The good, the bad and the ugly...

LanH, [email protected] | .

A few years back, a good friend laughed when he saw me reading a book on how to be a good husband and a good wife. He said I should read such material long, long time ago when I had just married. I only gave him a smile and continued reading.

After being married for almost 30 years now and experiencing the up and down of a marriage, I must agreed to my mother who is now in her 70-s, who said that as time passes, the challengers to maintain a marriage gets difficult by each days...only the 'iman' (faith) helps us to hold on.

At old age when 'almost everything' such as beauty, strength and pardon me sexual attractions and abilities had been taken away from us, only our love to Allah SWT made us still loyal to our spouses. We still love our husbands or wives because Allah SWT told us to do so. If we gave our earnest deeds and hearts to our partners in the name of Allah; then He would be please to us and rewarded us in this world and the Hereafter.

Talking about married life, I remembered the film 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' which I had seen during my secondary school days in the 70-s. The film, starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach revolves around three gunslingers competing to find fortune in a buried cache of Confederate gold amid the violent chaos of the American Civil War. It was seen as a highly influential example of the Western film genre and one of the greatest films of all time.

Well, I am not going to discuss about the film, but to me its title 'The good, the bad and the ugly' sounds interesting to portray sketches about husbands and wives from their early years as lovers, getting married and then settled down to raise a family.

Let us take a gentleman, Ali, for example. During his university years, Ali got attracted to Alina, a student two years his junior. From many of his girlfriends, in Ali's eyes Alina was the best in 'almost everything' - the 'quality in her' was above other girls. So she was 'the good' one, other girls were not in par to her; perhaps in Ali's view they were the bad ones.

Before Ali and Alina got married; they 'watered' their love by each day. If they failed to meet for a day it was agony for them. Everything were 'like roses' - Ali smelt freshness from Alina and Alina could felt how caring Ali was. When they met, each of them tried to portray the best of himself/herself for example Ali was in his best attire and attitude such as being punctual while Alina showed how polite and shy she was...perhaps when they fart, not a sound could be heard...perhaps they had 'silencers'.

During the early stages of their marriage; everything were fine. They were on 'a bed of roses' -ooh, their honeymoon was excellent...but as the weeks became months and then years and decades, their 'true colours' started to unveil one by one. The smell of freshness from Alina had 'gone with the wind', she became 'plum' in size after delivering babies, one after another. She snored loudly in bed, but claimed that it was Ali who snored and not her! The fact was that both made loud sound while they were sleeping.

As the years gone by, Ali proved he was a terrible husband; for example he failed to provide for the family (nafkah) and had ventured back to his old habit of gambling after he was dismissed from his job because of his laziness. Often when Alina told him to be a responsible husband and father, he gave her a tight slap. Yes, one factor that contributed to domestic violence is quarrels about money. It is common that couples fight over money, normally regarding who should provide for the needs of the family.

Even though courting couples seldom think about their future regarding financial burden as they are absorbed in ‘cinta’ (love), when they are married and then have their own families, they will realize that they can’t have ‘cinta’ only, they have to have money to run a place name home. ‘Cinta’ cannot satisfy hunger; you need money to buy food to please your stomach.

To Alina, Ali had turned into an ugly monster; and to Ali, Alina too had turned ugly. Their marriage was on the rocks, they had seen the bad side of each other. Their relationship became worse after Alina went to her former university class reunion dinner - there she met Rosli; a guy who during their university years aimed to make her as his special girlfriend but was 'outclassed' by the 'charming' Ali.

When they met at the reunion party, in the eyes of Alina, Rosli had maintained his good looks and characters over the years; not like her husband who had turned into an ugly monster. She did not realized that she had not seen the bad side on Rosli...yes everything seemed good in a person until we spend much time with him whats more as a husband and a wife who live under one roof, shared a bed or even slept under one blanket during the night!

Under that situation, almost everything about ourselves would be exposed to our partners whether they were the good or the bad ones. Each of us has our weak and strong points; an 'ustaz' (religious teacher) during his 'tazkirah' (lessons) at a 'masjid' near my house spoke about how the great Caliph, Umar Al-Khattab too had to put into practice his patience (sabar) to face his nagging wife.

Why is it a husband or a wife had turned into an ugly monster in the eyes of each other after they had married for a long time? The 'ustaz' said many couples are not living in accordance of religious obligations; they lead life according their fancies and desires.

He said, to have a ‘religious’ wife, you should be ‘religious’ too. A good man is for a good woman and vise versa. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him – s.a.w.) in a hadith by Bukhari and Muslim said: “A woman may be married for four things: for her wealth, for her noble descent, for her beauty or for her religion. Choose the one who is religious, may your hands be rubbed with dust!”

Of course a religious wife would not demand from her husband worldly pleasures which are not within her husband’s means. She knows his limitation and acknowledges her obligation to obey and please him.

In Islam, the husband is the ‘qawwaam’ (maintainer) of his wife so that he will be a ‘real man’ knowing how to steer the ship of family life towards the shore of safety and guidance.

Islam warns all men against the trail and ‘fitnah’ (temptation) of women, which may make them heedless and weak, and lessen their religious commitment, so that they turn a blind eye to the waywardness and unIslamic behaviour of their wives.

In such a case a husband has no say: his wife is controlling everything in the home, so that he dare not disobey her, or answer to her back, or refuse any of her wimps. The Prophet (s.a.w.) was right when he said that this is the most damaging of trails and temptations that a man can be faced with: “There will be no ‘fitnah’ after my death that is worse for men than the ‘fitnah’ of women.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

The Muslim husband is a man who is not weak in dealing with the trial of a wayward wife, no matter how difficult that ‘fitnah’ is. He gently makes it clear to her that no matter how much he loves her, he loves Allah and the Prophet (s.a.w.) more, and his desire to please Allah is stronger than his feelings for her: Say, [O Muhammad], "If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your relatives, wealth which you have obtained, commerce wherein you fear decline, and dwellings with which you are pleased are more beloved to you than Allah and His Messenger and jihad in His cause, then wait until Allah executes His command. And Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people." (Qur’an 9:24)

In this way, the female waywardness which we see in many so-called Muslim homes will be done away with. The man who sees his wife, daughters and sisters going out in the street with make-up, uncovered heads and bare arms, clothed but seeming naked and does nothing to stop this disobedience in Islam, has surely lost his manhood, abandoned Islam and earned the wrath of Allah SWT. He is a ‘dayus’. There is no way out of this predicament but sincere repentance which will wake him up, restore his manhood and set him back in the straight path.

Islam considers women to be a trust which has been given to men for safe-keeping. As the wife is usually influenced by her husband, he may take her with him to Paradise or lead her to Hell. Therefore Allah SWT orded the believing men to protect both themselves and their families from the Fire and gave a terrifying picture of the awful fate that awaits them if they neglect their responsibilities towards their wives and families and fail to compel them to adhere to the truth.

So to husbands and wives who had realized they had turned into 'ugly monsters' in the eyes of one another, please begin with correcting ourselves first; 'insya-Allah' (God Willing) our partners would follow suit.– ES

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