A Witness to Your Life

Green waterfall and stream

By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

When seeking a marriage partner, remember, a husband or wife is not just some pretty face that you get to admire or possess, or show off to your friends. This person is not a checkbook, a status symbol, a servant, or a household maid. This is not someone that you’ll see for a few minutes each day after work, and take to dinner parties.

You could marry someone only for looks or status then find yourself miserable, harped on, arguing every day, lonely within your marriage, or abused. All you rich and attractive people don’t take offense – you might be perfectly lovely and sweet – I’m just saying that appearance, wealth and lineage are no guarantee of happiness, and if you focus on those factors to the exclusion of the soul, then you will likely find yourself mismatched, brokenhearted and forlorn.

A spouse is someone you abide with for the rest of your life, even when you are wrinkled and bent. Someone to hold you when you’re sad, to support you when you’re tired, to cool your forehead when you’re sick, to share in your joys, tell jokes and play frisbee with; someone to pray with in the still morning hours, and struggle with to achieve Paradise.

This is someone to be a witness to your life, to know you intimately and recognize your worth as a human being (not that we need someone else to affirm our value – but it’s always nice to be recognized and seen). Someone to love you unceasingly, like a great river, even when you disagree. Someone to see your faults, and keep on loving you.

Make sure your priorities are in order. Look past the surface. Connect with the person’s soul. Find someone who will make you smile, and with whom you will be happy to share this strange journey we call life.

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Article by Wael

Wael Abdelgawad is an Egyptian-American living in Fresno, California. He is the founder of several Islamic websites, including Zawaj.com and IslamicAnswers.com, and also of various technology and travel websites. He is a writer and poet, and has been a web developer since 1997. This project, IslamicSunrays.com, is very dear to his heart, as it has allowed him to express ideas that have growing inside him for many years. Wael is divorced and has one lovely young daughter. He practices and teaches martial arts (somewhat obsessively), and loves Islamic books, science fiction, and vanilla fudge ice cream. Wael is an advocate for human rights and blogs about these issues at AbolishTorture.com. He is also a volunteer with the MyDeen Muslim youth organization in Fresno. Wael tagged this post with: , , , , Read 242 articles by
19 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Zamzam says:

    Do not you think that you are advising people to imagine impossible images of their partners?
    Life is so broad and can accommodate the possible expectations of every human being.

    • wael says:

      I think I am doing just the opposite of what you said. The ones who have impossible images are those who expect a partner who is tall, fair-skinned, works as a physician, comes from a good family, etc. These are ridiculous and meaningless expectations. But it’s entirely reasonable and appropriate to want a partner who is kind, compassionate and loving.

  2. zerin says:

    Assalamualaikum…
    of course it is reasonable to want a partner,who is caring and sufficient to look after us.But according to islam,we cant get close to somebody to know enough of their character,before marriage.It is haram too.Allah has already chose our partners before we know them.And He created us ,as partners from the soul level itself.What needed here is the ability to connect to our soul mates,love and accept them as such.And when we do it,we are surrendering to Allah’s fate.This surrenderance will do the rest.We find a peaceful life with them,in spite of the lacking of our expectations in them.

  3. SI says:

    Unfortunately, only some muslim women understand this and yet so many muslim men don’t.

    And how do you know you’ve met your soul mate?

    Thinking about this on a deeper level (and possibly irrelevant!) what I don’t get, is that if you and your husband are made from a single soul, then what about those people who have divorced and remarried? Did they all come from the same souls?….What about those who practise polygamy? Do they all come from the same souls? Genuinely wondering about this today.

  4. SI says:

    http://www.islamfrominside.com/Pages/Articles/Marriage%20in%20Islam.html

    I’m really not sure but I came across this. Maybe it’s been misinterpreted. Got me thinking that I will need to research this now.

  5. Amy says:

    Salaams,

    I looked at that link you sent SI and it seems like there are different ways to interpret the ayat 7:189- some translations say “created you from one soul” and other translations say “created you from a single person”; and I’m sure there are other translations/meanings even besides those two. In any case, I’m nowhere near a scholar or even a halfway decent student of Qu’ran, but the ayat seems to me to be referring to the creation of all mankind in the form of Adam; and Eve being taken from him. As such they were originally one and became two, but were meant to be with each other to populate earth etc. I could be wrong, but I don’t think this verse means that every married couple came from a specifically separate soul (separate from the rest of humanity, that is) that was dropped into two (or more) physical bodies.

  6. Rebecca says:

    MashaAllah, very beautiful and important points. May Allah (swt) grant all of us spouses that we can give/receive some ease and comfort. Ameen.

