The Islamic faith is built on five pillars. A pillar is an interesting metaphor. It is important to a building as it provides the framework and structure around which the floor, walls and ceiling are constructed. Of course then you have the doors and windows. In a storm, earthquake, tornado or tsunami, it is the pillars that hold the building together and so it is with marriage. Not to take the analogy too far, but here are Perfect Muslim Wedding’s 5 Pillars of Marriage. The pillars are broad and include many other sub-pillars, in some cases they may appear to overlap.
- Faith: What ever one’s faith, this is the bedrock upon which marriage is built. Being Muslim this means having the awareness and accountability to God. It is knowing there is something larger than one’s self, and that we have rights and responsibilities. There is accountability not only in this world but the hereafter. It is knowing that marriage is a blessing. It’s not only one plus one making a pair, but the bountiful blessings of joy and creation that comes from it.
- Compassion: This includes forgiveness, kindness, and love. Each is inclusive in some way, shape or form of justice, fairness, common sense, consultation and fulfilling ones rights and responsibilities. Forgiveness is not the seed of power it is the flower of liberation. Forgiveness heals where no other medication can. Kindness is both giving and receiving and in its purest form is unconditional as are the other attributes like unconditional acceptance of your spouse. Compassion manifests in many ways and a love that leads to God’s pleasure through humility and an all-encompassing mercy and compassion goes a long way.
- Mutual Respect: It is a given from the outset that you will have differences. Even in your most tense moments, playing by the rules, and knowing that you have to value and respect who each of you are, your backgrounds and values will secure your marriage. Respect is the way one treats something they value. Think of something, anything that is precious to you, how do you treat it? Each one may feel respected in different ways. She, by talking and feeling understood, he, possibly by his accomplishments.
- Empathy: Sometimes confused with sympathy, it is one of those things like patience that we know about, but is difficult to practice. It is really getting outside your head and heart and seeing that other perspective. It is not just an intellectual exercise it requires heart-to-heart communication. It requires active listening and so much more. It requires a lifetime of trying to explore and understand each other as we, moment by moment, continue to grow and evolve.
- Commitment: When you face challenges and hardships, commitments remind you of the boundaries of this institution we call marriage. Amongst other things it is based on honesty and faith. A common purpose helps commitment by aligning for short and long-term goals. Commitment is based on trust, and is built up over time and earned like a bank account or brick by brick for retaining a wall.
Marriage is a house, a shelter from all the elements that surround it. It can be blown away, washed away, rocked to the ground, or burnt to cinders. That is unless it is built on a strong foundation that hits the bedrock and built on upright pillars. The dirt and the weeds are continually cleaned up. Windows provide our view of the world and the doors our entry and exit. Their roles should never be reversed.
We have identified five pillars that are essential for marriage. They need to be laid down, set, erected and maintained in order to be strong and continue providing support. Marriage in the Islamic realm should provide peace and tranquility in the home. However, when hardships and tragedies come their way which they always will, they can be countered by Faith, Compassion, Mutual Respect, Empathy and Commitment.