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The Art of Ignoring: Key to a Happy Marriage

Protecting the Muslim Marriage

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

In this series we have been discussing the importance of the topic of marriage and divorce that so many of us belittle or neglect until we run into problems. We were reminded that any remedy for the conscious attempt by Shayṭān and his allies to dismantle the Muslim family unit, must include a retreat to the Qur’ān and its guidance. In the last few articles we reflected on several important principles extracted from āyāt of the Qur’ān, and now we turn our attention to the next in our list of twelve, God willing. 

Principle 9 – وَإِمَّا يَنْزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ

“And if an evil suggestion comes to you from Satan, then seek refuge in Allah.”[1]

Why is this important? We have already mentioned in the introduction to this lecture that Shayṭān is on a mission when it comes to the family and gives it very special attention and thus we must retaliate by giving this principle due attention.

We have an obligation towards Allāh and then towards our families to evict Shayṭān from our homes in every way which the Sunnah has guided us to do so. One such way is to ensure that refuge in Allāh is sought the moment we sense an impulse from him by saying, “A’oothobillaahi minash-shaytaanir rajeem” / “I seek refuge in Allāh from the cursed devil”

The companion Sulaiman b. Surad narrates that he was once sat with the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) whilst two men were cursing one another. The face of one of them had become red and his veins were bulging out. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) remarked,

إنِّي لأَعْلَمُ كَلِمَةً لَوْ قَالَهَا لَذَهَبَ عَنْهُ مَا يَجِدُ، لَوْ قَالَ: أعُوذ باللهِ منَ الشَّيطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ، ذَهَبَ منْهُ مَا يَجِدُ

“I know of a statement which if he says it, his anger will disappear. That statement is, ‘I seek refuge in Allāh from the cursed devil” [2]

Despite the simplicity of such a method, not everyone will be able to utter this during their moments of anger. This ability is directly connected with the principle discussed before this one in the previous article, the principle of Taqwa. It is only the people of Taqwa who will be inspired by Allāh to say this statement. Allāh says,

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْا إِذَا مَسَّهُمْ طَائِفٌ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ تَذَكَّرُوا فَإِذَا هُمْ مُبْصِرُونَ

“Those who have Taqwa, if they feel an impulse from Shayṭān, they remember and thus they can see again.” [3]

Another one of these methods of evicting Shayṭān is the recitation of Surat Al-Baqara within one’s house. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said,

لاَ تَجْعَلُوا بُيُوتَكُمْ مَقَابِرَ، إنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ يَنْفِرُ مِنَ البَيْتِ الَّذِي تُقْرَأُ فِيهِ سُورَةُ البَقرَة

“Do not turn your homes into graveyards, for the devil flees from the house which Surat Al-Baqara is recited within.” [4]

Furthermore, the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) has told us that the angels do not enter a home wherein there is a dog or pictures.[5] Once a dog was hiding beneath the bed of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) and the angel Jibrīl refused to enter the home of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam).[6] Thus one may ask, “If the angels do not enter then who will?” Shayṭān will. What then about those whose homes are blasting with music, filled with cigarette smoke and its like. We then wonder why so many of us are complaining of not being able to sleep at night, of feeling tense and inner tightness at home, whilst having not realised that many of our homes have become homes to the devils.

Had devil-detecting goggles existed which we’d then use to look into many of our homes, by Allah, we would refuse to ever walk back inside having seen the sheer number of devils which our houses have become home to.

For this reason, you will find that despite the homes of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) being some of the most primitive of homes, they were the happiest of all homes, beaming with light, bliss and tranquillity. Why? Because they were homes in which Shayṭān was evicted and where Qur’ān was being recited. Allāh said, speaking to the wives of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam):

وَاذْكُرْنَ مَا يُتْلَى فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ مِنْ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ وَالْحِكْمَةِ

“And remember what is recited in your houses of the verses of Allāh & wisdom.”[7]

Their homes were buzzing with Qur’ān.

