بِِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
﴿وَأَنكِحُوا الأَيَامَى مِنْكُمْ وَالصَّالِحِينَ مِنْ عِبَادِكُمْ وَإِمَائِكُمْ إِنْ يَكُونُوا فُقَرَاءَ يُغْنِهِمْ اللَّهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ﴾
IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE ALL-BENEFICENT, THE ALL-MERCIFUL
“Marry those among you who are single, or the virtuous ones among yourselves, male or female: if they are in poverty, Allah will give them means out of his grace: for Allah encompasseth all, and He knoweth all things. (24:32)”
By the translator
The contemporary world is a complicated one full of all sorts of problems. All over the globe, both in the developed and developing countries, different segments of the people face multi-dimensional problems: social, economical, ethical and spiritual. In pure statistical terms, it is particularly the youth strata, in societies everywhere that is most adversely affected. They compose of the frustrated, badly hit strata of the world’s masses, both in the East and the West.
If the East has its typical socio-economic problems, the West too is negatively affected by its own mechanised and industrialised form and metaphysical values.
Briefly, both the societies of West and East yearn and moan under the pressures of problems, either material or spiritual. In the East, socialism collapsed under the terrific pressures of social problems cropping up from its incapacious system. Right now, western capitalism too is showing cracks in its apparently magnificent frame.
At such a critical juncture, the youth of this world stands bewildered, perplexed and horrified, observing the cracking of this system.
The only question boiling in their inquisitive minds is where the remedy and cure lie.
And which system answers the burning
problems of this age?
The youth, this pitiable creature, has been handed deteriorating and disintegrating modes and systems of life. Western philosophers, thinkers and scientists like Freud, Russell, Nietzsche, Darwin and scores of others gave their people all the possible pseudo-liberties under the label of individual freedom; i.e., the so called liberty of speech, expression, action, accumulating unlimited and gigantic sources in kind, cash and material and, last but not least, the values engulfing sexual freedom.
Now, these unlimited and unbounded liberties have backfired and have created a big impact upon the natural values and systems of life, even though not religious ones. Humanity has started suffering immensely at the hands of criminals committing serious crimes. A wave of lawlessness, immorality and brutality has swept all over the globe.
Thus the young mind is in search of truth.
And the big question raising its head and haunting the youth’s innocent mind is “Where is the truth?”
This very question makes them go round the world in various forms and shapes, even sometimes as hippies, to search and investigate.
But a sudden explosion of Islamic revolution emanated the right answer to their question saving them the toil and labours they were going through.
Islam has beyond any doubt, established that the solution is here. This explosion has enlightened the universe with the light of truthful values, in the pitch dark of this worthless mechanised life.
Dear reader! This book suggests to the youth, solutions to only one of the burning problems of the day from an Islamic perspective and viewpoint.
The subject forms the crust
of the youths’ problems, and is obviously the most vitally important multi-dimensional problem from biological, social, and ethical points of view.
It deals with the solution of their socio-economic problems regarding the execution of marriage; the most interesting topic for the youth. They have been convinced in it to marry a suitable spouse, at a proper, genuine and exact time. At least they can soothe their nerves in the proper company during these turbulent days, when the world is burning in the flames of wars, famines, diseases and social injustice.
Proper marriage can be a cure to many diseases haunting the youth being a completing and maturity-creating factor.
Islam has provided the answer to all questions pertaining to human life; and so it has to this one.
The learned author, Mr Ali Akbar Mazaheri, has put in a great deal of hard and sincere endeavour to illustrate Islamic solutions to this aspect of human life, particularly, the innocent youth of today, who are being misguided, confused and perverted by the immoral techno-propaganda of the imperialists, who have their own axe to grind to achieve their selfish and nasty objectives all around the globe.
We hope that this useful book will be a guide for the perturbed youth and an answer to a part of their quest.
Seminary of Qom
By His Eminence Professor Jafar Subhani
Daughters and sons are considered to be the fruits of the garden of human life, who do not have any alternative way of continuing their lives except in joint endeavour, planning and a shared life, since life
in the shape of celibacy is a bitter and badly concluding one, striking the buds of life in the half way, throws them away.
The hand of the Creator has bestowed a kind of attraction and pull between these two forms of fruits, so that each one demands and desires the other’s company after having reached a certain age.
Their anxiety, distress and boiling sentiments are comforted and soothed through marriage. The Quranic verse says
( وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ مَوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ .﴾
“And one of His signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest in them, and He put between you love and compassion; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.”
This saying describes the secret of creation as clear evidence on this point.
The co-working and co-existence of two people can only be fruitful, beneficial and persistent when their spirits, instincts, and way of thinking are in one direction. Otherwise, the rope of unity and communion becomes weak and soft and finally breaks, shattering the framework of co-existence.
In our lives, we observe the emergence of bitter and painful situations, which not only torment and agonise the husband and wife, but also their families. As such, after a short span of time, the palace of life is dismantled and the sweet tree of marital relations bears bitter fruit when the couple approaches the court and is separated. Perhaps they may be able to choose
a suitable partner for themselves again but too many times, the wronged and oppressed children are forgotten when the parents walk away.
One factor is most effective in elaborating and explaining the reason for this situation, (of course, it cannot be said that this factor is the only one), but this factor is to start out with wrong calculations and estimations, (those very wrong, unweighed and unconsidered ideas from the foundation of life), instead of a correct and exact study and estimation in the selection of a life partner. If correct principles were observed in the process of spouse selection, the major portion of separations, divorces and partings would not have dried up and withered from the tree of life.
In this book, which is now being presented to the respected reader, this very factor has been pointed out when it teaches the correct way to select a spouse.
I studied a part of this book and found it very useful and beneficial for the young generation, particularly now that the book contains a series of experience - providing narratives, which can make the theories and inferences definite and positive.
Having congratulated the honourable writer and distinguished scholar about this precious and valuable book, I request the respectable publisher chalk out a plan regarding the publishing and distribution of the book, so that it reaches the hands of our youth, thereby taking a big and important step to solving our problems and as a consequence, reducing the number of divorces. The saying of the prophet (a.s) is:
﴿مَا بُنِيَ بِناءٌ
في الإسْلامِ أَحَبُّ إلى اللهِ مِنَ التَّزْوِيجِ.﴾
“No palace in Islam more beloved to Allah has ever been built than the palace of marriage.” (Wasail, vol 14, p 3.)
This saying may become more materialised and shaped into practice.
Institution of imam Sadiq (a.s)
AYATOLLAH JAFAR SUBHANI
1995, 1st of Moharram, 1415, Hijrah
Look at the youth standing upon the origin of a new way with their hopes, abundant aspirations and hearts full of love and commotion, with the idea to move towards an independent and responsible life. They confront two important decisions, two vital obstacles, two lofty peaks and two big selections.
So they must necessarily cross through these two obstacles and reach for these peaks and take decisions regarding these two essentially important problems and make the selection.
It cannot be that they leave these two, or either one of them aside. And neither are they energetic enough to cross through them all alone, without any kind of guide or assistance, to reach their aim safely.
The good luck and prosperity or misfortune and misery of their lives is, to a great extent, connected and linked to these two decisions and selections.
If they are able to safely cross these two obstacles and peaks, then they have, to a great extent, neared themselves to prosperity and fortune. And if, God forbid, they do not succeed in making these decisions and selections (properly), then many difficulties and agonies will come into existence for them.
One of the two is choosing a job and the other is selecting a spouse.
Each of these two decisions
and selections is big and sensitive; but one of them is even bigger and more sensitive than the other, and that is the selection of a spouse.
One of the great Gnostics said: “If a man spends half of his life in the search of a suitable teacher, it is worthwhile, since he will become prosperous in the other half of it”.
I too say, “If a man spends half of his life searching for a proper and suitable spouse, it is worthwhile, because he will be prosperous, for the rest of his life.”
Have you ever seen a successful man who does not have a capable woman beside him? And have you ever seen a prosperous woman who does not have a talented man beside her?
Usually every successful man has a capable woman beside him and every prosperous woman has a capable man beside her. If we observe, we will discover that it is so in every society. Even if we probe into history, we see the same. For example, Ibrahim (a.s) has Hajar beside him, whilst Musa (a.s) has Safoora at his back. Isa (Jesus) (a.s) has his mother Maryam at his side and Mohammad (a.s) has Khadija (a.s) beside him. We find Zahra (a.s) beside Ali (a.s), whilst Imam Hassan (a.s), Imam Hussain (a.s), and Imam Sajjad (a.s) have Zainab beside them.
And similarly, beside all the scholars, thinkers, inventors, and reformers we usually observe capable gifted women as their wives, mothers or sisters.
Of course, because of the fact that women usually remained inside the house,
they made less public appearance and so remained to a lesser degree, the focus of attention of historians, speakers, and writers. As a result, they glittered less. But since capable and talented men and women had their roles to play in each other’s success and prosperity, there is no difference between them and they are equal and alike.
We can even go to the extent to say that the role of women in the success of men has been more than the role of men in the prosperity of women. Because woman is the axis and basis of life and the family and if this axis becomes anguished, disturbed and unbalanced, the foundation of life will become turbulent and weak. It is very difficult for men to succeed in a shaky and turbulent life, but if the woman is talented and capable, the man will ascend to heaven from her lap.
And likewise, the capability and talent of each sex has an effect on the prosperity of the other, whereas the incapability, inefficiency and inferiority of each one have their effect upon the fate of the other.
An inferior, abject, ill-mannered, and faithless woman destroys the life of a man and makes him sit upon the dust of abjectness and shame. And a base, mean, characterless, and faithless man will push the woman towards misfortune, a bleak life and psychological and spiritual diseases.
The Prophet (a.s) prays to Allah about a bad spouse, saying:
"أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ زَوجَةٍ تُشَيِّبُنِي قَبْلَ أَوانِ مَشِيبِي."
“Oh Allah! I take refuge in you from a
wife who makes me old before my old age reaches me.”
Only God knows what an abundance of huge amounts of energies are destroyed in this marsh. And what number of fresh souls become withered and emaciated in this field. And how many tragedies occur in this area. Woe to the man who has an evil and bad woman! And woe to the woman who becomes entangled with a vile and impure man! What plentiful number of nice, capable, religious and talented boys have been seen dragged and pushed into marshes and slimes as a result of marrying an incapable and base girl! And how many good, nice, capable, modest, beautiful and spirited girls with good tastes and talents have been pushed into a cesspool, as an effect of marrying an incapable, faithless, illogical and selfish boy and been totally destroyed.
Or, if both of them are good and capable, but are not an equal match and counterpart, proportional to each other, then even this situation creates difficulty. And this is a very important and minute problem.
At a later stage, we will discuss spouses being equal counterparts, proportional to each other.
But right now, it is necessary to explain that goodness and fairness of both spouses alone is insufficient, but that them being a good match, proportionate to each other conventionally speaking, is also essential so they can move forwards together in harmony.
We have seen a great number of couples, which individually, are both good, but together they have a disorganised life, because they are not proportionate
to each other. Each one lives a separate life to the other.
These couples too end up with conflict, disagreement, and some with divorce, whereas if each of them had married a proportionate spouse, they would have succeeded. I will explain this further, describing a few live examples.
A boy and a girl need assistance and guidance in this risky and sensitive field. Is it possible to leave the youth all alone in this much sensitive phase? They must have access to the people, means, books and centres to assist and help them out. It is not really advisable to leave them alone.
How is it that a teacher and guide is needed for driving a car, constructing a building, travelling along an avenue and performing simple and ordinary things, but a teacher, a guide, and a guardian is not essential for choosing a mate, organising and establishing a long life, and laying the foundation of a human assembly?
The marriage of a girl and a boy is the starting point of a big human race. The marriage of the chief of believers, Ali (a.s), with Fatima Zahra (a.s) laid the foundation of a great race, which continues yet and will remain continuous and persistent up to the end of human history. And hereby, we are benefiting from the benevolence and beneficence of this sacred relation and this blessed tree. Imam Khomeini (r.a) and Ayatollah Khamene’i, the grand leaders, are the fruits of this blessed marriage. The marriage of Abu Sufian and Hind (the liver eater) also brought into
being the foundation of an immoral race and so the Umayyad caliphs came into existence from this dirty relation. Humanity has suffered great losses and continues facing difficulties at the hand of this corrupt tree.
Islam has set so many laws and topics, and stresses so much upon the subject of marriage and selection of spouses that makes one surprised and astonished. (Professor) Mohammad Taqi Jafari used to say:
“Bertrand Russell (the renowned European philosopher) wrote to me and asked, “Why has Islam given such value to, and formed laws for marriage?” In response to him, I wrote, “The problem is man. Marriage brings ‘man’ into existence.”
The actual aim of the discussions in this book is making boys and girls familiar with the method and manner of choosing a spouse, so that they can succeed in this critical, serious and fate- making matter.
But the other decision and selection, i.e., selecting a job, will inshallah; be brought into consideration in another book.
Reminding Of A Few Points:
1- The stories and examples quoted in this book are real and authentic, but the names of the people have been changed to protect their identity. Only in a few cases have the real names been used.
2- We hereby thank our dear honourable brothers, Mr. Jawad Chenari and Mr. Masood Azarbaijani who helped and co- operated in realising this book, Mr. Hussain Fidaee of the Imam Sadiq (a.s) Institute, Qom, who was responsible for composing and paging and to the publication centre of the Office of Islamic Propagation, at the seminary of Qom,
which shouldered the responsibility of its publication. We pray to Allah to grant them abundant rewards.
3 - This book is a preliminary step in connection with the problems of the youth and inshallah, we will take the relevant steps after it. Therefore, we would like thinkers, clear sighted and lucid personalities, the youth and respectable readers to send their views, suggestions, criticisms and observations to the writer, at the publisher’s address, including real examples of their own experiences and anything which may relate to the topic of this book, as well as those things which may concern the younger generation and could be effective and a way- opener, so that they could be used in the following editions and books. Quite evidently, if such steps are taken with sincerity, they shall bring valuable and worthy rewards from Allah.
We also expect from young couples and all those who are inclined to take steps on the way to help and guide the younger generation to describe their sweet or bitter experiences, whether experienced directly or indirectly: experiences such as success or failure in the selection of a spouse, the ways of spending the periods of engagement and Aqad (the period after Nikah and before real marriage life), the do’s and don’ts of these periods, the successes and failures of the phases of spouse-selection, engagement period, marriage, after marriage and the initiating of a new joint life, its continuation, along with the causes and factors of success and failure and their biographies, so that these milestones can be
living guides for young people at the starting point of their lives toward the achievement of prosperous lives.
Meanwhile, if you are inclined, we will use your real names, but if you refer us not to do so, you can write to us and we will use fictitious names, just as we have done in most of the examples quoted in this book.
We pray to Almighty Allah for His pleasure and guidance.
Ali Akbar Mazaheri
Seminary of Qum, spring, 1373 (S.H)
Allah created man in a manner in which he is incomplete and imperfect without a spouse. Man may upgrade his knowledge, faith and qualities, but he shall never reach the desired perfection while he does not have a spouse. (Be it man or woman). Nothing can substitute marriage and the raising of a family. Both the male and female sexes need each other from a spiritual, as well as physical point of view. And each one of them is incomplete and imperfect when alone and in solitude. When they are placed beside each other, they complete each other. This is the law of creation and it commands the whole universe.
The Quran calls man and woman the dress of each other.
﴿هُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَكُمْ وَأَنْتُمْ لِبَاسٌ لَهُنَّ﴾
“They (wives) are as a dress for you (husbands) and you are as a dress for them.” (Surah Baqara, verse 187.)
That is to say, they are the enhancement, counterpart, and guard of each other’s honour and secrets, and each one needs the other. Man cannot live honourably and eminently in society without dress.
He feels himself in a state of imperfection. The lonely person too feels himself imperfect.
Dress saves and protects a person from the effects of winter and summer. The spouse too saves one from worries, futility, homelessness, aimlessness, and solitude. As a dress decorates man, spouses too are the decoration of each other.
One of the greatest blessings of Allah to man is a nice life- partner. The Prophet (a.s) said in this regard:
ما اسْتَفَادَ امْرُؤٌ مُسْلِمٌ فَائِدَةً بَعْدَ الإسْلامِ أفْضَلَ مِنْ زَوْجَةٍ مُسْلِمَةٍ (أو صَالِحَةٍ).
“The Muslim man has not achieved any benefit (from Allah’s blessings) better than a suitable Muslim wife, after Islam.”
It is possible that some people who have not appreciated the depth of the philosophy of marriage and setting up of a joint life may say: ‘We satisfy our sexual lust through many other means apart from marriage and fulfil this desire through other ways, so what is the need of accepting the responsibility of marriage?”
It should be said in response to this creed and question that fulfilment of sexual desire and lust is not the only achievement and advantage of marriage. It is only one of its benefits. Instead, apart from soothing and comforting the sexual instinct, it has many other aspects and dimensions of excellence, worth and importance, like raising a family. It gifts man with other factors such as commitment, completion, progress, maturity, development of personality, comfort and many more valuable benefits. Commitment to a wife and family brings magnanimity, splendour and a sense of social responsibility, and makes many of his capabilities and sleeping talents bloom and bear fruit.
After marriage, the personality of a man changes into a social personality and he considers himself absolutely responsible for the security of his wife and children’s future. On this account, he uses the sum total of his senses, initiatives and abilities.”(Tafseer- e
Nemoone, vol. 14, p 465.)
There is an enjoyment and progress in raising a family to which nothing can be the substitute. Martyr Mutahari (RA) says in this regard:
“There are ethical characteristics, which can not be achieved, except in the school of family raising. The foundation of a family means developing a kind of interest in the fate of others. The moralists and ascetics who have not crossed through this phase have a sort of immaturity and childhood in their personalities to the end of their lives. And it is one of the reasons why marriage has been stressed upon as a sacred matter and a service in Islam. Marriage is the first and preliminary phase of exit from the (shell of) natural personal self, and the expansion of human’s personality.”
Similarly, he says about the training mode of marriage: “There is a maturity, a maturity, which does not take shape except in the shade of marriage and raising of family. It is not shaped in school, formed in a crusade against ego, nor is it inculcated and raised through night vigil and prayers. It does not even come into existence through love and attachment with pious ones.”
What a large number of people have been observed who did not follow any principles of ethics, religion, and society, and a form of frivolity, heedlessness, and debauchery overwhelmed their character. But after getting married, their character, morale, and attitude changed and they became sober and dignified. And their habits and manners began to show a kind of graciousness and
Allah, who is the Creator of human beings and knows their peculiarities, characteristics, nature and instincts, described the creation of man and woman and placing them side by side, as one of His wisdoms and signs, and introduced marriage as the cause of love, affection, beneficence and comfort of man, saying:
﴿وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ مَوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ.﴾
“And one of His signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest in them, and He put between you love and compassion; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.”
This peace and comfort is not the common and ordinary conventional comfort, which psychologists and psychiatrists describe; instead, in addition to that, it includes dignity, grace, balance of thought, vision and spirit, the feeling of being worthy and having a serious personality and the achievement of additional honour, status and so on.
Marriage and family raising imprints such an effect upon the existence of man by upgrading the worth of his personality on the way to its maturity, that even his practices and services become more valued and worthier before Allah and the angels, so that its value goes up to many times the previous one. For example, consider this Hadith of Imam Jaafar (a.s):
رَكْعَتانِ يُصَلِّيهِما المُتَزَوِّجُ أفْضَلُ مِن سَبْعِينَ رَكعَة يُصَلِّيهَا العَزِبُ.
“Two cycles of service offered by a married person is more excellent and worthier than seventy cycles of service offered by a bachelor and
The unit which is formed through marriage is the object of Allah’s love and kindness, and He views it with tenderness and benevolence. The great ambassador of Allah (a.s) has put it in this way:
“No construction has been constructed lovelier than marriage to Allah - May He be honoured and glorified.”
What prosperity and beneficence can be loftier than Allah’s love for one’s family and dwelling (that too in the super way) and viewing it with love, affection, and kindness?
Ali (a.s), the chief of believers, has described a very worthy fact about the value of marriage:
لَمْ يَكُن أحَدٌ مِن أصْحَابِ رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلّى اللهُ عَليهِ وَآلهِ يَتَزَوَّجُ إلاّ قَالَ رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلّى اللهُ عَلَيه وَآلهِ: ”كمل دينه.“
“There were none of the friends of the Prophet (a.s) who would marry but the Prophet (a.s) would say his faith (religion) had been completed.”
What a surprise! Marriage has this much worth and value that the Prophet of Allah (a.s) decorated the chests of those who married with medals of honour.
It is evident from these words of the Prophet (a.s) that while a person does not marry, his faith lies in danger. This is because sexual instinct, spiritual pressures, sense of solitude and futility, being devoid of shelter and the lack of a sense of social responsibility, as well as many other harms of remaining unmarried can damage the roots of man’s faith and destabilize it.
Marriage and establishing a family and resting beside an excellent, virtuous, lovely, sympathetic and faithful spouse not only controls sexual lust, but also a
spiritual relaxation and comfort is achieved.
At the same time, man’s dependence and trust upon Allah is increased and grows. He moves out of the apprehensive condition and homelessness. He senses and feels security and personality. His eyes and mind are distracted and detached from other places, and concentrate and focus on his spouse. Consequently, he achieves more proximity and nearness to Allah, and Allah’s beneficences cover him up more than ever, and his faith is strengthened and reaches completion.
Of course, we must be attentive to the fact that these glowing and shining results come to hand when the correct and true standards of “spouse selection”, family raising and the preparations of marriage are carefully and correctly observed. In the next chapters, we will inshallah discuss the topics of correct criterions and standards and the know how of crossing the preliminaries of marriage.
One of the important problems in connection with marriage and
choosing a spouse, which must be taken into consideration, is the time and age of it.
Much has been written and said on this topic. And everybody has endeavoured to answer this question according to his own taste and predisposition, understanding, knowledge, and mental ability. We must say that the answer to the question “when must we marry?” is hidden in the interior of man’s nature and instinct and does not need an answer, logic of knowledge, or philosophy.
We should look inside ourselves and ask its answer from our nature, instincts and inclinations, which do reply in a truthful manner, without different hurdles, ceremonies, habits, customs and prejudices. It is much like hunger and thirst, which are not controlled or governed by any law, which tells when to eat and drink. Instead, a man knows by virtue of his nature when he is hungry or thirsty and when he is not and when is a suitable time to eat, and when is not.
Yes! Laws can be formulated for the pertinent matters such as not eating rotten, prohibited and illegal food, and never drinking
contaminated water. Instead, man should eat licit, lawful and healthy food and must not eat during fasting etc. But a law cannot be set for the actual and basic needs of hunger, thirst, eating and drinking.
The need for a spouse and raising a family is a natural and instinctive need, which Allah has, through His wisdom, placed in the human being. It is awakened at its particular time and season, and makes its demand. If it is answered on time and properly and its requirement is fulfilled, it traverses its natural course and reaches the summit of maturity and completion and makes man reach that point. If it is delayed or answered in an incorrect and unnatural mode, it deviates from its natural course, revolts and rebels, and not only becomes corrupt itself, but also corrupts the man; just as if the natural and instinctive needs of man such as hunger and thirst are not properly answered, they become deviated and drive man towards ailment, disease, the eating of stale and prohibited food, and occasionally, stealing and death.
So any law in this connection must pertain to the balancing of this urge and provisioning of aids and assistance with regard to this difficulty and the removal of hurdles on the way.
But when must this need be fulfilled and when must the man and woman marry? This cannot be regulated inside a particular law. It does not have any specific law and regulation; its law is genetic and the Creator has gifted it inside human nature. Therefore,
‘shoulds’ and ‘should-nots’ in this connection are not correct. But one can study and research to discover its approaching time so as to be informed in advance and provide a suitable ground for welcoming it.
After giving all sorts of explanations, young men still ask, “Nevertheless, when is the proper time and age to marry?” The answer is: The proper time and age of marrying is when the “sexual and mental maturity” has reached its desired completion in a person. (Reaching completion does not mean the climax and apex of the possible completion, because reaching that stage, particularly in the case of mental puberty, is much distanced and difficult; but here it means reaching the ordinary and commonly known limit).
Some say Islam has fixed the marriage age for boys at 15 years and that of girls at the age of nine years. This is not correct. Islam has not given any such order. Islam is the religion of nature and gives an order against nature and human instinct. But Islam commands one to marry when one reaches puberty and maturity. According to the interpretation of the Prophet (peace be upon him) it is like a fruit whose ripening is its maturity and adult age.
Yes! Islam’s divine legislation in this connection stressed the desirability of marriage (in the previous chapter we discussed some facts about the merits of marriage). But whenever this need and urge stirs itself and desires revolt and rebel and make man probe and practice prohibited acts, then it becomes obligatory, and postponing
and delaying it becomes prohibited.
So this divine legislation also reverts back to the law of genetics. That is to say, when puberty is reached, marriage becomes a desirable act and whenever it comes to the revolt and rebellion of emotions and the preludes of sin become obvious, then marriage becomes obligatory.
When a person attains maturity and puberty (we have explained puberty) his time for marriage has arrived and delaying it would not be advisable in any way, just as its early execution is also not commendable, for it’s like being an unripe fruit.
When the interior call of a person, which rises from one’s nature and instinct comes, it is the time for marriage. Everyone can clearly hear this call from his interior, provided of course, that this power has not been scarred or become ill by the effect of various factors. Because it is quite evident that if this power has been scarred or become diseased, then it cannot give a timely and proper call. Just like a patient who has lost his appetite and his health deteriorates from its normal course. If this need and inner energy gives a call and says, “I have approached, I want a spouse,” the factors hidden inside the human conscience may come to face it and argue - I have no house, no money, no dowry, I do not have my degree yet, I do not have the means to pay for the celebration, society does not approve of marriage at this age, the customs, ceremonies and family
discipline do not yet approve it, a person possessing money, a house, and a car has not yet proposed to me, I have yet to find a rich girl, a wife has her expenses and then there are children to follow who too, have a lot of expenditure and headache. What about the parties and invitations? How can I face the ceremonies and formalities? How can I get the money for the dowry, gold, dress and for purchasing other items? ...” It is evident that the poor call will retreat!
Or if that youth has gone astray through masturbation, corruption and debauchery, and deviated from the course of his nature, then that interior call of instinct too has been trampled down and there is no more chance of it raising a correct call.
An exhausted youth said: “For many years I have masturbated and now that I have married a girl, I do not have any desire for her and can not get any enjoyment from her. I still masturbate and prefer it to intercourse with my wife.”
This is known as an ill and diseased nature and instinct. It can no longer hear the voice of its natural call. As a matter of fact, no more of a call or voice has been left over and survived.
Brother and sister! Let us talk a bit about the facts, about the untouched life and nature and the uncontaminated instincts and those away from the civilities, ignorance - based customs and ceremonies of society.
Let us for the time being, throw
those (customs) aside so that we may talk in a free and unbounded atmosphere. Later on, we will talk about those limitations.
Oh, young sister and brother! You are yourself aware of the noise and turbulence that is going on inside you. You are aware that you need a spouse. You know that you are apprehensive and feel a gap, a void and solitude. You can very well perceive and hear your internal yearning, which calls you to find a spouse. You know quite well that you are not that child you used to be a few years ago and a change has developed inside you.
You fully understand that you have lost something (which you must find out) and whenever you think about it, there is a big inflammation that takes shape inside you and motivates you to probe and search for what you have lost.
Why do you deceive yourself? Why do you put a cover and a lid upon these sacred and natural wishes and desires? Why do you bring excuses? Why do you suppress your spirit of independence? Why do you choke up all of these passions and calls of love? Why do you allow these beautiful blooming buds to wither away? Are you scared? From what? From poverty? From ceremonies? From inflation? From responsibility of life? From having children? You are afraid you would not be able to cope with their expenses? You fear that you may not be able to continue your education? You are afraid you would not be able to
manage and run your family expenses?
My dear, do not be afraid and scared. Allah is with you. Have trust in Him. Do not you believe Allah is all-strong, all-beneficent, and your helper? Would it not be a pity that you destroy your youth?
Marriage has a season and spring, and if this passes away, you would face a loss. The fruit that ripens and is not benefited from becomes spoiled and stale. Is it not a pity that a young one, who has Allah to support and help him, is afraid of such imaginary and absurd matters?
Be brave! Take steps depending and trusting upon Allah. Be contented and assured that Allah will help you and inshallah you will succeed.
Allah has promised in the holy Quran that he will solve the problems and difficulties, saying:
﴿إِنْ يَكُونُوا فُقَرَاءَ يُغْنِهِمْ اللَّهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ.﴾
“If they are needy (poor), Allah will make them free from want, out of His grace.” (24:32)
Do you not believe in Allah’s promise and commitment?
God forbid such be the case. Allah will definitely materialise His promise. Come on, enter the field with trust in Allah and get married! I promise you that if you minutely scrutinize and concentrate on choosing your spouse and observe and practice all the orders, commandments, standards and criterions which Islam has set for marriage and which have been described in this book, you will definitely be prosperous.
Oh brother and sister, do not say: “Perhaps you are unaware what is going on in this society. Do you not know what number of difficulties
has been created upon the way to marriage? Do you not know what amount of misfortunes and afflictions are brought into effect by some selfish and foolish parents for their children in connection with their marriage? And what amount of undue and illogical expectations they have from the sons and daughters?” Yes, I am aware of all these facts more than you are aware, since, on account of our responsibilities, answerabilities and nature of work, we are more concerned and in touch with the society. Many young ones contact us about their problems. I am thoroughly conversant and aware of the difficulties of the youth, but with all my knowledge of these problems, I say: “Marry, do not be afraid, take the step.” We will discuss the difficulties shortly.
