Elise Bellin, Librarian of the Islamic Resource Center, wrote this book review as part of an ongoing series that focuses on a range of books within the IRC collection as a service to the community.

Before You Tie the Knot: A Guide For Couples

Before You Tie the Knot: A Guide For Couples, by Salma Abugideiri and Mohamed Hag Magid © 2013 ISBN: 9781493637068

What do you get when a licensed Muslim marriage counselor is unable to answer couples’ questions regarding divorce and therefore approaches an Imam with knowledge of fiqh (legal rulings) as well as experience in counseling couples? Years of collaboration and an outstanding book which is an excellent guide for Muslims seeking to fulfill what Islam has traditionally called “half of one’s faith”.

While grounded in the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah, Before You Tie the Knot, A guide for Couples is not a book of legal rulings. Rather, authors Salma Abugideri and Imam Magid, hope to prepare Muslim couples to anticipate potential conflict areas and provide them with tools to resolve issues before they become seemingly unsolvable. A mental health professional and an imam, a female and a male, even one raised in the US and the other abroad, the two authors provide us with a wealth of preventive as well as practical strategies to become better communicators and establish deeper and more fulfilling ways of being with one another.

“It is interesting and amazing”, the authors point out, “that Allah swt has deliberately created man and woman differently with the identified objective of learning about each other and getting to know each other” (at-Ta’ruf) 49:13.  The gravity of doing so is moreover underscored by marriage being called “a most serious covenant” (miithaqun ghalidhun) (4:21), the very same adjective used to describe the covenant that Allah swt made with His prophets! (33:7)

Couples can be reassured though, the authors emphasize, that the time invested both before the marriage as well as after, can be considered acts of worship (‘ibadah), which will be rewarded if approached with the right intention (nia).  The self-reflection questions at the end of each section as well as the 100 questions at the end of the book are a good place to start, not only for Muslims contemplating marriage, but even those who have already tied the knot!

Founded in 2010, the Islamic Resource Center (IRC) is the first Islamic public lending library in Wisconsin. The IRC aims to provide resources to educators, students, health professionals, interfaith groups, and any members of the Milwaukee community that want an accurate understanding of the Islamic faith, its practices, and its people.