This verse clearly underscores
the institution of marriage as a means of happiness for humans, unlike other religions that celebrate celibacy. Prophet Muhammad
(peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Marriage is my sunnah (example) and anyone who avoids it is not of me.”
The Prophet also said, “When a man marries, he has fulfilled half of his religion, so let him fear Allah regarding the
We find that marriage gives people a lawful way for fulfilling a significant
biological need, thereby saving them from all kinds of aberration in the field of sexual relations. Islam gives elaborate
guidelines for men and women to marry suitable mates, thereby enabling them to find happiness and contentment in life.Obstacles
But unfortunately, we
find that many present-day Muslims deviate from Islamic norms to blindly imitate Western models and fashions in male-female
relationships because they are led to think of Islamic guidelines as somewhat old-fashioned. The consequences are disastrous
and are wreaking terrible havoc in our societies.
Modern Muslim societies
present enormous difficulties for the young people who seek to find tranquility and contentment in life by choosing a suitable
mate for marriage.
One Islamic injunction
regarding marriage is that the bridegroom should give mahr (dowry) to the bride before the consummation of marriage.
This gift can be money or gold or some other gift. Women have the God-given right to demand a certain amount of mahr
from a bridegroom. This simple rule of Islam is obviously subverted by the current trend to demand exorbitant amounts of money
as mahr. The women who make very high demands say that they want to ascertain their future security. This implies that
it is taken for granted they are going to have a future for themselves apart from their husbands. This attitude is an _expression
of the cynicism of many young women about husband-wife relationships and can be a threat to the stability of the marriage.
But can we say that women
alone are responsible for this situation? Not at all. In fact, the root of their cynicism lies in the irresponsible behavior
of many men.
Islam stipulates that
it is the duty of men to look after their wives and children and to meet all the common expenses of the family. Women are
not asked to spend a penny from their share of inherited wealth or from their income. For a bridegroom, both the mahr—which
now has become unreasonably huge—and the future expenses of the whole family become a veritable burden, unless he is
very rich. It is fine that the bride is free from all this responsibility, but the present trend of demanding a huge sum of
money as a condition for marriage means that, to many young men, married life becomes a mirage. And if they should marry,
the sacrifices they have to make are quite immense, so many young men are constrained to postpone their marriage almost indefinitely.
For this reason, not only young men, but also young women continue to remain unmarried,
even after a reasonable age of consent. And the increasing number of eligible bachelors and spinsters long past their prime
poses a potential threat to the social fabric; it becomes a social problem. One result, seen in countries like Egypt, is the
increasing instance of secret or unregistered marriages. For instance, sometimes young adults in college resort to an Egyptian
version of common-law marriage; that is to say they marry without the knowledge of their parents and live as husband and wife.
The children born out of such marriages are denied any legal rights to the property of their father.
A Need for SimplicityIn our societies, one
problem is the abandoning of the principle of simple living and high thinking. The concept of life in modern times has changed
a lot from what it used to be a few decades ago. Many young people postpone their marriage until they can afford to have a
good house, with all modern amenities such as a refrigerator, a washing machine, a television, and so on. It is a grim fact
that after completing graduation, many youngsters have to wait a long time to get employment in the first place. Then, after
getting a job, they have to wait until they have earned enough money to buy all the items required for fashionable living.
Add to this the young people’s fear of responsibilities; the feeling that one is not able to cope with the demands of
the spouse or of the relatives.
In their own way, the
movies and the television have added to the woes of the young. The exaggerated pictures of glamorous women and handsome men
make many young adults dream of meeting such creatures in real life, where they do not exist! The result is disappointment.
The problem is that people are not aware of the real worth of Islamic living. It
is a pity that even when Muslims have the Qur’an with them, they do not look at it as Allah’s complete guidance
for mankind, whose teachings are valid for day-to-day life. They foolishly seek haphazard solutions for their problems in
man-made systems; and life becomes a delusion, a mockery, and a snare.