by Huraira Maneer
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَنْفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ مَوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.
Marriage holds a position of perpetual significance because of its central role in human life. The husband and wife form the basis and foundation of the family through their children. These families then constitute the building blocks of our communities, societies, countries, and eventually – forming the world we live in today.
After being enveloped in weddings over the summer, and with us students being at a time where marriage is being pondered over much more than ever, I thought it would be of benefit to try piece together some of what has been wrote about Islam and its perspective on marriage, as well as some common questions around it. Topics that will be covered include (1) Marrying early (2) Advantages of marriage (3) Characteristics sought in the spouse (4) Is wealth important? (5) Can the woman approach the man? (6) What to do if one can’t get married
(1) Should we marry earlier rather than later?
In a collection of verdicts on marriage, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Ibn Baz said:
My advice to all young men and women is to marry without delay and to hasten to it, if conditions permit, as the Prophet ﷺ said:
“O you young men! Those among you who have the means and the ability should marry, because it restrains the eyes and preserves the private parts. And whoever is unable to do so, should fast because it is a protection for him.”
(2) What are some of the advantages of marriage?
(A) Preservation of faith and religion – as spouses offer each other help, support and advice in carrying out acts of obedience and staying away from disobedience
(B) Preservation of chastity/lawful fulfilment of desire – Allah has instilled in humans the desire for the opposite gender which may be satisfied in an unlawful way – this would have destructive effects on individuals and societies as a whole. Thus, Allah blessed us with marriage, a lawful way to channel these desires. A married person has a quick means of protection against the devils whispers, who extorts natural desires between men and women
(C) Enjoying love, mercy and security – of Allahs great favours is the love, mercy and closeness he instills between the married couple – two important sentiments which result in feelings of comfort, reassurance and security in life
Marriage also provides a (D) Pleasureable way of increasing goods deeds and (E) A method to increasing your sustenance as Allah says:
“Marry those among you who are single or the virtuous ones among your slaves male or female: If they be poor, Allah will enrich them out of His bounty. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knowing.”
(3) What characteristics should we look for in a spouse?
When picking a spouse, there are certain characteristics which are important to look for – as that individual would then proceed to be our life partner, and the parent of our children. I’d like to highlight some of these characteristics – on this occasion not to give us an insight into what to look for, but rather to allow us to reflect upon the answer to a fundamental question – are we fulfilling those same qualities, traits, characteristics, beliefs and values that we all so readily demand to be present in our future spouses?
A – Righteousness – this is the most foremost and vital quality sought for. A righteous spouse will help his/her partner with regards to the matters of this life and hereafter and achieving a closer relationship to Allah – thus she becomes a source of happiness, pleasing to look at, and you trust when you are away
The Prophet ﷺ also advised the fact that people’s best treasures include a grateful heart (to Allah), a tongue continually extolling Allah and a righteous wife. So, are we then people of righteousness who help others in righteousness? Do we call others to good and bring people closer to Allah and his worship just as we would seek in our spouses?
Further, in a well known hadith, Abu Hurairah (radiyallaahu-anhu) narrated: The Prophet (ﷺ) said: ‘A woman is married for four (reasons/things); her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. So you should take possession of the one with Religion, otherwise you will be a loser’
B – Contentment – A dissatisfied partner would push the other to do anything to please him/her, resulting in misery – often involving financial support. We should remember our limits in the world, and be weary of requesting than more than we rightfully can/require/is the custom.
As this is something we seek in our spouses, we should question ourselves, am I a content man/woman? Am I dissatisfied despite having what is sufficient for me from the world?
(4) Is wealth important?
Unfortunately in today’s society, we have become accustomed to assigning prime importance to the man being wealthy – ignoring vital traits such as Taqwa (piety and mindfulness of Allah) as well as the correct Aqeedah (Islamic beliefs) and mannerisms. Thus, we should have strong and firm belief in Allahs statement “…If they be poor, Allah will enrich them out of His Bounty”
(5) Permissibility of a woman approaching the man:
Imaan Badr al Ayni, (when explaining this hadith where a woman offered herself in marriage to the Prophet ﷺ), said the hadith “…indicate(s) that it is permissible for a woman to offer herself in marriage to a righteous man, and to tell him of her liking for him because of his righteousness and virtue, or because of his knowledge and honour, or for some characteristic of religious commitment, and that there is no shame on her if she does that, rather that is a sign of her virtue. As for the woman who offers herself in marriage to a man for some worldly purpose, this is something that is abhorrent in the extreme.”
But it is better for a woman to inform her wali (guardian) of her desire to marry a righteous man who is trustworthy with regard to his religious commitment and his moral attitude, without telling the man bluntly.
(6) What to do if you can’t get married
If a person cannot get married there are somethings which can be done to help, they include:
(1) Lower their gaze (done regardless of whether the person is married or not)
قُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَهُمْ ذَٰلِكَ أَزْكَىٰ لَهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ . وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ
“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do, and tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.)..”.
(2) Fast (as in the previously mentioned Hadith):
“…And whoever is unable to do so (marry), should fast because it is a protection for him.”
(3) Be more eager to cut means and steps that could lead to temptation (such as unnecessary interactions with the opposite sex – especially on social media), as Allah says:
۞ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّبِعُوا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ ۚ وَمَنْ يَتَّبِعْ خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ فَإِنَّهُ يَأْمُرُ بِالْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنْكَرِ ۚ
O you who have believed, do not follow the footsteps of Satan. And whoever follows the footsteps of Satan – indeed, he enjoins immorality and wrongdoing.
I hope this post was of benefit, and I ask Allah to make us and our spouses like the spouses of our pious predecessors (those in the generation of the Prophet ﷺ and those following on, as they were the most pious) – in attitude, belief, values, mannerisms and understanding of the religion.
رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا
“Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous.”
1 Among his signs – Surah Rum [30:21]
2 Hadith on Marrying Early [Bukhari 5066, Muslim 3233]
3 Sheikh Ibn Baz advising to marry early – Fatawa Islamiyyah 5/174-75
4 Summarised from Sheikh Muhammad al-Jibaly. The Quest For Love And Mercy
10 Bukhari 5132
11 Umdatul Qaari’ Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari 20/113.