The Purposes and Benefits of Marriage

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The general purpose of marriage is that the sexes can provide company to one another, love to one another, procreate children and live in peace and tranquility to the commandments of Allah. Marriage serves as a means to emotional and sexual gratification and as a means of tension reduction. It is also a form of worship because it is obeying Allah and his messenger. It is seen as the only possible way for the sexes to unite.

As a meaningful institution, marriage has the following purposes:

Procreation

This is one of the most important purposes of marriage; namely, to contribute through legitimate means to the continuity and preservation of the human race. The sexual urge serves the function of bringing the mates together for the fulfillment of this basic objective. The procreational objective has four aspects: to fulfill the will of God; to seek the love of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him); to benefit from the prayer of the child; and to profit from its intercession on behalf of its parents. Clearly, this goal could be achieved without marriage, but when actions are undertaken in disobedience to Allah, they do not receive the blessing of Allah and the whole society is corrupted. The Prophet (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) said: “Marry the loving and the child-bearing, for I shall outstrip the other nations with your numbers on Qiyama.”2 The goal is to produce righteous children who will be obedient to Allah and who will be a source of reward for their parents after they die. The Prophet (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) will NOT be boasting before the other nations on the day of Qiyama with children of Muslim parents who left the path of Islam.

Fulfillment of the Natural urge

The sexual urge is perhaps the most powerful human inclination. It seems not to be an end in itself, but a means to bring the mates together for the purpose of fertilization. Yet its fulfillment is the most enjoyable and absorbing of human experiences. Failure to fulfill this urge is likely to lead either to deviation or to maladjustment. Deviation is dishonourable and is strictly forbidden in Islam.

Men are inclined toward women and women are inclined toward men by their nature. Marriage is the institution which fulfills this desire and channels it in ways pleasing to Allah Most High. Allah mentions this attraction: “It has been made attractive to people the love of the desires for women, sons …”3 The Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) himself has made clear that the attraction between the sexes is something natural and not something to be denied or suppressed but it should be channeled in the ways pleasing to Allah (Most High). He said: "Women and perfume have been made beloved to me of this world of yours and my peace of mind is in the prayer."

The desire of men and women for each other is an urge which needs to be fulfilled. If it is left unfulfilled, it will be a source of discord and disruption in society. For this reason, the Prophet (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) ordered all men who are capable of meeting the responsibilities of marriage to do it: “Whichever of you is capable should marry for it will aid him in lowering his gaze and guarding his body (from sin). As for the one who is not capable, fasting is his protection.”

A Healthy Relaxation

In marriage there is comfort to the soul, there is beauty to look at, there is company, and there is play and joking and relaxation, all of which relieve the heart from its burdens and make the mind better able to concentrate during prayers and worship. To be always serious and deprive the soul of its joy is boring to the heart and could blind it. Relaxing through the company of the spouse is healthy; and that is why the Qur‟an describes the spouse as a source of mutual comfort. It is said that it is wise to divide one's time over three types of activities: worshiping the Lord, self-examination and entertainment of the heart.

A Comfortable Home

Marriage, moreover, provides co-operation in the household and greatly relieves one from worries. 7 Spouses cooperate in the management of the house, in its upkeep, in cooking and washing, and so forth. And thus there will be more time for worship and seeking knowledge, and a climate conducive to concentration. It is therefore said that a righteous wife is not a worldly asset only; she is a sure way to success on the Day of Judgement.

Social Importance

Finally, by adding responsibilities upon the individual, marriage enhances his status in society and gives him an opportunity for training in bearing the hardships of life. Living with a spouse, a person of different inclinations and background, trains one in accommodating oneself to new experiences; each party helps the other in the exercise of the virtues of patience and forbearance. The responsibility of rearing children and the need to earn for their living are added meritorious aspect arising from marriage.

However, marriage can also represent a test or be afflicted with some harmful situations. The worst of them is failing to seek sustenance from the lawful. If that becomes difficult, the husband may become tempted to reach his hand into the haraam. Another affliction concerns falling short with regard to the rights of women and being patient with their character and their annoyances. In that there is a great danger because the man is the “shepherd” in the household and is to be questioned about those under his care. More so, marriage will be a source of trial if ones family becomes a distraction from the remembrance of Allah such that he spends his days and nights enjoying his family and fails to make time for his heart to ponder the hereafter and to work for it.

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