Marriage of Believers
Men and women have been designed in detail by Allah to be suitable companions for one another at both emotional and physical levels. This is truly a sign of Allah's existence because in no way can this have come about without the intelligent design of a creator. More elaborately, male and female variations observed at both physical and mental levels are so intricately matched that suitable marriages results in the completion of the needs of both the man and woman, it provides complete psychological and physiological support for one another - in essence, it completes an individual since Allah created human beings as male and female so that an opposite gender can complete it. Allah has truly been kind to mankind by making a man attractive for a woman and a woman attractive for a man. Allah asks us to consider this and asks believers to be appreciative to Him for making for them spouses for love and support:
"One of His signs is that He created for you spouses like your selves so that you may live with them with affection and mercy - there are signs in this for people who reflect." (Qur'an 30:21)
This "sign" is the proof of the existence of a Creator. This is one of the biggest signs of Allah's existence: the physical differences and the mental make-up compliment each other like two halves of a whole, could not have come about without a Creator. A fact which disbelievers must acknowledge and in return, think of the purpose of their existence and submit to Allah.
Today, the word 'marriage' is used by everyone including irreligious people who are not devoted to Allah, though it being a religious word. People get married, not because they have strong loyalty to Allah, but because society deems it necessary to start a family, or for other worldly reasons, even though disbelievers have no reasons to marry by the correct religious definition of the word.
Problems in Marriages
Since people are not devoted to Allah, we see frequent cases of unharmonious marriages where deficiencies on part of the husband or wife or both lead to quarrels, domestic violence and even divorce. Most people however, lead a generally unsatisfied married life, devoid of the true love Allah expects believing couples to have - even though their relationships may appear to be harmonious. For most, marriages start off well, but soon the feelings of attraction which seemed so strong, diminish.
'Small' misunderstandings, becoming annoyed and irritated quickly, not having the quality to listen and being selfish for instance are all 'deficiencies' emanating from the 'general character' of a person. The 'general character' is of special importance here and requires careful consideration. It is nothing to do with responsibilities of a husband or a wife, but all to do with the very character of the person as a human being which infiltrates married life. It is the character of individuals that brings down their own marriages, or can make it grow.
The True Believer
The 'general character' of a true believer is governed completely by the best of attributes such as compassion, mercy, forgiveness, honesty, tolerance, humbleness, kindness, good manners - he or she is caring, considerate, patient, understanding, loyal, trustworthy and always displays the Quranic model of conduct. This is because from the Qur'an, we know that the believer is always sincerely trying to earn Allah's pleasure and to earn the paradise of Allah. The true believer achieves these in their truest senses because he or she fights all negative tendencies of one's self to develop the best personality demonstrated in the Qur'an. Therefore, he fights the instincts that inclines him to deficiencies in his character - for example, when he feels impatient while listening to someone speak, he tries harder to concentrate. When he sees someone else with more wealth than him, he remembers this world is temporary and thus feels no jealousy. Without the drive and understanding provided by faith and the Qur'an, disbelievers incorporate deficiencies in their character either by failing to recognise them, or failing to overcome them. Thus, the believer carries no deficiencies in relation to a disbeliever, as he recognises and fights all such tendencies that try to lead him to them.
Since most people lack faith, they lack this believer model. Not trying to earn Allah's pleasure, gaps and deficiencies within themselves, in their 'general character' eventually manifest in their daily interaction with spouses. Problems arise and keep growing. A bad husband for example, is usually so because his 'general character' as an individual is not the upright one of a believer. Even if a disbeliever tries to earn these qualities, as already stated, according to the Qur'an it is impossible to achieve them in their fullest and truest senses without faith. Therefore, only the true believers carry the complete upright character.
"You (believers) are the best nation ever to be produced before mankind. You enjoin the right, forbid the wrong, and believe in Allah." (Qur'an 3:110)
Marriages between True Believers
Marriage of true believers, those who have full knowledge of the Qur'an and fear Allah and the Last Day, is completely free of the kind of anxiety and tension common marriages covertly develop over the course of time. The absence of the aforementioned 'frictions' in their characters allows for an environment where love and affection blossoms fully, unhampered. Unlike most people, the special feeling does not last a few months or years, but grows for a whole lifetime. In a marriage, physical intimacy must be matched by same levels of emotional closeness for either of them to be enjoyed to the fullest depth. Because love and affection grows unhampered for the true believing couple, sexuality takes on a different dimension. No part of its enjoyment is a fulfillment of only human needs, rather all of it becomes the expression of love they feel for one another.
