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Fatima is Fatima

by : Dr. Ali Shari'ati

Back You are here: Home Books Youth and Spouse Selection The Need Of An Engagement Period

The Need Of An Engagement Period


THE NEED OF AN ENGAGEMENT PERIOD

From certain aspects it is essential that there be a distance between the contract and marriage.

1- The girl who has lived for many years in a family with her family members, especially her father and mother, has a deep and strong attachment to them and separation from them is very tough and difficult for her. So it is not advisable to suddenly detach her from her family, since this would emotionally be harmful for her. Instead, it is necessary to bring a gradual
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readiness in her to face the separation.

2- The boy and the girl whose life responsibilities were, up until now on the shoulders of the parents, do not have th readiness to shoulder that at once, therefore a gap is necessary so that they may prepare themselves to shoulder the weight of joint life responsibilities.

The style of birds' lives is very beautiful and based upon wisdom in this respect. The mother bird trains her offspring for a long time to fly and live independently. She prepares them to organise their own lives and does not let them go away from her until this readiness comes into existence.

3- It is difficult for the boy and girl who were strangers only sometime ago to adjust beside each other without any preliminary stages and all of a sudden start an independent life. It is necessary for them to get familiar and develop attachment to be ready for their common life together.

4- It is possible that the girl and the boy, due to certain reason like those described in chapter four, such as:
continuing education or military training, are not prepared to begin a joint and independent life, but do have the readiness to get engaged. So they get engaged, and remain so until such time as the hurdles and restraints are removed and they can marry.

5- The parents of the girl and the boy also need to get prepared for the marriage of their dear ones. The duration of the engagement provides them with the
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necessary opportunity to be ready for it.

THE BENEFITS OF THE ENGAGEMENT PERIOD AND THE
DUTIES OF THE GIRL AND THE BOY DURING IT


In addition to the needs and benefits, which have been described in the above discussion, i.e. the need of the engagement period', and the benefits of marriage previously described, the engagement period has independent benefits and, at the same time, the boy and the girl have some duties to perform which are described as follows:

1- THE ENHANCEMENT OF MUTUAL RECOGNITION
AND UNDERSTANDING


Although the boy and the girl should have gained sufficient mutual recognition in the phase of selection (described in chapter 6), they must also develop a much closer and intimate recognition, with more knowledge of one another's spirits, morality and views. In fact this familiarity and recognition of the engagement period accomplishes the recognition developed during the phase of selection. Thereafter, they prepare themselves for and understanding and homogeneity in their joint life, in the reflection of this close and complete recognition.

That recognition was meant for selection and this is for understanding and harmony.

2- IMPROVEMENT AND TRAINING

If someone observes a peculiarity in his/her fiance' which may not be liked by him/her and he/she may
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want to remove, rectify, or reform it or even create another virtue or condition in him/her, then the engagement period is the best time for such a reformation, change and training. This is because their mutual relations have not shaped into usual ones and they believe in a particular mutual love and reverence. As a result, their mutual accommodation and the ground fro change, reform and rectification is more positive and level.

3-ENHANCEMENT OF LOVE

On the basis of the discussion 'love, the pivot of life,' one of the actual and real conditions of prosperity in marital life is love and its ground should be levelled before marriage.

Nevertheless, the engagement duration is the best chance and opportunity for the growth, enhancement, consolidation and strengthening of love. The conduct, conversation and all the practices of the fiances are effective in increasing or decreasing love. Therefore, the boy and the girl must be very careful and attentive to their practices. And they must not spare any effort to increase love and avoid the love decreasing practices.

4- DEVELOPMENT OF HOPE REGARDING ONE'S FUTURE LIFE

Hope too has an important role in the prosperity of common life. Fiances should not be negligent about strengthening hope in each other's heart by hopeful words, soberness and confidence of conduct.
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5- LAYING THE FOUNDATION OF INDEPENDENCE
IN FUTURE LIFE


The boy and girl are usually attached and aligned with th parents' life; this alignment should change into independence.

The period of engagement is a suitable chance to lay the foundation of this independence. Fiances should do the future planning, design the aims and horizons of their future and the ways to reach them.

6- VALUING EACH OTHER'S SENTIMENTS AND FEELINGS

Fiances should be careful about each other's sentiments and emotions and value and answer them appropriately. Some fiances do not consider it necessary to answer the delicate sentiments and feelings of their fiances and think this would cause them to become dearer to their fiances, whereas, on the contrary, the feelings of their fiances are hurt. As a result, they start nursing a grudge against them and may harm their lives seriously.

The memories of th engagement period linger on in the memory until the last part of life and affect one's future life (both sweet and bitter memories).

