Rights of the Muslim Woman: The Daughter and the Wife

Rights of the Muslim Woman: The Daughter and the Wife

By Dr. Jamal Badawi 

As a Daughter

1- The Qur’an ended the cruel pre-Islamic practice of female infanticide(wa’d):

Rights of the Muslim Woman- The Daughter and the Wife

Parents are duty-bound to support and show kindness and justice to their daughters.

When the female (infant) buried alive is questioned for what crime she was killed…. (At-Takwir 81:8-9)

2- The Qur’an went further to rebuke the unwelcoming attitude of some parents upon hearing the news of the birth of a baby girl, instead of a baby boy:

When news is brought to one of them of (the birth of) a female (child), his face darkens and he is filled with inward grief! With shame he hides himself from his people because of the bad news he has had! Shall he retain her on (sufferance and) contempt or bury her in the dust? Ah! What an evil (choice) they decide on! (An-Nahl 16:58-59)

3- Parents are duty-bound to support and show kindness and justice to their daughters. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

Whosoever has a daughter and does not bury her alive, does not insult her, and does not favor his son over her, Allah will enter him into paradise. (Ahmad)

Whosoever supports two daughters until they mature, he and I will come on the day of judgment as this (and he pointed with his two fingers held together). (Ahmad)

4- A crucial aspect in the upbringing of daughters that greatly influences their future is education. Education is not only a right but a responsibility for all males and females.

Prophet Muhammad said, “Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every Muslim”. (Al-Bayhaqi and Ibn-Majah) The word “Muslim” here is inclusive of both males and females.

As a Wife

1- Marriage in Islam is based on mutual peace, love and compassion, and not the mere satisfying of human sexual desire.

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. (Ar-Rum 30:21)

(He is) the Creator of the heavens and the earth: He has made for you pairs from among yourselves and pairs among cattle: by this means does He multiply you: there is nothing whatever like unto Him and He is the One that hears and sees (all things). (Ash-Shura 42:11)

Marriage and Divorce

2- The female has the right to accept or reject marriage proposals.

Her consent is a prerequisite to the validity of the martial contract, according to the Prophets’ teaching. It follows that if an “arranged marriage” means the marrying of a female without her consent, then such a marriage may be annulled if the female so wishes:

Ibn `Abbas reported that a girl came to the Messenger of Allah, and she reported that her father had forced her to marry without her consent. The Messenger of God gave her the choice… (between accepting the marriage or invalidating it. (Ahmad)

Another version of the report states that the girl said: “Actually, I accept this marriage, but I wanted to let women know that parents have no right to force a husband on them.” (Ibn-Majah)

3- The husband is responsible for the maintenance, protection, and overall leadership (qiwamah) of the family, within the framework of consultation and kindness. The mutuality and complementarity of husband and wife does not mean “subservience” by either party to the other. Prophet Muhammad helped with household chores although the responsibilities he bore and the issues he faced in his community were immense.

The mothers shall give suck to their offspring for two whole years, if the father desires to complete the term. But he shall bear the cost of their food and clothing on equitable terms. No soul shall have a burden laid on it greater than it can bear.  No mother shall be treated unfairly on account of her child, nor father on account of his child. A heir shall be chargeable in the same way. If they both decide on weaning by mutual consent, and after due consultation, there is no blame on them. If you decide on a foster-mother for your offspring, there is no blame on you, provided you pay (the mother) what you offered on equitable terms. But fear Allah and know that Allah sees well what you do. (Al-Baqarah 2:233)

Prophet Muhammad instructed Muslims regarding women,

“I commend you to be kind to women.” (Al-Bukhari) He said also, “The best of you is the best to his family (wife).” (An-Nawawi in his book Riyad As-Saliheen)

The Qur’an urges husbands to be kind and considerate to their wives, even if a wife falls out of favor with her husband or disinclination for her arises within him. It also outlawed the pre-Islamic Arabian practice whereby the stepson of the deceased father was allowed to take possession of his father’s widow(s) (inherit them) as if they were part of the estate of the deceased:

O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should you treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the marital gift you have given them, except when they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary, live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them, it may be that you dislike a thing through which Allah brings about a great deal of good. (An-Nisaa’ 4:19)

4- Should marital disputes arise, the Qur’an encourages couples to resolve them privately in a spirit of fairness and probity. Under no circumstances does the Qur’an encourage, allow, or condone family violence or physical abuse.

