The Religion of Al-Islam and Marriage

The Religion of Al-Islam and Marriage0%

The Religion of Al-Islam and Marriage Author:
Publisher: www.al-mubin.org
Category: Woman

The Religion of Al-Islam and Marriage

This book is corrected and edited by Al-Hassanain (p) Institue for Islamic Heritage and Thought

Author: Arifa Hudda
Publisher: www.al-mubin.org
Category: visits: 6570
Download: 2452

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The Religion of Al-Islam and Marriage

The Religion of Al-Islam and Marriage

Author:
Publisher: www.al-mubin.org
English

This book is corrected and edited by Al-Hassanain (p) Institue for Islamic Heritage and Thought

The Religion of Al-Islam and Marriage

Marriage is one of the most sacred bonds between a man and a woman, and this text explains in details the various issues concerning marriage in the light of Islamic Laws and Ethics

Compiler(s):Arifa Hudda

Publisher(s):Al-Fath Al-Mubin Publications

Table of Contents

Introduction 3

Marriage in The Quran And Sunnah of The Prophet (S)5

The Age Of Marriage9

What is the Meaning of 'Maturity'?9

Marriage Age for Girls10

Age Difference Between the Husband and Wife11

The Beginning of Sexual Life: Bulugh and Rushd 12

The Preconditions to the Aqd Of Marriage13

1. Looking at the Other Party Before Marriage13

2. The Istikhara in Relation to the Boy or Girl14

3. The Mahr - A Gift to the Woman 14

Note16

The Marriage Aqd (Contract)17

The Wedding Night And It's Etiquette19

The First Two Years: A Marriage Survival Guide21

1. Lack of Proper Information before Marriage21

2. Who's In Charge?21

3. The Divorce Option 22

4. Sexual Problems23

5. In-Laws24

6. Realism 24

7. Making a Schedule and Establishing Rituals25

8. Marriage as a Restriction 25

9. Friends and Islamic Activities25

10. In Relation to Secrets26

11. Finances26

12. Giving Each Other Space26

Opinion of The Ulama In Relation To Marriage28

Opinion of Ayatullah al-Uzma al-Hajj as-Sayyid Ali al-Husaini as-Sistani29

Opinion of Ayatullah al-Uzma al-Hajj as-Sayyid Ali al-Husaini Khamenei30

Opinion of Ayatullah al-Uzma al-Hajj ash-Shaykh Lutfullah as-Safi al-Gulpaygani31

Opinion of Ayatullah al- Uzma al-Hajj ash-Shaykh Nasir al-Makarim ash-Shirazi32

Marriage Helps In Spirituality 33

Recommended Book List for Coupes or those planning to get Married 34

Introduction

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Man - just like any other creation possessing both a body and a soul (ruh) is in need of several things - each of which is essential for the safeguard of one's survival and well-being. For example, the hunger pains and desire for nourishment compel one to eat so as to build up energy to live another day; the feelings of thirst make one drink water, which is also essential for one's life. These and many other things facilitate man to live a prosperous and healthy life.

Similarly, the sexual desires and the need to fulfill one's sexual requirements and passions play a key role in the protection of mankind, and continuation of the human race. Therefore, it is not sensible to defy this necessity or try to suppress it.

Since man has been chosen as "the best of creations", Allah (SwT) has laid down the foundation of marriage in order to allow this need of life to be fulfilled in a legitimate manner. As well, the guidelines are very much in accordance with the intellect since the laws are divine and the specific conditions are befitting to the valuable souls of both men and women alike.

Historically speaking, the very first relationship that was established was that of marriage between a male and female not that of a mother/daughter relationship, nor a father/son relationship. Thus, it can be deduced that marriage is one of the most sacred bonds between a man and a woman. In the book, Etiquette of Marriage, it mentions the beautiful story of Prophet Adam (as), the first vicegerent of Allah (SwT) on the earth and his marriage, which we narrate here.

After Adam (as) was created, he felt lonely and complained to the Almighty about his solitude. Allah (SwT) put Adam (as) to sleep and then created Hawwah (as) with the utmost beauty. He covered her with the robes of paradise and brought her forth with other ornaments of beautification.

At this time, He instructed Hawwah (as) to sit near the head of Prophet Adam (as). When he awakened from his sleep and his eyes fell on Hawwah (as), he was so obsessed and captivated by her charm that he wanted to reach out and touch her. At this point, the angels forbid him from doing so.

