Handbook of a Healthy Muslim Marriage: Unlocking the Secrets to Ultimate Bliss 
by Dr Mufti Abdur-Rahman Mangera

White Thread Press.
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Review by Ikramul Haque

Marriage is ultimately a legal and religious act; at the same time, it is an institution situated between cultural realities and social contexts. While Islamic law offers us parameters on the objective regulations and rules governing marriage, cultural and socially specific variables affect how a couple forms a healthy relationship and maintains a working partnership. Unfortunately, it is between these two paradigms that many couples lose their direction.

In the Handbook of a Healthy Muslim Marriage, Dr Mufti Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf Mangera aptly bridges the legal framework of marriage with its cultural and social contexts; in a way that not only feels practical, but realistic and deeply beneficial. A recurring theme is that the lived reality of marriage, as well as family dynamics, is far more nuanced than people’s simplistic interpretation and understanding of the legal rights and responsibilities. As an astute and traditionally trained scholar, with more than twenty years of experience in counselling, the author offers a pivotal perspective for seekers of marriage, newly-weds, and even veterans of marriage.

Marriage is a life-long process, which begins with the coming together of two individuals in this world and ultimately, if Allah wills, continues in paradise, their bond eternally cemented. The beauty of this book is that it discusses marriage in a way that reflects the entirety of this journey. It begins with the process of finding a spouse, the hazards and pitfalls in the selection process, and the dynamics of the “engagement” period. It discusses the marriage ceremony, the “first night,” the sunna etiquette to be observed for greater blessings throughout, as well as issues related to romance, sexual intimacy, in-laws, and raising children. The content is presented in a way that is palpable and useful at every stage of a couple’s journey.

What is particularly striking is the absolute balance Mufti Abdur-Rahman achieves as he navigates between the legal framework of marriage and the wealth of anecdotal experiences and cultural discussions. In an era where divorce is far too common, the author brings forward real-life stories that allow the reader to see marriage for what it is—a complex and multi-faceted relationship that requires commitment and continuous engagement. At times, marriage is beautiful and fulfilling and at others, it is challenging and difficult.

While the painful aspects of marriage are often glossed over by other books, the author produces detailed discussions on domestic violence, infertility and holistic medical solutions, marital breakdown, divorce and subsequent issues of custody and spousal support. All in all, Handbook of a Healthy Muslim Marriage is an indispensable guide to marriage. It avoids complex jargon and technical terms; but it discusses marriage from a legal, religious, spiritual, and social angle; and it gives voice to the many positives and negatives experienced within marriage. The author should be immensely praised for producing such a balanced symbiosis between a fiqhi text and a self-help manual, all laid out and designed with aesthetically pleasing calligraphy and flourishes for an engaging read. This is contemporary Islamic self-help on marriage at its best.