n Islamic law marriage is called NIKAH, an Arabic word and its etymological meaning is wedding. This Arabic term “nikah’’is used to describe marriage as “union of sexes.” This word is used to connote matrimonial relationship. In Islam marriage (Nikah) is a contract between a man and a woman. The groom is called naakeh and the bride is named as mankooah .Thus the word nikah signifies a union of man and woman to establish a family.
ESSENCE OF NIKAH
Nikah is basic and fundamental unit of society recognized by law and judiciary. International convention declaration cites that a man and a woman of full age have right to make family. It is as well legally recognized and is a basic component of article 21 of Indian constitution (Right to Life). Religion is the basic consideration in marriage in Islam. Islam does not regard it as a union only for the gratification of sexual lost, but a social contract with wide and varied responsibilities and duties. The reason behind it is that, according to the Divine Faith, a woman is not a plaything in the hand of man. But a spiritual and moral being that is entrusted to him on the sacred pledge to which Allah is made a witness. The wife is, therefore, not meant to provide sensuous pleasure only to the male, but to fully co-operate with him in making the life of the family and ultimately of the whole humanity significantly meaningful. Islam follows the holy book Qur’an and the sayings of the prophet Muslim believe in i.e. Ahadiths. Qur’an provides the guidelines for the spouses and in Ahadiths it is mentioned that nikah is a sunaah (following the practices of the prophet Muslims believe in).Islam calls its people for marriage. Islamic Nikah is a very precious relation between husband and wife. It is regarded with the highest word of honor.
SOME QUR’ANIC VERSES RELATED TO MARRIAGE
CHAPTER 30 verse 21:
‘’And among his signs is that he has created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and he placed between you affection and mercy indeed in that are signs for a people who gave thought.’’
Chapter 2 verse 187
‘’Qur’an calls spouses as each other’s garments : you (women) are their garment and they (men) are yours.’’
Chapter 4 verse 1
“O mankind! Have consciousness of your lord who has created you from a single soul from it, He created your spouse and through them he populated the man with many men and women. Have spiritual awareness of the one by whose name you swear to settle your differences and have respect for the wombs that bore you. Without doubt, Allah (SWT) keeps watch over you all’’
Chapter 4 verse 24:
“And besides these, it is lawful for you to marry other women if you pay them their dower, maintain chastity and do not commit indecency. So those (Women) whom you marry for an appointed time, there is no harm if you reach an understanding among yourselves about the dower, Allah (swt) is all knowing and wise’’
NATURE OF ISLAMIC MARRIAGE
Referring to the nature of marriage it has two notions; marriage as a sacrament and as a contract;
As a sacrament it has three notions
• In sacramental notion marriage is a permanent union (non dissolution of marriage)
• Officiation by priests
• Benediction of marriage ceremony
But if we see the literal meaning of sacrament it means sacred, pure though when we see the word sacred it means something divine i.e. god is itself party to it but contrary to it.
If we refer to its first point i.e. permanent union of marriage, in this notion if a marriage has taken place it can be broken which means once a marriage always a marriage. It is not so in Islamic view of marriage. Islam has given recognition to the dissolution of marriage.It is not like islam has encouraged divorce but it is something which is permissible but not recommended it is considderd as lesser evil.Referring to second point, sacramental marriage is incomplete without officiation by priest. And the third element is benediction of marriage ceremony. When these three elements are present then it is said that the marriage is the sacrament.
Marriage as a contract
An agreement between the two parties which is enforceable by law where offer and acceptance takes place with a valid consideration is known as contract. In Islam every contract is sacramental in nature.
Marriage as a contract has as well its three elements
• Divorce is recognized by law (marriage can be broken)
• Consent of the parties.
• Non observance of religious ceremonies
TAHIR MAHMOOD has defined Muslim marriage as a solemn pact between man and a woman that takes shape of a contract.
Consent of the parties in marriage is necessary, no girl or a boy can be compelled to marry without their consent. If the parties i.e boy and a girl are majors they can give their own consent but if they are minors, guardians can give consent on behalf of them.
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Concept of option of puberty (khair ul bulogh)
Minor has right to go for dissolution of marriage if happened in their childhood and that too without their consent
REQUIREMENTS OF MARRIAGE:
• OFFER, also known as ijab.
• ACCEPTANCE, also known as qubool.
• DOWER, also known as mahr.
These are the fundamental essentials of marriage and without which marriage is not valid.
Dower is basically a marital gift, a gift which husband is bound to pay towards her wife. People misunderstood this concept of dower some thought it is something related to dowry and some thought it is price of a bride.
As Tahir Mahmood, a great scholor said: Dower is neither dowry nor price of a bride but it is a safeguard and a protection to women and it provides stability to marriage. Subject matter of dower (mahr) is not fixed, any type of valuable property can be given as a mahr.
IMPORTANCE OF MAHR
Narrated by Sahl bin Sad (volume 7, book 62, number 66)
A woman came to Allah’s Apostle and said, “I present myself (to you) (for marriage). She stayed for a long while, then a man said, “If you are not in need of her then marry her to me.” The Prophet said, “Have you got anything in order to pay her Mahr?” He said, “I have nothing with me except my Izar (waist sheet).” The Prophet said, “If you give her your Izar, you will have no Izar to wear, (so go) and search for something. He said, “I could not find anything.” The Prophet said, “Try (to find something), even if it were an iron ring But he was not able to find (even that) The Prophet said (to him). “Do you memorize something of the Qur’an?” “Yes. ‘ he said, “Such Sura and such Sura,” naming those Suras. The Prophet said, “We have married her to you for what you know of the Quran (by heart).”
This hadith shows the importance of mahr, the prophet (PBUH) points towards the fact that mahr is important which may be paid in any mode, if only accepted by bride and the guardian of bride simultaneously.
MODERN PERSPECTIVE OF MARRIAGE
Nowadays marriages are not purely sacramental in nature because nowadays dissolution of marriage has become a trend. If little differences are created in between the duet before considering the other alternatives, divorce is taken as a shortcut which basically is a last resort to the dissolution. Male is ordered to be calm and patient in every situation but in gravity of anger male takes the last option of divorce without looking towards its consequences.
Benediction of marriage ceremonies is not in today’s modern era to bless up the couple but a way to show off the wealth.
Unfortunately the society have become so materialistic that we waste so much money to raise our statuses, the more we spend the more our status is raised in our society, unnecessary expenditure in useless events and decorations, food items and clothing. Marriage has become expensive these days. This obviously does affect the poor class of the society. The showing off the wealth of the upper class creates hindrances for the middle and the poor class in perceiving the marriage resulting going in debts. Being expecting the raised expenses of marriage one is nearly unable to marry one’s sibling and one’s children. But this relationship now days starts with open dance party and other bad things that are strictly prohibited in Islam.
Islam doesn’t allow any kind of thing that creates vulgarity or immodesty.
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