هBy Muhammad Abdul-Rauf
ِAbout marriage, the Qur’an, which Muslims believe to be the word of God, reads:
And marry those among you who are single . . . If they are needy, God will make them free from want out of His grace. (An-Nur 24:32)
And He it is Who has created man from water; then He has made for him blood-relationship and marriage-relationship. And your Lord is ever Powerful. (Al-Furqan 25:54)
One of His signs is this: that He has created mates for you from yourselves that you might find quiet of mind in them, and He put between you love and compassion. Surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect. (Ar-Rum 30:21)
In the context of praising the Prophet preceeding the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the Qur’an reads:
And surely We sent Messengers before thee and appointed for them wives and children. (Al-Ahzab 33:38)
And in praising the habits of good believers, it reads:
And those who say, “Our Lord, grant us in our wives and our offspring the joy of our eyes… (Al-Furqan 25:74)
There are also many traditions ascribed to the Prophet Muhammad in which the practice of marriage is emphatically praised. The following are some of these hadiths:
Marriage is my recommended custom. Whoso-ever turns away from my recommended custom is turning away from me. (Ibn Majah)
Get married so you multiply. I shall indeed be proud of your multitude on the Day of Resurrection. (Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’i)
O you young people, men and women! Whosoever can bear the burden of marriage, let him or her get married. It (marriage) is indeed contentment to the eye and a protection to the modest parts. (Al-Bukhari)
When one is married, he secures half of his religion. So let him fear God in the other half. (At-Tirmidhi)
This is the paramount advantage of marriage; namely, to contribute through legitimate means to the continuity and preservation of the human race. The sexual urge serves the function of bringing the mates together for the fulfillment of this basic objective.
The procreational objective has four aspects: to fulfill the will of God; to seek the love of the Prophet Muhammad; to benefit from the prayer of the child; and to profit from its intercession on behalf of its parents.
Almighty God, in providing the male with intricate fertilizing organs and the female with a receptive fertile womb, is telling us in the most eloquent but voiceless language of the purpose of these provisions. To let them be idle is to ignore the divine wisdom written on these God-given instruments. Imagine a farmer who, although he is given a piece of fertile land, seeds and farming tools, just lets the land go to waste, the seeds rot and tools rust.
This farmer not only is a fool, but is to be condemned for his wasteful and harmful indifference.
Procreation through marriage is also a means of seeking the pleasure of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) who is believed to be alive in his grave and to whom the deeds of the members of his nation are regularly presented. He has called upon his nation: “Marry, so your number increases. The practice of marriage is an answer to his call.
Prayer of a child is believed to be beneficial to his dead parent. The Prophet (peace be upon him) says:
When the son of Adam dies, nothing would be of any more benefit to him except three things: a continuous charity, some useful knowledge he has left behind and a child who may pray for him. (Muslim)
Should the child die early and the parents accept its loss as an act of God, without despair, it would be like a ticket to Paradise for them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) is related to have said:
A child (who dies before reaching puberty) leads the parents to Paradise. A child will be brought (on the Day of Judgment) and told, “Get into Paradise.” But he will stand reluctantly and angrily at its gate and say, “I am not going to enter Paradise without my parents.” It will then be said, “let his parents enter Paradise with him.” (An-Nasa’i)
It is related that an unmarried man of good conduct who lived in the early past shouted when he was rising from sleep one morning. “Help me to get married! Help me to get married.
Maybe God will give me a child who will be useful to me on the Day of Judgment.” He was asked, “What has happened?” He said, “I dreamt that the Day of Judgment had come, and all mankind was raised and brought together in one place with the burning sun close over their heads.
Everyone became very thirsty and I was dying of thirst. Suddenly, children appeared among us, lively and handsome, covered with protective light and carrying silver ewers and golden goblets. They offered drinks to some but left out most. When I stretched my hand to one of them and said, ‘Give me to drink, I am exhausted because of thirst,’ he said, ‘You have no child among us.’ I asked, Who are you? He said, ‘We are Muslim children; our parents lost us when we were young!”
To be continued…
The article is an excerpt from Marriage in Islam by Muhammad Abdul-Rauf, Ph.D. Fifth printing 1993, published by Al-Saadawi Publications, P.O. Box 4059, Alexandria, VA, U.S.A. 22303.