This journey is the journey to real future.
As an Imam in New York City, one of my responsibility is marriage officiation for our community. A task that is considered not only important but paramount noble and rewarding. For me, officiating someone’s marriage is a way to remind and direct him/her about life responsibilities in a serious manner.
Without any doubt, marriage in Islam is paramount important. It is known as the first institution in humans life. Before any known institution in humans life such educational, economic, or political, marriage institution has been institutionalized by Allah the Almighty for Adam and Hawa and their children.
Marriage also is the way for humans to fulfill their natural inclination and desires. In other words, every human being is naturally in need of spouse (partner) in life. God created every living creature in pair: “wa khalaqnakum azwaaja”.
Also marriage in Islam is believed to be a genuine way to obtain peace and tranquillity in life. Peace must begin with us individually. It’s difficult to imagine peace in the world when humans individually are suffering of inner pain. Sakinah or peace and tranquillity is guaranteed through marriage (litaskunuu ilaihah).
Marriage is life journey
There are many ways to describe marriage. One of those is that marriage is a life journey. It’s a journey a couple (man and woman) are undertaking for the rest of their life. From the moment he and she declare “qabiltuk” (I accept you) till the day in the next life (akhirah) they commit to be together.
For this journey to succeed here are some advices I normally deliver in the sermon (speech to advise the groom and the bride) during the nikah.
First, this journey is a journey of responsibility. The prophet told the believers that a person who is blessed with a righteous wife (a righteous husband for the wife) has fulfilled half of his/her religion. The other half is his or individual responsibility to fear Allah.
Second, this journey must begin with correct vision. Vision in the Islamic terminology is called “niat” (intention). It’s an answer to a very fundamental question the spouse to ask to his or herself “why I do marry her or him?”. The answer to this question will shape the way they will conduct their marriage. The hadith says: “verily actions are determined by the intention”.
Third, this journey is in need of light. And the light of marriage is knowledge. When comes to knowledge in marriage there are many things to know. One of those is to “know one another” as couple. Ta’aruf (to know one another) is necessary for humans to live harmoniously. And that Harmony must begin at home.
Fourth, for this journey to continue it needs energy (an engine). The engine of the marriage in love (Al-wuddu). Allah mentioned in the holy Quran: “and among His signs in this, that He created for your spouses so that you will get tranquillity in one another. And He (Allah) made for you love and compassion for one another..”.
Fifth, this journey is a life long ibadah. Marriage in the Islamic perspective is a very valuable ibadah (highly rewardable). Every good thing happens between the couple after the marriage is considered ibadah. Even just smile to each other as husband and wife. Or even when they engage in a very personal intimate relationship, marital sexual relations for instance, is valued ibadah in the sight of Allah, as mentioned in a hadith.
Sixth, this journey is deeply challenging. The way is bumpy and full of thorny. Yet it is a way that’s full of blessings and joy. But the best way to overcome those challenges is by partnering (or partnership of) between the couple. It’s therefore, husband and wife in Islam is called “zauj”. And the best to describe that zauj is by the Qur’an description: “they are garment for you and you are garment for them”. The garment is to cover one another’s shortcomings in facing the challenges of life.
Seventh, this journey is the journey to real future. There are two important matters related to this future. One, it’s about humans future generation. Marriage must be the beginning of that step to prepare a solid and righteous generation (dzurriyah solihah). Two, marriage is a journey to prepare our future life in akhirah. As the couple committed to be together in this world they must commit to be together in Jannah. InshaAllah!
NYC Subway, 7 August 2023
Imam Shamsi Ali