Understanding the Sacred Bonds: A Comprehensive Guide to Marriage in Islam
Marriage in Islam: An Insight into Its Foundations and Principles
Hello, reader! Whether it’s “Hlel,” “fatha,” at the town hall, in the hall, Sunnah marriage, Sharia marriage, free union, or even rural marriages, all these terms and expressions refer to one singular event: marriage in Islam.
In Islam, there exists only one type of marriage, and that is the Sharia and Sunnah marriage. This signifies a marriage for Allah, in accordance with the rules of Allah’s Sharia (the collection of Islamic legal rules) and the Sunnah, which are the teachings derived from the sayings and practices of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
But why all these different expressions? They arise from innovations and practices created based on various cultures, countries of origin, and individual deviations. Furthermore, there is often confusion between the act of marriage in Islam and the festivities surrounding it, in line with customs from different regions around the world.
In this article, we will explain marriage in Islam, relying on our primary sources: the Quran and the Sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
1. What is Marriage in Islam?
Marriage in Islam is, first and foremost, an act of worship, even before it is an act of Sunnah, a legal act, or an act of love.
But what do we mean by worship? It includes everything that Allah loves and approves of, whether in the form of words or deeds, whether they are overt or hidden.
Marriage in Islam follows various rules according to legal schools and regions worldwide. However, there are immutable elements in accordance with the teachings of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). These Sunnah rules validate marriage in Islam.
Marriage in Islam seals the union of two individuals, both of whom are pubescent, psychologically and legally responsible individuals, namely, a male and a female, in the name of Allah, following the teachings of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
However, marriage in Islam is not limited to being a union between two individuals of different genders. It forms the cornerstone of Islamic society.
Why is marriage in Islam considered the foundation of a healthy society?
It’s because it establishes rights and duties that bring balance to society. These rights and duties encompass those between spouses, parents and children, as well as those in the case of divorce.
Everything is balanced and regulated. Like all rules of Sharia, marriage in Islam aims to establish justice for all parties involved, rather than the freedom to do as one pleases.
2. What Does the Sunnah and Hadith Say About Marriage in Islam?
Marriage in Islam is not only encouraged, but it has been elevated by our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) to the status of a religious act, much more than just a worldly formality.
According to ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Marriage is my Sunnah, and whoever does not follow my Sunnah is not part of my community. Marry, for I will boast of your great numbers before the other nations on the Day of Judgment. Whoever has the means, let him marry, and whoever does not, then he should fast, for it will be a shield for him.” (Reported by Ibn Majah and authenticated by Sheikh Albani in Sahih Al Jami No. 6807).
It is crucial to read and reflect on this hadith of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) concerning marriage in Islam. Marriage in Islam is a Sunnah, a tradition, established by our Prophet, and he clearly stated that anyone who does not follow it is not part of his community.
Another hadith emphasizing the importance of marriage in Islam in the Sunnah is as follows:
According to Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “O young people! Whoever among you is able to marry, should marry, and whoever is not able to marry, is recommended to fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual power.” (Reported by Bukhari in Sahih No. 5065 and Muslim in Sahih No. 1400).
Through the hadiths of our Prophet, it is evident that marriage in Islam holds such importance in the Sunnah that there are direct directives to get married and encourage young people to do so if they are capable.
According to Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “When someone whose religion and character you are satisfied with comes to you, then marry him. If you do not do so, there will be chaos and widespread corruption on earth.” (Reported by Tirmidhi and authenticated by Sheikh Albani).
Marriage prevents young people from falling into depravity, thus averting the spread of chaos on Earth. The disorder mentioned in this hadith by our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) refers to the multiplication of children born out of wedlock, without a legal framework or legal guardians, creating a problem of social justice.
This hadith also teaches us that the marriage proposal, the “khitba,” is an encouraged act according to the Sunnah. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Do not propose to a woman who is already engaged to another man.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
This hadith indicates that the proposal for marriage is legislated and allowed for the first suitor, and it is imperative to respect his right in the proposal. Furthermore, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) himself proposed to ‘Aisha and Hafsa.