As parents, our obligation is not only to ensure that the home is secure from thieves and intruders, but secure from the enemy of Allah, Iblīs. This is a trust that weighs heavily on your back, thus beware of betraying this Amānah.

Principle 10 – عَرَّفَ بَعْضَهُ وَأَعْرَضَ عَنْ بَعْضٍ

“He made known part of it and ignored a part.”[8]

This is part of an Ayah which requires a lecture in of itself, one which was revealed with regards to a problem that occurred between the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) and some of his wives. Allah told us that when the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) addressed the problem, he made mention of some of what his wife did whilst he overlooked others.

No human being is complete in every sense. Deficiency is a rooted characteristic of each and every one of us. After coming to grips with this reality, we understand the importance of a very beautiful art and a noble characteristic which only a select few have mastered. This is the art of “Taghāful

What is “Taghāful”? It could be vaguely defined as “To overlook”. But as for a thirst quenching definition, some have explained it as:

تكلف الغفلة مع العلم والإدراك لما يتغافل عنه تكرماً وترفعاً عن سفاسف الأمور

“To artificially ignore something whilst being fully aware of that which you are ignoring, but doing so out of nobility and rising above lowly, petty matters”

This is as our Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said,

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ مَعَالِيَ الأُمُورِ وَأَشرَافَهَا ، وَيَكْرَهُ سَفْسَافَهَا

“Allah loves the noblest and most honourable of matters and hates petty, trivial matters”.[9]

How many loved ones, whether a spouse or otherwise, have we lost due to us being stuck in the overly critical mode, homing in on every mistake and blunder of others? The wiser and more complete one becomes, the more he adopts the “let it go” attitude (i.e. when the definition above applies).

Do you remember how the pagans of Mecca used to insult our beloved Muhammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam)? Instead of calling him “Muḥammad” – which means “the praised one” – they would change about the letters of his name and call him “muthammam” – which means “the reviled one”. But, ponder on how our prophet would react to this. He would say to his companions:

أَلَا تَعْجَبُونَ كَيْفَ يَصْرِفُ اللَّهُ عَنِّي شَتْمَ قُرَيْشٍ وَلَعْنَهُمْ يَشْتِمُونَ مُذَمَّمًا وَيَلْعَنُونَ مُذَمَّمًا وَأَنَا مُحَمَّدٌ

“Don’t you find it amazing how Allāh repels their insults away from me? They are swearing at a person called “muthammam” and cursing him, but I am Muḥammad!” [10]

One may ask, does our Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) not know that he is the one whom they are referring to when they say “muthammam”? Of course he does, but this is “Taghāful”, the art of overlooking. He is teaching us to not get caught up in trivial matters, to keep our eyes on the bigger picture and to pay our full attention on the major matters of life.

For this reason, Imam Ahmad Ibnu Hanbal would say,

تسعة أعشار حسن الخلق في التغافل

“Nine-tenths of all good manners culminate in “taghāful”

The same way that you will not be able to be entirely how your wife wishes you to be, do not expect your wife to always be how you want her to be. Thus it is essential to exercise Taghāful after having realising that those who master it are truly amongst the noble of people.

Al-Hasan Al-Basri, ما استقصى كريم قط

“An honourable person never tries to claim every single one of his rights.” [11]

At times it is necessary, wiser and best to turn a blind eye. After all, protecting the marriage and maintaining peace within the household, when the faults are not major, is a greater priority and, in practicing Taghāful, we reject Shayṭān’s attempts to poison us against our spouses with his whispers of their imperfections.