Adam (as) asked them, 'Did Allah (SwT) not create her for me?' The angels replied, 'Yes, but you have to approach her in the appropriate manner. First you must propose to her (by asking her guardian for permission to marry her), then you must grant her the Mahr (gift), followed by the recitation of the aqd (marriage contract).'

Prophet Adam (as) questioned, 'Who do I have to ask for permission to marry her?' The angels replied, 'You must ask Allah (SwT).' Then Adam (as) asked, 'O' Allah (SwT)! What will her Mahr be?' Allah (SwT) replied, 'Teach her the rules of My religion and send blessings (salawat) on Muhammad (S) and the family of Muhammad (S).'

From the above historical event, we can see that when a man wants to agree upon the Mahr with his wife, they should make an agreement that (as a part of the Mahr), he will teach her the rules and regulations of the religion of Allah (SwT). Details of the Mahr will come later on, Insha-Allah. Therefore, from this narration, we see that the first relationship that was created by our Creator for humanity was that of marriage.

With this said, we must know the finer points and overall rulings of this sacred foundation in order to have a fruitful and successful life in this world and more importantly, in the life hereafter.

In this special issue of Al-Haqq Newsletter, we will be covering various issues of the marriage that will be applicable to both the younger couples getting married and also to those older men and women who are either divorced or who have had to bear the death of their spouses due to sickness or old age. All the information has been taken from the original Islamic sources and Insha-Allah, will aid in the education and enlightenment of our Muslim community.

Any questions or comments on the contents of the articles can be forwarded to us at ihs@primus.ca.

Marriage in The Quran And Sunnah of The Prophet (S)

By Saleem Bhimji

One of the recognized and indisputable commandments of Islam is that of marriage - the sacred union that takes place only between a man and a woman. In relation to this revered bond, there are many verses of the noble Quran and countless ahadith that encourage marriage for any single man or woman - of any age or background. This is not only limited to the young brothers and sisters who have never been married and are looking for their life mate, but even those who have been through divorce have also been encouraged to re-marry and to "complete" their faith.

From the ocean of traditions and verses of the Quran on this topic, we quote the following:

وَأَنْكِحُوا الْأَيَامَىٰ مِنْكُمْ وَالصَّالِحِينَ مِنْ عِبَادِكُمْ وَإِمَائِكُمْإِنْ يَكُونُوا فُقَرَاءَ يُغْنِهِمُ اللَّهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِوَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ

"Marry the single people from among you and the righteous slaves and slave-girls. If you are poor, Allah (SwT) will make you rich through His favour; and Allah (SwT) is Bountiful, All-Knowing." (Surah 24, Verse 32)

In this verse, Allah (SwT) commands us (by Him using the imperative form of the verb) to marry the single, righteous man/woman from among us. Allah (SwT) even gives us a guarantee that if we are poor or lack the proper funds, still we should not delay the marriage as Allah will take care of the couple and grant them bounties from His Grace and Mercy.

وَلْيَسْتَعْفِفِ الَّذِينَ لَا يَجِدُونَ نِكَاحًا حَتَّىٰ يُغْنِيَهُمُ اللَّهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ

"And let those who cannot find someone to marry maintain chastity until Allah (SwT) makes them rich through His favours ..."(Surah 24, Verse 33)

In the continuation of Surah 24, in the above quoted verse, Allah (SwT) commands the believers to remain chaste and faithful if they cannot find a suitable spouse to marry until Allah (SwT) grants them bounties out of His favors. Thus, one must not resort to evil, sin or illicit sexual relationships because they cannot find a permanent spouse.

One such avenue open to those who cannot afford to marry a woman in Nikah, as the Quran has commanded us and the numerous ahadith from the Prophet of Islam (S) and his 12th Infallible successors, the Aimmah (as) have done is to perform the Muta and marry a man or woman in "temporary marriage" so as to be able to fulfill our natural desires in a legal and permitted means:

وَأُحِلَّ لَكُمْ مَا وَرَاءَ ذَٰلِكُمْ أَنْ تَبْتَغُوا بِأَمْوَالِكُمْ مُحْصِنِينَ غَيْرَ مُسَافِحِينَفَمَا اسْتَمْتَعْتُمْ بِهِ مِنْهُنَّ فَآتُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ فَرِيضَةًوَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِيمَا تَرَاضَيْتُمْ بِهِ مِنْ بَعْدِ الْفَرِيضَةِإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا

"... and besides these, it is lawful for you to marry other women if you pay them their dowry, maintain chastity and do not commit indecency. So those (women) whom you marry for an appointed time, you must give them their agreed upon dowries. There is no harm if you reach an understanding among yourselves about the dowry, Allah (SwT) is All-Knowing and All-Wise." (Surah 4, Verse 24)

This is a commandment from Allah (SwT) which was not only mentioned in the Quran, but which He commanded his last and greatest Prophet (S) to convey to the Ummah, which can never be made forbidden by anyone as that which Muhammad (S) has made halal is halal until the Day of Judgement and that which he has made haram will remain haram until the Day of Judgement.