Therefore, the fiance must have a perfectly calculated and planned conduct and refrain from practices that damage one's ego and personality. Indifference, carelessness, pride and insolence toward the fiance harms and hurts the sentiments and personality of the other side heavily.
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The girl mst be proud and reticent, but towards strangers and those not intimate, not toward her legal fiance.

Regretfully, it is often observed that the youth complain about the proud and reticent attitude of their fiances. For instances, they say: " I bought a gift for her with thousands of hopes and aspirations, but she showed carelessness and disrespect and did not accept my gift and I returned with a broken and bleeding heart."

Religious girls must know that such conduct is not part of faith and modesty, rather, these are prohibited.

It is meaningless for a girl to hide herself from her fiance who is her intimate and husband and to show recklessness.

Yes, we admit that modest girls shy in the former parts of the engagement and cannot show much intimacy and love toward their fiance. Boys too must observe and recognize this fact, but this condition of sahmefulness must soon go and their relation be based upon intimacy and love, accompanied by mutual respect.

7- GIFT PRESENTING

Presents have a strange role in attracting hearts and enhancing and boosting love. It s essential for the fiances not to be negligent of this beautiful and important point.

It is not necessary that the gifts should be very precious, but it is essential that it must be concordant
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with the inclination of the other party. And more importantly, that it is presented in and elegant and fine way. Presenting a gift requires a particular elegance and style. It must not be forgotten that presentation of a gift should not be one-sided. (Not that only boys give gifts.)

Of course, he may present more than the girl.

8- WRITING LOVE LETTERS

Writing letters full of love an purity has a nice effect upon the enhancement of love an strengthening of mutual relations. Even if the two fiances are close to each other and always see each other, writing letter has a positive effect.

They should write the letters and at the time of visiting and departure, give them to each other. Of course, in case of travelling and being far away from each other, the letters should be detailed and more in number.

we have seen many spouses who retain the letters written during the engagement period even after the passage of many years. They read, cherish, and enjoy those sweet memories.

9- SINCERE VISITS

Fiances should have lovely visits in the sweet and memorable time of the engagement. These visits strengthen the hope, enthusiasm and love of them both. The visits not only are modest, but also strengthen modesty for the both of them.

During these visits they should have warm and sincere dialogue and show love, affection and affiliation
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towards each other and talk about their future life and express hope and warmth of feeling for each other. And they might proceed on journeys, recreation and sightseeing (journeys during this period have a vital role and place).

10- SHORT JOURNEYS

During this worthy and precious opportunity between the marriage contract and the marriage, a better co-ordination and understanding amy develop so as to provide a ground for their future life. They can make use of travels and journeys to reach this aim.

Journeys, even though short, are a suitable ground for the unconscious manifestation of positive and negative aspects of human morality and character. Hence it provides a good opportunity for getting know each other better. A logic for these is that since the formal life has not yet started, so both parties have th readiness and flexibility to rectify and reform themselves upon the positive suggestion and criticism of each other.

These journeys, apart from being beneficial for the enhancement of mutual recognition on morality and the spirits of each other, are quite beautiful, lovely and memorable.

Of course, it is evidently understood that these should be done with the permission of the parents of the girl.
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11- PARTICIPATING IN SPIRITUAL AGGREGATIONS

One of the constructive programmes, which has a positive effect upon the spiritual and moral progress and maturity, development of mutual understanding between spouses and increasing th magnificence of this grand period is joint participation in the aggregations and meetings of knowledge, religion, and morality.

12- GAINING KNOWLEDGE AND ARTS REGARDING ORGANISING

one's life, caring for a spouse an the study of books in this respect.

Spouseship, management of life and training of children needs education and this education and training must start before marriage and continue to the end of one's life.

It is necessary for parents to acquaint their children gradually with the matters and responsibilities of life right from childhood, so as to make them prepared for their life.

Some of parents, as a love to their offspring, refrain from letting them work and becoming familiar and conversant with the matters pertaining to their future lives. This practice of parents is not only not a love and service to their children, but it also incurs heavy losses upon them. This is because it is in the childhood and youth that the nature of is children gets prepared for all types of education and training. If they do not become familiar and conversant with the problems of life and the essential readiness does not develop in
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them, when they themselves get to shoulder the responsibilities of running a life, they will be defeated and lost. when they lose the help and shelter of their parents and come to face th facts and hardships and responsibilities, they will become harassed, disappointed, and hopeless and will develop a sense of self-depreciation and inferiority.

Many of the youth have ample amount of information about the variant problems, but they know little or nothing about spouseship and life management.

Fortunately, nowadays it is observed that the youth show a great deal of zeal and enthusiasm and inclination toward gaining various education, arts and skills, both curricular and extra curricular. This makes one hopeful about a better and affluent future.