3. The 4 Conditions of Marriage in Islam A. The Presence of a Guardian
A. The Presence of a Guardian
According to ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) stated: “There is no marriage without a guardian, and the ruler is the guardian of one who has no guardian.” (Reported by Ahmed and authenticated by Sheikh Albani).
Thus, in an Islamic marriage, it is imperative that the woman be represented by a guardian. This guardian can be her father, brother, or in their absence, her paternal uncle. If none of these are available, then, according to the teachings of our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), the leader of the community in which the woman resides becomes her guardian.
But why is it essential to have a guardian in an Islamic marriage? The presence of a guardian is vital to protect the rights and interests of the future wife, as stated in a hadith of our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
B. The Presence of Two Witnesses
According to Jabir Ibn ‘Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him and his father), the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) taught: “There is no marriage in Islam without the presence of a guardian and two just witnesses.” (Reported by Al-Bayhaqi and authenticated by Sheikh Albani in Sahih Al Jami No. 7557).
In accordance with this hadith, an Islamic marriage can only be officially solemnized if the bride’s guardian is present and two just witnesses bear testimony to the marriage.
Who are these two witnesses, and what do we mean by “just”?
The witnesses can be any two Muslim men who are known for their integrity and trustworthiness in the community. It’s not necessary for them to be related to the bride or groom, and they should be of sound mind and mature age.
The requirement for the witnesses to be “just” means that they must be upright individuals who adhere to Islamic principles, are trustworthy, and have good character.
C. The Mahr (Dower)
The mahr, often referred to as the “dower” or “bride’s gift,” is a mandatory part of an Islamic marriage contract. It is a gift that the groom gives to the bride as a symbol of his commitment and an indication of his responsibility to provide for her. The mahr can be in the form of money, possessions, or any valuable item agreed upon by both parties.
According to ‘Uqbah bin ‘Amir (may Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “The condition that is most deserving to be fulfilled is that by which the private parts become lawful (i.e., through the marriage contract).” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
This hadith underscores the significance of fulfilling the conditions of the marriage contract, with the mahr being a central element.
D. The Consent of Both Parties
In Islam, consent is a fundamental requirement for a valid marriage. Both the bride and groom must willingly agree to the marriage without any coercion or duress. Consent should be given by the bride’s guardian on her behalf if she is unable to express it herself.
According to Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “The widow and the divorced woman shall not be married until her order is obtained, and the virgin girl shall not be married until her consent is obtained.” They asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), “How will her (virgin girl’s) consent be obtained?” He said, “By her silence.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari).
This hadith emphasizes that the consent of a virgin girl is required for her marriage and that consent can be expressed through silence, indicating her willingness.
4. Conclusion: Marriage in Islam - A Spiritual and Legal Bond
Marriage in Islam is more than just a social contract; it is a sacred and spiritual bond that carries immense significance in the life of a Muslim. It is an act of worship that aligns with the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
This article has explored the essential conditions for a valid Islamic marriage, including the presence of a guardian, two witnesses, the mahr, and the consent of both parties. These conditions ensure that the marriage is conducted in a manner that upholds justice, dignity, and the rights of all parties involved.
Marriage in Islam is a source of blessing, companionship, and protection. It is a means of fulfilling one’s religious and moral obligations while contributing to the stability and well-being of society. By following the guidance of the Quran and the Sunnah, Muslims can establish strong and harmonious families that reflect the values of Islam and serve as a source of strength and unity for the entire community.
In conclusion, marriage in Islam is a beautiful and sacred institution that carries both spiritual and legal significance. It is a Sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and a means of fulfilling our religious obligations. By adhering to the principles and conditions of Islamic marriage, we can build strong, loving, and righteous families that contribute to the betterment of society and the fulfillment of Allah’s will.
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