Saturday, May 18, 2013
NIKAH – A CHOICE FOR TOMORROW
1. INTRODUCTION: Hadith of Rasulullah says: "There are three kinds of people entitled to God's help: the fighter for Allah's cause, the slave who is working to free himself, and the proposer who wishes to marry so as to be chaste." (Tirmidhi) To open this discussion, brothers and sisters, I feel that correct conception precedes correct perception for it is what we conceive in mind that modulates our perception. Both correct conception and correct perception helps man to have a correct understanding. When the two go wrong, as an author says, the individual will continue to argue through questionable axioms and still through a more questionable process of logic. The answers arrived at by such individual will be almost unquestionably wrong. Rasulullah admonishes thus: "Whomever God provides with a pious wife, He has helped to secure one half of his religion; he should take care of the other half." According to Baihaqi's version, the Prophet said: "When a person marries, he fulfils half of his religion. He should fear God in the other half." 2. THE ISSUES i. Your objective as a Muslim: This is about the role you have chosen for yourself as a Muslim and it is dictated by your vision for Islam. Allah gave us a clear answer in the Qur'an when He said: "I have not created man and the Jinn except to worship Me" (Surat Dhariyyah: 56). So, the goal of existence is worship of Allah; whoever carries it out is successful and whosoever neglects it is at a loss. Brothers and Sisters, you must develop an objective for yourself about Islam and that objective or role you have chosen will affect, not just your marriage but every other thing you chose to engage in. It will modulate the type of work you chose to do, the employment you will accept, the intimate friends you keep etc. In brief, Allah has made us vicegerents on earth and the task of enlightening mankind therefore falls on us all. Those who have accepted this task and have consciously chosen to be change agents in today’s society must know that it will affect their conception and perception of Nikah – it will affect their choice of future partner(s). ii. Your perception of Nikah: What is marriage to you? It is not just another relationship to be embarked upon because others are embarking on it. It ought to be early for both sexes so that children are reared when there is energy to guide them. Brothers and Sisters, having said this much, you must have comprehended the value you should place on your marriage. Why must you place much attention to yourself? The chances are that you want to be free to walk into the market place and make your choice without any restraint and when restraint is placed, you naturally become restless and ask questions. I therefore proceed to explain as follows: iii. There was a time when Hijab and socks were guarantees: At the beginning of every change, when it has just evolved as a sub-culture, its values and principles are manifested in a few individuals and they can easily be recognised. The chances of pollution, betrayals and infiltration are very limited – it is like life in Makkah with the early Muslims. It is easy to monitor and see all under a sub-culture. In the early 80’s, when a woman wore Hijab and socks to protect her nudity, you did not need to query her conviction about the Islam, it was taken for granted because to adopt that culture then was to ask for the wrath of the community. When change improves and it becomes popular in a community or well recognised as a main culture, it then becomes capable of all manners of all civilisations – just like when the nascent Islamic state emerged in Madinah. The deceptive antics of man must be expected and that is when the talk about the hypocrites, the infiltrators etc becomes open. This is why ‘he is also a brother/sister’ does not suffice in making a choice because in darkness, the hands of a monkey look like that of a man and if the leopard hides its claws, it does not mean that it does no longer know how to use them. iv. A Tested Path: It is to circumvent some of the loopholes that we used ourselves as experiments in the past and we came up with values and principles that may help you enjoy marriage eternally. We develop the culture of an intermediary – this not strange to Islam as it was the case between Khadijah () and Rasulullah . "There is for you in the messenger of Allah a noble example" (Surah Ahzab 33:21). This is also where the experience of your parents comes in handy. You should avail yourselves of these tested hands and let their experiences guide and direct you. Indeed, some of you would have witnessed problems in your families, a reflection of the imperfections in us as man, these are no indications that you should stray. They are additional lessons for you and opportunity to avoid similar pitfalls. v. Conflict of Change: As you grow and mature, you also come in contact with the conflict of change and what is paramount to you now is the choice of a future partner. The society would mount pressure on you and to some, it is difficult to explain the unsuitability of the suitors that may come your way. The lure of beauty, wealth, family relationships etc would be tempting enough however, your level of understanding, faith and readiness to sacrifice would be the sustaining elements. Your anxiety may heighten if the process of choosing a partner ‘becomes slow or prolonged’ and this may make you feel like going it all alone. But no matter how hungry a goat may be, grazing in the midst of the thick forest is not the best for there