What do Muslim Marriages, Fate and Water Melons have in common?Back to all news

By Sayyed | February 24, 2016

I sat there and listened to his tale of sorrows…

….A good and pious man. A friend and someone I had known very well.

Throughout his University years he had remained true to his goal and intentions.  He was aesthetically pleasing enough and had received attention from more then a few ladies, however experience had taught him to tread the path of love very carefully.

He had decided in his late teens that his heart would be reserved for one woman alone,  his wife.

He knew not from where or whom his wife would be, but believing in fate and in the kindness of the Creator, he knew that Allah would provide for him.

It was his uncle that first suggested the proposal. He had been apprehensive initially and had always wanted to get married to someone from the UK.

Someone who had a hope in understanding his complex mind which was filled to the brim with the many books he had read.

Despite his resistance to marrying a distant relative from abroad he was eventually convinced that perhaps the unconventional path would reap good rewards. A wife with traditional values could bring happiness into his life.  So after nearly a year of convincing, he conceded that perhaps the marriage was meant to be…..

…..Perhaps it was his destiny to marry this woman.

He now sat in front of me…. Head in hands……

………Tears rolling down his face.

Destiny had decided to travel a different path then the one envisioned. Suitcase pre-packed, his wife had decided to walk out and leave him to build a better future elsewhere.

Fate had brought them together for just over a year before fate decided to separate them for ever, his wife’s new UK visa, the catalyst for change.

Like my friend there are many who believe in the idea of marriages being pre-ordained. It follows the notion that as God, the Supreme, knows precisely what is going to happen, what is going to happen must happen irrespective of any actions an individual may take.

I should say here that this is a very intense topic. The topic of this blog is not focussed on the larger question or debate around free will and determinism. These debates have taken place amongst scholars for centuries, with some being more inclined towards one view rather then the other.

Some scholars have taken a more medial view accepting that pre-destination has a fundamental truth in Islam.

Events like:

the timing of our death,

the arrival of the Imam of all mankind, Imam Mahdi (RA),

the day of  calamity,

resurrection and

judgment will CERTAINLY take place.

They have been pre-ordained and regardless of our actions Allah (SWT) will bring them into existence.

As Muslims, there can be no denying the reality of these forthcoming events.

However justice, punishments or rewards are based on decisions that we have made through our own volition.

How can God punish us if He has pre-ordained for a crime against his command to take place?

Therefore the argument follows that:

free-will must also be a reality just as pre-determinism is.

A reality that allows humans to receive good and bad consequences of the decisions that they have made.

With reference to my friend, his argument was that there was nothing that he could have done to have changed the tragic events that unfolded in his life with reference to his marriage. This argument is not uncommon .  We often hear the term “kismat” or fate used to explain events; events which are commonly unfortunate in nature.

Yet I do not think that blaming fate for ones owns decisions is a correct position to take.

Is not avoiding any responsibility or accountability for ones own actions, and the consequences of these actions, an injustice in itself?

Is it not an injustice to devalue the gift that differentiates man from angel, CHOICE, and in doing so blame Allah SWT for ones own choices?

There are many reasons for why marriages fail.

I believe however that the vast majority of unsuccessful marriages have very little to do with fate.

Rather, if there is a cause then normally there has been something lacking in judgement during the selection process which a deeper insight could have helped mitigate.

In the case of my good friend:

Was it the wisest thing to do to get married to someone on the sole recommendation of uncles and aunts without doing sufficient research for his own surety?

Could more consideration into the obstacles that may hinder compatibility, such as educational, social and cultural have lead to a different decision?

Was not ignoring these obvious challenges a mistake only attributable to my friend, and by extension his family, their mistake alone?

When you decide to ignore the basics, then you are more likely to find yourself facing problems, which too often become insurmountable.

Other problems arise when you decide to base a decision to get married purely on the feeling of the heart, rather then your intellect and….

….when you ignore obvious warning signs believing that marriage alone can change your chosen partner.

Very few people have the ability to change deeply ingrained bad habits.

Therefore believing that someone who, for example, engages in:

drinking alcohol,

gambling or


before marriage can change after marriage is a GRIEVE mistake.

Other warning signs may be less obvious, but are no less serious.

My mother in law, may Allah (SWT) extend her life, has a great expression. She says that marriages are like watermelons. It is only after you have bought the watermelon home and cut through it do you find out whether it is as good as the shopkeeper promised.  I believe that there is great wisdom in this.

You will never know how compatible a couple are until after a marriage, however to eliminate the chance of bringing home a bad melon, you must…

….observe, examine and test to see if there are any SIGNS OF DECAY.

If there is decay on the outside, there is likely to be decay on the inside.


Bad language,


An emotional coldness and

A disregard for fulfilling Islamic obligations, such as , fasting or keeping halaal…

….are CLEAR signs that there may be underlying problems which should be investigated to uncover what bearing it may have on establishing a long lasting and successful marriage.

No one is perfect. Trying to find perfection through investigating every character trait is not possible. Rather the purpose of uncovering faults in a prospective partner is not to focus on them. If we all did this, no-one would get married.

As a strong advocate of marriage as a solution to many problems, this is not what I am suggesting.

Instead I am suggesting that we…

…..all need to make a choice about what we can and can not live with in a marriage.

Some have higher thresholds or patience to live with certain faults of their partner, others do not.

The mistake is not to search deeply enough signs of incompatibility between yourself and a prospective partner BEFORE deciding to get married.

Greater still is the mistake of blaming all your problems on fate rather then taking accountability for the purchase of fruits with clear signs of decay.

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