We have already described that one of the important factors in making spiritual progress is having a well-bred and suitable spouse.
Young brother and sister, do you desire to start upon a spiritual journey and reach a place where Allah stamps your heart with His approval and pleasure, when you are still young and your heart is pure and the dust of abjectness and sin has not yet contaminated your soul?
By the grace of Allah, move on! But do not move alone, this is a risky and dangerous way. You need a companion, a helper, a sympathiser. Take the hand of another young one as your life partner and set off together, so that you may be the helper, sympathiser, associate and confidante to each other. You
may make each other hopeful and encourage one another.
Think of what the Prophet (a.s) said:
مَنْ أَحَبَّ أنْ يَلْقَى اللهَ طَاهِراً مُطَهَّراً فَلْيَلْقَهُ مُتَزَوِّجاً.
“Whoever desires to meet Allah in a pure condition must marry (take a spouse).”
So now that you have the love, enthusiasm and joy of the youth, move and select your partner for the life journey. Now is the time to commence a journey. Do not allow this love, enthusiasm and joy change into sadness, apathy and frigidity.
The marriage that rests upon fresh love and felicity makes the coming years of life fragrant, pleasant and colourful. Take the hand of your young, vivacious life partner and fly over the heights of the sky like two loving pigeons. Make good of this duration. Do not let it go.
See what Ali (a.s) says about his wife Fatima (s.a) and how he recited verses of love, defining the duration of youth.
“We were enjoying felicity, health and youth like two pigeons in a dwelling.”
These two spouses lived a pure prosperous life full of love, and met Allah in a pure condition full of love. Allah’s salutation to them.
In spite of the fact that it has been explained that a person’s correct time of marriage can be visualized from his interior and that the time of marriage is when a person attains sexual and mental maturity, yet this same question keeps on being discussed by the elders, parents, guardians, and those responsible for society, and even by the youth themselves: ‘After all, when is the proper time and
age of marriage, and when do sexual and mental maturity reach their climax and zenith?”
The response is that lands, circumstances, societies, races, tribes, families, and individuals are not homogenous and harmonious in this field; instead they are different. For example, in hot areas, sexual maturity is attained earlier than in cold ones. And in open and mixed up societies, where men and women have more chance to meet and get in touch, and where the religious ordains and commandments and the matters pertaining to veil, Islamic Hijab and intimate and non-intimate relationships are not observed, sexual puberty is attained at an early stage. On the contrary, in the peripheries and environments where people adhere and are committed to religion, modesty and commandments of religion it is not so. In the families which are uncultured and untrained and where sexual matters are not under security or privacy, children having become aware of the sexual matters of the fathers and mothers become sexually mature sooner, as in contrast to families where these things are secured and under restricted conditions. (Sometimes even the children go astray by observing sexual matters between their parents). At the same time, the quality and quantity of food is also effective in this regard. Those who eat more energetic food attain puberty faster.
What can be said about the non-Islamic, immodest and sexually free, disorderly countries and societies? We may metaphorically say that even their primary school children are sexually aware. And the statistics and news make it evident that sexual assaults among children
and the youth have become so customary and ordinary that it has blackened the face of humanity.
Nevertheless, it can be said that in our various, different countries and societies the average sexual puberty of boys is 17 and among girls, it is 14 (not religious puberty). But this age is early for marriage, because, as well as sexual puberty, mental maturity is also necessary for marriage. The age of 19 years for boys and 16 years for girls is more suitable for marriage. Of course, this is an average age, and it is possible that a boy or a girl has an early need for a spouse, so an early step may be taken.
We re-emphasise that the signs of this urge are hidden inside a person and everyone can judge it for himself. If the parents are intelligent and attentive, they can understand very well when their son or daughter needs a spouse.
Sometime ago, I went to see Ayatollah Ibrahim Amini (a pious, discernible scholar conversant with family problems for many years, who has close contacts with the problems of youth). I had a talk with him on his viewpoint of the marriage age, which he has discussed in his book “The Spouse Selection.”
Before narrating the detail of the discussion, I hereby exactly cite what he has written in his book:
“The nature and special creation of man has fixed the age of marriage and that is the puberty age. When a boy reaches puberty at the age of 16 and a girl at 10
years, they can marry. But it is better to delay the marriage up to 17 years and 14 or 15 years in boys and girls respectively. Because boys and girls do not have sufficient amount of mental and intellectual maturity at the beginning of puberty, and at this age might have difficulties accompanied with it. Furthermore, in the initial two or three years after puberty, the sexual instinct is not completely awakened and does not pressurise the youth too much, and its endurance is not so much difficult.
Therefore, it can be said that the most suitable marriage age for boys is 17 to 18 years and for girls 14 to 15 years. But it is not advisable to delay their marriage beyond the above mentioned ages, since it may cause negative physical, spiritual or social diseases and discrepancies. The sexual instinct, having completely and absolutely awakened, is provoked and excited and exerts pressure upon the youth. And there is no alternative left except fulfilling the desire lawfully. The sexual urge is just like the urge and need for water and food. Can you tell a hungry or thirsty person to refrain from eating and drinking? Can another activity, even exercise and recreation or games, divert the attention of a hungry and thirsty one from food or water? The sexual urge too is like hunger and thirst, rather it is many times stronger and more powerful. And if it is not soothed and achieved through lawful means, it may deviate and drag a young one towards
going astray and sin, and controlling it is very difficult. And we must not remain indifferent and unmindful about the bad consequences of sexual deviation pertaining to this world and the Hereafter.
Supposedly, even if the youth could, by virtue of his faith, shame and modesty control the powerful sexual lust and does not indulge in sin, yet what would be done with its negative physical and spiritual consequences? Therefore, there is no choice but to get married at a fixed age, and one must marry as soon as possible.”
I asked him if he still held the same view and opinion about the time of marriage, even when many years had passed since the publication of his book, “Intekhabe Hamsar” (The Spouse Selection).
He replied: “Yes, this is the sole way of rectification and solution to the problem of the youth; that is, they marry at the natural time of marriage, and until such time as this difficulty is not removed, no other way of solving the youth problems will bear any fruit.”
I said: “Do you say that, even after taking the social facts and present
difficulties on the way to marriage into consideration?”
He reflected. “Yes, if all these expenditures and expenses which are incurred upon subsidiary matters, all these efforts which are concentrated upon the difficulties of the youth, all the expenses relating to missionary and cultural activities and the budget which is allocated to confronting a cultural attack - if all these sources are spent upon the marriage of the youth, and this way is opened
up for them, only then will the cultural attack and aggression no longer have any negative and adverse effect. Let any amount of planning be made and materialised in regard of meeting and confronting the cultural attack; all that will remain ineffective whilst the problem of youth marriage at the natural age remains unsolved. The real and actual combat against cultural aggression is that the youth marry at the time of their sexual and mental puberty.”
During the compilation of this book I had a discussion with a good, knowledgeable and informed friend, which I hereby present to you.
The friend said: “Do you not think the age you have described fit for marriage is an early one?”
I said: “Why early? Do the sexual instinct and natural demand for a spouse and the mental maturity not reach the required standard of completion at this age? Does a healthy person, provided he does not care for the artificial difficulties and obstacles on the way to marriage, not require a spouse?”
He said: “Why not, he does require it, but the sexual instinct and urge for a spouse alone should not be taken into view. Instead, we must also view the other problems which are present on the scene.”
I replied: ‘We have considered those problems and difficulties in chapter four.”
He said: “But one thing which in my view has not been taken into consideration in chapter 4 and which pertains to chapter 2 is that the youth the age group you have discussed, do not have the readiness, preparedness
and vigour or energy to manage life. How could you expect a 19 year old boy and a 16 year old girl to run a family? Normally, they need the management and guardianship of their parents.”
I replied: “Allah who has created man is all-wise and has placed everything in the right position. The same Allah who has placed sexual instinct and demand for a spouse in man’s nature and ordained him to marry and has so very much stressed on the haste and promptness in marriage has definitely placed the energy and capability of running his life in him also. If there is a flaw or shortcoming, it is in our training. It is our wrong and inaccurate training which blocks and hinders the way of development and advancement of that maturity and the outflow of that energy and ability. The potential energy of running and organising a life is present in us, and its activation too is at the time of puberty. But at times, we do not provide the ground for its progress, and instead, hinder the blooming and development of it by wrong and inappropriate training.
“When parents do not allow their children to have their works done independently by themselves and do not permit them any sort of responsibility during the shape taking period of their personalities, or belittle and humiliate them and reprimand them with titles such as inefficient and incapable, it is quite clear that these young people can not manage themselves in their youth; and can not even do
so in their middle and old ages!”
He said: “Anyway, what can be done now? Now that we observe that the young do not have the energy and readiness to manage their lives, is it correct that they marry and fail in managing their lives?”
I said: “The call of the sexual and spouse - demanding instinct must not remain unanswered. The problem can be solved by certain measures:
1 -Teachers, scholars and thinkers of society should inform people about the training problems and teach them the exact way to train their children’.
2- Parents must gradually acquaint their children with the responsibilities of life during their childhood and younger years. I have seen many young people, particularly girls, who can fulfil their duties towards life management in a nice way. Of course, I am against exerting pressure upon children and the youth, but at the same time, I oppose blandishing them. The middle way must be observed.
3 - It is unnecessary for us to wait until a young person is completely ready to manage a life before we propose a marriage for him. Instead, when a youth feels that life’s burden has started exerting upon him, he has no choice but to shake himself up, gather up his personality with all its sleeping and potential energies and get prepared to take off on the flight of life.
Many young people have been observed who did not have the readiness of a common life, but no sooner had they stepped into the realm of life management, than they became ready,
capable and organised men and women, who could manage a successful life.
4 - The period of engagement is a good opportunity for this purpose. If this period is prolonged for a few months, the youth can prepare themselves.(We have discussed this in the last part of this book).
5 - The parents and elders of the boy and girl must help both of them, and must remain in touch with them in the beginning of their married lives so that they learn the ways, methods and means of life until such time as they can get going on their own and settle down in their lives. However, marriage should take place no sooner than the sexual and mental puberty is achieved and the rest of the matters should be settled gradually. The subsidiary matters are subject to the principles. The principle lies in marriage, protecting one’s modesty and promotion and progress of man’s personality. The rest of the matters are all subsidiary ones and the principle must not be sacrificed for secondary things. But help can be extended so that the secondary thing reaches and is united to the principle...”
Some nations and countries have played with the sexual instinct of the youth and been confronted with large-scale disorder, turmoil and corruption. After they had their fingers burnt, they knew that it was unwise to play with the lion’s tail. And now they are gradually turning back from the way they had mistakenly followed. But it is sad that we are proceeding upon the same road
that they are forsaking at present! Does it not sound wise that you must not go in the same direction that made them dash into rocks from which they are now returning from bleeding? Should we not take a lesson from their broken skulls? Has Islam not guided us, saying:
“Prosperous is the one who takes lesson from the experiences of others.” Why are we moving towards a falling spot, with a greed and eager desire, when we can distinctly and vividly see others fall from there?
Now let us pay attention to two of their important books. Dr Khudakuf one of the outstanding psychiatrists and psychologists of the ex - USSR writes:
“It should be known that youth marriages recently are to be seen taking place all over the world. For instance, in our country (USSR) 50% of marriages take place among the youth who are no older than 22 years, and there are many husbands who are only 18 or 19 years old. In America, the average age of girls who marry has decreased to 20 years and fourteen million girls aged 17 have also got engaged.”
Drs Hannah and Abraham Stone, two researchers, physicians and outstanding consultants for family problems in America, write in their book, which is written in a question - answer form between an engaged couple and their special consultant:
- “Dr, should marriage be avoided when the man is not completely able to procure the family’s expenditure”?
“No, absolutely not. In my opinion, marriage should not be put off until the economic strength of
a man reaches its peak. Youth reach the stage of physiological puberty before such time that they can completely procure their finances and economic sufficiency. Hence, there is no need to look forward for economic sufficiency. But it is better that both the husband and the wife work to secure their family budget. They must not wait till the husband’s income is sufficient to meet the family’s requirements.”
I invite researchers, those who are sensitive to the fate of society and the young generation and parents to study the book “Marriage, the school of human making”, written by Martyr Dr. Paknejad, vol. 2, and the discussion about the marriage age, so that shocking acts in this connection are revealed to them.
Now that I am writing these lines, there are a number of young boys and girls in our neighbourhood who are passing through the period between Aqd (religious marriage ceremonies) and the wedding. Some of them are studying in high school and some in middle school. They not only receive their education, but also their marital benefits. (Here it does not mean actual sex relations, which are only established after the ceremonial marriage).
Of course, it must be kept in mind that as a delay in marriage is inadvisable, similarly, early, unripe and immature marriage, and marriage with persons not having capacity or preparedness and readiness is also reproachful and difficult.
Marriages are of three kinds: Immature, delayed, and timely; and only the last one Is desirable.
In the first chapter, we described the overall merits, excellence and
benefits of marriage, and now by the grace of Almighty Allah we will consider the merits of marriage at the beginning of youth and demerits and losses of its delay.
A timely marriage has many benefits, and a delayed marriage has many losses. Here, we will refer to some benefits of timely marriage:
’Marriage’ is one of the strongest shields against the enemies of faith. During one’s youth, on one side, the attractive forces of spirit and nature, purity and virtue become more active and invite man towards himself. On the other hand, the attractive forces of instinct and sexual lust and desire awaken and call man toward one another. Each of these two attractive forces is essential and necessary and Allah has bestowed them on man by virtue of His wisdom and benevolence, for the sake of man’s progress, maturity and completion. The invitation of each one of them must be answered positively, and the requirements of each must be fulfilled. If the attractive forces and desires of lust and sex are not properly, wisely and as Allah has set it, answered and controlled, they would rebel and overflow and attack the positive forces of nature and spiritualism and, as they have become bold and wild, they might well ruin and destroy the positive forces!
Marriage is one of the best defensive means for youths in this battle and struggle.
Alas, what large numbers of pure and chaste youths who did not have this defensive means had their faith, piety, and entire existence annihilated, having been defeated
in this battlefield!
A Sad Specimen:
Masood was a chaste and religious young man. He was an example of purity, modesty, and deliberateness for youths during the phases of his primary and high school education.
I sometimes envied his goodness and faith, and said to myself. “Masood has nearly surpassed us all and reached his destination.” He was the pivot and axis of all the Islamic and training activities at school. And in his neighbourhood, he was the refuge spot and teacher of the children and young ones. He was a column - breaker on the fronts, in advancing against the enemy. And he was a devotee, a worshiper at the spot of service.
He completed his high school education. I said to his family: “Find a spouse for Masood.” They said: “Oh no! He is still a child. Let him complete his university education and find himself a job and provide a house and means of life. Then we will think about him.”
Masood entered university. I occasionally reminded his family that
Masood needed a spouse and they repeated the same reply.
After some time lapsed, he started losing his “colours” gradually, and his appearance and dress changed. His eyes, which were innocent and never caught the prohibited things steadily and gradually became careless and he got involved in casting wanton glances. And he continued on until:
﴿ثُمَّ كَانَ عَاقِبَةَ الَّذِينَ أَسَاءُوا السُّوءَى أَنْ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ وَكَانُوا بِهَا يَسْتَهْزِئُون.﴾
“Then evil was the end of those who did evil, because they rejected the communications of Allah and used to mock them.”
has graduated from university, but he is no more the “Masood” that he once used to be; instead, he has turned into a wretched and sinister Masood who is the cause of his family and friends’ shame.
Oh Allah, you know that these youths are the capital of Islam and Islamic revolution and the Islamic country of Iran. Be their helper and save them from sinking into the marshes of corruption, debauchery, indifference and disbelief.
An Auspicious And Blessed Specimen:
Jafar was one of Masood’s friends. He was also a pure and pious young man. A girl who was his match became engaged to him during his secondary school education. He married and joined the university. He was a success both in his marital life and his studies. He ended the period of his university studies safely and reached the higher level of education. The higher he reached in his studies, the more complete became his faith, piety and morality. Right now, having received his master’s degree, he is busy serving at an important, responsible post. He has a prosperous life, and is the cause of the eminence and exaltation of his family, friends, and society.
Jafar and his family’s economic status was lower than that of Masood and his family. (It must not be thought that Jafar was of a rich family who could have him married and Masood’s was a poor one, so they could not. Unfortunately, this devil of ‘material thinking’ and measuring everything with the yardstick of money has become quite strong in our society!)
The spring of marriage is the duration of youth. During this span of time, man is overwhelmed by a peculiar kind of enthusiasm and cheerfulness. If this period is not made good of and utilized, then very soon the autumn of age approaches and the cheerfulness finishes up or is diminished and declines, and man can no longer completely and thoroughly enjoy and utilize the benefits of marriage.
It is the lively, young, and happy love, which contributes and grants enthusiasm and purity to life; while the dead, old and withered love does not possess any enthusiasm and purity to extend to life!
Look at the bud. How it talks to us about life and freshness and gives us the message of life, hope, and aspiration. But the old withered flower talks about depression, hopelessness, ailment, and death. Youths are like that bud, which must be used positively and benefited in this period before they are lost. And so they must erect their marital life upon a solid, strong and even foundation.
The Prophet (a.s) has a very worthy and valuable saying in this regard which is an argument and authority for all, leaving back no room for lame excuses and unnecessary questioning.
أَيُّها النَّاسُ! إنَّ جِبْرَئيلَ أتَانِي عَن اللَّطِيفِ الْخَبِيرِ فَقالَ: إنَّ الأبْكارَ بِمَنْزِلةِ الثَّمَرِ عَلى الشَّجَرِ، إنْ أَدرَكَ ثِمارُهَا فَلَم تَجْتَنِ أفْسَدَتْهُ الشَّمْسُ وَنَثَرَتْهُ الرِّيَاحُ. وَكَذلِك الأبْكارُ إذَا أدْرَكْنَ ما تُدْرِكُ النِّساءُ فَلَيسَ لهُنّ دواءٌ إلاّ البُعُولَة وإلاَّ لم يُؤمَن عَليهِنَّ الفَسادُ لأنَّهُنّ بَشَر.
“Oh people! Gabriel descended down to me from The All-kind, All-knowing Allah and said:
‘Virgins are like the fruits of trees. When they become ripe (mature) (and the season of their plucking arrives), if they do not get picked, the sun’s heat makes them sour and the winds of autumn make them scattered. So are virgin girls that when they reach puberty and attain that which women attain (i.e. menstruation) then there is no alternative for them except to be given husbands. And if they do not marry, there would be no security that they are not pushed towards corruption, because they are humans.”‘ (Human beings have sexual instinct, which must definitely be satisfied by a spouse. Boys are also like that.”
The Prophet (a.s) is the total of intellect and reason, proclamations, commands and decrees, which he declares are from Almighty Allah. No style, view and opinion can confront Allah’s command. Any style, fashion, custom, habit, excuse and law which is opposite to Allah’s law is invalid, null, void and worthless.
Those who, for whatever reason delay marriage until the end of youth definitely face loss and damage. If we minutely and thoroughly examine society, we shall meet many people who faced great loss due to delaying their marriage; although they themselves may not perceive what made them face all that loss.
A Sorrowful Specimen
Nasser was of the opinion that a man must not marry till such time as he has his own personal house, car, and a lot of money. He would not lend ear even to recommendations and advice. He kept persistently following his belief and worked to procure
a house, automobile and plenty of money.
Then he decided to marry. But unfortunately, it was late. He was thirty years old and his body, soul, and nerves had become ailing and lean as an effect of the severe pressure and strains of work, sexual deviation, loneliness, etc. His face was wrinkled and old and he had lost some of his hair. Briefly speaking, he was not the same Nasser that he was ten years ago. All of his enthusiasm, vigour, cheerfulness, and purity of youth had gone, and depression and impatience had taken the place of those.
He started the search for a spouse. But no sound, perfect and cheerful girl was ready to marry him. One by one, he stepped down from the height of his standards and wishes about a wife. He gave up all those ambitions and high aspirations, which he had with regard to a wife. Finally, following a lot of searching and headache, he discovered a spouse who was also like him.
Conventionally speaking, she was out of date. That girl too, on the pretexts of getting an education, learning skills and crafts and finding a spouse according to her own wrong standards and taste, had remained alone. The factors which had made Nasser unhealthy and emaciated had affected her also, resulting in spiritual and nervous ailments. She was also around thirtyyears.
This boy and girl, who can hardly be called boy and girl married unwillingly. The result is quite clear. How could a couple, which lack courage and spirit, lead a cheerful
and creative life?
Right from the beginning, differences, frigidity and seeking excuses started taking shape. And now they have a hellish life! The battle of nerves, confrontations, and struggles creates a noisy scene. They have a number of children. Such poor children, on one hand, witness the lack of courage and vigour of their parents to train them and solve their problems, and on the other, they keep viewing the constant quarrels and confrontations of their parents. As a matter of fact, such children are pitiable.
Now the house, car and money can no more help to solve any problem. This is like a medicine after one’s death!
There is hardly a factor like corruption and sexual deviation that causes so much damage to young ones. These corruptions and deviations blacken the lives of boys and girls, and incur such damage and loss upon the youth, that leaves negative effects on them for the rest of their lives.
Sexual deviation - one of which is masturbation, destroys and spoils the charm, freshness, faith, potential, talents and the existence of a man. Those who are concerned and have contact with society and the youth understand the depth of this tragedy. And they know the extent of irreversible harm and damage that is incurred upon the structure of society, families and youth by the corruption, deviation, sexual contamination and illicit relationships of boys and girls. The condition of girls who are pushed towards destruction on this course is pitiable, since they have a soft and elegant spirit. They may be
involved in the chastisement of their conscience and the burden of sin and agony until the end of their lives.
One of the best and worthiest benefits of marriage is the safety of man from this dirt, corruption and deviation. When I used to read this hadith of Imam Jafar Sadeq (a.s), I would be amazed:
مِنْ سَعَادَةِ المَرءِ أنْ لا تَطْمِثَ ابنَتُهُ فِي بَيتِهِ.
“One of the prosperous matters that a man may get is that his daughter does not menstruate in his house”. (i.e. before reaching that stage, she leaves for her husband’s house).
I used to tell myself: How is it possible that she gets married at such an age? But later on, the more I became informed and conversant with the problems of society and the deviations and corruption, the more I would appreciate and discover the wisdom of this hadith.
Of course, this hadith does not say that a girl must definitely marry at such an age. Rather, it emphasizes the swiftness and quickness of marriage, so that it is not delayed and the girl does not remain unmarried after reaching the stage of womanliness.
I do not want to produce the figures on corruption that exist in other societies and countries, particularly in western societies and countries, because the pen and tongue become shy in putting that forth. In addition, it is not advisable to mention all those corruption, which has blackened the face of humanity, in this book that is meant for the youth. Having said that, we must remain aware of our society
and be sensitive towards its problems.
We must confess the bitter fact that: our society too has plenty of difficulties in the field of corruption of the youth. If parents do not know, they must know. If the officials of the cultural affairs, teachers, principals, and chancellors of universities do not know, they must become aware (although principally they know it). The difficulty is a big one and all of us must take steps to rectify and reform these affairs.
Dear young brother and sister, do try hard to keep yourselves pure and clean in this sensitive period of age.
Do not let the pearl of your modesty, excellence and purity go out of your hands free. The safety and security of this valuable and precious pearl is from the obligatory duties of religion and humanity. Even if your marriage is delayed, this “obligatory duty” stands valid.
Be sure that losing or blemishing this pearl would bring about repentance and regret. We have both seen many people who have been confronted with regret, repentance, and the sense of loss, melancholy, grief and sorrow following the loss of their pearl or its staining; particularly girls. Because they possess more elegant senses and spirit, girls’ modesty is relatively more than the boys. And the loss or staining of this pearl is more of a loss for them. So relatively speaking, they fall into a state of more grief and shock after its loss. So far so that even after marriage and having children, they are shocked and pained by the sense
of sin and the chastisement of their conscience, due to a letter written or an illegal friendship (of course, those who have completely lost their shame and modesty are not included in our discussion).
My brother and sister, do not you feel shame contaminating the pure pearl of your modesty and purity in these dirty marshes?
Oh fathers and mothers! Do you approve that your youth, who are the flowers of the life garden, are pushed into the sewer of corruption and dirt and become withered and destroyed? Are these children not the deposit of Allah with you? Why do you delay and put off their marriages on baseless and meaningless excuses? Why do you put yourselves in annihilation with your own hands?
Let us regain our senses a bit, and take the facts into consideration. The vulnerable, sexual strains and pressures of the youths cannot be fought. A way and solution must be found and the best solution is marriage with a suitable spouse at the natural marriage age.
If the sexual pressures and strains are not properly channelled through legal and correct ways, they bring into existence an abundant number of nervous and spiritual ailments and diseases, which damage those systems greatly.
These pressures, along with solitude, loneliness and homelessness and on the other hand, lack of a spouse and the pressure of instinct and spiritual agony and weakness of faith (may God forbid) drag one towards sexual deviation and going astray, and thereby the difficulty is multiplied, just as we have pointed out in the previous
discussion that these deviations (particularly masturbation) incur heavy damage and shock to human life and the nerves.
From the psychological and psychiatric points of view, sexual deviation, not having a spouse and sexual strains are of the major causes of spiritual and moral or nervous problems. Marriage with a suitable spouse is the best and most effective method of remedy.
Here we present the verse of the Quran that says:
“One of His signs is that He created mates from yourselves to get comfort in them.”
All the benefits described in this chapter and the topics, matters and beneficences described in the first chapter, as well as all the collective achievements, gains, values, worth and brilliant results which are discussed in the entire length of these discussions, are only accessible when marriage takes place with a suitable spouse, and the standards which are going to be put forth in the next chapters are observed. Never neglect this point.
Whenever it is said to a youth “Marry”, he instantly presents the problems, difficulties, and hurdles of marriage and the first difficulty that he discusses is the economical and financial matters. He then counts the other problems one by one.
It is a fact that there are really lots of difficulties on the way to marriage, which cannot be neglected. In this chapter, by the will of Allah, we shall consider these difficulties, impediments and obstacles and contemplate the solutions to them.
Alas, our society still remains a far distance from the true and pure Mohammadan Islam. Ah! Still its face is hidden behind the curtain of many problems. And the curtains of ignorance, false habits and customs, selfishness, polytheism and egoism have hindered the radiant sun of Islam, depriving society of its life- giving glare.
Had Islam been the standard and criterion in marriage and spouse choosing, most or all of these difficulties would not have existed. But which Islam? According to Imam Khomeini (r.a) pure Mohammadan Islam, not American Islam.
Pure Islam is the same as the Prophet (a.s) originated. Have we not read and heard about the glorious Prophet (a.s)? That he executed all the stages of marriage, i.e. engagement, fixation of dowry, and recitation of marriage service, in the span of a few minutes, and handed the husband and wife to each other and sent them to their home? These are not myths, not even miracles. Still the pure Mohammadan Islam is the same and has the same strength and quality, but it is
we who are not pure Muslims (all our shortcomings are due to “our” Muslimhood, not to Islam).
What To Do Now?
In any case, difficulties and hindrances do exist, and their solutions and remedies must be found. These remedies and solutions are of two kinds: one is long term and the other is short term. The long term ones are mostly related to the intelligentsia, the rulers, reformers, think tanks and the trainers of the nation and society, who should seek solutions for the entire society and its welfare. And the short term ones are mostly connected to the youth and their parents themselves, who must seek the immediate solution as to what must be done in these circumstances and conditions.
At the moment, we are not going to talk about the long-term solutions. They may be discussed independently at another time. Our main discussion pertains to the short term planning, i.e. what might be done right now? So now we take up the real and actual difficulties.
The major part of this difficulty is formed from the intricacies created by society, which is not the actual difficulty of marriage. Had our life been based upon the foundations of Islam and human nature, these external difficulties would not have existed, or would have been extremely minimized, and there would have been no youth who could not marry due to such things. Anyway, these things presently exist and our society has brought them into being, and a solution must be sought for them.
Allah and the leaders of Islam have given a lot of good news and hope in this regard, which can be very hopeful and trusting supports for the youth. It is obligatory and binding upon us to have complete satisfaction about these promises and news. Their promises and commitments are true. There could be no more hope - giving and enthusiasm - creating thing than this support for the youth who intend to marry but find the economical difficulties a hurdle and hindrance on their way. Faith in this support brings about a great courage and valour in a man. Now we consider a few of those.
﴿وَأَنكِحُوا الْأَيَامَى مِنْكُمْ وَالصَّالِحِينَ مِنْ عِبَادِكُمْ وَإِمَائِكُمْ إِنْ يَكُونُوا فُقَرَاءَ يُغْنِهِمْ اللَّهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ﴾
“And marry those among you who are single and those who are fit among your male slaves and your female slaves; if they are needy, Allah will make them free from want out of His grace; and Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing. (24: 32)”
This is a clear, distinct and
conspicuous promise of Allah; and which promise can be more trusting than Allah’s?
Young brother and sister, be satisfied and absolutely sure about this promise of Allah, then you will see the definite and bright result of it, inshallah.
