Habeeby…

My Beloved…

Allah Subhanwata’la says in the Qur’an:

‘…They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them…’ (2:187)

So why are we called garments (libaas) for our spouses?

Because like a garment, it is our duty to shield them, protect them, cover them beautify them, grant them coolness when it’s hot and warmth when it’s cold. To cover their faults and bring forth their goodness. Like the garment is to a skin, so is our closeness to our spouse.

Men and women who do not shy away from putting in the work required for a marriage to be successful will testify that it is not a bed of roses. Allah Subhanwata’la tests us all differently. With a good marriage, he blesses us with someone who will be with us every step of the way through these trials. For a journey no matter how difficult, at the very least, becomes bearable with the right person by your side.

This series celebrates such couples who love each other, first and foremost for the sake of Allah. Some who have been through tough trials and emerged even more strengthened than before. Some who have barely started the journey and seek to attain a lifetime of memories. And if Allah wills, through the course of this series, seek to inspire those who are in the process of reaching that marker in their lives.

With a widespread negativity and stereotyping that marriage gets in the form of misogynistic jokes and depictions (abusive Muslim father, a weeping mother, scared and ultimately rebellious children); it has become imperative to actively put forth stories of successful and inspirational stories of those who might not be wealthy celebrities gushing over each other, yet their lives are filled with the light and love for their relationship in the light of Deen.

Allahumma barik lahum to each one of them…and may Allah Subhanwata’la grant us barakah and success in our intention…Ameen.

A series quite close to my heart. Habeeby…My Beloved… 

Meera and Khalil have been married for 12 years. Armed with the education of Deen and Duniya, they have successfully continued their journey. Despite some highs and lows, their marriage has been, in their own words ‘Alhumdulillah’. How have they managed to come so far? Here’s their story, in their own words.

Tell us something about yourselves?

Meera- “I am Meera Hausa-Fulani by tribe, I was born 35 years ago at Katsina state, Nigeria. My parents are from the middle class. My father is a teacher, and my mother is a full-time homemaker. Studies and seeking knowledge (both Islamic and Western) were given an utmost priority in our home. So, I was able to successfully finish my secondary school education and complete Qur’an recitation at the age of 17. I was able to complete my first degree at the age of 22 and master’s at the age of 30. I am a working mother of four children.”

Khalil- “I am Khalil Hausa Fulani by tribe. I was born 44 years ago in Katsina state to a family of an influential businessman known and respected within our family, community and state. I was his fourth child. My family was an extended family. My father has four wives. My mother was his second wife. We were privileged to live a life of luxury above the common man, but we were not spoiled. We were made to attend school for both Islamic and western education.

At the age of 16, I complete Qur’an recitation and some other religious books. I became a Mu’allim at our family Islamiyya school at the age of 17. I graduated from secondary school at the age of 18. I completed my first degree at the age of 25 and second degree at the age of 29. Following my father’s footsteps, I was involved in business ventures right from the age of 20 and started taking contracts from government and other agencies by the age of 30.”

What’s your marriage story?

Meera- “It was a tradition in our family to marry within our relatives as most of us were living in the same area. For some of us the marriage is arranged by their parents, while others fall in love with each other, and the parents give their consent. As for me I and my hubby, we fell in love with each other when I was in my Junior secondary school level, and he had finished his senior level. He is my cousin, so we met and interacted often at their house or my house. He became my special someone when he started giving me special care and asking me to get his food or give him water or something to drink whenever he was home and found me around. So, our love story began. We tied the nuptial knot after my first degree at the age of 23. We have been married for 12 years.”

Khalil- “My wife Meera got my heart when I become a Mu’allim at our family Islamiyya situated within our area at a walking distance from our homes. She is very intelligent. Whenever I taught them some ayats or ahadeth, she learnt and memorized it easily. She has this special brilliant look in her eyes that I like. I started observing her attitude and visited her house more often as she is my cousin. I visited her home whenever I liked and vice-versa. I told my mother about my feelings for her who then informed our father. Our parents discussed and agreed that whenever we were ready and matured enough, they will get us married. It became well known within our family circle that we will be future spouses. All our interactions were observed by our parents and set within Islamic boundaries. We always met in the main family living room. I got married to my lovely wife at the age of 32 and I am a father of four: two girls and two boys. Alhamdulillah, we have been married for 12 years.”

Has Islam molded your relationship in any way?

Meera – “It is the yardstick within our lives. It is our complete way of life. Yes, it has molded our relationship because we regarded our marriage as a bond endorsed by Allah and his Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) whom we set as an example and try to emulate.”

