The Importance of Marriage and its Etiquettes

All praise is due to Allaah, Lord of all the worlds. Peace and blessings be upon the Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayihi wa sallam), his household and companions.

Fellow Muslims! The most truthful speech is the Book of Allaah and the best guidance is that of Muhammad. Every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance leads to Hell.

Fear Allaah and know that tomorrow, you will be made to stand in front of your Lord and be recompensed for your deeds.

"O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife (Hawwâ (Eve)) and from them both He created many men and women; and fear Allâh through Whom you demand (your mutual rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allâh is Ever an All-Watcher over you."

(Surah An-Nisaa, 4:1)

Beware of procrastination, for having deep inclination towards this world makes one forget the Hereafter, as following the desires blocks the way to the truth.

Dear brethren! Allaah has created humans upon inclinations to their natural instincts. It is also of His mercy and wisdom that He made the law of Islaam call to this and He promised prosperity and reward to those who follow the course of this nature. A manifestation of this is the relationship that takes place between man and woman through marriage.

Brethren in Islaam! No sane person will dispute the importance, virtues and benefits of marriage or dispute the fact that marriage is the natural means of achieving peace of mind, tranquility and societal stability and progress. Marriage makes life well-organized and it is from its fortress that righteous generations are produced. Allaah says,

"And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect."

(Surah Ar-Room, 30:21)

Marriage promotes purity and chastity, keeps the married person away from illegal sexual intercourse and sinful activities. It brings about blessing and makes the society live a morally secure and comfortable life. Allaah makes marriage a virtue and a way of the Prophets. He says addressing His Messenger, 

"And indeed We sent Messengers before you (O Muhammad (peace be upon him)) and made for them wives and offspring."

(Surah Ar-Ra’d 13:38)

Therefore, it is because of these great benefits that Islaam encourages marriage and encourages its facilitation. It also prohibits all that could impede or disrupt it. Allaah says,

"And if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan-girls then marry (other) women of your choice, two or three, or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one or (the slaves) that your right hands possess. That is nearer to prevent you from doing injustice."

(Surah An-Nisaa, 4:32)

The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alayihi wa sallam) said,

"O young people! Whoever among you is able to marry, should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty (i.e. his private parts from committing illegal sexual intercourse etc.)."

[Sahih Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]

In the Qur’aan, Allaah commands that suitable suitors should be married to as He prohibits preventing women from marrying women of their choice. In the Qur’aan and the Sunnah, rights and responsibilities of the husband and the wife are explained so that a truly Muslim family that is the foundation of a strong and coherent society can be established. 

Brethren in faith! It is certain that anyone who has concern for his society and Ummah and wishes his fellow Muslims well will make all efforts to promote this institution and make it successful. He will avoid all that could impede it. A concerned Muslim will also be worried about the failure of some marriages when he sees problems springing out of some homes. It is therefore necessary that a wise Muslim should adopt all useful means of making the marriage life successful.

Fellow Muslims! Speaking about marriage has many aspects. It is enough to talk about some phenomena that precede marriage and that have an undesirable impact on the course of life so that the Muslims can be sincerely admonished and the heedless will be awakened. 

One: Delaying marriage until the end of studies or after getting a job and having financial capability or delaying marriage in order to avoid commitments or for any other reasons. All this is part of the evil plans of Satan by which he brainwashes humans especially the youth through the filthy films and serials that are aired on the satellite TV or published in magazines and newspapers. This has created a lot of misconceptions about marital life, corrupted the people’s morality and instilled in them mistaken ideas that opened the door to a great evil.

Delaying marriage contradicts Islaamic teachings as it contradicts the human nature. Sociologists affirmed that early marriage is the best marriage even if the financial condition is hard. They also affirmed that it is a major means of attaining stable psychological and physical health; and that the children born from early marriage are more intelligent and healthier and have less physical disabilities. 

In addition to the above, early marriage makes one’s religion complete and makes one chaste. It is also established that early marriage is a major factor in many people’s success in their academic life. So when an artificial impediment is put in the way of this natural institution, the consequences will be woes upon the society.