I have personally seen and observed and touched this in many cases among my friends and acquaintances who did not have a house or wealth at the time of their marriage, but later on became house owners and wealthy. Very rarely have I seen people possessing a house and material sources before marriage. I know only two of these cases where some people were provided with a house and money before marriage, but interestingly, they too were confronted with a cold, spiritless, and purposeless life due to them putting off and delaying their marriage for the procurement of house and money; since they wasted the spring of marriage that is the valuable period of youth till the “autumn of life” appeared.
The Good News Given By The Leaders Of Islam
The Prophet (s.a) who is the trustee of Allah’s mysteries and secrets spoke about Allah’s help to the youth as follows:
زَوِّجُوا أياماكم فإنّ اللهَ يُحسِّنُ لَهم في أخْلاقِهِم ويُوَسِّع لهُم في أرزاقِهِم ويَزيدُهُم في مُرُوَّاتهم.
“Give spouses to your single ones, because Allah makes their morality better (improves it) (under the shadow of marriage) and expands their sustenance and increases their generosity (human values).”
Yet again he says:
مَن تَرَكَ التَّزوِيجَ مَخافَةَ العِيلَةِ فَقَد سَاءَ الظَّنَّ باللهِ. إنَّ اللهَ يَقولُ: إِنْ يَكُونُوا فُقَرَاءَ يُغْنِهِمْ اللَّهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ.
“The one who forsakes and drops marriage
for fear of poverty and adversity, indeed he has a bad (negative) opinion and thought about Allah. Verily Allah said: ‘If they are poor, Allah will turn them needless by His grace.’“
Again that magnanimous one says to the youth:
إتَّخِذوا الأهْلَ فإنَّهُ أرْزَقُ لَكُم.
“Get spouses, as that increases your sustenance.”
الرِّزْقُ مَع النِّساءِ وَالعِيالِ.
“Sustenance is with wives and family.”
A Beautiful Example
A young man who was extremely poor and penniless came into the presence of the holy Prophet (a.s) and complained to him about his poverty and adversity, and requested his guidance, saying: “Oh
Prophet of Allah, what must I do to get out of this condition of extreme poverty and apprehension?”
The Prophet said: “Do marry!”
The young man was surprised and said to himself, “How can I, who do not have enough means to run my own life’s expenses, marry and shoulder the responsibility and expenses of wife and myself together?”
However, since he was completely sure about the correctness of the saying of the Prophet (a.s) and believed in its truth, did get married and his life gradually and economically improved. He came out of the state of poverty and misery.
Deep attention to this good news and true promises projects sureness about Allah’s aid and help in the human heart, so that one marries and is not afraid of the difficulties, hardships and hindrances.
And it is taken for granted that when a youth marries for the pleasure of Allah, implementation of His command and remaining safe and secure from the corruptions and spiritual and physical ailments, and also for
the sake of progress, completion and prosperity, Allah’s beneficence and kindness would overwhelm him, and His help would come to make him reach his sacred aim.
After marriage, new horizons and vistas open up before one, which did not exist before; since the individual, as a result of marriage, feels more responsibility and sees oneself responsible to manage the new life, to procure the livelihood and save the family’s honour. Thereby, he utilizes all his potential capabilities and hidden talents. Fresh springs sprout up from his interior. Talents that he was unaware of rise up and premarital sleeping energies gush out. He finds a new and energetic personality inside himself. His dependence and trust upon Allah increases. And all of a sudden “new broad horizons” open up and are made apparent before his intellect, mind and soul.
On the other side, under the shadow of marriage and resting beside a kind, intimate and sympathetic life partner, all the problems, pressures, agonies of single life, loneliness, feelings of scornfulness and shortcomings are forgotten, and as a consequence, the human soul blossoms and the keenness and eagerness towards progress and completion blooms in him, and man flies up towards the height of completion and prosperity.
What a large number of people have been seen who, after marrying a suitable spouse, have found for themselves new personalities, become new persons, and their journey towards all ends picked up acceleration and speed.
This progress and development of new horizons contains and consists of economic affairs as well and the youth explores new
ways and means of livelihood and procuring income. He becomes brave and dauntless in his economical matters, expansion of his job and business. As a result, his income is boosted and increases by these activities. Economical problems and hardships are removed one by one.
Every success has many other successes following it and every new victory brings other victories.
In a lot of organizations, job institutions and offices married employees are given such facilities, allowances and benefits, which are not given to the unmarried. For example, when teachers get married, they are provided with plots, loans and other benefits and allowances that have a great effect upon the betterment of their economical conditions.
Just as it has been previously stated, 90% of my friends and acquaintances became house owners and wealthy after being married. Most of them were teachers and preceptors who, when married, even after their simple engagement, acquired access to pieces of land and loans, constructed houses, and even their marriage expenses were met by the same money. Of course, we must be attentive to the fact that in all these cases “Allah’s help” is effective.
In society, married people are usually more respected and given higher status than single ones. The banks and financial institutions that provide loans, and the businessmen and institutions providing commodities on instalments trust and value married people more. This trust and economical honour has its effect upon removing the financial hardships of life and improving its elegance and splendour.
Special funds and bank loans for this essential matter must be established everywhere. This seems to be one of the long-term solutions we have decided not to discuss. We, at present, do not have any concern with the long term ones, but the youth themselves and the residents of each street can perform it, and the mosques are suitable places for this work. It may not necessarily be a large one; it can be a small unit in each street and area, and can announce that everyone can bring in any amount of money and give it as a loan for marriage expenditures and expenses for Allah’s pleasure.
Unfortunately, some of the loan funds, which at the beginning were meant for meeting the needs of needy people, have now turned into ’business shops’. Anyone who has more money or works more with the fund gets more loans! (Glory be to the Creator! Is this the meaning of a loan?!)
We are not concerned with such funds. Of course, there are some funds concordant with their preliminary aims and objectives and young men can, by trusting in Allah and with their high morale, courage, fortitude and the help of
sincere and pious men raise and establish special marriage funds.
Most of the ceremonies regarding marriage are against Islam, reason and human nature.
We must again regret that our society has become so immersed in habits, rites and customs of ignorance. A lot has been said and is being said over this topic. Reformers admonish. Writers write. The religious scholars and clergymen describe the traditions and the mode of life and morale of the infallibles. But alas, it has a little effect upon hardened hearts, which are contaminated with the customs of ignorance.
Why have we become so? Why have we, who claim piety and culture, flung ourselves far from piety and civilization and the lofty Islamic culture?
Why do we bind ourselves by such chains of imprisonment?
Why is our society moving fast towards decline, retro gradation and retrogression and the fall of moral values? Why is it that after the revolution it was expected that the mean rites of ignorance would go, but actually we see them on the increase? This is most certainly not the fault of the revolution, it is ours.
The dower sums and wedding gifts are going up each day. Dowries are increasing. The expenses and expenditures are swelling. Ceremonies are boosting up in number. Emulation and rivalry is increasing and avarice and jealousy is intensifying.
O Allah! What has gone wrong with us?
Oh dear fathers and mothers, be mindful not to sacrifice your children upon your greed and avarice. Be mindful not to destroy their prosperity. Do you know that if you hinder the
marriage of your son with a suitable spouse, its harm and loss will reach you before and more than everybody else? Take lesson from all the corruption that has taken place due to delays in marriages for the sake of ceremonies and rites.
If your dear daughter becomes corrupt, you will lose your honour, which will make you bow down your head.
If you receive the news that your daughter has made friends with indecent boys, and God forbid, she has become immodest and immoral, then this stain will remain upon your face forever.
If, God forbid, your son becomes immoral, characterless, and corrupt and involved in feeding his eyes with prohibited sights, sexual deviation, indulgence, and dirty sexual activities, this would bring a black spot of eternal disgrace to you.
If your son or daughter is confronted with depression, apprehension or physical and spiritual diseases due to sexual strains, solitude and loneliness, or masturbation and sexual deviations, their loss, apprehension and grief will also be shared by you.
Why have we become negligent and heedless to the facts? Did the Prophet (a.s) not say the daughter who is not married in time is like a fruit that is not plucked in time and becomes rotten and stale? Did Islam not reveal: “If the marriage of the son is delayed due to the parents and he is deviated (with sin), that sin will be shared by the father and the mother as well”?
Even if we are not Muslims, why must we not take lesson from the experiences of society?
father and mother, oh sisters and brothers, do for sure that most difficulties are our own creations, and we have ourselves loaded these problems and nuisances upon ourselves.
When the parents, and even the boys and girls, are talked to and guided about decreasing and diminishing the expenditures and ceremonies, and an ample number of arguments are given in this connection, they reply: “All that you say is correct, but, we have honour and prestige It would be stepping down from the height of honour if we do not take such and such an amount as dower sum, have simple ceremonies, the girls’ dowry may not contain a colour TV, furniture, freezer and carpet, certain types of jewellery may not be there, and the right milk price may not be received. We are honourable and must remain honourable and respectable and raise our head (with honour) among both families.”
The answer is: Is our honour and reverence more than that of the Prophet (a.s), Ali (a.s) and Fatima (a.s).
If holding simple marriage ceremonies, short of rites, is a disgrace and causes dishonour, then how come these great personalities did that? All of us know that they were the most honourable of humanity in the whole of the universe. And no one reaches their status in connection with honour, respect, nobility and position.
Nevertheless, all of us are aware that the marriage of Hazrat Zahra (s.a) and Hazrat Ali (a.s) was held in the most simple form, and that all the expenditure of the dower sum, dowry and household
effects and marriage expenses were procured from the sale of Hazrat Ali’s armoured jacket. The total expenses totalled nearly thirty thousand Tomans today (nearly 60 dollars)!!!
Yes, it is true that we do not have the strength to lead a life similar to those magnanimous ones. But at least we must resemble them and our life style should have some resemblance with theirs; otherwise, what does following and taking example mean? If we claim to be their followers, but our life conduct and morality does not have any resemblance with theirs, then the claim would be a lie and it is a form of hypocrisy.
And likewise, it is true that the form and pattern of life has changed, e standards of living have gone up and the age has changed. But the Islamic and human standards and values have definitely not changed at all and will never change. That is to say, not spending extravagantly, simplicity in life, not having rivalry and the invalidity of fables and ceremonies shall always stand; let the society go to any height of standard.
“All that Mohammad (a.s) made lawful shall be lawful to the resurrection day, and all that Mohammad (a.s) declared unlawful and illegal shall remain so to the resurrection day.”
Regretfully, these false ceremonies and wrong rites are a social and cultural disease, which has affected all of us; and we all are responsible for it.
O’ fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers! We must believe for sure that the rites and ceremonies are like the spider’s web, the more they
grow, the more we would become entangled in them, to the extent that they suffocate, choke and destroy us. The lesser their number, the more comfortable and at ease would man be.
A Beautiful Specimen Of Simple Living
Once in the era of Salman’s (r.a) governorship and rule in Madayen, a flood came and the water gushed into people’s houses, so they rushed to the mountains and the heights to seek shelter and refuge. Those who had more luggages to carry were faced with a lot of trouble in taking them up the heights; so that a few even lost their lives carrying their household effects.
Hazrat Salman’s (r.a) personal effects were small, including a volume of the Quran, a sword, a water pot, and a goat skin which was his carpet. He took them and climbed up the hill without any difficulty. Then he said: “Such is the way that those who are light gain salvation and those with a heavy load (of sin) are annihilated and perish.”
For the sake of God, what is the difference if you own a rug instead of a precious and expensive carpet? What difference would it make if your house does not have decorations? What stops us from having a simple meal instead of various costly foods? If honour is in these formalities, then these personalities are artificial, unimpressive and worthless.
Compare the simple mud house of Ali (who is the chief of the believers and leader of all human beings - a universal personality) and Fatima (the chief of the free
and honourable women of human history). A house where Hassan (a.s), Hussain (a.s) and Zainab Kubra (s.a) were brought up, to the green palace of Moawiyah (Allah’s curse be upon him). Which one do you love more?
And compare the various and numerous palaces of the shah of Iran (Allah’s curse be upon him) with the simple, small, rented house of Imam Khomeini (r.a) (Allah bless him). Which one is dearer, worthier and more sublime in your view?
“Refer to your souls and address them.”
Economic difficulties are decreasing the formalities and ceremonies, rites and additional expenditures.
“Oh Allah, help the youth in this important matter.”
It is quite fortunate that the majority of our youth wish to continue their studies and do not content themselves with a low level education. But it should be borne in mind that this positive and lovely practice may not be followed by negative, disagreeable and displeasing points. Unfortunately, this nice and pleasing practice has raised disagreeable, damaging and sometimes tragic problems in our society. This is not due to the actual matter - that is, continuing education - but it is the consequence and result of our own faults and wrong styles. It is we ourselves that have deviated from the useful and sublime phenomenon of science and education.
The Real Problem
To reach higher education, it is necessary for boys and girls to seek education up to the age of 25 or even beyond. Receiving an education is considered a constraint to marriage and accepting marital responsibility and thus is impracticable.
Contemplating This Difficulty
most of the other hindrances on the way to marriage, this difficulty or hurdle is also not a real one, rather, it is artificial and man - made. And it can very easily be removed by proper planning and working in a calculated manner. Furthermore, marriage can be turned into stairs and ladders to reach the aim of getting a higher education and touching the loftier grades of knowledge.
Just as we described in the preface, men and women are the complements of each other. There has been a capable woman beside every successful man, and every prosperous woman has had a talented man beside her.
This principle applies to education as well. Many scholars and wise men achieved success reaching the higher levels of education on account of the sacrifices, co-operation and co-working of their spouses.
The Prophet (a.s) visited the house of Ali (a.s) and Fatima (s.a) after they were married. He congratulated the bride and the bridegroom. Then he addressed Ali (a.s) and said:
“How did you find your wife?” The bridegroom lowered his head and replied with an innocent modesty:
نِعْمَ العَونُ عَلى طَاعَةِ الله.
“My wife is a good companion and helper on the way to Allah’s obedience.”
Then he (a.s) asked Fatima (s.a) the same question; and she too gave the same answer, which her husband had given. (Allah’s blessing and peace be upon this noble family).
Getting an education is among the most noble duties and services of Allah in which spouses can help and assist each other and provoke, stimulate and extend the warmth of
hopefulness and can even be, as the students of theology say, discussion partners of each other!
A peace, tranquillity, spiritual and mental balance is materialised in the shadow of marriage, which has a positive effect in achieving success in getting an education.
Some students say: ‘Let us be patient till the time we reach somewhere in our studies and get our degree. Then we can work to become wealthy and put our life on track before we marry”. They must take into view this important point - that they may face spiritual and physical inconveniences, and after crossing over all those phases, may not have the health, freshness and fortitude to organise and establish a prosperous life and enjoy it.
The students of Islamic teachings face this difficulty to a lesser extent. Most students, although their economical condition is usually lower than other students, marry nearly on time and continue their studies as well.
The solution to this difficulty, like the economical problem has two ways: long term and short term. The long-term solution does not concern us now; thus let’s turn to the short term one.
1 - To Drive The Thought Out Of One’s Mind That Education Is Not Harmonious With Marriage.
Thought is followed by practice. Thinking that marriage is not possible whilst continuing education is our fundamental and basic problem in this regard.
Before anything else, this wrong notion must be driven out of our minds. If we do that, only then would a suitable solution come to our mind, and the ground for the solution of
this problem be provided.
There does not exist any logical reason or argument to support the fact that getting education is not concordant with marriage. Instead, if a correct and right marriage takes place and an equal, matching and suitable spouse is selected, then it would be a good support for the continuation of studies, which could help one reach one’s educational aims. We have observed and experienced this in the lives of many students of theology and a few others.
Yes, if the spouse of the student (of both sexes, and in all fields of knowledge) is not equal and well matched, and mental and spiritual co-ordination does not exist between them, and, they do not go well together so to speak, undoubtedly, difficulties will come into existence.
This problem, too, can be solved by minute attentiveness in the selection of a spouse and observance of its standards and terms, which shall be described later on.
2 - The Religious And Lawful Engagement
Boy and girl students can, through simple preludes, few ceremonies and less expenditure, lawfully, legally and officially become the spouse of each other, delaying the ceremonial marriage. They can have mutual visits and social contacts, and at the same time, continue their studies and then marry at a suitable time and unite their lives.
In this way, they would remain safe and secure from the deviations and losses of being single, and also benefit from the peace, comfort and merits of marital life.
Some people say that when a boy and a girl get engaged, their minds become
distracted and their attentions are diverted from their studies. This is merely an error.
Instead, if they are engaged, their minds would be more focused, since the scattered and deviated thoughts would leave their minds. Their minds and hearts and eyes would be detached and separated from other places and concentrate and focus upon each other.
On the other side, the enhancement of responsibility about their future life would make them study better and set up their lives swiftly and shape an independent life. Of course, we assert and emphasize that the preliminaries of engagement and marriage must not be very expense incurring, so as to create a headache. Even if a celebration is to be held, it must be simple and short of great expense.
Fathers and mothers and elders must be the helpers of the youth, and try to set the life of the dear ones on track. They should try not to load their shoulders with any burden and not create hurdles on their way, on the pretext and with the label of “rites and ceremonies”.
3- Parents’ Help To The Son And The Daughter
Fathers and mothers can play a major role in the marriage of students. They should help their sons and daughters not only in getting an education, but also in getting married and in achieving the merits and profits of the blessing of marriage, thereby remaining safe and secure from the demerits, loss, damage and risks and corruption of single life. In this way, parents must think sagaciously and put it this way
“What difference does it make if we, who are bearing the expenses of our son and daughter, also bear the expenditure of their spouses for a few years more until the time they complete their education, settle down and start an independent, separate, self sufficient life? It would be better. So our dear children would not be lonely and spouseless and become deprived of the spring of youth and marriage or God forbid, become involved in deviation, corruption and spiritual and physical diseases.”
If the parents think this way, they would certainly reach the required result.
Any damage and loss faced by the children would directly affect the parents who would be responsible for it. And any of their success, fortune and happiness would be shared by parents. So how nice would it be for them to help them out in this important matter for the sake of Allah’s pleasure and their children’s prosperity and well- being that is also their own.
Mothers and fathers and elders of the boys and girls should sit and talk and reach a common decision by mutual agreement and understanding and provide a simple respectful life for their children, thus helping and assisting them to live together and simultaneously continue their education. So great a reward does this have, that it cannot be put in black and white.
4 - Birth Control
One of the difficulties of marrying during the age of education is the bearing of children and looking after them.
It is quite easy to solve this problem. One can put constraints upon
bearing a child until the end of one’s educational life with the other’s consent. There are many easy methods within the scope of religion and law to stop it. So this cannot also be a hindrance in marriage.
“Contentment is an unending treasure” and a strong support for all the people, especially married students.
Students and the learned and educated ones who strive and fight to free themselves and others from the prison and bonds of ignorance and fables and receive an education must not themselves be entangled and involved in fables, rites, ceremonies, and senseless customs of ignorance.
Brother and sister, study the lives of the learned and successful persons and see that most of them have been leading simple, contented, and unceremonious, informal lives. It is not really possible that one who is involved in extravagance, overspending and formalities make progress in the fields of knowledge, science, research and industry. Since, as it has been already said, formalities and rites are like the spider’s web, which entangles man and restrains his progress and success.
Take it easy.
6 - Cooperation
When both the husband and the wife are students, they must perform the housework together, not allowing it to be a burden on one person’s shoulder. Allah has declared a big prize and reward for the husband and wife who help each other in life’s affairs. The co - working enhances mutual love and warmth of relations. Of course, the husband and the wife busy receiving an education and knowledge can even help each other in that field.
enjoyable and progressive it can be when two members of a common life, two partners who have uniformity of aim, objective and direction, are discussion partners of each other in their studies as well.
A Word With Parents In This Regard
It has become a fashion these days that when there is a talk about engagement and marriage, the parents (particularly those of the girl) say: “Our child is still studying, her time for marriage has not yet come!”
Dear parents, this is anti-Islamic and against intellect and even against the internal desire and wishes of your children. Did you forget the time of your own youth? Did you not desire and wish for a spouse when you were their age?
Principally, you should not have forgotten. So, now why do you oppose the marriage of these young ones?
Are you aware that any damage done to them will directly hurt you? Beware and bear in mind that our children, particularly the girls, are shy to say “We want a spouse”.
They might even apparently refuse it and give a negative answer, but inside them is a wild turmoil.
Do not put so many hindrances in their path. Do not make all these excuses. Do not sacrifice them for your own desires. They hold you in reverence and may say nothing, but this strictness and excuses annoy them and cause them to pick up a grudge against you. Help them so that they can marry when young and can achieve and reap the benefit of the spring of their age and simultaneously
Difficulty In Spouse Selection
One of the difficulties on the way of youth marriage is the difficulty in selecting a spouse. That is to say, the girl and boy do not know whom to select and with what kind of standards, virtues, and peculiarities.
This is a real and actual difficulty and is not an invented and false one. It is a big problem being faced by the youth, and, as has been said in the preface, they must be helped in this connection. If minute care is not exercised in this regard, many difficulties will come into existence in their future lives, some of which would be irreparable and without remedy.
Brother and sister, do not worry, do not be apprehensive, since we will elaborately discuss this topic in the next chapter. Inshallah you will find the solution to it.
Mostly, the aim and objective of these discussions is studying and seeking solutions to this very difficulty. The real and actual stimulant of our proposing these discussions is to solve this problem.
The respect for parents and obedience to them is obligatory for and binding upon children. It is one of the biggest obligations of Allah. Annoying, molesting and showing disrespect or disobeying parents is prohibited; especially in relation to the big prohibitions.
Parents have ample and plenty of experience and wish and desire the goodness and betterment of their children. Whatever they say about their offspring and whichever decision they take or whatever step they take, it is based upon the same well-wishing, discernment, experience and sympathy.
No one is more well-wishing and sympathetic towards children than parents.
It is obligatory for the young sons and daughters to pay attention to the well-wishing, sympathy, discernment and opinions of the parents and to take advantage of and benefit from their experiences. Possibly, what sagacious parents see in a brick, young children may not see in a mirror. This fact stands valid at its place.
In a few cases, there are unfortunately, fathers and mothers and some friends who due to selfishness, egoistic desires or ignorance and foolishness axe the roots of their young children and create hurdles on the way. They do this with their inexperience, illogic and untrue excuses and by exercising wrong views and undue interventions, becoming the cause of their children’s misery and destruction.
Such persons bring about abundant and ample difficulties for the youth in the matter of “marriage and spouse selection” and sometimes happen to cause misfortune and misery for a long life to them. For instance, they impose their own wrong views upon their children and compel them to marry someone whom they have selected, though the children may not be pleased or approve it.
They judge and consider marriage candidates according to their own set of standards and tastes without any attention even to the view and opinion of their children and so they approve or reject whomever they please.
When a proper and suitable spouse is proposed, they hinder and stop the relationship taking shape with excuses, conditions, and undue and illegal expectations.
Sometime back, I went to one of
the cities for cultural and propagation matters. I was talking to a family, of whom I was a guest, about their life style and conditions, problems and difficulties.
When it came to the matters and affairs pertaining to their children, we talked about each of them one by one.
So then I turned to a daughter of theirs who was 23, and still unmarried. I asked them surprisingly: “Why has she not married till now?”
They said: It is the fate which has not yet approved it.”
I said: “What do you mean by that? Has someone not yet turned up to ask for her hand in marriage?”
They replied: “Yes that’s it! A person whom we can approve has yet to come.”
I said: Is it you who did not approve or the girl has not approved and liked the suitor?
Before they could give the answer, the girl who had heard our conversation came rushing from the next room, bitterly weeping.
She said: “Sir, it is not as they say, instead, a number of suitable and good candidates have come so far to ask my hand in marriage. This father, mother and brother of mine rejected them without even discussing it with me or even without me being aware of it. I was informed later on. Then the girl named a number of candidates who had come to ask her hand. I personally knew one of them who is a nice young man. I addressed the parents and the brother, saying “At least I know one of these men, who is
a good and suitable one. On what ground did you reject him? Why did you not ask your daughter’s opinion when you wanted to reject him?”
They lowered their heads and said: ‘All that you say is true, but it was not approved by destiny!”
I was very sorry. But nothing could be done, since that boy had married another girl.
This girl has now been confronted with problems like depression and nervous, psychological, and physical diseases. She has also lost many of her youthful characteristics and specifications. No more candidates like that young man seek her hand in marriage, since not only she much older, but she is also suffering from certain ailments and has lost her attraction and peculiarities.
Really, it is those parents and the brother who have exercised that cruelty upon her. What shall such parents and elders say to Allah? Those who play with the fate and destiny of the young ones and make them face such damages and loss, how will they satisfy their own consciences?
O Allah! Such oppressed youth do not have a shelter and refuge except you. Help them!
I was waiting for a taxi on the street, when a beautiful late model car pulled up nearby and I was invited to get in.
I was amazed, since very rarely do those having such late model cars pick someone up and drop him at his destination.
Anyhow, I got in the car. The driver was a youth of approximately 27 to 28 years of age.
After greeting him and asking his welfare, he said,
“I have a difficulty which I want to discuss with you.” I said “Carry on.” He said, “As you can see, I’m not very young, but am still a bachelor. So far, I have taken into view a number of girls and discussed them, but my family confronted and opposed my marriage on different pretexts and excuses. Recently, I have selected a good girl whom I consider suitable for myself from all aspects. But this time too my family opposed me, making a very absurd and ugly excuse, which is laughable. What is my religious obligation in this case? I have upheld their respect and reverence to this moment and have obeyed them, but this time I can no more do that, since not only is the girl good, but the excuse is a bad one.”
I said: “Explain it, let me see what their excuse is and what are the distinctions and qualities of the girl.”
He replied: I have recently completed my education and become an engineer. I am fully prepared for marriage from each and every aspect, in fact, I feel a strong urge for it. The girl that I have taken into consideration for marriage is a very nice and suitable one. She too is an educated girl and we like each other from all aspects. There is no real and actual difficulty and hindrance on our way to marriage, except for a narrow arched street which is the obstacle to the marriage!!”
I said: “What do you mean? I do not understand.”
“Our house is situated in a beautiful spot and our door opens onto a big park. (He named the street and the park). But the house of that girl is located in a narrow and arched street. Our family holds ‘It is inadequate and bad for us to be visiting that street. It is downgrading for us to make our friends, relatives and guests visit that street and house’.”
I was very surprised and could not make myself believe that such people can be found in this world.
I said to the young man: “You mean to say that your family and elders are such persons? Does your family wish to purchase the house of the girl’s family that they object to their street? I had never at all seen or heard such an excuse!”
He said: “Yes, that is that. Now that you have seen and heard, what is my obligation, and what must I do with them?”
I said: If it be so and this is their excuse which you say, then never at all submit to their invalid and irreligious, ridiculous and funny views. Here it is not obligatory for you to obey your parents in this case. As for the other family members and elders, their obedience too is not obligatory for you. If you are satisfied that the girl is suitable, good and both of you are equal and harmonious, then do not let her go at any cost.”
Then other matters were described which will soon be discussed in the “solutions to problems” section.
Ayatollah Ibrahim Ameeni presented the letter of a girl in his book “Spouse Selection” which is being narrated exactly hereby.
The girl wrote: “I am a student and have reached an age where many chances of marriage came forth for me, but both my mother and father hindered my marriage in one way or another... Of course, do not think that the marriage candidates had any fault and shortcoming. On the contrary, they present such arguments that I think I would never be able to marry. The boys are faithful, religious and socially good. As a matter of fact, no sooner do they turn up with a proposal, than they are given a negative reply, without even being asked any question. And they (my parents) have made it a routine, and do not even seek my opinion. I look forward to the time when at least they would ask my view and permit me to take a decision regarding my future.
I must say I am very annoyed and unhappy with them from the core of my heart, since I can clearly and distinctly see how they have obscured my future. And sometimes I feel that I do not like them because I think that some people who do not have a role in my future life are deciding my future.
What To Do Now?
The duties and obligations of sons and daughters towards wise, sagacious, sympathetic, and expedient parents, of whom we have inshallah many, is quite clear and explicit. As has been described, it is obligatory
to uphold their regard and respect and attend and yield to their admonitions and opinions, and benefit from their experiences. But what is the duty of sons and daughters in connection with fathers, mothers, elders and friends who are unwise, selfish, excuse makers, and problem - creating (whose number is high)? How must they act so that both their marriage is not delayed, and they get married to their wanted and desired spouse and simultaneously avoid the hurdles and hindrances and not letting a conflicting situation rise or minimise it?”
This difficulty too, just like some other marriage problems, has two kinds of solutions. One is a ‘long term’ solution and the other a ‘short term’ one.
As far as the long term ones are concerned, the Islamic society must be reformed. The reformers, thinkers, and teachers should reform and rectify the ideas, thoughts, beliefs and morality of the society, so that everybody learns his duty and responsibility and practices. These problems should be discussed and researched.
However, at present the discussion is related to the short-term solutions which are discussed here.
1. Direct Negotiations With The Hurdle- Creators And Fault - Finders
If the youth happen to face such hurdles, excuse-makers and unjustified interceptors and they are sure that they are incorrect and wrong, they must firstly talk to the excuse- makers. They must set aside shame and shyness, and tell them very respectfully and humbly: “We want to marry and we ask you, who are our elders and seniors, to help us and not hinder our prosperity.
