Nikah - Islamic Marriage
And give the women (on marriage) their dower as a free gift; but if they of their own good pleasure remit any part of it to you take it and enjoy it with right good cheer.
(Sura 4. An-Nisaa Ayat 4)
Not enough emphasis has been placed on the rights and responsibilities of both the husband and the wife. Many Muslim communities are stopped by an onslaught of exterior problems. So much so, that young couples are suffering due to the lack of knowledge but mainly understanding as to their prospective responsibilities. While older couples are constantly arguing about that understanding, the community at large is suffering.
Although the divorce rate is very low amongst Muslims, marriage or Nikah has become very discouraging to many young men and women, largely due to the examples they see in other Muslim couples. A lot of this has to do with the fact that we live in countries like America and England. Because of these countries low morality and standards, some time the standard that's been established and given to the believer seen barbaric, outdated and unfair to women. When in fact, Islam's representation of women, when followed correctly, has women in more of an equal status to men than any other establishment. When looking at the rights and responsibilities of men and women, we must always remember two very important points.
First, we are living in a society where adultery and fornication is readily accepted as normal behaviour, while polygamy is often condemned or ''ill-viewed''. We know as believers that anything Allah سبحانه التعالئ has permitted, men has no right to make Haram. In the holy Qur'an we read:
''O you believe! Make not unlawful the good things which Allah سبحانه التعالئ has made lawful to you and transgress not. Verily, Allah سبحانه التعالئ does not like the transgressors.'' (5:87)
Second, Because of the growing amount of resentment towards discipline and morality, this society sees any form of morality as a threat. This society will accept immoral behaviour as normal. As Muslims we must set the standard by first living the life of the believer. This begins at home, between the husband and the wife. Do not be mislead by this society when examining the right and responsibilities in marriage. But most of all, do not let this society's standards be the determining factor as to whether or not you fulfil your obligations to Allah سبحانه التعالئ while you are married.
Thousands of young men and women, seek only the physical enjoyment of marriage, without understanding the true responsibilities that come with it. This is very abundant in our societies. For Muslim men the responsibility of marriage is great. Sometimes so great that we refuse to marry on account of finances only. Our society has laid great burden on each individual to make a living. That standard of living is dictated by our government. We have the choice of either shaping our own lives and standards according to it or shaping by applying Islam. One of the reasons for this is because the entire format of marriage is given to mankind by Allah سبحانه التعالئ and not invented by man or woman.
It is we who change this format to suite our own desires and needs. This is partially what makes marriage so unattractive to many. It is this distinction we must always bear in mind when examining the institution of marriage. The superiority of the male in strength places upon him the responsibility of maintaining the family, so he enjoys this status only in the disposal of family affairs. Due to his great responsibility he is the head of the household. This status dose not in anyway give him the right to ill-treat his wife. What it actually does is lay an even greater responsibility on him, that he the stronger of the two, must treat her with kindness and behave tenderly, showing love and affection and always being considerate in dealing with her.
Even still with all this in mind on the day of judgement the reward for both men and women will be equal. A man who maintained his family and a woman who was obedient to her husband will receive an equal reward. The Holy Qur'an states;
''....and men who obey and women who obey, Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a vast reward.''(33:35)
Marriage is an important function in human life and it's neglect and misunderstanding is constantly manifested. The protective function of marriage has been turned over to the police and other social organisations.Much of the family's recreation time has been turned over to the movies, sports, social clubs, gangs and most of all television. Families have stopped to be an insurance for aged parents. Generally, it is this society that dominates the mind of men and women when making the choice as to marry or not and as to who that man or women will be.
Hadrat Abu Hurara narrates that the holy prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم has said,
''...A women may be married for four reasons:
(Bukhari pg.762 vol.2 Muslim pg. 473 vol.1)
In this hadith the prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم urges the bothers to make piety the focus in choosing a wife. A virtuous wife is a safeguard against sin and transgression. She is a partner in life for peace and comfort.
The Holy Qur'an tells us;
''...And among His Signs is this that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquillity with them and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts); verily in that are Signs for those who reflect....'' (30:21)
And we also read;
''...They are your garments. And you are their garments...'' (2: 187)
The holy prophet has said;
''..the prayers of the children profit their parents when they pass away. Children who die before their parents intercede for them on the day of judgement...''
It is up to the Muslims to establish their own standards particularly the ones given to us by Allahسبحانه التعالئ. We can only do this when obedience to Allah سبحانه التعالئ and the sunah of the prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم is maintained and established in our lives. It must be maintained in our hearts in our homes and minds.
May Allah سبحانه التعالئ bless the married couples in our Ummah and may he bless the single Muslims as they seek companionship.