Monday, 20 June 2011

Muslim Marriage

are the remaining barriers erected by youth in their way of getting

of the Life Partners

idea picked up from Western influences is that both spouses must
be very close in their ages. Age differences are thought to be inimical
to a happy marriage. Does closeness in age create better harmony
and happiness in married life? In fact, it does not. Harmony and
happiness is a frame of mind and matter of attitude. If the spouses
have the right attitude and the right emotions, age difference is
not a factor at all. Some of the most successful and happy marriages
are where spouses have a big difference in age. It is observed in
the contemporary society in both east and west. But the greatest
model is the example of our Prophet. His first and dearest wife
was Khadeejah who was 15 years his senior. Both had exemplary and
intense love and respect for each other. Then, love between him
and ‘Aaishah was also intense and exemplary despite her being
extremely young compared to him. Those who believe in the wisdom
of the Prophet can never hold age as a criterion for the harmony
and happiness in marriage.

of Secular Education

Those Young Muslims who have attained University education or professional
credentials usually erect another barrier around them by insisting
that their spouse must also be university educated or professional.
How much does the education of spouses contribute to the health
of marriage? It all depends on how you define education. If it is
professional or vocational education for earning Halaal income by
men, it is an acceptable criterion. If education means learning
of social skills such as decency, broadmindedness, flexibility,
knowledge and clear understanding of what kind of life a Muslim
should live and how to run household affairs in a happy manner,
such education is critical and must be a criterion for selection.
If education means just the subjects of arts and sciences that do
not teach the aforementioned skills, it is absolutely useless from
the harmony, happiness or health of the marriage point of view because
the purpose of the marriage is not to discuss and solve medical,
legal, philosophical, mathematical or scientific problems and issues.
It will be interesting to find out, from those who make this a requirement,
if they ever feel like talking about at home with their spouses
what they have been talking about all day at work. Or if they frequently
strengthen their marital relations by discussing physics, chemistry,
math, etc. If that does not happen, why to insist on marrying someone
with similar qualifications?

people consider education as a proxy for intelligence. They think
that a highly educated person must be intelligent and an intelligent
person would be easy to relate to, develop an understanding with
and have fun with. It is also assumed that an educated person would
also have refined thoughts and tastes. Those who assume that all
kind of university education brings these benefits are in for a
big shock. Many ‘educated’ people have been found lacking
common sense and basic listening or human relations skills and have
proven to be the most difficult people to develop a common, workable
understanding with. Often they fail to understand even the basic
Islamic tenets and principles. From marital point of view, what
helps is not any education or any intelligence or ‘braininess’;
otherwise the incidence of marital problems or divorce rate among
the ‘educated’ would have been minimal, which, in fact,
tends to be higher. The intelligence and common sense that matters
is the social and listening skills aided with an attitude of understanding,
accepting and adjusting to meet the needs of the marriage partner
and demands of the Islamic objectives of marriage. The only reliable
way of finding out if a person has that kind of common sense or
intelligence that I have discovered is to see how clear and deep
an understanding a person has about the Deen and Islamic living
in general. If the person’s lifestyle and comments on religious
topics portray proper understanding of faith, philosophy and spirit
of Islamic teachings, then the person is intelligent and will be
a great life partner, even if the person does not have much of the
secular education. On the other hand, if the person is devoid of
commitment to Islam or is just a close-minded, ritualistic or blind
follower of religion, intelligence is lacking even if the person
is the highest scorer in PhD. Spending a lifetime with that person
will be a challenge.


the purpose of life in Western paradigm is maximizing the instant
pleasure through hobbies, sports and fun, they want to spend their
time with someone who has similar tastes, preferences, interests
and hobbies. Hence, we see great emphasis being placed on commonality
of such interest such as music, sports and hobbies. When people
worry about the

compatibility of personal interests before marriage, they soon become
disillusioned after marriage to each other because no two human
beings are exactly the same. Young Muslims have also started putting
more emphasis on such things than it deserves. Hence, it also becomes
a barrier in getting married. Many engagements are being broken
or marriages being called off because of such emphasis on personal
preferences. When the engaged young Muslims start chatting and conversing
on the phone and internet, the differences emerge which are taken
as incompatibilities and marriage is called off.

Islam wants people to enter into marital relationship with an open
mind and a flexible attitude to create a happy and loving environment
for each other, accommodating each other’s needs to one’s
best with the common goal of fulfilling the Islamic objective of
marriage. With Islamic objectives being the number one priority
in married life, both spouses are to try their best to adjust their
lifestyle so that the common Islamic objectives are easily achieved
and affection and kindness to each other is maximized. This Islamic
attitude cements the spousal relationship stronger with the passage
of time as compared to Western way of thinking where mostly difference
and disillusionment is increased with the passage of time.

Hence, compatibility among the preferences and interests of the
spouses, as understood in the West, is not a key to the happiness
and success of a marriage as much as compatibility in the Islamic
view of marriage and its objectives is. When people come into relationship
with the same Islamic objective, each with a willingness to adjust
for the achievement of those objectives together, and to give each
other their best, the marriage brings nothing but happiness. As
long as both of them are compatible in their religious views and
paradigm, share their commitment to Islamic objectives and sincerely
come into the relationship with a mindset of giving love and kindness
to the other, everything will fall in place. They will have a tremendously
happy and loving life together.

what to do?

