Islamic view of marriage

Marriage in Islam offers tranquillity to the soul and peace of mind, so that man and woman may live together in an atmosphere of love, mercy, harmony, co-operation, mutual advice and tolerance, and lay the foundation for raising a Muslim family in a nurturing, sound environment.

The Holy Qur’an has described, in the most moving and eloquent terms, this eternal, natural relationship between man and woman, which is filled with tranquility, security, love, understanding and compassion:

“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your [hearts]: verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.” (Qur’an, 30: 21)

Marriage is a union of souls, in the deepest sense. Allah joins these two souls together so that they may enjoy tranquillity and stability in a marital home filled with sincere love and compassionate mercy.

In Islam, the righteous woman is viewed as one of the joys of this life, and a great blessing to a man, for he comes home to her and relaxes after facing the struggles of life, and finds with her incomparable peace, comfort and pleasure. The Prophet (peace be upon him) spoke the truth when he said:

“This world is just temporary enjoyment, and the best comfort in this world is a righteous woman.” (Muslim)

Islam regards marriage very highly, and views femininity as something to be valued and cherished.

The ideal Muslim wife
On the basis of this view of marriage and of women, the Muslim is not attracted by the empty-headed attitude displayed by some girls nowadays. Rather, he is attracted by a sound Muslim personality, and he takes his time in choosing a partner for life, looking for a partner who has the right Islamic characteristics which will make for a stable and happy married life. Therefore he is not interested in the superficial physical beauty, grace and elegance that are the sole concerns of empty-headed youngsters. While he does not ignore physical looks, he also looks for strong religious belief and practice, intelligence, and good behavior, following the advice of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

“A woman may be married for four things: for her wealth, for her noble descent, for her beauty or for her religion. Choose the one who is religious, may your hands be rubbed with dust!” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Although the Prophet (peace be upon him) advised the young Muslim to look for a religious wife, this does not mean that he should ignore his preferences regarding physical beauty. The Prophet (peace be upon him) encouraged seeing a woman before finalizing the marriage, so that a Muslim will not find himself trapped in a marriage with a woman he finds unattractive.

Al-Mugheerah Ibn Shu’bah said:

“I got engaged to a woman during the time of the Prophet. He asked me, ‘Have you seen her?’ I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Go and have a look at her, because it is more fitting that love and compatibility be established between you.'”

A man who had got engaged to a woman of the Ansar came to the Prophet, who asked him: “Have you seen her?” He said, “No.” so the Prophet ordered him to go and see her.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) emphasized, in more than one Hadith, the fact that beauty is one of the basic characteristics that a man should look for in a woman, besides the other, moral, characteristics that are desirable. Indeed, the two are inseparable. For example, he told Ibn ‘Abbas:

“Shall I tell you the most precious thing a man can have? It is a righteous wife: when he looks at her he is pleased, when he tells her to do something she obeys, and when he is away she is faithful and loyal to him.”

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

“The Prophet was asked: ‘Which woman is the best?’ He said, ‘The one who pleases him when he looks at her, who obeys him when he tells her to do something, and who does not do something he dislikes with regard to herself or to his wealth.”

This is the guidance given by the Prophet (peace be upon him) regarding the personality of the woman who can bring happiness, tranquillity and stability to a man, and who can make a cheerful, pleasant and secure home in which to raise a brood of successful, courageous and intelligent children.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) insisted that marriage should be firmly built on a solid foundation, striking a balance between physical, mental, spiritual and emotional needs, so that it will not be rocked by personality clashes or differences in attitude. Therefore the true Muslim who is guided by the Shariah of Allah in all his affairs, does not fall for the wiles of the “Jezebels” who are the beautiful women of bad character; rather he tells people: “Beware of the ‘Jezebels’.”

– published by International Islamic Publishing House, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia