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Marriage is a sacred bond and a life-long commitment

What is Marriage

Marriage, in general is a ritually, socially and legally recognized bond between spouses that establishes rights and obligations between them. Promising as husband and wife in the presence of witnesses and signing the agreement are part of ritual, declaration of engagement, wedding ceremony and wedding reception are part of social events while getting marriage license and registering marriage with competent authority are part of legal evidences. It is divine being a very special gift from God to human race and is a sacred bond, which takes place followed by making an oath to God. There is also a good news for the couple that when the believing men and women are getting married, are being invited to Paradise.

Marriage is the beginning of a new family

God wants both the free and the slave believing men and women to get married when they reach marriage age having sound judgment. He created mates that they may find tranquility and has placed love and care for one another. Thus, marriage is a very special and sacred relationship between two souls established through solemn pledge. It begins a new family, and men are made responsible to support the family, which provides an opportunity to grow in selflessness as they serve their wives and children:

[30:21] And from His signs is that He created for you mates from yourselves that you may find tranquility in them, and He has placed between you love and care. In that there are, of course signs for a people who reflect.

[25:54] And He is the One who has created a human being from the water, then He has made for him a relationship of blood and marriage. And your Lord has been Powerful.

[7:189] He is the One who has created you from one soul (nafsin waahidatin) and has made its mate from it that he can live with her. Then when he covers her, she has carried a light load that she has passed with it. Then when it has grown heavier, they both implore God, their Lord: “If You have given us a good one, we will surely be among the thankful ones.”
Note: The process of adding a new member to the new family with a hint to acrosome reaction, embryonic and fetal development.

[4:6] And you shall test the orphans until when they have reached the marriage age, then if you have found in them sound judgment, then you shall deliver their wealth to them, and you do not consume it being extravagant and in hastening that they will grow up. And whoever has been rich he should refrain, but whoever has been poor should consume in a fair manner. Then when you have delivered their wealth to them, then you shall have witnesses on them. And there has sufficed with God as a Reckoner

[4:34] The men are supporters of the women for what God has bestowed one of them over other and for what they spend from their wealth. The righteous women are obedient being protectors in the unseen to that which God has protected. And those whom you fear their ill behavior, then you shall advise them, and shall desert them in the bed, and shall ignore them (wa-id’ribuuhunna). But if they have obeyed you, then you do not seek a way against them. Indeed, God has been High, Great
Note: God has made men responsible to support the family from their wealth and the righteous women should accept that what He has ordered them. However, if the men fear rebellion from the women, they should follow the reconciliation steps: advice, desertion in bed and complete ignorance for an amicable solution of their disputes.

Spouses require faithfulness to one another

The couples are to cultivate love and care what God has placed in their hearts to stay united in all circumstances maintaining chastity not committing adultery nor taking secret lovers. He does not want them to ignore the faith to be losers in the Hereafter being nullified all of their works:

[5:5] Today, it has been made lawful for you the good things; and food of those who have been given the scripture is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them, and the chaste women from the believers and the chaste women of those who have been given the scripture before yourselves, when you have given them their bridal dues (ujuurahunna), being chaste not being unchaste nor being ones taking secret lovers. And whoever denies in the faith, has surely wasted his deeds, and in the Hereafter he will be with the losers.
Note: God has clearly specified what is lawful and what is not lawful and He wants His believers to follow His instruction found in the guidance given by Him avoiding all man-made rules that impose hardship and difficulties to stay in the faith.

Settlement and payment of bridal due (reward)

Marriage is a sacred bond between men and women where bridal payment is obligatory for the grooms in all circumstances by mutually agreeing to any adjustments. The paying or the commitment of paying the amount as fixed at the time of marriage on behalf of husband is not just security for the women but an honor and comport for the woman to join with a new family to start a new life as wife. Even the prophet was not given a waiver of paying the bridal reward while there was an exception for him to marry any believing woman including 4 categories of women who are unlawful in marriage for the believers. The orphan brides must be given their bridal due to stand for the orphans to treat them with justice.

God has commanded us to settle the bridal payment at the time of marriage while there is no indication that the bridal payment is made obligatory to pay off on the upfront but must be paid out as specified if the marriage breaks up unless the divorced women or her party forgo it. However, if the marriage breaks up before it is consummated, the payment would be half. It is also noteworthy the complimentary gift should not be confused with the obligatory bridal due.

