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Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) — 56: The Nature Of Islamic Marriage

11 January 2011

Islamic Perspectives - Muslim Journals

Arab News & Information - By Sheikh Muhammad Al-Ghazali

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) elevated marriage to a level that is unparalleled in human history. Marriage is a contract between free people, started and completed by God's permission and under His care. The Prophet highlighted this fact in his public speech before 200,000 pilgrims. He said: "Fear God in your treatment of your wives. You take them (as wives) as a trust from God, and they become lawful to you by God's word".

This contract is of a nature that is both material and spiritual, earthly and heavenly. It builds a home based on mutual love, compassion and trust. It also has a social nature that allows healthy human growth. Islam wants the family home to be built on the basis of goodness and piety, as well as mutual cooperation in all aspects of life.

The contract begins by a short speech by the person officiating the marriage. Here is a good example, starting with a supplication and ending with three Qur'anic verses: "All praise is due to God: we praise Him, seek His help and forgiveness, appeal for His protection against our own wayward tendencies. Whoever God guides will not go astray, and whoever He leaves to go astray will have none to guide him. I bear witness that there is no deity other than God, and that Muhammad is God's servant and messenger whom He sent with the message of truth, to give happy tidings and warnings of the imminence of the Day of Judgment. Whoever obeys God and His messenger follows the right path, and whoever disobeys them harms only himself and cannot harm God in anyway. ‘Mankind, fear your Lord, who has created you from a single soul, and from it created its mate, and from the two of them spread abroad so many men and women. Fear God, in whose name you appeal to one another, and be mindful of your ties of kinship. Indeed, God is ever watching over you.' (4: 1) ‘Believers! Fear God as you rightly should, and do not allow death to overtake you before you have surrendered yourselves truly to Him.' (3: 102) ‘Believers! Have fear of God and say only what is just and true for then He will cause your deeds to be good and sound, and He will forgive you your sins. Whoever obeys God and His Messenger will certainly achieve a great triumph.'" (33: 70-71) The person in charge then confirms the contract based on commitment and acceptance by the two parties. He reminds the bridegroom in particular of the need to always remain God-fearing, treat his wife well and abide by Islamic teachings.

Reflection on the quoted Qur'anic verses will show that they stress the importance of being always God-fearing and help to establish a family that will add a new unit to the Muslim society. In short, Islam views marriage as a serious contract with far reaching effects.

Years go by and the couple become parents, sacrificing much to bring up their children. As the children grow up, following in the footsteps of the preceding generations, certain duties are required of them, as outlined in the following verse: "We have enjoined upon man to show kindness to his parents: in pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth. His bearing and weaning takes thirty months. And so, when he attains to full manhood and reaches the age of forty, he prays: ‘My Lord! Grant me that I may be grateful for the blessings with which You have graced me and my parents, and that I may do good work that will meet with Your goodly acceptance. Grant me good descendants. To You I turn in repentance. I am indeed one of those who submit themselves to You." (46: 15) The present generation submits to the Creator, remembering His grace bestowed on the preceding generation and praying for more grace to be bestowed on the future generation. Such is the Muslim family home: it cements the relation with God, and maintains the traditions of submission to Him and worshipping Him alone.


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