There are classes of different subjects being held, and plenty of books and teachers are also available, but unfortunately, there is no organisation, arrangement an inclination concerning subjects and arts like spouseship, household affairs, life administration, children training, understanding and co-ordination between the husband and the wife. Briefly speaking, the organising and maintaining of the garden of life, which is the real nucleus in composing society, is not observed, And this inattentiveness and slackness incurs heavy damages upon the structure of society, the remedy and compensation for which in most cases is not possible.

There are many youths in our society (and many other societies) who achieve degrees in various subjects,
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including technology, arts, science and research, but when it comes to compose a marital life, they become perplexed and do not know the alphabet of the arts and science of the foundations of life, of erecting the pillars of the centre of life and the tender plant of life and the gardening of the garden of life. There are only few who help and assist them and drag them out of this terrifying and dreadful whirlpool and make them reach the shore.

Then these youths who are untrained and unequipped in the ways of spouse selection, spouseship and running the life feel a huge void in themselves. Since they greatly need a spouse, they are obliged to somehow marry and recognise a family and then they face those undesirable results which include: turmoiled and disturbed families, depressing conflicts and contentions, shameful and scandalous indecent words, dishonouring beatings, worn out nerves, sad and depressed souls, withered hearts, upset and diseased digestive system, ruining and destructive corruption, lost and wasted talents, destroyed aspirations, depressed hopes, damaged desires, unreached aims, defeated struggles, agonising problems, sad deprivations, injured and hurt sentiments ad fellings and frozen hearts.

And the after-fruits of this thorny garden are untrained, mannerless, badly trained, difficult, talentless, weak, mean and naughty children.

Oh Allah, be it that your hidden hand comes to our help and guides us out of this valley of perplexity and aberration.
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So it is essential for boys and girls to equip themselves with the arts, awareness, and knowledge of the life administration before marriage and attend the institutions and classes regarding these matters (if there are any) and to study books on this topic.

The engagement period and the time gap between the marriage contract and the marriage is a suitable opportunity to achieve this end to be prepared and ready.

Now we suggest some books about this subject.1

1- Constitution of spouseship, by Ayatollah Ibrahim Ameeni.

This is one of the best books written on this topic and has two parts, One part pertains to 'wife maintaining' and the other is about 'husband maintaining'. Each one of the two may be studied by the boy and the girl, or the husband and the wife to learn their duties and practice them. Of course, there is no harm if each one reads both the parts, But not that girls and women study the part concerning men, and boys and men read the part specified for girls ad women so that they understand what rights they have upon the other; instead, each one should understand and take in what are his/her duties and responsibilities to be performed.
____________
1- Evidently, the introduction of these books does not approve all of their matters.
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2- Family's Heaven, two volumes, by late Dr. Sayyid Jawad Mustafawi.

3- Marriage; the man making school, by martyr Dr. Pak Nijad. This book has three volumes, all in single binding. Volume 2 is related to the issues concerning the engagement period and the chamber of marriage. The writer has produced a few beneficial books about marriage , spouse maintaining and the issues relating to family life.

4- Books of Dr. Ali Qayemi. (He has some good books on the issues and various phases of family life.)

5- The guide to life for young couples, by Sayyid Hadi Mudarresi.

He has written a number of volumes of useful books on this topic. the original books are in Arabic and they have many translations with various names. If you know then name of the writer and the topic, it would be easy to find the book.

6- Morality in the family, by Sayyid Ali Akbar Hussaini ( the executer of the TV. program 'morality in the family').

7- The books of the "Association of Parents and Trainers" regarding the topic of family and marriage.

8- Answers to sexual-marital problems, by Dr. Hana Stone and Dr Abraham Stone (this book provides useful and essential information to the boy and the girl). Of course it may have objectionable matters, since the writers of this book are non-Muslims.
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One of the interesting and useful programs in this fields can be that the bride and bridegroom study a book in the sweet time of their engagement.

A WORTHY ESSAY IN THIS CONNECTION

Here it is appropriate that we present a large part of the worthy essay of Mr. Mohammad Ale-Ishaq, written under the title 'Engage period, a solution to youth problems' printed and circulated by the 'Centre of Islamic Research of Qum'.

"It is our suggestion that the tradition of engagement be revived in society, and its revolutionary and scientific values be explained and illustrated through modern propagation media, so that it may reach the status of social consciousness and tradition. the same custom and policy which is current and customary in pure families of Qum and some parts of Mashhad and the north should be promoted.

If every youth has the right to pluck a flower from the garden of life, then let him choose it as long as it is a bud and before its petals have scattered.

If a man gets full up and fed with lawful bread and cheese, human nobility and decency stops him from committing excess and aggression against others' dinner tables.

