Importance of Marriage in Islam:
Islam has not only permitted Nikah but encouraged it and emphasised its importance. Muslim society has been commanded by Allah (SWT) to engage in Nikah and actively support each other in this endeavour:
[24:32] Arrange the marriage of the spouseless among you, and the capable from among your bondmen and bondwomen. If they are poor, Allah will enrich them out of His grace. Allah is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing.
Muslim women have also been discouraged to live a life of celibacy and commanded by Allah (SWT) to choose a suitable spouse:
[2:232] When you have divorced women, and they have reached (the end of) their waiting period, do not prevent them from marrying their husbands when they mutually agree with fairness. Thus the advice is given to everyone of you who believes in Allah and in the Hereafter. This is more pure and clean for you. Allah knows and you do not know.
In fact, Allah (SWT) describes his special blessings to Prophets (AS) having granted them wives and children:
[13:38] We have sent messengers before you, and gave them wives and children. It is not for a messenger to bring a verse without the will of Allah. For every age there are some rules prescribed.
Our beloved Rasul-ullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) also commanded Muslims to engage in Nikah as it is best for their character and modesty and helps them with guarding their gaze.
Narrated 'Abdullah (RA): We were with the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) while we were young and had no wealth whatever. So Allah's Apostle (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said, "O young people! Whoever among you can marry, should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty (i.e. his private parts from committing illegal sexual intercourse etc.), and whoever is not able to marry, should fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual power." [Bukhari]
Warning to those who disregard marriage:
The Sunnah of Rasul-ullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) discourages from life of celibacy and abstinence from Nikah and equates abstinence from Nikah as not following the traditions of Islam.
Narrated Anas bin Malik (RA): A group of three men came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet asking how the Prophet worshipped (Allah), and when they were informed about that, they considered their worship insufficient and said, "Where are we from the Prophet as his past and future sins have been forgiven." Then one of them said, "I will offer the prayer throughout the night forever." The other said, "I will fast throughout the year and will not break my fast." The third said, "I will keep away from the women and will not marry forever." Allah's Apostle came to them and said, "Are you the same people who said so-and-so? By Allah, I am more submissive to Allah and more afraid of Him than you; yet I fast and break my fast, I do sleep and I also marry women. So he who does not follow my tradition in religion, is not from me (not one of my followers)." [Bukhari]
Legal Status of Marriage in Islam:
Shaykh (Mufti) Mohammed Sajjad writes, “Nikah is a very blessed Sunnah so much so that scholars have written to occupy oneself in arranging to marry, or in maintaining ones' marriage through earning a living etc. is preferred over performing extra (nafl) acts of worship, See Rad al-Muhtar, vol.4 p.57. Having said this, for a person who cannot control his gaze and is committing Zina of the eyes etc. it will be obligatory (wajib) to marry to preserve his Deen.”
Shaykh (Maulana) Khalid Saifullah Rahmani writes in Halal wa Haram, “It is even recommended for a person who has sexual urges but doesn’t fear that he will fall into Fitnah that he should marry and some have categorised his status (need) for Nikah as Sunnah while others as Mustahab (recommended) but in reality Nikah cannot be categorised as less then Sunnah and those who have declared it Mustahab (recommended) for him do actually mean that it is indeed Sunnah”
Procedure for Marriage in Islam:
Choosing a suitable partner:
Although beauty, physical attraction or a feature which is pleasing can be adopted as a means of choosing a partner as subtly hinted in the Qur’aan:
[4:3]...marry the women you like...
But the ultimate criteria and basis should be the religious inclination and practise of the individual.
Narrated Abu Huraira (RA): The Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said, "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 losers. [Bukhari]
A healthy marital life coupled with a good relationship make up the prime objects of Nikah. That is only possible when natural inclinations and backgrounds are shared (by both spouses). In the absence of such unity, living together successfully, despite great effort is indeed difficult, as attested to by many marital breakdowns due to non-compatibility.
Certain actions and situations elicit different responses from persons of differing backgrounds and nature. For this reason, the Shari’ah has considered Kafaa’at (suitability and compatibility) between spouses necessary.
