بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
:الحمد لله، والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله، وبعد
AlHamdu lillah, all praises are due to Almighty Allah (SWT/سبحانه وتعالى), and may His peace and blessings be upon our noble and illustrious Prophet Muhammad (SAW/صلى الله عليه وسلم).
During the next few weeks we will highlight, Allah willing, the most critical aspects of marriage from an Islamic perspective, starting in this article (as an introduction to the topic) with its importance in the lives of individuals and the community.
Being a complete and perfect way of life and a blueprint for a moral and virtuous worldly existence, Islam has placed a great deal of emphasis on the institution of marriage and its success. There are numerous references to married life and family issues in the Quran, our Sacred Book (by the way, Islam is actually quite unique in this regard), in the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (SAW) and in our Islamic tradition and teachings.
Marriage and having a lifelong spouse and children are gifts and bounties from Allah Almighty, especially if the marriage is a happy and successful one and the spouse in particular is a loving and caring person. These great blessings (which also come with huge responsibilities) help to make us complete individuals by fulfilling our physical, emotional and spiritual needs and therefore give us substance, purpose and happiness in this worldly life and a pathway to Allah’s pleasure and to Paradise in the next.
In addition, there is more harmony, felicity and upliftment in societies where the institution of marriage is respected and its true value appreciated. The bonds between the individual units are strengthened and the familial ties extend beyond the immediate circles to connect humanity, the children of Adam and Hawwa/Eve (AS), our common ancestors. By doing so we will be completing, on a larger and different dimension, the “circle of life”. Allah (SWT) says at the beginning of Surat al-Nisaa’ (”The Women''):
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ ٱتَّقُوا۟ رَبَّكُمُ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَٰحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالًا كَثِيرًا وَنِسَآءً ۚ وَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ ٱلَّذِى تَسَآءَلُونَ بِهِۦ وَٱلْأَرْحَامَ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا
"O Humans, revere your Guardian Lord, Who created you from a single soul, and from it created of like-nature its mate, and through both scattered (like seeds) countless men and women. Reverence Allah through Whom you demand your mutual rights and (honor) family ties. Surely Allah is Ever Watchful over you" (Quran 4:1)
It is not surprising therefore that Prophet Muhammd (SAW) would recite this verse when his companions got married and with almost every khutbah (sermon) he delivered. It undoubtedly sets a foundation and a norm for a fully integrated community by focusing on the growth of its individuals and the ties that ultimately bind them.
Marriage is perhaps the most significant human relationship we have, and thus the spousal relationship features prominently in our deen - this beautiful way of life we have been blessed with as Muslims. We are told in the Quran that we were created in pairs and marriage makes us whole and completes our deen. (The word for marriage in Arabic, zawaaj /زواج, is in fact derived from the word for a pair, zawj / زوج ; also used for spouse.) Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “When a person marries, they have fulfilled half of their deen; let them also be conscious of Allah in the other half”.
إذا تزوَّج العبدُ فقد استكمَل نصفَ الدِّين، فليتقِ اللهَ في النصف الباقي
Establishing a meaningful and solemn bond between spouses is therefore highly recommended in Islam, and can even be obligatory for those who will be stray from the moral way (and therefore distracted from their relationship with Allah) or commit sins if unmarried. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) himself says: “I marry women…… and marriage is from my sunnah (tradition), and whoever does not practice my sunnah has nothing to do with me.”
وأتزوَّجُ النِّساءَ فمَن رغِبَ عن سُنَّتي فليسَ منِّي / النِّكَاحُ مِنْ سُنَّتِي فَمَنْ لَمْ يَعْمَلْ بِسُنَّتِي فَلَيْسَ مِنِّي
Islam is a perfect and practical way of life and recognizes that marriage is an integral part of our being. Islam has, moreover, prescribed for us the most virtuous path to Allah’s pleasure and Paradise. The goals of our sacred laws (shari’ah/الشريعة) include the preservation of the individuals’ honor and dignity and the ethical upliftment of the community. The shari’ah aims at establishing a society that is virtuous, pure and organic, and if its members are true to its mandates, then such a society will be the envy of all.
All praises are indeed due to Allah (SWT).
Next time: Preparing for Marriage and Choosing a Partner (in sha Allah)