In another verse of the Quran, Allah (SwT) compares the husband and wife to garments for one another:

هُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَكُمْ وَأَنْتُمْ لِبَاسٌ لَهُنَّ

"They (your wives) are a clothing (covering) for you and you too are a clothing (covering) for them." (Surah 2, Verse187)

In our day-to-day life, we see many uses for clothing. Not only does our dress act as a beautification for ourselves, but it also covers any defects that we may have on our physical body - thus, if a person has a scar or burn mark on his body, the clothing will cover this from others around him and thus, they would not know that he has such a physical 'defect'.

The husband and wife are to play the same role in relation to one another. If the wife has spiritual defects or lacks something in her character, then the husband must cover these up and not expose her shortcomings to others. The wife too, must cover up and hide her husband's deficiencies and weaknesses and protect her mate. Not only has Allah (SwT) commanded the believers not to make fun of one another and not to mock or ridicule others, but they are also supposed to protect the honour and integrity of one another.

In the 30th Surah of the Quran, ar-Rum, Allah (SwT) tells us that:

وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَنْفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ مَوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةًإِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

"And one of His signs is that He has created for you, spouses from amongst yourselves so that you might take comfort in them and He has placed between you, love and mercy. In this there is surely evidence (of the truth) for the people who carefully think." (Surah 30, Verse 21)

In this verse we see that Allah (SwT) regards the creation of spouses - the husband and wife - as a sign of His greatness. Not only has Allah (SwT) created these two individuals, but in order for there to be peace and harmony between the two of them, He himself has placed love and mercy between them so that they can live a life of tranquility.

In Surah al-Nisa, verse 1, Allah (SwT) addresses all of mankind - Muslim, Christian, Jew, Non-Believer - by stating:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ مِنْ نَفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالًا كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاءًوَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءَلُونَ بِهِ وَالْأَرْحَامَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا

"O' mankind! Have consciousness of your Lord who has created you from a single soul. From it He created your spouse and through them He populated the land with many men and women. Have spiritual awareness of the One by whose Name you swear to settle your differences and have respect for the wombs that bore you. Without doubt, Allah (SwT) keeps watch over you all."(Surah 4, Verse 1)

Again in this verse of the Quran, we are once again reminded that it is Allah (SwT) who created mankind and then made its spouse and through these two has the world become populated. It goes without saying that it is only through the natural act of marriage between a man and woman that children can be brought into this world as all others forms of "marriage" are deviations that can never produce a child and thus, an increase in the population.

The noble ahadith are also replete with traditions narrated from the Prophet (S) and his immediate successors, some of which we present below.

قالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ (صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلّمَ): مِنْ سُنَّتِي أَلتَّزْوِيجُ فَمَنْ رَغِبَ عَنْ سُنَّتِي فَلَيْسَ مِنِّي .

The Messenger of Allah (S) has said, "Of my tradition is to marry. So then whoever turns away from my tradition (Sunnah) is not from me (my nation)."

In this famous tradition mentioned in all books of Islamic narration, the Prophet (S) clearly spelled it out to the believers that in order to stay on his path which is the true path of salvation, we must marry - not only the youth who are getting married for the first time - but also older people who may have divorced or lost a spouse must also marry in order to remain on the Sunnah of the Prophet (S).

قالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ (صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلّمَ): ما بُنِيَ بِناءَ فِي الإِسْلامِ أَحَبُّ إِلى اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلّ مِنَ التَّزْوِيجِ .

The Messenger of Allah (S) has said, "There is no foundation that has been built in Islam more loved by Allah, (The Greatest and Noblest) than marriage."

This hadith shows us the great importance that Allah (SwT) and His Messenger (S) have placed on marriage, such that it is the most loved foundation or establishment upon which the Muslim man and woman can build their life upon. If such a foundation is built with love, honesty, sincerity and true faith in Allah (SwT) and all that He has commanded, then there is nothing that could destroy such a firm building.

عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِ اللهِ (عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ): جاءَ رَجُلٌ إِلى أَبِي فَقالَ لَهُ: هَلَ لَكَ زَوْجَةٌ؟ قالَ لا. قالَ (عَلَيهِ السَّلامُ): لا أُحِبُّ أَنّ لِيَ الدُّنْيا وَما فِيها وَإِنِّي أُبِيتُ لَيْلَةً لَيْسَ لِي زَوْجَةٌ .

It has been narrated from Abi Abdillah that, "A man once came to my father. My father asked him, "Are you married?" The man replied, 'No.' My father (as) replied, 'I would not love to have the world and all that is contained within it if it meant I had to spend one night without a woman (beside me).'"

This saying from our sixth Imam (as) shows the importance that the rightful successors of the Prophet (S) placed on marriage. In this hadith, we are told that the Imam (as) would not even trade all the beauties and material treasures that exist in the world, if it means that he had to spend even one night alone! This may point to the fact that the evil whisperings of Shaitan may penetrate a single man or woman to go towards the prohibited and thus, contaminate his or her faith and belief.

*****

وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَنْفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ مَوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةًإِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

"And of His signs is that He has created spouses for yourselves from your own selves so you might take comfort in them and He has created love and mercy among both of you. In this there is evidence (of the truth) for the people who (carefully) think." (Surah 30, Verse 21).

The Age Of Marriage

By Mehri Zinhari [From Mahjubah Magazine]

Puberty is a natural phenomenon that occurs at varying ages in different individuals. Research in global human behavior seems to indicate that girls and boys who are born and live in warmer parts of the world are more likely to reach puberty earlier, than their peers living in the colder regions and climates of the world. For example, those who live in the Middle Eastern Arab countries tend to reach puberty at an earlier age compared to those who live in Northern European countries.

However, reaching the age of puberty should not be considered as the only criteria for deciding on an appropriate age for marriage. Other factors such as the overall maturity of a person, and his or her ability to discern between what is good or bad, such that his personal approval or disapproval in important decisions of life become valid, must also to be taken into consideration.

What is the Meaning of 'Maturity'?

Like all other living beings, the human being too goes through a process of constant change and growth. This natural overall process can be seen distinctly through changes in height, weight, habits, skills, and social, economic and emotional behavior. All these patterns have been widely studied and discussed through psychology and other related sciences.

Ayatullah Khomeini (may Allah be pleased with him) has defined 'maturity' thus: 'Maturity implies powerful presence of mind and intelligence in one's dealings, one's ability to safeguard one's possessions from being squandered away and one's prudence in spending in a judicious manner.'

For girls, maturity may be defined as follows: 'A girl's ability to manage a good life, her level of acceptance of the responsibility of motherhood and child-rearing, as well as her appropriateness in social behavior.'

From the above definitions, we can see that although one may have reached the age of puberty and according to Islamic practical laws, Salat (prayer) and Sawm (fasting) are now obligatory on him/her, but if he/she is not socially active and economically productive, then he/she may be termed as an adolescent, but not as 'mature'.

The prime age of marriage for girls, would also depend on their mental and psychological maturity. It may be possible that in some cases by the age of 14, a girl may be mature enough to shoulder the responsibility of family-life and motherhood, but a woman of 30 may not yet be mature enough to do so!

Therefore, what is important in determining the ripe age for marriage is one's own level of maturity and readiness, whether one has reached the legal age for marriage or not! It would be very naive to ignore geographical and regional conditions and norms, as well as the needs of the youth of the day, and such negligence could lead to many problems.

In the present world, with the greater intermingling between sexes, better nutrition, educational facilities and more awareness due to advanced mass media, children are reaching "maturity" much earlier than ever before; and considering these factors, raising the legal age for marriage for boys and girls is quite unjustifiable.

It is interesting to note that at one point of time, the British Parliament had passed a law that had set the minimum legal age for marriage of boys at 21 years, whereas the minimum permissible age for being candidate for the post of Prime Minister was 18 years! When the people raised an objection to this absurd law, the Parliament responded by declaring that it was often more difficult to manage a wife than to manage a country.

Raising the legal age of marriage and not permitting young boys and girls who are dealing with strong sexual urges, to have a healthy and safe outlet for their natural, youth-related tendencies, only leads to the spread of promiscuity and moral corruption in the society. If boys aren't allowed to form a family before the age of 18 or 20 years; or if girls are forced to face emotional and psychological pressures due to the same reasons, then they become very prone to social and psychological problems.

Thus, we conclude that a suitable age for marriage would be the time of physical and mental maturity in a person. Islam has specified the age of physical maturity but it has not specified the age of mental maturity. Rather, it has left it open to the discretion of the parents and children themselves.

