أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Jurists are almost all unanimous that whoever has a strong apprehension that in case he does not marry, he would not be able to maintain the prescribed limits of Shari’ah and will get involved in sins, and he has the means to get married, it is obligatory on him to get married. As long as he does not get married, he will remain a sinner. But in case he does not have the means to get married, or a suitable woman is not available, or he does not possess the needed prompt dower etc. for all such situations the injunction is given in the next verse that he should keep striving to obtain what is required and until such time that the needful is arranged, he should keep his emotions under control and wait with patience. The Holy Prophet SAW has advised such persons in this situation to fast continuously, for fasting calms down the sexual desire.

It is reported in Masnad of Ahmad that the Holy Prophet SAW enquired from Sayyidna ‘Akkaf (RA) whether he had a wife, to which he replied in the negative. Then the Holy Prophet SAW enquired whether he had a lawful slave girl. He again replied in the negative. Then he SAW asked ‘Do you have the means?. To this he replied in the affirmative. The purpose of this enquiry was to find out whether he possessed the means to arrange his marriage, to which he answered in the positive. After that the Holy Prophet SAW said ‘In that case you are a brother of Satan, for our sunnah is to get married. The worst persons among you are those who are unmarried, and the most mean among your men are those who die without marrying’. (Mazhari).

Majority of the jurists have attributed this narration as well to that condition when there is a predominant risk of sinning by abstaining from marriage. The Holy Prophet SAW must have known tlie situation of ‘Akkaf that he would not be able to resist. Similarly, it is reported in Masnad of Ahmad on the authority of Sayyidna ‘Anas (RA) that the Holy Prophet SAW had instructed him to get married, and warned against remaining bachelor. (Mazhari). There are some other similar narrations of the hadith as well, and majority of the jurists have held them to be applicable only in those situations where there is a strong apprehension of being involved in a sin if one avoids marriage. Similarly, jurists are almost all unanimous that if someone has strong notion that he would indulge in sin by marrying a woman, for instance he is not capable of meeting conjugal rights of the wife or will get involved for sure in some other sin, in such a situation marriage is prohibited or unbecoming for him.

Now the case of that person has to be looked at who is in an even position. For him neither the risk of sin is very strong by abstaining from marriage, nor there is a strong risk of sin if the marriage is performed. For this situation there are different views of the jurists, that is, which act is better; to get married or abstaining from marriage and get involved in extra prayers. Imam Abu Hanifah (RA) has ruled that getting married is better than offering extra prayers, while Imam Shafii (RA) has recommended that getting involved in prayers is preferable. The reason for the different views is that by itself the marriage is a lawful act, just like eating, drinking sleeping etc. or as any other necessity of life is lawful, and the element of worship is included in marriage for the simple reason that one can save himself from sin by this act, and when the righteous children are born, it will add up to his reward. When one performs any lawful act with the intent of pleasing Allah Ta’Ala, it becomes an indirect worship for him. Eating, drinking, sleeping etc. all become indirect worship when carried out with this intention. Since occupation in prayers is a direct worship in itself, hence, Imam Shafi’i (RA) regards prayers to be preferable to marriage. But in the opinion of Imam Abii Hanifah (RA), the element of worship is greater in marriage than other lawful acts. In many Sahih ahadith it is emphasized repeatedly to follow this tradition of the Holy Prophet SAW. In the light of all these ahadith it becomes evident that marriage is not just lawful like other lawful acts, but is a sunnah (practice) of the messengers, and has also been emphasized repeatedly in hadith. It is aworship not only from the viewpoint of intention but also being a tradition of the messengers. If someone suggests that by the same token eating, drinking and sleeping should also be regarded as sunnah, because all messengers used to perform them. The answer to this is very clear that despite these acts being performed by all messengers, no one has said or narrated in any hadith that eating, drinking and sleeping are sunnah of the messengers. Instead these acts are regarded as common human habits, which were observed by messengers as well. As against this, marriage is clearly declared as sunnah of the messengers and the sunnah of the Holy Prophet (SAW) himself.

Tafsir Maqhari has given a moderate view on the subject that, if someone is on an even position, that is neither he is helpless or overcome by prevalence of lust, nor feels the risk of indulging in sin by abstaining from marriage, and thinks that if he gets married, his involvement in household would not be a hindrance in his worships and remembrance of Allah Ta’Ala, then it is preferable for him to get married. This was exactly the case of the messengers of Allah and the righteous people of the Ummah. But if he has a hunch that his marriage and involvement in household will not let him promote his religious status and will hinder Allah’s remembrance, then for him abstaining from marriage for performing worship would be preferable, provided he is in an even position, described above. Many a Qur’anic verses are in support of this position, one of them being: 0 believers, let not your possessions nor your children divert you from Allah’s remembrance – 63:9). This verse advises that the wealth and children should not come in the way of remembering Allah Ta’Ala.
Maariful Qur’am, Volume 6, page:420-423


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