By Fakeha Neelofar
Marriage is a beautiful union of a man and a woman physically, emotionally and spiritually. Marriage helps to safeguard one’s imaan (faith) and stops people from committing acts by which they would be considered immoral. Allah has made marriage a sunnah and through this, Allah helps the human beings to fulfill each other’s needs and overcome many traps of evil. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) says, interpretation of which is:
“And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in peace and tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): Verily in that are signs for those who reflect.”
There are many benefits of getting married. Marriage helps a person to lower his gaze and guard his chastity, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“Whoever among you can afford to get married, let him do so, and whoever cannot afford it should fast, for it will be a restraint (Wija) for him.”‘
Sunan an-Nasa’i Vol. 3, Book 22, Hadith 2243
After puberty, the sexual desires start to set in. Some people reach puberty early and some a little late. Islam points to certain signs that indicate puberty, unlike other religions and countries that set the age of puberty to a certain age and this age is applied unanimously throughout.
Puberty or adulthood in Islam is reached when one of the three things happen in the case of males:
- Wet dreams
- Growth of coarse hair in the pubic area
- Reaching the age of fifteen
If one of these three things occur, then the individual has reached puberty. In the case of females there is a fourth sign, namely the onset of menstruation.
These signs are visible anywhere between 9 to 15 years of age. Since every person is different, Islam has laid down this criterion according to the individual. It doesn’t matter whether they live in the east or the west, these signs will indicate if a child has reached puberty or not.
So what now?
Once a child reaches the age of puberty, his body is ready for marriage.
It is important to consider that each person is active sexually at a different level. So once there is an urge to get satisfied physically, the person should get married as soon as possible to satisfy this need in a halaal way. These days, the trend has been to get married after the age of 30 and sometimes even after 40 because people are busy acquiring education, settling down financially and then building their careers. Marriage comes at a much later stage. It is considered as the last thing in the to-do list.
By this time, life is settled and everybody has a routine. Most people close their doors to any more changes, so when they get married at this age and the demands of marriage press on them, they are hardly ready to compromise, sacrifice and adjust. They become so independent by now that they don’t want to follow anybody or adjust with anyone. Therefore when we look around, we see that the rate of divorce in increasing day by day. May Allah protect us.
Another problem that comes up when people get married so late is that sometimes they are unable to provide the right environment for their children who are then not properly nurtured, motivated or re-assured. They are provided with wrong role-models and they look outside for people who they can talk to and confide in. These children are left vulnerable to society’s ills and juvenile crimes, leading to a life devoid of social responsibility. Sadly, this degenerating cycle repeats itself for generations and gives rise to a very immoral society.
Marriage plays a big role in saving one from the sins of fornication, homosexuality and masturbation.
“And marry the unmarried among you and the righteous among your male slaves and female slaves. If they should be poor, Allah will enrich them from His bounty, and Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.”
(Qur’an 24: 32)
The above verse is not an advice but a command of Allah. So we need to carefully reflect…
When I look around, I get goosebumps. There are very common scenarios happening in most of the households, which I see repeating most often (Here I would say most often and not all the time, which means there is still hope, Alhamdulillaah). Men and women are busy competing in earning money and showing off with all the latest gadgets and trends. They are happy in this race and want to collect as much as possible. Some of them are working in a mixed environment, where they satisfy their physical needs either in a haram way or they suppress them (although I may argue whether it is possible to suppress the urge at all). They stay back late after office hours to deal with their loneliness and have fun. But for how long?
Where is the religion, where is the connection with Allah?
“Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah . Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.”
Let’s take a scenario. Finally two people decide to get married at the age of 35-40 years. Most probably by now they would have either experienced one or more ills of the society (by this I mean haram relationships, masturbation, maybe even fornication. May Allah protect us and our children) or the partner with whom they decide to finally settle down would be from another religion, with whom they had an affair for the last 8-10 years. They spend a fortune in marriage celebrations and all the top shots are invited. Now what? The reality of real life has set in, which means that now freedom is lost and they have to compromise with another independent individual. Both have their own paths and both are right in everything they do. The fights start and sometimes result in divorce, otherwise they decide to live like strangers under the same roof. Children are born and now we can imagine what kind of tarbiyah they will get. Scary, right?
Now let’s take another scenario (which I hope we implement for a better society) of a teenage boy. He reaches puberty and his physical urge sets in. He gets very active sexually and also starts talking about ‘that girl he likes’. The parents understand and talk to the child about his intentions. He is very open with the parents and expresses his desire to get married. His parents talk to the parents of the girl. Many questions are raised…what about the finances, the boy is not earning, they haven’t completed their studies etc. The boy’s parents argue that if they had another child, they would happily provide for him/her and therefore they can provide for both of them until they complete their studies and the boy gets a suitable job. The two get married and satisfy themselves in a halaal way. They help each other in studies and grow together in love and understanding. They start to get dependent on each other more and more. They didn’t have to look for someone else outside for help or satisfaction. There might arise a few problems between them as they both are young but those can be addressed Insha Allah. Allah says:
“They are Libas [i.e. body cover, or screen, or Sakan, (i.e. you enjoy the pleasure of living with her)], for you and you are the same for them.
Imagine the children who are born through this love and understanding.
In an early marriage, when the question of providing for the bride comes in, shouldn’t we believe that Al-Razzaaq is enough for providing all of us? He is The Provider and we should deeply rely on Him for providence. Allah says:
Indeed, it is Allah who is the [continual] Provider, the firm possessor of strength.
O mankind, remember the favor of Allah upon you. Is there any creator other than Allah who provides for you from the heaven and earth? There is no deity except Him, so how are you deluded?
Can we think of the bride as our child? What if we had another child, would we say “no, we can’t provide for another child”? So that settles the financial issue, bi iznillaah.
Now watch both of them growing together, making mistakes and learning from them together, helping and supporting each other in every step … sometimes fighting and sometimes competing. Our prophet (ﷺ ) used to run with Aisha (رضي الله عنها and compete with her.
I would also like to mention that we can also consider to get our children married in between these two stages which I mentioned above if the child is not so sexually active and hasn’t shown any interest in marriage yet. We can let the child complete his/her education and then think about marriage. Therefore, you as a parent will be the best judge for your child. We must take great interest in bringing up our children with Islamic values and communicate openly with them. We should also make lots of dua for them every day and also every night. Dua made at Qiyamul lail are often answered. Our children need our dua at every stage of their lives.
In olden days, it was a custom to get the children married early. When prophet (ﷺ ) married Aisha (رضي الله عنها), nobody made an issue about her age because that was the norm in the society and her father happily gave her to the prophet (ﷺ ). But these days we see that this is the main thing for which our prophet (ﷺ ) is being condemned. Society has moved far away from the preaching of the Prophet (ﷺ ) and everybody is following what is convenient to them.
Let’s think about this and plan to raise a more responsible and understanding ummah with strong family relationships, bi-iznillah. Let’s try to bring down the alarming rates of divorce in our communities and help each other in Birr and Taqwa.