Those who are in favor of raising the legal age for marriage argue that:

1. Boys, before the age of 18 and girls, before the age of 15 aren't equipped to form a family and aren't in a position to bear the heavy responsibilities and difficulties of family life.

2. Early marriages are a contributing factor to criminality.

3. Women who have fled from their husbands' homes and have them become resentful towards them, are mostly women who have got married before the legal age of marriage.

In response to such arguments it could be said that although there is no denial of the fact that early marriages, before physical and mental maturity, may lead to betrayal, family disagreements and many other problems; however, when a girl or a boy is physically and mentally ready for married-life, then there is no reason why the legal age for marriage should be increased.

Marriage Age for Girls

The Noble Prophet (S) has said: "Virgin girls are like fruits on trees. If not plucked in time, the sun will rot them and the wind will disperse them. When girls reach maturity and their sexual instincts arise, like that of women, their only remedy is marriage. If they aren't married, they are prone to moral corruption. It is because they are human beings and human beings are prone to making mistakes."

There is a very subtle message in this saying of the Prophet (S). Just as there is proper timing for plucking fruits, there is a proper age for marriage, for every girl. A girl who cannot understand and shoulder the responsibility of married-life is like a raw fruit that needs to remain on the tree (i.e. her father's home) until it ripens and sweetens. On the other hand if a girl loses the freshness of youth while yet unmarried, then she is like an over-ripe fruit that would further wither away, as the time passes.

Age Difference Between the Husband and Wife

Is there a relationship between the age gap of the husband and wife and success of the marriage?

Since there is a difference in the age of puberty of girls and boys, they don't reach mental maturity at the same age either. Moreover, since women lose their sexual desires relatively earlier than men, a 5 to 6 year age gap between the husband and wife seems to be appropriate. With this age gap, women reach menopause when the sexual desires of men have somewhat subsided. This would add to the possibility of the success of their marriage and increase the spirit of sacrifice and intimacy between them.

If the man happens to be much older than his wife, in that case he could end up treating his wife like a daughter and the wife may think him to be more of a father than a husband. As a result there may exist lack of compatibility and friendship between the two.

On the other hand if the wife happens to be much older than the husband, she may be more of a mother to him and not be able to play the role of a wife. This could lead to indifference and anger, for, there doesn't exist a mental and physical balance between the two. Under such circumstances they would be unable to perceive each other's needs. So a healthy age difference between the husband and wife is very important for a happy and successful marriage.

Thus, we could conclude that the personal physical and mental state of a boy and girl are the most important criteria to decide on the appropriate age for marriage.

The Beginning of Sexual Life: Bulugh and Rushd

Extracted from the book Marriage & Morals In Islam by Hujjatul Islam Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi

Sexual desire is aroused in human beings at the age of puberty. In Islamic legal definition puberty (bulugh) is determined by one of the following:

1. Age: fifteen lunar years for boys and nine lunar years for girls;

2. Internal change (in boys only): The first nocturnal emission. Semen accumulates in the testicles from puberty onwards and more semen may be formed than the system can assimilate; when this happens, semen is expelled during the sleep. This is known as nocturnal emission wet dream or ihtlam in Arabic.

3. Physical change: Growth of coarse hair on lower part of abdomen.

Since the sexual urge begins at puberty and as Islam says that sexual urge should be fulfilled only through marriage, it has allowed marriage as soon as the boy and the girl reach the age of puberty. In the case of girls, it not only allows them to be married as soon as they become mature, but also recommends such marriage. It is based on such teachings that Islam discourages girls from postponing their marriage because of education; instead, it says that girls should get married and then continue their education if they wish to do so.

Physical maturity by itself, however, is not enough for a person to handle the marriage responsibilities; rushd (maturity of mind) is equally important. On the other hand, our present way of life has become so much complicated that a considerable gap has appeared between puberty and maturity both in financial and social affairs.

A recent article on the American youths says, "Young Americans entering the 21st century are far less mature than their ancestors were at the beginning of the 20th. The difference is evident in all areas of youthful development: sex, love, marriage, education and work. Physically, today's youths are maturing earlier than previous generations, but emotionally they are taking much longer to develop adult attachments." (Newsweek, Special Edition Spring 1990, p. 55) Consequently, it is not easy for boys and girls of our atomic era to marry as soon as they become physically mature.

