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What I Wish Everyone At 20 (& 30…) Understood About Marriage

The goal of our life is… to bring more love and truth into the world. We marry to assist each other in this process.
-Leo Tolstoy

A dear friend of mine said on the eve of his oldest daughter’s thirteenth birthday, “Today is my last day to be an expert on adolescents!”  I giggled when I heard him say this, thinking of the myriad of times I have had to learn this lesson.  It is so easy to think we know something before we are knee deep in the complexity of what it is REALLY LIKE!  That is certainly true of marriage.  The onlookers view of marriage and what pulls us into its gravity are only a painter’s brushstroke on the landscape of the actual nitty-gritty day to day of wedded life.  The descriptor is hardly the same as the lived heartbeat.

People get pulled into partnership through the disguise of a person they cannot live without. A person who initially reminds them in countless delicious ways of their inestimable value, talent, humor and creativity.  A person who for a time, invites only the best in them. But in time, as our uniqueness to each other gives way to familiarity and life’s demands bring forth our frustration and discouragement, we begin to reveal our cracks, our places of fear and insecurity.  This often invites us to act toward our partners in less than generous and loving ways.  If our partner is not already in their own cycle of frustration and discouragement, fear and insecurity, our new behavior toward them, usually takes them there.  Their response to us is one of defensiveness and criticism, anger and withdrawal.  We begin a cycle of relating which does not bring out the best in each other and does not give each other the benefit of the doubt.  Instead, it inadvertently reinforces our insecurities and deepest fears – that we aren’t lovable or valuable after all … and our partner knows it and is on the verge of rejecting us.

So if marriage is not the stage of a never ending play of happiness and delight, what is the larger purpose in marriage?  If this pattern of challenges in relating is inevitable, how do we rise above it? Transcend it?

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The Prophet (SAS) said, “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days”
(Bukhari).

Guarantee your blessings!

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).