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Marriage in Islam – Purpose and Virtues

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Marriage in Islam – Purpose and Virtues

Post by Ithar Ghada Faied on Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:55 pm



Bismillaah, wal-hamdulilaah, was-salaatu was-salaamu 'alaa rasoolillaah, As Salamu 'Alaykum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakatuh

Islam, unlike other religions is a strong advocate of marriage. There is no place for celibacy like, for example the Roman Catholic priests and nuns. The prophet (peace be upon him) has said

“There is no celibacy in Islam. Marriage is a religious duty and is consequently a moral safeguard as well as a social necessity. Islam does not equal celibacy with high “taqwa/Iman”.

The prophet has also said, ”Marriage is my tradition who so ever keeps away there from is not from amongst me”. [Narrated by Ibn-e-Majah]

Marriage acts as an outlet for sexual needs and regulate it so one does not become a slave to his/ her desires. It is a social necessity because through marriage, families are established and the family is the fundamental unit of our society. Furthermore, marriage is the only legitimate or halal way to indulge in intimacy between a man and a woman.

Islam takes a middle of the road position to sexual relations, it neither condemns it like certain religions, nor does it allow it freely. Islam urges us to control and regulate our desires, whatever they may be so that we remain dignified and not become like animals.

The Qur’an has described this relationship between men and women, which brings love, harmony, trust and compassion, in the most moving and eloquent terms
Among His signs is [the fact] that He has created spouses for you among yourselves so that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has planted love and mercy between you; In that are signs for people who reflect. [Qur'an 20:30]

They are a garment for you and you are a garment to them … [Qur'an 2:187]

And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends of one another; they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and they establish worship and they pay the poor-due, and they obey Allah and His messenger; as for those, Allah will have mercy on them; Allah is Mighty, Wise. Allah hath promised to believers – men and women – gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein, and beautiful mansions in gardens of everlasting bliss; but the greatest bliss is the good pleasure of Allah: This is the supreme felicity. [Qur'an 9:71-72]


Purpose of Marriage

The word “zawj” is used in the Qur’an to mean a pair or a mate. In general it usage refers to marriage. The general purpose of marriage is that the sexes can provide company to one another, love to one another, procreate children and live in peace and tranquility to the commandments of Allah.

Through Marriage, the conjugal relationship between a man and a woman becomes lawful. It provides a legitimate outlet for recreation as well as procreation. Islam regards sex as natural and good, but restricts it to the partners of marriage so as to ensure the responsibility for its consequences.

Marriage provides spiritual, physical, emotional and psychological companionship. This companionship generates and sustains love, kindness, compassion, mutual confidence, solace and succor (sakinah). It lays a spiritual and legal foundation for raising a family. The children born of the matrimonial union become legitimate and mutual rights of inheritance are established.


Conditions for marrying

For a marriage to be valid certain conditions must be met.

1. Consent of both parties.

One of the conditions of a valid marriage is consent of the couple.

Marriage by definition is a voluntary union of two people.

There are many texts that support the couple in this sensitive issue, for example the report quoted by Imam Bukhari from al-Khansa’ bint Khidam:

“My father married me to his nephew, and I did not like this match, so I complained to the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). He said to me: `Accept what your father has arranged.’ I said, `I do not wish to accept what my father has arranged.’ He said, `Then this marriage is invalid, go and marry whomever you wish.’ I said, `I have accepted what my father has arranged, but I wanted women to know that fathers have no right in their daughter’s matters (i.e. they have no right to force a marriage on them”

At first, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) told al-Khansa’ to obey her father, and this is as it should be, because the concern of fathers for their daughters’ well-being is well-known. But when he realized that her father wanted to force her into a marriage she did not want, he gave her the freedom to choose, and saved her from the oppression of a father who wanted to force her into an unwanted marriage.

Islam does not want to impose an unbearable burden man or woman by forcing them to marry someone whom they dislike, because it wants marriages to be successful, based on compatibility between the partners; there should be common ground between them in terms of physical looks, attitudes, habits, inclinations and aspirations.

2. “Mahr” a gift from the groom to his bride.

Mahr is the gift that is given by the husband to his wife at wedding. It can be anything in any amount, as agreed by the bride and bride-groom. Allah says about Mahr in the Chapter `Woman’ in Qur'an:

And give the women (on marriage) their Mahr as a free gift .. [Qur'an 4:4]

But if you had given the latter a cantar (of gold i.e. a great amount) for dower (Mahr) take not the least bit of it back … [Qur'an 4:20]


Marry with whom?

Allah also gives us freedom and urges us to:

“Marry the women of your choice..” [Qur'an 4:3]

Choose the righteous partner,

“This world is just temporary conveniences, and the best comfort in this world is a righteous women.” Sahih Muslim 10/56, Kitab al-rida’, bab istihbab nikah al-bikr.
No-one is a suitable partner for the good, believing woman except a good, believing man; and no-one is a suitable partner for the wayward, immoral woman but a wayward, immoral man, as Allah Subhana Wa ta’Alla has said:

Women impure are for men impure, and men impure for women impure, and women of purity are for men of purity, and men of purity are for women of purity (Qur’an 24:26)

This does not mean that the Muslim woman or man should completely ignore the matter of physical appearance, and put up with unattractiveness or ugliness. It is their right to marry a person for whom his/her heart may be filled with love, and who is pleasing to both in appearance and in conduct. Appearance should not be neglected at the expense of inner nature, or vice versa. A woman should choose a man who is attractive to her in all aspects, one who will gain her admiration and respect. The true Muslim is never dazzled by outward appearances.

For Muslim men and women – for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are constant and patient, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast [and deny themselves], for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise – for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward.) (Qur’an 33:35)

In order to achieve this great goal of strengthening the marriage bond, and establishing a stable family life, it is essential to choose the right partner in the first place.

“A woman is married for (one of) four reasons: her wealth, her status, her beauty and her religious devotion. So marry the religious woman, else you be a loser.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

Ithar Ghada Faied
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