The Preconditions to the Aqd Of Marriage

By Saleem Bhimji

Even before we discuss the rulings and method of reciting the marriage Aqd and married life in general, there are many preconditions that must be covered and understood by both parties. These issues that we bring forth have, unfortunately, been twisted and contorted to fit our cultural background or in some cases, out right refused as not being Islamic principles. Insha-Allah, we will cover some of these preconditions in brief.

1. Looking at the Other Party Before Marriage

This discussion can actually be divided into two separate and distinct categories:

(1) the look and touch before proposing to the other party;

(2) the look and touch after the proposal has been accepted;

However, the Aqd has not been read - this is commonly known as the 'engagement' period.

It is well known that a man and woman who are not related to one another through a direct blood relationship or through one of the other ways (that are mentioned in the detailed books of Fiqh) are not Mahram of one another. Thus, they can not touch or look at each other without the proper covering or with a lustful or seductive glance.

Once the temporary or permanent Aqd has been performed, then the man and woman become Mahram to one another through the marriage formula and can talk, be in a secluded place with one another, hold hands, touch, hug, kiss, etc…

However, while the man and woman are talking with one another in order to get to know each other, they are not permitted to be in a secluded place together, nor have any sort of physical contact - these are all forbidden (haram) in Islam.

Once they have agreed to marry one another, the next step, in order for them to be able to talk in private, go out together for dinner or be able to touch each other, is that they must recite either the temporary or permanent Aqd. In most cases, the couple-to-be recite a Mutah, with the knowledge that within a certain time frame, they will be getting married (permanently).

The Mutah too has various conditions that must be followed, of which, we highlight the most important ones:

1. If the girl is a virgin, then she must have her parent's approval before the Mutah can be performed.

2. The time period and the dowry (Mahr) must be specified before the Mutah contract is pronounced, otherwise it is void.

3. The parties can make conditions, such as no sexual intercourse or other conditions - these too must be made before the contract is read. However, if later on, both parties agree to change any of the conditions made, they are free to do so.

4. The contract should be recited in the original Arabic and if this is not possible, then a representative should perform the Mutah and if this too is not possible then the third option is that the boy and girl can read the translation of the contract themselves in the language which would convey the same meaning of the Arabic1 .

5. If the couple decides to get married permanently before the time period of the Mutah ends, the husband must "give back" or forgive the time to his wife that remains. Once this has been done, then and only then can they marry in permanent marriage. If the couple is in a temporary marriage and they then marry permanently while the temporary marriage has not ended, then the permanent marriage will be null and void, and at the completion of the time period of the temporary marriage, they will not be classified as being married to one another.

2. The Istikhara in Relation to the Boy or Girl

One of the other incorrect philosophies that a majority of people have adhered to is the Istikhara or seeking the best from Allah (SwT) before a marriage.

Before the boy and girl even get a chance to meet one another and talk and see if they are compatible with the other, the parents will rush to their local Mawlana or Alim to perform the traditional Istikhara. If the answer comes 'good', then even if the boy or girl is the biggest sinner or ill-mannered person, the parents will welcome him/her into the family with open arms.

The opposite has also been seen that if the boy or girl is an upright, virtuous, and pious believer, but the Istikhara comes out 'bad' then they are automatically rejected with no chance to go forward.

This idea, which is so prevalent amongst the Muslim community, must be uprooted and thrown out with all other such traditional and cultural practices that have no basis in Islam.

The Istikhara is a method that has been taught and approved by our Prophet (S) and Ahlul Bait (as), however, there are many preconditions and steps that nust be followed before we rush to the Quran or Tasbih.

These stages, in relation to marriage include:

• Speaking to the boy or girl and getting to know their thoughts, ideas and beliefs.

• Asking friends and family members about the boy or girl. Although in Islam, backbiting or speaking bad about others is prohibited, however, the Ulama have mentioned that this is one scenario where the law is accommodated for the betterment of the family structure.

• The many supplications (such as Dua 33 in as-Sahifah al-Kamilah as-Sajjadiyah, known as the Supplication for Seeking the Best) should be recited and the person must sincerely ask Allah (SwT) to guide his/her heart to that, which is truly the best.

If one is truly in doubt after all these stages have been exhausted, then and only then should one resort to the 'traditional' Istikhara. There is a comprehensive book on this topic, which has recently been published by the Islamic Humanitarian Service entitled Istikhara: Seeking the Best from Allah (SwT) which can be purchased from www.al-haqq.com.

3. The Mahr - A Gift to the Woman

The Mahr - or dowry as it is usually translated - is one of the ways through which the woman becomes halal for the man - the other (which goes along with and is side by side) is the actual Aqd or reading of the vows.

