Institution of marriage

Conjugal relations have special significance in Islam

By K M Zubair (Reflections)

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Published: Thu 25 Jul 2013, 8:47 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 7:14 PM

The institution of marriage has been given tremendous importance in Islam. Marriage is a legal contract or social union between spouses. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “The best people of my Ummah 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.”

The marriage contract, which binds a man and a woman, in the name of God for a happy life within a prescribed code of conduct, is the foundation stone of a family -- the basic unit of a society.

The guidance provided by the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet in respect of conjugal relationship is the ideal way for continuing the process of procreation smoothly and pleasantly.

Any deviation from the path of righteousness set forth by God has destroyed the peace and happiness of the family. The case in point is present Western society. The unbelievably large number of divorces, abortions, illegitimate births and cases of drug addiction are some of the major problems defying solutions in the West. Similarly, lack of respect for elders and love for children have made a mockery of the concept of family.

Conjugal relations have special significance in Islam and the benefits, which accrue from them are incalculable. Peace and satisfaction in the life of the married couple depend mainly upon their mutual good relations -- and love is fundamental to it.

The Holy Quran says: “And among His signs is this that He created for you mates from among yourself, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are signs for those who reflect.” -- 30:21.

In Islamic dispensation, man occupies a higher place. The Holy Quran says: “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because God has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means...” -- iv:32.

Man has the advantage over woman because of his physical superiority and power of endurance. This advantage has correspondingly enhanced responsibilities of man in all walks of life and brought about a difference in his social status.

In fulfillment of his obligations and responsibilities, he has to exercise his powers commensurate with his duties and commitments. While leading a family life, the ultimate responsibility of running it rests with man. He provides protection to his wife and maintains her because God has given him more strength. He protects the family from external dangers, hunger, illness and ignorance because he is head of the family.

The Holy Quran says: “...Live with them (wives) on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them, it may be that you dislike a thing, and God brings about through it a great deal of good” — iv:19.

Man is expected to treat his wife and children with affection.

The Holy Prophet is reported to have said: “O men! Accept my advice regarding good treatment to your wives. I advise you to treat them with kindness, politeness and toleration. They are created from the rib (which is naturally curved) and its curvature is more at the top; if you try to straighten it by force, it will break; and if you leave it, it will stay as it is.

So accept my advice and treat them with kindness” (Bukhari).

A husband should love and respect his wife. If she commits some mistake, he should overlook it and try to reform her weakness patiently. He should meet her needs to the best of his ability and be always careful to provide comfort and consolation to her. This is vital to the peace and happiness of family life.

Similarly, a wife should hold her husband in comparatively higher esteem. She should be faithful and obedient to him, she should dedicate herself for his wellbeing and in seeking his love. Her salvation here and in the hereafter lies in her husband’s pleasure.

A woman is the queen of the house but man is its sovereign. Both have equal rights but their status is different. A Muslim woman is devoutly obedient to her husband and in his absence she guards his reputation and property and her own virtue.

In an age in which it is unfashionable to speak of religion, it is necessary to reiterate that “religion has been the supreme force in the development of mankind to its present condition. That all that is good and noble in man has been inspired by faith in God is a truth, which no one can deny. It is religion, which has raised human race from its depth of degradation to moral height undreamed of.”

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