Channel: Jamal Badawi
The Name of God, the benevolent, the Merciful, the creator and Sustainer of the universe, peace and blessings upon his servant and messenger Muhammad forever. I mean, I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except the one true God. And I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger, and servant of God. It is my fashion, I greet you with the universal greetings of peace. This is a greeting, as I've mentioned on many occasions that has been used by all of the profits from Abraham through the prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them all. Assalamu alaikum, which means peace beyond to you. Today we have our 25th program in our series dealing with the social system of
Islam. And more specifically, we'll be looking at the topic of selection of spouse and engagement. I'm your host, Ahmed Rashid. And I have joining me as usual on the program, Dr. Jamal Badawi of St. Mary's University of the tamale. Assalamualaikum, Ronnie.
Before we get into today's topic, dealing with the selection of spouses and engagements, so could I ask you perhaps to go back and very quickly to summarize the topic, the main points that we covered in our topic last week, surely,
Mustang was the beginning of a new segment in the series. And since it deals with the family life in Islam, we started by introducing Islam attitude, and view of the matter of sex. And we tried to indicate that Islam does not see sex in itself as something which is negative or evil. But that evil may happen in the way a person seek to satisfy that basic, instinctive human need. And we said that Islam regard marriage as the only legitimate avenue for satisfaction of this need.
It was also indicated that Islam does not only sanctions, legitimate satisfaction of this need, but it even considers marriage as a commendable act, something that a person even would be spiritually rewarded for, rather than something that you simply have to or inevitable type of even, there's nothing like that.
In addition to this, we find that
several of them saying of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and his teaching indicate that
sex is not only just a matter of physical activity, but it has to be within the context of mutual love and affection. And we cited even some explicit mentions or words of the prophet in which he
recommends that the person should be considerate and loving to the need and
situation of the spouse even in the most intimate type of relationship.
Now, turning to today's topic,
since marriage occupy since a such a central position in Islam, I want to perhaps I can get you to explain its basic significance and in philosophy, according to the Islamic perspective, one marriage in Islam is related,
if you worked with divided on different circles or different levels,
in one sense, it is related to the overall human solidarity, social cohesiveness, it may be also said to relate to the broader family structures, just as much as it relates also to the intimate circle of husband wife type of relationship.
Perhaps the best way to deal with this three levels or three aspects of marriage in Islam would be to refer back to the Word of God to the Quran itself.
And the broader level. We find that in chapter 2564, that's verse 54.
It reads in the translation, it is he that's God, who created mankind from waters. Then he has established relationship of lineage and marriage, for your Lord has power over all things. You notice here it does not just talk about husband and wife but it talks in general
That God created the human being from, you know the same basic substance. And then he split them in terms of having various
relationships or network of relationships.
On the second level, regarding marriage as a basic thing for maintaining a broader family structure, and cohesiveness and society,
we find that another interesting verse in the Quran appears in chapter 16. That is where 72
and it says in the translation, and God has made for you, meats and companions of your own nature, and made for you out of them, sons and daughters and grandchildren, and provided for you sustenance of the best will they then believe in vain things and be ungrateful to Gods favors. So you notice the expression here seemed to emphasize more on the role of marriage, in expanding family relationships and having children and grandchildren and as such, keeping continuity of the human race, there's some mentioned there are hints about the procreation as a function so by by marriage,
in addition to this, when you get to the even more intimate sort of relationship between husband and why marriage also is regarded as one of the most important soothing things that provide comfort and tranquility for human beings. Perhaps I'll quote one key verse in the Quran And listen, give a few comments on its meanings and implication. And that appears in chapter 30, verse 21, in the Quran, I mean it and
it says, and among His Signs, that's the signs of God is this, that he created for you, mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and he has put love and mercy between your hearts verily in that are Signs for those who reflect?
Well, this is a quite an interesting one, because, first of all,
the verse starts by indicating that marriage is one of the signs of God, what sign sign of His love, compassion, interests, and our needs and our human nature and our
basic welfare. So that's one thing quite mentioned, a verse, let's assign.
And as such, we find that this is how this attitude stands in sharp contrast to the other views, for example, that the marriage is just the symbolical, or reminder of the fall of mankind from Paradise and all other related the sinful nature of the human being there is nothing like that it's a sign of the compassion and love of God.
