By Malika Khan
Marriage is considered a legal contract and union requiring consent from both the bride and groom. The Quran endorses marriage, making mention of the rights, conduct, and values that encompass a successful and happy married life. This article explores 8 verses of the Quran about marriage.
Importance of Marriage
“And marry the unmarried among you and the righteous among your male slaves and female slaves. If they should be poor, Allah will enrich them from His bounty, and Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.” [24:32]
The Quran establishes marriage as a highly recommended act, conveyed as a priority. This verse endorses marriage to each and every person who is single, specifically mentioning the quality of being righteous. This refers to not only having the correct attitude and mindset, but also having the capabilities necessary to fulfil the responsibilities of marriage. This verse teaches that wealth should not be considered a source of anxiety nor a barrier to marriage. In some cases one may find that a suitor is rejected on the basis of wealth and that some families prevent their children from seeking marriage unless a particular income is earned. However, the character of a potential spouse is more enduring than wealth.
Wealth is never guaranteed and tends to fluctuate as life goes on. This verse provides assurance that Allah is ever-aware and a reliable helper. Therefore, marrying or seeking marriage with the correct intention can open doors. However, if one is in the position of being unable to fulfill the rights of a potential spouse nor afford necessities required for living, then seeking marriage can be postponed. The one who cannot afford marriage is encouraged to fast, an act that safeguards chastity and earns rewards that can facilitate the road to marriage.
“The Messenger of Allah said: ‘O young men, whoever among you can afford it, let him get married, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and guarding chastity, and whoever cannot then he should fast, for it will be a restraint (wija’) for him.'” [Sunan an-Nasa’I, 3209]
Cultivating a Shared Bond
“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women…” [4:1]
The fourth chapter of the Quran, surah an-Nisa, addresses the mutual rights of human beings as well as lays the foundation for a sound family life. The opening verse urges mankind to acknowledge that all human beings share the same roots as descendants of Prophet Adam and his wife Eve (or Hawa), may Allah be pleased with them. This conveys the connection that exists between all people due to sharing a common ancestor, the first male and female. This Quran verse about marriage signifies the bond between man and woman, as spouses, and as beings created for each other.
“It is He who created you from one soul and created from it its mate that he might dwell in security with her… ” [7:189]
This verse describes the origin of man and once again conveys the notion that all humans stem from the same source. Apart from promoting a sense of shared humanity, this verse about marriage highlights the spiritual bond between spouses. Marriage is a gift for spouses to lead a life of tranquility and compassion together as described in the Quran. Spouses are meant to be each other’s companions who share a bond that is secure.
Married life is intended to be one in which contentment and joy is experienced, nurtured, and accomplished through teamwork.
Role of Spouses
“They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them…” [2:187]
This particular Quranic verse about marriage describes spouses as clothing or garments. In this respect, both husband and wife are required to play the same role in the relationship. The function of a garment is to conceal and protect, therefore, spouses serve as each other’s protection and shelter. If one is lacking in an aspect, it is the duty of the other to ensure that this is not exposed to the elements i.e. others outside the marriage.
Being like garments to each other means being present, having each other’s back. If one spouse is feeling vulnerable, the other spouse is at the ready to wrap their partner in comfort and support. Another point that this verse addresses is the importance of spending quality time and fulfilling each other’s rights. Spouses should be active in striving to ensure that the marriage is a place of trust and confidence. The metaphor of spouses as clothing paints a vivid picture of the bond and intimacy that underscores a healthy relationship.
Marriage, according to the Quran, serves as a sanctuary and a place of warmth.