The Mahr, which must be specified before the Aqd, is a gift to the wife and in no way can be referred to as the price or worth of the woman. By examining the Islamic traditions, we see that it is not necessary that money or gold or some physical item be given as the Mahr - rather, anything that the woman requests and the man agrees to would be considered as the Mahr.

It is for this reason that we see at the time of the Prophet (S) that a man married a woman and the Mahr was that he would teach her the Quran! There are many instances such as this in the history of the Muslims where the Mahr was either a very small amount or a non-materialistic gift.

Unfortunately, in many communities nowadays, the trend has been to set the Mahr to substantial amounts of money, jewelry, gold, and other material goods - where as in Islam, the recommended act is to have a 'small' or modest Mahr, such that the husband is not put into any difficulty to pay it and thus, a large Mahr is actually Makruh or highly discouraged.

According to the Scholars, if the Mahr is set to such an amount that even in the future, the man will not be able to pay it, or if the man does not have the intention to pay the Mahr, then such a marriage is a matter of doubt.

Also, it must be made clear that the Mahr is not something that one pays only in the event of a divorce, as is seen in some East Asian cultures. Therefore, the wife can even demand that this amount be paid to her before she agrees to have sexual intercourse with her husband.

The husband and wife can agree on a time frame when the amount will be paid and as it has been mentioned in the Islamic books of law, if the wife demands the money after it has become due, then it becomes obligatory on the husband to give it to her even if it means that he must take a loan. If he does not pay the money while possessing the ability, then he has committed a grave sin and will be held accountable by Allah (SwT).

In relation to the Mahr and its importance, Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) has stated:

إِنّ أَحَقَّ شُرُوطِ أَنْ يُوَفّى بِهِ ما إسْتَحْلَلْتُمْ بِهِ الْفُرُوجَ

"This (the Mahr) is the most important of all the conditions through which, the private parts (intercourse) have been made lawful and permitted for you."

We conclude the section on the importance of the Mahr with a stern warning from our Prophet Muhammad (S) about those men who refuse to give their wives that which they promised them:

مَنْ ظَلَمَ إِمْرَأَةً مَهْرَها فَهُوَ عِنْدَ اللهِ زانٍ. يَقُولُ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يَوْمَ الْقِيامَةِ: عَبْدِي زَوَّجْتُكَ أَمَّتِي عَلى عَهْدِي فَلَمْ تُوَفَّ بِعَهْدِي وَظَلَمْتَ أَمَّتِي؟ فَيُؤخَذُ مِنْ حَسَناتِهِ فَيَدْفَعُ إِلَيْها بِقَدَرٍ حَقِّها. فَإِذا لَمْ يَبْقَ لَهُ حَسَنَةُ أُمِرَ بِهِ إِلى النّارِ بِنَكَثَهُ الْعَهْدَ. قالَ اللهُ تَعالى: (وَأَوْفُوا بِالْعَهْدِ إِنْ الْعَهْدَ كانَ مَسْئولاً (

"The man who oppresses his wife in relation to the Mahr is considered as a fornicator in the eyes of Allah. On the Day of Judgement, Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) will say to such a man, 'O' My servant! I married you to My bondservant on My promise (the Mahr) and then you were not loyal to My promise and you oppressed My bondservant!' At this time, Allah (SwT) will take all of this man's good deeds and will give them to her in accordance to the rights of her that he had taken (the Mahr). When there remain no more good deeds, then Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) will order him to the hell fire with the other people who had broken their promise. Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) has said, (And be honest in your promises. Surely the promise is something that (you) shall be questioned about.)"

Note

1.Please note that this and all other ruling in this magazine are in accordance to the fatawa of Ayatullah al-Uzma al-Hajj as-Sayyid Ali al-Husaini as- Sistani. Muqallidin of other Maraja should check their rulings on these and other issues contained in this discussion.

The Marriage Aqd (Contract)

By Saleem Bhimji

In keeping with the eternal tradition of our Prophet Muhammad (S) in the style of the recitation of the marriage Aqd, as he had done during the marriage of his daughter Fatimah binte Muhammad (as) to Ali ibn Abi Talib (as), the ceremony is preceded by a Khutbah or introduction extolling the Oneness of Allah (SwT) and His characteristics, and then sending praise and prayers upon the Prophet of Islam (S) and his noble family members. Once this has been recited, the actual Aqd or contract is performed.

