Marriage and Fear of Allah

Nikah is an Ibadah (Act of Worship)
Nikah is a social contract between two people in which one person makes a proposal and the other person has to agree to that proposal. But unlike other contracts it has been declared a Sunnah to recite a Khutbah before this contract is entered into. This is because there are two facets of Nikah, the first is that of a social contract, and the second is that of an Ibadah (act of worship). Imam Abu Hanifah Rehmatullah Elaih has said that the dominant facet in Nikah is that of an Ibadah, and because it is an Ibadah that is why reading a Khutbah before Nikah has been declared a Sunnah.

The Three Verses of Khutbah of Nikah
There are three specific verses reading which is a Sunnah for the Khutbah of Nikah, even though Nikah is not directly mentioned in any of those verses, and there are other verses of the Holy Quran in which Nikah is mentioned. Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Shafi Rehmatullah Elaih used to say that it is worth thinking about why the Holy Prophet ﷺ chose these three verses to recite in the Khutbah of Nikah.

The First Verse
The first verse that is recited in the Khutbah of Nikah is the first verse of Surah An-Nisa:

“O men, fear your Lord who created you from a single soul, and from it created its match, and spread many men and women from the two. Fear Allah in whose name you ask each other (for your rights), and fear (the violation of the rights of) the womb-relations. Surely, Allah is watchful over you.” (4:1)

In the second part of the verse Allah Ta’alah is reminding us that when you ask others to give you your rights in Allah’s name, fear the same Allah so that you are not being unjust when you have to give them their rights which are owed towards you. And then Allah Ta’alah says that be mindful of the rights of your relatives lest you violate them. And be mindful that Allah Ta’alah is watching you and knows everything you do.

The Second Verse
The second verse that is recited in the Khutbah of Nikah is a verse from Surah Al-E-Imran:

“O you who believe, fear Allah, as He should be feared, and let not yourself die save as Muslims.” (3:102)

It means that we should spend our whole lives obeying Allah Ta’alah so that if death comes at any time it finds us as Allah Ta’alah’s obedient servants.

The Third Verse
The next two verses are from Surah Al-Ahzab:

“O you who believe, fear Allah, and speak in straightforward words. If you do so, Allah will correct your deeds for your benefit, and forgive your sins for you. Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger achieves a great success.” (33:70-71)

The Holy Prophet ﷺ used to recite these verses in the Khutbah of Nikah. It is important to consider why he recited these verses before Nikah while none of these verses mention Nikah and there are other verses of the Holy Quran which do mention Nikah.

What is Common in These Verses?
What is common in these verses is that in all these verses begin with the command to adopt “Taqwah” (fear of Allah). Many people think that marriage has nothing to do with Deen (religion) and are ignorant or negligent of Shariah’s laws pertaining to Nikah. They completely ignore Shariah’s commandments before, at the time of, or after Nikah. That is why they are being commanded to fear Allah as a married life cannot be happy until both spouses fear Allah. It is only fear of Allah which makes people fulfil each other’s rights completely.

Nikah with Greatest Barakah (Blessing)
In a Hadith the Holy Prophet ﷺ said, “The Nikah with greatest Barakah (blessing) is the one which has been conducted with greatest ease and simplicity.”
But we have made Nikah as complicated and difficult as Shariah has made it simple. Here is an example of how simple these ceremonies used to be in the days of the Holy Prophetﷺ.

The Nikah of Hazrat Abur Rehman Ibn Auf Raa – Part 1
Hazrat Abdul Rehman ibn Auf RAA is one of those ten blessed Sahaba (Holy Companions) about whom the Holy
Prophet ﷺ had declared in his life that they will go to Jannah (Paradise). It is narrated in a Hadith that one day when he presented before the Holy Prophet ﷺ there was a yellow mark on his shirt. The Holy Prophet ﷺ asked him about it. He said,

“O Rasool Allah ﷺ! I have just done Nikah and had put some fragrance on. That fragrance has left this mark.” The Holy Prophet said to him, “May Allah grant you Barakah (blessing). Do a valima even if it is just by slaughtering a goat.”