Shaykh (Maulana) Khalid Saifullah Rahmani writes in Halal wa Haram, “Fuqaha have suggested nine (9) areas of Kafaa’at (suitability and compatibility) and they are:
2) Being independent or enslaved
3) Born Muslim or being a Revert (to Islam)
4) Trustworthy and having Taqwa
5) Financial status
6) Honour and community standing
7) Profession & Trade
8) Free from physical defects
9) Intellect and Maturity
However, the main aspect for consideration is Deen & Akhlaq as Allamah Kasani (RA) has stated in Badai-us-sanai, “It is preferred by us to consider Deen and to rely on it exclusively” “
Looking at the potential partner:
Shaykh (Maulana) Khalid Saifullah Rahmani writes in Halal wa Haram, “Islamic Shariah wants the bonds of marriage to be strong and everlasting therefore it is recommended to look at the person beforehand and it is permitted to look at her in secret. However, looking should be with the intention of marrying and not for evil purposes and it is not permitted to spend time with the potential spouse in seclusion”
Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah (RA): Rasul-ullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said, “When one of you asked a woman in marriage, if he is able to look at what will induce him to marry her, he should do so. He (Jabir) said: I asked a girl in marriage, I used to look at her secretly, until I looked at what induced me to marry her. I, therefore, married her.” [Abi Daud]
Venue for Marriage and publicising it:
Shaykh (Mufti) Ibraheem Desai writes, “It is Sunnah for the marriage to be pronounced and performed in the Masjid”
Aisha (RA) narrated that Rasul-ullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said, “Publicise these marriages, conduct them in mosques, and beat the duff (tambourines) to announce them”. [Tirmidhi]
Proposal & Acceptance, two male witnesses and Wakeel and the Dowry:
Since the purpose of Nikah is to safeguard a person’s chastity and modesty, Islam has kept the procedure for Nikah very simple and straight forward.
Shaykh (Mufti) Ibraheem Desai writes, “Nikah is performed with a proposal (Iejaab) by the male or female and acceptance (Qubool) by the male or female in the past tense and in the presence of two male Muslim witnesses (Hidaaya vol. 2). The bride gives consent to her representative (Wakeel) in the presence of two witnesses to perform her marriage at the Masjid. At the Masjid, the Wakeel represents the bride in the presence of the two witnesses and the stipulated dowry. The witnesses must be two trustworthy and pious male Muslims who are not her ascendants e.g. father, grandfather or descendants e.g. son, grandson, etc. The Mahr (dowry) is the woman's right and should be stipulated prior to the marriage.”
Aisha (RA) narrates that Rasul-ullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said, “There is no marriage except with a wali and two witnesses of good character.”[Bayhaqi]
Ibn Qudamah (RA) said: Marriage cannot be done except with two Muslim witnesses, whether the couple are both Muslims, or only the husband is Muslim...[Al-Mughni]
[4:4] Give women their dower in good cheer. Then, if they forego some of it, of their own will, you may have it as pleasant and joyful.
Shaykh (Mufti) Muhammad ibn Adam writes, “The least mehr which can be given is Ten dirhams (approximately 31 grams of silver). (Al Hidayaah). Today the mehr value is calculated by using the weight of silver which would equal the amount of dirhams. For example the mehr fatimi is 131.24 tolas. (this weight is constant is will not change). But the value of this amount of Silver is continuously changing according to the stock market. The change takes place every month or so. To be able to work out the approximate value for ten dirhams one can take the weight of the mehr Fatimi (131.25 tolas )and divide it by 400 (because 400 dirhams was the mehr which Hadhrat Fatimah was married with) and then multiply it by ten (to equal the weight of ten dirhams). This will give the value of silver which is equal to ten dirhams.”
Shaykh (Maulana) Luqman Hansoot has detailed the minimum Meh’r and the Meh’r Fatimti (i.e. the dowry given to Sayyidituna Fatima (RA)) by Rasul-ullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) in the following table:
When Dowry was not stipulated?
Shaykh (Mufti) Muhammad ibn Adam writes, “If the dowry (mahr)
was not stipulated in the contract of marriage, then the husband is obliged to
pay what is “typically” received as marriage payment by similar brides (mahr al-mithl),
if the marriage was consummated.
