Thursday, 29 October 2009

Conflicting Opinions

During the process of a spouse hunt, there are times when you talk to people that you like but issues arise when you come across conflicting opinions. Sometimes it's over religious matters, sometimes over personal choices and sometimes over what someone is most comfortable with. One of these issues I've faced is regarding my work. I've come across several good Muslim, practicing guys who have some issue with this subject.

It's also interesting to see, that this issue plagues not only Muslim doctors but also other female doctors hoping to pursue a career in medicine while raising a family. One such prospective bride talks about her decision on this matter subtly on an Indian TV show called "Lux Perfect Bride". Personally, I dislike the way they've gone about the process of finding compatible matches on this show and the title of "Perfect Bride" but the point is simply about this one bride who chooses to find a match who is comfortable with her pursuing her career in medicine.

I've felt like most guys don't consider the feelings of the bride's parents even though they have every intention of being good parents themselves. Parents who educate their children wouldn't be happy seeing their children not make use of it or give it up for the sake of getting married. Somehow it seems there is a misconception that unless the wife is at home full time, she cannot take care of her children. I would think a husband has his responsibilities towards his child as well. According to shariah, in cases of divorce, the child is given to the father over the mother which means Allah (swt) does think fathers are capable of raising a child beyond providing a home and food. And if single fathers can consider nannies to help raise the child, they can consider that for their wives as well, perhaps? And a mother will always love and care for their child so I don't see why husbands should be so concerned about it. The best Muslims are those who wish for their brothers/sisters in Islam as they wish for themselves after all.

Either way, I never try to persuade anyone to try and change their ideas for me. I believe it's best if people are willingly open to the idea so there are no major issues in the future.


Mon Vie & Etc said...

Before getting married, it's really important that both side clearly established their expectation, because you just can't suddenly say after you're married "Oh, honey, I don't want kids." If you're not clear from the start that later on things tend to be a little rocky.

single4now said...

Exactly. That's why it's so important to clarify your position and ask questions about things that are important to you. But not many people seem to do that.

Husain said...

I stumbled upon your blog and couldn't help nodding in agreement with your views on the socio-economic factors plaguing our society.

I hate to admit but brothers from my ilk need to re-evaluate their misplaced views of:

* Chivalry - I am A man. I know how to treat them
* Entitlement - My job outside the house, your job inside (a kitchen to be precise)
* Parenting - I helped making them didn't I ? Now its your job raising them.

Basics of both marriage and parenting remain the same but the modalities have changed in this day and age. You could argue the the ye' old days of protecting your female (for both good and bad reasons) is simply not compatible with our religious ethos and social responsibilities.

I commend your efforts in sharing your forthright views, expectations and quirky observations. On a curious note, what would you suggest to young progressive practicing muslims keeping their medical profession unaffected from such dilemmas. I've always believed we in the banking and consulting sector have it much easier...

single4now said...

As salaam walaikum bro,

Firstly, thank you for dropping by and commenting on my blog. It's really nice to hear from brothers and their point of view. It's especially nice if brothers are able to understand the perspective of sisters.

Marriage is all about working as a team and making the best decisions together but the difficulty is when both husband and wife have different ideas about how they should manage the house and kids. So probably the first thing is to start with premarital discussions & understanding each other's viewpoints.

Specifically in regards to the medical field, every woman knows her own capabilities and even if she can raise her child on her own, she would like her husband to assist her. One option is to take a lighter field within medicine so it becomes easier to balance both but no doubt during the training period, the husband needs to be a bit patient with her and be there to share the responsibility. The parents/in-laws can help if they are able. There's day care. Many doctors I know have had children before their residency starts which gives them time to be with their children when they are very small. And actually there are several options as long as a couple is ready to work together and help each other.

There are also benefits of having a working wife. Many Muslim brothers have their student loans, marriage gets expensive, and a wife will be able to contribute towards the house. Children add to the spending of a family. Considering the terrible economical situation leading to people taking up 2nd jobs, a working wife can be extremely beneficial. Not to mention, in the unfortunate circumstance of death, would a husband like to leave his wife without the ability to take care of herself and their kids?

For brothers who think it's solely a wife's responsibility to take care of the child, it reminds me of the following hadith:
A'isha said, "A bedouin came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and asked, "Do you kiss your children? We do not kiss them.' The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Can I put mercy in your hearts after Allah has removed it from them?'"
Do they really want to be such fathers?

