BY MUSHTAQ HURRA
Like other necessities of life, marriage is one of the basic requirements of human beings. After attaining a certain age, it becomes necessary for a human being to look for a partner in life to continue the journey of life .Without marriage, the vehicle of life is sure to rattle along a creaky terrain. The world would have been barren and empty, had not God created this important institution. It bestows us with the rarest asset of progeny which becomes the ultimate source of motivation for people to run the affairs of the world that otherwise world would have been colorless and monotonous and humans would have scant reasons to live.
Marriage is not just a source to derive sexual pleasure but it is a combination of two souls who promise to spread love and affection and make the world happier. It lays foundation for the continuity of life on the planet. It protects the chastity of women and the faith of both the sexes to win the pleasure of Allah, and safeguards societies from the ills of adultery and fornication which ruin families and societies.
This most important institution of life should have been very easy to solemnize so that everyone could enjoy its beauties and benefits, but our callousness and insensitivity has made it one of the frightening institutions of life to perform. Islam recommends rather every religion of the world advocate a simple and easy marriage so that societies could live harmoniously. Even most of the Constitutions of the world have made easy provisions for marriages to be solemnized.
But in our society, the thought of a daughter’s marriage sends shivers down the spine of a father because we have erected the barricades of dowry and other evils which makes it difficult for the fathers of girls to think about the marriages of their daughters. Even many parents wish girls not to be born. Many others kill them inside the wombs of their mothers like the people who used to bury their daughters alive. Binte-Hawa has become the estrangement in contemporary societies because the birth of a female child makes his father apprehensive about his marriage which he knows has become the most costly ritual in life. Thus, many girls are killed even before they are born. We shall be held accountable in the court of Almighty Allah for our insensitivity and callousness towards this grave issue.
Prophet Mohammad (SAW) solemnized the marriage of his beloved daughter , Fatima RA in the simplest possible way. Our rigid customs have made this institution a burden on the poor and middle class people. A daughter’s father is taken on a ride by the in-laws of his daughter. Demanding different things on different occasions breaks the backs of the poor. From engagement to marriage, we perform many ceremonies where gold and other things are exchanged between families.
Our selfishness and avarice has made this holy bond so difficult that many parents of girls sell their assets including their houses to see off their daughters get married. The money and wealth spent lavishly in marriages is not meant for the post marital necessities of new couple but for the fulfillment of false pomp and pride. Ostentation is ruling our hearts and minds. Our bizarre acts of lavishness and selfishness have invited us the rage of Allah.
We have changed the meaning of marriage. Gone are the days when marriages used to be simple and austere, when relations used to be based on love and sincerity, when a daughter-in-law was sought not a source of dowry, when virtues of poor were preferred over the vices of rich, when Wazwaan was a legacy not an extravaganza. Now, we have become the slaves of fake customs. We can go any extent for our false pride and so called honour. Those who earn hefty amounts through legitimate and illegitimate means, should think about those whose earnings are confined to meager resources. Our extravaganza in marriages is hindering our collective progress as a nation. Muslim marriages should have been exemplary for others to follow but ironically, people taunt us for our greedy and buffoonery. We waste big chunks of rice, meat and other food stuff in drains while many crave for morsels to extinguish the fire of their bellies.
Prophet Mohammad (SAW) has called marriage half faith, and Islam never forbids celebrations on occasions like festivals and marriages. Islam is not the mere name of some rituals and practices; rather, it is a complete way of living encompassing every aspect of life. If Islam bans anything, it is extravaganza and the wild celebrations where wealth is wasted and modesty is torn into shreds.
Inviting friends and relatives to a feast , is neither illegitimate nor against the Sunnah of our beloved prophet Mohammad (SAW); rather it makes our uterine and non-uterine relationships healthier and purer. If anything is unfair that is the exceedingly high number of dishes served. Even many conscienceless people decorate big copper platters with either 500 rupee notes or with 2000 rupee notes. Excessive usage of plastic items used in marriages is a double edged sword for us. It drains us economically and leads to environmental degradation because the management of plastic products is emerging as a big challenge for mankind given its non-biodegradable nature.
How absurd and bizarre is it that the matches for boys and girls are not sought on the basis of virtues like upright character, good etiquettes and manners, education and health but on the basis of degrees, earnings, big houses of their parents and dowry. Our standards have changed from good to bad. In urban areas, jobless and poor girls are rejected for nuptial knots though they possess all the virtues to be good daughters-in-law. The menace is alarmingly spreading to our villages as well. According to reliable reports, thousands of girls in Kashmir have crossed the marriageable ages and have become liabilities and burden on their parents. The trend is dangerous, it can be injurious to our moral fabric.
Thousands of marriageable girls are waiting for Hina to be designed on their hands. But who cares?
We are hell bent in sticking to fake customs. Another side of the coin is not different. Many greedy girls and their parents reject gentle and pious boys for not being government servants. Every girl and her parents are asking for a boy with a government job. This is another hindrance which leads to late marriages or no marriages. We all should ask for the criteria which Ali(RA) and Fatima(RA) had sought. We all need to mend our way of thinking about marriage because thinking leads to actions.
If we all wish to succeed here and in the hereafter, if we wish to live in an ideal society, then we all must stick to the standards set by Syedna Mohammad-ur-Rasoolullah(SAW), his daughter and his Companions. One of his companions, Abdur Rehman Bin Auf Radiyallahu Anhu was of the wealthiest man in whole Arabia. He solemnized his marriage with such simplicity that he even didn’t invite Prophet Mohammad(SAW)to his marriage ceremony. An institution of 3kg of dates, has become an institution of more than 3kg of gold.
Our innovated means and customs are sure to perish our here and the Hereafter. Marriages based on greed and avarice are sure to destroy the joys of two families and two souls .Before marriage, it breaks the back of a daughter’s father, and leaves him a pauper. After marriage, the dowry ruins the family of a groom. Sometimes, a daughter-in-law is subjected to mental and physical torture for insufficient and inadequate dowry; even many are handed over to be consumed by flames or murdered. In many cases, an anticlimax is seen. In such cases, the bride monopolizes the whole family and boasts of her dowry. Thus, both the families face the wrath in one or the other way .In most cases, post marital life often turns to hell.
Where has our logic and intellect gone?
Though our ancestors were illiterate but they were wise enough to live happily. Their earnings were legitimate, and thus the values were inculcated in children very easily. Today, we are more literate with big degrees from universities and Dar ul ulooms, we have multiple means to impart moral education but the results are not appreciable. Probably, we pay less heed to the means we earn through. Children are less obedient to their parents and elders. In this situation, we all need to ponder and introspect. Our Imams, teachers, scholars and writers have a vital role to play for our social and moral Renaissance. Let us all pledge to play our roles at individual levels. Let us kill our egos; let’s work for a society where life is not a burden but rather a blessed gift from Allah to be enjoyed within and in legitimate boundaries.
—The writer is a teacher and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org