Like other inherent instincts, the sexual strength of a human is something natural which has been deposited in him by Almighty Allah since the very first day. It is evident that if this instinct is not satisfied by marriage, which is the only legal method, men will be compelled to satisfy it by unlawful means or this strength with which Allah has blessed man will be completely wasted. In either case, there follows a chain of religious, moral, social and hygienic evils.
For this reason, Islam has attached great importance to this vital matter. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W) said:
“The worst among your dead are those who are unmarried”.
“Whoever marries ensures half of his faith”.
“Allah has not sent me with a law of prescribing monastic or secluded life. On the other hand, He has appointed me as a prophet with a moderate and easy religion. I fast and offer prayers.
“Whoever loves me should follow my tradition. Matrimony is my tradition”.
Also Imam as-Sadiq (A.S) said:
“Two rakaats of prayers offered by a married person are better than seventy-two rakats offered by one without a spouse”.
The thing, which deserves attention, is the in-tense friendship and kindness which is generated by matrimonial alliance and makes life sweet. The Holy Qur’an says:
“By another sign, We created for you mates from among yourselves, that you might live in joy with them, and planted love and kindness in your hearts”. (Holy Qur’an 30:21)
It should, however, be remembered that matrimony should not be established for satisfaction of sexual appetite only. Its primary objective should be to give birth to useful and pious progeny so that the number of the followers of truth and reality can in-crease.
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W) said:
“Marry and produce offspring so that you may multiply, because on the Day of Judgment I shall pride myself on the abundance of my miscarried children”.
There are many who refuse to perform this vital act on account of some superstition and do not marry especially on account of fear that it may later involve them in financial difficulties. Such persons should be told that adverse financial conditions should not prevent matrimonial alliance.
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W) has said:
“One who does not marry on account of poverty and indigence has entertained a bad idea about the Almighty, because He says:
“If those who marry have been needy and poor Allah will make them independent by His blessing:
He (Allah) also said:
“Marry to acquire your sustenance; because blessing has been placed among women.
Islam also considers it a great service to make efforts for the matrimony of two persons and to arrange for the preliminaries thereof.
Choice of the Spouse
Islam considers marriage to be a sacred and religious matter and, therefore, considers purity of faith to be a prerequisite for a spouse.
The Holy prophet (S.A.W) has said:
“One who selects a woman for her beauty only does not find in her what he desires. And Allah leaves him to himself (i.e. ignores) a person who marries a woman for her wealth.”
It is, therefore, necessary that you should select a faithful and religious-minded spouse.
Imam Ali (A.S) said:
“Avoid matrimonial alliance with foolish and ignorant women, because association with them is a calamity and the child to whom they give birth would be good for nothing and worthless”.
Notwithstanding what has been mentioned above, Islam has left the selection of a spouse to the will of a husband and considers the interference and imposition by the parents to be inopportune.
The Problems of Marriage in Current Era
It should be admitted that the greatest difficulty which has cropped up these days for young men and makes them desist from marrying is the dowry, the burdensome ceremonies, and the undue expectations of many women.
No doubt Islam considers the dowry of a woman legal right and it is payable by the man, how so ever enormous it may be. It is for this reason that the Holy Qur’an says:
“If you wish to divorce a woman in order to wed another, do not take from her the dowry you have given her even if it be a talent of gold”. (Holy Qur’an 4:24)
However, from an ethical point of view, Islam rejects the woman with a heavy dowry and excessive expectation and prefers a woman whose dowry is light and whose expenses are moderate, and considers her more fit for multiplication of offspring.
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W) said:
“Inauspiciousness lies in the three things: a woman, an animal for riding, and a spouse. The inauspiciousness and unluckiness of a woman consists of this that her dowry should be heavy and she may not be fertile”.
Choosing a Life Partner with Good Morals
In the pursuit of perfection of personality and distinction in social and family interactions is the result of honorable and amiable characteristics, which is called ‘Good morals’.
