By Saleem Bhimji
One of the recognized and indisputable commandments of Islam is that of marriage – the sacred union that takes place only between a man and a woman. In relation to this revered bond, there are many verses of the noble Quran and countless ahadith that encourage marriage for any single man or woman – of any age or background. This is not only limited to the young brothers and sisters who have never been married and are looking for their life mate, but even those who have been through divorce have also been encouraged to re-marry and to “complete” their faith.
From the ocean of traditions and verses of the Quran on this topic, we quote the following:
وَأَنْكِحُوا الْأَيَامَىٰ مِنْكُمْ وَالصَّالِحِينَ مِنْ عِبَادِكُمْ وَإِمَائِكُمْ ۚ إِنْ يَكُونُوا فُقَرَاءَ يُغْنِهِمُ اللَّهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
“Marry the single people from among you and the righteous slaves and slave-girls. If you are poor, Allah (SwT) will make you rich through His favour; and Allah (SwT) is Bountiful, All-Knowing.” (Surah 24, Verse 32)
In this verse, Allah (SwT) commands us (by Him using the imperative form of the verb) to marry the single, righteous man/woman from among us. Allah (SwT) even gives us a guarantee that if we are poor or lack the proper funds, still we should not delay the marriage as Allah will take care of the couple and grant them bounties from His Grace and Mercy.
“And let those who cannot find someone to marry maintain chastity until Allah (SwT) makes them rich through His favours …”(Surah 24, Verse 33)
In the continuation of Surah 24, in the above quoted verse, Allah (SwT) commands the believers to remain chaste and faithful if they cannot find a suitable spouse to marry until Allah (SwT) grants them bounties out of His favors. Thus, one must not resort to evil, sin or illicit sexual relationships because they cannot find a permanent spouse.
One such avenue open to those who cannot afford to marry a woman in Nikah, as the Quran has commanded us and the numerous ahadith from the Prophet of Islam (S) and his 12th Infallible successors, the Aimmah (as) have done is to perform the Muta and marry a man or woman in “temporary marriage” so as to be able to fulfill our natural desires in a legal and permitted means: “… and besides these, it is lawful for you to marry other women if you pay them their dowry, maintain chastity and do not commit indecency. So those (women) whom you marry for an appointed time, you must give them their agreed upon dowries. There is no harm if you reach an understanding among yourselves about the dowry, Allah (SwT) is All-Knowing and All-Wise.” (Surah 4, Verse 24)
This is a commandment from Allah (SwT) which was not only mentioned in the Quran, but which He commanded his last and greatest Prophet (S) to convey to the Ummah, which can never be made forbidden by anyone as that which Muhammad (S) has made halal is halal until the Day of Judgement and that which he has made haram will remain haram until the Day of Judgement.
In another verse of the Quran, Allah (SwT) compares the husband and wife to garments for one another: “They (your wives) are a clothing (covering) for you and you too are a clothing (covering) for them.” (Surah 2, Verse187)
In our day-to-day life, we see many uses for clothing. Not only does our dress act as a beautification for ourselves, but it also covers any defects that we may have on our physical body – thus, if a person has a scar or burn mark on his body, the clothing will cover this from others around him and thus, they would not know that he has such a physical ‘defect’.
The husband and wife are to play the same role in relation to one another. If the wife has spiritual defects or lacks something in her character, then the husband must cover these up and not expose her shortcomings to others. The wife too, must cover up and hide her husband’s deficiencies and weaknesses and protect her mate. Not only has Allah (SwT) commanded the believers not to make fun of one another and not to mock or ridicule others, but they are also supposed to protect the honour and integrity of one another.
In the 30th Surah of the Quran, ar-Rum, Allah (SwT) tells us that: “And one of His signs is that He has created for you, spouses from amongst yourselves so that you might take comfort in them and He has placed between you, love and mercy. In this there is surely evidence (of the truth) for the people who carefully think.” (Surah 30, Verse 21)
In this verse we see that Allah (SwT) regards the creation of spouses – the husband and wife – as a sign of His greatness. Not only has Allah (SwT) created these two individuals, but in order for there to be peace and harmony between the two of them, He himself has placed love and mercy between them so that they can live a life of tranquility.
In Surah al-Nisa, verse 1, Allah (SwT) addresses all of mankind – Muslim, Christian, Jew, Non-Believer – by stating: “O’ mankind! Have consciousness of your Lord who has created you from a single soul. From it He created your spouse and through them He populated the land with many men and women. Have spiritual awareness of the One by whose Name you swear to settle your differences and have respect for the wombs that bore you. Without doubt, Allah (SwT) keeps watch over you all.”(Surah 4, Verse 1)
Again in this verse of the Quran, we are once again reminded that it is Allah (SwT) who created mankind and then made its spouse and through these two has the world become populated. It goes without saying that it is only through the natural act of marriage between a man and woman that children can be brought into this world as all others forms of “marriage” are deviations that can never produce a child and thus, an increase in the population.
The noble ahadith are also replete with traditions narrated from the Prophet (S) and his immediate successors, some of which we present below.
The Messenger of Allah (S) has said, “Of my tradition is to marry. So then whoever turns away from my tradition (Sunnah) is not from me (my nation).”
In this famous tradition mentioned in all books of Islamic narration, the Prophet (S) clearly spelled it out to the believers that in order to stay on his path which is the true path of salvation, we must marry – not only the youth who are getting married for the first time – but also older people who may have divorced or lost a spouse must also marry in order to remain on the Sunnah of the Prophet (S).
The Messenger of Allah (S) has said, “There is no foundation that has been built in Islam more loved by Allah, (The Greatest and Noblest) than marriage.”
This hadith shows us the great importance that Allah (SwT) and His Messenger (S) have placed on marriage, such that it is the most loved foundation or establishment upon which the Muslim man and woman can build their life upon. If such a foundation is built with love, honesty, sincerity and true faith in Allah (SwT) and all that He has commanded, then there is nothing that could destroy such a firm building.
It has been narrated from Abi Abdillah that, “A man once came to my father. My father asked him, “Are you married?” The man replied, ‘No.’ My father (as) replied, ‘I would not love to have the world and all that is contained within it if it meant I had to spend one night without a woman (beside me).'”
This saying from our sixth Imam (as) shows the importance that the rightful successors of the Prophet (S) placed on marriage. In this hadith, we are told that the Imam (as) would not even trade all the beauties and material treasures that exist in the world, if it means that he had to spend even one night alone! This may point to the fact that the evil whisperings of Shaitan may penetrate a single man or woman to go towards the prohibited and thus, contaminate his or her faith and belief.
“And of His signs is that He has created spouses for yourselves from your own selves so you might take comfort in them and He has created love and mercy among both of you. In this there is evidence (of the truth) for the people who (carefully) think.” (Surah 30, Verse 21).