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Last Updated: 2011/01/08
Summary of question
There is a hadith that says: “The believers should encounter each other with cheerful faces”, is this true about the husband and wife as well?
Considering the fact that a believer has a cheerful face while he conceals his sorrow in his heart, is it preferable to conceal one's sadness from one's spouse, revealing it only to Allah, or should on share one's emotions with one's spouse, including his grief and sadness?
Concise answer

One of the characteristics that hadiths have mentioned about a believer, is that when encountering others, they should have cheerful faces and conceal their sorrow; this characteristic brings about inclination and friendship and warmth. It is noteworthy that this matter is different when it comes to marriage life, because the husband and wife are to share each other’s joys and sorrows; the more there is love and affection between them, the more they will want to know of each other’s sorrows. There is no reason to conceal problems from each other, because the aim of having a cheerful face with other believers is to cause affection and friendship between them, while love and affection already exist between the husband and wife. Knowing of each other’s sorrows helps the husband and wife to strive to resolve them.

However, this point applies to those husbands and wives who are committed to observing religious and ethical matters in their lives and if, God forbid, they don’t share the same religious or ethical views, then all the better for them not to have such a relationship at all.

Detailed Answer

When it comes to our spiritual growth and development, being good tempered is of significant importance, to the extent that out of all the different reasons that could have been what the prophet was sent for, this one has been mentioned at the top of the list; the prophet says: “I was made prophet in order to complete the characteristics of morality”.[1] Here, out of all the different things there are, the prophet touches on morality. One instance of morality is to have a cheerful face when encountering people. Different hadiths have referred to it in the following ways:

It (having a cheerful face) is a characteristic of the believer[2], a characteristic of the noble and the great, the first step to goodness, the extinguisher of the fire of animosity, link of friendship, a cause of fondness and fellowship, and that it is like inviting guests (which means that having a cheerful face has the rewards of inviting guests).[3]

Another characteristic that has been advised in Islamic teachings is for the believer to conceal his sorrows and tragedies and keep them to himself. Observing such a thing entails many good effects, namely: Imam Baqir says: Four things are precious treasures: keeping one’s needs concealed, concealing charity (that one gives), concealing illness, concealing problems and tragedies.”[4]

It is noteworthy that this topic, meaning informing one’s spouse of his sorrow and inner grief, depends on how their relationship is with each other; the more they share the same moral and religious views, the more knowing of each other’s problems will be beneficial to them, because they are each other’s partners, and can, with the help of each other, make up for each other’s shortcomings in life.

Informing one’s spouse who is committed and bound to her Islamic duties of one’s problems in life entails the strengthening of the family and its fruit is the satisfaction of the Lord and the entrance of heaven. We would like to draw your attention to a hadith in this regard: A man came to the prophet and said: “O Messenger of Allah! I have a spouse who when I come home, comes to my welcome, and when I leave, accompanies me [to the door], and when sees me upset, says: “Don’t be upset, if you are worried of sustenance, that is something Allah has guaranteed, and if you are worried of the hereafter, may Allah add to your sorrow [because fear of the hereafter is something praiseworthy].” The prophet (pbuh) said: “Give her glad tidings of heaven, and tell her that she is one of Allah’s agents and that everyday, she is rewarded the rewards of seventy martyrs.”[5] 

[1] Majlisi, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 67, pg. 371, Al-Wafa’ Institute, Beirut, 1404 (AH).

[2] Ibid, vol. 64, pg. 305.

[3] Amadi, Abd al-Wahed, Ghurar al-Hikam, vol. 1, pg. 434, Daftar Tablighat Publications, Qom, 1366 (solar calendar).

[4] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 75, pg. 175.

[5] Tabarsi, Hasan bin al-Fadhl, Makarem al-Akhlaq, vol. 1, pg. 200, Sharif Radhiyy Publications, Qom, 1412 (AH).

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