  7. zerin says:

    “And among His signs is that “He created mates from among yourselves,so that you may dwell in peace and tranquility,And He put love and mercy between your (hearts).Verily in that there are signs for those who reflect.(30:21) Of course,from this Ayah…this sign..we can affirm that Allah made us marry to our soul mates only.In this Ayah….it is specifically said that “between your “hearts”…that means our true self ,our hearts just as Allah (swt) created… But how many of our hearts are just as Allah created ….we are making it impure day by day with our big and small sins…And thus we lose connections with our soul mates….and thus divorces happen which Allah hates more than anything.Talking about polygamy too.Allah make them marry to their soul mates only ..as He created several souls from a single one.As long as we are our true selves,we will defnitely find peace and tranquility in our married life,both in physical and mental level.Assalamualaikum.

    • Amy says:

      Besides the fact that I don’t see a clear support in the ayat you cited for your assertstion (since “yourselves” can easily mean all of humankind), there still lies the fact that divorce is not the only element that splits a man from his wife. There is death as well, and there certainly have been instances of people who have outlived one, or even two spouses. Based on your theory, who is the true soul mate then? Would you be willing to state that Aisha was any more or less a soulmate to Prophet Muhammad (saws) than Khadijah?

      Please excuse my argumentative nafs, I just am very passionate when I see people taking dunya romanticisms and trying to base them out of spiritual truth, when the two have nothing to do with each other. This is one of the ways misguidance starts.

  8. zerin says:

    Assalamualaikum …for the kind attention of Amy…….when we find more than one interpretations for Ayahs and Hadeeths,,it is best to seek Allah’s Hidayath(Guidance) for an answer.I was so desperate with my married life when i came across this particular Ayah [30:21].This Ayah very much supports the Ayah [7:189].Allah asserts several times in Quran…”verily in that there signs for those who reflect” .Allah has stated this, after this Ayah too.When i reflected on this particular Ayah,my life was changing.So long, i was so desperate with my married life.In that case,i cant say that i am misguided..in fact i am rightly guided.This Ayah was defnitely a sign,a solution and an answer for my problems. According to the Ayah [7:189] which very much supports the Ayah [30:21],Allah (SWT) created a particular set of souls of like nature from a single soul,these souls can be called as soul mates…..like wise He created several other souls of another nature .This is why Quran insisted men and women to restrain glances from each other in order to avoid fitnah(attraction to the opposite sex),as they are likely to meet other soul mates. The real intention of marriage is comprehended only by true hearts.There is defnitely a hidden treasure deep inside every marriage.Only true hearts will have the power to bring forth it..Talking about Prophet Mohammed (saws),Khadeeja (RA),,Aysha (RA),Umm Salmah(RA)[prophet is her second husband just like Khadeeja (RA)]….all are defnitely soul mates of our beloved Prophet(SAWS),according to these Ayahs.

    • Amy says:

      If this were any other venue I would respond with a long post, but out of respect for Wael and the oustanding pieces he shares here I will refrain (though my nafs hisses like an angry kitty!).

  9. Amy says:

    Salaams,

    Who can resist an invitation (dare I say, directive) like that lol?

    Ok first things first. In the original article, the focus is NOT on finding a soul mate. It’s about having the right priorities when looking for a life partner. The only mention of soul in the entire piece is where Wael says, “Connect with the person’s soul”. I don’t believe he was saying (correct me if I’m wrong, Wael) that this means we should look for the one and only person meant for us. It’s saying that we can connect with people on a deeper level, a level of our essential self. The truth is, we can do this with others who are not even potential spouses, current mates, or even of the opposite sex! We can have a connection with people on a “soul level” as friends of even the same gender. We don’t need a “soul mate” to find kindred spirits in friendship or in love.