Secondly, it uses the term as well as an Arabic, which, in the Arabic language, the term could be used both for male and female, showing that it is a mutual matters. Of course, in Arabic, there's also another term that we'll get which applies only to female. But as well as this verse mentioned, is more broad term, which applies to male and female, indicating that this is a mutual matter. In fact, in the Quran in chapter 66, verses three and five, refers to the plurality of female, also using the same term as one. So that has a significance it's a message which is mutual, between male and female.
The other observation about the verse that it says that God has created this message from ourselves, that is from our same nature, putting the basis Foundation, a basic foundation for human and spiritual equality between men and women, that's quite obvious in that because he says that both have the same nature, they're the same. Like one verse in the Quran says they proceed one from the other men proceeds from a female female proceed from a men through the process of procreation. That's a significant meaning also.
Another significance is that it says that God has created these myths, so that you may find tranquility and comfort in them. And the original Arabic word is quite interesting to second with a schooner will come from second which means a number of things. It could be tranquility in the psychological, emotional sense to find psychological gratification, legitimately through marriage. It does not exclude also the emotional physical tranquility by reduction of tension and satisfaction or gratification of the basic instinct.
Have mercy meant relationship. It could also mean another type of second or tranquility. That is the fellowship of faith and joining together in something that has also spiritual sanction. Behind it's a very beautiful word that reflects, and difference different shades of, of meaning.
In addition to this, one can clearly get the notion from that verse, that Islam regards the mutual attraction between male and female, as something healthy and natural. The verse did not condemn that God has ordained between you love and mercy, the mutual affection, the compassion, mutual between husband and wife is something which is not condemned at all so long as it is channeled through the appropriate way of satisfaction and that is through marriage. You compare that and contrast it, for example, with the ideas that
you know, marriage or pregnancy is something that is pertinent or related to the fall of mankind from Paradise and that woman gets pregnant by way of punishment from the eating from your eating from the forbidden tree. There is no such notion at all in Islam as we have explained in greater detail in, in the
program in this series. In fact, the Quran describes pregnancy in itself as something which is looked at and waited for in a great deal of excitement. For example, in chapter seven, verse 189, in the Quran,
It is He that's God who created you from a single person, and made his made of like nature's an order that he might well with her in love. When they are united, she bears a light burden, and carries and carries about unnoticed. That's the early pregnancy. When she grows heavy,
they both pray to God the Lord saying, if you give us a godly child, without we shall ever be grateful. So it's presented as a gift from God rather than, you know, something connotated or connected with any sort of
original sin. And finally, to conclude, it is important to emphasize as was done before, that Islam does not encourage or permit celibacy or monasticism. In fact, one verse in the Quran in chapter five, verse 87, on forbids a believer from making unlawful things that God made lawful, including course marriage and legitimate satisfaction of the human needs.
could you give us some idea of the criteria that one should follow that Islam suggests that one should follow in the selection of a spouse for marriage?
When the best answer to that, again is to refer to the text of Islamic law and in this case, we refer to the sayings of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, there are a number of them that pertain to this particular question
in one saying, narrated
in Bukhari and Muslim,
he says that a woman is sought for marriage,
for four reasons, the common reason that people usually say, for his wealth, for the inability of her stock, or her family, for her beauty, and Firstly, for her religiosity, the character and then he adds, he said, Blessed is He, blessed and fortunate is He who wins a religious woman, which shows that even though people look for wealth or nobility of stock or beauty as such, that the best criteria, the most important priority really should be for the characters and religiosity of the woman.
In a similar saying of the Prophet also that
follows the same basic line. He says, do not marry women simply because of their beauty, because that beauty could be a cause of their fault. nor should you marry women simply because of their wealth, because that was could make them exceed the limits and become too haughty. And it said
but you should really get married to them because of their religious city. And he said that even a slave woman who's religious who has a good characters is better than anything that might be flashy in your eyes.
He even weren't more special
Typically as narrated in Edna had been,
and he said, Whoever marries a woman, simply because of her property, or worse, God will increase him and poverty.
And whoever seeks to marry a woman simply because of the inability of her family, for her stuck, Allah who will increase him in loneliness.
But whoever seeks marriage to a woman in order to help himself, lower his gaze, that is not to be commit the sin but through his eyes, and to protect his chestatee, or to be kind, to help him to be kind to his relatives, then God will bless him for her and bless her. For for him. Of course, this doesn't say that beauty in itself is not a matter that should not be considered, it's just a matter of priority that one should not be misled by one aspect and the character of the individual forgetting something, which is more essential.
