Extravagant Marriages Are a Social Evil. These must be Banished!

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By Umair Rashid

The Holy Quran says:
“And marry those among you who are single and those you are fit among your male slaves and your female slaves; if they are needy, Allah will make them free from want out of His grace; and Allah is Ample-giving, knowing.” (Surah an-Nur, 24:32)
The above ayat begins with words Wa Ankehoo (And marry…). The imperative form of the word ‘nikah’ implies that either it is obligatory or highly recommended. According to scholars, though marriage is a highly recommended act, it becomes obligatory when there is a chance of falling into sin. The Prophet (SAW) says, “No house has been built in Islam more beloved in the sight of Allah than through marriage. On another occasion the Prophet (SAW) said, “The best people of my nation (Ummat) are those who get married and have chosen their wives, and the worst people of my nation are those who have kept away from marriage and are passing their lives as bachelors.” Imam ‘Ali (A.S.) exhorts, “Marry, because marriage is the tradition of the Prophet (SAW). “The Prophet (SAW) also said, “Whosoever likes to follow my tradition, then he should know that marriage is from my tradition.” So, this clearly depicts the importance of marriage in Islam. It should also be noted that the Prophet (SAW) has also said that ‘nikah’ should be very much simple not like nowadays where lacs and crores of rupees are being spent on marriage functions, especially in our Kashmir which becomes the main reason for the poorer families to perform their sons’/daughters’ ‘nikah’.
The general principle according to which a man should conduct his spending is the same general principle according to which he should conduct his life, which is the middle way and moderation. Allah (SWT) says: “And those, who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor niggardly, but hold a medium (way) between those (extremes) “{al-Furqaan 25:67}. The middle way and moderation cannot be identified by specific amounts or specific limits, that if a person oversteps that mark he can be described as being extravagant and, if he falls short of it then he is being a miser or niggardly; rather than varies according to the individual’s situation, whether he is rich or poor, whether it is a case of ordinary expenses or an emergency. It also varies from one place to another, one time to another, and so on.
The ruling on whether something is extravagance or not takes into accounts all of these things. Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): ‘’Let the rich man spend according to his means, and the man whose resources are restricted, let him spend according to what Allah has given him’.’ But, that does not mean that the rich ones will go on lavish spending on marriage ceremonies like in Kashmir due to which the poor ones too will be forced by society to do the same to maintain his status in the society. It is but natural these things can happen in the society and that is why then the poor ones will take the other ways to do same whether by taking bank loans, selling their land or by any other means! Such activities on part of the families have huge financial and social implications. Allah puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him.
Marriage in our region nowadays is a big financial deal! It becomes poignantly painful when there is conflict going on in Kashmir, where killing on either side is a daily routine, where some wait for their disappeared sons, where pellet victims hope and pray for their eyesight, where thousands are languishing in jails or where the horrendous floods of 2014 are still fresh due to which scores of people became homeless. Amid all this , extravagance, show-off and lavishness are all what defines a marriage in Kashmir these days. While rich can afford all this, a poor is left high and dry by the society’s definition of marriage. It is not just a one marriage function when the bridegroom comes to take his bride but this before and after is followed by a lot of functions in Kashmiri what we call Satim, Trayim khabar, Phir saal and so on. This trend of lavish spending on marriages is the reason that “more than 10,000 girls alone in Srinagar have crossed the marriageable age but are not married.”
There is a need that wealthy families should abstain from extravaganza in marriages as it becomes a trend which others have to follow helplessly. It increases the burden on the poor families who find it difficult to get their daughters married. If this happens then that truly would been a great revolution.
I strongly believe it is high time that society wakes up to the realization that extravagance in marriages needs to be stopped. This can help not only in reassuring the have-nots that their children can also marry respectfully in this society, but also will help those people to channelize the money in some constructive purpose instead of wasting it in conspicuous consumption. The message also goes to the Molvis who ceremonise the nikah to play a yeoman’s role in ensuring that every marriage function is celebrated keeping social norms and limits in consideration.

The author, hailing from Shopian, Kashmir, is a student of Economics at Aligarh Muslim University. He can be reached at: sheikhumairrashid@gmail.com