As a Muslim woman in corporate America, I sometimes feel lost. I feel like even though I know where I stand in the eyes of Allah and that my faith is strong, I am not doing enough to show that strength in my faith. I, like many people borh into the Muslim faith, and in the western world, have had doubts. The older I get the more those doubts turn into understanding. One of the hardest and difficult things I had to do was divorce. Moreover, I never thought I would remarry, but along my journey of finding myself and understanding my religion a lot better, I realized that Islam is an advocate for marriage.
Islam does not believe in celibacy and it has been reported that our Prophet (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him) said “there is no celibacy in Islam.” Islam, through our Holy Quran, has taught young Muslims that marriage is a religious duty, a moral safeguard and a social necessity. Because of marriage, sexual relations outside of marriage are prohibited and marriage protects from sinful desires. Social necessity refers to families created as a result of marriage and family is central to society.
There are so many stereotypes that arisen about Islamic marriages and the roles that spouses play. One of the biggest of those stereotypes is that Islamic women are oppressed and treated harshly by their spouses and other males in their lives (such as fathers and brothers) and the other is that women have no rights in the marriage, and are only there to serve the needs of their spouses. These stereotypes come as a result of the actions of a few who call themselves Muslims, as well as the stereotypes presented by the Western media.
The purpose of marriage in Islam is unique. First, the word “zawj” is used in our Holy Quran to meet a “pair” or a “mate.” The term used on a general basis means “marriage,” and the general purpose of marriage in Islam is for spouses to provide company for one another, to create a family, to love each other, and live peacefully within the directives our Holy Quran and our Islamic faith. Moreover, marriage serves as the only way for the sexes to unite, and instead of sinning, by choosing marriage, one is showing their obedience to Allah, our creator. Marriage is an agreement that should be entered into with total commitment and full understanding of the venture being taken. A partner is for life, and one must be mature enough to understand the responsibilities and demands of a marriage.
In Islam, there are certain conditions that make a marriage valid and all must be met: (1) both parties must consent; (2) Mahr must be given-this is a gift from the bride to the groom; (3) two witnesses must be present; and (4) the marriage should be made known, and not kept secret.
The general principle on marital obligation comes from our Prophet (Peace and Blessings Upon Him) who was reported to have said: “when a man marries, he has fulfilled half his religion, so let him fear Allah regarding the remaining half.” (As reported by Iman Malik ibn Anas; Source Jannah.org/sisters/marr.html).
I will discuss marital duties in my next post.