[2:237] And if you (men) divorce them (women) before you have touched them, while indeed, you have specified for them an obligation (fareedatan), then (give) half of what you have specified, except that they (female) forgo or the guardian of the marriage forgoes. And that you forgo, is nearer to righteousness. And do not forget graciousness between you; indeed, God is Seer of what you do.
Note: God has commanded us to settle the bridal payment at the time of marriage while it is not a requirement that the bridal payment is to pay off on the upfront but must be paid out as specified if the marriage breaks up unless the divorced women or their parties forgo it. If the marriage breaks before it is consummated, the payment would be half while the marriage should end in an amicable way.

[4:4] And you shall give the women their befitting dowries (saduqaatinhinna nih’latan). Then if they have remitted for you anything of its portion in willingness, then you shall consume it with ease as righteous.
Note: Settlement of dowry for the women in a befitting manner in the marriage has been made obligatory but it is not unlawful if the women remit any portion of it when the men have to pay it for falling the couple into an unusual situation.

[4:24] And (has been made unlawful for you) the married ones of the women except whom has possessed your right hands (the married women fleeing from the disbelieving husbands during wartime). It is God’s decree upon you. And has been made lawful for you what is beyond that: that you may seek with your wealth to be chaste not being lustful. So, whoever you have chosen from them with it, then you shall give them their dowry as an obligation (ujuurahunna fareedatan). And there is no sin upon you concerning what you have mutually agreed of it after the obligation (ba’da al-fareedati). Indeed, God has been Knower, Wise.
Note: Bridal dowry is a mutually agreed amount being aware that it is obligatory in the marriage.  

[4:25] And whoever among you does not have abundance that he can marry the believing free women, then from what has possessed your right hands of your slave girls among the believers. And God knows best about your faith – one of you to other. So you shall marry them with permission of their family and shall give them their bridal reward (dowry) in a fair manner. They are chaste not being the adulteresses, nor having secret lovers. Then when they have been married, then if they have committed of adultery, then for them is half of the punishment what is for the free chaste women. That is for whoever has feared the committing sin among you, and that you be patient is better for you. And God is Forgiving, Merciful.
Note: Those who cannot afford the free believing women may marry from the believing slave women giving them a fair dowry. Both spouses need to be chaste while the slave spouses if found to be unchaste, their punishment is half of the free believing women.

[5:5] Today, it has been made lawful for you the good things; and food of those who have been given the scripture is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them, and the chaste women from the believers and the chaste women of those who have been given the scripture before yourselves, when you have given them their bridal dues (ujuurahunna), being chaste not being unchaste nor being ones taking secret lovers. And whoever denies in the faith, has surely wasted his deeds, and in the Hereafter he will be with the losers.
Note: Marriage has been made lawful between the followers of the previous scripture and the followers of the Quran when bridal dowries are given.

[33:50] O prophet, we have made lawful for you the wives to whom you have given their bridal reward (aatayta ujuurahunna), and whom has possessed your right hands (wa-maa malakat yameenuka) of whom God has given to you, and the daughters of your father’s brothers, and the daughters of your father’s sisters, and the daughters of your mother’s brothers, and the daughters of your mother’s sisters who have emigrated with you, and any believing woman if she gives herself to the prophet when the prophet wishes to marry her (yastankihahaa), is only for you (prophet) but not for the believers. Certainly, we know what we have made obligatory for them with regard to their wives and whom has possessed their right hands (wa-maa malakat aymaanuhum), that should not be a discomfort for you. And God is Forgiving, Merciful.
Note: Even the prophet was not given a waiver of paying the bridal reward while he had privileges to marry any believing woman from the categories made unlawful for the believers.

[60:10] O you those who believed, when came to you the believing women as emigrants, so you shall test them. God is Knower of their faith. When if you knew them to be believers, then you should do not return them to the disbelievers. They (women) are neither lawful for them (disbelievers), nor they (disbelievers) are lawful for them (women), and you shall give them (disbelievers) what they have spent. And there is no blame on you if you marry them (women) when you have given them their (bridal) reward (ujuurahunna). And you should not hold with marriages of the disbelieving women. And you shall ask what you have spent and they should ask what they have spent. That is God’s judgment. He judges between you, and God is Knower, Wise.
Note: There is mention of bridal reward for the believing women for getting to marriage and of what the disbelievers have spent for their wives who left them. The disbelieving women are not lawful for the believing men while the believing women are not lawful for the disbelieving men.