In fact, there is no contradiction between marriage and requirements of marriage life, for that is a part of natural life that should not be linked to imaginary and artificial impediments created by the idiotic people. The Muslims’ stand concerning marriage should be reliance on Allaah and not on materials. Allaah says, 

"And marry those among you who are single (i.e. a man who has no wife and the woman who has no husband) and (also marry) the Sâlihûn (pious, fit and capable ones) of your (male) slaves and maid-servants (female slaves). If they be poor, Allâh will enrich them out of His Bounty. And Allâh is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knowing (about the state of the people)."

(Surah An-Noor 24:32)

The Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayihi wa sallam) said,

"There are three persons that Allaah has taken it upon Himself to help them: the fighter in the way of Allaah, a captive who is in the process of buying his freedom and the one who wants to marry to keep himself or herself chaste."

[At-Tirmidhee and others]

If there are some stupid people who have turned their daughters into commercial commodity and ask for exorbitant mahr [bridal gift] and lay down difficult conditions for those who want to marry their daughters, there are better women elsewhere. For, there are many families who only wish to marry their daughter to someone who can make her happy and preserve her religion for her and treat her well. These families are satisfied with minimal mahr, emulating by that, the Messenger of Allaah who said,

"It is a sign of blessing in a woman that proposing marriage to her and her mahr are made easy for the suitor."

[Ahmad and others]

Demanding for excessive mahr and evaluating a suitor by the amount of mahr he is able to pay is a sign of meanness, perverted thinking and stupidity. Also, burdening the suitor with exorbitant mahr and requesting him to present many gifts to relatives of the prospective groom is the peak of greed, avarice and opportunism. All this breeds ill-feeling, weighs the husband down with debts, impedes the smooth course of marriage in the society and causes many girls to remain unmarried for a long time. This is, indeed, a manifestation of preventing woman from marrying; a situation that Allaah forbids.

Also, one of the cruelest forms of preventing woman from marrying is to insist that she should marry a particular relative of hers and preventing her from marrying any other suitor even if that leads to her remaining a spinster for life. This is a major crime and an excessive act of selfishness that is a product of an obsolete norm, and it goes against the everlasting injunctions of Islaam.

It is unlawful to coerce a woman into marrying someone she does not like. Her father’s guardianship over her is only to safeguard her interest and protect her, and definitely not that of imposition or coercion. The Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayihi wa sallam) said,

"A matron should not be given in marriage except after consulting her; and a virgin should not be given in marriage except after her permission."

The people asked, “O Allaah’s Messenger! How can we know her permission?”

He said, “Her silence (indicates her permission).”

[Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]

Shaykh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyyah said,

"It is unlawful for any of the two parents to force their son into marrying someone he does not like. If he refuses to obey them in this regard he is not considered undutiful to them. If it is unlawful for anyone to force him to eat what he does not want to eat though he is capable of eating what he wants, the same thing applies to marriage, even with a greater reason. For, eating an undesirable thing is painful only for a moment but the pain of marrying an undesirable someone lasts for long."

Forcing a woman into marrying someone she does not like because of that person’s money or his fame or his close relationship is an injustice and therefore forbidden. The guardians must understand this. 

The girl should also try to understand the point of view of her guardian regarding acceptance and refusal of a proposal. In any case, interest of the girl should be the criterion.

Dear Muslims! Guardians have a great responsibility regarding the suitor who comes forward for the hand of their daughter in marriage. This is in view of the Prophet’s instruction,

"Man is the guardian over his family and he will be asked as to how he discharged his responsibility towards them."

[Sahih Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]

Also, the girl is usually dependent upon her guardian’s knowledge and advice. He should therefore fear Allaah and make all efforts to know the real situation of the suitor and his compatibility. For, many are righteous women who are afflicted with a sinful husband who does not pray or who takes intoxicants and perpetrates forbidden things or who is ill-mannered. This unfortunate situation is caused by nothing more than her guardian’s negligence and his carelessness regarding the religiosity of the husband and his being satisfied only with his appearance or because he trusted the family from which the husband comes.

Compatibility in marriage should only be in terms of religiosity and good manner. The Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayihi wa sallam) said,

"If someone with whose religion and manners you are pleased asks for the hand of your daughter in marriage, grant it to them. If you do not do so, there will be temptation in the land and widespread corruption."

