Islamic Perspectives

Is Nikah not my right?

By Dr. Muhammad Moazzam Ali

I ask young boys and girls, senior, learned and religious persons and leaders of Muslim society if Nikah is not my right; also, if leading a respectable, God-fearing life is not my right, is seeking His pleasure, following the path leading to Paradise also not my right, particularly when Nikah is a Sunnat, a worship and a matter of honour? Why  then difficulties have been created for us? Is it not the responsibility of our society to be helpful in making Nikah easy for young boys and girls? This is a heart-rending voice of those who want to get married. This question demands serious attention.

If the truth and necessity of Nikah is kept in mind, these questions become easy and if forgotten, life will become difficult as it is, or is being made today. Nikah should be freed from unnecessary customs, traditions, extravagance, fashion etc and should be treated as a worship and Sunnat of our Prophet (pbuh). God and His prophet made Nikah easy and pronounced it to be a sort of worship, hence Nikah is made easy in Islam. It should be made valid in the presence of witnesses and payment of Mahr. Walima may be prescribed in accordance with the financial status of the boy, his parents. Neither large amount of Mahr nor sumptuous walima (lunch or dinner) should be expected. Lunch or dinner by girl’s family has not been prescribed.

Nikah being ordained as a worship, it may be performed as a worship, i.e., in a very simple way because in worship there are no useless customs or needless show of wealth etc. Like worship, there should be simplicity, sincerity and humility. When Nikah is a Sunnat, it should be performed as a Sunnat, as has been stated by the Prophet that Nikah is my Sunnat and whoever shuns my ways has nothing to do with me. Hence, Nikah as a prophetic tradition is very respectable.

Such a lofty and easy matter has been made very difficult for parents of both boys and girls by formalising so many unwanted and unnecessary customs, financial and other burdens, contrary to the fact that Islam does not put financial burden on weaker sections and those who are dependent on others. Islam’s principle of life style is that a girl is born and brought up in her parents’ house and when she goes to her husband’s house, her maintenance and responsibility falls on her husband;  hence Islam has not put the responsibility of lunch or dinner on her parents. In such a case, making too many demands on her parents results in financial burden on parents and delays marriage of their daughters. Such traditions should be strictly discouraged and even abolished. These customs are a curse, the victims of which are all families when their daughters are to get married.

Unnecessary show of opulence and outdated customs have been, and are being considered today as an essential part of wedding while the truth is that large marriage parties, grand arrangements and vulgar display of wealth and fashion etc are not true source of happiness. If something becomes a burden and a matter of worry, it cannot be called happiness. God and His Prophet are certainly not pleased with extravagance, waste of time and hypocrisy. If too many people are invited or too many people participate in marriage functions, it does not add to one’s pleasure and happiness. Parents feel happy if small number of people who hold similar views and are close and sincere relatives and friends participate. Therefore, if marriages are solemnised in accordance with Allah’s pleasure  and Prophet’s Sunnat, people will be really happy at heart.

In order to make Nikah easy and conjugal relationship strong, it is necessary that the boy and girl should be religious-minded and God-fearing. Allah’s Prophet lays priority on this. Other attributes, i.e., beauty, wealth, pedigree etc can be helpful in making a marital relationship strong but these things in themselves are not a strong foundation for a successful conjugal life. Hence in the marriage sermon, attention to fear of God is mentioned four times so that the husband and wife fear Allah and fulfill their respective rights, duties and responsibilities towards the other as a result of which they will lead a life of love, peace and honour in this world and merit Allah’s, pleasure and blessings in the Hereafter.

What we have stated here may appear somewhat strange because Islamic teachings  look strange these days. Man considers those things right and useful with which his mind and heart are familiar, and considers those things wrong and outdated with which he is not familiar. That’s why people’s thinking has become such that they consider the present rubbish customs, traditions, grandeur, pomp and show, large parties, big amounts of Mahr and so forth as the standard way of life. In the mad race for these, they have drifted away from Islam’s pristine teachings. Spending large amounts on invitation cards is regrettable. Thousands of rupees are spent for a moment’s appreciation and pride. These days Net and sms can be used  because all kinds of official and private sms’s can be sent this way. Hence, without any trouble and hesitation, these invitations can also be sent in a simple way and messages, dates and places can be safely recorded. Attention should therefore be paid to such simple, easy and cheap methods to save money and ensure happiness of all. (Translated from Urdu by MG staff)