Islamic Perspectives

Live-in relationships and love marriages

Live-in relationships

Of various sex perversions which have destroyed the moral fabric of society, live-in relationship has become a craze today. What started as a rare exception in a few families a few years ago in Gujarat (among NRIs) has engulfed the entire nation to such an extent that the Supreme Court had to declare that it was neither a sin nor a crime. It has asked the Parliament to enact a law to ensure a fair deal for women and children born out of such relationships.

Not only have celebrities like Rajesh Khanna and the late Jia Khan been in such relationships, it has entrapped many students and working women living in metros. While Advani is still contesting her legal claim over Rajesh Khanna’s assets, Jia Khan’s family is also involved in a legal battle against the Pancholi’s. Several cases are pending in courts in which women have accused their live-in partners of betrayal by breaking their promises and refusing to marry and deserting them when they become pregnant.

One can very well understand the misery of the deserted woman, especially when she has no source of income and a child to take care of. However, the question arises: why did she take a leap in the dark in the first place. Was she so naïve as to believe that the man would remain attached to her all her life?  

The very idea of live-in relationship is based on the concept of temporary relationship with no guarantee for duration –  it could be a few months or a few years.

Those who advocate this kind of relationship plead that such relationship gives them an opportunity to assess each other – to what extent they are reliable and temperamentally suitable to each other. “Marry in haste and repent at leisure” has been the scare for such people. Why not test each other before finally tieing the knot. Like the slogan of a detergent powder “pahle istimaal karen, phir vishwaas karen”, they enter into the vicious circle for experimenting, forgetting that marital bed is not a game table to throw a dice on. It has its sanctity which no religion allows to be defiled.

While entering such a relationship, they are dictated more by lust than by a sense of responsibility. Since marriages have become either a distant dream or a mirage, this understanding becomes a tempting alternative. Marriage enjoins responsibilities as well as restrictions; hence this novel “arrangement” seems to be quite alluring. Marriages necessitate consent of parents who are unwilling to yield and some of whom are even bent upon indulging in honour-killing, the couple decides to maintain a relationship where there is no commitment of any kind.

Such arrangements last only a few days or months. Very soon disputes begin to arise on sharing of expenses and duties. Disillusionments follow soon. If there are greener pastures around, both parties would like to get rid of each other so as to try the newer prospect. Since such arrangements are, in most cases, kept secret, parents, unknowingly, continue to search for eligible spouses for their wards. When the partners learn about the brighter prospects which the proposed marriage is likely to offer, they decide to break the bond. If the man learns that his would-be-bride is likely to fetch a rich dowry, he will soon desert his live-in partner. Similarly, if the woman is apprised that her future husband is a man of riches or has a brilliant career ahead, she might decide to terminate the relationship.

For some time there may be smooth sailing in such relationships. However, with pregnancy arise complications. One of the two does not want the child to be born while the other, mostly woman, wants to deliver the child. In case a child is born, it becomes necessary for the man to acknowledge and accept his role and duty. However, because of social and political considerations, the man does not want to be recognised as father of such a child. In Narayan Dutt Tiwari case, we see the reluctance because he never wanted to get his political career destroyed and image tarnished. The Cobrapost disclosures about the Saheb and IAS officer Pradip Sharma claims are bound to tarnish the image of the p.m.-in-waiting.

Islam strongly prohibits all such licenses and liberties. Pre-marital sex or adultery is punishable under the Shari’ah. However, the dowry system in our country, especially in the south, has given rise to marriages of convenience because parents are unable to bear the enormous cost of weddings. While in Bangalore I heard the father of an MBBS doctor preferring his daughter opting for PG instead of becoming a bride because he felt that he could never arrange the enormous sum bridegrooms were demanding. Either the lady doctor will marry someone outside the faith or enter into a live-in-relationship. It is time we wake up.

Love Marriages: Repurcussions

Hardly a single day passes when one does not come across a report of suicide, wife-bashing or even bride killing. In many cases, the marital happiness of the couple is as brief as six months. Such incidents, whether within the community or outside, bring untold misery to both the families and totally shatter the lives of the children.

Of course, one cannot guarantee with absolute certainty that arranged marriages are permanent and blissful. In such cases life remains a poignant tale of suffering. Just to keep the elders of the families in good humour couple go through the trauma of bitterness - life turns into hell. Yet, recent reports flooding the media point out the fact that love-marriages have proved to be equally disasterous.

The reasons behind such failures are not too difficult to find. When the members of the opposite sex meet, specially during adolescence, there begins love at first sight, unaware of the weaknesses of the individuals involved. They overlook the obvious and ignore the advice offered by well-wishers. Having fallen head-long in the mess, the only remedy for them is an instant marriage. Considerations of economic, cultural or even social status are ignored. Defying family restrictions, they prefer to elope, spend some time at a distant place, and return repenting their hasty decision. While some manage to carry on the trauma just to make otherrs feel that they are a happy lot and theirs was not a wrong decision while in reality they quarrel every single day gnashing their teeth like caged animals.

As soon as the honeymoon spell comes to an end, the two begin noticing the personality shortcomings of each othe. Egoistic, quarrelsome, rash, reckless and impulsive traits are discovered. Sooner or later even moral weaknesses such as infidelity, avarice, wine addiction are also noticed. In such situations of “no reconciliation”, either they decide to divorce or to get rid of each other through means fair or foul.

In which ways such marriages adversely destroy the social fabric must be analysed. If it is an inter-caste or inter-religious marriage, there are instant communal clashes and it becomes a law and order problem. It boomerangs on their families in several ways. For example, the family gets ostracised making marriages of remaining children in the families difficult, forcing them to either remain unmarried or to follow the precedent of their elder brother/sister.

In these days of groom/bride-hunting, in which choice of eligible spouse is limited by several considerations, such marriages outside of the community are at the cost of reducing the probability of the remaining eligible ones. When one marries out of one’s community, he/she makes an eligible aspirant’s chances bleaker day by day. If Muslim boys go on marrying Hindu girls what will be the plight of Muslim unmarried girls? They too shall be forced to seek matrimony outside the faith. The so-called “Love Jehad” (which remains only in the minds of fanatic outfits) shall condemn Muslim girls to remain unmarried. The plight of Muslim girls, especially in Andhra and Karnataka, is pathetic. Dowry has already caused havoc in the community, it will be further complicated by marriages outside the faith.

An obvious repercussion of such marriages is the loss of cultural /religious traditions. The new-comer being totally ignorant about the cultural/religious traditions of the new home, either imposes his/her traditions in the new family or totally ignores them. As a result, children born in such wedlock remain ignorant about the traditions and rituals of their faith. An example would suffice. In the family of a popular film star only the male members are Muslims as all the sons and their father have non-Muslim wives. Hence the family not only observes Eid but all the Hindu festivals, e.g., Ganesh Utsav, Diwali and Christmas and this does not remain merely a family affair but is telecast on channels to apprise people of the “liberal” atmosphere in the family. Children of such families know neither the Qur’an nor Ahadith. Ganesh aarati telecast ensures them their market credentials and, of course, blessings of Shiv Sainiks who control each and every activity in Mumbai.

Those who intend to embark on such adventure must pause and ponder what they are chasing. It is an infatuation that would wreck their peace and happiness, throwing overboard the cultural traditions and religious injunctions of their families. Is such infatuation worth the loss they are likely to suffer?