Allah describes the nearness true believers feel towards their spouses using the following terms:
"They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them." (Qur'an 2:187)
Clothes are the closest thing to our skin. Where unrestricted affection completely envelopes sexual closeness, believers uniquely enjoy the sexuality Allah gives them in a way disbelievers do not. Sexuality, an important aspect of their marriage develops along with their love for each other, as they learn more about the other. For every sexual pleasure shared, they thank Allah, exactly as they do for other sensory delights such as taste, fragrance etc. Being believers, there is complete understanding of each others emotions and feelings in giving and receiving sexual enjoyment.
"It is He who created you all from one soul, and from it made its mate so that they may dwell with one another. Then when he covered her she bore a light load and carried it around. When it became heavy they called on their Lord Allah, 'If you grant us a healthy child, we will be among the thankful!" (Qur'an 7:189)
During difficult times, they both employ their understanding of their purpose in life and remind each other that this life is a test and has trials. Their faith provides them both with the strength to be patient in trying times. During good times they thank Allah for it and are not spoilt by it. Together, they strive to do good. They enjoy the finer things in life - as they need to be grateful to Allah for the smallest of blessings. These are some of the attributes of every true believer in his or her daily life as shown in the Qur'an - when two such individuals come together for marriage, they already have the strongest foundations as individuals for a happy and fulfilling marriage together. In the love and companionship between them, the Qur'an plays a pivotal role. It is the focal point from which they take their direction, inspiration and guidance.
True Believing couples enjoy sharing their Quranic wisdom between them, asking the other of their valued opinion to come to mutual agreements on how to follow the Qur'an best. This interaction and intimate trust in each other with Allah's Book increases their deep love and devotion towards each other, bringing them even closer on both emotional and physical levels.
Allah confirms that only true believers are deserving of true believers as spouses. A disbeliever, cannot deserve the qualities of a believer when he or she has none of these qualities in him or herself, nor can he or she offer them even if they wanted to:
"Do not marry women of the idolaters until they believe. A slave girl who is one of the believers is better for you than a woman of the idolaters, even though she may attract you. And do not marry men of the idolaters until they believe, a male slave who is one of the believers is better for you than a man of the idolaters, even though he may attract you. Such people call you to the Fire whereas Allah calls you, by His leave, to the Garden and forgiveness. He makes His verses clear to people so that they may pay heed." (Qur'an 2:221)
"Corrupt women are for corrupt men, and corrupt men are for corrupt women. The upright women are for upright men and the upright men are for upright women. The good are innocent of what has been said against them; they will have forgiveness and generous provision" (Qur'an 24:26)
This however, does not mean all believers will find believers as spouses in this world, only that they 'deserve' true believers. As part of Allah's testing in this world, it may be that a true believer is made to experience a less than ideal spouse - or a disbeliever, as was the case with Pharaoh's wife who was a true believer, married to Pharaoh, one of earth's biggest corruptors (66:11). Allah has made a way out for problematic marriages by describing the process of divorce in detail in the Qur'an.
Children need both a mother and a father for healthy upbringing - this is another reason why Allah created human beings in two genders. Being completely devoted to and in love with each another, the believing husband and wife assist each other in fulfilling the others duty as a mother or father. Children grow up in the presence of two strong characters, seeing only love, happiness, bliss, and best of characters and morals in their parents.
"Men are to support women by what they spend out of their wealth as Allah has bestowed one over another (in different areas)." (Qur'an 4:34)
Believers see their children as a means of being grateful to Allah ("...how can they believe in falsehood and refuse to acknowledge Allah's blessings?" -16:72) and as a test of their ability to give them good upbringing. They do not attach themselves to them over their desire for the Hereafter:
"Know that your wealth and children are a test and that there is an immense reward with Allah." (Qur'an 8:28)
The true believing husband and wife enjoy raising their children together, knowing they are earning Allah's good pleasure and Paradise in the Hereafter.
Those believers who are single and looking for spouses or cannot marry out of difficulty, Allah advises them in the following verse:
"Those who are unable to marry should keep chaste until Allah gives them enough out of His bounty." (Qur'an 24:33)
In brief, what causes 'bad' marriages most of the time are actually the innate character of the human first before taking the role of a husband or wife. With the most upright characters, the believing husband and wife have the supreme Quranic qualities that are necessary for a satisfying and harmonious marriage where love blossoms.
Marriage is a religious concept where believing couples form a relationship in the sight of Allah with full appreciation that they are about to enjoy a tremendous blessing of Allah, and thus take complete responsibility in the nurturing and growth of the new relationship. Unlike irreligious people, believers in the Qur'an marry and form the subsequent relationship grounded on their strong love for Allah and devotion to Him and they reflect this strength in their love, affection and loyalty to their spouses through out their lives - they love and are loved in a way disbelievers do not. By enjoying this blessing uniquely in this world, they are further rewarded in the Hereafter eternally for their appreciation and surrender.
"Gardens of perpetual bliss: they shall enter there, as well as the righteous among their fathers, their spouses, and their offspring: and angels shall enter unto them from every gate." (Qur'an 13:23)
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