Dr. Umar Farooq Abdullah – Marriage as a Cosmic Ideal and a Social Reality
All those who disbelieved in the message of Noah drowned in the flood. The flood drowning the people today is individualism; separation and alienation among between people, including spouses.
Today, we live in a MONOCULTURE. Everything is geared towards the self, and this goes against what is need for a successful marriage. If we create a culture for functional marriages, then we will have created the ark to save ourselves. Marriage, when it is done by prophetic injunction, heals the self and cures society. The law (shariah) sets the minimum or foundations of a marriage, but it is not the building itself. The building is erected with law and put together with Iman (faith) and perfected with Ihsan (moral perfection).
Allah speaks of marriage in the Quran in the highest terms, as he describes the creation of the heavens and the earth, of humans, of the alteration of day and night, as his signs. So marriage is a great sign from Allah as the sun is a great sign from Allah.
They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them
[Surah Al-Baqara 2:187].
Allah uses such a perfect metaphor to describe the husband and wife. Clothing makes you look beautiful, protects you, give you honor, status and dignity. In a healthy relationship, all these our spouses do for us.
And live with them in kindness, honorably
[Surah An-Nisa 4:19].
The word “Maruf” in this verse can also refer to your kin. Allah commands to treat your wife as if she is your own blood family. Kinship was everything in pre-Islamic era. If you were not loyal to your kin it would cause hate and disunity. This is why Allah goes on to say:
For if you dislike them – perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good.
[Surah An-Nisa 4:19]
How can we protect ourselves in this monoculture?
1. Have a good relationship between husband and wife
Children suffer in bad relationships. This harms them more than physical abuse.
2. Be culture creators
Today we live in a culture that destroys culture. A global culture. A monoculture. In this desert of cultures, we need to be culture creators. This generation has not been taught any of the skills for a happy marriage. In fact, they have been taught the wrong skills, skills that lead to broken marriages. So we need to build healthy skills in society. For this we need to use our resources, using the example of our beloved prophet and the book of Allah. One very strong factor is counseling.
The prophet (sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam) said:
The religion is sincere advice.
When all we are being taught is to disobey, we need to council and help each other.
Marriage is a command of Allah and a sunnah of the Prophet (sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam).
The Prophet said:
Whoever marries has taken hold of half of religion.
The marriage described here is not abusive and dysfunctional marriage but a prophetic marriage that requires all your efforts and all your patience. If attained, this marriage fulfills your basic needs, physical and social, as well as your spiritual needs. We cannot be spiritually perfect without a good marriage.
The Prophet (sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam) said:
If a man comes to you with good deen and character, then marry him, or great fitna (corruption, trials) will spread.
This great trial is what we live in today.
And how could you take it (back) while you have gone in unto each other, and they have taken from you a firm and strong covenant?
[Surah An-Nisa 4:21].
Allah describes marriage here as a great moral contract and covenant.
The Prophet (sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam) partook in all the responsibilities of his house. Traditionally there is a lot of support from extended families in our native countries, but in the west we live in nuclear families, so roles and responsibilities need to be clearly defined.
The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those – Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.
[Surah Tawbah 9:71]
Allah describes the believing men and woman as guardians for each other. This means that they are guardians in their religion, guarding each other from evil. Allah promises His mercy to those people. This is a mutual guardianship. Do not be subservient, as if you have no intellect.
Tahir Ibn Ashour in his tafsir on this verse says this is a shared devotion and fidelity to Islam, applying equally to women and men. Neither one shall follow the other blindly (taqleed), and neither one shall obey the other in falsehood (tatabi). This is the mutual obedience (walaa), the mark of true sincerity (ikhlas), that which enables them to come to each other’s assistance (tanasur).
So we must create a culture of marriage in a culture that destroys it. We must make our parents like two rivers that flow through your heart.