As Muslims, we have to stop thinking as if we are competing with each other and try to understand each other's perspectives & work together. Only then can we really be ready for marriage.

Sorry for the long response. InshaAllah, I hope I answered your question. :)

Adnan said...

As-salaamu Alaikum WAWB,

Children are given to the mother after divorce unless she marries, then the father has more right. If they are above a certain age they are given to the father. The reasons are obvious, he is the Wali for the girl and the father of a son going onto manhood.

A woman's Jihad is in the Home according to the Prophet (SAW). Dependent, young children have rights over their mother that exceeds the father in many ways. Of course a father has to play his part, but it doesn't compare to the importance of a mother.

"Each one of you is a shepherd. And each of you will be asked about your flock. A ruler also is a shepherd and he will be asked about his flock. And every man is a shepherd to his family. And every woman is the custodian of her husband's house and his children. Thus each one of you is a shepherd and each one will be asked about his flock."[Bukhari & Muslim]

May I recommend this excellent video:
Chain Reaction (Motherhood) by Shaykh Kamal el Mekki

Anyhow, it is the responsibility of the individuals to come to an agreement before marriage. Honesty in this matter is always the best course.


single4now said...

Walaikum as salaam warehmatullahi wabarakatahu,

Jazakallah khair for sharing that. However, the father still gets the child if the mother marries. Is there again a matter of age in this case? However, I don't believe this matters if the father remarries. And after a certain age, the father still gets the child. So, eventually, the father ends up with the child in most cases even though most children have a natural attachment for their mothers and generally mothers are more (openly) affectionate of the two spouses.

In any case, my point is that children require the affection and care from BOTH parents to grow up healthy and have a healthy relationship with them. At the same time, children require discipline and it's important that parents are consistent in this matter and support each other through this. This is something I do not see happening very often. The mother is usually in charge of the general care and well being, while the father's role is of taking disciplinary action. I would like to see my husband be loving and affectionate towards our kids right from the time of birth.

The type of marriages most Muslim men seek is of spouses taking traditional roles. Whereas most Muslim women would prefer at least a transitional kind of marriage, if not a complete sharing of responsibilities. If one considers the life of our Prophet (saw), he (saw) used to mend his own clothes, shoes, milk the goat, etc so he(saw) would take care of things beyond what is considered "the role of men" in most cultures.

InshaAllah, will check out the video you've linked.

Agree with your last statement completely. It's important to discuss these issues prior to marriage and be completely honest without being afraid of being rejected. It's way better to realize you are not suited for each other before marriage than to feel that way after marriage or after having children.

single4now said...

SubhanAllah brother Adnan, I have to disagree with the viewpoints of the sheikh in the video you have shared.

Firstly, I have to clarify that I never heard of this Sheikh before. Unfortunately, I did not feel his opening was apt because he has only considered women who work from one point of view. Possibly because of his personal viewpoints.

Secondly, he is politely sarcastic about women who can't cook or can't sew. Women may be the guardians of the home but as far as I have heard from other sheikhs, women are not required to cook or clean and them doing so is earning them hasanat and hence encouraged. The responsibility of taking care of the home and keeping it clean should be done by every member living inside the house, not simply of the women. Refer to the hadith I mentioned above.

Thirdly, a woman can stay home and teach a child but Allah (swt) is the one who guides the heart. I have seen several children of stay-at-home moms who are terrible Muslims. And I have seen wonderful Muslim children of mothers who work. The importance here should be the religiousness of the mother and the character of the father because this is what your child will pick up. Parents are the child's first role model. The interaction between spouses is what the child sees and understands as normal behaviour.

Fourthly, the sheikh is implying fathers should beat their children? Again, I very much disagree with this. Obviously the situation is that the child is afraid of the dentist. Instead, the father should be consoling the child. Possibly, the child trying to get this reaction from the father to understand his fear and to be empathic but the father is ignoring the child and reading his paper.

I'm sorry brother, I could not continue watching the video much beyond this. I'm sure the sheikh is very knowledgeable but his opinions are very one sided and in order to help sisters see the importance of home, you have to also understand the sisters point of view.

Husain said...

You've answered my questions and much more.

Some very practical advice on starting a family and sustaining a family in the early stages of a medical profession.

