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Marriage in Islam

Is Marriage Desirable?
by Muhammad Abdul-Rauf, Ph.D.

Marriage in Islam is strongly recommended on


religious, moral, social, psychological and physiological grounds.

The following 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.

SCRIPTURE AND In the context of praising the prophet burden of marriage, let him or her get
preceding the Prophet Muhammad, married. It [marriage] is indeed
TRADITION the Qur'an reads: contentment to the eye and a
And surely We sent protection to the modest parts.
The Qur'an, which Muslims believe to Messengers before thee and When one is married, he secures
be the word of God, reads: appointed for them wives and half of his religion. So let him fear
And marry those among you children. [Qur'an 33:38] God in the other half.
who are single . . . If they are And in praising the habits of good
needy, God will make them believers, it reads: ADVANTAGES
free from want out of His And those who say, "Our
grace. [Qur'an 24:32] Lord, grant us in our wives 1. Procreation
and our offspring the joy of This is the paramount advantage of
And He it is Who has our eyes . . ." [Qur'an 25:74] marriage; namely, to contribute
created man from water; There are also many Traditions through legitimate means to the
then He has made for him ascribed to the Prophet Muhammad continuity and preservation of the
blood-relationship and in which the practice of marriage is human race. The sexual urge serves
marriage-relationship.And emphatically praised. The following the function of bringing the mates
thy Lord is ever Powerful. are some of these Traditions: together for the fulfillment of this
[Qur'an 25:54] Marriage is my recom-mended basic objective.
custom. Whoso-ever turns The procreational objective has
One of His signs is this: that away from my recommended four aspects: to fulfill the will of God;
He has created mates for custom is turning away from to seek the love of the Prophet
you from yourselves that me. Muhammad; to benefit from the
you might find quiet of mind Get married so you multiply. I shall prayer of the child; and to profit from
in them, and He put indeed be proud of your multitude on its intercession on behalf of its
between you love and the Day of Resurrection. parents.
compassion. Surely there Get married, and do not divorce; Almighty God, in providing the
are signs in this for a indeed, divorce causes the Throne [of male with intricate fertilizing organs
people who reflect. [Qur'an God] to shake! and the female with a receptive fertile
30:21] O you young people, men and womb , is telling us in the most
women! Whosoever can bear the eloquent but voiceless language of
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the purpose of these provisions. To past shouted when he was rising It is believed that the intense pleasure
let them be idle is to ignore the divine from sleep one morning. "Help me to of the climax of the sexual act, though
wisdom written on these God-given get married! Help me to get married. short-lived, has the value of
instruments. Ima-gine a farmer who, Maybe God will give me a child who reminding the believers of the more
although he is given a piece of fertile will be useful to me on the Day of durable and more perfect enjoyment
land, seeds and farming tools, just Judgment." He was asked, "What has that awaits them in Paradise. The
lets the land go to waste, the seeds happened?" He said, "I dreamt that experience should enhance their zeal
rot and tools rust. This farmer not the Day of Judgment had come, and to comply with divine teachings.
only is a fool, but is to be condemned all mankind was raised and brought So the practice of marriage is the
for his wasteful and harmful indif- together in one place with the way to remove evil and protect
ference. burning sun close over their heads. against shameful failure. To try to
Procreation through marriage is also Everyone became very thirsty and I suppress the sexual urge by other
a means of seeking the pleasure of was dying of thirst. Suddenly, means, such as fasting, may succeed
the Prophet Muh-ammad, peace and children appeared among us, lively in preventing the eyes from looking
blessings be upon him, who is and handsome, covered with at forbidden scenes and keeping the
believed to be alive in his grave and protective light and carrying silver sexual organs away from committing
to whom the deeds of the members of ewers and golden goblets. They heinous abominations; but there is
his nation are regularly presented. He offered drinks to some but left out no way of freeing the heart from
has called upon his nation: "Marry, most. When I stretched my hand to engaging in meanest thoughts,
so your number increases. The one of them and said, 'Give me to pondering and dreaming of acts it
practice of marriage is an answer to drink, I am exhausted because of craves for, even during the hallowed
his call. thirst,' he said, 'You have no child time of the performance of prayers. A
Prayer of a child is believed to be among us.' I asked, Who are you? He person of any degree of respectability
beneficial to his dead parent. The said, 'We are Muslim children; our would never dare to speak openly of
