Marital Discord - book cover darussalamAbdullah bin Masud raa said : ” Artisans such as he were known to work during the night, so that if sleep overcame him, he would only wake up upon the rising of the sun. His situation is equivalent to one who is overcome by habit, one who is not able to wake up and not one who refuses to wake up, which is why – through Allah`s kindness to his slaves and the Prophet`s kindness to his nation – The Prophet (pbuh) said: ” So when you wake up, O Safwan, then pray”. Hence Safwan`s situation was similar to a person who becomes unconscious and cannot subsequently wake up. And perhaps this only occurred to Safwan raa sometimes – for example, when he had no one nearby to wake him up.

“Let no woman mix with another woman and then describe that woman to her husband, so that it is as if he is looking at her (so vivid or stimulating is her description). (Sahih, Bukhari, Abu Dawud).

The wisdom behind this prohibition is that a man might become fascinated by the woman being described, so that one things lead to another until he divorces his wife or succumbs to temptation by trying to meet and then seduce the woman who was being described to him.

A woman might, naively, describe a woman she met, having been impressed by her character and her beauty. Since she struck up a friendship with that woman, she is excited to tell her husband all about her, telling him more and more after each meeting. Sadly, she does not realize that, at times, the heart precedes the eyes in the process of falling in love. She might have loving relationship with her husband, and then suddenly things being to change between them, but she doesn`t know why. Then, finding an opening through which to attack, the shaitan (the devil) intervenes to complete the destruction of their family. Shaitan plants the idea of trying to see that woman in the mind of the husband, and a willing victim that he is, he loses no opportunity to see her and, if possible, speak to her. Not only that, but he tries to find out as much as he can about her, including her marital status, her age – and her address. Shaitan helps him constantly strike up an image of her in his mind`s eye, so that even when he is with his wife in bed, he is imagining her. Then he begins to hate his wife, and since he needs an excuse in order to get rid of her, he finds ways to fight with her and to ascribe evil qualities to her in front of others. This all began when his wife described the beauty of another woman to him. He might have children, but no matter, he is falling to a lower and lower depths, life becomes more and more unbearable. Because of financial or psychological or societal concerns, he does not outright tell his wife that he is in love with the other woman. Having to bottle up his feelings, he finds ways to create problems that work to undo the stability of his family.

Nor is it permissible in the shariah for a man to describe his wife to others. At-Tijani reported the following narrative in Tuhfatul Arus. Ma`bad As-Saliti had a beautiful wife named Hamidah. One day, Ma`bad recieved orders to join the army that was headed towards Khurasan. He left and at some point during his journey, he spoke to his companions about his wife`s beauty and about how much he loved her so much, that he considered disobeying the ruler and fleeing from the army in order to return home. Having heard Ma`bad`s description, a man named Hut bin Sinan, began to have feelings for Ma`bad`s wife. He said to Ma`bad “I want to go to Basrah (which is where Ma`bad lived). Ma`bad said, “Then I will write a letter and give it to you, so that you can give it to hamidah”. When Hut arrived at Basrah, he hastened to Hamidah`s home with her husband’s letter. Intent as he was to see her, he refused to give it to anyone (such as a servant), saying, “I will not hand it to anyone other than her”. She then appeared before him, and he spoke to her. Some of the feelings of lust that mingled in his heart began to mingle in hers. It is  needless to say that temptation increased as he visited her on a frequent basis, until finally, they ran away together. Their whereabouts remained unknown for an entire year. Then some of her family saw her and learned that she had conceived a baby. News of her situation spread and she was apprehended by a ruler. After being taken into custody, and after her guilt been established, Hamidah was stoned to death for the crime of adultery.

(Extracts taken out of the book “Marital Discord – Causes and Cures).

There are two very important lessons to take out from this chapter in the book. One is woman should not mention anything about their female friends to their husbands, and husbands should not mention anything about their wife to their male friends, to decrease temptation that later can lead to a broken marriage. May Allah help the Ummah.