In extreme cases, and whenever greater harm, such as divorce, is a likely option, it allows for a husband to administer a gentle pat to his wife that causes no physical harm to the body nor leaves any sort of mark. It may serve, in some cases, to bring to the wife’s attention to the seriousness of her continued unreasonable behavior  (refraction), and may be resorted to only after exhausting other steps discussed in endnote.

If that mild measure is not likely to prevent a marriage from collapsing, as a last measure, it should not be resorted to. Indeed, the Qur’an outlines an enlightened step and a wise approach for the husband and wife to resolve persistent conflict in their martial life: In the event that disputes cannot be resolved equitably between husband and wife, the Qur’an prescribes mediation between the parties through family intervention on behalf of both spouses.

5- Divorce is a last resort, permissible but not encouraged, for the Qur’an esteems the preservation of faith and the individual’s right – male and female alike – to felicity. Forms of marriage dissolution include an enactment based upon mutual agreement, the husband’s initiative, the wife’s initiative (if part of her martial contract), the court’s decision on a wife’s initiative (for a legitimate reason) and the wife’s initiative without a “cause” provided that she returns her marital gift to her husband (khul` or divestiture).

6- Priority for the custody of young children (up to the age of about seven) is given to the mother. A child later may choose the mother or father as his or her custodian.

Custody questions are to be settled in a manner that balances the interests of both parents and the well-being of the child.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s “Gender Equity in Islam: Basic Principles”.

 

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The Rights of the Muslim Wife towards Her Husband

The Rights of the Muslim Wife towards Her Husband

By Abdul-Rahman Al Sheha

The rights of wives concerning their husbands are many and may be summarized as follows:

Dowry

A wife is entitled to receive a dowry from her husband which a marriage contract is void without it. The dowry is not to be forfeited but after the completion of a marriage contract she may forfeit her right as Allah says in the Qur’an:

And give to the women (whom you marry) their dowry with a good heart, but if they, of their own good will, remit any part of it to you, take it, and enjoy it without fear of any harm (as Allah has made it lawful). (An-Nisaa’ 4:4)

Financial Support

A husband is required to provide, within his means and limits, all essential and basic requirements of his wife , children and entire household. Allah (Exalted be He) says in the Qur’an:

Let the man of means spend according to his means and the man whose resources are restricted, let him spend according to what Allah has given him. Allah puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him. After a difficulty, Allah will soon grant relief. (At-Talaq 65:7)

To encourage generosity towards the wives, Islam has named this financial support as charity which is rewarded greatly by Allah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas:

“No amount you spend on your family seeking reward from Allah but that He will reward you even if it is a bite of food you put in your wife’s mouth.” (Al-Bukhari)

A wife has a right to take a reasonably required amount from her husband’s property for herself and her children without her husband’s knowledge if he spends miserly on them according to  the hadith wherein Hind bint `Utbah said: “ O Messenger of Allah: verily Abu Sufyan is a miser and doesn’t give me enough for myself and my child except that I take from his wealth without his knowledge, so he (peace be upon him) said:

“Take what is reasonably enough for you and your son.” (Al-Bukhari)

Companionship & Intimate Relationship

One of the most important rights of a wife is to secure from her husband a satisfactory level of intimate relationship and a fair amount of time with him.

This right of the wife and family members must be fully maintained since a wife needs an affectionate husband to take care of her and fulfill her basic needs. As related by Jabir when the Prophet said to Jabir: “Did you marry O Jabir?” I said: Yes. He said: “Virgin or matron (i.e. woman previously marries)?” I said: a matron. He said: “Why didn’t you marry a virgin so that you could play with her and she could play with you or you make her laugh and she makes you laugh?” (Al-Bukhari)

Protection of All the Secrets of the Wife

A husband must not disclose any of his wife’s deficiencies or shortcomings, keeping all what he sees and hears from his wife as a secret that should not ever be disclosed.

