Author: Umm Hayaat (Eidgah Shareef) / Modified by HKIYA, 2011
Assalam-o-‘Alaikum Wa Rehmatullahe Wa Barakotohu!
What is marriage all about? What makes some marriages successful, and others fail? How do we know if our intended marriage will work? How can we save a marriage that is not working? Why is the divorce rate so high? These are questions that many of us have wrestled with, questions which have too often been answered through pain and hardship.
Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) says: “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women because of what Allah has preferred one with over the other and because of what they spend to support them from their wealth.”
[Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 34]
Hadith-e-Mubarakah; The Holy Prophet Muhammad SalAllahu ‘Alaihe Wasallam said: “Nikah (marriage) is my Sunnah. He who shuns my Sunnah is not of me.” and "When a man marries, he has fulfilled half of his religion, so let him fear Allah regarding the remaining half." (From Imam Al Bayhqi AlaiherRehma).
We might say that our motivation for entering into marriage or a relationship can be distilled into two basic dynamic attitudes: "I am going to get something from this person," or "I am going to share with this person." The first attitude leads only to pain; the second, to joy. The first is seeking to get; the second, to expand. Sharing works, taking doesn't. A house built upon sand cannot stand. The divorce rate affirms this parable. If the relationship is inaugurated on the foundation of celebration and overflow, we will receive many of the things that others marry in order to get, but they come as gifts, and joys, and not as a payoff.
Muslims often get so caught up in following the letter of the Shari`ah that it becomes a goal in itself. It's not the goal – Allah Kareem is the goal, the Shari`ah is merely the law of the way to attain it. The path should not be the destination! There is a spiritual core that underlies the Shari`ah and differentiates it from all man-made law. It is based on the beautiful attributes of Allah Subhanohu wa Ta’al and derived from the blessed personality of Beloved Rasulullah SalAllahu ‘Alaihe Wasallam. Indeed, if it were not, how could one call it a DIVINE law? There are reasons for rules and laws - and the basic rule is 'do that’, which will enable one to get closer to Allah Subhanohu wa Ta’ala'. The entire Shari`ah is based on this one premise. Regarding marriage, let us try to have an understanding of the Islamic philosophy behind the various rulings.
The bond between husband and wife is the most profound and enduring in a person's adult life. Perhaps no other person will exert as much emotional and psychological influence on an individual. Love is the absolute basis and essence of Islam. As such, Beloved RasulAllah SalAllahu ‘Alaihe Wasallam is sent to teach us love and compassion in their most perfect forms. Faith is perfection in three things: fear, hope and love. However, love exists in many different forms - for parents, for spouses, for children, and so forth. Perhaps no other word is used so frequently and understood so rarely! Is true love infatuation? A mother's love or the love that our grandparents feel after 50 years together? One should really ask the question, "WHAT is love and why do I feel it?" not "who or what do I love?" The first logically precedes the second, but the second emotionally precedes the first (and sometimes eclipses itentirely!)
A lot of our mixed-up feelings arise because we become so entangled with the 2nd question that we forget the first! The psychological basis of marriage is to develop love for the partner - for love (as opposed to infatuation) develops over years of shared joys and hardships. But the underlying reason that Allah has blessed us with the faculty of love is for us to learn to love Him. He has said, "And among His signs are that He created for you from your selves mates that you may attain calm unto them and He placed between you affection andcompassion.Surelyinthataresignsforapeoplewhoreflect."
That is, this feeling of love is in fact a sign of the existence of the fountain and source of Love – our Magnificent Almighty Allah. And through our various mortal loves, we are directed towards the discovery of the Eternal Love of Allah, as rivers flow inexorably towards the Ocean. This, then, is the true reason for marriage - to apprehend, through one's partner, a part of the all-embracing Love of Allah. Knowing this, the reasons for the Islamic rulings on marriage become clearer.
On life's journey towards Allah, one is not alone. Husband and wife walk hand in hand, helping and strengthening each other. They are companions on the journey, and Allah has said, "We made for them spouses that they might find rest and comfort." The most Perfect and Blessed of all Creation, RasulAllah SalAllahu ‘Alaihe Wasallam has said, "A believer is a mirror to a believer." This then is the underlying basis and wisdom of all Islamic rulings regarding this subject. I hope it has been made clearer, and may Allah forgive me if I have read.