Marriage in Islam
As the world evolves, there is a continual upsurge in views and opinions as regards a lot of common practices deemed 'normal' or 'expected' in our society. Marriage is one of the aspects that continues to face that scrutiny today.
In today's world, the majority seek to dispel long standing practices seemingly imposed on us by culture, tradition, stereotypes, and even religion in some cases.
We seek to break down the concept of marriage in Islam and showcase what it really means to Muslims. Hopefully, it serves as a reminder to those who already know, and as an eye opener to those who wish to know more.
We start with the most defining part of it – the Nikah.
What it is?
The Nikah is a socio-legal contractual act that deems a woman and man lawful upon each other as husband and wife according to the Shari'a (Islamic Law).
What does it entail?
It literally entails signing a marriage contract, as indicated in the definition above. For the ceremony to be valid in Islam, there are certain factors that has to be put in place. That will be emphasized more in subsequent articles. Basically, there has to be consent from both parties getting married, the parents have to be aware, two adult Muslim witnesses on both sides must be present, the bride must have a mahram (guardian) present to give her away, and the groom must have a mahr for the bride.
The mahr is a gift from the groom to the bride, stipulated according to her wishes. It should be something tangible, that can be a source of support financially to the bride. There are varying in-depth discussions surrounding the mahr.
Once these are put in place, the Nikah can proceed with an Imam coordinating the proceedings. The Nikkah does not have to take place in a mosque, it could also be held at an event center or in the living room. While some people would rather opt for the mosque, it is not a must that the Nikah is held there.
A marriage license is usually signed before or during the Nikah, to fully satisfy the conditions of marriage according to the law of whatever state the Nikah is held. There is the actual Nikah contract also issued by the Shari'a court. This is usually signed after the Imam has given a solemn sermon.
This sermon is usually aimed at the couple getting married as well as the audience. It may or may not revolve around marriage itself. Like the Friday Sermon, it serves as a general reminder to do good and shun all condemned acts. The witnesses are also asked to sign the document to prove that they were present for the ceremony. The Walimah (reception or banquet) can then be held afterwards.
Allah (SWT) says in Qur'an 24:32 'And marry those who among you are single, and also marry the Saalihoon – the pious, capable and fit…'
The Prophet (SAW) also mentioned that there is no institution more beloved to Allah than the institution of marriage. He (PBUH) also mentioned that marriage is a part of his tradition, and whosoever turns away from his tradition, is not of his nation.
Marriage is an integral part of society that is recommended for Muslims by Allah (SWT), His Prophet (SAW) and the consensus of Muslim scholars – the ijma'. As with all of Allah's commandments, marriage is considered one of Allah's mercies towards mankind. The benefits are endless, and are emphasized all through the Quran, narrations of the Hadith, and scholarly articles by learned jurists in Islam. Those benefits include:
Allah intends marriage to be a union where both spouses can be comforted when in distress. Life as a believer is filled with tests and trials, but with the right spouse on our sides, even the toughest times are bearable.
This is seen in Quran 30:21, where Allah SWT says, "And one of His signs is that He has created for you, spouses from amongst yourselves so that you might take comfort in them and He has placed between you, love and mercy. In this there is surely evidence (of the truth) for the people who carefully think."
This verse is exemplified in the beautiful life that the Prophet Muhammad SAW was able to live when Khadija (RA) was alive. Their love was constant and strong, and far outlived her death. Their marriage was so comforting that the Prophet Muhammad SAW once told Aisha (RA), “She believed in me when no one else did, she embraced Islam when people disbelieved me; and she helped and comforted me when there was no one to lend me a helping hand.”
There is no description of a spouse by another more beautiful than this, and no better example to show just how comforting marriage can be. May Allah grant us the best of spouses.
Chastity has always been and continues to be a struggle for Muslims around the world. The world around has only gotten worse in spreading fitnah that makes it easy to fall prey to Zina. Now more than ever, marriage is even more advisable for those who can, to prevent falling into sin.
In Qur'an 4:24, Allah SWT says, "... and besides these, it is lawful for you to marry other women if you pay them their dowry, maintain chastity and do not commit indecency. So those (women) whom you marry for an appointed time, you must give them their agreed upon dowries. There is no harm if you reach an understanding among yourselves about the dowry, Allah (SWT) is All-Knowing and All-Wise."
While marriage will not heal a diseased heart that is keen on Zina, it will help believers who are truly striving for Allah's pleasure to adequately satisfy their desires within halal measures set by Allah.
A lot of Muslims are of the misconception that remaining unmarried while they work hard will help them accumulate their wealth. They believe that the demands of marriage and the responsibilities attached to it will drain their purse. What we must always remember is that Allah SWT is the custodian of all Rizq, and our wealth is already ascribed to us by Him SWT.
In Qur'an 24:32, He SWT instructs, "Marry the single people from among you and the righteous slaves and slave-girls. If you are poor, Allah (SWT) will make you rich through His favor; and Allah (SWT) is Bountiful, All-Knowing."
Following His injunctions will only earn us his pleasure and mercy, and whosoever Allah loves, none can detest and whosoever He blesses, none can hinder. So marry when you have the funds to and look to Him for your wealth and ease as you work towards attaining success.
In a sahih Hadith, the Prophet SAW was reported to have said, “Whoever Allah provides with a righteous wife, Allah has assisted him in half of his religion. Let him fear Allah regarding the second half.”
Marriage helps us as Muslims create a beautiful platform on which to receive Allah's blessings daily as we strive to serve our family. It is a ticket to Jannah earned by continually serving our loved ones and keeping our homes in harmony.
Allah SWT says in Qur'an 4:1, "O' mankind! Have consciousness of your Lord who has created you from a single soul. From it He created your spouse and through them He populated the land with many men and women. Have spiritual awareness of the One by whose name you swear to settle your differences and have respect for the wombs that bore you. Without doubt, Allah (SWT) keeps watch over you all."
Marriage ensures procreation. Not just recklessly done, but attained within the sanctity of marriage to enable a safe and loving environment for the child and parents. This ensures stability and eases the journey through life as a child and eventually an adult.
In Qur'an 2:187, Allah SWT says, "They (your wives) are a clothing (covering) for you and you too are a clothing (covering) for them."
Just like clothes cover our nakedness and hide our flaws, spouses are expected to honor each other and help each other show up as their best selves.
Just like they beautify us, marriage in Islam is with the expectation that spouses improve each other's lives, and makes their lives more appealing than it was before their union.
Marriage means different things to different people. It also entails different cultural practices that vary from place to place. What it means to Muslims is however rooted in what our religion designed it to be. It will not make this Dunya (world) Jannah (paradise) for believers; but it sure will make you believe that there is one.
When done the right way – the Islamic way; with sincere hearts and with Islam as the foundation of the union; Allah will make marriage everything that He has promised it will be for us.
May Allah grant us beautiful unions and loving spouses. May He make them the coolness of our eyes. May He make them all the comfort that we need. May He make our homes the safe place that we seek. May He SWT make our marriages our tickets to Jannah. Ameen.
This article was written by Sr. Rahmat Omole for ilmnikah.com. ilmnikah.com is a blog and a matrimonial platform for single Muslims living in the United States, Canada, UK, Turkey, South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Australia, New Zealand or Germany. Visit our homepage and sign up to receive email updates from us. Don't forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Clubhouse and Telegram.
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