In the next article in this series, God willing we will reflect on the principle:

Principle 11 – لَا تَدْرِي لَعَلَّ اللَّهَ يُحْدِثُ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ أَمْرًا

“You know not, perhaps Allah will bring about after that a different matter.”[1]

Source: www.islam21c.com


[1] Al-Qur’an, Surah 7, Ayah 200

[2] Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim

[3] Al-Qur’an, Surah 7, Ayah 201

[4] Narrated by Muslim, on the authority of Abu Huraira

[5] Narrated by Bukhari, on the authority of Abu Talha

[6] Narrated by Muslim, on the authority of ‘Aisha

[7] Al-Qur’an, Surah 33, Ayah 34

[8] Al-Qur’an, Surah 66, Ayah 3

[9] Mu’jam of at-Tabaraani, on the authority of AlHussein Ibn Ali, with a hasan chain of narration

[10] Saheeh Al-Bukhari on the authority of Abu Huraira

[11] Tafseer Al-Qurtubi

[1] Al-Qur’an, Surah 65, Ayah 1

About Shaykh Ali Hammuda

Shaykh Ali Ihsan Hammuda is a UK national of Palestinian origin. He gained bachelors and masters’ degrees in Architecture & Planning from the University of the West of England, before achieving a BA in Shari'ah from al-Azhar University in Egypt. He is currently based in Wales and is a visiting Imām at Al-Manar Centre in Cardiff, and also a senior researcher and lecturer for the Muslim Research & Development Foundation in London. Ustādh Ali is the author of several books including 'The Daily Revivals' and 'The Ten Lanterns", and continues to deliver sermons, lectures and regular classes across the country.


  1. When I have bad thoughts, which you attribute to something called “Satan”, I use my conscience to resist them. I don’t have to turn to ancient dogmas or religions to know the difference between right and wrong.
    Moral knowledge has no need of the hundreds of religions available. We should control our behaviour according to the law of the land (if democratic), and our free will and common-sense in non-legal subjects.
    My wife and I have been happily married for 43 years without the help of religions.

    • Hardly surprising.
      The “John Simpson” of 1910s England would campaign against women getting degrees.
      The “John Simpson” of 1930s Germany would send Jews to the gas chambers.
      The “John Simpson” of 1950s Alabama would send blacks to the back of the bus.

      However, orthodox Muslims would have the same values then and now because they do not blow in the wind of popular opinion. Although we are very grateful that you happen to, by pure historical coincidence, agree with us NOW on giving for example human status to women, Jews and blacks, you will forgive us for not having too much faith in the moral cogency of your sheepish obedience to contemporary power and pop culture (exercising “your conscience”).

      You will also forgive us for not abandoning those things which you don’t like from our values or worldview, since those Muslims that did so for the “John Simpson”s of yesteryear turned out in quite a pitiful state today based on a cursory look at the legacy of failed states and dictatorships of Europe’s colonial adventures.

  2. happiness in little-so true

    Is Al misyar allowed?If so what are it’s rules?

  3. stagnant traveller like us all

    Abraham/moses/jesus…ie haraka may be a solution. But what or who wants to marry into that?

    We all locked down….In the system! Whether council issues or job or even gaining promotion on benefits.

  4. ameela momoniat

    For this reason, Imam Ahmad Ibnu Hanbal would say,
    تسعة أعشار حسن الخلق في التغافل
    “Nine-tenths of all good manners culminate in “taghāful”
    That is hikmah! Words of wisdom from Imam Ahmad rahimahullah

    I have really enjoyed the whole series ما شاء الله

    جزاك اللهُ خيرًا

    • lumit laem may be not the sticks/stones

      Reminds me of Abraham lincons saying in don’t be sad

      jazakom Allah Jul khair

      • love hate relationshiper

        jazakom Allah kul khair…..subhan Allah..i understand we have been ordered to follow up bad with good..so that it may wipe off …in sha Allah….even though here it is a mistake……with that said, I pray the others can be called such…….or deemed such ( I do not mean wives)…….with what previously said, I personally can not bring my self to correct……………..WILL POWER….gonna need a lot…we all will. or do. feels like a weight…but no one can help…except you ie me ie you ie me ie you ie me………..ONLY ALLAH….can!…subhan Allah…..no fear or khashua…..let me conceal if i can.

        if any one can help…please make dua for the writer of this. jazakom Allah kul khair. wbarak Allah feekom

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