The Onset of Parenting (
from the moment one decides to get married. The sort of spouse one wants to marry
tells what sort of children he wants to have. Truthful, honest and believing men
and women will look for same quality in their partners to have children of the
same qualities. On the other hand, partners of vile qualities will naturally give
rise to children of similar nature. (al-Qur'an 24:26)
a sacred social contract between a man and a woman. It is also a religious institution.
From the beginning of human history men and women are bonded in marriage to have
progeny so that human continuity is maintained. This has given rise to families
that form societies and nations. Only recently, especially after the Second World
War, marriage as an institution has come under threat. Marriage is fundamental
to human society. As such, all great religions have emphasised on marital life
for earthly peace. In Islam it is treated as 'half-faith'. "When a servant of
Allah marries, he has completed half of his religious obligations, and he must
fear Allah in order to complete the second half" (al-Baihaqi). Prophet Muhammad
(pbuh) has also said, "Marriage is part of my Sunnah, whoever runs away from my
path is not from among us". Husbands and wives are compared as garments to each
other (al-Qur'an 2:187) Marriage gives tranquillity (al-Qur'an 30:21) of mind
in the spouses. Allah has prescribed marriage as the only way for conjugal relationship
and family life in human society (al-Qur'an 2:221, 5:5, 24:33).
its implication are important in regard to individual and social circumstances.
Islam has permitted polygamy for men on special circumstances with the condition
that justice is not to compromised. (al-Qur'an 4:3) Marriage in the modern West
Due to extreme liberal and permissive life style as well as fanatical feminism,
marriage in the West is running the risk of extinction. Almost every country in
the western world is observing rapid decline in marriage as a sacred man-woman
relationship. Britain has probably seen the worst. From 68% in 1970s, marriage
rate has plummeted to 58% in the early 1990's. Continuous rise of young people
cohabiting without marriage created concern in the past. But now-a-days, even
the Church establishment seems to have given in to this social trend. Britain
has also the highest divorce rate in Europe. Young men and women in the modern
West engage themselves in the nerve-wracking exercise of picking their boy-friends
and girl-friends with a view to having 'good time' or 'fun time' with the opposite
sexes. Here the 'boy meets girl' experience gives rise to extra-marital sex and
often unwanted children even after continuous reminder of 'safe sex'. There is
little life-time commitment from either of the partners.
In Islam, parents,
relatives, friends and, of course, the boys and girls themselves scout for prospective
partners. The matured people and well-wishers all contribute to build a family.
The families and the society all have stakes in the success of a Muslim marriage.
Everybody, including the groom and the bride, look for a match. The family backgrounds,
attitudes of individuals, etc, are also considered important. Arranged and Forced
Marriage 'Arrangement' is essential in Islamic marriage. Islam has nothing to
do with 'forced' marriage. Both the groom and the bride has the right to say 'no'
to a marriage. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) annulled marriages in cases they were done
forcibly. "Khansa bint Khidam (RA) narrated that her father gave her in marriage
when she was a matron and she disliked that marriage. So she went to Allah's Messenger
(pbuh) and he declared that marriage invalid" (Sahih al-Bukhari).
marriage at the right age, i.e., sooner after puberty when a boy or girl becomes
physically, emotionally and intellectually matured. Marriage is a conscious commitment
to a life partner for future family role. It is a responsible job that affects
not only the spouses but also the children that are going to be born to them.
As such, minimum economic sustainability is important. In the Industrialised countries
where promiscuous relationship has become norms, Muslim boys and girls should
commit themselves to marriage as early as possible so that allurement of life
can not drive their passion into un-Islamic acts. 'Prevention is better than cure'.
Islam has nothing
to do with the concept of the so-called 'high caste', 'low caste' aspects in marriage.
They are the features of alien cultures, eg, the Hindu caste system. 'Compatibility'
and 'worldly wisdom' look for social, intellectual and educational match between
the partners in Muslim marriages. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, "Do not marry
only for the sake of beauty, may be the beauty becomes the cause of moral decline.
Do not marry even for the sake of wealth, may be the wealth becomes the reason
of disobedience. Marry rather on the grounds of religious devotion". A Muslim
society has the support mechanism in the well-knit family and society.
a Marriage Partner
marriage partner is a challenging job. Bonding two hearts is a matter of Allah's
blessing. Allah has the control on our hearts. Man can only try but only Allah
can join hearts (al-Qur'an 8:63). Both the partners need to satisfy each other
regarding the issues they feel important, no matter how trivial they could be.
Family background, personal habits, attitude, manners, etc are, as such, important
('Bent Rib : A Journey through women's issue in Islam' by Huda-al-Khattab, Ta-ha
Publishers, London 1997)
marriage could also go wrong. Instead of living a hellish life in that situation,
Islam has allowed separation, divorce. (al-Qur'an 2:228, 2:236). Allah has revealed
a whole chapter on divorce (Chapter Talaq). Hoever, divorce is considered as the
most disliked thing in Islam. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, "of all things permitted
by law, divorce is the most hateful in the sight of Allah (Sunan Abu Dawud).
solace, comfort and pleasure between two people. On the other hand it teaches
compromise and sacrifice to live together. But the main objective of marriage
is to have children for the continuity of human progeny on earth. Prophet Muhammad
(pbuh) has encouraged Muslims to have more children so that his ummah becomes
large in the Day of Judgement. Of course, the health of the mother and other Islamic
factors are important. With the arrival of children the parental responsibility
and parenting enter a new phase .