Prophet, peace be upon him says: parents lost us when we were such mean thoughts to any creature,
When the son of Adam dies, young!" but he has no control over his mind
nothing would be of any more to prevent if from roaming into these
benefit to him except three 2. Fulfillment of the thoughts when he is addressing his
things: a continuous charity, Natural Urge Creator in prayers! Some cannot
some useful knowledge he afford to do without women. Some
has left behind and a child The sexual urge is perhaps the most also say that two-thirds of man's
who may pray for him. powerful human inclin-ation. It seems wisdom is lost when his male organ
Should the child die early and the not to be an end in itself, but a means becomes erect. Al-Junaid, one of the
parents accept its loss as an act of to bring the mates together for the major founders of the Sufi movement,
God, without despair, it would be like purpose of fertilization. Yet its used to say, "The sexual act is as
a ticket to Paradise for them. The fulfillment is the most enjoyable and important to me as food." And thus a
Prophet, prayers and peace be upon absorbing of human experiences. wife is food for the man and a
him, is related to have said: Failure to fulfill this urge is likely to measure for purifying his heat.
A child [who dies before lead either to deviation or to Therefor the Prophet, peace and
reaching puberty] leads the maladjustment. Deviation is blessings be upon him, commanded
parents to Paradise. dishonourable and is strictly that whenever a man sees a woman
A child will be brought [on the Day forbidden in Islam. Therefore, the and feels attracted to her, he should
of Judgment] and told, "Get into Prophet, peace be upon him, calls go and release his urge with his own
Paradis e." But he will stand upon youth, saying: wife in order to remove the evil
reluctantly and angrily at its gate and O you young people! thoughts from his mind. The Prophet
say, "I am not going to enter Paradise Whoever of you can afford to sometimes added, "His wife surely
without my parents." It will then be get married, let him do so. can offer as much as this woman
said, "let his parents enter Paradise Those who cannot afford it, does." He also forbade visiting
with him." let them practice fasting, as it women when husbands are away. It is
It is related that an unmarried man of may be a protection to them related that Ibn 'Abbas, a cousin of
good conduct who lived in the early [against sin]. the Prophet, once noticed a youth
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staying behind after a lecture he had Al-Asma'i remarked, "What a in bearing the hardships of life.
given, when the other members of the contrast!" meaning that the worry Living with a spouse, a person of
audience had gone. When Ibn beads, a sign of deep religious different inclinations and
'Abbas asked him about his problem, devotion, and the henna dye in the background, trains one in
the reluctant youth complained that hands, a popular cosmetic practice, accommodating oneself to new
when he was overwhelmed by sexual did not go together. The beautiful experiences; each party helps the
excitement, he released himself by righteous woman retorted poetically, other in the exercise of the virtues of
performing masturbation. Ibn 'Abbas "There is in me a devotion to God patience and forbearance. The
was horrified and condemned the act, which I cannot neglect; but there responsibility of rearing children and
but said that the practice was less must also be room for my heart and the need to earn for their living are
abominable than fornication. for my pleasure." added meritorious aspect arising from
It was because of fear of the marriage. Listen to the Prophet when
danger which might arise from an 4. A Comfortable Home he says:
unfulfilled sexual urge that the early A man will be rewarded for
Muslims did not hesitate to rush to Marriage, moreover, provides what he spends on his wife,
new marriage once they became cooperation in the household and even for putting a morsel of
widowed. Imam 'Ali, cousin and greatly relieves one from worries. food into her mouth.
son-in-law of the Prophet, remarried Spouses cooperate in the
on the seventh day of the death of management of the house, in its He also says:
his wife Fatimah. upkeep, in cooking and washing, and Whoever performs his prayers
so forth. And thus there will be more correctly, and spends on his
3. A Healthy Relaxation time for worship and seeking children in spite of his modest
knowledge, and a climate conducive means, and does not speak ill
In marriage there is comfort to the to concentration. It is therefore said against others, will be in
soul, there is beauty to look at, there that a righteous wife is not a worldly Paradise as close to me as
is company, and there is play and asset only; she is a sure way to these [two fingers of mine].
joking and relaxation, all of which success on the Day of Judgment. The He also says:
relieve the heart from its burdens and Prophet, peace be upon him, says: Whosoever is given three
make the mind better able to Seek to have a grateful heart, daughters and spends on
concentrate during prayers and a sweet tongue and a them and treats them well . . .
