars say you cannot combine Shawal and Ramadan make up fasts with one intention. They should be separate intentions and separate days.

NOTE: Know yourself! If you find it difficult to make up your fasts, PRIORITIZE Ramadan fasts over Shawal fasts, because an obligation is like a debt!

May Allah allow us all to fast the 6 of Shawal to get the reward of an entire year! Ameen


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RECITING QURAN – there are 2 opinions:
1) She CANNOT read/recite the Quran.
Most scholars prohibit women from touching the Quran based on the hadith “The menstruating woman and the one who is in a state of sexual impurity (janaabah) should not recite anything of the Qur’aan.”

2) She CAN read/recite the Quran.
This is the opinion of Ibn Taymiyyah, ibn Qayyim, Imam Malik, Bukhari, and one opinion of Imam Ash Shafii as well as many other scholars. Their argument is that the hadith mentioned above is Daeef (weak). In fact, the hadith is considered weak by almost all scholars of Hadith and therefore cannot be used in order to make a fiqh ruling. So women may recite or read the Quran, either from memory or from the Quran mushaf (book) itself.


Scholars of fiqh agree that someone who is not purified CANNOT touch the Quran because Allah says in the Quran “None shall touch it except the purified” (Waqiah: 79). This includes the junub (sexually impure), the menstruating woman, as well as someone without wudhu.

So how can she read the Quran?
1) Use a barrier (glove, towel, pen) so that her hand doesn’t directly touch the Quran
2) Read it off of a tablet or phone as these are not considered the Quran, but rather devices that have the Quran in them.
3)Read a book which has Tafseer/translation in it – as that is not considered the Quran mushaf (book) either. Even if it contains the Arabic, if half is tafseer/translation, it is permissible for an impure person to hold.


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Q:If you fast all day, and your period starts a few minutes before Maghrib, do you have to make that day up?
A: Yes.

Q: If I didn’t make up all my fasts before next Ramadan, what do I do?
A: If you had no excuse, you have to pay the penalty, Fidya as well as make them up later. (Fidya: feeding a poor person a full day’s meal per day that you missed).

Q: Do pregnant and breastfeeding women have to fast?
A: They are exempt if they fear for themselves or the baby. However, if they feel well enough, they can fast, after consulting a doctor.

Q: How do pregnant/nursing moms make up those fasting days if they have years of make ups?
A: There are multiple opinions of scholars:
1- make them all up over the years (majority opinion)
2- pay the fidya only (opinion of Ibn Abbas and Ibn Umar (R))
3- pay the fidya AND make them up over the years

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4 days ago

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Islamic Society of Greater Houston
Under the Care of the Most Merciful with Safiya Ravat
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We hope you’ll join us today for our next inspiration
series talk:
“Under the Care of the Most Merciful”
with Safiya Ravat
Watch live at 6pm CST!
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2 months ago

Suhbah Institute

Alhumdulillah, Day 1 of Suhbah Institute Seminary
11 months Part Time Quranic Arabic and Islamic Studies is underway!

May Allah bless all of our students, our teachers, our volunteers, and our community for supporting us. Ameen
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2 months ago

Suhbah Institute

So blessed to be a part of the newly established Houston Imam’s Association (HIA), Alhumdulillah! A forum for Houston Imams and female Religious Clergy to meet, exchange ideas, grow, unite, solve local needs and issues, and help one another. This has been a long time coming, and grateful to be here at the onset!

Thank you to Minaret Foundation for bringing us all together. And especially grateful for the organizers and Imams who through a majority vote, added a clause to the bylaws which allows female religious clergy (i.e. masjid Religious Directors) to be members of this esteemed group.

May Allah bless this effort and make it a means of unity for our community. Ameen!Great news Houston! We’re happy to announce that as of yesterday the Houston Imam’s Association is officially launched. Since June, our organization, Minaret Foundation, has led an effort along with steering committee members Danish Hasan, Salman Ghani, and Arsalan Safiullah to create a focused platform just for Imams.

Imams involved in the formation phase are:

Imam Waleed Basyouni, Clear Lake Islamic Center
Imam Basem Hamid, Shadow Creek Islamic Center
Imam Muhammad Nisarul Haq, ASIA Center
Imam د. رحابي محمد, Woodlands Islamic Center
Imam Ahmad Khan, Maryam Islamic Center
Imam Daniel Hernandez, Pearland Islamic Center
Imam Qasim Ibn Ali Khan, Masjid at-Tawhid
Imam Ra’ed Alrousan, Tajweed Institute
Imam Hamzah Ghia, Islamic Center of Klein
Imam Eiad Soudan, Masjid Bilal
Imam Hyder Al Janabi, Masjid Istiqlal
Imam Ahmad Shaheed, Masjid Al-Quran
Imam Abdurrahman Adesokan, Masjid ul-Mumineen
Imam Zahid Abdullah, Quba Institute
Imam Nessar Ahmad, Masjid Hamza
Imam Ahmad Siddiqi, Kingwood Islamic Center
Imam Hafiz Furqaan Sayed, Masjid Abu Bakr
Imam Mohammad Siddiqui, Humble Islamic Center
Imam Kassim Balla, Tajweed Institute
Imam Mohammed ElFarooqui, Baytown Islamic Center
Imam Akbar Syed, Masjid al-Ahad

The Houston Imam’s Association will also have a committee for women who are employed within the same capacity:

Ustadha Safiya Ravat, Maryam Islamic Center

From the bylaws: The Houston Imams Association (HIA) serves as the Imams voice in the Houston Muslim community and the Greater Houston area. HIA’s areas of focus will be advocacy, community education, and professional development, and will help guide the Houston Muslim community in making decisions based on Islamic knowledge and values.

Pictures below are from our meeting in September and yesterday. Thanks to our generous hosts at Islamic Relief and CAIR, and our original steering committee members Hajra Syed Rahman, Ahmad Shaheed, and Arslan Tajammul.

Look for news of a launch event soon insha’Allah!
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This past Ramadan, the community showed a lot of generosity and helped us raise enough funds to grant 15 scholarships for #SuhbahSeminary.