But we have to remember also that beauty is not just a physical appearance, it there is inner beauty. There is this radiation that comes from the individual, regardless of what he or she looks like, which reflect on a different type of beauty, which is more or less than,
to indicate that there's nothing wrong with beauty in itself. Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, as narrated, in Maasai and other sources, has been quoted as saying that the best woman, and another version, the best thing that the person can obtain or get after obedience to God and faith in God is a woman who if he looks at her, she pleases Him, because of her beauty because of her characters, cheerfulness. And if he asked her to do something she obeys. Of course, that means obedience is something that's fair and reasonable. There is no attitude of haughtiness or rebelliousness, there's understanding, certainly, a person who if he had an oath from her, she will fulfill that oath. And
Firstly, if he is absent or he is away, she guards him, that is in terms of protecting his own chastity, and looking after his, his property, even in one other saying, he said, God is beautiful, and he loves the theater for so it doesn't say that beauty in itself is something which should be pushed aside.
But in addition to this, also,
the prophet peace be upon him, recommended that you should marry or try to marry one who is loved and lovable, and who is fertile also, to get children, hopefully through her. And then one had this actually sister, that was one that was the one who is fertile gives birth to children, and also altitude, which means a woman who tries to please her husband, the one who's really so loving and lovable. As I mentioned earlier, these are some of the major criteria for selection. But all these criteria, of course, would be very helpful to the men, we haven't, of course, talked about the female side of it, how both the female side, how can she choose a marriage partner? Is there any
such criteria or guidance was given given for the benefit of the sisters? Oh, yes, for sure. Well, not much difference any because after all, even though the the things that the Prophet mentioned, mentioned in the context of a man looking for an appropriate woman to match, but that's simply because it is customary for the man to seek the hand of a woman. But being Muslims, both of them, of course, the same basic criteria would be applicable, so there is no much there's not much difference, but just to assure you anyway, maybe I could touch on a couple of points also were some of the sayings of the Prophet addressed
themselves specifically to the woman in terms of her choice of marriage. Mate.
One is directed, or some are directed to her personally, some are directed to the guardian or the father of the girl who usually is approached to shake the hand of the girl
in one saying narrated in Edna had been, he says, Do not give your girls in marriage to someone who is wicked or facile, someone who was not good. Because whoever does that he is really destroying care, family connections, that in the future that would help destroy her connection with her family.
In fact, in
in one instance, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him that his son was asked by one person he said, I have a daughter. I don't know who to give to in marriage. He said give her in marriage to someone who is God fearing who's got cancer.
Just because if he loves her, he will be very generous with her. And if he doesn't like her, or even hates her, he will not commit injustice to her, the least that you would not be unjust or cruel in his treatment of her.
In addition to this, the prophet peace be upon him and several sayings like one narrated a number of references like a tirmidhi, and hack him and
he said, that, if a person comes to you, that is comes to you to seek the hands of your daughters, or sisters, or whatever the case may be,
you should give him if you are comfortable and assured of his religious city and his character, you should give the girl or woman in marriage to him. Because if you don't do that, the Prophet says there will be lots of commotion and corruption on earth. And that is a lesson again, don't just give your daughter's and marriage for someone because he's simply rich or have a social status, which is high in the community or whatever. The criteria also should be piety and practice of the individual regardless of his financial state. In the Quran, for example, in chapter 24, particular verse 32. Again, it says why I am in combat, as you should give in marriage. Those of you who are spinsters,
others who are not married, and even those who are under your tutelage are, like, you know, for example, in case of any
orphans or other guns under your protection. And then it says, if they are poor God will provide for them. So poverty or richness in itself should not be an obstacle before successful marriage. But as I mentioned earlier, generally speaking, whatever applies to the man in terms of his choice of a woman applies also to the woman as well that she should choose the person basically, on his characters, and religiosity. So the same principle is applicable. Well, earlier in this answer, you touched on the fact that it's usually the man that asked for the hand of the woman. Is it possible under Islamic law for the woman to take the initiative and propose marriage to the man?
Well, I don't know of any texts that make that prohibited. In fact, there might be some text that
shows that this is permissible.
before prostitute, even before Prophet Mohammed was given the mission,
in his marriage to his first wife, Khadija with whom he lived for 25 years as his only wife.
