What is our purpose on this earth?
وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنْسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ
And I did not create the Jinn and the mankind except for My worship.
How does that apply to marriage, parenting, family, friendships, colleagues, and the world around us? In every one of these relationships, we must enter it with the intent to serve Allah and increase our emaan and taqwa through it. In every one of these relationships we must be encouraging and increasing worship and obedience to Allah. We must, foremost, enter into any and all things for the improvement, and as positive part of the development, of our worship of Allah.
It is reported that ‘Abdullâh b. ‘Abbâs – Allâh be pleased with him – said, “Love for Allâh and hate for Allâh, make your enmity because of Allâh and your allegiance because of Allâh; for indeed, the love and support of Allâh is not achieved save through this. And a man will never taste true faith (îmân) – though he may pray and fast much – except when he is like that. Today, the people’s brotherhood is based upon worldly considerations (dunyâ), but this will not do anything for them on the Day of Resurrection.”Ibn Al-Mubârak, Al-Zuhd wa Al-Raqâ`iq article 353.
What happens when we enter into anything for our own reasons that go against what Allah and His Messenger (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) have given us as criteria? Things go wrong. They don't go wrong because they started out right in the first place and then lost Allah's Blessings. They go wrong because they were never right in the first place; they are simply following their course.
What is their course all about? Teaching us what happens when we don't do things with the right intention; when we don't do them to worship and draw closer to Allah, subhaana wa taala. Their course is a series of warnings, signs, lessons, and events that are meant to teach us that there is no success without putting Allah first.
When we embark on marriage with the wrong intention or mixed intentions, then we will see the results of that. That's why so many marriages fail. What about the marriages where one person had the right intention and the other didn't. Does it end up okay? Not usually.
Usually the marriage is not happy or successful. Usually, it is a blessing from Allah for the one with the right intention if the marriage ends. They are being protected from the companionship and fitna of someone insincere and misguided.It is reported that Sufyân Al-Thawrî – Allâh have mercy on him – said:If you loved a man for Allâh and then he innovates in Islâm and you don’t hate him for it, you never [truly] loved him for Allâh.Abû Nu’aym, Hilyatu Al-Awliyâ` 7:34.
Yahyâ b. Yahyâ Al-NaysâbûrÎ reports:I was once with Sufyân b. ‘Uyainah – Allah have mercy on him, when a man came to him and said, “O Abû Muhammad, I complain to you of so-and-so”, meaning his wife, “I am the lowest and most despicable thing to her.” [Sufyân] lowered his head for a few moments, then said, “Perhaps you wanted her in order to better your status.” The man said, “Indeed, o Abû Muhammad.” Sufyân said, “Whoever goes for glory will be tried with ignominy, whoever goes for wealth will be tried with poverty, but whoever goes for religiousness, Allah will bring together for him glory and wealth with the religion.” He then started to narrate to him:We were four brothers: Muhammad, ‘Umrân, IbrâhÎm and I. Muhammad was the eldest, ‘Umrân was the youngest, and I was in the middle. When Muhammad wanted to marry, he desired status and married a woman of higher standing, so Allah tried him with ignominy. ‘Umrân desired wealth, so he married a richer woman and Allah tried him with poverty: [her family] took everything from him and gave him nothing.I pondered their situation. Mu’ammar b. Râshid once came to us so I consulted him on the situation and told him the story of my brothers. He reminded me of the hadÎth of Yahyâ b. Ja’dah and the hadÎth of ‘Â`ishah. The hadÎth of Yahyâ b. Ja’dah states that the Prophet – Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – said, “A woman is married for four things: her religion, her status (lineage), her wealth or her beauty; so take the religious one and be successful.” The hadÎth of ‘Â`ishah states that the Prophet – Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – said, “The most blessed woman is she who is easiest to maintain.”Thus, I chose [to marry a woman of] religion and modest dowry, in accordance with the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger – Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, and Allah gave me status and wealth along with the religion.Abû Nu’aym, Hilyatu Al-Awliyâ` 7:289, 290.Note
The first hadÎth is recorded by Al-BukhârÎ and Muslim. The second is found in Al-Nasâ`Î and other collections but has been graded weak by scholars including Shaykh Al-AlbânÎ. However, scholars point out there is another narration that supports and adds to its meaning. This hadÎth states:
It is from the blessing in a woman that she has an easy dowry, an easy proposal [via her guardian] and an easy womb (i.e. she is fertile and bares children without difficulty). One of the reporters of this narration, ‘Urwah, said “And I say from myself, one of the first signs of evil from a woman is for her to have a high dowry.”
This hadÎth is recorded by Imâm Ahmad and others and is graded hasan by Shaykh Al-AlbânÎ.
In some beautiful scenarios, the one with the wrong intention learns from the one with the right intention and the relationship becomes one of serious, and joyous, striving towards the pleasure of Allah. These are the occasions when we see that Allah Guides whom He wills and can turn a situation for the good. However, these are not situations one enters into knowingly, because there is no guarantee that Allah will turn the other's heart and mind; that may not be His will.
When people look at their problematic or failed marriages, relationships between parents and children, friendships, and acquaintances, so many times we hear that question, "What went wrong?" So many times people harp on the question, seeking all manner of answers and solutions. However, the answer is as simple as that one ayah of Quran: we are here to worship Allah. What is worship of Allah? Believing in, following, and implementing His message and our perfect example, Prophet Muhammad (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam).
If we put our own desires before the worship of Allah, then we are simply wasting our time and asking to be taught a lesson. Yes, we are human and we make mistakes; but we must learn from them and come to correct and sincere intention. Otherwise, eventually we may become of those who Allah leaves to their pleasure in this life to increase their punishment in the next, wa audhu b'Illahi min as-shaytaan ir-rajeem.
Now, when I hear that question, "What went wrong?" I think to myself, "Absolutely nothing."
All thanks and praise for Allah, our only hope for success in this life and eternity.