The intimate relationship between a husband and wife in Islam is cherished and protected.

Marital relationships are sacred relationships according to Islam, as we read in the instructions of Allah’s Messenger:

One of the worst positions in the sight of Allah on the Day of Requital is that of a man who will have an intimate relationship with his wife, and then spread the secrets of his spouse to the public.” (Muslim)

Equality and Fairness

The husband who is married to more than one wife must provide equally to all of his wives, offering them the same or comparable housing conditions and clothing.

He is to spend equal time with each one of them. Any injustice in this regard is strictly prohibited as the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:

“He who has two wives and does not treat them both equally will appear on the Day of Requital while he is half paralyzed.” (An-Nasa’i)

Fair and Kind Treatment

A husband must extend just treatment to his wife and household. A husband must demonstrate care, kindness and solve any problem within his means, while forbearing the deficiencies and shortcomings of his wife seeking the Pleasure of Allah in both worlds.

A husband should consult with his wife concerning their life and future needs and plans. He is required to secure and provide for his wife and household all means of peaceful environment at home and outside. The Messenger of Allah said:

Those believers who have the most complete faith who possess the best of character, and the best among you are those who are the best to their wives.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Protection and Preservation

By all the abilities available, a husband must not place or expose his wife or family members to any immoral situation or evil environment. This is based on the instructions of the verse of the Qur’an:

O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who flinch not (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah, but do (precisely) what they are commanded. (At-Tahrim 66:6)

He must protect the private wealth and property of his wife and must not use any of her personal funds or possessions without her prior approval. He must not engage in any transaction concerning his wife’s finances, without her consent.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s Human Rights in Islam and Common Misconceptions.

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The Rights of Muslim Husband towards His Wife

The Rights of Muslim Husband towards His Wife

By Abdul-Rahman Al Sheha

A husband has the right of ultimate authority of the home management since he is responsible for them and is accountable for all aspects of their maintenance. His leadership should be with justice, patience and wisdom. As Allah says in the Qur’an:

The Rights of Muslim Husband towards His Wife

Man’s leadership should be with justice, patience and wisdom.

Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. (An-Nisaa’ 4:34)

One reason among many for this degree of responsibility is that men are generally stronger and rational whereas women are generally weaker and more emotional, traits given to them by their Creator to serve their complementary roles in life and in the family.

A wife is required to obey the commands and instructions of her husband as long as these do not involve any instructions. `A’ishah, the wife of the Prophet (peace be upon him) questioned him:

“Whose right is the greatest on a woman? He (peace be upon him) replied, ‘A woman’s husband’s.’ The Messenger (peace be upon him) was asked: ‘Whose right is the greatest on a man?’ He (peace be upon him) replied, ‘His mother’s.” (Al-Hakim)

A wife must not demand from her husband things that he cannot afford, that he is not capable to produce, or tasks beyond his ability. A wife is required to protect the children and the lineage of her husband by protecting herself and being completely chaste. She should be a trustworthy guardian of his wealth. She should not leave her husband’s home without his prior knowledge and approval, nor allow any person who her husband dislikes to enter his home.

This is to protect the honor and harmony of the family, as instructed by the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him):

“The best of women is the one, who, if you look at her you will be pleased with her, if you command her (to perform any lawful action) she will obey you, and if you are absent she will protect and preserve your wealth and lineage.” (Ibn Majah)

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Source: The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “Human Rights in Islam and Common Misconceptions”.

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Marriage and Its Role in One’s Religious Life

Marriage and Its Role in One’s Religious Life

By Al-Ghazzali

Marriage plays such a large part in human affairs that it must necessarily be taken into account in treating of the religious life and be regarded in both its aspects of advantage and disadvantage.

Marriage

Marriage plays such a large part in human affairs that it must necessarily be taken into account in treating of the religious life.

As God says in the Qur’an, “I only created jinn and men for the purpose of worshipping Me,” (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56) among the advantages of marriage is that the worshippers of God may increase in number.

Theologians have therefore laid it down as a maxim that it is better to be engaged in matrimonial duties than in supererogatory devotions.

