Man has been created in such a way that he requires a companion throughout his life. It is a natural desire and inclination that has been placed within him through the bounty of Allah (SWT). This inclination is not merely of a carnal nature but it seeks a soulmate for companionship, love, trust, understanding and mercy.
It is for this reason that Allah (SWT) draws our attention to the purpose of creating males and females in pairs:
“And of His signs is that He created for you of your kind, spouses that you may take rest(live) with them, and set between you love and mercy. Of course, in that are insights for those who think.” (Sura 30, Verse 21)
The carnal desire experienced by males and females is primarily instituted to ensure the continuation of Allah’s vicegerents on earth i.e. the continuation of the human civilisation as we know it. It is extremely sad that as Muslims we have forgotten this extremely important aspect of being unified with the opposite sex and have resorted to building it simply on our base desires.
Young students on campus are not immune to the attractions felt towards the opposite sex. This attraction usually starts out as a physical, lustful desire and eventually progresses into a relationship between two individuals. Most students on campus range in age from around 18 to 25, the beginning of the prime of their youth. They are no longer children and are well on their way into adulthood.
As a result many are faced with a dilemma while attending campus in that they have either found a suitable marriage partner or would like to find themselves one to protect them from the evils of zina. The question then arises as to whether they are ready for marriage, both emotionally and financially. They are generally not supported by their parents in their views and so end up continuing to engage in relationships with members of the opposite sex to satisfy their emotional and sometimes physical needs.
Before continuing, it is imperative that we understand unequivocally that all relationships between males and females who are not mahram (i.e. they can marry one another according to shariah) beyond necessity are completely haraam (forbidden). We sometimes try to find ways around this rule in order to satisfy ourselves that what we are doing is still within the bounds of shariah because our intentions are pure.
This restriction is the order and hukm of Allah (SWT) and even if it is our intention to marry the person in the near future, we are completely precluded from engaging in any relationship with them beyond that which is necessary.
How do I know if I’m ready for marriage?
Now that we have cleared up any shari’ misunderstandings, let us briefly look at what pillars need to be solidified before a young person can be classified as ready for marriage. The main issues that affect the marriage relationship are financial and emotional ones.
The most important aspect of being able to live with another person for the rest of your life is your ability to compromise. It is easy to live through issues that you are both in agreement with. No one has a difficult time dealing with someone who agrees with them. It is when there is a disagreement, be it small or big, that relationships begin to crumble. Emotionally, one has to be able to deal with such situations. Again, our deen is so complete that it encompasses all areas needed to live a good and pure life.
We need to study the sunnah advices for married couples and identify whether we are prepared to make these sacrifices for our spouses. As women we need to be understanding towards men’s inability to always control their temper and as men we need to consider some women’s inability to control their tongues. As men we need to learn to control those tempers and as women those tongues. No matter how much financial wealth we bring into the marriage, if we are deficient in emotional wealth the marriage will be a failure from the start.
On a financial level society has placed certain expectations on a married couple that sometimes tend to go beyond the capabilities of any young individual. Moreover they often transgress the guidelines given by shariah when it comes to marriage.
Hazrat Ayesha (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (SAW) said: “The marriage that involves least burden is the one that produces the most blessing.” (Bai Haqi)
Despite this very clear hadith it is found that married couples are expected to have lavish wedding parties, purchase brand new cars for both parties and be able to find five star, fully furnished accommodation in the most upmarket suburbs. A married couple that is unable to maintain such standards is considered one that is battling or sad. Sometimes we even degenerate to speculating that they may be expecting an unexpected child and so had to rush the marriage despite the lack of financial means. May Allah (SWT) save us from such filthy notions.
There is no doubt that a husband must have the means to be able to support his wife. No marriage is ever built on “love and fresh air”. A few rands and dollars are definitely required. But as unmarried students we are willing to live in student style accommodation, drive a battered second hand car and flash our student cards at every possible shopping expedition in the hope of getting a measly student discount. A day later when the words of nikah are said we are immediately expected to produce a platinum credit card with an unlimited facility. Is there any logic in such behaviour?
On the other hand we find parents that are willing to shower their children with expensive cars and clothes, lavish overseas holidays and unlimited spending money but when the question of marriage is raised their blanket response is that the child “must be able to stand on his or her own two feet.” How far have we strayed from our beautiful deen that we are willing to spend our wealth in Allah (SWT)’s disobedience but when it comes to protecting the izzat and respect of our sons and daughters we are so miserly?
It is reported by Hazrat Abu Sa’id (RA) and Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Abbas (RA) that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “He who has a child born to him should give it a good name and a good education and marry it when it reaches puberty. If he does not marry it when it reaches puberty and it commits sin, the guilt rests only upon its father.” (Bai Haqi)
Will marriage change my life?
A common question among youngsters who want to get married is whether marriage will change their lives. The natural response to this question is yes, your life will undoubtedly change. How can it not when you’re sharing it with a whole other person? The question is whether it will change for the better or worse. The first aspect of change boils down to one’s level of maturity. If you are the type of individual that lacks discipline in your studies and will be distracted by a partner being around all the time, then you are not ready for marriage.
On the other hand as a joint team you can achieve so much more than you would on your own. There is someone to share the household responsibilities with, a partner to assist you in your studies and motivate you towards achieving good results as well as the companion that you have been created to desire.
Many young students live their lives with a haraam partner from the opposite sex and seem to be able to cope with their studies. They spend all day together at campus and some even share their living arrangements with each other. How is this different, from a practical perspective, to marriage? Should it not be easier if the relationship is blessed with the added bonus of Allah (SWT) divine nusrat and help?
There is no doubt that in today’s environment of fitnah and haraam, young students are easily tempted to being led astray. It is extremely difficult to maintain one’s haya and modesty when the ropes of shaytaan are tugging so strongly at one’s nafs. At such a time we need to recognise that Allah (SWT) has created us with an inner desire for the companionship of the opposite sex and has made it lawful for us to engage in such relationships within the bounds of nikah. There is no compulsion on the quality of life that needs to be lead financially. All we need to ensure is that we have the ability to support ourselves practically, be it through scholarships or part time work or through the efforts of our parents and that we have the emotional intelligence to manage the relationship.
If you are entering the campus environment or are there already and are seriously concerned about the level of your imaan and protecting your chastity, you need to conscientiously explore the possibility of marriage through halaal means. If you are already in an illicit relationship and would like to make your partner a husband or wife in the future, you need to set the wheels in motion to get married as soon as possible. If you don’t have the financial means or feel you are emotionally not ready, then it is imperative that you end the haraam relationship and say to your partner that it will only resume once you have the means to get married. If they are truly meant for you and for them, you will be able to wait until the time is right. In the meanwhile, get down on your musallah and fervently pray to Allah (SWT) to open a way for you get married as soon as possible.
May Allah (SWT) grant all those who are married blessed marriages, all those who want to get married pious partners and all those who are unable to get married patience in their time of difficulty.
Hazrat Ibn Abbas (RA) has said that Rasoolullah (SAW) has said, “You have not seen anything like marriage for increasing the love of two people.” (Mishkat)