By Mufti Ebrahim Desai (ḥafiẓahullah)
Q: Every human being by nature has an instinct to dispute. This instinct becomes more manifest between the husband and wife, thus leading to marital disputes. How can this instinct be controlled?
A: Consider the following ten points to control the instinct of dispute and maintain a happy marriage:
1. Fear Allah: It was the noble practice of Nabī ﷺ to conscientise the spouses about the fear for Allah before performing a nikāḥ by reciting the verses (al-Nisāʾ:14, al-Aḥzāb:69, Āl ʿImrān:101) from the Qurʾān. All the verses are common in the message of taqwā (fear of Allah). The spouses will be first committed to Allah before being committed to their partner. There can be no doubt in the success of a marriage governed by the fear of Allah.
2. Never be angry at the same time: Anger is the root cause for all marital disputes. One Ṣaḥābī came to Rasūlullāh ﷺ and sought some advice. Rasūlullāh ﷺ replied: control your anger. The same advice was rendered three times. (Mishkāt al-Maṣābīḥ. Pg. 433. HM Saʿīd)
3. If one has to win an argument, let it be the other: Nabī ﷺ said: “Whoever discards an argument despite being correct shall earn a palace in the centre of Jannah. (Ibid. Pg. 412)
4. Never shout at each other unless the house is on fire: Luqmān (ʿalayhi ʾl-salām) while offering advice to his son said: “and lower your voice for verily the most disliked voice is that of a donkey”. (Sūrah Luqmān:19)
5. If you have to criticise, do it lovingly: Rasūlullāh ﷺ said: “A Muʾmin is a mirror for a Muʾmin.” (Abū Dāwūd. Vol. 2, Pg. 325. Maktabah Imdādiyyah). Advise with dignity and silently.
6. Never bring up mistakes of the past: Nabī ﷺ said: “Whoever conceals the faults of others, Allah shall conceal his faults on the day of qiyāmah.” (Mishkāt al-Maṣābīḥ. Pg. 429. HM Saʿīd)
7. Neglect the whole world rather than your marriage partner: Nabī ﷺ confirmed the advice of Salmān to Abu l-Dardāʾ (raḍiyallāhu ʿanhumā) for neglecting his wife. “Verily there is a right of your wife over you.” (Sunan al-Nasaʾī. Ḥadīth 2391)
8. Never sleep with an argument unsettled: Abū Bakr (raḍiyallāhu ʿanhu) resolved his dispute with his wife over feeding the guests before going to bed. (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī. Ḥadīth 602)
9. At least, once everyday, express your gratitude to your partner: Nabī ﷺ said: “Whoever does not show gratitude to the people has not shown gratitude to Allah.” (Abū Dāwūd. Pg. 662. Karachi)
10. When you have done something wrong, be ready to admit it and ask for forgiveness: Nabī ﷺ said: “All the sons of Ādam commit error, and the best of those who err are those who seek forgiveness.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhī. Ḥadīth 2499).