are wild animals. The stubborn nanny-goat may end up in the bowel of a carnivore. vi. Nikah as a turning point: Here we take directly from Fathi Yakan’s work – ‘Islamic Movement, Problem and Perspectives’ which has been represented as ‘Problem Faced by Da’wah and Daiyah’: In Chapter Three, Major Pitfalls in the life of the Caller, he wrote: “No doubt, every case has its causes. Those who failed in their marriages probably were those who did not follow the Islamic requirements concerning marriage right from the beginning. They may have been blinded by external appearances and could not see the essence. They were concerned with the covering and did not taste the core. They were trapped by the evil of their deeds and repented after it was too late.” vii. OTHER CHALLENGES: Other challenges bother on marrying into the family of close friends. To many of us, our families have been so close that we see ourselves and blood-relations which makes the talk of marriage inauspicious. We must however refer ourselves to Islam and our Faith, this should be the guiding factor and not sentiments. We must note the closeness between Rasulullah and Ali – in matter of blood relationship and that of other companions like Abubakar , Umar and Uthman . The issue of age also comes in and it comes in two ways – the age of marriage and marrying with huge age differences. All these are also addressed by the Seerah which we are all conversant with. "You are the best community ever evolved for mankind" (Al-Imran:110) 3. THE FACTORS: You therefore need to take care of the following factors: a. Your Faith: Indeed, Rasulullah laid emphasis on Faith as the cornerstone of Nikah. It towers above all other factors of Beauty, Wealth, Power and Family Background. You are therefore getting married to please Allah , to serve Him – in its pristine unity. In the same way it towers above tribal and other sentimental feelings – ‘first love’, ‘man of my dream’, etc. The Prophet said: "Don't marry women for their beauty, it might destroy them; don't marry them for their property, it might make them exceed proper bounds; but marry them for their piety. An ignorant religious slave girl is better." (Ibn Majah) Allah’s directive is also instructive on this: "Marry the spouseless among you and your slaves and maid-servants who are righteous; if they are poor, God will enrich them of His bounty." (24:32) Also remember the saying of Rasulullah : "Whoever marries a woman for her elevated status, God will increase him in humiliation; whoever marries her for her property, God will increase him in poverty; whoever marries her for her noble ancestry, God will increase him fn lowliness; and whoever marries a woman for nothing but to lower his gaze and protect his chastity, or to be kind to a relative, God blesses her for him and him for her." (Tabarani) b. Your Morality: Despite the background, the level of education and exposure, the individual morality remains an issue in marriage. We all have inherent weaknesses that when uncontrolled, can destroy marriage. No one is perfect but some of us have excesses of these weaknesses and despite efforts to remove or blur them, they remain like malignant growths. As individuals, we must develop those moral precepts that encourage respect for others, mutuality in a home and ability to subdue our anger in the face of provocation. According to Rasulullah : "The best of your women is the one who, if her husband looks at her, she pleases him; if he orders her, she obeys him; and if he is absent, she is faithful to him in herself and in his property." (Nasa'i) c. The Choice: The partner you may wish to submit your life to must be one that operates from the same page with you, you must have the same reference point to avoid building potential cleavages into your nascent home. Such a partner must understand the importance of your home and its values for the mission. In essence, it is from Rajulul Aqidatil Islamiyyah to Baitus – Salam. You cannot afford to manage and you cannot afford to mortgage the mission of Khilafatul Ard which we all hope to champion for any other variant. This is also why selecting a partner on the internet may be too risky. The Prophet said: "Choose for your sperm, for your blood will tell." You must apply all senses, make sensible selection of your life-long partner. d. Your Parents: Our roles as your parents are to 1guide and prevent 2clashes of interest. No parent is expected to impose his wish on his children in this respect just as the child should understand his parents as a precursor1, an ally2 and a care-giver3. Indeed, the mother-hen runs haywire when it sees the hawk hovering around its chick; of course the chick might wonder why mother-hen is bothering itself. We are all familiar with the maiden flight of baby mosquito which came to report that people were clapping for its manoeuvres! It is the same here. You are just damned lucky to have parents who are precursors, it was not this ease in the early days. e. Sacrificing Spirit: Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi said: "once again is needed the courage of Muslim Youth who could, with its sacrifice, build a bridge so that life could cross over to its essential nobility and happiness. Life, like soil, needs fertilizers. That, which can fertilize life so that it gives its best, is the renunciation of the Muslim Youth of its personal ambitions in order to bring Islam to its full fruition and fill Allah's earth with peace and plenty. Today a forsaken humanity demands the courage and resolve of those who can, for its sake, give up ease and