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Empathy in Marriage: How to Connect Emotionally with Your Spouse

We are all aware that the marital relationship is regarded as extremely important in Islam. In addition to fulfilling half our deen, marriage is a safeguard, a place to find peace, and also a strongly recommended sunnah.

Our Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“Marriage is part of my sunnah, and whoever does not follow my sunnah has nothing to do with me.” [Ibn Majah]

But why is it that so many Muslims are dissatisfied with this huge part of their lives and religion? I think it is because our marriages lack empathy, or in other words, emotional understanding. Empathy is simply the act of feeling your spouse’s emotions; joining emotionally with him or her, as if “walking in his or her shoes.”

I will discuss how Islam encourages empathy in marriage, how it can transform your marriage, and how you can practice it yourself to improve your relationship with your spouse In sha Allah!

Emotions within marriage in the Qur’an

The Holy Qur’an reminds us about the importance of emotions in marriage:

“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.”  [Qur’an: Chapter 30, Verse 21]

“It is He who created you from one soul and created from it its mate that he might dwell in security with her.”  [Qur’an: Chapter 7, Verse 189]

As we can see from the above verses, marriage is ideally meant to be a source of emotional comfort to us. Marriage allows us to experience love, mercy, understanding and peace from someone who is a companion for life.

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Zakat eligibility of The FYI

The Family & Youth Institute, or The FYI, is a well-known Muslim organization in the United States. It works to promote mental health and wellness by strengthening and empowering individuals, families, and communities through research and education. It has been working for many years to bring Islamic perspectives to understanding and promoting mental health in our communities.

It is dedicated to serving and supporting Muslims – safeguarding our deen, our families, and our future generations. Therefore, the work of The FYI comes in the category of ‘fi sabeelillah’ or the Path of Allah, within the eight categories where Zakat money can be used.

Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed for it and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah, and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah, And Allah, is Knowing and Wise.”
(Al-Tawbah 9:60)

According to scholars who widen the meaning of fee sabeelillah to include any activities that promote Islamic growth, The FYI is indeed eligible to receive part of the Zakat funds for its programs and services. I urge Muslims in America to support this organization through their donations, general charity, and through their Zakat. I ask Allah swt to strengthen and guide The FYI to continue its good work in supporting Muslims.

Shaikh Ali Suleiman Ali, PhD

About Shaikh Ali

Sh. Ali Suleiman Ali was born in Ghana where he spent his childhood studying with various Muslim scholars. He then moved to Saudi Arabia and enrolled in the Islamic University of Madina.  He graduated with a degree in both Arabic and Islamic Studies. Dr. Ali went on to complete his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Sh. Ali serves on the Advisory Council of The Family & Youth Institute. He is the Senior Imam and Director of the Muslim Community of Western Suburbs in Canton, Michigan. Additionally, he serves as the Director of Muslim Family Services in Detroit and is a council member of the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA). He is also a member of the North American Imams Federation (NAIF) and the Association of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA).