Late Marriages & Islam

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

Islam is the absolute and the ultimate way of life and it’s one of the unique features of Islam. Unlike other religions, Islam doesn’t confine itself to mere rituals and lip service, but every act that is done in obedience to Allah is an act of worship in Islam be that earning, social work, studying, striving for excellence, etc. Islam is the only religion that guides man in every sphere of life  social, political, economic, judicial and moral. Consequently no segment of life has been left untouched by Islam. Islam, due to its flexibility, is not silent upon any issue and Shari’ah provides us guidelines & solutions for every problem facing the mankind.

Society according to Islam is formed according to the divine principles which are infallible as they have been chosen by Allah Himself for the man to live peacefully in the society. The basic unit of society is family. The family is a human social group whose members are bound together by the bond of blood ties and/or marital relationship. Family in Islam is built on the solid grounds that provide continuity, intimacy and mature reciprocity and moral gratification. Family ties are considered very important and sacred in Islam. About one-third of the Islamic social laws are pertaining to family. That’s why Muhammad (SAW) has said that one who cuts the family ties is not a Muslim. And the families are formed after marriage. Marriage is considered as a sacred covenant in Islam. Marriage has got its highly religious, social and moral advantages & Islam recognizes them all. 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. In another authentic tradition he further said that one who marries has completed half of his religion. This is because a person after marrying is likely not to fall in sins like fornication, eve teasing, lusting after women, etc which form half of the social ills.

Marriage is a religious obligation in Islam. It’s the Sunnah (practice) of all the prophets. The Qur’an mentions, “We sent Messengers before you, and appointed for them wives and children” (Surah Ra’d, Chapter 13 v38). And Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “There are four characteristics (which may be called) the Sunnahs (the practices) of the messengers of Allah: Modesty, but some say, circumcision, the use of perfume, miswak and marriage” (Tirmidhi). Islamic doesn’t allow monasticism. The Qur’an mentions, “But the monasticism which they invented for themselves, We did not prescribe for them” (Surah Hadeed, Chapter 57 v27). Further Muhammad (SAW) said, there is no monasticism in Islam. Marriage is a high moral safeguard and a social commitment. It must be fulfilled by every individual capable of doing so. Muhammad (SAW) is reported to have said, ‘O young people! Whoever among you is able to marry, should marry, and whoever is not able to marry, is recommended to fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual power’ (Sahih Bukhari). Again Allah’s Apostle 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.” (Sahih Bukhari). A Sahabee (Companion of Muhamammad) Said Bin Jubair narrates that, Ibn ‘Abbas asked me (Said Bin Jubair), “Are you married?” I replied, “No.” He said, “Marry, for the best person of this (Muslim) nation (i.e., Muhammad) of all other Muslims, had the largest number of wives” (Sahih Bukhari). Further the implication of marriage can be inferred by the following Hadith. Allah’s Apostle said, “From among all the conditions which you have to fulfill, the conditions which make it legal for you to have sexual relations (i.e. the marriage contract) have the greatest right to be fulfilled.” (Sahih Bukhari).

Marriage in Islam is considered to be an act of extreme virtue and piety. It is a kind of commitment in which both the partners find mutual fulfillment, self gratification, love, peace, tranquility, compassion, comfort and joy. The Qur’an mentions, “It is He who created you from a single person, and made his mate of like nature, in order that he might dwell with her (in love)” (Surah A’raf, Chapter 7 v189). Further the Qur’an says, “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect” (Surah Rum, Chapter 30 v21). Furthermore, Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “You have seen nothing like marriage for increasing the love of two people” (Tirmidhi). So the above given verses and Prophetic tradition clearly lay down the basic aim of marriage which is to find peace and tranquility with the mate through love and compassion.. This is the primary aim of marriage. And if one feels depression, sadness or anxiety on seeing the wife then according to Islam, the basic purpose of marriage is forfeited and there is no need to continue such a marriage. And the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has said in an authentic Hadith that an Ideal wife has three qualities which are obedience to the husband, keeping his trust and feeling of peace and contentment when he looks at her. The Qur’an also illustrates this point in a verse which reads, “Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard” (Surah Nisa, Chapter 4 v34). And it is indeed a very great favour of Allah that he has created mates for us as the Qur’an mentions, “And Allah has made for you mates (and companions) of your own nature, and made for you, out of them, sons and daughters and grandchildren, and provided for you sustenance of the best: will they then believe in vain things, and be ungrateful for Allah’s favours?” (Surah Nahl, Chapter 16 v72). Further the Qur’an mentions, “Grant to us wives and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and give us (the grace) to lead the righteous” (Surah Furqan, Chapter 25 v74). And the Qur’an calls the wife as the garment of men (Surah Baqarah, Chapter 2 v187) which refers to the pleasure which is enjoyed by the man by living with her (See Surah A’raf, Chapter 7 v189 & also Tafseer Tabari).
And as earlier mentioned also that every act which is done in obedience to Allah is considered as an act of worship in Islam. In Islam even making love with one’s wife is also an act of worship and a sadaqah. Some of the people from among the companions of the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) said to him: “Messenger of Allah, the rich have taken away (all the) reward. They observe prayer as we do, they keep the fasts as we keep them, and they give sadaqah from their surplus riches. Upon this he (the Holy Prophet) said: Has Allah not prescribed for you (a course) by following which you can (also) do sadaqah? In every declaration of the glorification of Allah (i.e. saying SubhanAllah) there is a sadaqah, every Takbir (i.e. saying AllahuAkbar) is a sadaqah, every praise of Him (saying Alhamdulillah) is a sadaqah, every declaration that He is One (La ilaha illallah) is sadaqah, enjoining of good is a sadaqah, forbidding of that which is evil is a Sadaqah, and in man’s sexual intercourse (with his wife) there is a Sadaqah.  They (the companions) said: Messenger of Allah, is there reward for him who satisfies his sexual passion among us?  He said: Tell me, if he were to devote it to something forbidden, would it not be a sin on his part? Similarly, if he were to devote it to something lawful, he should have a reward” (Sahih Muslim).

So all the above given references clearly illustrate the importance of marriage in Islam and its obligation upon all Muslims who can afford to do so. But if we just take a look upon our society today, we will surely find too many iniquities in it. From eve teasing to immoral activities, from smoking to drug addiction, from menace of tuition centres to fornication and lewdness, our society is filled with all these types of evils and what not? Our society is completely fractured in so many areas which require our eminent attention or the consequences will prove dire later on. Late marriages are one the greatest evils of our society today. Many of the social evils rife today are only the consequences of late marriages which are too prevalent in our society. It is a matter about which we all are least concerned; otherwise, this issue is very serious by its nature. As per my research, in Kashmiri society, on an average boys are married from 35-40 and girls between 30-35 years of age or even more. Just lower this by 10 years or even more and just see how many of our social ills will disappear. Marriage makes a person responsible and after marrying, a person will not usually get time for lusting after other women, eve teasing and other immoral activities as he will feel responsible towards his family. (to be concluded)

Yaqeen Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander is an Islamic Activist, Writer and Orator. He can be mailed at yaqeen@ymail.com

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