Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Final part of my notes from Ustadha Yasmin Mogahed's seminar

Bismillah...In the Name of Allah, The Most Loving, The Most Merciful 

The primary need of men is to feel respected and the primary need of women is to feel loved. Women are great at loving unconditionally but what makes men really happy is respecting them. Sometimes lot of women think that until the men shows love, they won't show respect. But the less respect women have, the more unloving the men become. It is a 'crazy cycle'. It is perpetual. What we need for a healthy conjugal relation is to have unconditional love and unconditional respect. The fastest way to dry up a marriage is to disrespect a man. Part of respect is not to change him. Unconditional respect means to putting up with normal human qualities, not abusive qualities.

Our faith teaches us that men are the protectors, the carers who must deal with mercy and justice. The more respectful you are towards your men, the more love you will get in return. Our beloved Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi Sallam advised men to be kind to women, be loving and merciful towards them. And he taught women to be respectful towards their male family members and relatives. 

Someone asked how can women control their emotion and be respectful to the menfolk in their life. Ustadha said it is not an easy job but we must try our best. We should be regular in tazkiyah i.e purification of the soul. Only through the subjugation of our lower nafs we can become better human beings. We must remember that anger comes from our nafs and Satan. Part of tazkiyah is to have self-control. Women must ponder upon the effect of disrespecting men. When we disrespect our fathers, husbands, we are hurting them very deeply. Disrespecting them means attacking their manhood. It is a sign of emotional maturity for a woman to really understand the importance of respecting men. Without this important element, we can't achieve a healthy relation with our spouses. The problem with majority of women is regarding every single thing as a battle. Women must be intelligent to choose their battle. 

Someone in the audience reminded us the Hadith of our beloved which says that majority of the inhabitants of hell will be women. And the reason is the bad habit of complaining on a regular basis i.e lack of appreciation. Appreciation is very crucial in terms of showing respect to the spouse. For example, my spouse may forget to get something I have asked for. But instead of giving him an excuse, I tell him "You never remember to do the things I tell you." or "You are irresponsible!" Sadly lot of women sometimes disregard all the good things their spouse do for them. It is very easy for women to use terms like 'never' and 'always'. 

I am glad that she mentioned and explained this very important issue. So may times we see how women can be their own enemies. As a woman myself, I see so many injustice committed by women towards men and other women (which is another huge topic on its own). And unfortunately lot of time, by virtue of being a woman, we support the injustice. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala tells us in the Qur'an that we should be careful not to commit injustice even it involves us and family members. Very few women have perfected their faith. If we see the greatest women in Islam, all of them have been great because of their unique qualities as women of faith. They are special because of their strong relation with Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. In terms of conjugal relation, let us study the life of lady Khadija RadiAllahu Anha and lady Fatima RadiaAllahu Anha. Study how they treated their beloved husbands, fathers, sons, brothers and male members of their family. There is a lot to learn from them in shaa Allah. To have an ever-lasting relation with our husbands, we must admit our weaknesses and faults first. And that's a great start. Because without acknowledging our faults, we can't fix our relationships. Ustadha Yasmin has highly recommended the book by John Gray "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus". This book is also recommended by sheikh Yasir Qadhi. The other book she has recommended is "Love and Respect: The love she most desires and the respect he desparately needs" by Emerson Eggerichs. 

Communication pattern

When in distress, women in general like to talk to express their feelings. And the talking helps women to feel better. But when men are in distress, they like to go their cave i.e they need time and space to recover. They need their quiet time. But the problem with women is out of love they chase the men to their cave and almost force them to share their feelings! When women are in distress and want to to just talk about it with their spouse, men being the one always thinking about 'solving the problem' tend not to be a good listener and end up commenting that she is irrational. But what the woman needs is just the validation of her feelings. She just wants to be listened. She is not necessarily looking for a solution. 

Someone asked about the concept of soul mate. She said that the concept of soul mate actually comes from our faith. Ibn Hajam Rahimallah quotes a Hadith where our beloved Rasulullah told us that we all human beings stood in front of our Creator Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala before the creation of this earth as souls and told Him that we will only worship Him. At that great gathering, the similar souls stood together. And on this earth , the similar minded people tend to hang out together hence we meet our soulmates, alhamdulillah. I loved the analogy , never thought like this. 

So how can we be good spouses...

First step is to change ourselves for the better in shaa Allah. And to do that we must follow the path of tazkiyya, purifying our hearts. But we must remember not to blame ourselves for everything. The healthy attitude is to think that I'm not perfect but I want to be better in shaa Allah. I must believe that my heart, my soul, my body is a trust from Allah so I can't let anyone abuse it. If you are in an abusive relationship, you must get out of it. Because Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala doesn't want us to be abused in any way. Sometimes people tend to suggest that we should just have sabr. But sabr i.e patience is not a passive state. It is about perseverance. It is about striving to fight, stop oppression. There were quite a lot of questions about abusive relationships. She said that there is an irrational fear of divorce. Divorce is given as a valid option by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala when relationships don't work. However, it is a taboo in the community to talk about divorce. We must remember that we Muslims are a people of Middle path. We are not like Catholics. Divorce is a halal option to get out from a relationship which is not working after every bit of efforts to save it. No one is saying that we should jump to divorce. It is the last option after everything else fails. 

There are four things that can completely destroy the marriage according to a research done by John Gottman: Constant criticism, contempt (instead of giving excuse thinking the spouse is just irresponsible), counterattack and stone walling i.e complete shut down and not engaging in conversation. She talked about a relationship experiment by John Gottman named "The love lab".

Why bad things happen to good people....someone asked. What we must believe is nothing is bad. Bad things never happen to good people. We tend to define good and bad based on our limited knowledge. Our definition of goo and bad is based on Dunya. So our context is also very limited. Anything that brings us closer to our Rabb is good. Whatever makes us go away from our Rabb is bad for us, no matter how "good" it may seem. Whatever situation we are in, we should always have patience and show gratitude. 

Having hardships in life is like getting a fast track to our Rabb. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala elevates His servants through giving them hardships, given the servants are patient and content with the hardship.
There are five different love languages; words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. We all express our love to our spouses in different love languages. Women tend to love words of appreciation. That's why women appreciate cards and flowers with a personal message by their loved ones. As partners, we need to find our love languages. There is a good book on this issue named 'The five love languages' written by Dr.Gary Chapman.

Alhamdulillah I am glad I went to Ustadha Yasmin's day long seminar. I have learnt a lot alhamdulillah. I have also bought her CD where she talks about the prophets in the Qur'an. I try to listen to the CD with our kids so that we can discuss with them. I love the way she gives the examples. I hope to follow her suggestions. Alhamdulillah my three part notes are all available on this blog. I hope these posts are beneficial in shaa Allah for the people who could not attend the seminar. Please do keep us in your precious dua. Any mistake here in this blog is from me and anything of good and khair is from our Rabb Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. 

To learn more from her please visit visit her website http://www.yasminmogahed.com  and I will highly recommend her great book 'Reclaim your heart'.
I would like to thank Al-Buruj for doing this great seminar. I just hope that next time they do get a bigger place and provide proper space for salah. This is my fourth event with them. It gets quite crowded. I hope they will tackle this issue in a better way in future gatherings in shaa Allah. May Allah accept our efforts, ameen!


Habiba said...

Thank-you, Sumaiya, for these very useful notes! I have a small baby and am up at odd times reading things online. Very often I see YouTube links to talks, but just want to read (not listen) at night! It takes time and effort to write up a seminar like this, and I'm truly grateful, jazakAllah :-) from a fellow blogging Muslim mama

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