Funny enough I like the link between the benefits of having a wife in these 'terrible economic conditions' *chuckles*. No wonder so many of my colleagues here prefer getting married to Dentists (apart from the earning potential, the hours aren't too bad either!) win-win.

Perhaps a thought for your next post. Most and least desirable professions to get married!

Apart from the light hearted banter. You obviously have a mature head on your shoulders as reflected from your responses to both my and Adnan's comments. Some thoughtful observations there, especially on the youtube clip.

Now, I find it rather amusing or perhaps I just don't get this DIY Islam. *disclaimer, I don't know the 'scholar' in the clip nor his background* But its funny how 20-30 yr old's are able to lecture grown up men and women on the 'wisdom' of leading a successful married and parent life.

Don't get me wrong, I think its great if someone just figured out a nice way of leading (read starting) a married life but I always felt such lectures are best given by someone with real time Life Experience. Imagine how much more persuasive the kind (practical and Islamic) advice would be coming from a more learned and elderly person. The sparkle in his eye when thinking about his family, the sincerity and conviction with which he would believe in particular hadith because he actually followed it! Now that would be inspiring.

Khair, there I go again, rambling away and hijacking someone else's topic, someone else's comment without realising my own shortcomings.

I really must learn.



single4now said...

lol @ dentists. I wasn't referring to simply dr.s but any working wife. Any help a wife can provide would be beneficial, inshaAllah.

I didn't listen to the entire lecture so I think I'll refrain from making any further comments on the sheikh but there are some really good lectures on marriages out there. If it helps you be a better spouse, then it's worth while listening. :) I think it's a good idea to improve ourselves first as Muslims and then we can expect the same from our spouses, inshaAllah. :D

As for professions, there is no good and bad as long as one is earning in a halal way. :)

Do ramble on. :D Although, I may not have time for new posts this week. Have a very very busy week ahead. InshaAllah will think of something short & useful to post. :)

Adnan said...

As-salaamu Alaikum WAWB,

My memory seems to have failed me. I am sorry, I made a mistake though I was certain I was right. I was wrong about the father getting custody after a certain age. The child is given a choice it seems.

Custody after Divorce

Look at the eligibility table. The custodians after the father are all female.

What does a guardian of the home do? I think those who are saying women are not meant to cook are trying too hard to appease Political Correctness. A mother is obliged to look after the children this implies the ability to give them healthy food and even dressing them as they are hopeless at it when they are young. It does not negate that a man needs to also learn how to cook. Allah guides the heart but also he demands the parents should teach their kids Islam. Islam spread because we shared and taught the knowledge.

The husband thing, wives are obliged to be obedient and loving to their husbands. If she cooks for the children and herself and tell the husband to do it himself, sorry but such a women is not really worth marrying. Of course if they both work & struggle to keep themselves afloat then really the workload at home should reflect that. But if she is a housewife then she should take the lion’s share at home. This really should be common sense.

I am also new to lecturer in the video. I only saw him last week for the first time. Though I do not agree with everything in the video I thought it was a joy. I guess not to everyone taste.

This is my final post. I just wanted to correct my mistake.

Insha Allah you find a good pious brother.


single4now said...

Walaikum as salaam bro,

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, what I had stated about a woman not being required to cook and clean has not been stated by me but several imams. And I have related that information to you. I haven't said that a woman should not cook but sure if she doesn't want to cook for anyone (coz simply not cooking for her husband means there is some problem within the marriage itself), then either she can avoid marrying someone or convince her husband to keep a cook which is common in several families all over the world - especially back home. Servants are common just like slaves were common at the time of the Prophet (saw). And it is also part of the husband's responsibility to maintain his wife in a environment she was used to. He should discuss these things before he considers marriage with anyone to avoid any kind of problems within his marital life.

I have honestly commented on whatever part of the video I saw. Personally, I felt like the sheikh was making the brothers laugh at the expense of some sisters which is surprising for a sheikh. In order to reach out to anyone, even in the case of dawah to non-Muslims, you have to understand their perspective first. If you consider Prophet Muhammad (saw), he never hurt people in order to guide them. His speech was always beautiful and he always showed understanding and kindness. That is the sign of the best kinds of leaders.

Jazakallah khair for dropping by and spending time commenting on my blog. I appreciate it. :)