Marriage Sermon (Khutbah):
Shaykh (Maulana) Khalid Saifullah Rahmani writes in Halal wa Haram, “The following is referred to us as ‘Khutbatul-Hajjah” in Hadeeth and can be read at any occasion but in a narration of Baihaqi it has been linked with the occasion of Nikah”
إِنَّ الحَمدَ لِلَّهِ ، نَسْتَعِينُهُ وَنَسْتَغفِرُهُ ، وَنَعُوذُ بِهِ مِن شُرُورِ أَنفُسِنَا ، مَن يَهدِهِ اللَّهُ فَلا مُضِلَّ لَهُ ، وَمَن يُضلِل فَلا هَادِيَ لَه ، وَأَشهَدُ أَن لا إِلَهَ إِلا اللَّهُ وَأَشهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبدُهُ وَرَسُولُه .
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُواْ رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالاً كَثِيراً وَنِسَاء وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءلُونَ بِهِ وَالأَرْحَامَ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيباً
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلاً سَدِيداً يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَن يُطِعْ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزاً عَظِيماً
Praise be to Allaah, we seek His help and His forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allaah from the evil of our own souls and from our bad deeds. Whomsoever Allaah guides will never be led astray, and whomsoever Allaah leaves astray, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no god but Allaah, and I bear witness that Muhammad (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) is His slave and Messenger
[4:1] O men, fear your Lord who created you from a single soul, and from it created its match, and spread many men and women from the two. Fear Allah in whose name you ask each other (for your rights), and fear (the violation of the rights of) the womb-relations. Surely, Allah is watchful over you.
[3:102] O you who believe, fear Allah, as He should be feared, and let not yourself die save as Muslims.
[33:70] O you who believe, fear Allah, and speak in straightforward words.[33:71] (If you do so,) Allah will correct your deeds for your benefit, and forgive your sins for you. Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger achieves a great success.
Congratulating the Groom:
It is from the Sunnah of Rasul-ullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) to congratulate the groom with this dua:
بَارَكَ اللَّهُ لَكَ وَبَارَكَ عَلَيْكَ وَجمََعَ بَيْنَكُمَا فِي الخَْيْرِ
Sayyidina Abu Hurayrah (RA) reported that when a man married, Rasul-ullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) would say to him, “May Allah bless you and bless it for you and may He join you with goodness!” [Tirmidhi]
Feast of Walima:
Shaykh (Mufti) Muhammad ibn Adam writes, “The Arabic word Walima (marriage banquet) is derived from the root word Walam, which literally means to gather and assemble. The Arabs used it for a meal or feast where people were invited and gathered. Later, the term became exclusive for the wedding banquet. The Arabs used different terms for the various feasts they enjoyed. For example: al-I’zar on the occasion of a child’s circumcision, al-Khurs for a marriage not ending in divorce, al-Wakira on building a new home, al-Naqi’ah when a traveller returns home, al-Aqiqah on the seventh day after childbirth, al-Ma’duba for a general meal without any specific reason, etc. (See: Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari, 9/300 & Ibn Qudamah, al-Mugni, 7/1). The marriage feast (walima) is a Sunna of our beloved Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace). It is an outward expression of gratitude and pleasure and a great means of publicising the marriage, which has been greatly encouraged.”
Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik (RA) narrates that the Messenger
of Allah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam)
a yellow mark on Abdur Rahman ibn Awf (RA) and said: “What’s this?” He replied:
“I have married a woman with the dowry being gold to the weight of a
date-stone.” The Messenger of Allah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: “May Allah
bless you (in your marriage), perform a Walima, even if it is only with a goat.”
