Page 137 - Islam In Focus

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appeal for a serious discussion of the matter. They, then may be able to reach sound
Marriage and Divorce
One of the most distorted concepts of Islam is the real meaning of marriage. In
addition to the brief statement made earlier in this survey, a few more remarks may be
useful. Marriage in Islam is not a business deal negotiated by two partners, nor is it a
secular contract whereby material benefits and obligations are evaluated in contrast to
one another. It is something solemn, something sacred, and it would be erroneous to
define it in simply physical or material and secular terms. Moral charity, spiritual
elevation, social integrity, human stability, peace and mercy constitute the major
elements of marriage. It is a contract to which God Himself is the First Witness and
the First Party; it is concluded in His Name, in obedience to Him and according to His
ordinances. It is a decent human companionship, authorized and supervised by God. It
is a Sign of His blessings and abundant mercy as He clearly says in the Qur’ an,
It is evident, therefore, that marriage in Islam is a means of permanent relationship
and continuous harmony not only between man and women but also between those
and God. It is also clear that when two Muslims negotiate a marriage contract, they
have every intention to make it a lasting success, for good or for bad, for better or for
To insure this result, Islam has laid down certain regulations to give every possible
assurance that marriage will serve its purpose fully. Among these regulations are the
1. The two parties should acquire a fair knowledge of each other in a way that does
not involve any immoral or deceptive and exploitative behavior
2. Man in particular is exhorted to choose his female partner on the basis of her
permanent values, i.e., religious devotion, moral integrity, character, etc., and not on
the basis of her wealth or family prestige or mere physical attractions
3. Woman is given the right to make sure that the proposing man is a suitable match,
worthy of her respect and love, and capable of making her happy. On this ground, she
may reject the proposal of a man whom she finds below her level or unfit, because
this may hinder the fulfillment of her obligations as a wife and may even break her
would-be marriage
4. Woman has a right to demand a dowry from her suitor according to her standards
and also according to his means. If she wishes to disregard this right and accept him
with a little or no dowry, she may do so. The injunction of dowry on man is to assure
the woman that she is wanted, needed, and that the man is prepared and willing to
undertake his responsibilities, financially and otherwise. Dowry is also a symbolic
gesture indicating that the woman will be secure, and that the man is not looking for
any material gains as his motive for entering the marriage. It draws the clear lines
between what each party should expect and not expect of the other
5. Marriage should be made public and celebrated in a most joyful manner. The free
consent of both parties is an essential condition without which marriage is not valid