THE AIMS OF MARRIAGE
The concept of marriage, from the Islamic perspective, is not that it is solely a need without whose fulfillment the enjoyment of life cannot be attained. On the contrary, Islam has explained the spiritual dimension of this union by defining it a form of worship by which one may achieve nearness to Allah.
(Allah is an Arabic word for Almighty God , Name of Creator of Universes
According to a hadith: (saying or actions of Our Holy Prophet)
“When the servant of Allah marries he has fulfilled half the (responsibilities laid on him by the) faith” (Mishkat)
The final Prophet of Allah, Muhammad (sallallaho alaihi wasallam) demonstrated the perfect example of this form of worship. In his practice one sees an attitude of such great respect and consideration for the delicate feelings of women that it remains unparalleled by any champion of women’s rights. His efforts to comfort and please his pious wives; his sharing in their innocent leisure activities; his regard for their emotions; and his fair treatment of them is unique in history.
“Allah, Most High, has says in Holy Qur’an
Among His signs is [the fact] that He has created spouses for you among yourselves so that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has planted love and mercy between you. In that are signs for people who reflect [Quran 30.21]
In this verse, Allah has described the creation of women as a token of His Wisdom and Power. As a favor to men, He has revealed that women were created for their benefit, namely peace and comfort. The fruitful end result of all the needs of men associated with women is tranquility, peace and comfort. Therefore the outcome of all conjugal affairs should be peace and comfort. The families which have achieved this treasure are in harmony with the purpose of their creation, whereas homes which lack inner peace, despite possessing the material means for outward comfort, are absolute failures in realizing the real aims of marriage. The object of marriage outlined above can only be achieved if the husband and wife recognize and fulfill their mutual rights. Otherwise quarrels evolve and destroy domestic peace. The nature of husband-wife transactions is such that no man-made law can enforce the complete fulfillment of rights, nor can courts of law do full justice in these matters.
The fear of Allah and of being held responsible on the Day of Judgment are the only successful motivators that can ensure the discharging of rights. Allah, Most Merciful, has blessed us with another favour, that the matter of mutual rights has not been left dependent solely upon Islamic law and the courts. He has made the desire for discharging these rights intrinsic in human nature by infusing mutual love and compassion in the hearts of spouses. Allah, Most Exalted, has said:
He has planted affection and mercy between you. (Quran 30:12)
This special quality enables the couple to care for each other beyond the stipulated minimum.
Tolerance enjoined on men
Besides this natural disposition of mutual love, both the husband and the wife have been given distinct rights. Allah, Most Exalted. has revealed that:
Women have the same [rights in relation to their husbands] as are expected in all decency from them; while men have a degree over them. Allah is Powerful, Wise.” [Quran 2:228]
In this verse, Allah , Most Merciful, has alluded to the rights of women before referring to the rights of men. A point of expediency in this sequence is that men invariably secure their rights by sheer strength but women are usually unable to secure their rights by force, therefore the need for safeguarding their rights is more serious. [Tafseer Maarif al Quran].
Another textual indication in this sequence is that men should take the initiative in fulfilling the rights of women. The seniority of men referred to in the Quranic verse neither implies greater rights of men nor suggests any excellence in terms of the life hereafter.
The following Quranic revelation conveys this reassurance:
Verily men who submit [to Allah] and women who submit,
and men who believe and women who believe,
and men who are obedient and women who are obedient,
and men who speak the truth and women who speak the truth,
and men who are patient and women wo are patient
and men who are humble and women who are humble,
and men who give alms and women who give alms,
and men who fast and women who fast,
and men who guard their modesty and women who guard (their modesty),
and men who remember Allah much and women who remember,
Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a vast reward.
In fact there are many subtleties in this Divine statement. As explained by Abduliah bin Abbas (radhialiaho anho), a companion of the Prophet (Sallallaho alaihi wasallam), expalains that
” It simply suggests that men should have greater forbearance towards women. The implication is that should women be remiss in discharging the rights of men, it is expected that they would tolerate such lapses but not fall short themselves in fulfilling the rights of women.”
We have observed the spiritual elders exercising such magnanimity. Other beneficial purposes and points of wisdom about this issue can be found in the various interpretations of the Quran. The gist of those explanations is that this degree of seniority is also for the benefit of women. The Holy Prophet (sallallaho alaihi wasallam), a blessing for all the worlds, was especially compassionate and lenient towards women and exalted their status. He had a deep concern about protecting them from all kinds of loss and discomfort, and he equated the reward of their routine activities with the rewards which men earn only after making tremendous sacrifice and effort. While Allah, Most High, in His wisdom has made women physically delicate, at the same time He has thrust the load of the hard struggles and burdens of their lives upon men. Thus men have been charged with the responsibility of maintaining women and being lenient, compassionate and forgiving. They have also been strictly forbidden from dealing harshly with women. Following are the sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallallaho alaihi wasallam) concerning these concessions, virtues and the status of women.