Monday, May 14, 2012

IMPORTANCE AND ETIQUETTES OF A MARRIAGE (NIKAH)



Marriage is an Important act in Islam. It is ‘Sunnah’ for all, including Islamic priests. Every act of marriage, from sending a proposal to accepting it to the requirements during a Nikah ceremony to Rights of husband and wife over each other and their children and property are clearly defined in Islam. But through this article I just wish to highlight the Importance of Marriage, Rules of Sending and Accepting Proposals and actual Nikah.

The Importance of Marriage is highlighted through the below Surahs of Quran :

"It is He who created you from a single person, and made his mate of like nature, in order that he might dwell with her (in love)"  (Surah 7, Al Araf, The Heights: 189)

"It is He who created man from water: then has He established relationships of lineage through marriage:
for Thy Lord has power (over all things)." 
(Surah 25, Al Furqan, The Criterion: 54)

"And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are signs for those who reflect." (Surah 30, Al Rum, The Romans: 21)

  
SELECTING A SPOUSE :

What are the points one should consider in selecting a spouse ?

The first thing we should look for when marrying is how committed the person is to Islam. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wassallam) said, "A woman is normally sought as a wife for her wealth, beauty, nobility, or religiousness (adherence to Islam), so choose a religious woman and you will prosper." (Muslim) "A woman is married for four things, i.e., her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. So you should marry the religious woman (otherwise) you will be a loser."(Bukhari) "The whole world is a provision, and the best object of benefit of the world is the pious woman. (Muslim)

The same holds true when looking for a husband, as our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wassallam) said, "When someone with whose religion and character you are satisfied, asks to marry your daughter, comply with his request. If you do not do so, there will be corruption and great evil on earth." (Tirmidhi)

Of course, both parties have to agree to marry one another and they cannot be forced to marry one another. Our Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wassallam) said, "A woman whom has been previously married has more right concerning herself than her guardian, and a virgin’s consent must be asked about herself" (Bukhari and Muslim)

 THE WEDDING CEREMONY (NIKAH)

Components of a Nikah are :

1. “ Consent”:

Narrated Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him): The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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 Allah's Messenger! How can we know her permission?" He said, "Her silence indicates her permission." (Bukhari and Muslim)

This is further clarified as below :
Narrated Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) I said, "O Allah's Messenger! A virgin feels shy." He said, "Her consent is expressed by her silence." (Bukhari).

Here the word virgin refers to a previously unmarried girl. Her permission must be sought before selecting a groom for her. A matron refers to a previously married (but divorced /a widow). Such a lady should be consulted before marrying her as she is capable of deciding what’s best for her. There is a provision for widows and divorcees to be re-married, but it should be completely her choice as there are legal concerns (rights on her children and inheritance of a deceased husband).

2. “ The Walee (Woman’s  Guardian)”:

The Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wassallam) said, "There is no nikah except with a wallee."(Ahmad, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi)

A walee / guardian / legal representative is required for a girl. The reason for this is to ensure that all rights due to a woman in marriage (especially ‘Mahr’ and others) are duly given to her. It also enables her to take a sound decision by cross reference through her guardian, who wills good for her.

But a walee is not required  nor compulsory  for a male, who is considered sensible enough to take his own decisions. He may take guidance, but not a a guardian.

3.“ Two Witnesses”:

The Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wassallam) said, "There is no marriage except with a wallee and trustworthy witnesses." (Sahih - Bayhaqee) Also, "There is no marriage except with a wallee and two witnesses." (Sahih Al-Jaamiâ)

Just like any law, even today, a witness is very crucial so that tomorrow nobody denies having married.

4. “ The Mahr (Dowry)": 

Allah says (what means): "And give to the women their dowry with a good heart, but if they out of their own good pleasure remit any part of it to you, take it and enjoy it without fear of any harm." (Al-Nisa 4:4) 

The mahr can be of any amount, The Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wassallam) said, "Look for one even if it was an iron ring." (Bukhari and Muslim)

The woman is not obliged to give the man anything at the time of the wedding, as is done in some cultures. So those who take ‘Dowry’ are disobeying Islam. This is what a ‘biddah’ is all about. But we keep harping on non-issues!

