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Mosque Foundation | Bridgeview, Illinois

Mosque Foundation

More than a Contract: Honoring the Divine Gift in Marriage

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More than a Contract: Honoring the Divine Gift in Marriage

Image of A Man Smiling for the Picture

Marriage is a huge milestone that deserves to be celebrated and honored. Usually, people shower the couple with gifts to commemorate their big day. Describing marriage, the Quran highlights a divine gift without which marriages do not work. The Quran reads: “And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who reflect” (Quran 30:21). According to this verse, spouses are granted the God-given gift of “affection and mercy” once they enter into the Halal relation. The “affection and mercy” essentially create the marital union. This Quranic expression reflects both the essence of an Islamic marriage and the intrinsic needs of human nature.

Regarding marital matters, many Muslims prefer to be legally minded. However, this verse teaches that marriage is not merely a contract but initially a relationship, which requires spouses to be emotionally minded. As explained by al-Raghib al-Asfahani (d. 502/1108), justice is sought when love fails. When spouses understand this emotional foundation of marriage, all types of abuse will be absent. Verbal, physical, and emotional abuses are forbidden because they go against the very foundation of marriage: affection and mercy. Sayyidah Aiesha describes the Prophet’s ﷺ general conduct: “Never did the Prophet ﷺ hit anything or anyone with his hand, be it a woman or a servant, unless he was on a battlefield (resisting offensive enemies).” Homes are not to be battlefields exchanging physical or verbal abuses.

As far as human nature is concerned, both the husband and wife are linguistically called jawz (lit. one pairing), which indicates that a man becomes “complete” with his wife, and a wife becomes “complete” with her husband. This idea of completeness, companionship, and emotional fulfillment materializes when the man and woman enter the marital covenant founded on the divine gift of affection and mercy.

However, this divine gift is not to be taken for granted; it is a blessing that requires some practices and routines that sustain it throughout the years. In other words, this divine blessing is like a garden that needs to be weeded and nurtured to grow and flourish. Once spouses deal with marriage as a garden, they become more orientated toward the healthy practices that cultivate the foundation of “affection and mercy” in marital relations. In the coming articles, we will highlight these practices one at a time.

- Sh. Ahmed Arafat