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Quran

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(3) A Muslim vis-à-vis His/Her Spouse

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(3) A Muslim vis-à-vis His/Her Spouse

Marriage277 is a very important institution in Islam. The family is the nucleus for society as a whole. If the family is on a sound foundation, it is more likely that society as a whole will be in a good state. Thus, in general, the messengers of God, the prime examples for humans, adhered to this institution of marriage. Allah states, “Verily, We have sent messengers before you and appointed for them spouses and children” (13:38). The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also established marriage as his way of life, saying, “By Allah, I am the most fearful of Allah of you and I have the most piety; however, I fast and break my fast, pray [at night] and sleep and I marry women. Whoever turns away from my Sunnah is not of me.”278

The Quran shows that there is a clear bond between men and women. In numerous places in the Quran, Allah reminds humans that they are from the same original human being. It is through this bond that they are interconnected and through these bonds that some of their rights upon one another are established. Allah states at the opening of surah al-Nisaa’, “O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person, and from him He created his wife, and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allah through whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship)! Surely, Allah is Ever an All-Watcher over you” (4:1).

However, beyond that beginning that the two sexes have in common, Allah points out that the love and affection that He has created in the hearts of the spouses towards another is one of His great signs that act as portents for those people of understanding. In other words, such people can look at this aspect of creation and be reminded of the greatness of Allah’s work and power, the perfection of His creation and the magnificent mercy Allah has placed in this world. Allah says, “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose and comfort in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed Signs for a people who reflect” (30:21). Allah also says, “He it is who created you from a single person (Adam), and then He has created from him his wife, in order that he might enjoy the pleasure of living with her” (7:189).

Thus, according to the Quran, the relationship between a man and his wife should be one of love, mercy and mutual understanding. Allah also commands men to treat their wives kindly in the verse, “And consort with your wives in a goodly manner, for if you dislike them, it may well be that you dislike something which Allah might yet make a source of abundant good” (4:19).

A few words about the purpose of marriage in Islam should be given. This is needed because many times people enter into marriage or desire to get married without realizing the roles and purpose of marriage itself. In turn, they do not realize the kinds of responsibilities that will be on their shoulders when they do get married. However, if the purposes of marriage are known and the responsibilities that marriage will entail are understood at the outset, once again, the probability that the marriage will be a successful marriage will be enhanced. The person will know what is expected of him, both with respect to his responsibilities and duties and his rights.

Obviously, the purpose of marriage is not simply “fun” or the release of “animal urges”. There is much more to marriage than that. Some of the goals behind marriage include279: procreating, experiencing permissible physical pleasure, attainment of one’s complete maturity, mutually assisting one another in making one’s life in this world, attaining numerous psychological and physiological benefits, forming the cornerstone of a moral society, bringing up the next generation in a setting that is most conducive for moral and spiritual growth and binding peoples and families together.



277 For more details on the Islamic laws of marriage, see the author’s “The Fiqh of the Family, Marriage and Divorce” (American Open University, 1997), passim. The discussion here is based on sections of that work.

278 Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

279 Cf., Abdul Rahman Abdul Khaaliq, Al-Zawaaj fi Dhill al-Islaam (Kuwait: al-Daar al-Salafiyyah, 1988), pp. 21ff.


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