Offspring

Another advantage of marriage is that, as the Prophet said, the prayers of children profit their parents when the latter are dead, and children who die before their parents intercede for them on the Day of Judgment.

“’When a child,” said the Prophet, “is told to enter Paradise, it weeps and says, ‘I will not enter in without my father and mother.’’’

It was narrated that Abu Hassan said: I said to Abu Hurayrah: Two of my sons have died. Can you narrate to me any hadith from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) which will console us for our loss? He said: Yes: “Their little ones are the little ones of Paradise. When one of them meets his father – or his parents – he takes hold of his garment – or his hand – as I am taking told of the hem of your garment, and he does not let go until Allah admits him and his father to Paradise.” (Muslim)

It is related of a certain celibate saint that he once dreamt that the Judgment Day had come. The sun had approached close to the earth and people were perishing of thirst; a crowd of boys were moving about giving them water out of gold and silver vessels. But when the saint asked for water he was repulsed, and one of the boys said to him, “Not one of us here is your son.” As soon as the saint awoke he made preparations to marry.

Peace and Pleasure

Another advantage of marriage is that to sit with and be friendly to one’s wife as a relaxation for the mind after being occupied in religious duties, and after such relaxation one may return to one’s devotions with renewed zest. Thus the Prophet himself, when he found the weight of his revelations press too heavily upon him touched his wife `A’ishah and said, “Speak to me, O `A’ishah, speak to me!”

This he did that, from that familiar human touch, he might receive strength to support fresh revelations. For a similar reason he used to bid the Muezzin Bilal give the call to prayer, and sometimes he used to smell sweet perfumes. It is a well-known saying of his,  “In this world, women and perfume have been made dear to me, and my comfort has been provided in prayer.” (Ahmad and An-Nasa’i)

On one occasion `Umar asked the Prophet what were the things specially to be sought in the world. He answered, “A tongue occupied in the remembrance of God, a grateful heart, and a believing wife.”

Reward

A further advantage of marriage is that there should be someone to take care of the house, cook the food, wash the dishes, and sweep the floor, etc. If a man is busy in such work he cannot acquire learning, or carry on his business, or engage in his devotions properly. For this reason Abu Suleiman has said, “A good wife is not a blessing of this world merely, but of the next, because she provides a man leisure in which to think of the next, world”; and one of the Caliph Omar’s sayings is, “After faith, no blessing is equal to a good wife.”

Marriage has, moreover, this good in it, that to be patient with feminine peculiarities, to provide the necessaries which wives require, and to keep them in the path of the law, is a very important part of religion. The Prophet said:

“Of the dinar you spend as a contribution in Allah’s path, or to set free a slave, or as a sadaqah given to a needy, or to support your family, the one yielding the greatest reward is that which you spent on your family.” (Muslim)

Once, when Ibn Mubarak was engaged in a campaign against the infidels, one of his companions asked him, “Is any work more meritorious than religious war?” “Yes,” he replied: “to feed and clothe one’s wife and children properly.” The celebrated saint Bishr Hafi said, “It is better that a man should work for wife and children than merely for himself.”

In the Traditions it has been recorded that some sins can only be atoned for by enduring trouble for the sake of one’s family.

Concerning a certain saint it is related that his wife died and he would not marry again, though people urged him, saying it was easier to concentrate his thoughts in solitude. One night he saw in a dream the door of heaven opened and numbers of angels descending. They came near and looked upon him, and one said, “Is this that selfish wretch?” and his fellow answered, “Yes, this is he.”

The saint was too alarmed to ask whom they meant, but presently a boy passed and he asked him, “It is you they are speaking about,” replied the boy; “only up to a week ago your good works were being recorded in heaven along with those of other saints, but now they have erased your name from the roll.” Greatly disturbed in mind as soon as he awoke, he hastened to be married.

From all the above considerations it will be seen that marriage is desirable.

Drawbacks

We come now to treat of the drawbacks to marriage. One of these is that there is a danger, especially in the present time, that a man should gain a livelihood by unlawful means in order to support his family, and no amount of good works can compensate for this. The Prophet said that at the resurrection a certain man with a whole mountain-load of good works will be brought forward and stationed.