Hazrat Abdul Rehman ibn Auf RAA was one of the migrant Sahaba (Holy Companions) and he was a distant relative of the Holy Prophet ﷺ. Yet he did not invite the Holy Prophet ﷺ to his Nikah and hadn’t even told him about it.Only when the Holy Prophet ﷺ asked him, did he tell him that he had done Nikah. On the other hand, the Holy Prophet ﷺ didn’t complain why he hadn’t invited him to his Nikah, and rather prayed for him to be blessed. Nikah was conducted with such simplicity in those days that it didn’t occur to Hazrat Abdul Rehman Ibn Auf RAA to invite the Holy Prophet ﷺ to his Nikah.
Today if someone does not invite even casual acquaintances to their marriage they start complaining about not being invited but the Holy Prophet ﷺ did not make any such complain.

Nikah Should Be Kept Simple
It is evident from the whole life of the Holy Prophet ﷺ that Nikah was conducted with extreme simplicity, and later on the Sahaba (Holy Companions) carried on with the same practice. It is not unlawful (Hara’am) to invite one’s near and dear to Nikah. When Hazrat Fatima’s (Razi Allah Anha) Nikah was being conducted, the Holy Prophet ﷺ invited Hazrat Abu Bakar RAA and Hazrat Umar RAA to it. But making it so complex that every known acquaintance has to be invited, and if they are not invited they start complaining, and a whole set of rituals and ceremonies has to be performed before the Nikah can be conducted, this is not in the spirit of the Shariah.
Today because Nikah has been made so difficult it is diverting people towards Hara’am activities. If a person wants to get married, or a parent wants to get their son or daughter married, they need large sums of money before they can do so. And yet ways of Hara’am are becoming easier and easier. This is leading to a lot of moral issues in our society.

Do Not Procrastinate in Three Matters
In a Hadith the Holy prophet ﷺ said to Hazrat Ali Razi Allah Anhu, “There are three matters in which you should not procrastinate.
1. When a Janazah (burial of a dead body) is ready do not delay praying the Salah of Janazah.
2. When the time for a Salah has started then pray it as soon as you can. Do not delay it unnecessarily.
3. When an appropriate suitor is available for an unmarried girl then do not delay in conducting her Nikah.
In another Hadith the Holy Prophet ﷺ said that if you do not get the girls married when appropriate suitors are available for them, then discord will spread in this world. It means that if you block the way of Halal then Hara’am will spread in this world.

Let Go of the Unnecessary Rituals
Today we have made Nikah as complex as Shariah had made it simple. In Shariah all a Nikah requires is for one person to make a proposal of Nikah, and the other person to accept it, and presence of two witnesses. Even the Khutbah of Nikah is not obligatory for the validity of Nikah. But today we have added an incredible number of rituals to it. There must be a an engagement, a Mehendi, and many more rituals, invitation of hundreds of guests, and the Nikah cannot be conducted without all this pomp and affair. And those of us who are more well off than others don’t even realize, or don’t care, how we have made things difficult for those who are less financially fortunate than us by creating these expectations.

Announce Nikah Publicly
In a Hadith, the Holy Prophet ﷺ, “Announce the Nikah publicly, and conduct it in Masajid (mosques).” The difference between Hara’am and Halal is that Hara’am activities are often conducted surreptitiously and are hidden from everyone else. Therefore, Shariah has declared it necessary that that Nikah should be conducted and announced publicly, so that everyone should come to know that so and so has gotten married to so and so.

Nikah Should Be Conducted in Masjid
In the next sentence the Holy Prophet ﷺ has advised to conduct Nikah in masajid and it has been declared a Sunnah. As mentioned previously, Nikah is an Ibadah (act of worship). It is a commandment from Allah Ta’alah and is a Sunnah of the
Holy Prophet ﷺ. Just like praying Salah is an Ibadah, Nikah is also an Ibadah and that is why we have been advised to conduct it in Masajid.

Creating Noise in Masjid
In another Hadith, while the Holy Prophet ﷺ said that Nikah should be conducted in Masajid (mosques), he also said that refrain from creating noise like the Bazar. What the Holy
Prophet ﷺ is pointing out is that while it is preferable to conduct Nikah in Masjid, it is a sin to create undue noise in Masjid. People should be mindful that while trying to follow one Sunnah, they should not get involved in committing another sin.