Kindness and Fairness to Women
“O you who have believed, it is not lawful for you to inherit women by compulsion. And do not make difficulties for them in order to take [back] part of what you gave them unless they commit a clear immorality. And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them – perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good. But if you want to replace one wife with another and you have given one of them a great amount [in gifts], do not take [back] from it anything. Would you take it in injustice and manifest sin?” [4:19-20]
Since marriage is a contract in which both parties mutually agree to various terms and conditions, including the nature of the dowry and its amount, going back on what is agreed upon is considered unjust. These verses about marriage intend to protect women from injustices, signifying that women should not be considered property or objects that men or their relatives have ownership over. Furthermore, whatever is owned by a woman, including her dowry or any gifts given to her, cannot be taken back by her spouse nor claimed by his heirs. Unless one’s wife willingly offers from her wealth, forcing and harassing her in order to get to her wealth is considered oppression and unjust.
The Quran instructs men to treat women with kindness and respect, even in times of dispute or divorce. Although being good to one’s spouse should be considered basic behaviour, the fact that it is emphasized in the Quran shows the importance of living together in kindness. These verses encourage treating one’s spouse well, even though one may come to dislike a certain quality or feature in them, as there may be qualities that outweigh and outshine whatever shortcomings one may perceive.
Essence of Marriage
“And those who say, ‘Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous.’” [25:74]
This Quran verse about marriage is about those who supplicate for their marriage and on behalf of their family, with the intention that society at large can derive some benefit from them. It is described that they will be rewarded in the Hereafter for this supplication and their yearning for a virtuous and impactful household. This conveys the importance of directing prayers to the Creator, asking for ease and happiness in marriage, as well as for offspring who are righteous. This verse teaches the value in having concern for one’s family instead of solely focusing on one’s own self-betterment, in any area of life, including worship. From this we learn the significance of not only doing the work to develop as individuals, but to also aim to benefit, inspire, and uplift others in goodness and virtue. There can only be a ripple effect of goodness that results from a marriage in which care and consideration underpins the interactions and even the most private supplications of spouses.
This verse in the Quran also reiterates the notion that spouses should live together in harmony. The essence of marriage is being able to draw solace from the presence of one’s spouse.
Marriage as a Source of Tranquility
“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” [30:21]
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) sought his wife Khadijah’s calm and reassuring presence after his sudden and overwhelming experience receiving the first revelation of the Quran. Spouses support each other in moments of uncertainty or vulnerability. The verse above affirms the concept that spouses are created for each other, highlighting the importance of spouses being people one can find comfort and peace with.
One of the objectives of married life is tranquility, and the key to this is having affection and mercy. This particular verse in the Quran about marriage describes how Allah places affection and mercy in the hearts of spouses so that they can live a tranquil life together. The affection described is much like how the hearts of parents towards their children is filled with a strong and innate attachment. This nature of love is divinely influenced, in that, God makes it easier to love and continue loving one’s spouse as time goes by. To be forgiving and empathic enhances affection and builds a stronger and stable relationship that can endure the trials in life.
Upon establishing marriage, affection and mercy are two positive forces that materialize and tie two individuals so intimately together that they remain each other’s supporters throughout life’s ups and downs.
Marriage in the Quran
These Quran verses about marriage reveal that marriage is not restricted to a “legal or religious” relationship. Marriage is layered in human emotion and is a union woven together through love, companionship, kindness, compassion, and support. The Quran implores spouses to treat each other kindly. A secure relationship is achieved by mutual commitment, respecting each other’s rights, and having sincerity in intentions and efforts.
In conclusion, marriage according to the Quran entails building a life that facilitates thriving and contentment in the relationship itself, which as a result influences a good home environment for the family, which can thereby contribute beneficially to society at large.
Watch “Marriage as Mentioned in the Quran” with Dr. Yousef Raza
Watch Imam Adam’s Khutbah on “Marriage in Islam”
(starts at 01:05) or read the summary here
What do you think? Share your reflections below!
- Sunnah.com. Available at: https://sunnah.com/bukhari/1
- The Noble Quran. Available at: https://quran.com/
- Shafīʻ, M. and ʻUs̲mānī, M., n.d. Maʻariful-Quran. Karachi: Maktaba e Darul Uloom Karachi