Introduction

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Marriage is a religious contract where both the husband and wife have equal rights. The principle of a Muslim marriage is to permit a lawful consummation. The marriage partakes both the ibadah and the muamalat. The dictionary of Lisan Arabic defines the word zawaj as association and coming together; while al Qamus al Mohit gives the meaning of the plural form azwaj as associate. Terms zawaj and nikah are synonymous. The term is used in the Holy Quran as act of bringing together or of being together.

The term nikah is defined by Al-Kanz as a purposeful contract for obtaining and possessing enjoyment. Abu Zahrah defined it as a contract leading to permissibility of having a common life between a man and a woman in a manner that fulfils the necessities of human nature, leading to life-time co-operation between them, and defines the rights and duties of each of them.

The original meaning of the word nikah is the physical relationship between man and woman.  It is also used secondarily to refer to the contract of marriage which makes that relationship lawful.

Definition of marriage in fiqh is “a contract that results in the two parties physically enjoying each other in the manner allowed by the Syariah“. According to Ibn. Uthaimeen marriage is a mutual contract between a man and a woman whose goal is for each to enjoy the other, become a pious family and a sound society.

  1. Purpose of Marriage

The basic objectives of marriage in Islam are, first, securing a comfortable environment for a husband and wife and, second, producing a new generation of healthy, faithful and virtuous children. With regard to the first objective, the Holy Quran says:

وَمِنۡ اٰيٰتِهٖۤ اَنۡ خَلَقَ لَكُمۡ مِّنۡ اَنۡفُسِكُمۡ اَزۡوَاجًا لِّتَسۡكُنُوۡۤا اِلَيۡهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيۡنَكُمۡ مَّوَدَّةً وَّرَحۡمَة ؕ اِنَّ فِىۡ ذٰ لِكَ لَاٰيٰتٍ لِّقَوۡمٍ يَّتَفَكَّرُوۡنَ‏ً 

“One of His signs is that He created for you spouses of your own species, so that you might find comfort with them. And He put mutual love and affection in your hearts. Surely in this there are lessons for the thinking people”

(Ar-Rum 30:21)

Pleasure: Islam is the religion of the fitrah – the religion which is consistent with the natural instincts and needs of mankind. It is not like the man-made religions which set abnormal restraints on people whether on prohibition of marriage (nuns and monks, etc.), prohibition of divorce or monogamy. Men are inclined toward women and women are inclined toward men. Marriage is the institution which fulfills this desire and channels it in ways of getting blessing from Allah.

Procreation (Children): One of the most important purposes of marriage is to continue and increase the population of the Muslims. This goal could be achieved without marriage, but when actions are undertaken in disobedience to Allah, they do not receive the blessing of Allah. The whole society would be corrupted with illegitimate children. The Prophet (SAW) said:”Marry, for I will outnumber the other nations by you on Qiyama”. [Ibn Majah – Sahih].It should be stressed that the goal is not simply to produce any child that will live in the next generation. It is to produce righteous children who will be obedient to Allah and who will be a source of reward for their parents after they die. Thus it is the responsibility of Muslim parents to train and educate them so that they would become a pious believer who worshipping and obeying Allah.

Al-Tarmizi classified the object of marriage into the following categories namely to (i) Restrain of sexual tension; (ii) Ordering of domestic life; (iii) increase a family; (iv) Discipline of soul in the care and responsibility of wife and children; and (v) Upbringing of virtuous children

  1. Authority for Marriage

Al-Quran

Ar-Rom: (30: 21)

وَمِنۡ اٰيٰتِهٖۤ اَنۡ خَلَقَ لَكُمۡ مِّنۡ اَنۡفُسِكُمۡ اَزۡوَاجًا لِّتَسۡكُنُوۡۤا اِلَيۡهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيۡنَكُمۡ مَّوَدَّةً وَّرَحۡمَة ؕ اِنَّ فِىۡ ذٰ لِكَ لَاٰيٰتٍ لِّقَوۡمٍ يَّتَفَكَّرُوۡنَ‏ً 

Meaning:

“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.”

An-Nisa’: (4: 1)

ۤـاَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوۡا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِىۡ خَلَقَكُمۡ مِّنۡ نَّفۡسٍ وَّاحِدَةٍ وَّخَلَقَ مِنۡهَا زَوۡجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنۡهُمَا رِجَالًا كَثِيۡرًا وَّنِسَآءً​ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللّٰهَ الَّذِىۡ تَسَآءَلُوۡنَ بِهٖ وَالۡاَرۡحَامَ​ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ كَانَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ رَقِيۡبًا‏

Meaning:

“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer.”