Respect to you is binding and obligatory for us and we observe that. But simultaneously it is also obligatory for you to help us out at this sensitive juncture, so that we can set our lives upon correct and right foundations. Unfortunately and regretfully, such and such objection that you have raised is not correct. These criteria, standards, rites and ceremonies, which you have put forward are against Islamic and intellectual standards. Please do not do something that might compel us to act against your opinion and order.”
Such conversations, if done with respect and reverence to elders, do positively produce a good result and effect in improving matters.
2 - Appointing A Mediator
If direct negotiation does not work (or you were shy and could not talk face to face with them) and they still wish to impose their incorrect versions, then the next stage arrives. That is, you appoint someone as a mediator who has influence upon your elders. You discuss your entire views with them and request that they talk to those hurdle- raisers so as to stop them from opposition and stubbornness. This act can have a lot of effect.
A girl came to the Prophet (a.s) and said: “O, Prophet of Allah (a.s), my father wants to compel me to marry his nephew (my cousin) and I am against it and do not want to marry this person.”
The Prophet (a.s) at first admonished the girl to uphold and observe the respect of her father, and said, “If you can do it, accept the
proposal presented by your father.”
The girl replied “O’ Prophet of Allah (a.s), I do not have any inclination and liking for my cousin and can not select him as my husband.”
The Prophet (a.s) said “The discretion (choice) is yours, accept it if you like, and if you do not like, do not accept.”
Then the girl said, ”Oh Prophet (a.s), now that this has happened, I am prepared to marry my cousin. But I wanted my father and others to know, by this act of mine, that they do not have the right to compel and force their daughters to marry someone towards whom they are not inclined.” (Bravo to this brave, intelligent girl!)
You can appoint these mediators from among relatives such as uncles, grand fathers, mothers, aunts, the clergy, your teachers, and principals and so on.
One of our friends, for whom we have selected the fictitious name of “Hussain”, was confronted with some obstacles created by his father in his wish to marry. He left no stone unturned to make him give up his stubbornness and obstinacy, but to no gain.
The son contacted a wise, pious religious jurist who was an expert and authority in marriage problems and marital and social matters and whom Hussain’s father too held in reverence and love, and whose opinion was an authority for him. He discussed the problems with him.
That jurist summoned and talked to the father. When the father returned after visiting the jurist, his eyes were tearful. He faced Hussain, who was waiting outside the room
for the result, and said “Oh my son, forgive me. I now understand how wrong I was about your marriage and how I nearly put you in a state of misery..”
An interesting matter was printed in the newspaper ‘Risalat’, serial No 1991, Saturday, 7th of Azar, 1371 (L.H) under the column entitled ‘A page from the notebook of life’ by Mr. Abdullah Parhizgar, which is presented exactly.
“A page from the notebook of life”
The information section of the newspaper informed me that a gentleman wanted to see me. I went to the ground floor and the information clerk showed me a man. After introduction and greeting, I guided him to my room. We were alone in the room. I observed a strange agony on the face of that man and so I discovered that he had some difficulty.
I said to him, “I am ready to listen to your problem.”
He said, “Look sir, mine is a queer and strange difficulty”. I said, “What is your problem about?”
He replied “My father has a brother who is well- off and has only one daughter who is studying in the fourth year of high school now. My father and uncle have agreed that I will marry my cousin. And both of them are of the opinion that the wealth and property of my uncle must not be transferred to strangers. But I do not like my cousin and cannot accept her as my wife. Now I am wondering what to do.”
Q: “What is your qualification and job?”
have a junior diploma in electronics and work in one of the governmental organisations. One of my friends who is a reader of your newspaper advised me to see you. Now I have come to find out what you can do for me.”
“Dear friend, thank you for the confidence you have in us. But I would like to know why you do not like your cousin?”
“Look, Mr Parhizgar, as a matter of fact, my uncle’s family, and to some extent my father too, measure everything upon monetary and material standards. But in contrast and contrary to their ideology, I do not believe in this thing. I do not want to turn myself into a prisoner of the favour and taunting of my uncle and cousin, and although I know I would become considerably rich through this marriage, I am not ready to sacrifice my beliefs for their illogical and irrational wishes and inclinations.”
The young man was talking about the superb and lofty humane values. He was not prepared to sell himself out and undergo an imposed marriage. He wanted to marry a girl based on his own choice and inclination, short of material provocations, stimulants and attraction. His ideas were praiseworthy. One could hope that there are still many people to be found who do not consider their humanity, spiritualism and purity comparable to any material criteria or standards.
I said to him:
“Dear friend, I commend and praise you for having such ideas and the best way to go is that you do not undergo this
imposed marriage, under any circumstances.”
“What must I do then about the pressure my father is exerting upon me?”
“You must reveal all the problems and your ideas to your father without any concealment and conservativeness. You should make your father see that marriage is optional matter of taste and nobody must be and can be forced to such a work. Because forced marriage cases which are presented and riled in the courts exhibit and indicate the agonies, catastrophes, and afflictions faced by the husband, the wife and their relatives.”
“Mr. Parhhizgar, I feel shy about talking so frankly and openly to my father!”
“There is nothing to be shy about, and besides, you do not have another way out, since nobody else can explain and make them understand what goes on in your heart better than you. Moreover, you can seek the help of others, especially the older ones in your family.”
“Mr. Parhizgar, I wish to ask you a favour!”
“Please carry on!’
‘The difficulty which I have is that I do not want this problem to be propagated among the family and that is the reason I wanted to request that you talk to my father.”
‘I will be glad to help you out. I can welcome you and your father right here
‘I am very grateful. Now I beg your leave and will return with my father in a few days.
The young man gladly departed, saying goodbye.
It is really a matter of sorrow that there are a few families to be found who overlook and ignore the logical and rightful
wishes and desires of their children. Their stubbornness and persistence can place their youth in horrible conditions.
The youth left to return with his father. I look forward that he might be able to contend him and I might no longer be needed. Anyhow, I am waiting for them to come.
After four weeks, the same newspaper dated 5th of Dey, 1371 (L.H) reported the return of the father and the son, through the same column and page, as follows:
“A leaf from the notebook of life”
This week: “The father came!”
The information desk of the newspaper informed me that two people had come to see me. I asked to be connected to one of them on the phone.
“I am the same person who was supposed to go and bring my father along, so that you might have a talk with him.”
“Yes I remember, please come along!”
Finally, the father and his son came. The son was here, so that I may bring his father round not to compel him to marry his cousin. The father’s coming was an indication that he was still insisting upon his son’s marrying his cousin to prevent the wealth slipping out of the family.
I was still thinking how to deal with this father when they showed up. After the usual greetings, we sat across a table to talk.
“Dear father, you’re most welcome. Your coming here makes me realise that you are interested in your son’s future. I hope that this affiliation of yours will continue, and remain persistent.”
“Thank you my son. As
I am interested in my son’s future, I asked him to marry his cousin. She is a very good, chaste, pure and educated girl. My brother’s financial position too is quite sound and he does not allow them (his family) to face any hardship in these times of difficulties.”
“Do you think money can be a security of their prosperity?”
“If they possess wealth, life becomes easier for them. Is it bad that they own a house, some savings and briefly speaking, all that is necessary in such expensive, inflationary times?”
“But what if they do not like each other and there is no love and association between them and they live like two enemies, always having disputes and quarrelling? Would you then not face agony? Do you not feel sorry as to why you are compelling your son into a forcible and imposed marriage?”
“In my opinion if they are financially comfortable, definitely they will have less nervous strains and inconveniences so they will have less arguments and conflicts.”
“Respected sir! When there is no love, affiliation and deep sentimental attachment between a man and a woman, then all the wealth and riches of the world cannot bring about liking. I would like you to be a bit more logical in your thinking.”
The father had become helpless, and did not have a word to say. I inferred from his conversation that his ‘logic’ was that of money and he wanted to forcibly make his son marry. When he said, "What must I do?” I understood that he was on
the retreat and it was my turn now.
I addressed him “Dear father! You must think logically and rationally. Allow your son to marry a girl of his own liking. If you compel him to undergo an imposed marriage, then definitely they would not have a happy future. And when they have conflicts and differences due to lack of love and affiliation, your family as well as that of your brother’s will face agony and anguish. So why do you do such a thing which will bring you repentance. You must allow your son to take a decision with a peaceful and comfortable mind and not in an atmosphere of compulsion and threats.”
“As a matter of fact, if my son does not marry my niece, my brother will be annoyed with me and our brotherhood would shatter!”
It is better that your brotherhood shatters right now than at a time when they divorce each other and the complication increases. You must sit together with your brother and talk and you should convince him that your son and daughter should select their spouses themselves.”
The young man was happily listening to the conversation between his father and me. I could see the flash of happiness and joy in his eyes. His father was in agreement and was contented and the youth was about to become free from an imposed marriage.
I addressed his father.
“Be satisfied, and discuss all the problems with your brother. Explain the facts of life to him. He too may agree, and a dispute and conflict may
not arise between you. My last word to you is to think about the future and prosperity of your son. This young man does not hold any value in the wealth of his uncle. He wants to stand upon his own feet. He does not even have the need for your wealth. He thinks about his future and prosperity and you too must help and assist him.”
The father’s eyes were full of tears and the youth was smiling. The father’s face showed contentment. He extended his hand and caught hold of his son’s hands.
The father and the son hugged and embraced each other and started weeping bitterly. The room was filled with the sound of their fervent and enthusiastic weeping. It was proof to me that the father had abandoned his stubbornness and persistence. I poured tea for them and asked them to relax.
The youth and I sighed with relief. The joy of the youth knew no bounds, as he saw his future guaranteed…
There exist other solutions and examples as well, but since it is possible that stating these might become the cause of “misunderstanding” or “misuse” or “wrong inference, we will avoid describing them. When it comes to a deadlock, then the youth must refer to “wise and sagacious” people and ask them to guide them.
We once again assert and stress that the young must be attentive to the fact that making excuses, creating a hindrance and hurdles by the elders, we mean the excuses, wishes, and opinions against religion and reason, not
the opinions and views based upon reason, well-wishing and sympathy.
Just as we have previously described, there are many fathers, mothers and elders who have more experience than the youth and want the goodness and beneficence of the youth. They might have a difference of opinion in a few matters pertaining to marriage and spouse selection, which are concordant with reason, religion, logic and experience. And in this case, their views must certainly be respected and their experiences be benefited from as well as their admonition be attended to.
So be careful that problems do not get mixed up and that difficulties are not enhanced. If a difference of opinion arises in a matter and you are perplexed and unable to distinguish whether your opinion is correct or theirs, contact wise, sagacious, intelligent persons and consult them. In chapter 6, we will discuss consultation, seeking advice and the specifications and qualities of a consultant and adviser. Inshallah!
This difficulty and constraint does not include girls. And it does not include many of boys as well. For those who continue their studies following the intermediate level, it is not essential for them to proceed to it. Instead, they can perform it after completing their education and joining the service. So no gap is created in their lives. Furthermore, if someone studies certain specified subjects, for instance, the students of teacher training centres, and he does not even intend to continue his education after the intermediate level, then there is no conventional soldiering for him.
After these cases, we
are left with those young men who must go for the usual and routine two years performing this sacred duty. What is the solution to their marriage problem?
Solutions: Long Term Solution
Government officials must arrange and organise the law of military service in a manner that it does not hinder and bring difficulty for those who wish to marry. A certain salary should also be provisioned that which would suffice their expenditure along with that of their wives.
Short Term Solution
1- Religious And Legal Engagement
Engagement during military service is very sweet and beautiful. The engaged couple can correspond throughout and write hope- giving and inspiring things to each other. During the leave periods, they see and visit each other.
The facts described about ‘engagement during education’ apply to this period as well.
2- Staying In The House Of One’s In- Laws
If they have already married, the wife can, during the military service of her husband, stay at the residence of the parents of the boy, so that she does not remain alone and the boy can perform his duty wholeheartedly and peacefully. Whenever he comes back home on leave, they can be with each other.
3- Parents’ Help
As to the expenditure of the woman and other matters, the same facts stand valid here which have been described in the chapter pertaining to “continuing education” solution no 3 (parents’ help).
Presence Of Older Brothers And Sisters
Sometime ago, I was with some nice brothers, the students of “Lamerd.” All of them were bachelors.
According to my routine of encouraging the youth to marry,
I recommended them to marry. Mr. Badiyee, who happens to be a good, efficient student of “Lamerd”, said, “The greatest hindrance and difficulty to my marriage is the presence of (unmarried) elder brothers, because it is customary in our region for younger brothers and sisters not to marry before elder ones!”
I said to him, “I will discuss this difficulty and constraint, as your memorial, in my classes and the book, which I’m writing on this topic.”
Solution To This Problem
This difficulty and belief does not have any religious or intellectual basis and foundation. If an elder brother or sister has not yet married, for any reason, it does not become necessary and essential for the younger one, who is mature enough for marriage, to delay and postpone their marriage.
Definitely, no heed should be paid to this difficulty. It is necessary for the youth to break such wrong traditions and not suffer misery and misfortune for the sake of wrong customs and traditions.
Although the problem of residence refers back to financial difficulties, because of its speciality and peculiarity, we will discuss it separately.
Again, a long term and a short term one.
It is necessary that extensive schemes and plans, which overwhelm and cover the whole of society, be made so that this major crisis and problem is solved. We are not at the moment going to discuss it.
Short Term Solution:
1- Temporarily Staying At The Parents’ Home
If it is possible and feasible, the bride and bridegroom may stay for a period in the house of one of
their parents, until they can provide a house for themselves. But they must be attentive and conscious that if this becomes the reason of conflict, insults, and belittlement and disrespect, then it is not, in any way advisable to stay or remain in that house.
2- Renting A House
Renting houses is routine and customary all over the world. In many societies and foreign countries, tenancy is practiced more than in our country.
The youth may rent out a cheap house and bear the difficulties of tenancy until they, inshallah, own a house.
All the facts discussed in difficulty no. 1 (financial problems) and the solutions described are true and stand valid here too, particularly in relation to “divine help”.
Inability Of The Youth To Manage And Run Their Life
Consideration of this difficulty and its solutions have been discussed in the second chapter under the heading “Discussion with a friend”. Please refer to it.
Following the consideration and solution to all the problems and constraints that have been described, again some difficulties remain. How do we tackle these?
It is absurd and impossible that no form of difficulty exists in this world and in family life and in all the rest of matters pertaining to society. Some difficulties are the result of a probing and searching life moving on the way to completion.
Natural difficulties, hardships, and odds of life are similar to dynamite, deriving and expelling the hidden and concealed ores out of the mines of human life.
There are potential talents, capabilities, sources and energies in man’s interior, which do not show up and emerge until man is confronted with hardships and difficulties. Man utilizes and organises all his intellectual, meditational and physical powers and energies while facing these odds and finds the solution to his problems and opens the ways and passages. His total existence probes into immense search, struggle, strife and mortification to reach a goal. As a result, the potential and sleeping capabilities are awakened and the essence and merits of his life glaze and become shiny.
If we observe human societies minutely and deeply, we will discover that those whose affairs are going smoothly and lead comfortable lives and do not find it necessary to bother and put themselves to inconvenience, usually become slow moving, lazy, inefficient and irresolute. Very rarely can such persons become the source of any change, revolution or completion in a society.
The prophets, reformers, scholars and all those who have had effects
upon society’s advancement, progress, and elevation and had a part to play in accelerating the speed of the human caravan’s journey, had been men who combated and strove against hardships.
It is an inevitable and unfailing law that one must strive and struggle against hardships and odds, by putting one’s life at stake to achieve big objectives. The bigger the objective, the more the hardship to reach it.
The Commander of the believers, Hazrat Ali (a.s) said:
أفْضَلُ الأعْمالِ أحْمَزُها.
“The best practices are the most difficult ones.”
If man accepts the fact that life is accompanied by difficulties and hardships, and then he prepares himself to face those and does not become hopeless, dismayed, and upset. In marriage and raising a family, which is one of the great aims and objectives and has an important role to play in the achievement of the prosperity of the world and the Hereafter, one must necessarily bear difficulties and hardships.
We accept that marriage and raising a family brings some responsibilities for man and has its troubles, yet its benefits, progress, advancements, and completion, which come together with it, must also be taken into view.
On the other hand, we may compare the difficulties and responsibilities of marriage with the losses demerits and consequences of living as a bachelor: whether one should remain single and tolerate and bear all those hardships, spiritual and physical agonies and strains or, should we marry and accept its natural responsibilities and consequently, enjoy all its spiritual, physical and personality benefits?
Admittedly, any sound mind, which is free from bias,
prejudices, superstitions and stubbornness, prefers marriage. Besides having the fruits and benefits that have been described in connection with accepting the responsibilities and natural difficulties, it also has very great reward in the hereafter.
Islam considers the man who struggles for the procurement of the sustenance and management of his family as a mujahid (fighter in war):
الكَادُّ عَلَى عِيالِهِ كَالمُجَاهِدِ في سَبيلِ اللهِ.
“The one endeavouring for his family is like a mujahid (warrior) on Allah’s way.”
This is a great blessing of which the hardships along the way, if perceived by us, would become sweeter than honey; just as a crusade in the way of Allah is sweeter than honey to the real and true crusaders.
Islam holds: ‘Service has ten parts, and nine parts of it are hidden in the struggle and endeavour of securing the lawful sustenance for one’s family’.
What problem does it make if a man faces a bit of difficulty for the sake of Allah’s pleasure, remaining pure from contamination, defending his honour and personality, enjoying lawful and legal pleasures, and attaining a spiritual peace and tranquillity and all those rewards of the hereafter? Is it not that ‘heaven is given for its price and not on excuse?’
Is it not that ‘paradise is surrounded by hardships and the fire (hell) is encompassed by lustful desires?’ That is to say, one must cross the hardships to reach the paradise, prosperity, and honour. And being sunk into lustful desires, passions, laziness and luxury- seeking drags a man towards hell.
Dear young sister and brother! Be dauntless and
courageous and not be harassed by difficulties. Do not ever think, “I can not face the responsibilities of marriage, a spouse and a joint life.” Just wish it and you can do it.
Hardships are the salt (taste) of life. If there is none, life becomes tasteless and tiring, and the joys and enjoyments lose their colour and flavour. If there is no difficulty in one’s life, one cannot properly sense the sweet taste of joys, felicities, comforts and delights. If you do not travel in the night, you will not be able to reach anywhere in the daytime!
One of the interesting results I have reached by studying and evaluating the lives of many youths, is that youths who have everything for themselves, whose parents and elders manage all their affairs, arrange a spouse for them and bear their total expenditures, as well as taking their responsibilities upon their own shoulders, including solving all their problems, or not permitting them to face any kind of difficulty or hardship, usually do not grow up to be successful men. Rather, they are brought up to become worthless and good for nothing. And when they lose their parents’ backing, they become impoverished and run- down.
On the contrary, those who shoulder the responsibilities of their lives and solve their problems by deliberation and contemplation and endeavour, usually become successful, capable, talented and energetic, forceful persons.
Of course, this topic has been discussed among the problems of psychology, training and ethics. But it is more attractive to be observed and perceived practically
by man himself.
The fact described above is different from the assistance and guidance that is ‘logical’ and ‘necessary’ and which parents and elders should exercise with regard to the youth. They must definitely help and guide, but the ‘decision making’, ‘selection’ and ‘responsibility of administering matters’ and ‘doing the work’ must be left to the sons.
Finally we present the message containing words of the Prophet (a.s) who said:
يَا مَعْشَرَ الشَّبابِ! عَلَيكُم بِالبَاهِ.
“Oh youths: You must certainly marry.”
Do marry, depending upon Allah, short of fear from hardships, odds and difficulties. Allah be your helper.
When the youth are talked to about marriage and are being encouraged in connection with this important issue and the solutions to the difficulties and hindrances and constraints to it, they say: “These problems can be discussed with our parents and seniors so that they may help us out and pave the way for the achievement of the solution; but anyhow, we are ready to marry”.
Therefore, it is necessary to have a word with the parents, elders and the authorities and all those who can take steps towards the marriage of youths, and with those who may be effective in materializing this matter, desirable to Allah.
Taking steps and being a mediator for marriage and providing the preliminaries and the means of family raising of the youth is one of the best services and activities which wins Allah’s pleasure.
Allah says to the elders, “Marry your unmarrieds.”
Nevertheless, youths, if there is no obstacle on their way, are ready to marry.
The Prophet (a.s) said:
who takes a step for the marriage of others, Allah bestows upon him a reward, for each step he takes or each word he says, equal to one year’s service, in which he might have been fasting during the days and offering prayers in the nights.”
It is interesting that this great reward is for the one who takes steps in this connection, whether the marriage takes shape or not. This trade with Allah does not have any loss, it is all profit.
For Allah’s sake imagine what a huge reward and prosperity awaits a person who puts in effort to bring about and arrange the marriage of others. Usually and normally all of us have the vigour and means to take part and share in this way of blessing, and to help the youth set up a simple life. We can help the marriage financially (although a small help, either in the form of a loan or freely), through mediation (or talking to the parents to soften their hearts), or in laying the foundation of a fund, institution, etc. Or we may endeavour to reform the culture of our society by cultural programmes, publications and propagation of books on this topic, arranging and organising meetings, seminars and classes to talk and admonish on this matter. All these activities are extremely worthy and valuable.
Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s) says:
مَنْ زَوَّجَ أعْزَباً كَانَ مِمَّنْ يَنظُرُ اللهُ إلَيهِ يَومَ القِيامَةِ.
“The person who provides a wife for a bachelor, Allah will look at him on the justice day (with beneficence and
What beneficence and blessing can be over and above Allah’s mercy?
Again the same magnanimous one says:
أفْضَلُ الشَّفَاعاتِ أنْ تَشْفَعَ بَينَ اثْنَينِ في نِكاحٍ حَتّى يَجْمعَ اللهُ بَينَهما.
“The best of mediations is to become a mediator between two persons for marriage until Allah unites them together.”
As a matter of fact, the one who takes a step on this way is the agent and representative of Allah in this sacred matter.
Imam Musa Kazim (a.s) said: “The one who provides a spouse for a bachelor (whether a boy or a girl), will stay secure and peaceful in the shade of Allah’s throne on the day of justice.”
Yet another social, dogmatic disease in our society, which has overwhelmed the entire body of it in the name of religion, Islam, Imams, and progeny of the Prophet (a.s), is that large amounts of money are spent on ceremonies and rituals, which do not have any root and origin in Islam. For instance, some parties and strange dinner tables like the table of ‘Haft Seen’ (containing seven different foods starting with the letter ‘s’). This is celebrated on the day of Nowruz - the first day of the new year- with a lot of extravagance and so much waste it is certainly religiously unlawful. Or some other food distributions like preparing ‘Aash’ (a kind of soup) at great expense and with great ceremony are anti- Islamic.
Regarding the ‘youth marriage’ for which all these Quranic verses and Hadiths have reached us, we take fewer steps, and those benevolent ones who spend all
these amounts are least prepared to spend upon this important matter. Is it not according to what the Commander of the believers (a.s) said?
“Islam has been put on like an inverted goatskin.”
Of course, charitable food distributions and rituals, which are according to the laws of Islam and do not have anything forbidden and unlawful do bring reward from Allah.
Here it would not be out of place to praise, appreciate, and thank the ‘Imam Khomeini’s Committee of Help’ which is proceeding on this way of Allah and the Prophet’s Sunnah and has arranged and managed the marriages of thousands of youths.
Now we have reached the most sensitive and important point of our discussions! Whatever we have discussed so far was a prelude and prefix to this chapter. That is to say, whom may we select as a spouse? With what sort of qualities, peculiarities, standards and criterions, so that we may lead a prosperous life with each other, and be the cause of each other’s progress, completion, and comfort? This is the real stimulant and aim of our discussion. All our pursuits in these topics and discussions is that the youth (girls and boys) may select spouses in a way to be equal, well-matched and proportional to each other, and conventionally speaking they must go together well. If this condition is procured and secured, and this co-ordination and balance is realised, then the other matters and difficulties are comfortably solvable. If they do not slip at this stage crossing and traversing, then the other phases
would be easy.
We can say boldly and daringly that most of the difficulties which appear in the family life” are due to the fact that the boy and the girl have made a mistake here and have not selected a spouse well-matched to themselves. Many spouses have been seen to be pushed into a state of misery and destruction due to an imbalance and lack of homogeneity. Most of the difficulties, controversies and conflicts in the common and shared life have their roots in the selection of the wrong spouse.
Brother, sister! As you intend to select someone to be beside you for the whole of your life, observe minutely whom you are going to select. No selection, in human life, after the selection and choosing of belief and school of thought, can reach and match the spouse selection in its importance and sensitiveness. This selection has a basic and fundamental role in your success and prosperity or misery and misfortune!!!
Do care, check, examine, and seek advice as much as you can. Be cautious and careful not to make a mistake. Beware not to take a sentimental decision. Be careful not to be subjected and affected by digressive factors. It would be very difficult for you to cope and deal with an unsuitable, unequal and heterogeneous, and inconsistent spouse. Do not ever tell yourself: “For now, let us marry! If we cannot live together in the days to come, we can divorce and separate! “
Drive such an idea totally out of your mind. Divorce is a
very difficult thing and sometimes even impossible, particularly when there are children.
Encourage and uphold the idea that I want to choose a spouse with whom I intend to spend a prosperous and happy life.” You must burn your boats and accumulate and concentrate all your senses to choose a permanent and life long partner. Exercise extreme care!!!
As far as the recommendations about a quick and swift marriage, are concerned, which we discussed in the previous chapters, it does not mean haste, disregard and neglect. Instead, speed must be with precision, accuracy, and carefulness.
And these two (speed and accuracy) are not contradictions to each other; instead, it is haste which is in contrast to precision.
Subtlety In Selection, Smoothness In Marriage
When we consider the collection of laws of Islam with regard to marriage, we conclude that:
Islam has commanded to be easy, lenient, indulgent and simple most of the matters pertaining to marriage; such as dowry, wealth, ceremonies, rituals, and customs, but it has ordered carefulness in ‘spouse selection’. For example:
“Be lenient ... do not exercise extreme care.”
“The best marriage is the easiest one.”
“The best of wives are those whose dowry sum is small and their expenditure and upkeep is low.”
“But when it comes to the discussion of ‘spouse selection’ and ‘its criteria and standards’, Islam says be very careful.
إيّاكُم وَخَضراءَ الدِّمَنِ.
“Avoid the greenery (herbs) growing over a sewer (cesspool).”
إيّاكُم وَتَزويجَ الحَمقاءِ.
“Avoid marrying stupid and silly (insane) ones.”
فانْظُر ما تُقَلِّدُه.
“See what you are putting around your neck.”
And tens of other cautions and warnings.
So be completely mindful and alert
that these two kinds of ordains are not mixed up and taken erroneously. Leniency and easy attitude have their own place; whereas minuteness, precision, carefulness, and strictness have their own. Everything is suitable in its own place.”
We must have certain standards for the selection of a spouse. That is to say, girls and boys must have criteria and know what kind of spouse they wish to have and with what qualities and virtues. This is the actual work. It is much like someone who wants to travel, so he must fix and specify his destination and then start the journey. But if he only knows that he needs to travel but does not have any aim, objective or destination in his mind, he wanders around and gets lost.
There are two kinds of standards, qualities, and specifications that should be taken into consideration when selecting a spouse:
(a) Those which are the pillars and foundations and definitely required for a prosperous life.
(b) Those which are the conditions of attaining completion, and are necessary for the betterment and welfare of life and are mostly relevant and dependent upon the taste, style and the status of a person.
Now we consider these standards, criteria and qualities.
He who does not have religion does not have anything. Whatever he owns and possesses, he is considered and evaluated as ‘nothing’. An irreligious man is actually a ‘moving dead body’. The person who is not committed and bound to religion, which is the most real matter of life, there exists no security and guarantee that he would be committed to the rights of his spouse, and be bound to the norms of a shared life.
A religious and pious person cannot go along with an irreligious spouse and have a
prosperous and blessed common life. A pious person may possibly tolerate and bear other shortcomings of the spouse, but can never bear and accommodate the irreverence and recklessness of the spouse.
Yes, if both of them are without religion and heedless to the laws of religion, it is possible. But their lives would never be successful. Prosperity is absolutely impossible to achieve without honesty. Absolutely impossible!! Yes, they might have accepted something as prosperity and consider themselves as prosperous, but this consideration is ‘sheer ignorance.’ That is to say, they are in fact unfortunate and miserable, but they think they are blessed and successful.
Anyhow, a religious and pious person wants a religious spouse. If one is religious and the other, irreligious and uncommitted, they will not become prosperous.
Of course, being religious means being so in the real sense of it. Meaning being absolutely committed to Islam, accepting it from the core of one’s heart, and practicing upon it, not the shallow, rootless and feigned religiousness.
A reflection of the Prophet’s (a.s) sayings:
A man came to the Prophet (a.s) to seek guidance in connection with the selection of a spouse. He (a.s) said to him:
عَلَيكَ بِذاتِ الدِّينِ.
“It is (binding) upon you to have a religious spouse.”
On another occasion, he (a.s) ordered all people of all ages:
“It is binding upon all of you to select a religious spouse.”
And again in another case he (a.s) said:
مَن تَزَوَّجَ امْرَأةً لِمَالِها وَكلَهُ اللهُ إلَيهِ، وَمَن تَزَوَّجَها لِجَمالِها رَآى فِيها ما يَكْرَه، وَمَن تَزَوَّجَها لِدِينِها جَمَعَ اللهُ لَه ذلِك.