According to a majority of our Ulama, the contract MUST be recited in the correct Arabic language however Ayatullah al-Uzma al-Hajj as-Sayyid Ali al-Husaini as-Sistani, in his recent book, A Code of Practice for Muslims in the West, states that if the man or woman can not read the Arabic correctly, then they should take a representative who could read the contract on their behalf. If this too is not possible, then they may recite the contract in their own language (translation) as long as the meaning remains the same as the original Arabic.

In the examples given below, we will assume that the brother and sister will be reading their own Aqd (contrary to that of having a Representative for each side).

أَعُوذُ بِاللهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطانِ الرَّجِيمِ. بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ .

I seek refuge in Allah (SwT) from the accursed Satan.

(I begin) in the Name of Allah (SwT), the Merciful, the Compassionate

أَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ الَّذي هَدانا لِهذَا وَما كُنَّا لِنَهْتَدِيَ لَوْ لا أَنْ هَدانا اللهُ. وَصَلاةُ وَسَلامُ عَلى سَيَّدِنا وَنَبِيِنا وَمَوْلانا وَحَبِيبِ قُلُوبِنا وَطَبِيبِ نُفُوسِنا أَبِي الْقاسِمِ مُحَمَّدٍ. وَصَلاةُ وَسَلامُ عَلى أَهْلِ بَيْتِهِ الطَّيِّبِينَ الطّاهِرِينَ الْمَعْصُومِينَ الْمَظْلُومِينَ. وَلَعْنَةُ اللهِ عَلى أَعْدائِهِمْ مِنْ يَوْمِ أَوَّلِ ظُلْمِهِمْ إلى يُوْمَ الدِّينَ. أَمّا بَعْدُ فَقَدْ قالَ اللهُ سُبْحانَهُ وَتَعالى فِي كِتابِهِ :

All the praise belongs solely to Allah (SwT), the One who guided us to this and we could not have been guided to this had it not been for the direction of Allah (SwT). And prayers and salutations are sent upon our Master and our Prophet and our Mawlana and the love of our hearts and the spiritual physician of our souls Abil Qasim Muhammad (S). And may prayers and salutations be upon his progeny, the Purified, Immaculate, free from sin, oppressed (individuals). May the perpetual curse of Allah (SwT) and removal of divine blessings overwhelm their enemies from the first day they committed such oppression, until the Day of Judgement. And after this, verily Allah (SwT), the Glorious and High has said in His Book:

وَأَنْكِحُوا الْأَيَامَىٰ مِنْكُمْ وَالصَّالِحِينَ مِنْ عِبَادِكُمْ وَإِمَائِكُمْإِنْ يَكُونُوا فُقَرَاءَ يُغْنِهِمُ اللَّهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِوَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ

"Marry the single people among you and the righteous slaves and slave-girls. If you are poor, Allah (SwT) will make you rich through His favour; He is Bountiful and All-Knowing" (Surah 24, Verse 32)

قالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ (صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلّمَ): مِنْ سُنَّتِي أَلتَّزْوِيجُ فَمَنْ رَغِبَ عَنْ سُنَّتِي فَلَيْسَ مِنِّي .

The Messenger of Allah (S) has said, "Of my tradition is to marry. So then whosoever turns away from my tradition (Sunnah) is not from me (my nation)."

1a) The bride-to-be would say:

أَنْكَحْتُ نَفْسِي لَكَ عَلى الْمَهْرِ الْمَعْلُومِ

1b) The husband-to-be would say:

قَبِلْتُ النِكاحَ لِنَفْسِي عَلى الْمَهْرِ الْمَعْلُومِ

2a) Then the bride-to-be would say:

زَوَّجْتُ نَفْسِي عَلى الصِّداقِ المَعْلُومِ

2b) The, the husband-to-be would say:

قَبِلْتُ التَّزْوِيجَ لنَفْسِي عَلى الصِّداقِ المَعْلُومِ

3a) The bride-to-be would say:

أَنْكَحْتُ وَزَوَّجْتُ نَفْسِي لَكَ عَلى الْمَهْرِ الْمَعْلُومِ

3b) The husband-to-be would say:

قَبِلْتَ النِكاحَ وَالتَّزْوِيجَ لِنَفْسِي عَلى الْمَهْرِ الْمَعْلُومِ .

These lines are usually repeated two or three times over for the sake of precaution to make sure they have been recited properly. After these few lines have been said, the man and woman are then joined together in marriage according to the laws of Islam. There is no other 'ceremony' needed - a Walimah is Mustahab, but other things are part of our cultural practices (some are permitted to do, but we have to be careful so as to not perform anything haram).