It is noteworthy that dowry is the money and assets given to the groom at the time of marriage on behalf of bride’s family as demanded compensation for his higher education and future earnings. In fact, the Arabic counterpart of dowry is “jahaz” and the custom of giving dowry is un-Islamic being totally in opposition to the spirit of Islam, although it actually seems to be on the increase among several South Asian Muslim cultures, notably in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Divorce and remarriage

Disputes within the institution of marriage are very likely to happen. That is why God has explained to us the ideal, amicable and humane approaches of dealing with them. It is very natural and commonly practiced by spouses to go through the different steps: advice, desertion in bed and complete desertion during day and night for a while (4:34). then arbitration must take over to reconcile them (4:35) when the wife would not follow her husband’s advice stated in (4:34). That is a very normal logically, ethically and emotionally accepted one that would lead to some constructive and healthy evaluation of the matter of dispute. But when all the steps fail, the marriage breaks up and the couple becomes separated. This progression in events would be sufficient evidences to conform to the divine ethics for amicable divorce.

[4:34] Men are caregivers of women because God has given them certain qualities and because they spend from their wealth. So, the righteous women voluntarily accept that what God has enjoined to guard. If you fear rebellion from them (women), then you should advise them, and you may desert them in the bed and even you may completely ignore them (wa-id’ribuuhunna). But if they obey you, then do not seek a way against them. Indeed, God is Most High, Most Great.
Note: God has made men responsible to support the family from their wealth and the righteous women accept that what He has ordered them to guard including the steps of reconciliation: advice, desertion in bed and complete desertion, when the men fear rebellion from the women.
[4:35] And if you fear separation between them (couple), then send an arbitrator from his family and an arbitrator her family. If they wish to reconcile, then God will bring them together. Indeed, God is Omniscient, Cognizant.
Note: If separation is likely to happen even after complete desertion, meaning the wife would not follow her husband’s advice as stated in 4:34, then arbitration must take over to reconcile them.
[4:128] And if a woman fears rebellion or desertion from her husband, then there is no sin for them to reconcile between themselves; and the reconciliation is best (for them). And the souls are swayed by greed. And if you do good and fear (God), then indeed, God is Cognizant of what you do.
Note: The steps that are followed to reconcile between the couple when a husband fears rebellion from her wife, the same steps are to be followed to reconcile them when a wife fears rebellion from her husband eliminating selfishness from their hearts.

Divorce can be retreated twice, i.e., they can return to each other without getting married to another husband (2:232). Divorcees can be reunited twice but after the third time they cannot return to each other unless she has got married to another husband and then if the husband divorces her (2:230).

[2:232] And if you divorce the women, and they have completed their interim period, then do not prevent them from marrying their (ex) husbands if they agree among themselves in fair manner. That is encouraged with it for anyone among you who believes in God and the Last Day, that is better for you and purer; and God knows while you do not know.
Note: The divorce can be treated two times when the ex-wives are not required to get married to another husband.

[2:230] And if he divorces her, then she is not lawful for him after that until she marries a spouse other than him. Then if he (other husband) divorces her, then there is no sin for them that they return to each other if they believe that they will uphold God’s limits. These are God’s limits, He clarifies them for a people who know.
Note: After the third time the divorcees cannot return to each other unless she has got married to another husband and then if he divorces her.

Polygamy

Polygamy in Islam is an exception which is legal under certain strict conditions for the sake of orphans that the person is able to maintain fairness as well as to avoid financial hardship (4:3) while the Quran even discourages that exception (4:129). In fact, if any men marry a second time without meeting the conditions around the well-being of orphans stands in violation of the Quran.

[4:3] And if you have feared that you cannot be just with the orphans, then you shall marry what has deemed fit for you from the women – two, and three, and four; while if you have feared that you cannot do just, then one, or what has possessed your right hands. That is best that you do not do injustice
Note: In fact, there is no polygamy in Islam even though many non-Muslims believe it and some Muslims practice it.
[4:129] And you will never be able to deal justly between the women, even if you have sincere intention; so do not incline to the one and leave her (the other one) like the hanging one. And if you reconcile and fear (God), then indeed, God is Forgiving, Merciful.
Note: Polygamy is an exception, which is also discouraged to be happy with only one wife.

