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The Islamic marriage – nikah and its significance

The Khutbah of Islamic marriage (nikaah)

All praise is due to Allah. We praise Him, seek His help and forgiveness and upon Him we rely. We ask Him to protect us from the evil of ourselves and the shortcoming of our deeds. Whomsoever Allah guides nobody can lead him astray and whomsoever Allah leaves to stray, nobody can guide him to the straight path. And we witness that there is no god but Allah and that Mohammad is His servant and His messenger.

I seek refuge with Allah from Shaytan, the outcast devil.
In the name of Allah, the most beneficent the most merciful.

What is marriage in Islam?

Many people have opinions about marriage and I have heard it being compared to a deck of cards. In the beginning, all you need is two hearts and a diamond. By the end, you wish you had a club and a spade

Others compare it to a workshop, where one half works while the other shops. But what does Allah(SWT) tell us about marriage?

The Prophet (SAW) when conducting marriages would read 3 short reminders from the Qu’ran and the common thread running between them is Taqwa – reverent awareness and awe of Allah(SWT) which keeps us in check. The power of Taqwa is more effective than the combined powers of government and law.

Taqwā is to be mindful and conscious of Allah, recognising His Majesty and Perfection, acknowledging one’s status as a human being in need before the Creator, and recognising the importance of submission to Allah out of love, hope, and fear, all with a consistent equilibrium. Thus, the internal state of taqwā leads to external manifestations, such as obeying Allah’s commands, staying away from His prohibitions, and regularly reviewing one’s actions in order to progress towards Allah. Taqwa is a shield against complacency in this life; it is a fortress against sinning without remorse; it is to protect oneself with cautiousness in everyday life, so that nothing risks harming one’s relationship with Allah and consequently one’s position in the afterlife.

Taqwā is to recognise Allah’s right over His creation, and as a result to humble oneself and follow His command. Taqwa is to recognise that it is Allah’s Right that He be worshipped and not disobeyed, praised and not forgotten, called upon and not ignored.

Taqwā protects the servant from pride and conceit, showing off and vanity. Taqwā is what leads the humble, wise human being to recognize that true success and salvation cannot be achieved without Allah’s Vast Mercy.

Taqwā is to protect yourself from disappointing your Most Caring Sustainer.

Taqwā is to check oneself frequently, rather than forgetting to measure and reflect. What is measured is oftentimes managed, and what is measured oftentimes progresses. What greater thing to measure, then, than one’s own journey to Allah?

Your first relation and common ancestor

People, be mindful of your Lord, who created you from a single soul, and from it created its mate, and from the pair of them spread countless men and women far and wide; be mindful of God, in whose name you make requests of one another. Beware of severing the ties of kinship: God is always watching over you.”

In the 4th surah, named an-Nisa (women), Allah(SWT) reminds us about social relations and what makes them work. 

“People, Be mindful of your Lord:” Your first relationship is with Allah(SWT), not each other

“Who created you from a single soul:” You share a common ancestor, even if you are from different tribes, ethnicity, locations. We are on an equal footing with each other, but the only thing that raises or debases someone is their mindfulness of Allah(SWT) – taqwa.

“and from it created its mate, and from the pair of them spread countless men and women far and wide;” 

“Be mindful of God, in whose name you make requests of one another. Beware of severing the ties of kinship: God is always watching over you.” The connection of humanity, the connection of the womb. The real way to have taqwa of Allah, is to have taqwa in your relationships. 

All relations are a by-product of the womb – kinship. The basic unit of society is the family and the foundation of society is the womb of the mother.

Raqeeb = holding the back of the neck, like putting a child on a leash. There is no free rein – whether you think you’re free or not, know you will be held to task.

Communicate clearly and truthfully

O  believers! Be mindful of Allah, and say what is right. He will bless your deeds for you, and forgive your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, has truly achieved a great triumph. [Surah al Ahzab 33:71]

Whenever you speak, say the truth which solves problems and prevents things from getting worse. Sadd in Arabic is a dam which prevents the flood. Be clear in your speech. Don’t murmur or grumble. Be straight with each other. Communication is key to marriage.