“A man who marries a
woman for the sake of her wealth, Allah leaves him in his own condition, and the one who marries her (only) for her beauty, he will find in her (things) which he dislikes (displeasing matters) and the one who marries her for the sake of her faith (religiousness), Allah will gather up all these things for him.”
There is an elegant and subtle point in the tradition; that is, if he marries her (only) for her beauty, he sees unpleasant things in her.
Perhaps these ‘unpleasant matters’ mean that the beauty of an irreligious wife would be the cause of a bad name, scandal and disgrace. The same beauty that was the stimulant of marriage with her becomes the cause of nuisance and dishonour.
Question And Observation
At this stage, a question and objection comes forth; that is, if being religious is the real standard of success, then why do we see many religious ones who do not lead good lives and their lives are disturbed and unhappy?
Firstly, religiousness (devoutness) means real religiousness. That is, we take only such a person as religious whose entire practices, speeches, morality, and all the rest of his life’s matters are subject to Islam. Such an individual would really be decent and gentle. Islam is the law of Allah for the prosperity of man and if followed and practiced, it does positively bring felicity and blessings. Islam is not merely a set of a few obvious practices that anybody performing them may be a real religious one.
Secondly, it is possible that the fault
be at another place, which means they may be really religious, but lacking some qualities and peculiarities being the condition for prosperity of the shared and common life. For instance, they might not have ideological, moral and physical co-ordination, homogeneity and harmony. Because, whilst being religious is the real standard, there are some other criteria, which must be observed when selecting spouse. (These will be described soon).
Thirdly, the difficulty and fault may be present at the other end. That is to say, you may know one of the two spouses as a religious person and not know the other one and be completely unaware about his or her spirits. Perhaps he or she is not really religious and the root of the difficulty lies there.
Fourthly, one or both of them may be suffering from a nervous or spiritual disease. These diseases cause many difficulties in the joint life. Religious people too, having been affected by certain factors may suffer from ailments and nervous and spiritual complications.
Anyway, being religious and pious is the basic condition and quality of a suitable spouse and there must be a thorough enquiry and contemplation about it before marriage takes place.
The Fruits Of Religiousness
This quality and virtue has many other fruits. That is to say, religiousness is like a root or origin, which has many branches and fruits.
(a) Piety: A religious person is positively pious; and if he is not, then he is not a religious one.
(b) Veil: The veil is from the fruits of the ‘tree of religiousness’. The Hijab
(veil) is not only specified for women and girls, boys and men too must wear a (spiritual) veil. To sum up, the veil of a woman and a man has some differences which exist due to women’s physique, being bodily more attractive, and the physical and sexual differences between the two sexes.
“The one who does not have modesty lacks religion.” So the one who has modesty, does have religion as well.
What Should The Irreligious Youths Do?
All that has been described so far, regarding the standards and the first virtue (religiousness) was mostly related to the pious ones. So what should the irreligious youths do?
Firstly: They must also become pious and practise like the pious ones. Religion and faith are the provision and stock of the world and prosperity in the hereafter. So it is obligatory for every sane man to attain this provision. Any amount of research, study, investigation and consultation taking place on this road is worthwhile. Just as the human intellect and mind deems it fit that man must search and endeavour for the sake of earning a livelihood in this material life, so does it demand to seek the way of eternal bliss.
Secondly: The irreligious youths must also possess some of the qualities and merits of the religious ones. The man who is not bound to faith and religion, must take into view some of the merits of the pious ones when selecting a spouse. For instance, an irreligious spouse must too possess modesty, nobility, and sexual purity; otherwise their
lives would become full of misery, distress and difficulties. This is because even irreligious persons cannot tolerate immodesty, impurity, debauchery and libertinism (unless they may have negated humanity, in which case, they are out of the scope of our discussion).
The more a person is modest, noble, and clear, the more he is religious, although he himself may not be aware or disbelieve.
Modesty, nobility, purity and all the virtues and peculiarities, which are considered positive and beautiful are a part of religion. In any case, nothing can be a permit and allowance to marry an immodest, mean, vile, dissolute, and impure person.
So the irreligious and faithless persons must at least practice the first part of the standard of religiousness; that is, modesty, nobility and sexual purity.
We, at the end of this chapter, shall again talk about it.
Morality does not alone mean to be conventionally booming and smiling and good-natured, since laughing on certain occasions is not only anti- morality, but also immoral. Instead, morality means good etiquette and lovely habits and virtues from an intellectual and religious point of view.
Status Of Morality In Spouse Selection
The Prophet (a.s) said about the virtues and qualities of a suitable and decent spouse:
إذا جَاءَكُم مَن تَرضَوْنَ خُلُقَه وَدِينَهُ فَزَوِّجُوهُ، وَإنْ لا تَفعَلوا تَكُن فِتْنَةٌ في الأرْضِ وَفَسادٌ كَبيرٌ.
“When someone with whose morality and religion you are pleased comes to you (for marriage), conclude the marriage. If you do not do it, then a great commotion and disturbance and corruption would take place on earth.”
Please observe that the prophet of
Islam (a.s) described ‘morality’ and ‘religion’ as two real standards and criteria of marriage and spouse selection. These two are the foundation of prosperous life and the importance of other standards follows them.
A Muslim, named Hussain Bin Bashar Baseti, wrote a letter with the following contents about a person who had asked the hand of his daughter in marriage, to Imam Reza (a.s) and enquired as to what his duty was in the matter:
“…A person from among my relatives, who is ill natured, has asked the hand of my daughter in marriage. What must I do now? Shall I marry my daughter to him or not? What do you say about it?”
Imam wrote in response to his letter:
“If he is ill natured (bad tempered), do not marry your daughter to him.”
You see that Imam (a.s) responds distinctly, vividly, and negatively due to this one vice. To live alongside an ill natured and bad tempered person is similar to a life long vigorous imprisonment. The bad temper of one of the two spouses affects the other and the children as well.
Specimens Of Decent And Indecent Behaviour
Now we discuss the meaning of ‘decent attitude’ and morality in detail and describe two examples of these so that the meaning of morality when it comes to spouse selection is illustrated and explained explicitly.
1- Using Decent And Indecent Language
Using foul and dirty language, insolence, and talking disrespectfully, carelessly, and abusively are specimens and indications of bad temperament and immorality, whereas sweet language, soft conduct and talking respectfully are the symbols
of morality and good character.
As a matter of fact, ‘the tongue’ is the representative and translator of one’s ‘internal conditions.’
“The same matter trickles out of a pot which is inside it.”
It is not possible that the interior of a man be sound, healthy, and pure but his tongue be dirty, foul, abusive and pungent. The tongue is the window, which exhibits the contents of the interior. Man’s tongue is the mirror of his heart.
2- Magnanimity And Jealousy
Jealousy is the important indicator of ill nature, and magnanimity and generosity are the salient specimens of good character and morality.
3- Sweet-Naturedness And Ill-Naturedness
Leading a life with an ill natured and bad tempered person is very difficult and life with a sweet natured and well-behaved person gives pleasure, enjoyment and hope. A good nature is one of the signs of faith and ill-naturedness and impoliteness is the manifestation of a weakness in faith.
Of course, as has been described in the beginning of this discussion, good-naturedness or smiling is not always and everywhere a sign of good conduct. For instance, the mirthfulness of women and men in the presence of an unfamiliar person (stranger) is against morality and is highly disagreeable. And similarly, laughing and making others laugh through backbiting, slandering, mockery, and describing others’ errors is illegal, prohibited and against moral values and Islamic ethics.
4- Accepting The Truth And Stubbornness
Stubbornness and obstinacy inflicts heavy damages upon family life.
5- Wise Humility And Stupid Pride And Arrogance
6- Truthfulness And Lying
7- Grace And Deliberateness And Ungraciousness And Debauchery
8- Forbearance And Impatience And
9- Favourable Opinion And Mistrust
10- Being Warm And Affectionate And Being Apathetic
11- Forgiveness And Hostility
12- Respect And Disrespect
13- Boldness And Fear
14- Politeness And Rough Attitude
15- Faithfulness And Disloyalty
16- Generosity And Parsimony
17- Contentment And Greed
Answer To A Question
Question: What is the way to discover these virtues? In other words, what course must we adopt in selecting a spouse so that we choose a person with the required virtues?
Answer. Refer this discussion to the sixth chapter where you will find the answer to this question.
(A Fundamental And Unavoidable Condition For Both Sides)
Family nobility does not mean fame, wealth, and social status. Rather it means modesty, purity and religiousness. Marriage with someone is equal to a bond with a family, tribe, and a race.
It is not logical that in connection with marriage one says: “I desire to marry this person and have nothing to do with his or her family, relations, and tribe”, since:
1- This person is part of the same family and tribe and is the branch of the same tree. This branch has received its nutrition and growth from the roots of the same tree. It is certain that most of the moral, spiritual, intellectual and physical qualities and specifications of that family have been transferred through heritage, training, environment, habits, etc to this person.
The prophet of Islam (a.s) said in this regard:
تَزَوَّجوا في الحِجْرِ الصّالِحِ فإنَّ العِرْقَ دَسَّاسٌ.
“Marry from a decent family, for genealogy affects very much.”
At another place he (a.s) said:
اُنْظُر في إيِّ شَيْءٍ تَضَعُ وَلَدَكَ فَإنَّ العِرْقَ دَسَّاسُ.
“Investigate very carefully and minutely
as to where you will place your child, for genealogy affects very much.”
2- Even if you do not have anything to do with them, they would have something to do with you!
Never can you detach your spouse from them. Neither can you yourself cut off your link with them. You must be associated and linked to them for a whole lifetime. If the spouse’s family are a wicked and corrupt people, they will agonise the person. And one cannot totally refrain and put an absolute constraint upon their interference in one’s life, and on the bonds with them.
3- Their good or bad name and reputation remains attached to a person for the whole of his life and does have effects upon it. It will be much too difficult for you to endure and withstand their bad name.
4- Their qualities and peculiarities have effects upon the future of the children.
The Prophet (a.s) said in this connection:
إخْتَارُوا لِنُطَفِكُم فإنَّ الأبْناءَ تشْبهُ الأخْوالَ.
“Choose a proper and suitable place for your semen, because children become similar to their maternal uncles.”
Brother and sister! You must never be subjected to sentiments and emotions and take decisions in that condition regarding important matters.
If ‘spouse selection’ is excluded from the influence and hold of intellect and reason and is placed into the realm of sentiments and superficial views, it would be followed by misery and misfortune.
Now you are positioned and stationed on the threshold and doorway of a great change. Minutely think and contemplate what you are doing. Now you wish to connect
your future with a family. The result of this linkage should be progress, completion and prosperity, not downfall, retrogression, and misery. See the glorious prophet of Islam (a.s) with the eyes of your heart, addressing you, and hear his alarming and warning message with the ears of your soul, as he said:
“The prophet of Islam (a.s) stood to deliver a speech and said, “Oh people, beware of the greenery (growing) upon a dung hill. He was asked “Oh prophet of Allah (a.s), what is the greenery on the dung hill?” He replied, “A beautiful woman raised and brought up in a bad nursery (family).”
We have seen many youths who have been deceived by the apparent and outward show and have thrown themselves into sewers and marshes from where the exit has become impossible.
Question And Answer
Question: We have observed that sometimes decent, nice children come of bad families and indecent and wicked children come from good families. Why?
Answer: Yes it is as you say, but this happens only sometimes and is an exceptional event. Sometimes a flower blooms in a bad place and a thorn does in a good place. But laws cannot be based upon exceptions. What we describe is on the basis of majority.
Secondly, these exceptions have common roots with their principle. Without doubt, the effects of these common roots are there in their existence, which may not appear in normal situations and circumstances, but do become apparent in turbulent and abnormal conditions.
Thirdly, if somebody is sure that this branch is different from the
main tree, and similarly he may be able to separate and detach this branch from the origin, and does not permit that his or her family have any role to play, interfere in his or her future, and so on, then he or she can marry. But it is not everyone’s job.
So what should the children of corrupt, impure and immoral families do? Shall they remain unmarried?
The detailed answer to this question will come at the end of this chapter.
A sound and healthy mind is needed for the sake of bringing about a prosperous life. Intellect is like a flashlight, which illuminates the avenue of life and projects and shows the ups and downs of it, so that one can take suitable decisions about them. Intellect is the medium of distinguishing between goodness, wrong and evil. Spouses must be equipped with the power of mind and reason for the sake of administrating and managing a correct life and bringing up and raising decent children.
The commander of the believers Ali (a.s) staunchly and strongly forbade marriage with a foolish and insane person.
إيّاكُم وَتَزويجَ الحَمْقَاءِ! فإنَّ صُحبَتَها بَلاءٌ وَولدَها ضِياعٌ.
“Avoid marrying a stupid person, since her company is a woe (calamity or distress) and her children are also wasted.”
Imam described two important points in this Hadith; one is that the company of a foolish spouse is distress and woe which makes a wise man miserable, and the other one is that of the waste and loss of her offspring, since genes affect them by way
of heritage and simultaneously, their training, conduct, and character too are lost.
It is possible that a person is educated but not wise and sagacious, or wise but not educated. That is to say, being educated does not necessarily mean being sage and wise, just as intelligence is not the same as being educated. Of course, knowledge and mind mutually affect each other. Many a time, a person may be educated but lacks reason and insight into life. At the same time, another one may be uneducated but have the reason and wits to organise and run one’s life. And if these two (reason and education) get together, it is so much better. Similarly, some of the craftiness and cunningness must not be taken for intellect, and the doer of those be named intelligent and sagacious.
Meaning Of Reason As Defined By Imam Sadiq (A.S)
He was asked, “What is mind?”
مَا عُبِدَ بهِ الرَّحْمنُ وَاكتُسِبَ بهِ الجِنانُ.
“It is a thing by which Allah is worshiped and paradise is achieved.”
The questioner asked: “So what was it that Moawiyah (Allah’s curse be upon him) possessed?”
تِلكَ النَّكراءُ، تِلكَ الشَّيطَنَةُ، وَهِي شَبيهَةٌ بِالعقْلِ وَلَيسَتْ بِالعَقْلِ.
“What he had was deception (trickery) and craftiness and that has a resemblance with reason but is not the reason itself.”
An Unpleasant Specimen
A girl, who had a weak intellect but apparently was beautiful, was engaged to Ghulam. Right from the time of engagement, Ghulam became aware of the weakness of the girl’s mind and wanted to change his mind and give up the idea of marriage
with her, but her beauty and charm had dazzled his mind.
Anyway, the marriage took shape. After a certain period of time, the difficulties started, because the pretty girl who had charmed Ghulam with her beauty, which had filled up all the gaps and shortcomings of the girl in his opinion, was unable to withstand the continuance of that condition and could not take the place and responsibilities of a wife. That woman could not play the role of a sympathiser, companion, and helper of her husband, as a wife. Their lives became colder with each day that passed until they had a child.
Usually after a child enters a family, life becomes sweeter and more hopeful. But not only did it not occur in their lives, but their difficulties and hardships increased, because the woman did not have the capability and potential of bearing children and could not be a good mother for the child.
Ghulam took his wife to a psychiatrist for a check up (whereas he should have done it before marriage).
The psychiatrist diagnosed that the wits and mind of the girl was low and equivalent to half her own age and that she was not curable. It is clear that such a life cannot continue. In the end, Ghulam divorced his wife and the innocent child became motherless.
A More Unpleasant Specimen
Hamida was a religious, sagacious, wise and honourable lady who was faced with a characterless, cunning, libertine, and witless person. She was greatly agonised and distressed by the character and conduct of her husband.
husband earned money by unfair and illegal means like forgery, fraud and unfair mediations. Hamida was extremely perturbed and terrified about his doubtful prohibited earnings. Her husband did not mind having unlawful and illicit relations with other women, whereas she herself was a pure, noble woman and was much pained and distressed by the anti- moral activities of her husband; yet, she guarded the reputation and honour (of the family) and kept silent about it.
A few years passed in this manner and for all her endeavours she could not reform and set her husband aright. On the contrary, the wealthier he became, the more corrupt and debauched he became. At last, her patience came to an end, and she could no longer tolerate and stand his bad, evil character and unwise conduct and finally left him.
But alas! She was no more the same Hamida she used to be before marriage. Her felicity, sound mind and joyous spirit were withered and destroyed by that witless devil.
(فَاعْتَبِرُوا يَا أُولِي الْأَبْصَارِ)
“O you watchful people, take lesson!”
Physical and spiritual health has an important role in the success and prosperity of the joint life of a couple. Some of the ailments do not have much importance and are not hurdles and hindrances in performing marital duties and responsibilities. They do not give any shock or blow to life and one can bear them, or they can be cured and remedied by treatment and looked after.
Our discussion does not pertain to such diseases. Instead, those which must be taken into
view while selecting a spouse are chronic ailments and deformities and disabilities, both of a physical and spiritual nature, which are incurable and accompany a man for the whole of his life, and where their endurance and bearing is difficult for the spouse. Moreover, they are constraining factors in playing the perfect role of a spouse.
A spouse must love his or her mate to have a good life, and some defects and deformities hinder this love.
Letting this matter go unnoticed and having a sentimental and unreasonable attitude to may cause heavy loss and damage to life.
Consider This Miserable Specimen:
Hadi was a healthy and enthusiastic youth. He married a girl who had a physical deformity. He was aware about it before the marriage, yet being overwhelmed by sentiments, and not contemplating the consequences and the other dimensions of the matter, he, through pity and sympathy, accepted to perform a good deed by marrying her.
After a certain time, the man started making excuses. The physical defect of the woman was such that it affected his sexual satisfaction.
Hadi was shy to say distinctly and clearly what troubled him. And so he made other excuses. The confrontation and disputes increased. These differences and tussles were on one hand, while on the other, the woman felt very humiliated due to her deformity. Thus she began to suffer from spiritual and psychological diseases too. The complications increased with the passage of time.
Hadi consulted me about the problems in their lives, and believed the psychological and nervous ailments were the real factor
of their differences and difficulties, not as a disease, but in the form of his wife’s faults. But I knew where the actual difficulty was.
Psychological treatments were undertaken, but the differences continued, until Hadi’s energies failed and he could no more tolerate and carry on with that life. He married another girl.
Now, as I write these lines, that poor girl lives in her father’s house. She is neither divorced nor does she have a joint life.
Islam has prohibited marriage with certain patients. For instance, those carrying diseases like leprosy, madness, etc. which are the cause of spouse misery and the destruction of the future generation.
Question And Answer
Q: So what must disabled and deformed patients do? Should they always remain spouseless?
A: At the end of this chapter, and similarly in the discussion under the topic of ‘sacrificial marriages’ which is located in ‘chapter 6’ we will inshallah, answer this question.
Beauty is a distinction and has an exceptionally great effect in sweetening and making marital life prosperous. When two persons, as spouses and helpers, want to raise a prosperous and felicitous centre and live together with love, purity, and intimacy for the whole of their lives, it is necessary that they should like each other from every aspect and must also like each other’s physiques, faces and apparent looks.
Beauty does not have a certain standard and fixed scale and lacks a ‘law of criterion’ so that individuals may be judged by that; instead, to an extent, it is pertinent to the taste of the individuals themselves.
It is even possible that a person is beautiful from one person’s view and ugly from that of another. It is said about Laila and Majoon (two lovers) that Laila was an ugly girl from the point of view of others, but from Majnoon’s she was pretty. So the quality of beauty is a relative quality and it must not essentially be at the loftiest grade. Instead, what is necessary, is the mutual liking and attraction of the two spouses. If a person does not like the apparent looks and the face and figure of his spouse, he may unintentionally commit excess upon her and find faults and criticize her and make her life bitter.
The beauty of the spouse has effects on protecting and strengthening the modesty and faith of the spouse. If a spouse is pleased with the beauty of his spouse, he would not divert his sight, mind and practice towards others and would not envy others’ beautiful spouses. As a result, he would not go after strangers and would not commit dishonesty with his wife (both men and women), unless he comes out of the course of nature and does not have a share of faith and modesty.
Islam has emphasized and stressed this point. The Prophet (a.s) said:
إذَا أرادَ أحدُكُم أن يَتَزَوَّجَ المرْأةَ فَلْيَسألْ عَن شَعرِها، كَما يَسأَلُ عَن وَجهِهَا، فإنَّ الشَّعْرَ أحَدُ الجَمالَينِ.
“When one of you intends to marry a woman, he should ask about her hair, just as he asks about her face (beauty), since the hair is one of
the two beauties (of women).”
And similarly, it has been recommended that the spouses beautify and decorate themselves for each other and please and satisfy one another to remain safe and sound from deviations, corruption, and debauchery.
When one of the infallible Imams had coloured his blessed hair with Henna (dye made from a shrub), someone surprisingly asked him, “Have you beautified yourself?”
Imam (a.s) said: “Yes! Decorating and beautifying (oneself) increases the modesty of women.”
Indifference and carelessness toward these matters may bring about miseries and scandals.
It is necessary to discuss love and sexual problems separately, which we will do in the chapter under the topic ‘Love, the axis of life’.
Beauty should be considered beside other qualities and standards, not as an independent one. That is, beauty devoid of religiousness, modesty and morality is not only unappreciated as a distinction, but also is a dangerous calamity. Beauty is taken to be a perfection, worth and distinction for someone, only when that person is equipped and decorated with religion, morality, modesty, nobility and reason, otherwise it is a defaming affliction.
Beauty lacking modesty is greenery growing upon a dung hill. The saying of the Prophet (a.s), which has been described, is very suitable here:
“Avoid the greenery growing over the dunghill (heaps of dirt).”
Similarly, “The one who marries a woman for her beauty (only), he will see unpleasant things in her.”
‘Beauty’ is not considered one of the basic and independent factors in marital life, rather it is a ‘quality of perfection’ which if accompanied by fundamental and basic qualities has worth,
Regrettably, sometimes this quality dazzles the insight of the youth and they sacrifice most of their values upon it. The apparent attractions and charms deprive them of farsightedness and make them fascinated and enchanted, so that having forgotten the real and actual standards, they neglect those. Thus they raise the structure of life upon a weak and unstable foundation. As a consequence, after a period, when that freshness and apparent attractions have a fall and, on the other hand, the enthusiasm and emotional storm of passions also subside, then dismay and disagreements evolve on the scene and the displeasing factors and peculiarities become obvious and evident.
But for the person who establishes his life upon the foundations of faith, religiousness, modesty and the real and noble values, and considers beauty as a ‘completing distinction’ the passage of time cannot wear out and erode that life.
﴿إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ سَيَجْعَلُ لَهُمْ الرَّحْمَانُ وُدًّا﴾
“Surely (as for) those who believe and do good deeds, for them will Allah bring about love.”
Allah places such an intense love and immense and profound fondness as a reward in the hearts of faithful spouses that cannot be wiped out and annihilated even by the termination of youth’s livelihood.
﴿مَا عِنْدَكُمْ يَنفَدُ وَمَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ بَاقٍ﴾
“What is with you passes away (finishes) and what is with Allah is enduring.”
The relation that is established on the basis of Allah’s values is an eternal and everlasting bondage and those contrary to it would be unsteady and unstable.
Knowledge and education have a great effect on
the prosperity and felicity of man. Being educated and gaining knowledge is obligatory on every Muslim man and woman.
This specification is the focus of attention in spouse selection and a joint life and is considered to be a distinction for a decent and suitable spouse. It also has a deep effect on attaining perfection and the progress of life, performing marital duties and the bringing up and training of children.
But this peculiarity (like beauty) is the condition of perfection, not its foundation and should be considered beside real and basic qualities and standards, not independently. All that has been discussed about ‘beauty’ stands valid and is true in this discussion as well.
Knowledge, short of commitment and faith is always harmful, as is beauty without faith and modesty.
That which is important in this topic is the proportions and equality of learning between two spouses, which will inshallah, be described in the next discussion, i.e. ‘equity.’
It has been said in the beginning of this chapter that this part, (standards of spouse selection), is the most important chapter out of all the discussions. And now we say that the vitally important part of the discussion is ‘equity and balance between the two spouses.’ This is the most sensitive matter to concentrate on while selecting a spouse.
Equity between the couple means: a proportion, balance, co-ordination, concurrence and congeniality between the boy and the girl, and conventionally, the harmony of a man and woman to get along together.
Marriage is a form of combination between two human beings and two
families. Joint and common life is ‘a compound’ thing, the actual and basic elements of which are the man and the woman. The more the harmony, co-ordination and congeniality of thought, spirit, morality and physique in this compound, the more its strength, enjoyment, fruits, positive consequences, stability and continuance. The less the ratio of its consistency, the more life would be unstable, bitter and fruitless.
The main cause of the miseries, turbulence and turmoil of family life is due to the lack of co- ordination and proportion between men and women.
Two people who join each other’s company and wish to prolong this company for the whole of their lives and share all matters, taking joint decisions, bringing children into existence, training them and making them reach prosperity must definitely be harmonious, concurrent, and congenious and have reciprocal equity.
Regrettably, in the wake of the spouse selection problem, conventional goodness is usually taken as sufficient, and less attention is paid to the equity and balance between the boy and the girl; whereas this is the axis and pivot of the standard of spouse selection.
There are only a few people in our society who are completely incapable of marrying and having a spouse. All boys and girls have the capability and capacity for marriage, but all that needs to be taken into consideration is which girl suits which boy.
These problems that we see all around us for e.g., that such and such a woman has difficulty with her husband and their life is disturbed and in a bad shape,
or that such and such a man has conflict with his wife and is offended and annoyed with her and they pass an ‘unwanted’ and ‘undesirable’ life, are due to the fact that mutually proper and suitable spouses were not chosen. If this had been done, these difficulties, odds, conflicts and family disturbances would not have existed or at least, been minimised.
“The persons who, before their marriage, endeavour to study their spouses and find spouses who are suitable and proportional for them and are conventionally their counterparts, have solved a part of their post marriage difficulties and problems regarding children training. Otherwise, they save and secure the difficulties which could be solved before the post marriage period.”
A hundred percent co- ordination and congeniality is not possible, since every individual has his own mind, spirit, morality and character, specific environment and family and has a certain distance and difference from the other one. But an attempt should be made to lessen and reduce this distance to a minimum, so that the two spouses are as close to each other as possible.
Before arriving at the instances and cases of ‘equity’ and ‘compatibility’, I wish to describe a self- witnessed example, closely touched by me. I was present at all its stages, so that the topic will become clear and conspicuous, and the ground for the later subjects is levelled.
Ismail and Safoora were both religious, good-natured and committed to Islamic values and the Islamic revolution, but their views about these issues were different.
Ismail had been brought up
in a village environment along with its rural culture, rites, and ceremonial specifications and was committed to the peculiarities of his social cradle. Safoora had been bred and brought up in a large city along with its peculiar, typical atmosphere of rites and rituals. Each of them looked at the world from the window of his and her personal perception and ideas. No spiritual, moral, educational, physical, familial or cultural harmony existed between the two. So much so that their points of view about Islam and the Revolution, to which both were committed were different and a vast (ideological) gap existed between them.
A mediator had introduced them for marriage. He did not have any negative intention and did it as a religious duty and for the pleasure of Allah. But regrettably, he did not have any information about their spiritual, physical and social harmony and congeniality. And so he was unsuccessful in his introduction and mediation and this did not result in a good life for those two.
Ismail and Safoora married. And right from the beginning of their joint life differences and conflicts and tussles started taking shape. Ismail said there were things important to her (Safoora)that did not have any importance for him, and there were things important to him, which did not mean anything to her. Safoora too held the same opinion.
Both of them were highly educated with good academic career, but they had a vast difference of opinion on various topics and versions of knowledge. Each one of them had their own
particular ideas and styles regarding family linkages, bonds, relations and the visits of guests, which were quite distant from each other. Their views and conduct about the problems pertaining to children’s education and training, too, were completely diverse and dissimilar and they could never practice in a common, uniform and co-ordinated style. Neither of them would step down from the height of his opinion and approach, and conventionally, neither of the two gave in to the other’s yoke.
Many times their case was presented for the judgement of others, where they put forward their problems before family consultants, and yet they never reached any understanding and agreement.
Finally, one of their consultants and advisors who was very cautious and rarely advised the separation of a wife and a husband expressed that they should separate, saying, “This life is not sustainable, and there is no alternative except separation.”
Finally, Ismail and Safoora separated through divorce! And this event took shape at the expense of a victim that was their child.
Salient Points Of Inco-Ordination Of Ismail And Safoora
1- A cultural and ideological distance (difference of opinion about ideological, social, and educational problems).
2- A spiritual and psychological differences.
3- A difference of style and taste in various matters.
4- Sexual and physical dissimilarity (one of the two was sexually strong, having a hot and active temperament, while the other one was weak, and could not satisfy and saturate the other. One of the real and important causes of their conflict was this problem. The one who was not satiated and saturated was shy
and too modest to express this matter clearly, and relieved the pressure at another place and in fact, avenged it elsewhere.
5- A moral difference.
6- A beauty problem. One of the two was unhappy with the other’s looks, figure and beauty, although the other side was satisfied. This factor too had quite an effect and role in their differences and conflicts.
7- A differences with respect to the families of each other. (None liked the family and relatives of the other and had difficulties having relations with them).
We, in any case, do not want to establish that a villager is not an equal and good match for a city inhabitant. And we do not mean to imply that a city dweller is superior or vice versa. There are many citizens and villagers who married and lead good lives. And many times two city dwellers or two villagers do not have any mutual harmony and co-ordination. Rather, what we mean to say is that spiritual, ideological, and physical harmony is important and essential between two life partners. Moreover, what must be viewed in selecting spouses is equality (balance of the personalities of the couple).
