June 5, 2008

***Agenda to Change Our Families*** Secrets to a Happy Marriage-Imam Zaid Shakir

Posted in Character, Islam, Islamic Lectures, Knowledge, Sufism at 1:06 am by faith786

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum,

I recently attended the workshop by Zaytuna called Agenda to Change Our Families. The title is a bit misleading. It was more like a marriage seminar. I am not someone who likes to analyze or over analyze the function, purpose, laws, etc. of marriage, but this particulr speech by Imam Zaid can also be applied to relationships in general (i.e. family, friends, co-workers, etc.), so I decided to put them up. I was really lazy that weekend, so I didn’t take many notes, let alone good ones. So forgive my lack of information.

Secrets to a Happy Marriage-Imam Zaid Shakir

1. Deepen trust.

  • Be with truthful people
  • Your religion is that of your friends (so pick your friends wisely)
  • Truthfulness is the key to trust.
  • Truthfulness leads to righteousness, which leads to Paradise.
  • There is no such thing as a trial free life (so be as honest as you can be.)
  • Individuals must trust each other to support one another.
  • People should not lie, belittle, oppress or betray each other.
  • People compliment each other; they are not meant to be perfectly equal and different-we are all connected.

2. Trust—particularly in marriage—

  • Sexual fidelity (no bad business before/during marriage)
  • Fiscal/monetary integrity (no secret bank accounts, etc.)
  • Sharing painful secrets (get it all out in the open and move on)
  • Sharing in decisions (i.e. kids, moving, another marriage, etc.)
  • Trust with children (each parent will take care of their kids and not be neglectful.)
  • Keeping secrets (not only getting it out in the open, but trusting spouse not to tell others)

3. Rebuilding Trust

  • Once lost, need to rebuild it.
  • Things that destroy trust are generally forbidden in Islam
  • Take responsibility

4. Communicate

  • Oral communication—humans have the ability to speak clearly (Surah Rahman)
  • Do something for others what you love for yourself.

5. Know when to talk/know when to listen

  • Over talking (be concise)
  • Being afraid to clash (someone times it is necessary for peace later on. That is the reality)
  • Justify behavior you are criticized for. (If you are falsely accused, etc.)
  • Ignoring or tuning out one’s partner (don’t ignore, that isn’t nice; give your full attention.)

6. Dealing with Tough Topics

  • “Admit before you quit” (Say it before it gets out of hand)
  • “Identify don’t vilify” (See the other person’s perspectives; don’t all ways think it is only good and evil.)
  • “Watch your words if you want to be heard” (self-explanatory)
  • “Know that change is contagious” (Changing one bad behavior is a preclude for changing other things in the house)

—– Next Day—–

7. “Fight Fair” Manage Your Anger

  • Be silent, watch your words.
  • There will be bouts of anger in every relationship. They have to be managed.
  • Do not act or speak when angry
  • HALT rule: don’t try to talk about serious matters if your spouse is Hungry, Angry, Lazy, or Tired. (LOLZ)
  • Never try to WIN an argument. Then you are in it for the nafs—not the truth.
  • Never invalidate the source of someone else’s anger.
  • Change your environment. Nafs can be comfortable in a dysfunctional place. (If you are mad, leave and come back when you are calm.)
  • Avoid comparison and competition.
  • NO ONE is supposed to be abused.
  • Never feel guily about being angry if you are justified.
  • Argument doesn’t make you enemies.
  • ***Don’t be afraid to divorce-saves marriages-address the problem, regardless of results and it saves marriages (I THINK THIS IS A WEAK ARGUMENT AND DON’T THINK YOU SHOULD DIVORCE THAT EASILY. Thank you.)***
  • When there is a physical or deep psychological abuse, leave and do not come back (pack and leave) until the offending party has gotten professional counseling.

8. Defuse Power Struggles

  • Islam is the cure.
  • role of power in a relationship is often overlooked.
  • Guardians of privileges are normally fanatical
  • Rules are usually enforced indiscriminately
  • some sources of power struggles:
    • passive/aggressive patterns: nag and ignore
    • Out of fear of vulnerability
  • What to do:
    • Be in tune with the teachings of Islam.
    • Pay attention when spouse wants to talk about something important.

And that concludes my notes that got indented towards the end. =)



  1. Saba Yousaf said,

    That’s good advice, JazakAllah. It’s also important to discuss most issues beforehand.

  2. faith786 said,

    Yeah, Imam Zaid is very knowledgeable. I apologize for the indent-I am trying to fix it, but it isn’t working! He kind of rushed towards the end, so my notes start to get worse.

  3. spiderman said,

    those points are good
    for both married and single people
    ALL of those can apply to you and your parents, esp. trust and communication

  4. szjilani said,

    The one point that struck me was that we shouldn’t talk when we are angry; we should simply leave and come back when we have calmed down.

    But you are right, spiderman, it benefits anyone in any relationship.

  5. Noreen said,

    Important post. Very concise and well drawn out notes.

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