You might have come across these two photos in social media recently.
The photo on the right is a woman shading her husband while he prostrates in the Grand Mosque of Makkah, and the one on the left is the man holding an umbrella and shading his wife while she prays in front of the Ka'aba.
As simple as these acts may be, they represent two powerful lessons of happy marriages:
1. Marriage is about love and mercy
What do you think made the woman stand in the heat of the sun shading her husband instead of running into the air-conditioned quarters of the mosque? Or what do you think made the man carry the umbrella and wait patiently for his wife to finish praying instead of just sitting down and shading himself? The answer is clear: It's love and mercy. It’s about caring for your partner - sometimes more than you care about yourself. It is this love and mercy that Allah (SWT) describes as one of his signs in the Quran when he says:
"And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them, and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for people who give thought." 30:21
2. Marriage is about Spiritual Development
When you think about the purpose of marriage, what comes to mind? Starting a family, having children, settling down? These two photos remind us of a different meaning, one that is often forgotten; marriage is about spiritual development. Two people, coming together to support each other during the long journey towards God and the hereafter. What greater purpose or goal can keep two people together despite the ups and downs in life than everlasting happiness?
What makes these two photos more symbolic is the time and place they were taken. During the days of haj, which is all about getting a little bit uncomfortable to develop your spirituality, and next to the Ka'aba which has witnessed so much love, mercy, and sacrifice throughout the centuries starting with the legacy of Ibrahim and continuing with the legacy of Muhammad (PBUH).
Mohammed Faris is an international coach, author, and speaker who helps executives, professionals, and entrepreneurs rebalance their lives spiritually, physically and socially to achieve peak performance and live meaningful lives. He’s the founder of ProductiveMuslim.com and author of The Productive Muslim: Where Faith Meets Productivity.
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