Page 85 - Islam In Focus

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blood, and no more wholesome pattern of sexual intimacy than one in which morality
and gratification are joined
Islam recognizes the religious virtue, the social necessity, and the moral advantages of
marriage. The normal course of behavior for the Muslim individual is to be family
oriented and to seek a family of his own. Marriage and the family are central in the
Islamic system. There are many passages in the Qur’ an and statements by the Prophet
which go as far as to say that when a Muslim marries, he has thereby perfected half
his religion; so let him be God-minded and careful with the other half
Muslim scholars have interpreted the Qur’ an to mean that marriage is a religious duty,
a moral safeguard, and social commitment. As a religious duty, it must be fulfilled;
but like all other duties in Islam, it is enjoined only upon those who are capable of
meeting the responsibilities involved. (This discussion is merely an outline of the
author’ s extensive study of the Family Structure in Islam which is published by
American Trust Publications.)
The Meaning of Marriage
Whatever meanings people assign to marriage, Islam views it as a strong bond
(mithaqun ghaleez), a challenging commitment in the fullest sense of the word. It is a
commitment to life itself, to society, and to the dignified, meaningful survival of the
human race. It is a commitment that married partners make to one another as well as
to God. It is the kind of commitment in which they find mutual fulfillment and self-
realization, love and peace, compassion and serenity, comfort and hope. All this is
because marriage in Islam is regarded first and foremost as a righteous act, an act of
responsible devotion. Sexual control may be a moral triumph, reproduction a social
necessity or service, and sound health a gratifying state of mind. Yet, these values and
purposes of marriage would take on a special meaning and be reinforced if they are
intertwined with the idea of God, conceived also as religious commitments, and
internalized as divine blessings. And this seems to be the focal point of marriage in
Islam. To paraphrase some Qur’ anic verses, the call is addressed to mankind to be
dutiful to God, Who created them from a single soul, and from it or of it created its
mate, and from the two of them scattered abroad many men and women (4:1). It was
God Who created mankind out of one living soul, and created of that soul a spouse so
that he might find comfort and rest in her (7:107). And it is a sign of God that He has
created for men, of themselves, mates to seek in their company peace and tranquillity,
and has set between them mutual love and mercy. Surely, in that are signs for those
who contemplate (30:21). Even at the most trying times of married life, and in the
midst of legal disputes and litigation, the Qur’ an reminds the parties of God’ s law; it
commands them to be kind to one another, truly charitable toward one another, and
above all dutiful to God
It is noteworthy that the Islamic provisions of marriage apply to men and women
equally. For example, if celibacy is not recommended for men, it is equally so for
women. This is in recognition of the fact that women’ s needs are equally legitimate
and are seriously taken into consideration. In fact, Islam regards marriage to be the
normal, natural course for women just as it is for men. It may even be more so for
women because it assures them, among other things, of relative economic security.
This significant additional advantage for women does not, however, characterize