Taqwa (Fear of Allah) is Necessary for A Happy Married Life
Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Shafi Rehmatullah Elaih used to say that the relationship between two spouses cannot be happy and blissful until both of them have Taqwa in their hearts. No relationship in this world can be more intimate, more private, than the relationship between two spouses. A significant part of that relationship is conducted in such privacy that it can never be shared with other people. If one of them violates the rights of the other, or hurts them in some way in that privacy, there is no one to stop them from doing so as no one is watching them.
There are many rights for the violation of which some reparation can be obtained through the courts. But there are many rights that spouses have towards each other that cannot be claimed through the Courts. For example, the court can force the husband to pay monthly expenses to the wife. However, if a husband is always rude to his wife, or keeps making derogatory or disparaging comments to his wife, then no court in this world can provide any reparation for the hurt and pain such comments cause to a spouse’s heart.

Only Taqwa Can Make Spouses Fulfil Each Other’s Rights
Only if a husband has Taqwa (fear of Allah) in his heart, and he firmly believes and is always mindful that one day he will have to account for everything he does or says to his wife in front of Allah Ta’alah,then will he make every effort to fulfil his wife’s rights fully and properly that are due towards him, even when no other human being is watching him. There is no Police, no Court, that can make spouses behave properly towards each other when they are in privacy of their home, their bedroom, it is only fear of Allah Ta’alah which can make them do so.

How The Holy Prophet ﷺ Interacted with His Family
One of my acquaintances once started telling me proudly that when he enters his home, his wife and children cannot dare to speak to him or disobey him. He was saying this to boast how Macho a man he was. I said to him that the behaviour you are describing may be a source of pride for a beast, but not for a human being. The behaviour of a human being should be what Hazrat Aisha Razi Allah Anha has described about the Holy
Prophet ﷺ that whenever he entered home he always had a smile on his face, and in all the time she spent with him, he never scolded her harshly. This is the example which all of us should be following, and which a person can practice consistently only when he has Taqwa (fear of Allah) in his heart.

Sunnah of The Holy Prophet ﷺ is the Best Practice To Follow
There are so many complexities in a marital relationship that unless spouses have Taqwa (fear of Allah) in their hearts it is very difficult to fulfil each other’s rights and obligations fully, and to refrain from hurting the other’s feelings. It is only through having knowledge of the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet ﷺ about his behaviour at home and with his family, having motivation to follow the Sunnah (practice) of the Holy Prophet ﷺ, and through fear of Allah Ta’alah and the constant awareness that one day we will have to account for all our actions in front of Allah Ta’alah, that spouses can discharge their rights towards each other properly. That is why it has been said that fear Allah when discharging the rights of your relations, because one day you will have to account for each and every action you undertook in relation to them.

Nikah is a Sunnah
In addition to the Ayat (verses) of the Holy Quran mentioned above, there are some Ahadith of the Holy Prophet ﷺ which are also recited in the Khutbah of Nikah. In one of these Ahadith the Holy Prophet ﷺ said, النکاح من سنتی
“Nikah is my Sunnah.” This points to the fact that Nikah is not just a worldly affair, it is an Ibadah (act of worship). This also means that in reality there is no difference between Deen (religious affairs) and Dunya (worldly affairs). It is only a matter of perspective. Many of the same matters which are considered worldly affairs, become Deen with a change of perspective, correction of Niyyah (intention), and some alteration in ways of doing things. Nikah is also Deen, buying and selling is also Deen, doing business is also Deen, employment is also Deen, and having quality time with spouse and kids is also Deen. As long as a person conducts all these activities within the boundaries set by Shariah, and with an intention of pleasing Allah Ta’alah, all of these same activities become Deen.

Heaven on Earth
Hazrat Allama Shabbir Ahmad Usmani Rehmatullah Elaih used to say that heaven on earth is that spouses have harmony between them and that they are pious. If either of these elements is missing then life becomes hell and becomes very unpleasant.

Three Blessings
The Holy Prophet ﷺ said that if a person has been granted three blessings in this world, then he is really lucky, (1) a spacious home, (2) a pious woman, and (3) and a comfortable ride. However, if these three blessings go awry, then his life becomes a burden.
In this Hadith it has been implied that while choosing a spouse a person should also consider how God-fearing and religiously-minded their prospective spouse is, as the true benefits of having a happy marital life cannot be obtained without it.

وآخر دعوا ان الحمد ﷲ رب العالمين