    The issue of a soul mate didn’t arise here until SI brought it up, sharing an understanding that it meant that a couple is from a single soul separated into two physical bodies. So let’s look into this idea of a soul mate for a bit, shall we? A cursory search on Wikipedia shows the following:
    “In his dialogue The Symposium, Plato has Aristophanes present a story about soulmates. Aristophanes states that humans originally had four arms, four legs, and a single head made of two faces, but Zeus feared their power and split them all in half, condemning them to spend their lives searching for the other half to complete them.
    According to Theosophy, whose claims were modified by Edgar Cayce, God created androgynous souls—equally male and female. Later theories postulate that the souls split into separate genders, perhaps because they incurred karma while playing around on the Earth, or “separation from God.” Over a number of reincarnations, each half seeks the other. When all karmic debt is purged, the two will fuse back together and return to the ultimate.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul_mate)
    Clearly these two examples reflect the idea SI was referring to, and it’s obvious that neither have a place in Islamic belief. Zerin, you are right that we are to “seek Allah’s Hidayath(Guidance) for an answer”. However, here is where we must be careful, because if we are seeking His Hidayath based on our own ideas and assumptions, our own nafsani interpretations and understandings, we take the risk of falling into erroneous belief. That is why when it comes to Aqidah, Islam stresses that we should take knowledge from qualified scholars and teachers, especially when it comes to trying to understand ayats of the Qu’ran.
    So regarding the ayats in question- the first to be mentioned was surah 7:189: “It is He Who created you from a single person, and made his mate of like nature, in order that he might dwell with her (in love). When they are united, she bears a light burden and carries it about (unnoticed). When she grows heavy, they both pray to Allah their Lord, (saying): “If Thou givest us a goodly child, we vow we shall (ever) be grateful.”
    If you look at this ayat in arabic, the words translated as “ from a single person” are min nafsin wahidatin.
    The second ayat (30:21), “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect”, has the arabic words anfusikum azwajan to describe the split of “mates” from “yourselves”.
    What’s important to notice here is that the words anfusikum and nafsin are rooted in the word we commonly refer to as nafs. Now, the meaning of the word nafs is a study unto itself, because it has layers of transliteration. Generally, nafs includes any and all parts of the self: body, personality, psyche, organs, tastes, shortcomings, even one’s soul. However, nafs does not exclusively mean the word “soul”, which in Arabic is one’s ruh. So clearly, to take these ayats as a support for the idea of a soul mate as you described would be incorrect. If they were meant that way, the word in these ayats would have some derivative of the word “ruh” in them instead of from the word nafs. It seems to be that the point these ayats were trying to make over all was that “from one came many”, and this again seems to refer back to the creation of all mankind in Adam.
    Zerin, of course when we read Qu’ran (or it’s translation) sometimes an ayat will speak personally to our situation and bring peace to our hearts. I’m not trying to say any of this to discount your personal journey in this area. I am only trying to caution that what might be inspired to us for ourselves only, that can’t be used to build doctrine upon.
    All this being said, it doesn’t mean there is no idea of someone being destined for you. Needless to say, belief in Divine Decree is obligatory, and any couple who marries is fulfilling their own. So is it correct to say that the one you married was the one Allah destined for you? Absolutely! But it doesn’t mean that you were an incomplete soul who found your missing part (although sometimes it sure does feel that way, I know!). The thing that gets tricky with Divine Decree is that often people try to figure out what theirs is so they can follow it, but that’s not the way it works. There is no effort in Divine Decree. We do what we are supposed to do by being submissive to Allah (or not), and Divine Decree happens because Allah is the One Who is ultimately ordering our affairs. Trying to figure out who we will ultimately marry or who is in our future etc is a waste of time. Marry the one who is most suitable for you (keeping in mind the advice given by Wael in his article), and then you will know who was decreed for you.

  10. friend says:

    dear amy
    salams,
    thought i will ask you whats been bothering me. do you think everyone has a otherhalf. will all of us eventually be with them in this world.is there someone for everyone and Allah will make bring them together.

    if Allah created us in pairs and also will keep us in pairs in the hearafter , then why do many of us cant find them and they cant find us. certainly some leave this world without being with anyone. why did they had such a lonely path. why some end up being with a partner which even an outsider will say is not a suitable person to be with ( i mean those horrible nasty people)

    so many questions !

    is there a devine decree specially regarding marriage. are marriage matches already made in the heaven as many say!

    • Amy says:

      Salaams friend,

      I think you are taking the idea of humans being created in pairs too literally. Yes, we are made to be paired with one another- male and female, but this doesn’t necessarily mean every one man has exactly one woman as his to complete a perfect pair. Already we know that there are more females than males in the world, so the fact of there being exactly equal pairs goes out the door on that alone. Also, consider the fact that there are those who never marry (sometimes by choice) in their entire life and die single. There are also those who are left widowed and marry again, and so in their lives they have had two spouses. There are also men who take more than one spouse, as is allowed. Needless to say, a brief reflection on these examples shows that the issue is not really about there being ONE man for ONE woman in all of the world.

      That being said, you asked if every marriage is in divine decree. NOTHING happens against Allah’s will, so of course anyone who does marry does it in alignment with divine decree. That’s the case whether the marriage is good or bad, or whether the couple is compatible or not, or whether the marriage lasts a lifetime or ends in divorce. Everything that happens, is meant to happen.

      Yet friend, what I hear you asking is not really about theology or tafsir. What I really hear you wanting to know is whether or not you will find someone to help ease the loneliness you seem to be feeling. You truly just want the assurance that you too will find love someday.While those are questions I cannot answer, I can tell you that there is a greater focus than that ahead of us. Just recently I read a piece by Yasmin Mogahed that spoke a lot to me, and I think you will find it quite meaningful for your heart’s needs. Please link to it: http://www.yasminmogahed.com/2012/01/03/this-is-love/

      and take the time to digest everything she says. I believe you will find some peace in her words.

      • friend says:

        thank you amy for the reply. i saw the link . thank you for introducing me not only to this article but also to this wonderful website. i didnt know about it.
        thank you for understanding what i was trying to ask. may Allah bless you. iam fine most of the time but sometimes it just gets me and feel embarrased accepting that i am feeling lonely.
        jazakallak

  11. minza says:

    Asalamualikum,
    the internal traits matters in order to be a good wife or husband. what bout external? we r not all perfect.. sum ppl have suffered from problems like diseases or etc. so does its mean tht they dont deserve a good mate? like other ppl.. who r kind of perfect whereas sum ppl r not hmm like me?

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