Piety and divine values are the standards and criteria of superiority, nobility, and graciousness.
﴿إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ﴾
“Surely, the most honourable of you with Allah is your most pious one”. (49:13)
Now with the explanations given, the ground for the description of the cases of equity and harmony between girls and boys have become ready; so will divide the topic of equity and explain a few of its details.
A religious woman who is committed to the laws, principles, and derivatives of Islam must marry a man like herself. Of course, a hundred percent proportionality is not possible, but the closer they are and the less of a distance, the better.
A man questioned the prophet of Islam (a.s): “Whom must we marry?” He replied:
“Those suitable (good matches).”
He asked, “Who are suitable matches?”
The Prophet (a.s) responded:
المُؤمِنُونَ بَعضُهُم أكْفَاءُ بَعضٍ.
“Some of the believers are the matches of each other.”
We see that the Prophet (a.s) described faith as the standard and real foundation of being a match.
Imam Sadiq (a.s) said about Fatima Zahra (a.s):
لَو لا أنْ اللهَ خَلقَ أميرَ المُؤمِنينَ عَليْه السَّلامُ لَم يَكُن لِفَاطِمَةَ كُفْؤٌ عَلى وَجْهِ الأرْضِ؛ آدَمُ فَما دُونَه.
“Had Allah not created Ali (a.s), there would have been no match and equivalent on the earth for Fatima (a.s), from the age of Adam (a.s) to the end”.
If a faithful person marries a faithless one and cannot convert the latter to become religious, either he has to become homogenous with the spouse and become faithless and be in a permanent state of confrontation and conflict; both situations being a great loss. The children too, who are the outcome and production of such a turbulent and disturbed life, do not reach prosperity and blessing.
Question And Answer
Q: Can it
not be that a faithful and religious person marries an irreligious spouse and guides her? Has such a case not yet taken shape?
A: (a) If someone finds such energy in himself and is sure that he or she can make it, then there is no harm to materialise such a marriage. Even though this is a desired and required practice and has a great reward, not everyone possesses all that vigour and energy. Attaining this confidence is also not an easy thing. If such a case (exceptionally) takes shape, it is not a justification for others to follow it. And this exception cannot be generalised to cover all people.
(b) It is quite possible that the situation reverses and the irreligious one makes the other take up his or her colour.
Some of the reasons described by Islam for not marrying an irreligious one are as follows:
… لأنَّ المَرْأةَ تَأخُذُ مِن أدَبِ زَوجِهَا وَيقهَرُهَا عَلى دِينِه.
“Because the woman is influenced by her husband’s conduct, and he forces her to accept his belief.”
The man, too, accepts the effects of his wife’s belief and morality and his wife may make him perform irreligious activities. How long can a man resist and combat the unfair and unlawful wants and desires of his wife? One cannot fight that all his life and vigorously combat against it. We know of plenty of cases where the irreligious and careless wife made her religious spouse miserable.
(c) Of course, there exist some exceptions as well where a religious and faithful spouse has guided his or
her irreligious life partner. So far so good. But exceptions cannot overwhelm the majority, and rules and regulations cannot be founded upon them.
Cultural and mental understanding and homogeneity has a basic role in the joint life of a couple. The architects of this centre should be able to understand each other and their mysteries and intents, for the sake of bringing into effect a dynamic, fruitful and felicitous life. Moreover, they should take joint and harmonious decisions in most problems and practice upon their bases, be mutual helpers in the ups and downs of life, and train their children on the basis of a harmoniously designed programme.
Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s) said:
اَلعَارِفَةُ لا تُوضَعُ إلاّ عِندَ العَارِفِ.
“An intelligent and wise woman must not be placed except beside a sage and wise man.”
We have observed the harms and damage caused by the mental and cultural lack of co- ordination between the spouses.
Of course, a 100% understanding and concurrence is still not possible, yet one must endeavour to get as near to it as possible and diminish the distance.
Moral homogeneity and harmony is of the most important cases of equity between a husband and wife. It is possible that the wife and husband are equal and compatible from a religious aspect, but not from a moral aspect.
Attend To This Specimen
Zaid Bin Haresa, the adopted son brought up by the Prophet (a.s), married Zainab, the cousin of the Prophet (a.s). The husband and wife held a lofty place from a religious point of view. But they did not have an understanding from a moral aspect and so conventionally speaking, their moralities were not harmonious. They had severe differences and disputes.
The Prophet (a.s) admonished them and suggested to them many times to build up mutual understanding and compatibility. But this young couple did not have the endurance and energy to put up with each other. Finally, Allah mediated and separated them through divorce.
There is no doubt that these two, husband and wife, were decent and nice people. As far as the decency of Zaid is concerned, it is sufficient that the Prophet (a.s) adopted him and had a great love for him and sometimes called him by the name of ‘dear and beloved Zaid.’ With regard to the decency of Zainab, it is sufficient to say that Allah Himself had her married to His prophet (after being divorced by Zaid).
﴿وَإِذْ تَقُولُ لِلَّذِي أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَأَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِ أَمْسِكْ عَلَيْكَ زَوْجَكَ وَاتَّقِ اللَّهَ وَتُخْفِي فِي نَفْسِكَ مَا اللَّهُ مُبْدِيهِ وَتَخْشَى النَّاسَ وَاللَّهُ أَحَقُّ أَنْ تَخْشَاهُ فَلَمَّا قَضَى زَيْدٌ مِنْهَا وَطَرًا زَوَّجْنَاكَهَا.﴾
“And when you said to the one to whom Allah had shown favour and to whom you had shown a favour Keep your wife to yourself and be careful to (your duty to) Allah ... But when Zaid had given up her, we gave her to you as a wife.” (Surah of Ahzab, verse 37.)
We observed the moral disagreement of Ismail and Safoora too.
As a result, we must not think that the religiousness of the husband and wife is sufficient for establishing a successful (marital) life; other aspects must also be taken into consideration.
It is better that a husband and wife should not have much
distance and difference from an educational and informational point of view, so that they have more understanding in their lives.
Of course, this quality must be considered along with other qualities and peculiarities. That is, if, for instance the woman is proud and shallow, her educational qualification should not be higher than that of her husband, since this would certainly bring about ample difficulties in their lives. But if she is humble, there is less chance and probability of this difficulty. As to the husband, this problem exists in the same shape with a little difference.
A Lesson- Giving Specimen From The “Mirror Of Lesson”
These days when I am busy teaching and writing this book, a TV program named ‘Falling Leaf’ is being broadcast from the serial ‘Mirror of Lesson.’ Although I do not wish to support the whole of this serial, there is an attractive point in it, which is appropriate to this part of our discussion. That is, Afsana’s higher level of education compared to Ali. We see how Afsana belittles her husband Ali who has less education than her. And what painful difficulties have come into existence in their life. The higher education of Afsana does not have any good or benefit for their joint life, rather, it is a means of harm. Had Ali married an equally educated girl and Afsana married a boy of her own level, most of their agonies and disputes would not have taken shape.
Balance and proportionality of the physique and sex has a great importance in the
life of spouses. Sexual problems are one of the real and fundamental organs and pillars of marital life. Mutual sexual saturation and satisfaction of the husband and the wife has a deep and profound effect upon their lives, just as dissatisfaction and lack of saturation has destructive and dangerous effects upon the total sum of marital life. If they satisfy and please each other from this aspect, they would be thankful to each other and put their duties and responsibilities into practice and tolerate the odds of life. But if they are displeased in this regard, they may hate each other and be disappointed and inert in respect of the performance of the responsibilities of life. This is a major point, which is regrettably belittled and overlooked in most of cases, or it is passed by shamefully and shyly, and consequently causes terrible shocks.
If one of the two spouses is sexually and physically strong, having a fervent and fiery passion and the other one is weak and frigid, most of the matters of their life become upset and unbalanced. There is also a strong probability of corruption and deviation. This lack of balance and proportionality incurs heavy damages and shocks their nerves and spirit. If we wish to explain and illustrate it with more explicitness, it would prolong the book, whereas we have based it upon briefness. But it must be considered explicitly at its own place.
True, we must not describe such sexual problems in a naked shape, heedless to modesty, as is customary in
some of the non-Islamic societies, but these must be discussed modestly. Did the prophet of Islam (a.s) and other leaders of Islam not describe these problems in a clear-cut and detailed way to teach the people? Can the youth and spouses be overlooked, not given information, defenceless in the wake of this important matter and essential need”? Just as we have a specialist for each and every organ of our body, with referral points and places for all the partial or total matters and problems of the society, why should there not exist centres and specialists for such affairs of life, family and physical, sexual and spiritual difficulties of the youth and spouses? Is the importance of this problem even less than a tooth for which we have all these specialists, dentists, and well- equipped laboratories?
We have seen a number of examples, which by studying their difficulties and profound and chronic differences of marital life, we reach one sensitive point and that is, sexual displeasure and dissatisfaction! Then it is observed that the real and actual cause of all the discomforts is this very point. But they feel shame in expressing it vividly and openly. And in some cases they do not even know themselves what is harming them. When we observe that married men and women commit sexual corruption, and develop illicit and illegal relations with strangers and we detect the roots of this affair, in most cases (though not all), we discover that the reason for these was sexual dissatisfaction and non-fulfilment.
the main reasons for the deviation of Zuleikha and her inclination towards Yousef (Joseph) (a.s), was the sexual inability of her husband.
There exist a large number of variant cases, which I have personally observed that I have avoided and overlooked due to various reservations.
Anyhow, the physical and sexual equivalence and equity of the boy and the girl must definitely be taken into consideration while selecting spouses. One of the two should not be strongly built, hot and fervent and the other a weak, withered, and frigid one. Instead they must be physically and sexually balanced counterparts, so that they are able to satisfy and saturate each other.
Moreover, it is necessary for the spouse to acquire the required information in these matters, to get information from those who are informed and seek help and advice if confronted with a difficulty.
Nervous and psychological ailments are amongst the basic causes of sexual weaknesses. The traces of these ailments are definitely present in all the modes of sexual weakness and inability, such as hasty and immature discharge, imperfect sexual intercourse and the inability of satisfying the spouse.
These diseases must be treated by expert psychologists and psychiatrists. This topic is quite vast and has a broad spectrum and needs detailed discussion; so at present we will not enter into it.
Attention to the harmony in the beauty of the face and figure between the two spouses is also necessary. If one of the two is beautiful, handsome and proportionately figured and the other one is ugly and badly featured and
figured, there is a probability of displeasure and difficulty for both. Spiritual difficulty and a sense of sexual deprivation, frustration, deviation, immodesty, and depression for the beautiful one would exist. Please take into what has been described about the sixth attribute (beauty) previously in this chapter.
A balance and equity of ages must also be considered in the selection of a spouse. The difference in the age of sexual puberty in males and females is a natural phenomenon. Boys generally attain puberty four years after the girls.
The equity and matching of the ages of the boy and the girl relates to the difference of age, not the uniformity of it, since this difference has been placed in their creation. Of course, observing a difference of four years in age is not obligatory, instead, it is better if it is there. This quality should be added to the total sum of attributes for consideration and contemplation. It is possible that the age of the girl is not less than the boy (to this extent), but she may have other peculiarities and distinctions to compensate for the shortage.
A common custom could be discussed here which is: It is not advisable for there to be a large gap and difference in the monetary positions and status of the two families of the boy and the girl.
We know ourselves pretty well that we become unbalanced and off track by laying hands on an amount of wealth and material sources. We start to be proud and boast of favour to others and humiliate and belittle them. Why must we deceive ourselves then? Commonly, if a poor or an economically average boy marries a girl from a wealthy family, he must become their servant, whereas, if a poor girl marries a boy from a rich family,
she must become their maid.
Of course, there are a few exceptions, of which we shall talk at the end of this chapter.
Just as has been formerly mentioned, in the discussion of ‘Family Nobility’, marriage with a person is equivalent to having a relation with a family and a race. So the families of the boy and the girl must have proportionality and be equivalent from religious, social, and moral aspects.
For instance, those believing in and adherent to the Islamic revolution and the system must not marry anti revolutionary and anti system families, although they may apparently be religious, since they would definitely come across difficulties. Either they have to quit and abandon their beliefs and become harmonious with them or they must face, confront, and have a permanent debate and tussle with them, both of these being a waste and loss. The Islamic revolution was born from Islam, and opposing the roots and origins of this, is opposing Islam. Of course, those who are committed to the origin of the revolution and the Islamic system and might sympathetically criticize some matters, we do not consider them to be the opponents of the revolution.
The person who is learned, knowledgeable, associated and connected with research and wants to spend his life in the field of learning and research, whose family and social life has the same composition and is fabricated in the same way and who has a profound investigative spirit must never marry a person of a family whose social spirit is a pompous, aristocratic, and ceremonious one or to those who are used to luxurious life, pompous invitations, bizarre night vigils full of passions, and excessive, extravagant journeys and programmes of enjoyment and entertainment. We have seen many persons who made this mistake and were deluded and fell prey to misery and affliction.
Of course, it is necessary and essential to attend to the entertainment of life, and the same person who is engaged
in study and research should not remain heedless to this aspect of life.
Ayatollah Jawadi Amoli used to say: “According to Islamic traditions, determination and extravagant invitations do not exist with each other.” It is not possible that a student and research scholar and investigator reaches a place and position through luxurious living.”
We know some friends who, mistakes and neglect, married girls who themselves, or their families, were people with luxurious and ceremonious modes of life. Conventionally speaking, they were from the well-off strata and even if they were not from that group, their spirit, training, and social conduct was not concordant with knowledge, piety, and contentment. As a result, their lives became entangled in affliction and painful displeasures, and in some cases, were shattered.
The saying “birds of a feather, flock together” may look to be quite an ordinary and indelicate expression, but it has a great truth in it.
It is true that the superstitious stratum distinctions are void, but human societies have variant spirits, training and social or ethical behaviours, which cannot be denied.
A Considerable Specimen
Mr ... is a learned and wise researcher and has a probing spirit. Having lived a joint marital life of a few years with Mrs ... and having a few children ultimately reached divorce. That man describes the actual cause of their separation as such:
My job is in a scientific and research role. I work, like any worker, nearly ten hours a day in connection with my research. My wife did not have any interest in my work and would
always arrange entertainment programs and wish me to join them. I used to tell her, “Just as a building labourer, carpenter, blacksmith and grocer go to their work early in the morning and come back home in the afternoon to offer their prayers, have lunch and take a rest before going back to their workplace to hand over the products of their work to society, I too feel myself committed to putting in the same amount of effort, spending my working hours in the library, busy with the research assignments and yielding its production to society. I too spend the same amount of time in entertainment programmes as they do, not more. My wife did not appreciate this logic stand, and pledge of mine and insisted on me joining all her scheduled programmes. But I did not submit to her will, since I considered my assignments more important than that, until such time as we could no longer live together.”
The marriage of those spouses who do not have social and mental harmony is harmful to both of them. You can see in the affair described, that both have faced loss and neither of the two can be recognised as the defaulter. Because that researcher and learned person can not be denounced for not surrendering to his wife’s programs, and neither can that wife not be rebuked for not becoming a learned research scholar, withstanding the that man’s life dedicated to research. Even if they wished, they could not possibly have become homologous, since each one
of the two possessed a specific and particular kind of spirit, training and objectives. They considered prosperity and felicity and obligation in what they practiced and could not appreciate the other one’s stand.
But what is indisputable is that both of them had one fault and error, which is that they should not have married in the first place. If each of them had married a homogeneous person, they would have been quite relaxed and comfortable. The man should have married a knowledge loving, studious lady of research, and the woman should have married a man of worldly living, entertainments and material enjoyment.
Perhaps at the time of proposal and marriage they were not conscious and aware of the essentiality of ideological and social harmony and co- ordination between a husband and a wife. They married in a state of indifference and heedlessness.
Ayatollah Ahmadi Mianji used to say: “The religious scholars who were ascetic men, their wives were ascetics. But if their wives did not remain contented and pressurised them and demanded more, those scholars could not have been ascetics.”
The wife of Allama Tabatabai had a major effect on his progress and success. Allama had a simple and ascetic life and their house was a rented one; yet his wife, for all her worth and regard was convinced about Allama’s course of knowledge and research and accompanied him with utmost forbearance, affection, and fortitude until the end of his life.
In this section, we benefit from the letter written by a worthy brother who did not allow
us to print his name:
Spiritual and psychological harmony is one condition of equity. In more elaborate and minute terms, ‘personality harmony’. In ‘personality psychology’, personalities of various persons have been categorised into many groups. One of the most prominent of them is the categorisation of internals and externals. Of course this is a scientific discussion, which should be given shape by benefiting from the views of experts and specialists. What can be briefly said is that the two categories are relative phenomena and, as a matter of fact, it is a spectrum, which can be graded from I (sheer internal inclination) to 100 (sheer external inclination). From the other side, sheer interior inclination (isolation) and exterior inclination (selflessness) are undesired upon the Islamic standard of values. So we must say: It cannot be said, for a desired Islamic life, that the internal persons and external persons should marry persons from their own category and group. Instead, a balance should be established. But to constrain future confrontations and a lack of understanding, there should not be much of a distance. That is to say, the mutual distance should not be more than 20 or 30 degrees. For instance, the one whose degree is 20 on one scale shall not have a comfortable life with someone who is located at 80 degrees on the same scale (a difference of 60 degrees).
(Future Must Also To A Possible Extent Be Taken In View)
It is possible that a boy and a girl are equivalent and proportionate at the time
of proposal and marriage, and apparently there may not be any considerable non-co-ordination and heterogeneity between them, but after a few years of marriage, a change or variation takes place in their life and consequently, a disharmony and discord brings about difficulty. So what must be done in these cases? How must future disharmonies be prevented?
The changes that occur in individuals and lives are of two forms:
1. Unpredictable Variations
Some changes and variations take place in the lives of certain people, which are unpredictable even though one might be the most foresighted person. Such kinds of occurrences and happenings need a specific reaction and a special decision and their suitable solutions should be sought. Such cases are out of the scope of our discussion.
2. Predictable Changes
Man can by pondering, contemplating, counselling, and seeking advice of alert and knowledgeable persons, considering his capabilities, talents, and inclinations to foresee many of the problems and events of his future life.
The youth who finds keenness, vigour and talents in respect of problems of knowledge and learning, and wishes to lead a life of knowledge and research must be attentive to this point when starting the search for a spouse. He or she must select a spouse possessing the capability and inclination towards these matters, and be fit to stand the limitations of such a life. The tolerance of these limitations needs recognition, capability and interest.
A person who loves luxuries and unlimited recreation cannot sacrifice these upon lofty and sacred aims. How could a person brought up amid the ceremonious and
enjoyable luxuries of life be expected to become familiar with the gatherings of knowledge, morality, and excellence? The person whose life is integrated with gold, clothes, fashion worshipping and passions cannot go along with a pious and meaningful life. How can a person born and bred in a mean and badly trained family, lacking faith in spiritual values, and one who has been nourished by the sap of that unclean tree and whose flesh, skin and soul has grown from that stinking marsh, breathe and live in a fragrant garden of purity and spiritualism? (We have nothing to do with the exceptions).
The future of a family can, to a great extent, be foreseen by the consideration of its form of conduct and morality. A person who intends to shoulder the big responsibilities of society and his life has to meet changes, variations, and revolutions and who expects his wife to accompany and assist him, must choose a witty, sagacious, tolerant and purposeful spouse. The girl who loves virtues and excellence and wishes to follow ‘Zeinab- e Kubra’ (a.s) must marry a man resembling Hussain (a.s). The boy who wants to have pious and gnostic children must marry a pious, ascetic and gnostic girl.
The boy and the girl should tell each other the aims, ideals, future designs in their minds and the probable changes to occur in future. Because, if the spouses know the aims, purpose and plans of the future before getting married, they either accept those and prepare themselves for bearing and accompanying
or they reject them and the matter does not occur.
But if they do not know and understand, then they might not accept and tolerate those things after being confronted with them. Consequently, they get involved and the matter reaches a point of conflict and incongruity.
Question And Answer
In the preliminary era of Islam, we observe some cases in the histories of the leaders of Islam and the companions of the Prophet (a.s) where some marriages took place in which these standards and cases of match- making were not taken into view. For instance, in the marriage of Hazrat Mohammad (a.s) and Khadija (a.s), the proportionality of age and economical status were not observed. Hazrat Khadija (a.s) was much older and richer than the Prophet (a.s). Likewise, in the marriage of Juwaibir and Zalfa the homogeneity of the family social status and beauty were not viewed. Zalfa was very beautiful and her family’s social status was much higher than that of Juwaibir; but this marriage was executed by the command of the holy Prophet (a.s). Some of the infallible Imams married their slave maids and there are many more examples. Similarly, in our own age, we also sometimes see marriages and lives in which some of the above- mentioned standards and criteria are not observed in connection with the match- making of the spouses and they have relatively better lives. Do these specimens not contradict and undermine the standards of spouse selection in the above discussion?
1- What we discuss in these arguments is based upon the majority
of people. It is possible that the problems discussed may have exceptions that are reserved in their places. But rules and regulations can never be set upon the bases of exceptions.
2- The strengths and capacities of individuals are different and the heavy load of responsibility cannot be put equally on all shoulders. That one who is weak bends his back and perhaps, his back may even break. Heavy loads are the responsibility of energetic and powerful men. But as far as the common folk and the different strata and groups of society are concerned, the energies and capacities of the majority of them should be taken into view and the responsibility and law be formulated according to their conditions.
For instance, Allah framed some authorities and specified duties for the Prophet (a.s) so that nobody else except him was bound and obliged to perform them, (such as the obligatory night service, his guardianship and superiority in all matters over the Muslims and non Muslims, the number of marriages allowed and many other things).
3- If there are people to be found in other times who can practise exceptional matters, we too would appreciate and encourage them.
Thus the marriages such as that of the Prophet (a.s) with Khadija (a.s) or that of Zalfa with Juwaibir are not common prescriptions to be suggested and prescribed to all. Yes, if the likes of Khadija (a.s) and Mohammad (a.s) appear, they would be the matches of each other and their marriage would be a blessing and prosperity, although they may be
various in respect of age and wealth.
Whenever a faithful and pious girl like Zalfa comes into existence and is as submissive to the Prophet (a.s) as she was, and a boy having the decency and faith of Juwaiber is found and he submits to the Prophet in the same way, both would be the match and counterpart of each other; though the boy may be ugly and poor and the girl be beautiful and wealthy. So we must be careful not to mix matters up.
Of course, there is nobody and there was nobody like the Prophet and the infallible Imams, but at least there should be some resemblance to them so that such marriages are suggested.
The commander of the believers, Ali (a.s) said:
“You can not lead your lives like me. But help me in piety, endeavour, modesty and honesty (Try to imitate me).”
If not like the infallibles, we can become the like of others such as Zalfa and Juwaibir. We know many girls in our own society who married the dear soldiers of the sacred war and serve them from the core of their hearts and take pride in it.
Carefulness Yes! Obsession, No!
If one has the knowledge of correct standards and criteria of spouse selection, one would not face perplexity and fault. But if one does not lay hand on the correct and exact standards and is unaware what to do, one would be perplexed and uncertain about it. Sometimes, one is dragged and pushed into and state of excessiveness and practises unnecessary and
undue obsession. At times, one gets involved in deficiency; both ways are damaging and bring repentance.
The balanced, correct, and desirable way is that at first, one should achieve the standards, which one deems true and fit, then select the spouse according to those standards, following the ways and manners to be described in the next chapter.
The minute care I am emphasizing is other than undue obsession.
We must know that a perfect spouse who does not have any shortage and shortcoming according to the desire and want of a person can never be found and can never be obtained (except the commander of the faithful, Hazrat Ali (a.s) and Fatima Zahra(a.s), both of them infallibles and pure from all faults, shortcomings and sins). We do not know any other couple, which might be infallibles. Even the spouses of other infallibles were not infallibles (innocent). Nobody (apart from the innocent and the infallibles) (both men and women) is pure of faults and everybody definitely has weak points.
If somebody wishes to have an all round, perfect, and complete spouse which should be according to his wants and desires, he must firstly look into himself to see whether he or she is free of all faults and does not have any weak points. Surely, no one can make such a claim. Therefore he or she should know that the person who is going to be his or her spouse is also not devoid and free of all defects and complete. One must not think so idealistically, or no one
will ever reach one’s complete ideal.
Sometimes I tell my friends and acquaintances who practise this illogical obsession, exceeding the limits of spouse selection, “If you wish to have a perfect and ideal spouse, who may be, from all aspects, according to your desire, then inshallah, when you go to heaven, you will find that, because all those in paradise (both men and women) are perfect and perfectly liked by each other. But such a person is not found in this world. Besides, are you yourself so perfect as to demand a person who is complete?”
Therefore, a thorough and complete check and care must be exercised in the selection of a proportional and balanced spouse for oneself. But it should be borne in mind that a hundred percent homogeneity and harmony is not possible and a certain amount of distance and disharmony would definitely exist. All that should be endeavoured is to lessen this distance and disharmony, so that it reaches the lowest possible limit.
The distance and lack of homogeneity might be compensated for and made good by mutual understanding, love, forbearance and magnanimity.
So: Minute care Yes! Obsession No!
Question And Answer
Now when the standards and qualities of the spouse have been described, there is another question to be discussed: Those who lack these qualities and attributes, what must they do? Should they remain spouseless for the rest of their lives?
1 - A portion of the answer to this question has been illuminated and illustrated in the discussion of equality and homogeneity; meaning, if everyone selects his
counterpart and proportional spouse, only very few will remain spouseless. There are only a few people who may not find their counterpart and match. For instance, an irreligious, characterless, and immoral person must not look forward to marrying a pious and good- natured one, having decent and moral character; instead, this person must marry someone like himself or herself; because ‘birds of a feather, flock together’.
And a person who has a lower grade of knowledge, his or her counterpart and spouse is a person like himself or herself; and same is true about other attributes and peculiarities.
The Quran’s just logic in this regard:
﴿الْخَبِيثَاتُ لِلْخَبِيثِينَ وَالْخَبِيثُونَ لِلْخَبِيثَاتِ وَالطَّيِّبَاتُ لِلطَّيِّبِينَ وَالطَّيِّبُونَ لِلطَّيِّبَاتِ. ﴾
“The impure women are for the impure men, and the impure men are for the impure women, and the pure women are for the pure men, and the pure men are for the pure women.”
This is the genetic and divine law and legislation made by Allah that the pure ones attract the pure ones like themselves, and the impure ones attract their likes.
‘Similarity is the cause of attraction.’
2- With reference to what has been described in the section ‘Care yes! Obsession no!’, another portion of this question has been answered; since we said it is not necessary that the spouse be complete and perfectly ideal, but rather an average fairness and completion is sufficient and enough.
3 - We explained certain virtues and attributes that are the condition of perfection, not the foundation of it. Consequently, one must not be very severe and strict about the
attributes of completion (i.e., beauty, education and wealth, etc.)
4- There are certain individuals who have the power, tolerance, and endurance to accept some weaknesses, whereas others do not have it. For instance, some accept and endure the physical disability of certain organs of the spouse.
5- Keeping in view the above four answers and the exceptional cases which we described before, as well as the points which we will discuss in the chapter ‘Sacrificial Marriages’, there would only be a few who might remain spouseless.
But there is a small group in society, which do not have the capability and capacity of marriage. These people can be categorised as follows:
(A) The patient whose ailments are not curable and can be hazardous and damaging to the life of the next generation. For instance, psychologically disturbed individuals and the insane and leprosy patients, etc.
Of course, if they are treated and the specialist doctors certify that they are healthy and perfect, then marriage with them will have no hindrance.
(B) Those addicted to dangerous addictions.
Until such time as they abandon their addiction and correct their morality, conduct, and spirit, they must not marry in any case.
(C) Careless, deviated, corrupt and persons of bad character.
Their remedy is to boycott them. Never must the coming generation be corrupted by taking pity upon these sharp- toothed leopards. If they do not get married, they would have to think about remedying their habits, making amends, and making up their deficiencies. We, in the section ‘Morality’ of this chapter (the second virtue and attribute), described a
hadith where Imam Reza (a.s) wrote a letter in response to a father who said: “The person who has come to ask the hand of my daughter in marriage is ill- natured. Shall I marry her to him or not?...” Imam (a.s) distinctly and vividly answered “Do not marry her to him if he is an ill- tempered and bad- natured one.” This word from Imam Reza (a.s) is a form of boycott. This rejection and refusal is an effective warning to the corrupt and ill- natured ones to rectify themselves. If they rectify and remedy themselves, they are suitable for marriage, otherwise they must be rejected (whether a boy or a girl). We do not have any right to drag the next generation toward corruption and destruction just to take pity on them.
The interest and welfare of society has priority over the interest of the individual. Both must be protected as far as possible. But if co- existence between the two is not possible and it becomes necessary to sacrifice one of the two over the other, then certainly the individual must be sacrificed over the society and not the society over the individual. This is what Islam and intellect commands us to do.
The thought and belief among some people that if such and such a person is married, he could be set right and corrected is not true always and for everyone. This is a famous saying with no basis. It is not true that every corrupt and evil person is corrected and
rectified by him marrying. Yes, certain individuals do. But the exceptions cannot be extended to all and include everyone.
