Concept of marriage in Islam
Haroon Rashid Wani
Humans just like any other creation possessing both a body and a soul (Ruh) are in need of several things – each of which is essential for the safeguard of one’s survival and well-being.
For instance the desire for nourishment compel us to eat so as to build up energy to live another day; the feelings of thirst make one drink water, which is also essential for one’s life.
These and many other things facilitate man to live a prosperous and healthy life. Talking about the sexual desires and the need to fulfill one’s sexual requirements and passions play a key role in the protection of mankind, and continuation of the human race.
Since man has been chosen as “the best of creations”, Allah (SWT) has laid down the foundation of marriage in order to allow this need of life to be fulfilled in a legitimate manner. As well, the guidelines are very much in accordance with the intellect since the laws are divine and the specific conditions are befitting to the valuable souls of both men and women alike.
Before Islam there were several traditions in Arab. These traditions were some several unethical processes like:-
(i) Buying of girl from parents by paying a sum of money.
(ii) Temporary marriages.
(iii) Marriage with two real sisters simultaneously.
(iv) Freeness of giving up and again accepting women.
In order to abolish these unethical traditions, Islam brought a big change in the concept of marriage.
Marriage is a religious duty and is consequently a moral safeguard as well as a social necessity. The prophet (Pbuh) has also said, “Marriage is my tradition who so ever keeps away there from is not from amongst me”.
Marriage acts as an outlet for sexual needs and regulate it so one does not become a slave to his/ her desires. It is a social necessity because through marriage, families are established and the family is the fundamental unit of our society. Furthermore, marriage is the only legitimate or halal way to indulge in intimacy between a man and a woman.
Islam takes a middle of the road position to sexual relations, it neither condemns it like certain religions, nor does it allow it freely. Islam urges us to control and regulate our desires, whatever they may be so that we remain dignified and not become like animals.
The purpose of marriage
The word “Zawj” is used in the Qur’an to mean a pair or a mate. In general it usage refers to marriage. The general purpose of marriage is that the sexes can provide company to one another, love to one another, procreate children and live in peace and tranquility to the commandments of Allah.
Marriage serves as a means to emotional and sexual gratification and as a means of tension reduction. It is also a form of Ibadah because it is obeying Allah and his messenger – i.e. Marriage is seen as the only possible way for the sexes to unite. One could choose to live in sin, however by choosing marriage one is displaying obedience to Allah.
Marriage is “mithaq” – a solemn covenant (agreement). It is not a matter which can be taken lightly. It should be entered into with total commitment and full knowledge of what it involves. It is not like buying a new dress where you can exchange it if you don’t like it. Your partner should be your choice for life. One should be mature enough to understand the demands of marriage so that the union can be a lasting one.
The general opinion among scholars of Islam is that if a person, male or female fears that if he/she does not marry they will commit fornication, then marriage becomes “Wajib” at that time.
If a person has strong sexual urges then it becomes “Wajib” for that person to marry. Marriage should not be put off or delayed especially if one has the means to do so. The general principle is that prophet (Pbuh) enjoined upon the followers to marry. He (Pbuh)said “when a man marries, he has fulfilled half of his religion , so let him fear Allah(SWT) regarding the remaining half.” This hadith is narrated by Anas (RA). Islam greatly encourages marriage because it shields one from and upholds the family unit which Islam places great importance.
(The author is a student at Kashmir University)