Marriage in Islam
Importance of Marriage
Islam has not only permitted Nikah but encouraged it and emphasised its importance. Muslim society has been commanded by Allah to engage in Nikah and actively support each other in this endeavour:
Arrange the marriage of the spouseless among you, and the capable from among your bondmen and bondwomen. If they are poor, Allah will enrich them out of His grace. Allah is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing. (Qur’an 24 verse 32)
Muslim women have also been discouraged to live a life of celibacy and commanded by Allah to choose a suitable spouse:
In fact, Allah describes his special blessings to the Noble Prophets (Peace Be Upon them) having granted them wives and children:
We have sent messengers before you, and gave them wives and children. It is not for a messenger to bring a verse without the will of Allah. For every age there are some rules prescribed (Qur’an 13 Verse 38)
Our beloved Noble Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) also commanded Muslims to engage in Nikah as it is best for their character and modesty and helps them with guarding their gaze.
Narrated ‘Abdullah (May Allah be Pleased with Him): We were with the Noble Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) while we were young and had no wealth whatever. So Allah’s Apostle (Peace Be Upon Him) said, “O young people! Whoever among you can marry, should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty (i.e. his private parts from committing illegal sexual intercourse etc.), and whoever is not able to marry, should fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual power.” [Bukhari]
Advice to those who disregard marriage:
The Sunnah of the Noble Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) discourages life of celibacy and abstinence from Nikah and equates abstinence from Nikah as not following the traditions of Islam.
Narrated Anas bin Malik (May Allah Be Pleased with them): A group of three men came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet asking how the Prophet worshipped (Allah), and when they were informed about that, they considered their worship insufficient and said, “Where we are from the Prophet as his past and future sins have been forgiven.” Then one of them said, “I will offer the prayer throughout the night forever.” The other said, “I will fast throughout the year and will not break my fast.” The third said, “I will keep away from the women and will not marry forever.” Allah’s Apostle came to them and said, “Are you the same people who said so-and-so? By Allah, I am more submissive to Allah and more afraid of Him than you; yet I fast and break my fast, I do sleep and I also marry women. So he who does not follow my tradition in religion, is not from me (not one of my followers).” [Bukhari]
Procedure for Marriage in Islam:
Choosing a suitable partner:
Although beauty, physical attraction or a feature which is pleasing can be adopted as a means of choosing a partner as subtly hinted in the Qur’an:
[4:3]…marry the women you like…
But the ultimate criteria and basis should be the religious inclination and practice of the individual.
Narrated Abu Huraira (May Allah Be Pleased with him): The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said, “A woman is married for four things, i.e., her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. So you should marry the religious woman (otherwise) you will be losers. [Bukhari]
“Islamic Shariah wants the bonds of marriage to be strong and everlasting therefore it is recommended to look at the person beforehand and it is permitted to look at her in secret. However, looking should be with the intention of marrying and not for evil purposes and it is not permitted to spend time with the potential spouse in seclusion”
Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah (May Allah Be Pleased with him): The Noble Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said, “When one of you asks a woman in marriage, if he is able to look at what will induce him to marry her, he should do so. He (Jabir) said: I asked a girl in marriage, I used to look at her secretly, until I looked at what induced me to marry her. I, therefore, married her.” [Abi Daud]
Venue for Marriage and publicising it:
“It is Sunnah for the marriage to be pronounced and performed in the Masjid”
Aisha (May Allah Be Pleased with he) narrated that the Noble Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said, “Publicise these marriages, conduct them in mosques, and beat the duff (tambourines) to announce them”. [Tirmidhi]
Proposal & Acceptance, two male witnesses and Wakeel and the Dowry:
Since the purpose of Nikah is to safeguard a person’s chastity and modesty, Islam has kept the procedure for Nikah very simple and straight forward.
“Nikah is performed with a proposal (Iejaab) by the male or female and acceptance (Qubool) by the male or female in the past tense and in the presence of two male Muslim witnesses
The bride gives consent to her representative (Wakeel) in the presence of two witnesses to perform her marriage at the Masjid. At the Masjid, the Wakeel represents the bride in the presence of the two witnesses and the stipulated dowry. The witnesses must be two trustworthy and pious male Muslims who are not her ascendants e.g. father, grandfather or descendants e.g. son, grandson, etc. The Mahr (dowry) is the woman’s right and should be stipulated prior to the marriage.”
Aisha (May Allah Be Pleased with him) narrates that the Noble Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said, “There is no marriage except with a wali and two witnesses of good character.”[Bayhaqi]
Ibn Qudamah (May Allah Be Pleased with him) said: Marriage cannot be done except with two Muslim witnesses, whether the couple are both Muslims, or only the husband is Muslim [Al-Mughni]
[4:4] Give women their dower in good cheer. Then, if they forego some of it, of their own will, you may have it as pleasant and joyful.
Marriage Sermon (Khutbah):
Praise be to Allaah, we seek His help and His forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allaah from the evil of our own souls and from our bad deeds. Whomsoever Allaah guides will never be led astray, and whomsoever Allaah leaves astray, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no god but Allaah, and I bear witness that Muhammad (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) is His slave and Messenger
[4:1] O men, fear your Lord who created you from a single soul, and from it created its match, and spread many men and women from the two. Fear Allah in whose name you ask each other (for your rights), and fear (the violation of the rights of) the womb-relations. Surely, Allah is watchful over you.
[3:102] O you who believe, fear Allah, as He should be feared, and let not yourself die save as Muslims.
[33:70] O you who believe, fear Allah, and speak in straightforward words.
[33:71] (If you do so,) Allah will correct your deeds for your benefit, and forgive your sins for you. Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger achieves a great success.