There is no guarantee that an evil person will be corrected by marriage. Instead, there is a strong chance and probability that he might even corrupt his spouse as well: not only does he not conform to her, but he causes her to conform to himself.
At the end of this chapter, it is essential to give a necessary warning; that is, negligence and carelessness is the source and origin of many human miseries and troubles. It is harmful in all the matters, but as for marriage, it is more harmful. A moment of negligence may be followed by life- long repentance and sorrow. We see many of the people who say that their failures in marital life occurred on account of one moment of negligence in the selection of the spouse.
One of them said: “I was quite aware of the problems of marriage before I married. I knew the standards of spouse selection and had sufficient information about the necessity of harmony between the spouses. Even to the extent that I used to recommend it to others. But I do not know what happened that I became negligent when I selected a spouse I forgot all those things which I used to suggest to others and ultimately what I was afraid of, did occur to me.”
Usually we know many things, but overlook them at the time of practising.
We must be very cautious in connection with spouse
selection and remind ourselves to avoid becoming careless in this issue.
O Allah! Be the helper and guide of the youth and guide them in this vitally important issue.
Just as the human body needs spirit to continue living and a spiritless body is cold, frigid, and withered, marital life, too, stands in need of spirit to become prosperous, fruitful, and dynamic; and that spirit is love. A life short of love is like a lifeless and spiritless body.
Similarly, as a building needs some binding material (cement, etc) and the page of a book requires glue to remain organised, the institution of the family also needs a cement and glue as the binding force to strengthen and continue its fruitful life; that is to say, love and affection between the husband and the wife.
Love is an elixir of prosperity, which gives hope to sad and depressed hearts and turns coldness and frigidity into fervently warm emotions. Love turns thorns into fragrant flowers.
We turn to professor Martyr Mutahhari’s worthy saying:
“The boy and girl who never thought of anything while single, except those things which were directly related to their own personalities, had no sooner attached their hearts to each other and set up the assembly of a family, that they find themselves, for the first time attached and associated with the destiny of another being. And when they have a child, their spirits are completely changed. That lazy, slow moving boy has now turned into a clever and fast moving one and the girl who would not
leave her bed even by force, no sooner hears the voice of her baby in the cradle when she jumps up like lightening.
What is that power that took away and removed that looseness, laxity, and slackness and made the youth so sensitive? It is nothing but love and attachment. Love awakens the dormant and sleeping organs and frees the tied up energies just like the breaking up of the atom, freeing the atomic energy. It is inspiring and a hero maker. Love completes the soul and brings the amazing and astonishing interior potential talents into view. It is inspiring from the comprehensive and perceptive point of view and strengthens the intention and courage from the emotional aspect.
If love governs family life and the wife and husband love each other from heartily, many difficulties are eased and solved, and are not even considered and counted to be difficulties, just like the hardships of a holy war on the way of Allah; for such hardships taste sweeter than honey for a mujahid. And similar to the odds and hardships that a researcher bears and endures on the way of knowledge and takes pleasure from them and enjoys them.
Be merry, oh our sweet love;
Oh the physician of all our ailments.
But if love does not exist, then many of life’s matters, even those which are simple and easy, become hard and tough and appear like the cumbersome toil of a prison annoying and molesting the soul and the body.
If love is there, then the husband and the wife put
on the spectacles of beautification and whatever that they see it is good and beautiful to them. They may even consider each other’s faults as beautiful. But if this life- giving element is lacking, then they put on the spectacles of misconception and view everything as ugly. Even to the extent that they might view each other’s merits as demerits and dismaying.
Ali (a.s) the commander of believers said:
مَن أبْغَضَ شَيئاً أبغَضَ أنْ يَنظُرَ إلَيهِ وَأنْ يُذكَرَ عِندَه.
“If a person does not like a thing, he does not like to look at it and hear about it.”
It is part of human nature and instinct that when he dislikes a thing, even its name, signs and memory is disliked by him. And if he loves a thing, then everything, which leads to it and reminds him of it is liked by him. He enjoys everything attached and associated to it.
If one does not like one’s spouse, and instead feels hate and scorn for him or her, then one would unconsciously and unknowingly wrong him or her. This would make one find faults and pick a quarrel and enter into contention and dispute. But if love is there, one never views the partial faults and even if one views them, one neglects them.
In an atmosphere and environment of purity where a couple has mutual affection and attraction, all life is beautiful. Even the walls and doors of the house reflect beauty, charm and freshness, and the atmosphere of the home is attractive, hopeful and refreshing. The two hearts
of the loving couple are full of sentiment and love, beating for each other. As if their heart beatings are harmonious and analogous. And those are not two hearts, but one heart in two chests - like a single soul in two bodies. They love everything pertinent to each other. They love each other’s families, relatives, and associates. Everything belonging to the other one is lovely, sweet and pretty: the face, conduct, speech, pictures, clothes, dresses, letters, memories, etc.
If two spouses love each other, they would even get along with each other’s deficiencies and lapses. The husband and the wife want to live together for the whole of life. They are supposed to meet hardships, odds and burdens during this time, as these are the musts of worldly life. They must have some kind of provision to traverse this lengthy way of life. And love is the best provision for this journey. If they have this energy right at the starting point of the journey of life, they would be able to carry on with it to the end and at each other’s side, reaching the destination of prosperity. But if this energy is lacking, then they would fail to combat the odds of life and perform their heavy duties and carry this trust to the destination.
Frigidity and coolness turns into warmness, and bitterness into sweetness under the fascinating and charming shade of love. In this fragrant and enchanting atmosphere decent and trained children evolve.
We again refer to the words of professor Mutahhari, the sagacious
philosopher and martyr of the way of love:
“The support and kindness of man’s heart toward his wife is so worthy and valuable to the woman that marital life is not endurable for the woman without it. The woman’s life must take in emotions and sentiments from the man so as to be able to saturate her children from her full of tender spring and kind sentiments and emotions. The man is like a mountain and the woman like a spring and the children like flowers and plants. The spring should receive the rain of the mountains and sprout it in the form of pure and clean water to make the plants, flowers and herbs green, fresh, and blooming. If rain does not fall upon the mountains or the mountains’ form is such that nothing is absorbed by the soil, the spring will dry up and the plants and flowers wither. Thus, as the life of landscapes and deserts is dependent upon the mountain rains, similar is the case of the man’s sentiments and feelings with regard to the woman. These sentiments make the lives of the woman and the children pure, sublime and felicitous.”
1- Loves Of Lust And Passion
These are on the basis of sexual attractions, lust, and passionate desires. Although this kind of love is necessary in spouse selection and joint life and must definitely exist, it is not sufficient alone. Moreover it does not have all those benefits, qualities, and peculiarities, which have been stated about love, and it can not last
forever, because with the passage of time of the couple’s joint life, lustful desires and passions would subside and the preliminary zest and fervour of sexual attraction would gradually fade away. Following the birth of children, the freshness of youth would decrease and the faces and physiques would lose their previous shapes and forms. After many years pass, the effects of old age would become apparent in the man and the woman and that would be the time when strong and powerful incentives and motives to continue a prosperous life would no more exist.
The combining and adhesive force of life should be so strong that it persists and lasts through all the stages and phases of life and is able to make the skeleton of life stand on a firm footing. This (sexual) kind of love does not alone have such a strength and endurance; its colour being faded and a shame is brought by it.
2- Lofty Love:
In this kind of love, a person’s inclinations are toward the lofty values. If this type of love comes to exist in the husband- wife relationship, the sexual desires, lusts and passions would also be placed under its umbrella and would pick up the colours of lofty and superb values. Both forms of loves are essential in marital life and each one in itself is not sufficient.
To say that the inclinations and relations of spouses should only rest upon supreme and lofty values and that sexual love is not necessary would be a mistake. Rather, both must be
present to make each other perfect. In this problem, too, like all other marital problems, the middle way should be adopted, not the way of excessiveness or deficiency. The first type of love, when alone, is subversive and damaging, but when accompanied by the other form loses its negative and harmful aspect and having become a part of superb values, turns into a beneficial one.
Here too professor Martyr Mutahhari opens the vista saying:
“Human sentiments and feelings have forms and grades. Some of them are from the category of passions, specifically sexual lust, being common instincts among man and all the animals. It arises from the sexual origin and is finished right there. Its increasing and decreasing is mostly related to the physiological functions of the reproductive system and inevitably is at the time of youth. With the passage of time on one side and its being greatly saturated and satisfied on the other it is used up.”
“Man has another form of feelings which are factually and naturally diverse to sexual lust. We had better name them sentiments, and by the Quranic interpretation, ‘amiability’ and ‘compassion’.
“Quran interprets the marital relations between men and women by the words ‘amiability’ and ‘compassion’ and it is an extremely lofty point. It is an indication of the human aspect and the super- animal dimension of marital life. It is indicative of the fact that lust and passions are not the only linkage in marital life. The real and actual relation is the purity, truth, communion and unity of the two
Question And Answer
Q: The first form of love is recognised and known by all, but the second form is not very clear and vivid. What is the love, which rests upon lofty values and the marital life should be set up according to it and the former one should be placed under its umbrella?
A: The facts described in this chapter about the criteria of spouse selection are a complete and comprehensive response to this question. The standards and values, which have been described cover both forms of love.
As already described, the love of a husband and a wife must persist and continue and must last even after the days of youth are gone.
The husband and wife need such sentiments and kind feelings, which may hold their family life with all the warmth and fervour even after sexual attraction, passions, lustful desires and the freshness of youth are finished.
Allah has placed the source and origin of this love in the spouses: “And He put between you love and compassion.”
So if their lives are set upon correct foundations and are managed and administrated in the right way, then that ‘love’ and ‘compassion’ will continue and will remain life-long.
We have seen a great number of couples where the passing of the youth period not only did not create any flaw and weakness in their love, but also with the passing of age and movement towards old age, their mutual regard and graciousness increased. As a matter of fact, their conduct became more sober and gracious and their
old age became the phase of their perfection and the height and ceiling of their joint loves.
Aunt Zainab and Hajj Hassan were life partners for the last seventy years. I can recollect the final 25 years of their lives nearly, in which they had all the reverence and respect for each other and I do not know any event that could indicate any mutual disrespect and disinclination in their lives.
I asked their relatives about the rest of their life together and came to know that they were always like this. Aunt Zainab was both a wife and a nurse for Hajj Hassan who was older than her and who became ill in his last years. She held the old man in such respect, reverence, and kindness that it amazed and made the one who saw it praise her. In this part of their old age, sexual phenomenon did not mean anything to them, since they had surpassed it. But the love, honour and grand respect was overwhelming their relations even still.
Whenever Hajj Hassan fell ill, the aunt would nurse and look after him with extreme kindness and respect. Whenever I visited them, Hajj Hassan said:
“This lady has looked after me so very well. If it was not for her, I would not have been able to pass my old age honourably. It is because of her kindness and nursing that I can go to the mosque and attend to my services and prayers and lead a honourable life. Her existence is a great boon
and beneficence, which Allah has bestowed upon me. I always pray for her.”
I enjoyed seeing their sincere relations and felt sorry about many husbands and wives who have cold relations and have scornful and menacing conduct towards each other. I used to wish all spouses had been like aunt Zainab and Hajj Hassan.
Hajj Hassan had grown very old and was nearly ninety years of age and could no longer stand or walk to perform his work. But Allah had saved and spared his kind spouse for him. She used to look after and nurse her old husband with respect, love and self-sacrifice, never allowing him to face humiliation and misery.
The last time I visited Hajj Hassan to enquire after his health, he said: “Had Allah not given this spouse to me, I could no longer continue my life”.
The last days of Hajj Hassan’s life approached and he was about to leave Zainab alone after a lovely joint life of seventy years. Aunt Zainab was nursing him with all her might, looking after him from all aspects, revolving around him like a butterfly around a candle. She served him to all possible extents. Hajj Hassan occasionally opened his eyes and looked at her. His looks reflected the signs of respect, reverence, thankfulness and gratitude for her. As if he was saying: “Oh my pure angel, you were my spouse and faithful friend. You spent your youth and life beside me. You put up with my deficiencies and lacking in our lives and did not complain to
anyone. You secured my honour. You were the partner of my sorrows and joys and my companion amid the odds of life. Now when, I am leaving this world, I am pleased with you. And I bear witness to Allah that you were a good wife. I am pleased with you. And I hope Allah may also be pleased with you, and grant you reward.”
His lips sometimes moved and he prayed for her.
Aunt Zainab’s condition was nearly similar to her husband and she also uttered the same prayers for her old husband through her conduct, speech, condition, and looks.
At last the delegate of Allah came to take his soul. As if the death delegate of Allah too thanked and praised her, since only a few hours before the angel’s arrival she had bathed and cleaned him up and changed his clothes; as if she wanted to send a bridegroom toward his wedding chamber.
Following the passing away of Hajj Hassan, I went to see the aunt. Her eyes were shedding tears. Her heart was grieved and heavy, but she had a feeling of pride and exaltation, since she felt she had performed the divine duties in connection with her husband.
Dear youths, do you not wish to have a prosperous life like that of aunt Zainab and Hajj Hassan? Of course, you do! So you must observe the existence of love and affection in the selection of your spouse. You should marry someone, whom you definitely love and that person must also love you. Marriage is not
only the communion of bodies, it is also the unity of hearts. And this relation should be so strong and unbreakable as to persist and last until the end of life. And only a relation can have such a quality, which is established on two pillars; that is, the same two forms of love, which have previously been defined.
In one way, love alone does not suffice a felicitous life. Instead, both spouses must love and adorn each other. If one loves the other and the other does not, then their life would have difficulty. The indifference and apathy of the other would soon cool down the love and affection of the spouse. Consequently, hatred and scorn will develop on both sides. It is two-way love that creates prosperity, not one way love.
One of the traps into which most of the youth fall and usually can not escape is that they discover, before the marriage’s execution, that they do not like each other (or one of them does not like the other) and they want to avoid the marriage, but the family members and their friends say “Now you marry and afterwards love will be created!” These inexperienced youths, having believed in their word, marry and thereafter not only is love not created, but also with each passing day their mutual scorn and hatred increases. Miseries surround them. And then those people who recommended their marriage and promised them the development of love, all vanish away. All have left them alone to themselves to pass a cool, frigid, spiritless life with a mountain of difficulties and agonies. Even if those who promised them that love would develop wish to help them, they simply cannot.
Youths (both boys and girls) must concentrate upon and be cautious about this point: that love must be present or should take shape at the beginning so as to build
the foundations of marriage. There is no guarantee that it may develop at a later stage. I have seen many persons who married bearing this wrong conception and logic in their minds and their lives were ruined. We would describe one of these bitter stories later on. Here take a look at two sorrowful events, which have been described by Ayatollah Ameeni.
First Tragic Story:
Mrs ... writes in her letter: “Nearly a year ago, I married a young man whom I did not know previously. He twice visited our home, but I did not have the chance to think carefully whether I liked him as my future husband or not. I told myself that after the marriage contract takes shape, love would follow. But unfortunately, after the marriage contract, when he came to our home, I discovered that I really did not have any inclination towards him.
Thereafter, I discussed the matter with my family, but I was strongly opposed. They said: “You will start to like him later on”. But now even after the lapse of one year from the date of our marriage, not only have I not developed any liking for him, but even I do not love the sight of him. Really I am exhausted. Many times I thought of committing suicide, but I was afraid of Allah. My life is like a hell. I burn inwardly and tolerate it. What must I do?”
Second Tragic Letter
Mr... from... writes: “It is now five years I have been serving in the Islamic Republic’s armed forces.
Four years ago I married my cousin. During these four years, I did not have any interest in life, nor do I have it yet, because I married this girl, whose life has been made bitter by me, upon the insistence of my parents. I did not like this girl, but upon the insistence of my parents, I moved for the asking of her hand in marriage and thus destroyed her life and mine. I do everything possible to forget the past and set my heart and please it with this life, but it is in vain. Whenever I go home on leave, I become the cause of the displeasure and pain to my parents as well as my wife. Now my parents have accepted their fault but to no use. It is very late now and I do not know what to do. I always pray with weeping eyes at the end of my service. I feel sorry about why I ruined the life of this girl whom I can not make happy.”
Important Question And Answers
So far we have come to conclude that love between spouses is the axis and real pillar of marital life, and should be present before marriage, and that life be founded upon it.
Now the question arises about the boy and the girl who did not see and know each other before marriage, or even if they knew one another, there was no attachment and affiliation between them (as they did not have any intention to marry) and now they
have made up their minds to take steps regarding proposal and investigation (into each other’s characters etc), how is it possible that all of a sudden love should be developed in their hearts? How must they understand whether they like each other or not? They were not acquainted and friendly towards each other to discover their love, hatred or any of the two. Briefly speaking what is the way and criteria of their discovery of each other’s love or hate?
Ans. This is a very important and fundamental question and must be perfectly attended to and needs much concentration, careful thought, and contemplation. And now carefully read the explanation in this respect.
The illegal friendships and the street romances, which are practised by immodest people is against the interest of boys and girls, and can never end up in a sacred and prosperous marriage. We definitely do not suggest with reference to the facts described in chapters 5 and 6 that this problem is well soluble. In this manner we keep the standards described in chapter 5 in view and start following the guide plan of chapter 6. The more we move ahead, the more our recognition of the concerned person increases and the attraction or disinclination towards him becomes evident. With the increase in our information pertaining to one’s qualities and traits and that of his family, our love or scorn for him would be inflated.
We keep moving on this course until we reach a final decision (positive or negative). If we do not reach a
clear-cut conclusion in the initial phase of the plan (consultation and friendships and mundane loves. And by love we do not mean such unsuitable and incorrect matters. These illegal companionships and loves severely damage the honour and personality of the youth and bring them many miseries. And the girl suffers more harm than the boy.
The fate of a girl who loses her modesty and honour as a result of mixing with passionate and lustful men is extremely painful. Never has a prosperous family been seen to be raised from the effects of these filthy games. Regretfully, some weak-minded girls are deceived by the false promises of these glib- tongued impostors and they lose their honour and modesty on the hope of finding a felicitous marriage. As a result, they smoulder in the hearth of repentance and regret. (Of course, there are girls too who trap boys and make them miserable.)
Anyway, the correct way and answer to the question is as follows: seek advice, mediation, investigation and sending a messenger), then we carry on with the final phases (writing a letter, sending pictures, direct conversation, seeing each other) until we reach a point of decision.
Do not forget the final point of the sixth chapter; that is “step by step and with patience and perfect caution”. Do not forget this. If one works according to what has been described, and the various stages of spouse selection are crossed with patience and caution and the standards described in chapter 5 are observed, the situation of love or no
love and attraction or repulsion would become clear.
I strongly emphasize and stress that until such time as the state of love is not fully clear and evident and it is not known that the girl and the boy like each other, steps in connection with marriage must not be taken. Of course, they may not drop the idea also. If there exists a condition of neither love nor hatred and the fact that whether they love or hate each other remains ambiguous, then a final decision must not be taken; rather the plan of chapter 6 should be carried on until ultimately it is known that they like each other or not.
My brother and sister, be fully cautious and attentive not to be subjected to any deviational factor. And take your last decision with great care, caution and patience, and by considering all the dimensions of the problem. It is possible that some people may pressurize you by saying “Why are you suspending it? What kind of flaw or demerit does that person have? Come on, hurry up, give an answer, you do not need to think so much. What will people say if they understand that? It will break my heart if you reject him (or her) and I will curse you! And you will remain spouseless for the rest of your life. You just say OK and leave the rest of it to us! Everything will be all right ...”
If this style does not work, they may threaten you, particularly in the case
of the girl, and make the youth yield to an unwanted marriage through fear, pressure and harassment.
But you do not pay heed to such words and false ultimatums and threats. And it cannot take place unless you say “Yes” and no one can do a thing in this regard. If a marriage takes place without the consent of the boy and the girl and under pressure, it is null and void. And such a marriage would be illegal. Do not submit to an illegal marriage. Some of the elders when confronted with a negative reply or suspension of the reply by the boy or the girl often say “What fault does that person have, so that you are not accepting or are delaying the marriage?” The answer to this is that it is not essential that the person must necessarily have some shortcoming so that the reply be given is negative or the matter be suspended, but he may be even good and still one does not accept him as a spouse. And this is the legal right of a person to accept or reject a proposal.
If marriage is not accompanied by mutual love and respect, an upset and disturbed life will come into existence, and no force, law or convention can settle it down. Let us look into the philosophical and wise words of martyr professor Mutahhari in this regard:
“Two persons can be made to work together by force and legal compulsion, so can they be obliged to honour their commitment on the
basis of justice and co- work for many years, but it is not possible to force two individuals by law to love and sincerely befriend each other and practice mutual self sacrifice, with each one regarding the prosperity of the other as his own.”
At the end of this chapter, we again stress and remember that: minute care, Yes! obsession, No! “Caution! Caution oh listener! Trial, trial oh unmindful. Nobody informs and awakens you like the wise and knowledgeable one.”
In the previous discussions, especially the 5th chapter, some of the people for whom these discussions are arranged, would usually ask this question “How and by what means should one recognise and select a spouse”?
We gave them a short response, saying, please wait until we reach this topic and then we will give a detailed answer.
Now is the time for that.
Now that we have learnt the merits and excellence of marriage, the time of marriage, the benefits of its early execution and demerits of its delay, the difficulties, hurdles and restraints on its way and their solutions and the standards of spouse selection and with the help of Allah decided to marry, how should we proceed?
Now that we have achieved the knowledge of its criteria, what is the way of identifying the spouse who may be concordant with these standards? And how can we ascertain that our standards have been secured?
Briefly, after getting to know the theory, we wish to practice it. So how must we cross this bridge?
Ans: At a time when the standards and principles are in one’s hand and one knows what one wants, then moving on the way is not very difficult (although it is a small thing to do and needs concentration). It is like a traveller, who has a destination and knows which way he is heading and what is his object and goal. But such a traveller must have a guide map to reach his destination, safe and sound.
From the beginning of these discussions up to chapter
5, the aim was described clearly (thanks to God). In this chapter, the guide map will inshallah, be illustrated and clarified.
Just as different standards are set up for handing over various offices and posts and individuals are selected according to those standards and specifications, similarly, for selecting the post of spouse, persons must be selected according to its criteria (for both a boy and a girl). This selection has a very important role to play in the lives of both.
The girl and boy who want to select someone as their spouse must have a complete and all out recognition of that person.
The attainment of this recognition is one of the unavoidable necessities. In any case, it is not advisable for someone who wants to spend a whole lifetime beside a person and let him share all her belongings, tie up her fate with him and make him an intimate by making an eternal commitment, whilst not having sufficient recognition of that person. Carelessness and indifference in this field is a kind of suicide, which no clever, sane person can commit.
Following the selection of faith and school of thought, there is no other selection and decision as great and important as this one. No one affects our destiny as much as our spouse, following the prophets and divine leaders. (The impacts of parents relates mostly to pre- marital age. Right now we are discussing marriage.)
One wonders with what kind of words and expression one must explain this importance. I believe the various dimensions and importance
of the role of a spouse in one’s destiny, and the essentiality of minute care in spouse selection cannot be defined as they should be.
Even spouses themselves may not perceive and weigh their mutual effects upon each other’s destiny in the practical field (because the effects are gradual), but the effect does its work in a continued and permanent way.
The marital world is really a queer and strange world, full of secrets and signals, quite amazing and based upon wisdom.
The worth and importance of advice is quite clear and vivid, so it is not necessary to discuss it. All that is important here is how to get advice in connection with spouse selection.
A Sage Guide
It is a must for every one to select a sage and wise guide and seek his advice in all the important matters of his life, even though he may have to face a tiresome search to find such a guide. This is because a guide has determinant effects upon human life.
For the youth, depending upon self-opinion, not seeking counsel can be dangerous, particularly in the problems of spouse selection. It may even cause inconceivable regrets.
Allah specifies the faithful as those who seek advice:
﴿وَأَمْرُهُمْ شُورَى بَيْنَهُمْ﴾
“And their rule is to take counsel among themselves.”
So this sage and wise guide must be consulted and counselled on all the phases of marriage and setting up of a joint life.
The Qualities Of An Adviser
One cannot seek the advice of everybody, since if the adviser does not possess the characteristics of good counselling, he
will misguide and distract the one seeking advice. As a result, the harm and damage will exceed the benefit (if any).
The adviser’s qualities are as follows:
An irreligious man cannot be confided in. A religious one, besides being worthy of confidence, looks at the matters from an Islamic point of view and he gives his opinion according to Islamic standards.
2- Wits And Intelligence
3- Having Sufficient Knowledge And Awareness About The Problems Of Spouse Selection And Marriage.
4- Freedom And Independence Of Opinion Expression:
He may express his opinion and belief freely and fearlessly, short of any wrong consideration. A person who lacks freedom of opinion may take some incorrect policies into consideration, which may harm the advice- seeker.
5- Having Goodwill
Parents can have an important role in this connection and be sympathetic and well-wishing advisers to the youths. They may put their views and experiences at the disposal of their children, not thrusting and imposing those on them.
An Important Reminder
The youth, after having taken the views and advice of others, should make the decisions themselves. The linkage between the advice seeker and the adviser should be like that of the pilot with the ‘control tower’, that is to say, he may take the information and guidance, but the control and the decision must be in his own hand.
Allah says about the Prophet (a.s):
﴿وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الْأَمْرِ فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ.﴾
“And take counsel with them in the affair; so when you have decided, then place your trust in Allah;”
A person who introduces the boy and the girl
for marriage is an introducer or mediator. Sometimes after introducing them, he even extends help and assistance in the process or he does not introduce, but the youth himself or his family turns to him for help in the search of a suitable person or for guidance in this regard. The worth and divine reward of this act has already been described.
This mediation and introduction and referring to the introducer or mediator can have a great importance in spouse selection. Therefore, one must be very careful in conducting this affair and must not depend or trust every Tom, Dick and Harry. Instead, the personality of the mediator must have some qualities. The boy and the girl also have some duties in this respect, which must be taken into consideration.
Kinds Of Mediators
1- An Aware Well-Wisher
They know the standards and are familiar with the ways and means of this important responsibility and discharge it very well. One can trust and confide in them.
The standard for recognising and evaluating these ‘mediators’ and ‘introducers’ is the same as has been described in the discussion about counselling; which means, all those attributes and characteristics described for an advisor stand true and valid here too.
The advisor and introducer may be one person or two different persons. That is to say, it is possible that the same man who is being consulted with becomes a mediator and introducer. He might also perform one job; i.e., he may have the capability of being an advisor, but may not know someone to be introduced.
An Unaware Well- Wisher
They have good intentions and want to do a good deed and be rewarded, but they do not know the ways and means. They intend to do good, but because they are unaware of the standards and manners of spouse selection, they may bring damage. The intention is benevolent, but their practice is evil. Trusting them is harmful and the cause of repentance and agony.
A Sad Specimen
There was a person who was a well- wisher, having pure intention and lofty courage. Well-wishing and doing good to others and helping them were part of his attributes and he was a success in these deeds. Once, among the numerous good deeds, which he performed, was introducing girls and boys to each other to mediate in marriage. Regretfully, he did not have sufficient experience, knowledge, and vision in this part of his activities, causing the usual failure of those marriages mediated by him.
One of the cases dealt by him is as follows:
He introduced a girl named Afsana to a boy named Ghulam, praising her very much. Ghulam’s brother who was aware of the nature of his brother and had acquired some information about Afsana as well, said to him, “This girl is not suitable for my brother. They are not a match and cannot have a successful life.” But the mediator insisted saying, “Let them see each other and talk; they may reach an understanding.”
Ghulam’s brother who knew about his brother’s weakness, indecisiveness and witlessness and had gathered an amount of information about the cunningness,
glibness and evilness of Afsana, told the mediator, “I know my brother very well. I am aware of his mental and spiritual conditions; and if he talks to Afsana, he would lose his heart in love with her and would submit to her will. And then the conventional agreement will take place, but this will not be a real harmony and will be followed by serious and grave results.” But the mediator insisted with good will, since he did not have any negative intention.
Anyhow, Ghulam reached the stage of action. The brother talked to Ghulam as well, and told him, “Brother, this girl does not suit you, and she is not fit for you. She has some peculiarities, which are not at all proper and proportional to you. If you marry her, your lives will be ruined”.
Regretfully, his endeavours did not bring fruit. At last, Ghulam and Afsana met each other, resulting in what the brother was afraid of. Ghulam submitted to her and finally they were married.
As a result of this inauspicious marriage, such turmoil and disturbance took place that I do not remember any parallel to it. That is, I have never heard and seen such negative, unfortunate and adverse results in any marriage like that one.
The brother said to the mediator: “See what you have done!”
He replied: “I had good intentions and never wanted all this.”
The brother reflected: “Yes I know that, but since you do not have the ability to do this, you happened to bring evil, so never carry on
with these good deeds”.
This mediator and introducer was the same one who introduced Ismail and Safoora whose story has already been described in the fifth chapter.
3- Persons Who Have Bad Intentions And Evil Cause And Promote Their Own Special Benefits And Profits.
These persons have evil intentions and evil practices. They are similar to conjuror brokers who want to achieve their own benefits and secure their impure objectives through fraud, glibness, and a crafty character.
Youths and families must remain cautious and very careful that they are not get deceived by these impostors and hypocrites.
