In the Islamic system, marriage and family are central and play a pivotal role. Islam lays emphasis on marriage to such an extent that Muhammad (SAW) said that one who doesn’t marry is not amongst us, writes Yaqeen Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander
There are so many reasons for late marriages that are prevalent in our society today. From a long time I began to think about the reasons for late marriages and I even consulted many learned people and examined their views. Thereafter I summed up various reasons that are responsible for late marriages. One of the main reasons for late marriages is that Kashmiri marriages are not simple and according to my estimate, the total marriage cost comes around a million rupees which a normal middle class person cannot afford at a time. So while piling up money for the marriage, the years roll by and then one day all the hard earned money is lavishly spent upon Waazwaan and other marriage customs.. And due to this stigma of cost involved, many people refrain from marrying at a young age which prevents them from such an economic depression. Then comes another obstacle of conditions and parameters laid down by one’s family to seek a match like family status (Khaandaan), wealth, etc. This makes really difficult to find a match and it takes years before the family finally finds a suitable match. An another reason for late marriages is that studies in current times take a long time and career orientation even makes marriage more difficult.
MAJOR AND FOREMOST REASON
But as far as I found, the major and foremost reason for late marriages is lack of Islamic knowledge among the masses. Consequently they are totally ignorant of the significance of marriage in Islam which has been already discussed. If we honestly realize the significance and obligation of marriage in Islam, then no sane person will make any delay in it. The point to be noted is that in our society marriage is treated merely as a social custom but never as an Ibadah or religious obligation even though our invitation cards start with the Hadith, ‘Annikah Min Sunnati” (Nikah is my practice). Consequently when a man grows up and then starts earning for many years, he feels that he must have a wife to take care of him and his old parents. So at this point, in our society, a person decides to marry. But this is only a motivation of behaviour by the environment. It can never be the purpose of marriage in Islam. If people would have taken marriage an act of extreme virtue and piety, then they will be obliged to do it as early as possible. It is very astonishing that we have so many self made criterias for marriage but we never try to search for Islamic criterias for marriage.
Today, the acerb aftermaths of late marriages are before all of us. Late marriages are one of the major reasons for social ills and rise of pre-marital affairs. Moreover, late marriages can lead to birth of babies having Down’s syndrome and with the growing age sperm loses its vigour which can lead to many abnormalities in children and even infertility. Parents are mainly responsible for not marrying their children at a young age. They are sinful in the view of Shari’ah for making their children suffer. Parents never at all think about this issue and take it too lightly. Parents seem to have no problem if their children have illegal affairs but they have an avid problem if the same child tells them to get him married. Once Abu Hurrairah (RA) said to Muhammad (SAW), “O Allah’s Apostle! I am a young man and I am afraid that I may commit illegal sexual intercourse and I cannot afford to marry.” He kept silent, and then repeated my question once again, but he kept silent. I said the same (for the third time) and he remained silent. Then repeated my question (for the fourth time), and only then the Prophet said, “O Abu Huraira! The pen has dried after writing what you are going to confront. So (it does not matter whether you) get yourself castrated or not.” (Sahih Bukhari).
WHAT TO DO?
The right to marriage is among the rights granted by the Shari’ah to an individual and one can claim anytime before parents for marriage and parents cannot turn down this claim or they will be transgressing the provisions laid down by the Shari’ah. The Shari’ah gives permission of marriage to an individual to such an extent that if one’s parents deny him/her of marriage, then same individual can get a fatwa written down by some Islamic authority which will nullify the guardianship of the parents and then the same individual can marry legally with some Islamic authority as his/her Wali (guardian) in marriage even without the consent of the parents. And this Nikah is absolutely valid in Islam.
Even though there may be innumerable evils in the society but renovation is always and still possible. Islam has laid down best principles and guidelines for us in every dimension of life. In Islam there is concept of simple and austere marriages and it must be noted that earning is not a criteria for marriage in Islam. Islam highly encourages us to marry in most simple and austere manner. The following Prophetic Traditions will exemplify this, The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The marriage which produces most blessing is that which involves least burden” (Tirmidhi). Further another hadith says, “While I (Sahl Bin Sad) was (sitting) among the people in the company of Allah’s Apostle a woman stood up and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! She has given herself in marriage to you; please give your opinion of her..” The Prophet did not give her any reply. She again stood up and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! She has given herself (in marriage) to you; so please give your opinion of her.” The Prophet did not give her any reply. She again stood up for the third time and said, “She has given herself in marriage to you: so give your opinion of her.” So a man stood up and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Marry her to me.” The Prophet asked him, “Have you got anything?” He said, “No.” The Prophet said, “Go and search for something, even if it were an iron ring.” The man went and searched and then returned saying, “I could not find anything, not even an iron ring.” Then the Prophet said, “Do you know something of the Qur’an (by heart)?” He replied, “I know (by heart) such Sura and such Sura.” The Prophet said, “Go! I have married her to you for what you know of the Qur’an (by heart)” (Sahih Bukhari). Furthermore, the Prophet (SAW) said to a man, “Marry, even with (a Mahr equal to) an iron ring.” (Sahih Bukhari).
Then again as already discussed, we have got so many and too complex criterian for seeking a match which often causes a lot of delay in marriages. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, ‘When someone with whose religion and character you are satisfied asks your daughter in marriage, accede to his request. If you do not do so, there will be temptation on Earth and extensive corruption’ (Tirmidhi, Nasa’i and Ibn Majah). The only criterion as illustrated in this hadith for marriage is religiosity and character of the person seeking a match. But the criteria of family status and so on are nowhere mentioned but still it is the greatest criteria for us. These are only innovations that we have invented for ourselves and these prevent us from early marriages. Muhammad (SAW) 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 a loser” (Sahih Bukhari). Islam makes marriages too easy but we make them too difficult. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) always emphasized us to makes marriages most simple but in today’s world as scholars say that fornication is too easy & marriage is too difficult.
To conclude, only adherence to Islamic values can save us from every problem intriguing the mankind and can put an end to the ongoing spiritual turmoil which is gripping us today. The Qur’an calls the believers as the protectors of one another, “The Believers, men and women, are protectors, one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practice regular charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power, Wise” (Surah Tawbah, Chapter 9 v71). So let’s together protect ourselves and our society from moral degradation by following the Islamic principles so that we can again see the Islamic values blooming in our lives. Then one day we will practically see all the social evils disappearing from our society but only once we adhere to the Islamic principles and values.
Yaqeen Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander is an Islamic Activist, & can be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org