Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Art of Manliness (or How To Be A Man's Man)

So over the weekend of Jan 11, 2014, I attended a course taught by Sheikh Yahya Ibrahim on Surah Taha. One section near the end of the Surah is where Allah talks about Adam and Eve (peace be upon them). Here, the sheikh gave a small (and highly entertaining) lecture for men, on how to be men, as taught by the best man ever, Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.

Please note that since these are notes from a course, I don't have the sources on me. Mistakes are mine alone and may Allah forgive me. For more details, attend the Muslim DNA course by Sheikh Yahya Ibrahim.

1. When you eat, always eat with her.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would NEVER eat alone. If he was in the city and not on a campaign or war (and even if he was sometimes one of his wives would accompany him), he would ALWAYS eat with one of his wives. This was to show her how much he loved her, that would rather spend time with her than with his other Companions. Even if some other Companions were present, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would invite his wife to sit with him and share the meal.

When the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would have a meal with Aisha (may Allah Be Pleased with her), they would both eat from the same plate and drink from the same cup as each other. What the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would do is, turn the cup where Aisha's lip marks were left and would drink from that side of the cup. He would also make eye contact with her and then drink.

2. Whenever you buy something for yourself, always buy something for her.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would always buy a gift for his beloved wife (the one whose turn it was to be with him) whenever he was in the market. Sometimes he would buy for all his wives; but never did he buy something for himself and not buy something for his spouse.

3. Seat her where you are seated. In other words, make her sit with you.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would make space besides him for his wife to sit. This was even after hijab was enforced (and niqab for his wives). His last moments were spent with his head on the lap of his wife Aisha (may Allah Be Pleased with her). Even though there were men in the room (and his wives' rooms were very small), that did not stop him from asking his wife to be in the room as well, and with him. Your wife's place is not in the kitchen or the basement with the kids while men discuss important things, it's with the men, right by your side.

4. Confide in your wife more than you confide in any one else.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to confide in his wives often, and on important matters. When the Archangel Jibrail first showed up with Surah Alaq, he ran to his wife Khadija (may Allah Be Pleased with her) and it was she who comforted him (and thus became the first Muslim). Nineteen years later, when the stunned, shocked and dismayed Muslims at Hudaibiyah, flabbergasted at the peace treaty signed, refused to move after the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) ordered them to shave the hair on their heads, he turned to his wife Umm Salamah (may Allah Be Pleased with her) for advice. And it was she who averted the crisis. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) WOULD NEVER discuss the affairs of his wives with his friends unless there was an emergency situation.

5. When you ask something of her, be prepared to do the same for her.

The seerah and the stories of the scholars are full of how they made themselves look nice and appealing for their wives as they desired the same in return. One scholar, after his day's work, would shower and change his clothes and perfume himself BEFORE he returned home.

... And due to the wives is similar to what is expected of them, according to what is reasonable ... [Quran 2:228]

6. Tell her "I love you" often.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would admit in public his love for his wives. He told Amr ibn Al Aas in the mosque in public that he loves Aisha the most. He would often tell his wives of his love for them, and praise them often. He had nick names for his wives. For example, he would call Aisha as "Aish", and sometimes used to call her "Humairah" which meant "rosy cheeks".

He even had a code language with his wives, as explained by Aisha (may Allah Be Pleased with her) in the Hadith of the Knot.

"How is your love for me?" Aisha, peace be upon her, asked him. Not only did she want to know that he loved her, but how he loved her.

"My love for you is like a knot in a rope." The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) replied. "Strong and secure, the more people pull, the tighter it gets."

Later on, even if the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was in a gathering and Aisha was passing by, she would ask him, to the puzzlement of everyone else, "How is the knot?" And he would smile and reply, "As tight as the day I married you, Aisha."

7. Kiss her.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would kiss his wives. Sometimes he would kiss them on the doorstep of his house as he was leaving for the mosque. Once Umar and Abu Bakr saw him with Saffiyah (may Allah Be Pleased with her) and they averted their eyes and hurried on their way. He then called them back and said, "This is my wife."

8. Be generous with her and her children.

As per this hadith (a saying of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him):

"There are four dinars: a dinar which you give to a poor person, a dinar you give to free a slave, a dinar you spend in the Way of Allah, and a dinar which you spend on your family. The best of them is the dinar which you spend on your family." [Source: Bukhari]

9. When she's wrong, don't hammer her.

As per his advice, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told us that when our wives are wrong, we are to forgive them, and not bring up the point again and again. After the Battle of Badr, his wife Sauda (may Allah Be Pleased with her) made an honest mistake that was almost a minor kufr, yet it was a mistake and immediately the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) excused her and never brought it up again.

10. Pray Together.

Even though the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was tall, and the room he shared with Aisha was so small that he could not prostrate in prayer if she was lying down - and he had to awaken her to complete his Tahajjud prayers - he did not just step out and go to the mosque next door. He would wake her up and they would pray together.

Last, but not the least ...

11. You are happy when your wife is happy, and Allah is happy when your wife is happy.

The logic is simple. The best man, according to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the man who is best to his wife. And Allah is certainly happy with you if you are the best. Therefore, if your wife is happy with you, know that Allah is happy with you.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

How to Bring Someone Up (and then Down) in 30 Seconds

I was showing my wife a picture we took with my phone of my brother and I at RIS.

The Wife: Wow, you look SO MUCH younger (than your brother) in this picture.

Me (beaming because I am actually a decade older): ... well ... *modest cough* I have been working out lately.

The Wife: No, it must be because you are so much shorter than him.

*badum tish*