One of the common expectations, if not the most common, of newly married couples is that they will have a child early on in their marriage. Of course for some couples this does happen, I know of a couple who were married for only a few months before announcing they were expecting a child. But for some couples the wait could be much longer – I know two couples who were married for over six years before announcing they were expecting their first child.
The pressure in the waiting period before a first child can sometimes be quite intense. There is likely to be pressure felt by the couple’s own desire to have a child as part of their next stage of life, to experience a major life experience. However, sometimes there may be pressure; often from well meaning relatives and friends, who may first start with general casual remarks, and build up to more direct, formal questions like “is there anything wrong? Why haven’t you had a child yet?”
There are often various reasons for this; often parents of the couple are keen to have grandchildren, especially if they haven’t any from their other children. This, again, can come from them wanting to move on to the next stage of moving from parents to grandparents, as well as a desire to pass on love, advice and guidance. A desire to see their family line continuing after they have passed away.
Of course bearing children after marriage is highly recommended in Islam and, as with all positive aims, we are expected to take the halal steps to achieve them, for example if applying for a job, as well as praying, completing a good application is also important.
However, ultimately we need to always remember nothing happens without Allah’s (SWT) will and permission:
“Say: “Nothing will happen to us except what Allah has decreed for us: He is our protector”: and on Allah let the believers put their trust.” (Quran, 9:51)
As Muslims, we believe everything happens with Allah’s (SWT) will, yes we have free will to make decisions on many things and make efforts, but whether or not these decisions and efforts bear fruit, what kind of fruit they bear etc. is in His will alone.
What can couples do if faced with pressure, whether from their partner or relatives and friends?
Regarding the last point above, we have a saying from Imam Ali Reza (AS) that asking for Allah’s help without making efforts is self-mockery, therefore in all goals personal, work, spiritual, making effort is an essential component:
“Doing seven things without doing the seven other things is self-mockery: asking for forgiveness from Allah verbally without repenting with the heart; asking for Allah’s help without undertaking any effort; making a firm resolution to do something without taking due precautions; asking Allah for Paradise without enduring the related hardships; beseeching deliverance from the Hell-fire without refraining from lusts; remembering Allah without anticipating to encounter Him.” [Imam Ali Reza (AS)]
Therefore couples, families, and friends should endeavour to stay patient and accept Allah’s (SWT) will, and that He will do what is best for us, and that He is the Most Wise and knows what is best for us.