Al-A’raf: (7: 189)

هُوَ الَّذِىۡ خَلَقَكُمۡ مِّنۡ نَّـفۡسٍ وَّاحِدَةٍ وَّجَعَلَ مِنۡهَا زَوۡجَهَا لِيَسۡكُنَ اِلَيۡهَا​ ۚ فَلَمَّا تَغَشّٰٮهَا حَمَلَتۡ حَمۡلًا خَفِيۡفًا فَمَرَّتۡ بِهٖ​ ۚ فَلَمَّاۤ اَثۡقَلَتۡ دَّعَوَا اللّٰهَ رَبَّهُمَا لَـئِنۡ اٰتَيۡتَـنَا صَالِحًا لَّـنَكُوۡنَنَّ مِنَ الشّٰكِرِيۡنَ‏

Meaning:

“It is He who created you from one soul and created from it its mate that he might dwell in security with her. And when he covers her, she carries a light burden and continues therein. And when it becomes heavy, they both invoke Allah , their Lord, “If You should give us a good [child], we will surely be among the grateful.”

Yasin: (36: 36)

سُبۡحٰنَ الَّذِىۡ خَلَقَ الۡاَزۡوَاجَ كُلَّهَا مِمَّا تُنۡۢبِتُ الۡاَرۡضُ وَمِنۡ اَنۡفُسِهِمۡ وَمِمَّا لَا يَعۡلَمُوۡنَ‏

Meaning:

“Exalted is He who created all pairs – from what the earth grows and from themselves and from that which they do not know.”

An-Nahl: (16: 72)

وَاللّٰهُ جَعَلَ لَـكُمۡ مِّنۡ اَنۡفُسِكُمۡ اَزۡوَاجًا وَّ جَعَلَ لَـكُمۡ مِّنۡ اَزۡوَاجِكُمۡ بَنِيۡنَ وَحَفَدَةً وَّرَزَقَكُمۡ مِّنَ الطَّيِّبٰتِ​ؕ اَفَبِالۡبَاطِلِ يُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ وَبِنِعۡمَتِ اللّٰهِ هُمۡ يَكۡفُرُوۡنَۙ‏

Meaning:

“And Allah has made for you from yourselves mates and has made for you from your mates sons and grandchildren and has provided for you from the good things. Then in falsehood do they believe and in the favor of Allah they disbelieve?”

An-Nur: (24: 32)

وَاَنۡكِحُوا الۡاَيَامٰى مِنۡكُمۡ وَالصّٰلِحِيۡنَ مِنۡ عِبَادِكُمۡ وَاِمَآئِكُمۡ​ ؕ اِنۡ يَّكُوۡنُوۡا فُقَرَآءَ يُغۡنِهِمُ اللّٰهُ مِنۡ فَضۡلِهٖ​ ؕ وَاللّٰهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيۡمٌ‏

Meaning:

“And marry the unmarried among you and the righteous among your male slaves and female slaves. If they should be poor, Allah will enrich them from His bounty, and Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.”

Hadith

حَدَّثَنَا عُمَرُ بْنُ حَفْصِ بْنِ غِيَاثٍ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبِي، حَدَّثَنَا الأَعْمَشُ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي عُمَارَةُ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ يَزِيدَ، قَالَ دَخَلْتُ مَعَ عَلْقَمَةَ وَالأَسْوَدِ عَلَى عَبْدِ اللَّهِ فَقَالَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ كُنَّا مَعَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم شَبَابًا لاَ نَجِدُ شَيْئًا فَقَالَ لَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهُ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ يَا مَعْشَرَ الشَّبَابِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ الْبَاءَةَ فَلْيَتَزَوَّجْ، فَإِنَّهُ أَغَضُّ لِلْبَصَرِ، وَأَحْصَنُ لِلْفَرْجِ، وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَعَلَيْهِ بِالصَّوْمِ، فَإِنَّهُ لَهُ وِجَاءٌ ‏

We were with the Prophet (ﷺ) while we were young and had no wealth whatever. So Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “O young people! Whoever among you can marry, should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty (i.e. his private parts from committing illegal sexual intercourse etc.), and whoever is not able to marry, should fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual power.”

Sahih Bukhari

2.

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو بِشْرٍ، بَكْرُ بْنُ خَلَفٍ وَمُحَمَّدُ بْنُ يَحْيَى قَالاَ حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو عَاصِمٍ، عَنْ جَعْفَرِ بْنِ يَحْيَى بْنِ ثَوْبَانَ، عَنْ عَمِّهِ، عُمَارَةَ بْنِ ثَوْبَانَ عَنْ عَطَاءٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ قَالَ ‏ “‏ خَيْرُكُمْ خَيْرُكُمْ لأَهْلِهِ وَأَنَا خَيْرُكُمْ لأَهْلِي ‏

It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas that:

the Prophet said: “The best of you is the one who is best to his wife, and I am the best of you to my wives.”