why do we get married in islam
A Muslim husband has to agree a financial deal with the prospective wife before marriage. Muslim marriages are frequently arranged by the parents of the young people. This is not an Islamic necessity, but parents are encouraged to do their best to see their offspring settled with good life-partners. Although divorce is allowed, the ideal is to settle down with a life-partner, and of all the things God does permit, divorce is said to be the thing He likes least. Most young Muslims live sheltered lives, and are not encouraged to mix freely with the opposite sex - and consequently are protected from the business of 'falling in love', which can lead to all sorts of heartaches, clouded judgement, unsuitable relationships, and tragic consequences. It is forbidden in Islam for parents (or others) to. Unfortunately, there have been cases in the UK where this has happened amongst Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs from the Indian subcontinent - but publicity and education in Islam is improving the situation rapidly. Although many marriages are arranged, it has to be with the willing consent of the couple involved, and they should be able to reject possible suitors without embarrassment. A Muslim girl (and boy) is expected to be a virgin at the time of the first marriage. Obviously, this would not be the case for a subsequent marriage. A Muslim husband has to agree a financial deal with the prospective wife before marriage. This money present is known as the
mahr, and is a payment made to the bride which is hers to keep and use as she wishes. The reason is that even if the girl has nothing, she becomes a bride with property of her own. If the bride later seeks a divorce which the husband does not wish for, she is allowed to return him the money and seek what is known as a khul divorce. Normally, if a divorce takes place for the usual reasons, the bride would be entitled to keep the mahr. Sometimes a bride (or her family) demands an enormous mahr. The (pbuh) set the example of modest sums, and many Muslim women generously use their money to support their husbands and families in some way, although they are not obliged to do so.
If a woman has money of her own, she is not obliged to spend it on her husband or family, but a Muslim husband has the obligation to be able to keep and support his wife and children himself, at his own expense. If a wife goes out to work, or donates money, this is to her credit and is regarded as an act of charity ( sadaqah ). The actual Muslim wedding is known as a nikah. It is a simple ceremony, at which the bride does not have to be present so long as she sends two witnesses to the drawn-up agreement. Normally, the ceremony consists of reading from the Qur'an, and the exchange of vows in front of witnesses for both partners. No special religious official is necessary, but often the Imam is present and performs the ceremony. He may give a short sermon. There are certain things which are basic to all Muslim marriages. Marriages have to be declared publicly. They should never be undertaken in secret. The publicity is usually achieved by having a large feast, or walimah - a party specifically for the purpose of announcing publicly that the couple are married and entitled to each other. Many wedding customs are a matter of culture and not of Islam. The bride and groom may be obliged to sit on 'thrones' on a platform, to be seen by the guests. They may receive gifts, or gifts of money. The majority of brides favour a traditional white wedding dress, but brides from the Asian subcontinent often favour a shalwar-qameez outfit in scarlet with gold thread, and have their hands and feet patterned with henna. They might also have vast feasts with hundreds of guests, usually with the males in a separate room from the females. Other Muslims have simple celebratory parties with only close friends and relatives. In some cultures there may be dancing, firing of guns, lots of noise and hilarity. Asian weddings often include pre-nuptial parties and gathering too - the whole process may last several days.
As a practicing psychologist, I was once consulted by a brother in Turkey in need of immediate relationship advice. In summary, the brotherБs БemergencyБ was that he had met a nice religious girl from a good family but was not attracted to her at all. He was under pressure from both his and her family to make a decision after three short meetings with the sister. I asked him what he liked about her; he said she was religious and came from a good family. БOkay, what else? Б I could feel his anxiety through the computer screen. To marry or not to marry? БShould I just go for it? Б I was shocked. Marriage is a lifelong commitment that requires compatibility, attraction and personality flow, none of which he felt. But he failed to recognize this, because he was stuck on the hadith (narration of the Prophet Muhammad БA woman is married for four things: her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. So you should marry the religious woman (otherwise) you will be unsuccessful. Б (Book #62, Hadith #27) In my opinion, this hadith is often misunderstood, because in pursuit of a religious spouse we forget the other reasons. In the case of the young man I talked to, he thought we should only marry for religion and ignore the other three. Are you likely to sustain and succeed in a marriage where there is no compatibility beyond sharing a similar theology and ritual practices? Furthermore, what someone else calls БreligiousБ may not mean the same thing to you. In my experience working with couples for many years, I know for a fact that this is irrational. When we fail to apply reason in matters of religion, we get pain, destruction and failure, especially in marriage. We cannot live a true path of spirituality if our attempt to follow Islam lacks sincerity, wisdom, and deep reflection on our context and ourselves. Some Muslims live the path of serving Islam, as if it is a person nodding its head in approval every time we apply a hadith or QurБanic verse.
Islam is a path to God. God is the one to whom this path leads. Did this brother think about God in his process? That one day he will meet Him and be asked about Бjust doing itБ without regard for the deeper requirements for success in human relationships? He considered getting married in order not to hurt the sisterБs feelingsБwhat about when he divorces her because he realizes it was a huge mistake? Never ever marry someone you donБt feel right about out of fear or pressure. This is likely to lead to failure. In the end, you and your partner will suffer, not your family, your culture, or even your religion. Marry someone who possesses all four reasons mentioned in the hadith not just religion. This is more likely to succeed and sustain a life long partnership. If religion is important to you, avoid marrying someone who does not have religion, even if the other three reasons are alluring. This is just as unlikely to succeed. Use this hadith as a guide, not an axiom with closed borders. We also marry for love and chemistry, in addition to these four reasons. Islam teaches us to admire diversity. If we always married people from the same socioeconomic status, race, or ethnic group, for example, this would hinder a more colorful, multicultural ummah (community). Sometimes people act religious because it is more БmarketableБ for marriage. Be cautious and go beyond surface checkpoints of theology and practice. Get to know the person and their family more deeply. Take your time. If you do not feel you are given enough time to get to know someone do not get married to avoid cultural stigmas. Families that rush their kids into marriage are the ones to have sincere skepticism towards. Karim Serageldin is practicing psychologist with years of experience working with the Muslim community. He facilitates workshops, counseling and life coaching with an integrated approach of Islamic spiritual values and contemporary psychology. He specializes working with relationships, youth, family and men.
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