[At-Tirmidhee]

Let those whose only goal is asking for money and fame and have no regard for religiosity realise that he who betrays Allaah and His Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayihi wa sallam) cannot be trusted to be a guardian for his own daughter. The same thing can be said to the suitor as well. For, there are many men who stipulated for his fiancée all conditions of this world but regarded the religion as the least important and soon realised that the woman is not suitable to be his wife because of her lack of religiosity and morals. The Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayihi wa sallam) said,

"A woman is married for four things: her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. So you should marry the religious woman (otherwise) you will be a losers."

[Sahih Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim) 

The suitor should realize that any woman who is careless about her responsibility to her Creator will definitely negligent in her responsibility to her husband and children. Also, the adviser or the person responsible must be duly informed of the situation of the suitor. He should fear Allaah in all that he says and in the advice he gives. Some people might be influenced by tribal zealousness or haste thereby exaggerating in praising or disparaging a suitor or a woman though they have not had sufficient knowledge of the person concerned. The Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayihi wa sallam) said,

"The Adviser is trusted [in the matter in which his advice is sought]."

[Aboo Daawood]

Fellow Muslims! Some marriage banquets are plagued with excessive spending and violations of Islaamic teachings. This trend has become so prevalent that it is regarded as an indispensable aspect of marriage. Sometimes, the banquet expenses exceed the mahr in manifold and the decision regarded this is left in the hands of women and the unwise ones. This calamity becomes graver when it is coupled with sin acts. What blessing or success should one then expect if a married life is started, from its first night, with sinful things and acts of obedience to Allaah, Who alone owns the success and Who holds the hearts of humans in His Hand and twist them as He likes?

Certainly, intermingling of men and women who are not close relatives, employing the service of musicians with their instruments, neglecting the prayers and delaying them, exposing of nakedness –especially among women who are, though dressed, are practically naked – and open and stealthy snapping of pictures and videoing are all a manifestation of showing ingratitude to Allaah, rebelling His commands and wantonness. This is to say nothing of wastefulness and showing-off that are the characteristics of the preparations and banquets. Why all this? Can parties not take place without violation of Islaamic regulations? If the unlucky fails to achieve success in their marriage, he should then know what the cause.If sins can weaken countries and shake kingdoms, it has the greater capacity to do so with little homes. Allaah says,

"Is it then he, who laid the foundation of his building on piety to Allâh and His Good Pleasure, better, or he who laid the foundation of his building on an undetermined brink of a precipice ready to crumble down, so that it crumbled to pieces with him into the Fire of Hell?"

(Surah At-Tawbah 9:109)

Brethren in faith! It is a manifestation of excellent upbringing and fulfillment of the trust to prepare a girl for matrimonial life and to teach her how to be responsible and how to handle the demands of life. You will surely pity a girl sent off to her new home for a matrimonial life and yet knew nothing of her rights and responsibilities, knew nothing about how to deal with her husband, his family and relatives, knew nothing about how to nurture her children and deal with them and nothing about how to manage home affairs. A situation like this has caused many cases of separation and raised the rate of divorce in the society.

It is therefore the responsibility of the parents, the teachers, the curriculum writers and the journalists to exert sincere efforts in giving boys and girls appropriate awareness. What is the benefit of long years of study if it does teach the fundamentals of life? 

All youths are in dire of proper education on how to adhere by the limits of Allaah concerning marriage, worshipping Allaah through maintaining good relationship with spouse, how to cooperate with one another in righteousness and piety before marriage and how to shun selfishness. They also need to know and acknowledge the real meaning of being guardian in the law of Islaam; that it is meant to protect, nurture and to manage excellently and that it is a responsibility of which man will be held accountable in the Day of Resurrection. The Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayihi wa sallam) said,

"All of you are guardians and responsible for your charges: a man is a guardian of his family and is responsible for his charges and a lady is a guardian in the house of her husband and is responsible for her charge."

[Sahih Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]

If the intentions are good and the obligations are carried out, happiness and success will prevail all over the world. If one adheres to invoking Allaah and is sincere in his hope in Him, Allaah will not let him down, and will not make his efforts to go in vain. 

[Source: Importance of Marriage and its Etiquettes by Shaykh Saalih Aal Taalib 2, Jumaadal-Aakhirah 1426 (8, July 2005)]

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