On Marriage

Praise be to Allah Who created everything, and ordered it in proportion.
Glory be to Him!  He created and gave order, measured and gave guidance!
Praise be to Allah Who created mankind from a single soul, and created
from it is mate, so that he could incline towards her, and find reassurance,
companionship and intimacy with her.

Allah has created us, and knows us and our nature, needs and capabilities,
and has legislated our religion, to best serve those needs and channel
those capabilities for our benefit.  Islam, as we know, guides not
only our personal life, but also society as a whole.  What we are
going to talk about today, inshaAllah, is a very important aspect of Islam,
which is at the same time the building block of society — marriage.

[Note : for ease of flow, I will generally use the masculine pronoun
throughout, although in general most points mentioned apply to both sexes
unless otherwise stated.]

The human being tends to sense a feeling of desolation when finding
himself alone and solitary.  This feeling appears and is manifested
clearly in young boys and girls.  Then, while continuing to experience
life, it is not long before the individual’s intellect develops, along
with his body, such that his emotions mature, and he finds himself assailed
by this amazing feeling; a feeling of forlornness, a deficiency in his
existence, which kindles within him a yearning for and allurement by the
opposite sex.  One feels a longing for someone to share his joys,
to keep him company in loneliness, and to encourage him to overcome difficulties
and obstacles.

The existence of pairs is in fact a universal phenomenon, and one of
the characteristics of Allah’s creation.

“And of every thing We have created pairs so that perhaps you might
reflect.” [Qur’an, 51:49]

“Glory be to [Allah] Who created the pairs, all of them, in among that
which the earth sprouts, in their own [human] selves, and in that which
they do not know!” [Qur’an, 36:36]

The need for marriage is not a mere need for fulfilment of one’s instinctive
desire.  It is not merely a quenching of the lust inherent in young
men and women.  Rather, in reality, it is a mental and emotional need
which crystallizes in a person whenever he is of unimpaired disposition.
The human sexual desire, although similar to that of animals in that it
includes a physical union, goes beyond the corporeal conjugation.
The desire of animals is seasonal, has little concern for the mate’s appearance,
and is essentially a physical, instinctive drive. The human being on the
other hand, has a recurring desire which is linked to the mate’s appearance
and state, and to an emotional framework.

In fact the need for marriage is decisively a necessity for the realization
of that human aspect which makes a person human.  What is the human
being?  He is a living being that is social and gregarious by nature.
What is this sociality?  It is the system which binds members of a
community together, and directs the efforts, emotions and inclinations
of individuals toward achievement of a common goal of dignity, honor, establishment
of justice and truth, and upliftment of good.  This sociality, then,
is mainfested in a set of responsibilities that each individual has : towards
himself, towards his community, and towards mankind as a whole.

Marriage is the cornerstone of the edifice of society.  It is a
binding mechanism with a great effect in bringing families together, binding
communities with ties of love and bonds of affection.  Furthermore,
it has a strong influence in unifying orientations, and effecting cooperation
between individuals and groups.  The spouse assists his spouse, and
his in-laws, who in turn assist him and strive for his welfare.  Similarly,
the families of the two spouses assist one another, each one striving for
the welfare and benefit of the other.  These ties extend and branch
such that they cover the expanses of the community and society, as hinted
at by the Qur’an,

“[Allah] it is Who has created, from water, man, and established relations
of lineage and marriage.  And your Lord has power [over all things].”
[Qur’an, 25:54]

So, marriage is the foundation of civilization.  It is an undertaking
of a great obligation, dissolved in the delight of sexual allurement and
enjoyment.  Islam has placed great emphasis on this relationship,
and it is not regarded — in contrast to some other  societies and
cultures — as something shameful.  Rather, it is almost considered
an act of worship (`ibadah) in itself, for we have been encouraged to perform
marriage contracts in mosques. [As in a narration reported by Tirmidhi,
who graded it hasan gharib]    Marriage is mentioned in
the Qur’an with honor as a sunnah of the prophets.

“Indeed, We sent messengers before you, and gave them wives and children.”
[Qur’an, 13:38]

It is also reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him
and his Household) said, “When a servant [of Allah] marries, he has completed
half of the religion, so let him fear Allah in that which remains.” [Narrated
by Tabarani in al-Awsat, as in Majma` al-Zawa’id.  A similar narration
was recorded by al-Hakim, who authenticated it and was corroborated by
al-Dhahabi]

It is the obligation of the individual and of the generation towards
coming generations that they are reared righteously and afforded proper
upbringing and education.  And, where can this proper ubringing and
morality be achieved other than under the shade of marriage, and stable
family life?

Allah describes the believers as being “merciful amongst themselves,”
[Surah al-FatH], and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has
said, “The likeness of the believers in their mutual love, mercy and compassion
is the likeness of a body.” [Bukhari, Muslim]  How is this love and
mercy going to develop in the community, if not by its starting out in
the building block of society, the family?  It must start out by the
husband and wife demonstrating dealing with one another on its basis.

“And of His Signs is that He has created for you from your own selves,
mates, that you might incline to them (with love, companionship, intimacy,
etc.) and He has placed between you love and mercy.” [Qur’an, 30:21]

This love and mercy will be picked up by the children, and from this
family unit and others like it, it extends to the surrounding community,
until eventually it permeates the entire Muslim society, such that they
truly display the characteristic of the believers “merciful amongst themselves.”

So, marriage is the naturally correct way, and the proper path for
extending civilization by such human procreation as allows for inhabitation
of the earth, construction of civilization and furthering the religion
of Allah.

—–
Marriage is a serious responsibility and duty:

“Every one of you is a guardian, and every one of you is liable to
be questioned about those in his care.  The man is a guardian with
regard to his family, and is liable to be questioned about those in his
care.  The woman is a guardian with respect to her husband’s house,
and is liable to be questioned about that in her care . . . . So, every
one of you is a guardian, and every one of you is liable to be questioned
about those in his care.” [Bukhari, Muslim]

but its correct observance brings great reward.  We have already
mentioned the hadith:

“When a servant [of Allah] marries, he has completed half of the religion,
so let him fear Allah in that which remains.”

and the following narrations shed further light on the virtue of marriage
in Islam.

“A dinar which you spend in the path of Allah, a dinar which you spend
[to free] a slave, a dinar which you give as sadaqah to a needy person,
and a dinar which you spend on your family : the most superior of these
is the one which you spend on your family.” [Muslim]

“The inhabitants of Heaven are [of] three [sorts] : an equitable possessor
of authority, [who is] a giver of charity and endowed; a merciful person
with a tender heart towards every relative and Muslim; and a chaste, dignified/honest
person with a family.” [Muslim]

This last hadith indicates that one who accepts Islam as his religion,
and then manages and conducts his family matters in accordance with Islam,
is of the people of Heaven; may Allah make  us amongst them.

Our Lord!  Grant us wives and offspring who will be the comfort
of our eyes, and makes us leaders for the pious.

O Allah!  Grant blessings and peace to our master Muhammad, and
to his Household and Companions.

Largely adapted from the book: ” Madha `an al-Mar’ah?” by Dr Nuruddin `Itr.

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