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How Islam Views Marriage?

Adopted from the book "Woman" by : Mahdi Mahrizi

Many various laws and regulations on family issues have been enacted in religions and legal old-fashioned schools, that being based on their view toward the phenomenon of marriage. These views and deductions can never be at one level both in regard of depth and profundity and in regard of veracity and deviation.

That is because so many deviated and inclined viewpoints exist in religions and beliefs and even Muslim scholars. Among churches masters and rabbis there was a belief current, that getting married is contradictory to sacredness and chastity, and it is permitted only for procreation of offspring and prevention of unrestrained licentiousness on part of men and women.

Bertrand Russell says:

According to the theory of Sann Paul, the generation production was only a partial goal of marriage, while its main objective was prevention of adulteration and libertinism. This was the main role of marriage, which lies in fact warding off the more corruptive with the depraved. 73

Al­Ghazaali, a sunni eminent thinker, takes into consideration five benefits for marriage as follows: production of children, defeating the carnal lust, giving calmness to self, bringing settlement to the heart, and self­disciplining.

Among all these he regards survival of offspring to be the most important advantage, saying: "Procreation "walad": is the origin, and for it marriage "nikaah" is enacted and legalised, with the purpose of maintaining the nasl "offspring, seed" and so as to keep the world from being devoid of mankind. And lust "shahwah" was created only as a compelling and inciting force for keeping the Nasl." 74

The noteworthy point in Al­Ghazaali's speech being his genus­inclined view toward issue of marriage, because his explanation of the last three benefits goes on as if all the profits of marriage are gained by men. In the third advantage, which is giving calmness to self, he says: The human soul becomes fed up and wearied with continual persevered worship and sociability "uns" with women causes the self to get rid of this weariness. In the fourth benefit he says: Since housekeeping is entrusted to the woman, so the man's heart be disengaged and free for worship, with some of his disturbances being eliminated. In explaining the fifth benefit he said: practising strict self­discipline can be achieved by guardianship of children and family members and providing all their needs and requirements. 75

Hence, out of these five advantages of marriage two are common between woman and man, but the other three ones pertain only to men.

Al­'Allamah At­Tabataba'i, a great shi'i exegete, takes the main objective of marriage and copulation to lie in permanence of species and procreation of the same offspring. At the same time he considers subsiding and satisfying the lust and partnership in material living and housekeeping to be out of real essence of marriage, viewing them as preliminaries and preludes for marriage or advantages consequential to it. 76

He also says:

Nature of men pushes them to try to obtain and desire female sex and vice versa. And providing every woman and man with feminine and masculine qualities has no purpose but procreation of same offspring and permanence of human species. Hence marriage is founded on this reality, and all rulings of marriage revolve also round this very reality. 77

After showing this goal he goes on by criticising other viewpoints and opinions, saying.

"The nowadays rules and laws of marriage have been enacted on basis of co­operation between woman and man in managing the living affairs. Hence, marriage contract is a kind of partnership in life whose scope or extent is smaller than the urban community. On this basis, the modern laws do not interfere in the chastity rulings which being legislated in Islam." 78

He holds this theory to be inconsistent with the human temperament and natural disposition, and says: If the purpose of marriage be such a reality, it can be established between two individuals of one sex, and family also would have never been in need of such laws and regulations. 79

Seemingly this viewpoint, which is laid forth by Al­Ghazaali and his predecessors, is vulnerable to criticism due to the following reasons:

1. There is strong stress in the Quran on matter of tranquillity and relief, and in two verses it stated that the objective of creating woman and man being to find rest and calmness.

2. If the issue of marriage and matrimony be founded on procreation alone with no other purposes in view, there will be no difference between an animal and man. Because the animals produce the same kind and their offspring can survive though they neither commit themselves to a family and its system nor requiring specific regulations.

3. He "Al­Ghazaali" himself considers, in another place, procreation of kind and permanence of offspring "Nasl" to be philosophy of marriage not its cause "'illah". Therefore he counts getting married to barren and menopausal woman as something permitted. 80

Nevertheless, no one can accept the one­sided viewpoint in respect of marriage, whether multiplication of generation or other purposes be taken into consideration as aim of marriage. Rather we believe that marriage contract in the Islamic Shari'ah seeks to achieve several aims, all of which being intended by the Islamic Lawmaker.

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