By Manknoo Ashraf
Islam, unlike other religions is a strong advocate of marriage. Marriage is a religious duty and is consequently a moral safeguard as well as a social necessity. Islam does not equal celibacy with high “taqwa” “Iman”. The prophet says, “Marriage is my tradition who so ever keeps away there from is not from amongst me”.It is a social necessity because through marriage, families are established and the family is the fundamental unit of our society. Furthermore, marriage is the only legitimate or halal way to indulge intimacy between a man and a woman. Islam takes a middle of the road position to sexual relations , it neither condemns it like certain religions, nor does it allow it freely. Islam urges us to control and regulate our desires, whatever they may be so that we remain dignified and not become like animals The Quran 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)…” (“They (your wives) are as a garment to you, and you are as a garment to them.” “He it is Who created you from a single soul, and of the same did He make his spouse, that he might find comfort in her. “The relationship between husband and wife is a spiritual relationship and sustains and generates love, kindness, mercy, compassion, mutual confidence, self-sacrifice, solace and succour.” In Islam the healthy marriage begins with a strong practice of Islamic tradition and spousal selection based on the Quran and Sunnah. Muslims can choose a spouse for many reasons but piety is considered the best reason. Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger as saying a woman may be married for four reasons: for her property, her status, her beauty and her religion; so try to get one who is religious, (Muslim)”. If a spouse is chosen merely for his or her attractiveness or socioeconomic status, the likelihood is that those attributes will be the sum total of the marriage.
“The relationship between husband and wife is a spiritual relationship and sustains and generates love, kindness, mercy, compassion, mutual confidence, self-sacrifice, solace and succour.”
According to Imams Abu Hanifah, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Malik ibn Anas, marriage is recommendatory, however in certain individuals it becomes wajib/obligatory. Imam Shaafi’i considers it to be nafl or mubah (preferable). The general opinion is that if a person, male or female fears that if he/she does not marry they will commit fornication, then marriage becomes “wajib”. If a person has strong sexual urges then it becomes “wage” for that person to marry. Marriage should not be put off or delayed especially if one has the means to do so. A man, however should not marry if he or she does not possess the means to maintain a wife and future family, or if he has no sex drive or if dislikes children, or if he feels marriage will seriously affect his religious obligation. The general principle is that prophet (pbuh) enjoined up in the followers to marry. He said “when a man marries, he has fulfilled half of his religion , so let him fear Allah regarding the remaining half.” This hadith is narrated by Anas. Islam greatly encourages marriage because it shields one from and upholds the family unit which Islam places great importance.
A healthy marriage is based on strong Imam (faith) and strong Taqwa (fear of Allah). Because the couple unites for the sake and love of Allah, they are able to make decisions and resolve problems upon based this commitment.
Fikr (reflection) and Dhikr (remembrance) of Allah are a regular part of the marriage. The couple keeps their obligations to Allah and remembers Him often, even in their most intimate affairs. They reflect on what He has given them and on ways to improve their relationship with Him and thus with each other.
The couple not only strives in the cause of Allah but are also knowledgeable of their own and each other’s rights, roles and responsibilities. The spouses honor and ensure that each other’s rights are fulfilled and they work together to develop a strong Islamic personality.
Both have realistic expectations of each other and of the marriage, and they practice good communication skills, engage in mutual consultation, and are calm and even-tempered. Honesty, trustworthiness, humility and a willingness to cooperate and compromise help to build a strong relationship. Additionally reliance on the Quran and Sunnah for decision-making are essential. Some of the problems Muslim couples are experiencing after marriage need to be discussed:-
These problems often results when the husband is either unemployed or underemployed or the couple has poor money management and budgeting skills. When the husband is either unemployed or underemployed the family is likely to experience significant stress. The wife may take a job or the family may obtain Zakat or governmental welfare assistance to make ends meet. When the wife enters the workforce under these conditions the additional stress of childcare and fulfilling homemaking duties become a concern. Also the high potential for employment discrimination experienced by Muhajabas (Muslim women who wear the traditional Islamic dress and headscarf) add to the family’s stress. The husband’s self- esteem is severely affected in such circumstances because he is unable to fulfill one of his primary Islamic obligations. As the couple prepares for marriage the future husband’s current and potential ability to financially support a family has to be discussed. Additional consideration must be given to the issue of whether or not the wife will work at various points in the marriage and the consequences thereof. Premarital discussions and/or money management training can provide the skills necessary to develop a fiscally responsible home.
It is difficult to acknowledge, The factors associated with domestic violence include: a controlling personality or other personality disorder, financial stress, misunderstanding and use of verses of the Quran to justify maltreatment, lack of knowledge of the Sunnah with regards to anger management and treatment of women, poor impulse control, immaturity, mental illness domestic violence has been proven to produce a cycle of violence in the next generation. As Muslim children watch their fathers abuse their mothers they internalize that behaviour and are likely to repeat it.
One strategy to prevent domestic abuse is to mandate a thorough discussion of the potential spouse’s temperament, problem solving and conflict resolution skills during premarital counselling. Of particular import is an exploration of his or her parents’ relationship and whether domestic violence was present in their home. At a minimum each party has to be asked whether he or she has been raised with domestic abuse at home or whether or not they have experienced domestic abuse in their life.
This also causes some chaos in married life. Marriage frequently brings together individuals who have physical and mental health problems. In most cases, these matters are not discussed prior to marriage thereby impeding the couple’s ability to weather a chronic condition like asthma, diabetes, hypertension or a catastrophic event such as injury due to accident or major illness.
Whether a spouse suffers from a physical condition or chronic mental illness, premarital conversation concerning the nature of the disorder, medications used and effective reaction to episodic flare-ups must be engaged in order to prepare the couple for inherent challenges of living with and caring for a sick spouse or whether or not they have experienced domestic abuse in their life.
Differences in parenting
Lack of parenting skills, significant differences in parenting styles, lack of knowledge of the examples of healthy, effective parenting from the Sunnah, the stress of adjusting to life with a new baby, or as a stepparent can lead to discord in the marriage. Good marriage preparation affords the couple an opportunity to learn about their obligations as parents based on examples in the Quran and Sunnah. Further, a discussion to examine expectations of proper care of children, how each potential spouse was reared, methods of discipline, and the general challenges that come with all phases of childhood, will produce strong parents, firmly anchored in the Islamic model of familial relationships. All we need is to read and understand the Holy Quran and to walk on the roads of Sunnah which is the solution of all the problems before and after the marriage.
Manknoo Ashraf is a Kashmiri based in Dammam, Saudi Arabia. He sent us this piece from there as submission.
[The views expressed are writers own and not the organisation he has wrote for.]