The Messenger of Allah (Sallaho
Alaihe Wassallam) himself provided a Walima after many of his marriages. He
provided meat and bread on the occasion of his marriage with Zaynab bint Jahsh
(RA), Hays (a type of sweat-dish cooked with dates, cheese & butter) on the
occasion of his marriage with Safiyya (RA) and barley on another occasion. [Bukhari
Shaykh (Mufti) Muhammad ibn Adam writes, “The scholars have disagreed as to the correct time of this Walima. There are many opinions. For example:
1) At the time of the marriage contract,
2) After the marriage contract and before consummation of marriage,
3) At the time of the wedding procession (bride leaving for her husband’s house) (Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari, 9/287)
However, the majority of the scholars (jumhur) are of the opinion that Walima is a meal that is prepared after the marriage has been consummated. This was the practice of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), as explicitly mentioned in one narration.
Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik (RA) narrates that he was a boy of ten when the Messenger of Allah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) migrated to Madina. (He added): “My mother and aunts used to urge me to serve the Messenger of Allah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) regularly, thus I served him for ten years. When the Messenger of Allah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) passed away, I was twenty years old, and I knew about the order of Hijab more than anyone else, when it was revealed. It was revealed for the first time when the Messenger of Allah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) had consummated his marriage with Zainab bint Jahsh (RA). The Messenger of Allah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) in the morning was a bridegroom, and he invited the people to a banquet. So they came, ate, and then all left except a few who remained with the Messenger of Allah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) for a long time….. [Bukhari]
Sayyiduna Anas (RA) said: “The Messenger of Allah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) consummated his marriage with a woman (Zainab), so he sent me to invite people for a meal.” [Bukhari]
The great Hadith master (hafidh), Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (RA) states:
“The Hadith of Anas (quoted above) is clear in determining that Walima is considered to be after the consummation of marriage.” (Fath al-Bari, 9/199. Also see: I’la al-Sunan, vol. 10, p. 11)
It is stated in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya:
“The marriage banquet (walima) is a Sunna and there is great reward in it. And it is carried out when the marriage is consummated.” [al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 5/343]”
The Hanafi jurists (fuqaha) are of the opinion that, a banquet up to two days will be considered to be a Walima, after which it will no longer be considered a Walima.
It is stated in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya:
“There is nothing wrong in inviting people the next day after consummation or the day after. After that, marriage and Walima celebrations will come to an end.” [5/343]
It has also been reported from the Messenger of Allah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) that he stated: “Walima on the first day is confirmed (haq), and on the second day, it is good (ma’ruf), and on the third day, it is showing off.” [Abi Daud]
Who should be invited to Walima?
Shaykh (Mufti) Muhammad ibn Adam writes, “Sayyiduna
Abu Huraira (RA) states: “The worst food is that of a wedding banquet (walima)
to which only the rich are invited whilst the poor are not invited. And he who
refuses an invitation (to a banquet) disobeys Allah and His Messenger (Sallaho
Alaihe Wassallam).” [Bukhari]
The Islamic status of accepting the Walima invitation?
Shaykh (Mufti) Muhammad ibn Adam writes, “Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Umar (RA) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: “If one of you is invited to a wedding banquet (walima), then he must accept the invitation.” [Bukhari]
Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Umar (RA) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam): “Accept this (marriage) invitation if you are invited to it.” And Abd Allah ibn Umar used to accept the invitation whether to a wedding banquet or to any other feast, even when he was fasting. [Bukhari]
Due to the above and other narrations, many scholars regard the acceptance of a Walima invitation to be binding, and one will be sinful for refusing it.
The great Hadith and Sahfi’i scholar, Imam al-Nawawi (RA) has mentioned various opinions of the scholars in this regard:
1) It is personally obligatory (fard ayn), except if there is an excuse,
2) It is a general obligation (fard kifaya)
3) It is recommended (mandub) (See: Nawawi, al-Minhaj, Sharh Sahih Muslim, 1080)
In the Hanafi Madhhab, the preferred opinion is that, accepting a Walima invitation is an emphatic Sunna (sunna al-Mu’akkada), and accepting other invitations is recommended (mandub). This is in normal cases, for if there is a valid reason, one will be excused from not attending.
Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) states:
“The (hanafi) scholars have differed as to the ruling of accepting a Walima invitation. Some have stated that it is necessary (wajib), in that it is impermissible to refuse. However the majority of the scholars mention that it is a Sunna. It is better to accept it if it is a Walima invitation, otherwise (on other occasions) one has a choice to accept it, and to accept it would be better, because it creates joy and happiness in the heart of a Muslim.
