Purpose of Marriage (Nikah)
Nature has so arranged that man and woman are attracted to each other. This natural attraction brings them together and they lead a common life and form a family. This natural tendency, the instinct of sex, should be guided to the right direction so that it may be utilized in the service of humanity. Though the common life of a husband and wife originates from the sexual instinct, it gradually develops into a seep, spiritual, sentimental, social and economic relationship. That is what Islam calls matrimony.
Islam has attached great importance to the question of marriage in its social system. In the Holy Quran and the sayings of the Holy Prophet we find that marriage has been greatly encouraged. Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) said: ‘No institution of Islam is liked by Allah more than that of marriage.
The basic objectives of marriage in Islam are, first, securing a comfortable atmosphere for a husband and wife and, second, producing a new generation of healthy, faithful and virtuous children. With regard to the first objective, the Holy Quran says: “One of His signs is that He created for you spouses of your own species, so that you might find comfort with them. And He put mutual love and affection in your hearts. Surely in this there are lessons for the thinking people” (30:21)
A Muslim husband and wife who follow the teachings of the Holy Quran should always be a source of comfort for each other. Their relationship should reach far above that of mere sexual enjoyment and should reach the stage of cordial friendship accompanied by mutual benevolence.
With regard to the second objective, the Holy Quran says: “He is the Creator of the heavens and the each. He has given you partners from among yourselves and, similarly, made the cattle also males and females. That is how he multiplies you. Nothing can be compared to Him, He is the All-hearing, the All-seeing.” (43:11)
The second criterion is morality. The Holy Prophet said. “As soon as a suitor, who is religious and who has manners that satisfy you comes to you asking for a matrimonial alliance, take action to join in marriage with him. If you do not do so, you will have deviated from the right path and may be faced with a great crisis.
The third criterion is financial competence. A Muslim man must provide means of living to his wife and children, even if the wife is wealthy or earn a salary. The fourth criterion is compatibility and similarity in the ideas and goals of the husband and wife.
Muslim men and women who walk upon the straight path of Allah, implementing Divine law and justice, recognize marriage to be one of the Divine laws. Once this Divine union is established, the Muslim community begins to form. A satisfactory and happy married life can be achieved if the partners realize the concept of human marriage. They must be benevolent friends and faithful associates, deem it necessary to cooperate with each other in every respect, refrain from every kind of arrogance and haughtiness in their mutual dealings and finally, and most important, respect their reciprocate rights and try to please each other by obeying Allah in every aspect of their relationship.
The Holy Quran says: “And one of His signs is that He created mates for you from your own species that you may find comfort in them and He put between you and them love and compassion. Most surely there are signs in this for people who reflect” (30:21). From this verse, it can be seen that a couple can attain inner peace and calmness through the love that Allah has put in their hearts. But this love is different from the concept of love in the non-Muslim world, especially in Western culture. This love between a man and a woman includes a very important factor, the love of Allah and the love to serve Him. This is the love That remains through difficult times. It gives each spouse strength and encouragement and the will to sacrifice, not only to please the spouse or children, but mainly to please Allah, Who will take account of every action done in His way.
The human being is, however, weak by nature, so things may not always work out well and in favor of the well-being of each member of the family. Although divorce is very much disliked by Allah, it is still permitted in Islam at times, when there is absolutely no other alternative or a family’s productivity and participation in the Islamic community is hindered by couple’s unwillingness to be together.
Islam teaches the human-being to be responsible in all his decisions and actions. The Holy Quran and the saying of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) continuously remind Muslims of their duties and obligation to one another. The application of these teachings begins in the home, among members of the family. This is why the institution of marriage is so highly regarded in Islam. The Holy Prophet said: “When a person marries, he has completed half of his religious obligations.”