And of His signs is this:
He created spouses for you of your own kind so that you might find tranquillity in them.
And he has placed affection and mercy between you.
For Muslims and many people in the world today, a successful marriage leading to successful families and right – acting children is a very important part of life. Human beings cannot remain loners; they need friends, spouses and partners to share their thoughts, ideas, experiences, joys and pains. Allah created a partner for the first man so that, as husband and wife, they could live in peace and tranquillity. When they came down to earth they formed the first human family and fulfilled the divine requirement of sowing the seeds of humankind. From these two people in the beginning, there are now over six billion human beings on earth, the diverse human race.
Marriage and family should thus be treated seriously. While marriage is a legal contract between two responsible adults, the family is a part of the bedrock of society. Neither marriage nor families can be taken casually. To Muslims they are an integral part of their deen. No matter in what age or land, they have universal importance.
Allah has created everything in pairs and bestowed an inherent physical and emotional attraction between members of the opposite sex.
The attraction towards the sexual desire for the opposite sex as part of human nature and develop during puberty, the transformation from childhood to adolescence. The Islamic way of life leads young people toward lawful marriage that satisfies sexual, emotional and social needs in a secure and loving environment.
Marriage is fundamental to the existence of human beings on the earth. As well as providing solace, comfort and pleasure between two people, marriage teaches them the value of compromise and sacrifice in order to live happily together. It is an institution that unites a man and a woman in mutual relationship, affection and trust, thus providing the ideal conditions for nurturing the next generation.
Marriage occupies a most important step in a Muslim’s life. Allah has prescribed marriage as the main way for a conjugal relationship and starting a family (See Qur’an 2:221, 5:5, 24:32-33). According to the Prophet Muhammad, marriage is ‘half of the deen’.
When the slave of Allah marries, he completes half of his deen, and he must have taqwa of Allah to complete the second half. (Al-Bayhaqi)
Allah has blessed marriage with many benefits including:
- the legal fulfilment of sexual desire within a secure relationship
- peace of mind and tranquillity
- increase in service to Allah
- reward for fulfilling one’s duties towards the family
- the joys of children
Sound family life teaches the importance of love, care, responsibility and affection. Inevitably, difficulties will arise in any human relationship and these need to be handled with sensitivity and compassion. The marriage bond, if conducted within the bounds of Islam, encourages the development of faith, spiritually and social values among partners and the arrival of existence of children only works to further cement this bond.
In Islam, husbands and wives are described as ‘garments’ (libas) to each other (Qur’an 2:187), a unique and most apt comparison that describes the complementary nature of the man-woman relationship on earth. Spouses, like garments, serve to protect each other from the outside world, to adorn and beautify each other (i.e. to bring out the best in each other), to provide comfort and support to each other, and this is true for both husbands and wives.
Marriage is a life long commitment that needs much hard work from both parties to insure its happy, long term survival. Mutual love, affection and skinah – tranquillity – that come after the wedding of very deep rooted and powerful emotions unlike the superficial feelings of lust and physical attraction. Real love between a husband and wife is a very beautiful blessing of Allah and can be eternal, even after death, if both husband and wife strive within the boundaries of Islam.
Newly weds need to spend some time exclusively with each other in order to understand each others strengths and weaknesses. The concept of the ‘honeymoon’ probably derives from this urgency to give the couple some time and space. During this time, they maybe at the height of their emotions and roam around in the world of idealism. However, after some time, they return to reality and need to re-assess their relationship in order to clarify their positions on some of the hard realities of life so that they can reorient the focus of their life and formulate their planning regarding livelihoods, broader family matters, social habits, having children, etc.
Couples who can adapt quickly to the new realities bring order and balance in their life. They find their life challenging but enjoyable. Some may lose balance altogether and tend to undermine their responsibilities to their own parents and others in the heat of the love of their spouse. Muslim life should always have balance and justice. Duties towards a spouse do not remove of override duties toward others in the family, to community and theummah. All of them are important in their own place. A balanced person has the ability to work out priorities in rights and responsibilities to Allah and his creations.
- Marriage between a man and a woman is the basis of families life; it legitimately fulfils the needs of the individual as well as the society and is a Sunnah of the Prophet. Same-sex partnerships are detrimental to society and are haram
- Young Muslims may choose their own partners or have assistance in doing so. Either way any contact between members of the opposite sex must be well within the bonds of Islam. Courting before marriage is haram but on the other hand it is advisable to try to get to know the person to some extent before embarking on this major life journey. In any case, the consent of both the man and woman are essential.
- In choosing a marriage partner taqwa- awareness of Allah leading to avoiding acts of disobedience and embodiment of acts of obedience- should be given top priority, then their arises the need to look for areas of compatibility between them. Husbands and wives should recognise positive features in each other and overlook or forgive weakness.
- Early marriage is encouraged, especially in permission societies. One should not wait for a ‘ideal time’ to start married life. However, a minimum level of economic solvency of the man and of the emotional and intellectual maturity of the couple are important.
- The marriage ceremony is a simple occasion in the presence of witnesses, with some prescribed requirements of shari’ah. The marriage feast or walima should not be extravagant nor should there be unreasonable demands made by either party for material objects or money.
- Steadfastness and adherence to the commands of Allah are required to get through the difficult periods of marriage. If for genuine reasons a marriage fails, divorce is permissible in Islam, albeit disliked. When a husband divorces his wife it is calledtalaq and when a wife gets a divorce from her husband it is called Khul’.
- Children are blessings from Allah and need to be looked after properly as gifts of Allah and raised in Islam so that they grow up to be responsible human beings. Steps should be taken at the start of marriage to create a wholesome Islamic environment for children to be brought up in. All children have the right to good parenting.
Marriage and family are the pillars of a stable society and the nation. Our success in this world and the hereafter depends on how we perform as the emissaries of Allah on earth.Marriage gives us solace and tranquillity of mind and heart. Family gives us an anchor. The love, affection, warmth and emotional attachment created between a man and a woman thrive in marriage and family bounding and are transmitted to our off spring. Together they become the strongest unit, the fortress, of the human race. As such, marriage and family are absolutely vital for human beings to succeed.
It is our duty, therefore, to fulfil our obligations with regards to marriage and families as Allah intended and has prescribed for us in Islam. Only then can we except to be successful and contended as individuals and as an ummah both in this world and the hereafter, insha’Allah.