Khalil- “Despite our imperfections we are trying to live by Islamic teachings and obligations. My marriage has strengthened my Deen and vice-versa.”

Did you have any preconceived notions before getting married?

Meera- “I did but they have changed due to a good experience with my husband Alhumdulillah.”

Khalil- “Yes, but I have been prayerful, and Allah has answered my prayers.”

Do you have set roles in your relationship?

Meera- “Yes, he is the main provider of our basic needs while I support him, and I am the main caretaker and caregiver while he supports me.”

Khalil- “I am the head of the family, leader and provider while she takes care of all of us in the household.”

Are boundaries important between spouses?

Both- “Yes, to some extent one needs privacy on their phone, friends, relatives and at work. If need be, we share it with each other for advice and seeking each other’s opinion.”

Which part of your marriage are you the proudest of?

Meera- “Keeping our bond stronger despite our other engagements and kids, listening to each other, understanding, and respecting each others’ feelings and opinion.”

Khalil- “We reason with each other and try to understand our individual differences. Talking to each other has a positive impact on us and our relationship.”

What is the best part about being married to your spouse?

Meera- “That he is the best and the one for me here and in Jannatul Firdaus In’Sha’ALLAH.

Khalil- “She remain my first love and best wife. She helped and encouraged me when I was marrying my second wife, never letting jealousy to take best part of her. Her only demand was for them to be in separate places. I love and respect her for keeping our relationship.”

What is your advice to intending couples?

“Intending couples should bear in mind that they are going to be in a bonding relationship whichthey need to develop and nurture with love, respect, kindness. and above all fear of Allah as theywill be judged on the day of Resurrection. They should observe each other’s rights, preserveeach other’s dignity, be satisfying to their body and soul, and cherish their togetherness for which they will be rewarded by Allah.”

How have you evolved in your marriage, individually and together?

Meera- “From a happy bride to a responsible homemaker and caretaker for both hubby and children, Alhamdulillah it is gratifying. It is mostly prayer, patience and forbearance are the keys that help me evolve continuously.”

Khalil- “Knowing my duty as a husband and father and trying to observe them through the teaching of Our Prophet Sallallahu alaihi wasallam (Peace be upon him) and our parents, praying for the best always and never letting my selfish ego to take the best part of me has helped me evolve.”

Both- “As a couple we relay and trust our affairs with Allah in times of ease and difficulty.”

There is such negative stereotyping regarding marriage in these times. What do you have to say about it?

“Negative stereotyping can be avoided when couples tried to be realistic on the main purpose of their togetherness which is half of their faith or Deen if properly observed. Take care of each others’ rights as much as possible. Love and respect each other. Nurture their relationship to flourish and let Allah and the teaching of the Prophet Sallallahu alaihi wasallam (Peace be upon him) be their guide.”

What is the best piece of advice that you have received for your marriage?

Meera- “The best piece of advice I received was from our parents. They said patience, forbearance, tolerance and respect are the key to a successful marriage. Listen to him and ignore gossip and hearsay.”

Khalil- “The best piece of advice was from my dad. He said women are tender and they sometimes behave like little children. So, treat your wife well with patience and kindness.”

Do you think family/friends/communities play an important role in the married life of a couple? What has been your experience?

Meera- “Yes, they do to some extent. But experience has taught me to set boundaries, to let them play their role at their own capacity without much interference in my family affairs.”

Khalil- “They are an important part of us. I relate with my family and friends well and community too, but with all due respect but my family is my entity and abode. There is no mix up in their rights. The rest are received well whenever the need arises.”

What does it mean to be a good spouse?

Meera- “To be a good wife means that I have to love and care for my husband, children and house unconditionally. I have to listen and respect my husband, know his likes and observe them and know his dislikes and avoid them as much as possible. I try to be his companion in every way.”

Khalil- “A good husband always gives priority to his family, providing their basic needs and any affordable luxury. He takes care of their health, education and provides moral support.”

Going forth from here, what hopes do you have for your lives together?

“Our hope is to keep our relationship stronger and remain together for the rest of our lives here and Hereafter; bring up our children with good moral support up to their adulthood and then send them to their matrimonial homes to start their own family for future generations.”

Lastly, what according to you is the recipe for a successful marriage?

“The recipe for a successful marriage is to bear in mind that marital bonds are to be nurtured through loving, caring and taking care of each other. Couples need to respect and listen to each other and above all, bear in mind that it is a way of worshipping Allah’s which can be a way for us to paradise.”

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