Punishment of adultery

Sexual misconduct or accusation of someone with sexual misconduct or spreading rumors with such accusations is very serious matter and is not looked upon lightly by God. The punishment of the proven adultery for the couple is 100 lashes (24:2) and the punishment for the slaved women freed through marriage is half of the free women i.e., 50 lashes if they commit adultery (4:25). The punishment of those who accuse a married woman of adultery but fail to produce four witnesses is eighty lashes (24:4). The women who have committed adultery proved by four witnesses can be confined in their houses until the death comes to them or God makes a way out (4:15) and the two men who have committed it can be punished or they may be left alone if they repent and reform (4:16). He has warned us not to accuse anyone of sexual misconduct or to spread rumors about anyone of it without having a strong proof (24:12 and 24:15-16):

[17:32] And you shall not commit adultery (al-zinaa); indeed, it is a wicked behavior and an evil act.
[24:2] The adulteress and the adulterer, you shall lash each of them one hundred lashes, and do not let any pity take you in the religion of God if you believe in God and the last day. And let a group of the believers witness their punishment.
[4:25] And whoever among you does not have abundance that he can marry the believing free women, then from what has possessed your right hands of your slave girls among the believers. And God knows best about your faith – one of you to other. So you shall marry them with permission of their family and shall give them their bridal reward (dowry) in a fair manner. They are chaste not being the adulteresses, nor having secret lovers. Then when they have been married, then if they have committed of adultery (bi-faa’hi’shatin), then for them is half of the punishment what is for the free chaste women. That is for whoever has feared the committing sin among you, and that you be patient is better for you. And God is Forgiving, Merciful.

[24:4] Those who accuse the married women of adultery, then fail to produce four witnesses, you shall whip them eighty lashes, and do not accept any testimony from them; they are wicked.

[4:15] And those who commit the adultery (al-faa’hi’shata) among your women, then you shall call to witness four among you against them; then if they have borne witness, then you shall confine them in their houses until the death comes to them, or God makes a way for them.
[4:16] And those two who commit it among you, then you shall punish both of them. But if they both have repented and have reformed, then you shall turn away from both of them. Indeed, God has been Forgiving, Merciful.

[24:12] When you heard it (rumor of sexual accusation), the believing men and the believing women should think for their own good and say, “This is obviously a lie.”
[24:15] When you accepted it by your tongues and spoke with your mouths what you had no knowledge of it, and you thought it was simple while it was grievous with God.
[24:16] And why not when you heard it, said: “It is something that we should not speak of this. Glory be to You, this is a great lie.”

Conclusion

God created mates to find tranquility and has placed love and care for one another. Thus, marriage is a very special and sacred relationship between two souls established through solemn pledge. It begins a new family, and men are made responsible to support the family. The couples should cultivate love and care what He has placed in their hearts to stay united in all circumstances being a life-long commitment.

Marriage is a sacred bond between men and women where bridal payment is obligatory for the grooms in all circumstances by mutually agreeing to any adjustments, which is an honor and comfort for the woman to join with a new family to start a new life as wife. Even the slave and orphan brides must be given their bridal due to treat them with justice. The settlement of bridal due is obligatory at the time of marriage but not its payment while its payment is made obligatory when the marriage breaks up unless the ex-wife forgoes it.

Disputes within the institution of marriage are very likely to happen. When there is dispute, the couple must go through the steps: advice, desertion, complete desertion and arbitration, and if all these steps fail, the couple may become separated ending the marriage. However, the divorcees can remarry twice after their divorce but not after the third time divorce.

Muslim women are portrayed in the western media as an extension of Islam-bashing: women are not equal to men, wife beating and polygamy while polygamy in Islam is an exception under certain strict conditions for the sake of orphans to be fair with them. In true sense, there is no polygamy in Islam while wife beating and inequality between men and women is a myth in Islam.

Sexual misconduct or accusation of someone with it or spreading rumors with it is very seriously viewed in the Quran, and God wants all of His believers to refrain from such evil behaviors.

Marriage allows a man and a woman to share their joys and burdens freely, support each other throughout their lives and most of all, encourage each other to be united and steadfast along with their offspring in their pursuit of God’s grace and pleasure. However, all of us may start our journey being true Muslims following the divine guidance in all our circumstances instead of becoming Muhammedans following the man-made doctrine falsely assigned to Prophet Muhammad as well as being proud of claiming him to be the greatest prophet of the world.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.
Tafazzal (2/8/2019).