Importance of marriage in islam

Allah has created men and women as company for one another, and so that they can procreate and live in peace and tranquility according to the commandments of Allah and the directions of His Messenger. The Qur'an says:

"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. Undoubtedly in these are signs for those who reflect." (30:21)

And Allah has made for you your mates of your own nature, and made for you, out of them, sons and daughters and grandchildren, and provided for you sustenance of the best. (16:72)

These verses of the Noble Qur'an clearly show that in contrast to other religions like Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism etc. which consider celibacy or monasticism as a great virtue and a means of salvation, Islam considers marriage as one of the most virtuous and approved institutions. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) declared, "There is no monasticism in Islam." He further ordained,

"O you young men! Whoever is able to marry should marry, for that will help him to lower his gaze and guard his modesty."  "Modesty is part of faith." (Al-Bukhari)

The word zawaj is used in the Qur'an to signify a pair or a mate. But in common parlance it stands for marriage. Since the family is the nucleus of Islamic society, and marriage is the only way to bring families into existence, the Prophet (peace be upon him) insisted upon his followers entering into marriage The Shari'ah prescribes rules to regulate the functioning of the family so that both spouses can live together in love, security, and tranquility. Marriage in Islam has aspects of both 'ibadah (worship) of Allah and mu'amalah (transactions between human beings).

It is narrated by Anas that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,

"When a man marries, he has fulfilled half of his religion, so let him fear Allah regarding the remaining half."

The Prophet considered marriage for a Muslim as half of his religion because it shields him from promiscuity, adultery, fornication, homosexuality etc., which ultimately lead to many other evils like slander, quarreling, homicide, loss of property and disintegration of the family. According to the Prophet (peace be upon him) the remaining half of the faith can be saved by taqwa.

In a beautiful tradition the Prophet (peace be upon him) has given the most important point that should weigh with every Muslim in selecting his bride:

"Whoever marries a woman solely for her power and position, Allah will only increase him in humiliation. Whoever marries a woman solely for her wealth, Allah will only increase him in poverty. Whoever marries a woman because of her beauty, Allah will only increase him in ugliness. But whoever marries a woman in order that he may restrain his eyes, observe cautiousness, and treat his relations kindly, Allah puts a blessing in her for him and in him for her."

The consent of both the man and the women is an essential element of marriage, and the Qur'an gives women a substantial role in choosing their own life partners. It lays down:

Do not prevent them from marrying their husbands when they agree between themselves in a lawful manner. (2: 232)

The case of Abu Juham bin Hudhaifah and Mu'awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan is relevant here. They proposed marriage to Fatimah bint Ghaith. The Prophet (peace be upon him) advised Fatimah not to marry either of them on the grounds that Mu'awiyah was then a pauper and Abu Juham was cruel and harsh. So she married Usamah. (freed slave)


The Qur'an (4:21) refers to marriage as a mithaq, i.e. a solemn covenant or agreement between husband and wife, and enjoins that it be put down in writing. Since no agreement can be reached between the parties unless they give their consent to it, marriage can be contracted only with the free consent of the two parties. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

"The widow and the divorced woman shall not be married until their order is obtained, and the virgin shall not be married until her consent is obtained." (AlBukhari)

This aspect is greatly emphasized by Imam Bukhari. He, in fact, gave one of the chapters in his Sahih the significant title:

"When a man gives his daughter in marriage and she dislikes it, the marriage shall be annulled." Once a virgin girl came to the Prophet (peace be  upon him) and said that her father had married her to a man against her wishes. The Prophet gave her the right to repudiate the marriage. (Abu Dawud).

Divorced women are also given freedom to contract a second marriage. The Holy Qur'an says,

And when you divorce women, and they have come to the end of their waiting period, hinder them not from marrying other men if they have agreed with each other in a fair manner. (2: 232)

With regard to widows, the Qur'an says,

And if any of you die and leave behind wives, they bequeath thereby to their widows (the right to) one year's maintenance without their being obliged to leave (their husband's home), but if they leave (the residence)
of their own accord, there is no blame on you for what they do with themselves in a lawful manner. (2:234)

Under the Shari'ah, marriages between men and women standing in a certain relationship to one another are prohibited. These prohibited degrees are either of a permanent nature or a temporary. The permanently prohibited degrees of marriage are laid down in the Holy Qur'an :

And marry not those women whom your fathers married, except what has already happened (of that nature) in the past. Lo! It was ever lewdness and abomination, and an evil way. Forbidden unto you are your mothers and your daughters, and your sisters and your father's sisters and your mother's sisters, and your brother's daughters and your sister's daughters, and your foster-mothers and your foster-sisters, and your  mothers-in-law and your step-daughters who are under your mother-in-law and your step-daughters who
are under your protection (born) of your women unto whom you have gone into -- but if you have not gone into them, then it is no sin for you (to marry their daughters) -- and the  wives of your sons froom your own loins, and that you should have two sisters together, except what has already happened (of that nature) in the past. Allah is ever-Forgiving, Merciful. (4:22 - 24)

...But do not make a secret contract with them except in honorable terms, nor resolve on the tie of marriage till the term prescribed is fulfilled. (2:235)

Two Suitors Seeking to Marry the Same Girl:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) disapproved of two persons competing with one another to secure marriage with the same girl. This is because such a situation is likely to develop bitter enmity between two Muslim brothers.

The Prophet said,

"A believer is a brother of a believer. Hence it is not lawful for him to bargain upon the bargain of a brother, nor propose for (the hand of a girl) after the marriage proposal of his brother, until the latter
(voluntarily) withdraws the proposal."

Imam Abu Hanifa,(r.a) Imam Shafi'i,(r.a) and Imam Malik,(r.a.) all hold the view that it is a sin to put a proposal of marriage against the proposal of another Muslim brother. However, if a marriage is contracted in this wrongful way it will be sufficient if the second suitor who was successful seeks the forgiveness of the first suitor and of Allah. But Imam Dhahiri considers such a marriage void. It is respectfully submitted that the former view is more rational and sound.

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