Stay ready for the next phase of your journey

O you who believe! Be mindful of Allâh as is His due. And die not except in a state of Islâm [with complete submission to Allâh]. [Surah Aale Imran 3:102]

Taqwā is to protect yourself from disappointing your Most Caring Sustainer. Do as much as you can and you know when you give your best

Don’t you dare start that new journey (next station of your being) except that you are fully prepared. Don’t be caught out at the point of your return. Live a life of caution with Allah(SWT) and the reminder is death.

If you can maintain that, He (SWT) will fix your relationship. He will cover your shortcomings. Whoever obeys God and His Messenger will truly achieve a great triumph.

The blessed marriage of Ali (RA) and Fatimah (Ra)

On the day that a marriage proposal was sent to the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam for the hand of Fatimah Radiyallahu Anha, a female mawla (freed slave) of ‘Ali came to him and persistently encourage him to go and seek for the hand of Fatimah.

The mawla said: “Do you know that Fatimah’s hand has been sought from the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam?”

‘Ali said: “No.”

The mawla said: “Her hand has been sought (in marriage). What prevents you from approaching the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam so that he may marry her to you?”

‘Ali answered: “Do I have anything with which to marry?” 

The mawla said: “If you go to the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam he will marry her to you.”

And the mawla kept urging ‘Ali and she succeeded and made ‘Ali go and see the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam.

When ‘Ali arrived and was sat infront of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam, he was totally dumbfounded as ‘Ali said “By Allah I was unable to say anything due to awe and fright.” (Ma sha Allah)

So the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam asked him: “What has brought you? Do you have any need?”

‘Ali then kept quiet, not a single word and he was very nervous. (Ma sha Allah)

So the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam asked again: “Perhaps you have come to seek Fatimah’s hand in marriage?”

With this, ‘Ali answered so fast like without any doubt and said, “Yes.”

“Do you have anything with which you will marry her?” asked the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam.

‘Ali answered: “By Allah, no, O Messenger of Allah.”

What about the shield I gave you?“ ‘Ali said: “It is with me.”

The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam then said: “I have married her to you. Send it to her and I have made her permissible for you with it.”

Thus, the shield of ‘Ali became the mahr of Fatimah.

The following morning, the wedding day commenced, Asma Bint Umays Radiyallahu Anha was there and narrated the following.

“The Prophet came to the door and said: ”O Umm Ayman, invite my brother for me.“

She said:“He is your brother and you are marrying (your daughter) to him?” 

The Prophet said: “Yes, Umm Ayman.” So ‘Ali came and the Prophet sprinkled some water on him and prayed for him and then said: “Invite Fatimah for me.”

Fatimah then came stumbling due to shyness, so the Prophet told her: “Be calm, I have married you to the most beloved of my household to me.” The Prophet sprinkled water on her and supplicated for her as well.

As to the wedding feast, as narrated by Buraidah Radiyallahu Anhu ‘Ali and Fatimah had a sheep and a group of Ansar gathered for him some measures of sorghum (sweetener syrup).

On the night of consummation, the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam said: “O ‘Ali do not do anything till you meet me.” Then He Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam requested for water performed ablution with it and then poured the remainder on ‘Ali and then supplicated: “O Allah, bless both of them, shower Your blessings on them and bless their children.”

The marriage of Ali and Fatimah happened during the 2nd year of Hijrah after the Battle of Badr and she bore him Hassan, Hussain and Umm Khultum.

[This story was compiled from the collections of at-Tabaqaat, Ibn Sa’ad, Dalaa’il An-Nubuwah, Al Bayhaqi 3/160, Bihaar Al-Anwaar, Al-Majlisee, p.39, Fadaa’il As-Sahabah 2/955, no. 342 (Sahih) } 2/858 (Sahih) and Al Mu’jam Al Kabir, At Tabari 1153.]


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