I begin with the Name of Allaah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
“And marry those among you who are single (i.e. a man who has no wife and the woman who has no husband) and (also marry) the Salihoon (pious, fit and capable ones) of your (male) slaves and maid-servants (female slaves). If they be poor, Allaah will enrich them out of His Bounty. And Allaah is All-Sufficent for His creatures needs, All-Knowing (about the state of the people)” [an-Noor 24:32].
The institution of marriage is a vital one, through it morality is upheld, genealogy is preserved on a legitimate basis and chastity is given a chance to control the sexual urge in humans. Most human societies today are witnessing a rise in the number of unmarried young men and women, those that really want to get married but circumstances beyond them made it rather difficult to settle in their matrimonial homes. Amazingly, the number of these young people that are willing to get married is so much that if the society does not step into address the issue, it will be plagued with unprecedented moral decadence.
It is a known fact that most societal standards are major impediments to young people getting married. Borrowed standards, fake standards, faulty standards have dealt a big blow on the quest to be happily married. Not only are parents part of the problem but a major part of the problem. To some, their sons cannot marry from the less privileged family and to others their daughters cannot be wives to those below them in social ladder. These standards fluctuate because the rich of yesterday can become the poor of today and the poor of today can become the rich of tomorrow. This matter is beyond the control of anyone, only Allaah Exalted be He, raises some in honor and lowers others in honor.
Undoubtedly, parents will be asked regarding their children because they have been given to them as a trust. Young men and women having access to all means of getting in contact with one another, parents are not unaware of this, yet when these young people come forth asking to be married, parents come up with excuses that hold no water in the Shari’ah. In a narration which has been classed as hasan (good) by al-Albani in Gaayatul Maraam, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “If there comes to you 9to propose marriage to your daughter) one with whose religious commitment and character you are pleased, then marry (your daughter) to him, for if you do not do that, there will be fitnah (tribulation) on earth and widespread corruption.”
Some because of repugnant reason of tribalism and racism, young people are held to ransom from getting marriage, so much that a pious Muslim man will approach a Muslim father for his daughter and he turns him down because of that. The Muslims claim to be one Ummah but when it comes to marriage they become a divided ummah. Is the Ummah not facing a great tribulation yet because of its blatant disobedience to the orders of the Prophet (peace be upon him)? So many pre-marital sex, so many STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), so many depressed young men and women.
Again, the financial standards set by the society have made it rather impossible for young people to marry their loved ones, yet it has lowered the bar for Zina (adultery and fornication). Just when the society expects the young man to be wealthy before he can get married, it has failed to curb the menace of pre-marital sex. Just when people see freedom as their lot, they move around without giving Shariah a chance to dictate how they move, thus becoming immoral by the day. Those that cannot guard their chastity commit abominable sins and sleep in the lap of strange men and women and those that are able to, sleep restlessly at night thinking about their future as husbands or wives.
Poverty for the one that is sincere in wanting to get married as well as to preserve his or her chastity, has never been an obstacle. Imam Al-Bukhari (may Allaah’s mercy be on him) in his famous hadith book, Sahih Al-Bukhari, has a chapter entitled “Chapter on marriage of one who is in financial difficulty, because Allah, may He be exalted, says: “If they be poor, Allah will enrich them out of His Bounty” Qur’an 24:32. Al-Haafiz (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “The words ‘because Allah, may He be exalted, says: ‘If they be poor, Allah will enrich them out of His Bounty’ Qur’an 24:32” explain the reason why al-Bukhaari put this as the title of this chapter; what is meant is that current poverty is not an impediment to marriage, because of the possibility of acquiring wealth in the future. Scholars said that the fact that the one who is able to afford it is encouraged to get married does not mean that one who cannot afford it is not allowed to get married, especially if he fears hardship for himself.
Sadly again, many video clips have gone around social media platforms of young people particularly women, demanding to be married off. The modesty, the shyness, the honor with which a Muslim woman is characterized are being threatened. They have been caged by parental dictates and societal standards that they have to now compromise their shyness in order to be rescued from a bigger evil, Zina. Indeed, they have understood the fiqh of choosing the lesser evil.
Another sad factor is the injustice of the society towards educated women. Indeed, Islam has encouraged both men and women to attain higher levels of spiritual and mental endeavors but not at the detriment of their religious commitment. That some educated women have failed to observe religious orders in their career choice does not mean that all educated Muslim women are amoral. Whoever promotes this syllogism, then he or she should know that it is based on a faulty assumption, a mere fallacy.
An article titled, “The plight of female doctors in Northern Nigeria” published by Daily Trust demonstrates how the society treats educated women. A woman’s educational attainment and financial strength should never be an obstacle to her getting married as long as she fulfils the vital requirement of who to marry. And that is religious commitment just as it is a requirement for a woman when choosing who to marry. It is proven in al-Saheehayn (Bukhari and Muslim) and elsewhere from the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Women may be married for four things: their wealth, their lineage, their beauty and their religious commitment. Choose the one who is religiously-committed, may your hands be rubbed with dust (i.e., may your prosper).”
Shaykh Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Fataawa al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah, that “The most important qualities for which a woman should choose a man who proposes marriage are a good character and religious commitment. As for wealth and lineage, these are secondary matters. The most important thing is that the suitor should be religiously-committed and of good character, because the woman will not lose out with one who is religiously-committed and of good character: if he keeps her, he will keep her in a good and proper manner and if he lets her go, he will let her go with kindness.”
I pray Allaah grant the young men and women out there seeking marriage a success and bless their unions. I also pray that Allaah open the heart of our parents to see beyond materialism (wealth, Masters, PhD before marriage issue) and give our lovely young ones a chance to protect their chastity.
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