He will then be asked, “’By what means did you support your family?’ He will not be able to give a satisfactory answer, and all his good works will be cancelled, and proclamation will be made concerning him, ‘This is the man whose family have devoured all his good deeds!’”

Another drawback to marriage is this, that to treat one’s family kindly and patiently and to bring their affairs to a satisfactory issue can only be done by those who have a good disposition. There is great danger lest a man should treat his family harshly, or neglect them, and so bring sin upon himself.

The Prophet said: “He who deserts his wife and children is like a runaway slave; till he returns to them none of his fasts or prayers will be accepted by God.”

In brief, man has a lower nature, and, till he can control his own lower nature, he had better not assume the responsibility of controlling another’s. Someone asked the saint Bishr Hafi why he did not marry. “I am afraid,” he replied, “of that verse in the Qur’an,  “And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women.” (Al-Baqarah 2:228)

Also, the cares of a family shouldn’t prevent a man from concentrating his thoughts on God and on a future life, for God has said, O you who believe! Let not your wealth and your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. Those who do so, they are the losers.” (Al-Munafiqun 63:9)

He who thinks he can concentrate himself better on his religious duties by not marrying had better remain single, and he who fears falling into sin if he does not marry, had better do so.

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The article is excerpted from The Alchemy of Happiness by Al-Ghazzali, translated from the Hindustani by Claud Field (1909). This edition was created and published by Global Grey

©GlobalGrey 2017.

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Marriage: Its Status and Benefits in Qur’an and Sunnah (Part 1)

هBy Muhammad Abdul-Rauf 

ِAbout marriage, the Qur’an, which Muslims believe to be the word of God, reads:

And marry those among you who are single . . . If they are needy, God will make them free from want out of His grace. (An-Nur 24:32)

And He it is Who has created man from water; then He has made for him blood-relationship and marriage-relationship. And your Lord is ever Powerful. (Al-Furqan 25:54)

One of His signs is this: that He has created mates for you from yourselves that you might find quiet of mind in them, and He put between you love and compassion. Surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect. (Ar-Rum 30:21)

Marriage in Qur’an

One of His signs is this: that He has created mates for you from yourselves that you might find quiet of mind in them. (Ar-Rum 30:21)

In the context of praising the Prophet preceeding the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the Qur’an reads:

And surely We sent Messengers before thee and appointed for them wives and children. (Al-Ahzab 33:38)

And in praising the habits of good believers, it reads:

And those who say, “Our Lord, grant us in our wives and our offspring the joy of our eyes… (Al-Furqan 25:74)

There are also many traditions ascribed to the Prophet Muhammad in which the practice of marriage is emphatically praised. The following are some of these hadiths:

Marriage is my recommended custom. Whoso-ever turns away from my recommended custom is turning away from me. (Ibn Majah)

Get married so you multiply. I shall indeed be proud of your multitude on the Day of Resurrection. (Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’i)

O you young people, men and women! Whosoever can bear the burden of marriage, let him or her get married. It (marriage) is indeed contentment to the eye and a protection to the modest parts. (Al-Bukhari)

When one is married, he secures half of his religion. So let him fear God in the other half. (At-Tirmidhi)

Advantages

1- Procreation

This is the paramount advantage of marriage; namely, to contribute through legitimate means to the continuity and preservation of the human race. The sexual urge serves the function of bringing the mates together for the fulfillment of this basic objective.

The procreational objective has four aspects: to fulfill the will of God; to seek the love of the Prophet Muhammad; to benefit from the prayer of the child; and to profit from its intercession on behalf of its parents.

Almighty God, in providing the male with intricate fertilizing organs and the female with a receptive fertile womb, is telling us in the most eloquent but voiceless language of the purpose of these provisions. To let them be idle is to ignore the divine wisdom written on these God-given instruments. Imagine a farmer who, although he is given a piece of fertile land, seeds and farming tools, just lets the land go to waste, the seeds rot and tools rust.

This farmer not only is a fool, but is to be condemned for his wasteful and harmful indifference.

