“The basic building block for peace in society is tranquillity and harmony within the family home. The situation within a home is not limited, but has a knock-on effect on the peace of the local area, which in turn affects the peace of the wider town or city.
“If there is disturbance in the home it will negatively affect the local area and that will affect the town or city. In the same way, the state of the town or city affects the peace of the entire country and ultimately the state of a nation affects the peace and harmony of the region or the entire world.”
In these few words the head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has, in a nutshell, highlighted the importance of domestic harmony.
The Holy Quran has instructed to make righteousness and trustworthiness the foundation for all of the relationships. If we develop a high level of righteousness and trustworthiness in ourselves, we will surely be able to treat each other with respect, dignity, love and justice. Consequently, this will lead to the establishment of domestic and family harmony.
I believe that these values are the antidote to the ever-increasing domestic violence, which has taken many innocent lives and more are going through extremely painful and hard times in their relationship.
Demonstrations of high level of reciprocate reverence between both partners and to their relatives also paves the way of harmonious coexistence. In addition, patience and forbearance, are also essential elements of a healthy and long-lasting relationship. Patience is the key to a successful, peaceful and harmonious family life.
Anger and quick-temperedness are poisonous for good relations. Unfortunately, according to some, aggressive and mighty behaviour or violent response is considered as a symbol of bravery. In such a scenario, I always find great guidance in the words of Prophet Muhammad who said that “a strong person isn’t he who wins a physical fight; a strong person is he who controls himself in anger and quarrel”.
Moreover, he highlighted methods to help with anger and said: “If one of you becomes angry then he should stay silent. And when one of you becomes angry while standing, he should sit down. If the anger leaves him, well and good; otherwise he should lie down.”
When one is angry the actions and speech may be disproportionate and unjust
He also emphasised on drinking cold water because that too provides ease in the state of anger.
It is healthier that couples avoid arguing with each other if any of them is in anger, even if one feels that the other is at fault. However, when one calms down, then the other gently brings the error to attention and to realise the error. And the issue should be sorted out respectfully with mutual discussion.
This is an important practice because when one is angry the actions and speech may be disproportionate and unjust.
A forgiving and reconciling attitude cements the relationship. One must not forget that human beings can commit mistakes, only God is pure from imperfection. So, short-comings must be forgiven.
For strengthening the family, everyone must let go every kind of arrogance, pride, mutual enmity, jealousy etc. Instead, the relationship should be like that of true and sincere friends.
Another important point is that both partners should never mention their private matters to other people. Furthermore, they should avoid doing things in secrecy, because it tarnishes the good reputation and loses the trust if the secret is known to other partner; and that also brings disgrace and embarrassment.
The teaching of the Holy Quran in this regard is: “They (wives) are a garment for you, and you (husbands) are a garment for them” (2:188).
This verse points out that in the institution of marriage, mere fulfilment of individual pleasure and emotional gratification is not the ultimate goal, rather the goal is to create a harmonious environment of trust, respect and love between the married couple.
Just as a garment provides ease, comfort, beauty, safeguard from heat, and protection from various types of pains, the same is the case with couples. Just as a garment covers, similarly men and women cover each other’s weaknesses, faults and blemishes.
Moreover, it is imperative that all interactions between a married couple reflect a strong bonding of sincerity, care, loyalty, trust and friendship to establish a lifelong domestic harmony.
Laiq Ahmed Atif is president, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta.
This is a Times of Malta print opinion piece