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Friday, June 08, 2007

The Sanctity of Marriage

Allah Almighty created Adam and Hawwa (Eve),
and this is mentioned in the noble Qur'an: [It is He Who has created you from a single person (Adam), and (then) He has created from him his wife [Hawwa (Eve)], in order that he might enjoy the pleasure of living with her] (Al-A'raf 7:189). They complete each other. Due to the sanctity of the joining of man and woman, Allah refers to marriage in the Qur'an (An-Nisaa, 4:21) as a mithaq (Arabic for "solemn covenant or agreement between husband and wife").
Unfortunately, this sacred bond suffers a lot these days.

Beginning of the Journey

Economic problems play a decisive role in putting obstacles in the way of young people getting married these days. In a country with a high unemployment rate, such as Egypt, it is hard for a young man to find a job immediately after graduating. It might take him years before his salary is enough to save for his future marriage.


Cultural Obligations

Alongside financial difficulties are the social and cultural pressures that have become essential requirements for a marriage to take place. After the apartment is taken care of comes the expense incurred to furnish it. As if to complicate matters more, a lot of cultural ideas begin to intervene in the furnishing of the apartment. Trivial objects are given importance, due to which some marriages have been delayed. The social acceptance of a marriage has come to depend on dispensable material issues, such as having expensive furniture.


The Wedding

Weddings have also become an integral part of the social acceptance of a marriage. Young couples are sometimes pressured by their community to have an extravagant wedding, even when they can barely afford it. They are sometimes led to spend on a wedding so much money that they would have preferred to spend on more essential needs, but it is difficult to confront these family and community pressures.

Resorting to Traveling Abroad

With the financial pressures that face young men, some of them resort to travelling abroad to establish their career and make enough money. However, not all families accept a man who will take their daughter away to another country; sometimes the woman's family cannot imagine their daughter living far away from them. On other occasions, the family might consent to the marriage and the girl gets married and travels abroad to start her life with her husband. However, the result is that she cannot live long without her family and so she spends the rest of her life going back and forth between countries.

Neglecting What Truly Matters

All these economic and social expectations are transformed into obstacles because the more important requirements of a marriage are neglected.
As a result of overlooking a man's religious and moral character, many marriages have been accepted solely on the basis of the man's financial status. Sadly, some, but not all, such marriages end, because the man whom the family had accepted because of his financial status has no religious basis and, therefore, does not treat his wife and her family well. At other times, an honorable and respectable man is refused because of his "insufficient" financial status.
Undeniably, the man and woman should belong to the same financial and social status so that they would have common ground and understanding. However, in the sight of many families and communities, an insignificantly small difference in this status can hinder a marriage.

Prophet's Example Applies to All Ages

Abu Hurairah narrated that Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "When someone with whose religion and character you are satisfied asks your daughter in marriage, accede to his request. If you do not do so, there will be temptation on earth and extensive corruption" (At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa'I, and Ibn Majah).
In the end, a healthy family's home depends fully on the character and religion of the two spouses, because the understanding established between them based on their character and religion will defy any difficulty they face.

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