worship. To be always serious and believing, righteous wife who surely God will reward him in
deprive the soul of its joy is boring to would help you in your Paradise.
the heart and could blind it. Relaxing endeavor to success on the
through the company of the spouse Last Day. DISADVANTAGES
is healthy; and that is why the Qur'an He also says:
describes the spouse as a source of If God loves a man, He give There is no rose without thorns, and
mutual comfort. It is said that it is him a righteous wife. If he marriage is no exception. There is no
wise to divide one's time over three looks at her, she pleases him; relationship that modifies the mode of
types of activities: worshiping the when he is with her, she is life of the individual or curtails the
Lord, self-examination and marvelous company; and individual's freedom of action so
entertainment of the heart. The when he is away, she suddenly or so profoundly as does
Prophet, peace and blessings be observes conscientiously his marriage. Whether husband or wife,
upon him, used to say, "Two worldly rights, protecting his property each has to take into account the
things are beloved to me: women and and preserving her honour. reaction of the other party to
perfume; but the light of my eye is in whatever he or she may do.
prayers." It is related that Al-Asma'i, 5. Social Importance
an ancient Arab philologist, once 1. Burdens and Risks
encountered a beautiful Bedouin Finally, by adding respon-sibilities
woman in the desert wearing a red upon the individual, marriage Upon marrying, the husband
dress and holding worry beads in her enhances his status in society and immediately carries the burden of the
beautifully henna-dyed hand. gives him an opportunity for training responsibility of his wife's welfare;
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and each birth brings forth more attractions may excessively occupy become paralyzed. It is only in
burdens. Sickness and other crises the time and thought of her husband; courage and challenge that
which may occur to his wife or to any and she may become too often individuals and nations can aspire to
of his children will be his own engaged in amorous activities with glory. Moreover, if due care is
problems, and many of the things he him. It is said, "Wisdom is lost exercised in picking one's spouse, the
would be able to enjoy by himself between the thighs of women." possibility of failure becomes rather
may fall outside his reach because of remote.
his domestic burden. And thus 2. Refutation of Disadvantages
marriage brings him both hardships
and deprivations. These seeming disadvantages may
The wife also, in addition to her appear to outweigh the
husband's demands, becomes disadvantages, however, the
exposed to the burden of pregnancy, burdened spouse is well
the pangs of birth, child care and the compensated by the relief from the
heavy task of nursing her husband solitude and boredom of
and children when they are sick. She bachelorhood through the company
has to do the shopping, prepare the of the other party and the children
daily meals, and wash and clean. She they both rear. Hardships they may
has also to pay regard to her suffer are worthy sacrifices in the
husband's wishes and attitude. And interest of society. If everyone
so marriage for her is hard work and should run away from the
curtailment of her freedom. responsibilities of marriage, mankind
Another disadvantage is the risk would degenerate, decline and
that marriage may prove to be a ultimately disappear.
failure. If it is completely broken, then Engagement of the mind in the
that is disastrous; and if it is affairs of the household is not alien
maintained in spite of continuous to the domain of divine worship.
troubles, life becomes hell. It is also After all, the mind needs diversion
likely in such a case of mutual and cannot easily be occupied in one
tension that the parties behave type of work all the time.
unjustly to each other; and this will The possibility of resorting to
pile up sins for which they will corrupt means to provide for
deserve punishment on the Day of domestic financial needs only arises
Judgment. with unscrupulous persons, married
Moreover, the husband, in his or otherwise; and marriage or need
search to satisfy the insatiable alone does not lead to corruption
desires of an overambitious wife, or with conscientious, honest people.
the needs of his children, may resort Married couples, however, should
to corrupt or dishonest means, which use their wisdom and manage their
would bring ruin to himself in this affairs within their means. They
wold and severe punishment in the should not stretch their expenses
life to come. The Qur'an remarks in beyond the income which they
this respect: legitimately earn.
O you who believe, surely of The possibility of failure in marriage
your wives and your children is not a good cause for delay or
there are enemies to you. So reluctance. After all, there is a risk in
therefore beware of them. every course of action in life, be it
[Qur'an 64:14] business, study, a journey or any
Even if things proceed smoothly and other venture. If uncertainty of
comfortably in the household, the success were to debar us from
company of the wife and her venturing the risk, life would surely