If we purchase a garden full of grapes for a youth of ours and hand him over the key, he will never jump over the wall of others' gardens.

How long can one endure thirst?
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It is suggested that the religious marriage contract be done( with simple informal ceremonies). And so the two spouse may receive benefit through loving relation apart from marriage and fulfil their physical needs and requirements through legal and lawful means. When their studies are completed and they get a job and procure income, they can marry with all the ceremonies.

If one asks what the surety they will not marry is, we reply that if they marry, there would be no dowry for them and experience has shown that both the spouses guard their real capital.

In response to the question that they might get fed up with each other and separate by dissolving the engagement then what must be done, we reply that, firstly, engagement is the most suitable period in which they harmonise their common life in the shelter of passionate love and the difference change into the light and beauty of love. If as an unlikely case the homogeneity did not take shape, then it would be far better to separate before bearing children, and the capital has to been wasted and the future of a child has not ben endangered.

Even in the ordinary marriage a few percent end up in separation, so then should people not marry at all?

THE VALUE OF THE ENGAGEMENT PERIOD

1- From a psychological point of view, instinctual deprivations cause spiritual problems (complex) and unbalance man spiritually. And sexual deprivation is
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of the deepest of them, which, according to some psychologists (who are extremists) , is the root of all the moral aberrations and deviations and the social crimes.

Reflection of the difficulty of sexual deprivations:

after th period of deprivation ends, one is involved and entangled in the reflections of it which become the cause of mistrust among wives in the shape of evil and polygamy and bring about family turmoil and disturbances. The only remedy to it is timely sexual saturation and satisfaction.

With these explanations is it suitable to invest in police, judicial and administrative operations or the promotion and expansion of engagement and timely sexual saturation? If we say engagement is the guarantee of human spiritual balance and the factor of preventing moral and social deviations and aberrations we would not have said anything wrong.

2- The love instinct, which is satisfied in infancy by a mother's kisses exerts more pressure on the young generation's spirit at the time of youth.

The young girl and boy have a thing lost and they feel themselves in a state of unfamiliarity, until such time as they find it. They go around, searching for a heart full of love and affection. It is better to say they are after a spiritual shelter so that they may feel self-assured and at peace beside that, and prepare themselves for the solution of life's problems and combat against death causing factors. The pressure of this need is not less than that of the sexual need.
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The plan of engagement secures the best shape of spiritual needs and satisfaction of the young generation.

3- The family is the centre of the conduct and behaviour of two human bing with two different and variant organism, two cultures and two viewpoints towards life. Most people marry to achieve and lay hand upon their unrealised aspirations and desires (desires unrealised by their parents.)

Naturally, such and environment is the centre of differences and oppositions and the rot of most separations and divorces lies in these very differences.

The engagement period is most suitable to solve these disputes and differences, since under the shelter of passionate love the differences are changed into uninformity and homology and the ground for a stable, sweet life is gained.

If we estimate the negative effects of these family differences upon children, we would fairly decide that the engagement period is the factor of prosperity and felicity.

4- Personal nobility and human personality is the factor, which stops man from committing indecent works. It is due to the pressure of the unsatisfied and unfulfilled natural needs that man does not have the strength to endure them and thus tramples human nobility and decency under his feet.

If the natural needs of the youth and their difficulties are taken into consideration and get satiated on time in a legal shape, the ground for most of the moral and
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social aberrations and deviations is finished and the immoral propaganda of the west becomes ineffective.

5- Dispressed and scattered thoughts are a danger which threaten the brains of youths. If the Islamic revolution requires active, nventive an delightful brains, it should stop young brains from lusty thoughts.

Put yourself in the place of a pious and revolutionary youth. How many years can the thirst be endured and remained inattentive and indifferent towards stimulating and tempting factors? The reckless youth satisfy themselves through unfair mens, but the one who does not want to commit sin; shall the aberrant thoughts leave him alone?

Experiments and experience of psychology has proved that one hour of deviational thoughts (particularly lustful ones) drain the mind empty of all its energies. As a result, the concentration of thought, power, subtlety, freshness, initiative, inventiveness and creativeness will he annihilated.

If engagement is the solution to all these problems, would parents denounce and reject it?

If engagement is the best way to fight and combat the hackneyed western culture and the satellite, would the executive remain indifferent to it? All that is important is that slogans alone are not sufficient and all modern propagational media must be co-ordinated. What happens if the television telecasts the ceremony of two engaged spouses during their initial contact, at the time of selection, and in a joint journey?
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What if the aggregation of the marriage contract is shown in a simple way including the moment when the parents hand over the girl's hand into the boy's and the clergyman prays for their prosperity?1