The proposal for marriage actually came from her. But she was civil discourse in a decent way. She sent a few letters, one of her ladies friends, and she went to talk to the prophet and says, right, why you don't get married? And he said, You know, I don't have enough. She told them all right, how about if you're invited to get married to one who has the Wilson has the ability also and character. And then she mentioned to him the name of Khadija. So it caused a kind of indirect suggestion that could be done in a decent way like that there's no problem. But even after Islam, there are incidents where a woman, for example, came to offer herself in marriage to the Prophet. Regardless
of his decision. He didn't, but he did not condemn her for offering herself in marriage, he tried to find her, another person who would be interested in marrying her.
So there's nothing wrong with that. I'm simply saying that in most cultures, and in consideration of the nature of the woman, and some women might be a little bit shy, and they feel more dignified, really, if somebody's seeking them or seeking their hand. But this doesn't mean that she's forbidden from sending a feeler or making some kind of proposal for marriage if she finds that a person is really a good practice, isn't is nothing prohibited?
Well, many people who
have heard that dating and courting is not allowed in Islam
raised the question, well, how can a spouse be selected? Since you know you? Normally you would think that there has to be a period of dating and courting and so on?
How would you respond to that? Well, first of all, I'd like to confirm what you said that it is true as has been indicated, for example, in this series on moral teaching in Islam, that Islam does not accept dating, the way it's going in the west of course, people are going alone,
sometimes for days and having total privacy, apartments or remote parts and all that, that this is not permissible in Islam. It is not acceptable at all and unlawful indeed.
But when people speak up
about dating and courting, as something which is necessary for the choice of the mate.
There seem to be a subtle assumption that by having this loose freedom of meeting each other before any commitment is made for marriage, or any contractual arrangement is made, that this is simply a period of trying out, if you will, in order to discover the nature of the person, and that would contribute in the future, to the stability of the family.
But I think this is hardly
understandable, in view of the very high rates of divorce in societies which have this free, unrestricted data in which goes as much as 40, to 50% divorce rate, which shows that, despite all this trying hour type of things,
it doesn't necessarily contribute to stability in the family. Indeed, we always hear about people who get married, and after a few months, the baby is born after four months well,
marriage is not like buying things from the supermarket that you have to try things on before you're really sure whether you have a good choice, there's something more noble, more human than that.
Indeed, and not only is this question of premarital contact, or pre medicine, sexual relationship,
forbidden under doors before it's also like free dating is closed.
But it may also even contribute to the lack of confidence and comfort in the future.
A male or female who knows that his spouse, his or her spouse allowed herself to have this intimate and cost close relationship before commitment, marriage would not have that much trust, that extra marital relationship will not continue afterwards. It does not really contribute much to that. And
so that's another extreme. But I think your question also is related to another extreme that you find in the practice of some people, including some Muslims, which is contrary to Islam. That is to go to the other extreme by preventing and not allowing people who are engaged with others to at least see each other or talk to each other.
That is contrary to the teaching of Islam because of several evidences that we find in the saying of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, just give a few as an example. And if no match and utter misery, it was narrated, that's one of the companions of the Prophet is named as an molera. In the shaba.
It came to the prophet and he told him that he is going to get married to a woman.
So the Prophet told him, look at her, because this might generate some kind of feeling of closeness and compassion and relationship between you and her. So even asked me to do this
in Bukhari and Muslim collection of Hadees, or prophetic sayings, it was said that a man came to the prophet and he told them again that he's going or he had a marriage contract made with a woman from unsired. He says, Did you look at her? He said, No, he said, No, go and look at her. Because there's something special in the eyes of those people and unser, so I can encourage him to have this kind of
rapport before really getting married.
But of course, when the Prophet speaks about seeing, he doesn't speak about what happens today, in dating, seeing each other separately in an closed apartment, or a remote Park area, as Islamic law provides, that she has the right to see her and talk to her but not alone, should be in the presence of some of her relatives who are not local for her tonight, like her mother has sisters, you know, with her
brothers, for example, or father.
So there should be some degree of talking but with this kind of precaution and provided again, that the girl is dressed in accordance with the stomach provision. In fact, there are some Muslim jurists like Yusuf Al qaradawi, and wholly more contemporary who relate this habeas are saying of the Prophet, in narratives in Abu Dhabi, in which he says that whoever
find that there's something interesting in a woman that causes him to marry her that you should look at. And he said that this includes the right to talk to her in the presence of others and to discuss things even to go out with in the presence of others. To find out more about her and about each other.
we've exhausted our time for today. We'll have to leave it at that. Thank you for being our guest. Join us next week. Assalamu alaikum