I have tried in vain to encourage my friend into marriage. How do I explain to him the benefits of marriage, since he argues that marriage is too serious a commitment to go into? In other words is a bachelor with all the necessary means committing a sin, if he does not get married early?
The thrust of human life, more often than, is directed to the dual objective of preserving self and preserving kind. In order to achieve both objectives and to improve on the quality of life, the efforts of both the man and the woman are needed in a way that will ensure compliments in marriage. Marriage, like a garment, is meant to be a comfort, a protection and a security. It beautifies and warms personalities. It enfolds, covers and conceals what is private from the eyes of the world.
Marriage relationship is summed up in the metaphor of the Qur’an, “They (wives) are your garments and you (husbands) are their garments” (The Qura’n, al_Baqarah 2:187). For a happy marriage, everything ultimately depends on the free will, intentions and attitudes of both the husband and the wife. The Prophet (S) exhorted young people to marry and advised all concerned to make marriage easy for those who want to marry. He himself took keen interest in encouraging his companions to marry and giving them practical help in setting up a home. He encouraged people to marry a partner for the sake of good character, piety and religion instead of wealth, noble stock or beauty. There is no celibacy or monasticism in your Islam. In this regard, the Prophet (S) is reported to have said: “Marriage is part of my tradition and whoever disdains my tradition is not from me” (The Hadith, Sahih Muslim vol. 1919, Book 9).
The practice of dating, courting, premarital relations, trial union and marriage are firmly prohibited in Islam. It is for this reason that it is not allowed for a man and a woman who are not within the prohibited degree of marriage to be alone together or to have any physical contact.
Both parties in a marriage must give their free will consent to it. Parents may therefore recommend a suitable marriage partner, but they are not to impose the partner on their daughter or son without due regard for their feeling.
Islam admonishes a husband should resolve not to hate his wife because if a husband dislikes one of his wife’s characteristics he would be pleased with another of her qualities. To the extent that when the husband intends to have intimate relations with his wife, the Prophet (S) advised that he should court her and approach her in gentle manner, not in a rough way as animals do. And that in itself is a manifestation of tenderness and respect for her. The husband has to remember that the way he treats his wife is a test of his moral worth.
The husband has a duty to support his wife and provide her with essential education, adequate food, clothing, and matrimonial home. Husbands as well as wives have duties as well as rights, but the best of them are those who perform their duties without insisting on their rights. For the Prophet (S) said, “The most perfect of the believers in faith are the best of them in morals. And the best among them are those who are best to their wives” (The Hadith, Saheeh Sunan At_Tirmidhi 1162). The husband has an overall duty of providing for and managing the household. This is emphasized in the saying of the Prophet (S), “Each one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. A man is a shepherd in his family, and he will be questioned about those under his care. A woman is a ruler in the house of her husband and she will be questioned about those under her care” (The Hadith, Sahih Muslim 1829). The woman has the right and the duty to pursue education and vocational goals that would develop her talents, protect the interests of her family and strengthen the Muslim community.
Marriage has been recommended to us strongly by the Prophet (S). It is not obligatory. Even when a person has all the means to facilitate his marriage, he does not commit a sin by delaying his marriage or by not marrying all. He simply fails to act on a strong recommendation by the Prophet (S). That is certainly not a good attitude, but we cannot say that remaining single is in itself a sin. This definitely cannot be true.
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Lemu, A., & Heeren, F. (1978). Woman in Islam. London: Islamic Council of Europe.
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Sabiq, S. (1990). Fiqh as Sunnah (Arabic text), vol. II. Cairo: Dar ar Rayyan.