comfort, opportunities of worldly gain and concern for individual success and prosperity". (Islam and the World) An-Nikah is itself a sacrifice, even though with envisaged pleasure. However, in its whole process are sacrifices to be made for its success starting with the choice. Who would marry the amputee who has returned from Jihad? Who will marry the blind, the deaf and other similarly impaired individuals? Or, should they remain unmarried – or married to their likes? These are big questions for the thoughts and living minds. This is why love cannot be blind but Faith and Sacrifice can sustain such marriages. f. The Process: In résumé, for this process is obvious in the discourse above, a person planning to go into marriage must prepare first with prayers seeking guidance and blessing from of Allah and making the intention clear – to serve Allah . It is also good to observe Salatul Haajjah and Istikhaarah. This is also part of faith which makes it clear that we put everything in the hands of Allah . Secondly, seek the advice and guidance of your parents and teacher on the path of faith for they have trodden the path before you and are well positioned to let you know and benefit from their knowledge and experience. Never forget that what the elder sees sitting down, the youth may not see even on top of a tree. And, Allah has given them the task of leading us into marriage according to the statement of Rasulullah . Thirdly, open you mind to your parents and teachers; do not hide or pretend before them even when you have differences with them or you feel something is wrong with the family setting. Say your mind and if you already have a choice express it or if you have conditions make them clear. Fourthly, read very well about marriage and all that is involved, be intellectually prepared for the task and responsibility of marriage and in this you also have much to gain from your parents and teachers. By this, you are also physically prepared for the emerging task. g. Plan for the D-Day: It has become pertinent to add this last segment because of the unfortunate tendencies in the market place today. The best marriage is the cheapest. Therefore do not plan a grandiose marriage because you want to ‘make a statement with your marriage’. Do not borrow money unless some essentials of marriage are left unattended to and make sure you do not put the cart before the horse in your shopping list. Make all decorations modest and without an impression that may dress you in borrowed clothe. There may be many more issues to raise depending on the circumstances of each person, it is not a straight jacket situation. 4. OBJECTIVES OF OUR FAMILY SETTING Dear brothers and sisters, the aims and objectives of all our Organisations are also a reflection of what we envisaged of our families. The family is the nexus and connecting unit that we all must belong to and it is a product of marriage. Islam also requires that the purpose of marriage be to establish the Muslim home as the first solid foundation and cornerstone in establishing a Muslim society. The Qur'an considers this to be a cherished wish of the believers when it describes them in the following verse: "Our Lord, vouchsafe for us the comfort of our wives and our offspring and make us a model to the God-fearing." (25:74). According to various scholars, Islam requires that the first purpose of marriage be the completion of one's religion in accordance with the saying of the Prophet : Islam also emphasises that marriage is an important factor which protects and purifies the self, while also directing it to the path of chastity and obedience to God. 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud reported that the Prophet said: “O young men, whoever can marry, must marry; he who cannot should fast, for fasting is a protection for him." (Bukhari and Muslim) Good marriages build real values and principles. This is why you must see marriage as a choice for tomorrow, it is not the futile fancies of today, it is about the indispensable essentials that will rule you lives in times to come. Here are the objectives: 1. Produce a large number of Duat, callers to Islam, who will willingly and with little or no supervision be calling people to Islam at all times. 2. Generate ready leaders for the Ummah who would at all times be called upon to lead, de jure or de facto, and who will give excellent leadership. 3. Help re-organise the affairs of the Ummah by offering ourselves to fill the vacuum in their organisations, both micro and macro societies and mosques societies and mosques. 4. Become the practical example for the translation of faith in the live of all Muslims. 5. Give practical steps and directions on how to revive the institutions of Islam and show how to make them survive. 6. Using the family as a basic starting point, work to spread the message of Islam to whole of mankind in general and the Muslims in particular. Allah said: "oh prophet, convey (the message) that has been revealed unto you." The duty of the prophet is our duty for we are the inheritors. 7. Through our family activities, bring Muslims together on the principles of Islam. To serve as guide for them in order to colourise their activities be it individually or as a group, with the colouring of Islam. Dear beloved ones, this is a message prepare specifically for you. Its import does not rest here alone, it is not just one of those speeches you hear all the time. I hope this to be a reference material for you and even for your children and when we will be no more. And finally, Alhamdulillah, Rabil Aalamin.