When one accepts the invitation and attends the party, one has fulfilled the responsibility, regardless of whether one ate or otherwise, although it is better to eat if one is not fasting……It is stated in al-Ikhtiyar: “A Walima is an established Sunna. The one who does not accept it would be sinful, for the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him& give him peace) said: “He who refuses an invitation (to a banquet) disobeys Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him & give him peace).” If one is fasting, then one should attend and make Dua, and if not, then one should eat and make Dua. However, if one neither eats nor attends, then one will be sinful….
This indicates that accepting a Walima invitation is Sunna al-Mu’akkada, contrary to meals and invitations on other occasions. Some commentators of al-Hidaya have declared that it is close to being a Wajib.” (Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr, 6/349)
In light of Ibn Abidin’s explanation, it becomes clear that accepting a Walima invitation is Sunna al-Mu’akkada, and one must accept it. Refusing to attend will be offensive if not sinful, provided one does not have an excuse, and also that one was specifically invited to the Walima.”
Disagreeable customs, innovations and forbidden practises associated with Wedding:
Shaykh (Maulana) Saleem Dhorat writes, “In aping Western methods sheepishly, Muslims have adopted many customs which are un-Islamic and frowned upon. Some examples are:
1) Displaying the bride on stage;
2) Inviting guests for the wedding from far off places;
3) Receiving guests in the hall;
4) The bride's people incurring unnecessary expenses by holding a feast which has no basis in Shariah. We should remember that Walimah is the feast arranged by the bridegroom after the marriage is consummated.
5) It is contrary to Sunnah (and the practice of some non-Muslim tribes in India) to wish, hope for or demand presents and gifts for the bridegroom, from the bride's people. We should always remember that our Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) did not give Ali (RA) anything except Dua”
Shaykh (Maulana) Saleem Dhorat previously narrates the blessed wedding of Siyyidituna Fatima and Sayydina Ali (RA) and concludes that the following methods can be derived from it:
1) The many customs as regards engagement are contrary to the Sunnah. In fact, many are against the Shariah and are regarded as sins. A verbal proposal and answer is sufficient.
2) To unnecessarily delay Nikah of both the boy and the girl after having reached the age of marriage is incorrect.
3) There is nothing wrong in inviting one's close associates for the occasion of Nikah. However, no special pains should be taken in gathering the people from far off places.
4) It is appropriate that the bridegroom be a few years older than the bride.
5) If the father of the girl is a Scholar or pious and capable of performing Nikah, then he should himself solemnise the marriage.
6) It is better to give the Mahr Faatimi and one should endeavour to do so. But if one does not have the means then there is nothing wrong in giving less.
7) It is totally un-Islamic for those, who do not possess the means, to incur debts in order to have grandiose weddings.
8) It is fallacy to think that one's respect will be lost if one does not hold an extravagant wedding and invite many people. What is our respect compared to that of (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam)?
9) The present day practice of the intermingling of sexes is an act of sin and totally against Shariah.
10) There is nothing such as engagement parties and Medhi parties in Islam.
11) Great care must be taken as regards to Salaat on occasions of marriage by all - the bride, the bridegroom and all the participants.
12) It is un-Islamic to display the bride on stage.
13) The unnecessary expenses incurred by the bride's family in holding a feast has no basis in Shariah.
14) For the engaged couple to meet at a public gathering where the boy holds the girl's hand and slips a ring on her finger is a violation of the Qur'anic law of Hijaab.
15) It is un-Islamic for the engaged couple to meet each other and also go out together.
16) Three things should be borne in mind when giving one's daughter gifts and presents at the time of Nikah:
a. Presents should be given within one's means (it is not permissible to take loans, on interest for such presents);
b. To give necessary items;
c. A show should not be made of whatever is given.
17) It is Sunnat for the bridegroom's family to make Walimah. In Walimah, whatever is easily available should be fed to the people and care should be taken that the is no extravagance, show and that no debts are incurred in the process.
18) To delay Nikah after the engagement is un-Islamic.
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