Good morals have two meanings:-
1. Good-natured interactions with people.
2. Possession of honorable characteristics.
Amiable characteristics and agreeable personality, that arise from correct upbringing and earnest will to improve and safeguard society and family are: religious faith, truthfulness, regard of justice, loyalty, generosity, co-operation, commitment, convictions, judiciousness, eloquences, chastity, moderation, etc.
In marriage emphasis is on both dimensions of good moral. A man or woman, who is not courteous towards his or her partner, would lack any at-traction and glamour. In case of inner mishap of morality and ethics and disregard of religious and social norms, she or he is deprived of his/her role as a wise, sensible and conscious spouse and a hazardous life awaits him/her.
Continence and Chastity
Chastity illustrates moral and religious restrains and is a sign of correct religious conduct. Men and women of chastity put more value on their family life and safeguard it from any possible harm.
The firm family bond is one of the factors that influence modesty and chastity of women, because if a woman truly believes that she belongs to her husband and children. Hence, if she feels content and secure along her husband, then she refrain from exposing and exhibiting herself to other men, and apply due moral restraint in presence of strangers. Also if a man puts himself at the service of his wife and children and loves them, his affection and devotion will grow increasingly.
Continence and chastity provide a woman the opportunity of searching for a suitable and worthy partner among her suitors, who deserves honor of being the father of her children. Or incite her suitors to refrain themselves. The obstacles of chastity and veil against lust and passion of men have become established factors in making women more sacred in the eyes of men.
Continence of men also is deciding factor in safeguarding family life and children training spiritually. Disregard of moral and religious restrains result in break-up of family and even precious puberty of children.
Thus it is suggested to choose a suitor who is morally correct and has a healthy sexual conduct.
The Limit of Father’s Permission in Marriage
Adequate understanding of future partner is considered to be the most important consideration in a marriage. Implications of absence of very basic understanding of either partner’s moral conduct would become an obstacle in finding mutual ground for growth of love and affection necessary for a healthy and warm union.
Sometimes parents without consent or even knowledge of their daughter, chooses a partner for her. Hence, put her in position that she has to adjust with whom she hasn’t even the basic understanding. Or at times parents put their son under pressure to choose a wife they desire; unaware that consequence of such a marriage would be unpleasing.
The Islamic approach concerning marriage comprises careful and delicate guidelines that lead to a harmonious and correct family life. Therefore the full understanding of the ultimate outcome of an action incites stronger motivation for seeking scientific approaches to it and finds the best ways of exploiting it. So in considering marriage, due attention should be paid to fundamental principles. Thus encouraging young people to apply due principles to their marriages and make best use of their abilities to strengthen the family bond.
Islam as the religion of temperament has paid due attention to this matter and has particularly emphasized the importance of either couples’ consent in promoting the principles of marriage and establishing the marital responsibilities. Thus keeping in mind excitements and unstable feelings that present obstacles in choosing the proper partner in marriage, the consent of a girl is not enough.
An experienced father, familiar with hazards of life is less likely to make mistake than his young daughter. So in marriage of a girl, the consent of two people is needed. The main party of the contract which is she and her father who is the wager of correctness of the contract, therefore, if parents impose a person to a girl, the contract would not be applicable without her consent.
Imam Ali (A.S) said:
“Never trust anyone unless you have tested them yourself”.
Evidently, to know someone, we must be aware of his/her past and also inquire about their close friends, since they are the mirror of one’s moralities. We should not heed to complements and claims of truthfulness, loyalty and good morals, but to take more care in our inquiries.
One way of knowing people is socializing with them. So upon decision of marriage is made, inter-actions in order to get to know if the person has an idea of their own about life and how this outlook has come about and their aim in life is permitted within the limitations of the shari’a (Islamic laws and regulations). But, we should keep in mind the possibility of unforeseen situations and reservations in the course of life and its ups and downs. There-fore, the couple should be ready and willing to face the implications of life wisely and sensibly, other-wise, they wouldn’t have a warm, tranquil and happy life.
Selection taken from “Family Life” by Aisha Mutuku.