Thirukkural - 60

The Marriage Process in Islam

Mutual Agreement of Bride and Groom

Marriage (Nikkah) is a solemn and sacred social contract between bride and groom. This contract is a strong covenant as expressed in Holy Quran 4:21. The marriage contract in Islam is not a sacrament and it is revocable. Both parties mutually agree and enter into this contract. Both bride and groom have the liberty to define various terms and conditions of their liking and make them a part of this contract.

Before Marrying

The first thing we should look for when marrying is how committed the person is to Islam. Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wassallam) said, "A woman is normally sought as a wife for her wealth, beauty, nobility, or religiousness (adherence to Islam), so choose a religious woman and you will prosper." (Muslim) "A woman is married for four things, i.e., her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. So you should marry the religious woman (otherwise) you will be a loser."(Bukhari) "The whole world is a provision, and the best object of benefit of the world is the pious woman. (Muslim)

The same holds true when looking for a husband, as Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi was sallam) said, "When someone with whose religion and character you are satisfied, asks to marry your daughter, comply with his request. If you do not do so, there will be corruption and great evil on earth." (Tirmidhi)

Of course, both parties have to agree to marry one another and they can not be forced to marry one another. Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi was sallam) said, "A woman whom has been previously married has more right concerning herself than her guardian, and a virgin’s consent must be asked about herself…" (Bukhari and Muslim)

The man has permission to see her face before agreeing to marry as Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi was sallam) said, "Go and look at her (the woman you are considering marrying) because this will help your time together to be strengthened." (Ahmad)

After a man and woman have agreed to marry, they have to remember that the man is still not her mahram (men including her father, brothers, sons, maternal and paternal uncles, and nephews). This means they can not still deal with one another as partners in anyway (such as shaking hands, gazing at one another, being alone together, etc.). Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi was sallam) said, "Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him not have a private audience with a woman without her mahram." (Ahmad)

The Wedding Ceremony (Nikkah)

Primary Requirements

1 – Consent: ‘Aysha (Rali) asked Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi was sallam) if womem must be asked for their permission of marriage. Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi was sallam) replied, "Yes". She said, ‘The virgin is asked for her permission but she gets shy. Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi was sallam) said, "Her silence is her permission." (Bukhari and Muslim). Mutual agreement (Ijab-O-Qabul) by the bride and the groom.

2 – Two Witnesses: Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi was sallam) said, "There is no marriage except with a wakeel (Woman’s Guardian) and trustworthy witnesses." (Bayhaqee)

3 – The Mahr (Dowry): Allah says (what means): "And give to the women their dowry with a good heart, but if they out of their own good pleasure remit any part of it to you, take it and enjoy it without fear of any harm." (Al-Nisa 4:4) The mahr can be of any amount, Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi was sallam) said, "Look for one even if it was an iron ring." (Bukhari and Muslim)

The woman is not obliged to give the man anything at the time of the wedding, as is done in some cultures.

Secondary Requirements

1) Khutba-tun-Nikkah to solemnize the marriage.
2) Written marriage contract signed by the bride and the groom and witnesses by two adult and sane witnesses.
3)The Marriage Banquet (Walima) after the consummation of the marriage, the groom holds a banquet called a walima. The relatives, neighbours, and friends are invited in order to make them aware of the marriage. Both rich and poor of the family and community are invited to the marriage feasts. Prophet Muhammad(Saws) said: The worst of the feasts are those marriage feasts to which the rich are invited and the poor are left out". (Mishkat)

After the Wedding

Supporting One’s Wife

The man is responsible for providing for his wife, as Allah says (what means), "Let the wealthy man spend according to his means; and let the man whose provisions are restricted spend according to what Allah has given him. Allah does not burden a soul beyond what He has given it, and Allah will grant ease after a hardship." (Al-Talaq 65:7)

Islam even gives women the right to take secretly money from their husbands if they are not providing for them. Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan, came to Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi was sallam) and said, "O Messenger of Allah, Abu Sufyan is a stingy man and does not give me and my children enough provisions except when I take something from him with out his knowledge." Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi was sallam) said, "Take what is reasonably sufficient for you and your children." (Bukhari and Muslim)

Educating One’s Family

Since the man has put in the position of providing for his family, he must also provide them with the proper Islamic education to keep them from the hellfire. Allah says (what means), ‘O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is men and stones (that were worshipped), over it are appointed angels stern and severe, who disobey not the Commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded." (Al-Tahrim 66:6)

Both the husband and wife should make sure their home is a place where Allah is remembered and His Commandments are reflected and acted upon. Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi was sallam) said, "The similitude of a home in which Allah is remembered and a home in which He is not is like the living and the dead." (Muslim)

The Wife Obeying Her Husband

A woman must obey her husband as long as he does not tell her to perform any haraam (unlawful) acts. Allah says (what means), "…the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in absence what Allah would have then guard." (Al-Nisa 4:34)

Kind Treatment To One’s Wife

Just because Allah has given men a position of authority does not give them the right to abuse it. They have to treat their wives in the best manner. Allah says (what means), "Live with them honorably." (Al-Nisa 4:19)"They are your garments And ye are their garments." (Al-Baqara 2:187) Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi was sallam) said, "The believer with the most complete faith is the one with the best character, and the best of them are those whom treat their women the best. (Tirmidhi)

We can see from the seerah (biography) of Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi was sallam) that he would help his wives with housework and would engage in games with them as well.

This article did not cover all the aspects of marriage, but it is hoped it was beneficial. Anything good in this article is from Allah and anything incorrect is from myself.

Qur’an Permits Limited Polygyny

Holy quran - 4:3

The Qur’an is the only religious scripture on the face of the earth that says ‘Marry only one’. The context of this phrase is the following verse from Surah Nisa of the Glorious Qur’an: "Marry women of your choice, two, or three, or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one." [Al-Qur’an 4:3]

Before the Qur’an was revealed, there was no upper limit for polygyny and many men had scores of wives, some even hundreds. Islam put an upper limit of four wives. Islam gives a man permission to marry two, three or four women, only on the condition that he deals justly with them.

In the same chapter i.e. Surah Nisa verse 129 says: "Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women...." [Al-Qur’an 4:129]

Therefore polygyny is not a rule but an exception. Many people are under the misconception that it is compulsory for a Muslim man to have more than one wife.

Broadly, Islam has five categories of Do’s and Don’ts:
(i) ‘Fard’ i.e. compulsory or obligatory
(ii) ‘Mustahab’ i.e. recommended or encouraged
(iii) ‘Mubah’ i.e. permissible or allowed
(iv) ‘Makruh’ i.e. not recommended or discouraged
(v) ‘Haraam’ i.e. prohibited or forbidden

Polygyny falls in the middle category of things that are permissible. It cannot be said that a Muslim who has two, three or four wives is a better Muslim as compared to a Muslim who has only one wife. There are several other reasons, why Islam has permitted limited polygyny, but it is mainly to protect the modesty of women.

Compiled by Hassan

Marriage - Nikkah

Tamil Article About Muslim Marriage