Coping Strategies in Marital Union in Islam – Part 2
In entering into marriage in Islam, two conditions are usually important to be fulfilled: the primary and the secondary. The primary condition are Ijab-Qabul and Mahr (bridal gift). The Almighty says: “And give the women (on marriage) their mahr as a (nikah) free gift” (Quran 4:4). The secondary conditions include the consent of a guardian (wakeel) representing the bride, written marriage contract (Aqd-Nikah) signed by the bride and the groom and the presence of two adult and sane witnesses. It is traditional that the Khutbat-Nikah (marriage sermon and invocation of blessings) should equally be organised to solemnize the marriage.
Brethren, I was taken aback the other day when I learnt that the marriage of a young sister in the neighbourhood cost her parents a princely sum of three million naira. Sister, wedding feasts in Islam is expected to be a modest one. It should not be a platform for indulgence in illusion and fakery. In other words, of what use is the Lexus car the bridgeroom rented for the occasion? Why should I begin my marital life by pretending to be what I am not? Why should I premise my future life on deceit and deception? The Prophet says one of the signposts of a blissful marital life is that in which the bride-groom incurs little or no debt in order to make it happen; it is that in which the bride reduces her crave and desire for material gifts.
Brethren, in Islam, marriage is an act of worship. It is an opportunity to curry more favours from our Creator. This is because the Muslim life is expected to exemplify, in totality, obedience to the Almighty. Involvement in marriage is therefore deemed to be a lawful response to the basic biological instinct to have sexual intercourse and to procreate children. Whoever does go about the above in line with the dictates and provision of the law prescribed by the Almighty becomes a faithful servant. Such a person would be rewarded for the trials and challenges that usually follow the solemnization of marriage. The Prophet says:”When a man marries, he has fulfilled half of his religion, so let him fear Allah regarding the remaining half.”
A careful contemplation of its features would show that marriage in Islam is a voluntary contract. In other words, when either party is coerced into it, it becomes nugatory. By being voluntary, it means marriage contract in Islam is not a sacrament. It is revocable. Divorce, so says our Prophet, is the most hateful permission granted by the divine to His creatures. Further, marriage in Islam does not occlude spousal identities. In other words, a woman is at liberty to keep her maiden name after her wedding. Both parties are equally granted divine rights to own properties. Islam does not say husband and wife should keep and operate single accounts.
Now when it is said that marriage in Islam is an act of worship this begins to become pertinent when consideration is given to the challenges that usually follow its solemnization. When a woman leaves her home for another, it means she is prepared to be a friend to all and an enemy to none. In other words, to be married into a family is to recognize and respect the right of your in-laws and, I should say ‘out-laws’. Yes. Every family is usually blessed with its own share of ‘in-laws’ and ‘out-laws’. The first are ‘angels’ who strengthen you on a daily basis, the second are ‘devils’ who remind you that this world is not meant for the ‘saints’; the first make the wife forget she is a familiar-stranger among her ‘in-laws’, the second constantly call her attention to the fact that no matter the spousal or marital links and connections, blood relationship is more important than familial connections and affectations. Thus, marital success consists of not only the opportunity and privileges afforded the woman by her in-laws; it also depends, to a large extent, on the extent to which she can manage the excesses of her ‘’out-laws”.
In order for your marriage and mine to be successful, Muslim couples are expected to include the following ingredients in the ‘menu’ of marriage. First is the four Ps: piety, patience, perseverance and prayer. Brethren, life and living in a conscious negation of the presence of the Almighty makes for life of iniquity and dissoluteness. Thus piety (taqwa) becomes a very important item that must constantly be given prominence in our marital life. Avoid what He says we should avoid; do His bidding at all times. Again, to be pious is to have and find contentment in every little thing He has provided for us. Sister, remember that contentment is not found in having everything but in being satisfied with every little thing we have.