Procreation through marriage is also a means of seeking the pleasure of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) who is believed to be alive in his grave and to whom the deeds of the members of his nation are regularly presented. He has called upon his nation: “Marry, so your number increases. The practice of marriage is an answer to his call.

Prayer of a child is believed to be beneficial to his dead parent. The Prophet (peace be upon him) says:

When the son of Adam dies, nothing would be of any more benefit to him except three things: a continuous charity, some useful knowledge he has left behind and a child who may pray for him. (Muslim)

Should the child die early and the parents accept its loss as an act of God, without despair, it would be like a ticket to Paradise for them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) is related to have said:

A child (who dies before reaching puberty) leads the parents to Paradise. A child will be brought (on the Day of Judgment) and told, “Get into Paradise.” But he will stand reluctantly and angrily at its gate and say, “I am not going to enter Paradise without my parents.” It will then be said, “let his parents enter Paradise with him.” (An-Nasa’i)

It is related that an unmarried man of good conduct who lived in the early past shouted when he was rising from sleep one morning. “Help me to get married! Help me to get married.

Maybe God will give me a child who will be useful to me on the Day of Judgment.” He was asked, “What has happened?” He said, “I dreamt that the Day of Judgment had come, and all mankind was raised and brought together in one place with the burning sun close over their heads.

Everyone became very thirsty and I was dying of thirst. Suddenly, children appeared among us, lively and handsome, covered with protective light and carrying silver ewers and golden goblets. They offered drinks to some but left out most. When I stretched my hand to one of them and said, ‘Give me to drink, I am exhausted because of thirst,’ he said, ‘You have no child among us.’ I asked, Who are you? He said, ‘We are Muslim children; our parents lost us when we were young!”

To be continued…

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The article is an excerpt from Marriage in Islam by Muhammad Abdul-Rauf, Ph.D. Fifth printing 1993, published by Al-Saadawi Publications, P.O. Box 4059, Alexandria, VA, U.S.A. 22303.

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Marriage: Its Status and Benefits in Qur’an and Sunnah (Part 2)

By Muhammad Abdul-Rauf 

Part 1

The practice of marriage is highly recommended and praised in Islam. Here’re some of its advantages…

2- Fulfillment of the Natural Urge

The sexual urge is perhaps the most powerful human inclination. It seems not to be an end in itself, but a means to bring the mates together for the purpose of fertilization. Yet, its fulfillment is the most enjoyable and absorbing of human experiences.

Marriage in Islam

In marriage, there is comfort to the soul, there is beauty to look at, there is company, and there is play and joking and relaxation.

Failure to fulfill this urge is likely to lead either to deviation or to maladjustment. Deviation is dishonorable and is strictly forbidden in Islam.

Therefore, the Prophet (peace be upon him) calls upon youth, saying:

“O you young people! Whoever of you can afford to get married, let him do so. Those who cannot afford it, let them practice fasting, as it may be a protection to them (against sin).” (An-Nasa’i, Al-Bukhari and Ibn Majah)

It is believed that the intense pleasure of the climax of the sexual act, though short-lived, has the value of reminding the believers of the more durable and more perfect enjoyment that awaits them in Paradise. The experience should enhance their zeal to comply with divine teachings.

So the practice of marriage is the way to remove evil and protect against shameful failure.

To try to suppress the sexual urge by other means, such as fasting, may succeed in preventing the eyes from looking at forbidden scenes and keeping the sexual organs away from committing heinous abominations; but there is no way of freeing the heart from engaging in meanest thoughts, pondering and dreaming of acts it craves for, even during the hallowed time of the performance of prayers.

A person of any degree of respectability would never dare to speak openly of such mean thoughts to any creature, but he has no control over his mind to prevent it from roaming into these thoughts when he is addressing his Creator in prayers! Some cannot afford to do without women.

Some also say that two-thirds of man’s wisdom is lost when his male organ becomes erect. Al-Junaid, one of the major founders of the Sufi movement, used to say, “The sexual act is as important to me as food.”

And thus, a wife is food for the man and a measure for purifying his heat.