OTHER RULES REGARDING MARRIAGE :

Etiquettes of sending and accepting a marriage proposal :

1) Trying for a proposal for a girl where already some groom has been finalized (engaged) or marriage proposal is under consideration :
The Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wassallam) decreed that one should not try to cancel a bargain already agreed upon between some other persons (by offering a bigger price). And a man should not ask for the hand of a girl who is already engaged to his Muslim brother, unless the first suitor gives her up, or allows him to ask for her hand. (Volume 7, Book 62, Number 73: Narrated Ibn 'Umar)  

This will ensure unnecessary enmity and confusion are not created between people.

2)   Seeing the would-be bride :
The man has permission to see her face before agreeing to marry as the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wassallam) said, "Go and look at her (the woman you are considering marrying) because this will help your time together to be strengthened." (Ahmad)

The Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wassallam) said, "Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him not have a private audience with a woman without her mahram." (Ahmad)

He should marry as soon as he is of suitable age :

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Salallahu Alyhi Wassalam) has said, "O youthful people, if any of you have the means to, he should get married, as it lowers the eyesight and protects the private parts. Those who have not the ability to do so should fast, as it will be a shield for him." (Bukhari and Muslim). 

All those who are sufficiently earning or have a decent means of income from some lawful business should get married. The above hadith is directed at men, as they are the ones who intiate a proposal based on their ability. Hence it is important for a man to be married soon so that he does not go astray. This fact is highlighted by adding that if you are not able to marry for some reasons, it is better to fast. This is said as a fasting person’s desires are weakened.

The same directions are given to a girl’s parents to having her married at the soonest, as soon as a suitable groom approaches with a proposal. The means of deciding on a decent groom is as below:

The prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wassallam) has also said, "When someone with whose religion and character you are satisfied, asks to marry your daughter, comply with his request. If you do not do so, there will be corruption and great evil on earth." (Tirmidhi)

Here again it is emphasized that if a religious and person with good character approaches with a marriage proposal, then the parents should consent, else there will be lots of wrong things happening as a consequence. What this means is not too difficult to comprehend.
It is often observed that if a boy likes a girl and approaches her parents, parents let a lot of factors like ego come in between and often end up rejecting the proposal, even if there is consent from the girl’s side also. The reasons could be many, a few being as below:
1) The boy and girl like each other, which has hurt the parent’s ego and just to keep their ego, they will not accept a boy from a different region, society etc even though he might be a kind and religious man.
2) The boy is from another caste. Islam does not differentiate between people on the basis of caste. It is prohibited in Islam and is a 'Biddah' (innovation).
3) The boy is from another order. There is only one right way in Islam, but now everyone seems to follow Islam in different variations, all thinking they are right. Better way to follow Islam is not to listen to views of various so-called maulvis, but reading and following Quran and Hadiths. This has sadly become a means of rejection of proposals, which is sad.
There could be other silly reasons, but as Allah states that this might lead to evil in the land. How’s that possible?
a) The boy and girl might decide to wait, and in the interim     
anything can happen
b) They might decide to run away.
c) The boy may lose hope and become depressed and fall ill
d) Or some person might lose sanity and take some weird step.
These are a few examples to quote.

If we follow all that Islam tells us instead of listening to people's / so-called learned people's views (which also vary as per the situation they are in), then we will be happy humans on the Right Path.

It is advisable to teach our children the real teachings of Islam, instead of camouflaging details to suit our egos. A few Islamic leaders have not revealed everything to all due to which there is a lot of ignorance today. In earlier days of illiteracy and non-awareness, people relied on such so-called religious leaders, only a few of who were genuine. But sadly today also, they have engrossed us in confusion over who's right and wrong, instead of just passing down the teachings without adding their opinions. And we, as learned individuals, have to refer the actual guides - Quran and Hadith. And if our understanding of certain issues is not too good, then we should refer to a genuine scholar of Islam.

Reference : 


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