One might say, as most of the young Muslims nowadays say, why not
marry someone who has Deen as well as beauty, education, same age
range, etc.? That would be great! But unfortunately, that is tantamount
to asking for perfection and perfection does not exist. Most of
the people are good in one or two things but not all and the fact
is that most of the people are average on the whole. Unfortunately,
most young Muslims I have talked to are asking for too much. They
are looking for almost-perfection. They want almost all of the above
in their spouse, although they themselves are deficient in some
of these criteria. Hardly anyone realizes that they cannot have
a spouse that is better than themselves as a whole because the other
one is also looking for someone better. If young Muslims take a
realistic look at themselves and desire only someone comparable
to them, many problems will be solved.

young Muslims who cannot be happy with what can be available to
them from their community and think that they deserve the best in
the society will find themselves lonely for a long time. Finding
a person whose two or more strengths match with your requirements
while at the same time your two or more strengths match with that
person’s requirements becomes an impossible task. To make
the matching possible, candidates for marriage have to choose one
key quality from the list of the requirements that they want to
see in their ideal spouse and seek a match on the basis of that
key criterion, while compromising on the rest of the attributes
or requirements.

which is the attribute or quality that one should select to be the
key quality for seeking a match and on which others one should compromise?
Those who value Islam and want to get married will go for the personal
decency of the person (which is, in fact, excellence of one’s
Deen and faith). If a person being proposed for them has that quality,
they will say yes to the person of average/reasonable looks. Those
who insist on criteria other than or in addition to this one quality
are neither sincere to their faith nor to Islamic values. They will
keep waiting for a perfect person to appear until they learn to
compromise somewhere. Perhaps they should send a custom order to
Allaah SWT, and in the meantime, while that ideal person is created
for them to their custom order, they would have to keep risking
their eternal Aakhirah for temporary pleasures of this world they
are so badly longing to attain.

importance only to the Deen and making compromises on other criteria
for selection of a marriage partner was emphasized by the Qur-aan:

whoever among you cannot afford the means to wed free believing
women, then (they should wed) believing girls from those (slaves)
whom your right hands possess. And Allaah is most knowing of your
faith. You (believers) are one from another.” An-Nisaa 4:25

Zaani (fornicator) is to marry only a Zaaniyah or Mushrikah; and
a Zaaniyah is to marry only a Zaani or Mushrik. Such marriages are
forbidden to the believers." (An-Noor 24:3)

women are for evil men and evil men are for evil women. Women of
purity are for men of purity, and men of purity are for women of
purity." (An-Noor 24:26)

the chaste Muslim women and chaste women from those who were given
book before you, only when you have paid them their Mahr as protectors
in wedlock, not engaging in licentiousness or secret friendships."
(Al-Maaidah 5:5)

do not marry Mushrikaat unless and until they become Muslim; a Muslim
slave girl is better than a noble Mushrikah even if she is pleasing
to you. And do not marry your women off to Mushriks unless and until
they become Muslim; a Muslim slave is better than a Mushrik even
if he is pleasing to you. They (non-Muslims) invite you to Fire,
and Allaah invites you by His Grace to Jannah and Pardon. And He
makes His revelations clear for people so that they learn and remember
admonition." (Al-Baqarah 2:221)

Why Western ideals are creating bigger problems among Muslims than
among non-Muslims

a free market economy, the market determines the value of a commodity
so that a commodity sells at a price that is closer to the value
people perceive in that commodity. In the same manner, in a free
mixing society, people soon find their realistic value others place
on them. Hence, they get hooked up with whoever will accept them.
When people move, socialize and interact among those within their
reach and their social circle, they are attracted towards one another
and start liking each other due to natural urges and attractions.
Even those who do not find each other attractive at the first glance,
start developing romantic attachment if they keep interacting in
positive way. Hence, none of them keeps waiting for an ‘ideal’.
Rather they are hooked to whoever is available. That is why we see
many of them marrying spouses with huge age differences, different
ethnic backgrounds, and disparate levels of educations, vocations
and professions, etc. Although this culture of free mixing and laissez-faire
sexual attitude works as a leveller for connecting people, it has
its own deadly consequences and problems for the society and is
extremely displeasing to Allaah SWT.

the other hand, most of those young Muslims who are depending on
their parents or elders to find their spouses, they maintain their
egos and self worth at their own self-deceiving and inflated level,
and hence they keep rejecting reasonable proposals thinking that
they deserve the best and perfect ideal. Instead of accepting what
is available to them, they keep hoping for the beauty models entrenched
in their minds from the media, cultural ideals and the naked beauty
they see around them.

root of the problem is the mixing of paradigms and methodologies.
If young Muslims value their faith and are committed to Islam, they
must replace Western mindset about marriage with Islamic mindset
and paradigm. Those who do so will indeed succeed both here and
in the Hereafter.

-- conclusion of whom to marry)


Ayub Hamid


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