Therefore, the Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded that whenever a man sees a woman and feels attracted to her, he should go and release his urge with his own wife in order to remove the evil thoughts from his mind. The Prophet sometimes added, “His wife surely can offer as much as this woman does.” He also forbade visiting women when husbands are away.

It is related that Ibn `Abbas, a cousin of the Prophet, once noticed a youth staying behind after a lecture he had given, when the other members of the audience had gone. When Ibn `Abbas asked him about his problem, the reluctant youth complained that when he was overwhelmed by sexual excitement, he released himself by performing masturbation. Ibn `Abbas was horrified and condemned the act, but said that the practice was less abominable than fornication.

It was because of fear of the danger which might arise from an unfulfilled sexual urge that the early Muslims did not hesitate to rush to new marriage once they became widowed. Imam `Ali, cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet, remarried on the seventh day of the death of his wife Fatimah.

3- A Healthy Relaxation

In marriage, there is comfort to the soul, there is beauty to look at, there is company, and there is play and joking and relaxation, all of which relieve the heart from its burdens and make the mind better able to concentrate during prayers and worship.

To be always serious and deprive the soul of its joy is boring to the heart and could blind it. Relaxing through the company of the spouse is healthy; and that is why the Qur’an describes the spouse as a source of mutual comfort. It is said that it is wise to divide one’s time over three types of activities: worshiping the Lord, self-examination and entertainment of the heart.

The Prophet (peace be upon him,) used to say, “Two worldly things have been made beloved to me: women and perfume; but the light of my eye is in prayers.” (Ahmad and An-Nasa’i)

It is related that Al-Asma`i, an ancient Arab philologist, once encountered a beautiful Bedouin woman in the desert wearing a red dress and holding worry beads in her beautifully henna-dyed hand.

Al-Asma`i remarked, “What a contrast!” meaning that the worry beads, a sign of deep religious devotion, and the henna dye in the hands, a popular cosmetic practice, did not go together. The beautiful righteous woman retorted poetically,

“There is in me a devotion to God which I cannot neglect; but there must also be room for my heart and for my pleasure.”

4- A Comfortable Home

Marriage, moreover, provides cooperation in the household and greatly relieves one from worries.

Spouses cooperate in the management of the house, in its upkeep, in cooking and washing, and so forth. And thus, there will be more time for worship and seeking knowledge, and a climate conducive to concentration. It is, therefore, said that a righteous wife is not a worldly asset only; she is a sure way to success on the Day of Judgment.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) says:

“Seek to have a grateful heart, a sweet tongue and a believing, righteous wife who would help you in your endeavor to success on the Last Day.” (Ibn Majah)

He also says:

“Nothing is of more benefit to the believer after Taqwa of Allah than a righteous wife whom, if he commands her she obeys him, if he looks at her he is pleased, if he swears an oath concerning her she fulfills it, and when he is away from her she is sincere towards him with regard to herself and his wealth.” (Ibn Majah)

In another hadith, he said:

“This world is but provisions, and there is no provision in this world better than a righteous wife.” (Abu Dawud and Al-Hakim)

5- Social Importance

Finally, by adding responsibilities upon the individual, marriage enhances his status in society and gives him an opportunity for training in bearing the hardships of life.

Living with a spouse, a person of different inclinations and background, trains one in accommodating oneself to new experiences; each party helps the other in the exercise of the virtues of patience and forbearance.

The responsibility of rearing children and the need to earn for their living are added meritorious aspect arising from marriage. Listen to the Prophet when he says:

“A man will be rewarded for what he spends on his wife, even for putting a morsel of food into her mouth.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

He also says:

“Whoever performs his prayers correctly, and spends on his children in spite of his modest means, and does not speak ill against others, will be in Paradise as close to me as these (two fingers of mine).”

He also says:

“Whosoever is given three daughters and spends on them and treats them well . . . surely God will reward him in Paradise.” (Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi)

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The article is an excerpt from Marriage in Islam by Muhammad Abdul-Rauf, Ph.D. Fifth printing 1993, published by Al-Saadawi Publications, P.O. Box 4059, Alexandria, VA, U.S.A. 22303.

 

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