Assalamu aleikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu. Brothers and sisters, we all know that marriage is a union that should be done in accordance with the shari’ah (Islamic law). Allah (SWT) has made everything clear in the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has made it clear in his Sunna when it comes to marriage.
So, what exactly should we look for in our future spouses when we want to marry or get married? Allah says: “And among his signs is that he has created mates among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquility with them and he has put love and mercy between your hearts. Undoubtedly in these are signs of those who reflect”(Quran, 30.21). Indeed we need love, mercy, and tranquility in our marriages for them to be sustained because marriage is an institution that can either crumble or flourish depending on its foundation.
Looking at the society we live in today, marriage has — to some extent — lost its meaning to some people. Subhanallah! Brothers and sisters, let us ask ourselves this question: why do we get married? I bet everyone has his/her own reasons but at the end of the day, remember where we are coming from as human beings. Getting married is fulfilling half of our deen and that should be our main reason as muslims. According to Islamic tradition, “Women may be married for four things: their wealth, their lineage, their beauty and their religious commitment. Choose the one who is religiously-committed, may your hands be rubbed with dust (i.e., may you prosper).” (Bukhari) The prophet (SAW) said, "When a proposal comes from someone whom you are satisfied with their level of deen and character, allow them to get married. ” (Tirmidhi) We are allowed to marry spouses that we are attracted to in terms of beauty and wealth but remember that character and deen should be our first priority. Beauty and wealth easily fade away unlike character and deen .
We prioritize social and economic values forgetting that we also have religious values to uphold. This has really affected the ummah as a whole, and mostly the youth. If we were to scrutinize marriages among the youth today, you would be shocked to realize that a higher percentage fail to conduct their marriages in an Islamic way. This has been a result of many issues and challenges which I can say have been perpetrated by us —the society— and instead of facing them, we tend to run away and look for quick fixes. Many young people today choose to date and get caught up in the “I love yous.” But think, how many people get married to the ones they date? It’s something to seriously think about if you are considering a long term relationship i.e. marriage.
Many youth run away from marriage thinking that they are not ready because of school, because they’re still looking for “Mr./Ms. right”, because they are looking for jobs first etc. While not completely invalid and very understandable in today’s hectic and challenging world, marriage can be a good thing and a source of comfort even in those stressful situations, if done correctly.
Brothers and sisters, let us not make marriage hard by complicating issues when it comes to bride price, social status, level of education, tribe, and race. Some parents demand high bride prices for their daughters making it difficult for the groom to pay. Others don’t allow their daughters to marry men from different tribes and races and these issues create a negative impact on the youth in that some find no other alternatives than to elope while others engage in secret relationships, which are not healthy.
Abydullah bin Masud reported that the Prophet (SAW) said, ”O young men, those of you who can support a wife should marry for it restrains eyes from immorality but he who cannot afford it should observe fast for it is a means of controlling sexual desire.” It’s important to acknowledge that as humans we have our weaknesses when it comes to our desires. Not too many observe fast as a means of controlling sexual desire, even though that has been offered as an option.
Marriage is an institution that needs blessings from Allah (SWT) for it to blossom and it also needs our perseverance, submission and trust. Some of us may have witnessed some challenges that in one way or the other have made us shun away from it but that is not the solution.
Let us put trust in Allah and pray Istikhara when we are wavering in our decisions. As I said earlier, Islam allows you to look for beauty, wealth, and lineage but remember some may fade away. Deen and character are qualities that are more likely to make you successful in your marriage. It may not be a bed of roses, but remember that the best things are not always easy.
Allah says: ”And marry those among you who are single and salihun (pious,fit and capable ones). If they are poor, Allah will enrich them out his bounty. And Allah is all sufficient for his creatures’ needs, all knowing” (Qur’an, 24.32).
Let us not discriminate when it comes to tribe, race, and social status. We are united by a stronger bond and that is Islam. Let’s embrace our religion and conduct our marriages in an Islamic way and inshaallah, we will have amazing stories to tell our offspring. It is our responsibility as a society to create a positive attitude towards marriage and guide the youth. Allah says in Sura An-Nisa: ”O you who believe, you are forbidden to inherit women against their will, and you should not treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of their Mahr (dowry) you have given them unless they commit open illegal sexual intercourse. And live with them honourably. If you dislike them, it might be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings through it a great deal of good” (Qur’an, 4.19).
All of us have our shortcomings and we can’t expect to find perfect spouses. Inshaallah our marriages will have barakah (blessings) and prosperity. Ameen.