Posted on: 13 June 2015
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Islam is a beautiful religion. At its foundation, every aim and intent carry an advantage and interest for the human being. Islam makes possible man’s sojourn through this temporal existence into the luxurious abodes of the Hereafter. In the ideal journey, one’s mind, soul, and body are guided through situations of difficulty and ease. At all times, focus centers on a devout desire to please the One who shall soon be met, his Creator Allah Glorified and Majestic.
For every man and for every woman, there comes in the course of life harms, pitfalls, and trials, as well as goodness, joys, and contentment. Every human, regardless of religion, gender, race, etc., experiences moments of ease and moments of desperation. What counts is how one conducts himself in both extremes, and all that is found in between. This is our test; it is called the dunya.
Allah has placed in the world things that all humans need. He did not place them without purpose. In fact, He did so in order that humankind better worship Him. Some things Allah left unrestricted for us to enjoy. These are gifts from Allah that we take for granted. For example, daily we need a ration of oxygen to survive. With His mercy and grace, this provision has been given to us in abundance and with ease. There is no question regarding its permissibility. This has been made very simple. If oxygen was taken away from us, even for a few moments, we would face a situation more uncomfortable than when we lack other needs which are regulated by Sacred Law. Allah did not overburden man by withholding what is needed for existence. Rather, Allah placed guidelines directing how to best use these gifts.
Women have been created alongside men: Adam and Eve, and thereafter their many children, including us. Indeed, there is wisdom in Allah’s fashioning man how He did. Allah says that He created mankind in pairs, to facilitate the best means to worship Him. In this path, marriage is essential; moreover, it is sacred.
Islam does not encourage celibacy. The best of Allah’s creation r married and he was sent as an example for all. Christianity advocated celibacy, particularly, at the hand of St. Paul (d. 64CE); subsequently, later Christian authorities in the subapostolic period also adopted this as a preferred measure. The divergence of Christendom from Prophetic teachings would eventually lead to the Church’s crisis that is found today. The refusal of the Church to open the doors to marriage carried on into the modern era, even being reaffirmed by Pope Paul VI as late as 1967. This created a harsh predicament for clergy to honor their vows. Praise is to Allah that Muslims have been protected from this.
Islam recognizes man’s need at this level, and accordingly, has provided an honorable means. This is called marriage, or in Arabic: nikah. Piety is not judged by a person’s ability to refrain from things that are in accordance with one’s natural disposition. In fact, piety is in the path of the Prophetic example, and the Prophet (upon him be peace) married.
The modern world has gradually done away with many sacred institutions. At this point in time, marriage is jeopardized in numerous countries. Many in western contexts still reject extramarital relations, for those who are married. However, premarital relationships are found more and more prevalent. In the United States and Europe, in the duration of the last century, there has been a continual movement towards this trend, this degradation.
There is no place in Islam to accept the western approach that disregards, or even disdains, matrimony. The Islamic conception of this ritual is prophetic. The virtues and legislation governing marriage are elucidated both in the Qur'an and in the Prophet's Sunnah. Applying the Sacred Law, especially the rules of nikah, is obligatory.
In the Qur'an, Allah says, 'Marry that which pleases you from the womenfolk: two, three, or four. And if you cannot do justice, then one….'
In Sunan al-Tirmidhi, the Prophet (upon him be peace) said, 'Four things are from the way of the messengers: (1) modesty, (2) wearing attars, (3) brushing the teeth, and (4) marriage.' And in another narration, the first one is said to be 'circumcision.'
Studying and learning the rulings specific to marriage and the related chapters is thus essential. Doing so is a step to fully realizing the prophetic way. As this is so much needed, we are introducing a series that is to be based on Imam Nawawi's Minhaj al-Talibin along with its commentaries in which the most essential arkan pertaining to this sacred ritual will be elucidated.
May Allah give us the tawfiq and taysir.