An Important Warning To The Youth
Although the mediators and introducers of the first group are absolutely dependable and trustworthy and are a good help to the youth in spouse selection, this is not to say that whatever they say and introduce must be accepted by the youth. No! not at all! The youth themselves are the ones who must take the final decision. That is, the duty of those introducers is only extending help and guidance, but the final decision is to be taken by the boy and the girl. This point must never be forgotten.
Investigation is among the important ways and means of this ‘guide map.’
One day when I was busy writing this chapter, the agent of an organisation who was making an investigation about a candidate for a job met me. Following our discussion about the candidate, I said to the investigator: “Since your job is so important, be very careful in the selection of individuals.”
He told me: “We investigate
a person who wants to join our organisation for nearly six months. We contact a large number of people who know him and take a great deal of consideration and investigation about him into account. If we do not find he meets our standards, we do not accept him.”
After he left, I thought: If it is necessary to investigate a man for six months before handing him over an administrative responsibility, then how long must one investigate for the sake of spouse selection and handing over the charge of a lifelong responsibility of a joint life and the duty of bringing into existence a new generation, and selecting a spouse who plays a fundamental role in the prosperity or adversity of a person’s world and hereafter? Moreover, if the person employed proves to be evil, he can easily be replaced, but replacing a spouse, if he or she does not come up to be homogeneous, will be too much difficult or impossible!
Acceptance Or Rejection Needs Logic
Just as someone must not be accepted as a spouse without sufficient logic and recognition, similarly, he or she must not be rejected without enough justification, logic and recognition. We must have logic for both acceptance and rejection. Some people reject a person just because they do not have sufficient recognition of the person in question. It is as wrong as the acceptance short of recognition, because the rejected person may be a pious and suitable one and after losing him, we may not get at another one who is
The Ways Of Investigation And How To Cross Them
The standard of investigation is not equal for all. The more the person under investigation is known to you, the less investigation would be required. The more unknown is a person, the more would it be necessary.
Those who want to marry among their relatives and acquaintances, their job would become easier and it may even not be necessary to observe all the problems, which have been mentioned about investigation. However, they too are not independent and free of investigation, counselling and seeking advice. In any case, a complete and comprehensive recognition must be attained. While making an investigation, variant ways should be moved upon and the minute details of the problems must be considered. Different information should be gathered and placed in an even order and considered and contemplated from all aspects to reach a result gradually.
Any information achieved on the way of investigation is a help and guidance toward the destination, whether small or large; since the details of a matter give man access to the principles. But each one of the details must not be depended upon separately to reach a result. Instead, a result may be concluded from the aggregation and collection of them, and a decision taken thereupon.
Now, we consider the ways, means and cases of investigation.
1- Consideration Of The Conditions And Qualities Of The Relatives Of The Person
It has been described in chapter five under the topic ’family nobility’ that some of the qualities and attributes spread over a family are
common among the members of that progeny, like the branches which are nourished by the common roots. This is a good criterion and guide in investigation. You can, by considering the qualities and conditions of the relatives, strongly presume that such and such attributes, qualities, and peculiarities are present in the person in question.
The prophet of Islam (a.s) said in this connection:
“Marry among so and so group (a person from that group) since they are men of modesty, thus their women too have become modest. And do not marry among such and such group of people, for their men committed immodesty, thus their women too became immodest.”
In this hadith of the Prophet (a.s), modesty and immodesty have been described; so this gives us a good standard for investigating.
2- Investigating Through His Relatives
Relatives are aware of the qualities, spirit, morality and character of a person and one can make an investigation about the person in question through them.
It is possible that the relatives and associates may not state the facts and may conceal any fault which they are aware of, due to the fear of the displeasure of the person or his family who might come to know of it later, or on account of their love for them. Therefore, the views of the relatives cannot be a proof; instead, it can be a guide for the other phases of investigation. But if one gets satisfied that the person being counselled is a just and impartial one who does not hide the facts, he can be
A Safe And Sure Way
If someone has a sincere friend among the relatives of the person he wishes to select, he has an advantage and a benefit, and a safe canal and way to reach his object.
3- Through His/Her Close Friends
Classmates, co- workers and close friends who have been in contact and associated to him for a long time are good for investigation.
All that has been described about the relatives (advisability and concealment) stands here also.
4- Through Teachers, Administrators And Managers
They may know certain points, which even the relatives and close friends do not know. There is less or no chance of the difficulty concerning hiding and concealing and advisability, because neither they are his/her conventional relatives and friends nor do they see any need for concealing things. Besides, these individuals are usually sagacious and wise persons.
5- Investigation Through His/Her Enemies
Enemies of a person describe his faults more explicitly. Of course, the view of these people (enemies) is never a proof and must not be practised as a criterion. It is only useful for the sake of collecting informative data and pre- awareness. The faults and flaws of the person described by them may not be attended to or become the basis of any practice, unless they are proved by other ways and means too.
This is among the best means of the guide map and can be practised as follows:
The boy, the girl, and their families may choose a number of relatives and acquaintances and send them to the house of their concerned person.
They may describe the manner and mode of their delegation before actually sending them for the important mission, so that their standards, points of view, and perceptions, which must be taken in view by them, can be explained to them.
The Peculiarities Of A Messenger
Not everyone can be sent for this fate- deciding mission; instead they must have some peculiarities:
1- Mindful and clever
4- Possessing correct standards and experience
5- Both young and aged ones should be included in the delegation (group), since the older ones will have experiences which the young ones may not, and the younger ones may have standards and insights which may be lacking by the older ones.
After the return of the delegates from their mission, the boy the girl and their families may take the information and the views and think, take advice and contemplate them from all aspects before deciding what steps should be taken next.
The information and views of the delegates are a guide and not a final authority, and there is always a possibility of their erring in their opinion.
In this phase too the girl and the boy are the final decision makers, after having studied all the aspects of the matter.
If the ground is levelled after crossing the previous ways and the boy and the girl come close to a positive decision, then the next step can be letter writing. Here we do not mean those dirty, anti- religious letters which some people write, instead, we mean they may send letters based upon modesty and religion
through messengers, with the consent of their families, wherein they can describe: their aims, objectives, wishes, aspirations and hopes regarding the spouse and their pertaining standards, future plans and programmes and their spirit about such matters, short of any misinterpretations, concealment of facts and wrong presentation. If written truly and honestly, these letters can be a medium of mutual recognition and can also be effective in making the final decision.
In these letters, passionate and stimulating matters must not be written in any case, because:
Firstly: these things are anti- religious and prohibited.
Secondly: these things weaken the power of the mind with respect to making correct decisions and hand the work over to the heart (sentiments).
Thirdly: so far it is not known whether marriage will materialise or not, since they might reach a negative result.
Following the previous stages, if there is a positive result in hand and the girl and the boy have not seen each other, then seeing photographs can be effective in enhancement of recognition and reaching a decision.
Again, the exchange of photographs does not mean anything against modesty, instead, they must be sent through trustworthy messengers of the family and returned after being seen.
This can in no way be a logic and proof, since a photo can not describe the interior facts of a person, even to the extent that it can not perfectly exhibit the apparent view, but it is a partial guide toward recognition and a short step towards the later steps to be taken.
Direct negotiation is among the most important and effective ways of the ‘guide map’. Following the crossing of the previous ways and achieving a positive result, the boy and the girl must definitely have direct dialogue to consider and discuss their problems and views in a comfortable atmosphere without any fear and pressure from others. This talk should take place in an emotion free way with preparation and readiness. There should be a distance between the decision to talk and its being conducted, so that both may prepare themselves and note down all that they intend to discuss. It is better if these talks are held at interval. As a whole, whatever time is necessary may be put at their disposal.
One of the important benefits of these talks is that both parties can discover and understand a great deal
of interior mysteries, qualities and conditions of each other.
The commander of believers Ali (a.s) said:
مَا أضْمرَ أحَدٌ شَيئاً إلاّ ظَهرَ في فَلَتاتِ لِسانِهِ وَصَفَحاتِ وَجهِهِ.
“Whatever a person thinks about, is revealed by the slips of the tongue and facial expressions.”
This is a principle of psychology, which Imam (a.s) described in this way. It means that the internal conditions and affairs are sometimes made evident and manifest by the slip of the tongue and the expression of the face. It is a good doorway to studying the interior of a human and his conscience.
Mothers and fathers who desire the prosperity and felicity of their children must help and assist them in this important problem and provide the grounds and the necessary comfort and peace for them. But it is not for them to prevent it and exhibit undue prejudice. This talk is desirable from Islamic and logical points of view.
It is not for us to become more severe than Islam and more Muslim than the Prophet (a.s). Many times the girl’s parents have been observed preventing this talk in the name of Islam and modesty, whereas Islam and modesty commands us to provide the means to our children’s felicity. This talk has a vital role in bringing about the prosperity of the husband and the wife.
The Method Of This Meeting
The topics to be discussed in this meeting are different and variant, since persons, their beliefs, aspirations, ambitions, aims and desires are variant. Nonetheless, some topics are general and it is essential to discuss them. Therefore, we
describe some of these so that the youth may use them as the agenda of the meeting.
1- Describing The Course Of Future Life
In other words, they should describe on which foundation they wish to erect the structure of life. For instance, a religious youth wants his life to be founded upon the basis of Islamic laws and his/her spouse should also be like that. And both of them should be submissive to Islam in all of life’s affairs.
2- Discussing The Future Aims
They should describe their aims, which they want to achieve in their future lives, such as their targets and ambitions in the field of knowledge, morality, social life and job etc.
Also, the probable changes, modifications and transpositions of their future life, which have been described in chapter 5, and which we said it was necessary for the spouses to discuss before marriage, are suitable here (please refer to chapter 5).
3- The True Description Of One’s Attributes, Morality And Other Peculiarities
4- Description Of Demands And Expectations From Each Other
5- Description Of One’s Views About How To Conduct Relations And Contacts With The Family, Relatives, And Associates Of Each Other
6- The Discussion Of The Style And Mode Of Their Children’s Training
7- Description Of One’s Ailments, Disabilities And Diseases (If Any)
If the boy and girl have a disease or handicap, they must truthfully describe them without any exaggeration; because:
Firstly: this work is obligatory, and hiding and concealing the flaws and shortcomings is reckoned to be a fraud, cheating, and hypocrisy, and it is prohibited and unlawful.
the handicap and shortcoming is described at the early stage, the party accepts him/her along with that defect or rejects it. If they accept it, then they prepare themselves to endure it and take that man/woman to be a true, straightforward and daring one and so they, start loving him/her. In the future, he/she will not consider him/her self to be cheated. But if it is not made known and the bond takes shape short of the other party’s knowledge, then after being made aware of that handicap or shortage, the side not knowing it would consider him/her self as being cheated, and then plenty of difficulties and complications would follow. The love of the spouse would finish in his/her heart and he/she would start to bear a grudge against him/her, because nobody loves a cheat. If the incapacity or shortage had been truthfully told earlier, it would possibly have been accommodated. But after marriage, it is quite different.
When the hidden secret are manifest
The faces with make up are disgraced
Cheating and pompous show is a shame
Bad is it although acted nicely.
There is no need to describe some of the shortcomings, ailments, and wrongs of the past, which do not have any relation with the rights of the spouse and the future life.
If there was, or is a defect and blemish, which you do not know whether its description pertains to the spouse’s rights and future life, consult a wise person as has been described before in chapter 6. Do Not Accept Any Undue Conditions And
Sometimes, it is observed that the boy or girl present and impose conditions and demands which are unjust and unfair and deprives the other party from its legal and established rights, and negates its discretion or liberty.
These demands and conditions must not be accepted in any situation. The discretion, liberties and rights given by Allah to each man and woman should not be given up by accepting such conditions. Do not tell yourself now I accept it, but I will not implement it afterwards, because the acceptance of a condition brings commitment:
المُؤمِنونَ عِندَ شُروطِهِم.
“The believers must practice upon their conditions (commitments)”.
The discretions of men and women are of two kinds; i.e., the established and obligatory and the non- obligatory. The non- obligatory ones can be omitted, but the obligatory and established rights and discretions should not be surrendered to anybody. Allah made them obligatory on account of wisdom, advisability, and expedience. Losing them would be against wisdom and expedience, damaging life, and diverting it from its natural course.
In the age of Imam Ali (a.s), a man accepted a condition of his spouse, which had caused the loss of one of his specific rights. Imam (a.s) objected to it, saying, “Why do you give away a right, which Allah has fixed for you, through a condition? This condition is not valid and is void. And anything which Allah has fixed can not be changed and transformed by making a condition.”
The obligatory and non- obligatory rights have been discussed in the Islamic problems of jurisprudence and law.
After all the previous ways have been crossed and a positive result is achieved and all matters are on the right course with no hurdle on the way to marriage, before taking the last and final decision, the boy and girl should see each other, if they have not done so previously.
Seeing the face and appearance is one of the most essential and necessary problems of the ‘guide map’. Every judicious mind decides that two spouses who are supposed to live together for a life-time, must, apart from the homogeneity and harmony in problems described so far, like each other’s apparent looks too.
And this liking or disliking involves and necessitates seeing each other.
Howsoever the praise and definition of others may be, it is not sufficient. Instead, the boy and girl should see each other, since their tastes are different. Seeing a small portion of the face too is not sufficient, instead, it should be seen completely, openly, and evidently so that no ambiguity is left over.
Let it not be said: “We are pleased with everything and since our aims and criteria are secured, the looks and facial features are not important.” This is because the liking or disliking of the looks and features of the intended spouse may affect all the previous results.
As a slogan it can be said: If the spouse has such and such qualities and attributes, the other things would not be important”; but when one enters the practical stage or comes to face the facts, it does make a difference.
Topic In The Light Of Traditions
A man named Mughaira bin Shoba asked for the hand of a woman in marriage, but apparently he had not properly seen her. The prophet of Islam (a.s) said to him:
لَو نَظَرتَ إلَيهَا فإنَّهُ أحْرَى أنْ يَدُومَ بَينَكُما.
“Had you seen her, there would have been more hope of a prolonged and durable agreement and understanding between you two (during your life).”
Likewise, the Prophet (a.s) said to one of his companions who wanted to propose a woman:
اُنْظُر إلى وَجْهِها وَكَفَّيْهَا.
“Look at her face and hands.”
A man asked Imam Sadiq (a.s): “Can a man who intends to marry a woman see her hair and beauties? “
The Imam (a.s) said:
“There is no problem if he does not have the intention of enjoying it (he really wishes and intends to marry her).”
We have many traditions in this connection which have described more sensitive topics. Here we restrain ourselves to these hadiths.
We turn to the word of Ayatollah Ameeni in this respect:
“Boys and girls are advised not to prevent being seen and each one of them should permit the other to see him or her. It is better than marrying without seeing and afterwards being unhappy. And, as a consequence of this, they may reach divorce or be obliged to lead their lives in a state of displeasure, discomfort, frigidity and dispute.”
The problems concerning seeing and approving, like all selection problems, should not reach the limit of obsession, rather, it should be an average and accustomed amount.
In this case, too, minute care, yes, but obsession,
Protecting The Girl’s Dignity
Particular minute care and delicateness may be exercised in the problem of seeing the girl, meaning the dignity and honour of the girl should be kept in view and not damaged.
It must not be that the girl is shown to whoever comes to ask for her hand in marriage, prior to investigation, advice seeking and attaining sufficient recognition of the boy; This is so that afterwards, it is not discovered that she is unsuitable or the two of them do not match each other and then he walks out and another one turns up and the process continues repeatedly. This manner and style of practice damages the dignity of the girl and has a negative effect upon her morale. The more modest and chaste is the girl, the more she would be pained and hurt.
The correct style of action in this regard is that whenever someone comes with a proposal, at first all the prefaces and the ways of recognition such as investigation, advice seeking, and sending messengers should be moved upon and when all the dimensions of the affair are judged and it becomes clear that the boy does not have any negative intention and they are a match for each other, without any hurdle and constraint on the way to marriage with a strong probability of their marriage, only then would the time be appropriate for them to see each other as a last and final phase of selection.
Approval is limited, confined and specified to a serious intention of marriage
with a specified and fixed person under special conditions and circumstances. One cannot see everybody on the pretext of marriage. Islam has given permission only in this case and for the same specified and fixed matter. And any sighting and seeing outside this framework is “prohibited.”
If the laws and ordains of Islam are correctly understood and rightly practiced, they will bring prosperity. But if they are misunderstood and wrongly practiced, then not only will they not bring prosperity, rather they will incur losses.
One of the topics, which has been misunderstood and practiced in an incorrect way is omenation. Although here is not the place to have an all dimensional view of the problem of omenation, since omenation has become connected to the matter of spouse selection, it is necessary to discuss it briefly and as much as required.
1- Asking Beneficence And Guidance From Allah:
The real meaning of ’istekhara’ or omenation is seeking benevolence, goodness, and guidance from Allah. And this was the very practical manner and method of the leaders of Islam (a.s). It is in fact a kind of supplication and seeking Allah’s help and depending on him in all matters and circumstances, particularly in the selection of spouse.
Ayatollah Ibrahim Ameeni writes in this connection:
“The commander of believers Ali (a.s) offered two cycles of service for the sake of omenation, thereafter, he used to repeat a hundred times:
“I ask the beneficence from Allah.”
Then he used to recite this prayer:
اَللّهُمّ إنّي قَد هَمَمْتُ بِأمْرٍ قَد عَلِمْتَهُ فَإنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أنَّهُ خَيرٌ لِي في دِيني وَدُنيَايَ وَآخِرَتي فَيَسِّرْهُ لي وَإنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أنَّهُ شَرٌّ لي في دِيني وَدُنيايَ وَآخِرَتي فَاصْرِفْهُ عَنِّي. كَرِهَتْ نَفسِي ذلِكَ أمْ أَحَبَّتْ، فَإنَّكَ تَعلَمُ وَلا أعْلَمُ وَأنْتَ عَلاَّمُ الغُيُوبِ.
“O Allah! I want to perform that work which you know. If you consider it good for
my religion, world and hereafter, (then) provide the means for it. And if you deem it bad for my religion, world, and hereafter, stop me from doing it, whether I dislike it or love it, since you know (the actual expedience) and I do not know. And You are the knower of the unseen.” Then he would take a decision and step into a job. The thirty third supplication of Saheefa Sajjadiia of Imam Sajjad (a.s) describes this point right from the beginning to its end (i.e. seeking the beneficence and guidance of Allah). Please refer to the prayer, which is most attractive and beautiful.
2-The Commonly Known And Current Omenation In Our Society
The omenation that is current and customary in our society is practiced through Quran or beads, and conventionally is a way to discover one’s duty and religious obligation.
This kind of omenation has its root and origin in Islam, but regretfully, a distortion has taken place in it. And it has been mis-shaped and disfigured in many the cases. That is to say, it has replaced thought, reasoning, investigation, searching and consultation. Therefore it has not only lost its benefit, but also turned harmful. It is customary in spouse selection as well, and it sometimes inflicts serious damage and loss.
Whenever a person wishes to perform a job and its goodness and advisability is clear to him, he should do it with the help and dependence upon Allah, asking for His benevolence. There is no room for omenation. If the evil and non- advisability
of the work is conspicuous, even then there is no room and need for omenation. But if the goodness and evil of the work is not clear and evident, and he does not know whether he should do it or not, then he must ponder, contemplate, study, investigate and seek advice, taking all the aspects of the problem into view. If his mind is inclined and prefers one side of it, for instance one side is 70% and the other 30%, then he should do that which has a 70% weighting (whether doing or not doing it). But if he stays puzzled and at a loss as to which way to head, even after contemplation, research and consultation about all the possible methods and still remains undecided, that is to say, at a 50% decision and he is not inclined toward any one aspect of the job and at the same time can not quit that work then comes the turn of ‘customary omenation.’
Omenation does not fix any religious or intellectual duty but drives man out of amazement and surprise, indicating one of two ways for him. Moreover, it does not have any guarantee that the way indicated may be correct and the other one wrong!
And again it is not the work of everybody to hold a bead in his hand or open the Quran to understand his obligation or to repeat it a number of times until he gets his desired result.
Ayatollah Jawadi Amuli, who is one of the greatest exegetes of Quran and
experts of Islam in the contemporary world, said about omenation: “We have not been encouraged to omenation in Islam.”
A Sorrowful Specimen Of Misunderstanding The Omenation
Adel who was a good and faithful student decided to marry. He was very sensitive about spouse selection and had put in all his best efforts to select a decent spouse.
To be just, he is a decent boy himself and one can say he has many of the qualities of a good spouse. He set out many times, but he could not find the required spouse. Until at last his friends and relatives introduced a girl.
The search for investigation and recognition of the girl started. One of the near relatives of the girl was the friend of Adel. So the matter was discussed with him. He had a positive opinion about the girl and helped out to the best of his capacities to level the ground for their mutual recognition. They contacted some other persons who knew the girl (such as teachers and classmates) and consulted them. The more they investigated, the more the hope of her being the desired girl strengthened.
After all the searching and endeavours were made, it became evident that everything was all right and there was no constraint and hurdle in the way of their marriage. Then came the turn of direct talks between the boy and girl, and the proposal.
The date was fixed for the boy to visit the girl’s home, and we were very hopeful that the marriage would materialise. Suddenly, the news came from
the girl and her family that they had gone for omenation and it indicated to be bad.
I was greatly displeased by this news, since I was aware of their work and saw that everything was in a good shape. I was quite hopeful that the negotiation, visit and proposal would not have any difficulty, since I knew the girl very well and Adel too.
I wanted to contact the girl’s family, avert them and make them change their mind. But the acquaintances said: “They have a strong belief in omenation and think that after the omenation has given a negative result, it would be perilous for them to act against it, and this marriage would become a misery.”
In my thoughts, I addressed the girl and her family. “Oh girl! Oh mother and father! What is it that you did? Alas, why did you reject this boy without any logic? Do you know that such omenation is anti-Islamic? If the girl and the boy did not reach an understanding through direct talks or did not like each other or you had reached a negative result after making enquiries and had rejected him, there would have been nothing wrong. And I would not feel sorry. But now you have thrown away your prosperity and that of a decent orthodox boy, just by one omenation. Ah! What an ignorance and misconception of religion.”
Many cases have been seen where a boy and a girl matched each other, but on account of just such kind of an undue omenation, they could
not get married or they were not even suitable for each other and did marry only to become miserable.
A person proposed a girl. The girl’s father, short of any investigation, recognition and consultation went to a man to take an omenation for him. He did it to a positive result and the girl was married to that boy.
After a certain period of time, it was discovered that the boy was not good and there was no match and proportion between the husband and the wife. But now it was all over and the marriage had taken place, and the difficulties and miseries started. The girl’s father would lament and sorrowfully say: “It is the fault of such and such a person’s omenation that my girl became miserable and doomed.”
This father should be told: “It is the fault of extravagant beliefs, misconceptions and your own ignorance. (Although the person who made omenation may also have been at fault since he did not inform this unaware person about the correct use of omenation. Perhaps even he himself was unaware of it.)
Omenation has a vast discussion. For those who have knotted their fate and faith with omenation and likewise, those who are inclined to have more information about it, it is essential for them to carry out further research and study this topic.
Imam Khomeini (r.a) has an interesting and attractive discussion in this connection in the book Kashful Asrar, which is worth studying. Hereby we present a short extract from his worthy words and leave its perfect
study to you:
“The traditions which pertain to omenation have not promised to always reach the aim without any shortage. But all that has been promised is that Allah bestows goodness upon the one who asks Him. If it is advisable in this world, He gives it here, otherwise He stores it for him.”
At the end of this discussion, once again we quote Ayatollah Ameeni who says:
“The girl, the boy and the families must make an investigation for recognition of the spouse. If they still have any doubt, they should consult and take the advice of one or a number of informed, aware and confidant persons. If they reach a result, they can take further steps. Omenation is to be taken only where they do not reach a result through the way of investigation and consultation, and might yet be in a state of perplexity. Naturally, investigation and consultation has priority over omenation. If the result of your search and probe is positive, go ahead with the practice, and there is no need of taking omenation. There are certain people who refer to omenation in each and every work, whereas sometimes, undue, out of place omenation becomes the cause of perplexity and hinders practice.”
And finally, we must always keep the word of Ayatollah Jawadi Amuli in view who said:
“We have not been encouraged in Islam to take omenation.”
There is a false belief and word which is customary among people regarding the topic of marriage; for instance, “such and such a girl is the fate of
such and such a boy and so and so a boy is not in the fate of this girl or if luck is there, everything will become all right and it is not necessary to do anything else. If the fate is not there (to help), whatever is done will be useless and so on.” These ideas are vague and void and do not have any roots in religion or reason. The problem of divine decree and accident is something different.
It is my strong recommendation to all boys, girls, and their families that they should cross the phases of pre-proposal and marriage and what has been described in this chapter steadily, slowly, patiently, step by step, with complete caution and carefulness.
When they say a good work must be done quickly and swiftly, it may be true about the actual marriage, i.e. ”Do not delay the marriage”. But it is not in any case correct about the premarital phases and the spouse selection. All the steps of choosing, paying visits, checking and talks should be carried out with patience, fortitude, cool mindedness and with proper and necessary time between different phases.
Any kind of haste and rush at this stage is dangerous. Because many cases have been observed where people became involved and confronted with repentance and misery as a result of hurrying at this stage and quickly crossing over the ways and avenues of spouse selection, proposal and marriage.
This is a slippery way and a clever and reasonable person does not cross a slippery road
hastily. Haste and carelessness and speedy movement at this point can result in an annihilating fall.
Have you ever seen a man crossing a minefield or a slippery avenue or a thorny way hastily and hurriedly? A reasonable and clever person never does that. The traversing of the ways in this phase needs a step-by-step policy, not a revolutionary policy.
Yes, a revolutionary policy is essential in the actual marriage, when it should be quickly materialised and not delayed. But as far as the problem of spouse selection is concerned, it needs slow and cautious movement.
Sometimes, it is observed that some people cross all the phases of decision, investigation, consultation, proposal and marriage in a short time and finish the work. This is not correct in anyway. Of course, it is possible that in a few cases no difficulty arises and the job gets done in a good way. But in many cases, difficulties will be confronted and that will be the cause of repentance and suffering. The nature of spouse selection and crossing its phases demands patience, subtlety, and slow movement.
The imagination of a work, then concentrating thought, investigation and consultation respect to reach a result and final decision as well as taking steps in that direction needs a lot of time. Any haste in that is troublesome and dangerous.
Spouse selection more than anything else needs foresight and multidimensional contemplation. “The sage and wise is the one who thinks about the end.” Haste and hurrying in this valley means falling from the frying pan into the
Even if everything seems to be on the right course, one must continue with complete care and slowness. A foresighted man is a blessed one and so is a foresighted woman.
Up to this point, by the grace and beneficence of Almighty Allah, the aim, objective, and manner of reaching it has explicitly become evident. And now we can, by dependence upon Allah and His help, take steps to select a suitable and desired spouse with all the subtlety and satisfaction at our command.
Allah be your guide and helper!
Definition Of This Form Of Marriages
Self- sacrificial marriage means a marriage conducted for a lofty aim (having the most sublime aim which attracts Allah’s pleasure) and for the sake of kindness, sympathy and any worthy objective or cause with a person who has a defect or deformity, and to endure the shortage for the sake of that lofty aim. For example, a person who marries someone with a physical deformity and bears and endures that shortage for a worthy aim. Similarly, all other deficiencies, defects, shortages and differences etc.
This form of marriage is out of the range of the necessity of equity and matching of spouses described in chapter 5 because in that chapter it was said that there should not be any eye- catching differences between the spouses in any point.
The Worth And Excellence Of This Kind Of Marriage
There is no doubt that basically these marriages are highly worthy and excellent from a divine and human values point of view and the one practising them would
be highly rewarded.
Islam has given importance and worth to such marriages and encouraged them and has practically materialised them such as the marriage of the Prophet (a.s) with Khadija (a.s) and the marriage of Zalfa with Juwaiber, which took place on the command of the Prophet (a.s).
Islam has condemned imaginary class differences. In our society too we have witnessed the grand marriages of self- sacrificing orthodox girls with the dear soldiers and crippled and incapacitated youth of the Islamic revolution.
The number of girls who excelled Zalfa is not small in our society and Islam and the revolution takes pride in them. And so it does in the self- sacrificing boys who, for the sake of Allah’s pleasure marry girls apparently possessing a lower status of distinction than them and who also have prosperous lives. Thus, there is no controversy in the excellence and worth of such marriages, but they have to be with their own conditions.
Self- Sacrificial Marriage Is Not A General Prescription
Everybody does not have the power and capacity for such a marriage and cannot endure and bear it. Such marriages need a vast capacity of mind and conscience and energy and strong endurance and a lofty aim as a stimulant.
For those who lack such assets, it is not in anyway advisable for them to take steps on account of sympathy and swiftly- fading sentiments. The one who intends to marry such persons should take his interior energies in view and see whether he or she can endure this shortage and defect to the
end of life and not complain or grumble about it. Does he or she possess all that energy and magnanimity not to boast of a favour to his or her spouse and not to humiliate and belittle him or her for that physical deformity, defect or handicap?
It someone marries such a person and thereafter boasts of a favour to his or her spouse and annoys and displeases him or her, it will not only have no reward, rather, he/she will have committed a sin as well. If someone favours a person and later on boasts of that favour, annoying and hurting him or her, the reward of the favour will be finished and totally lost and there will also be a sin committed by him.
The Quran and Islamic traditions indicate many points in this respect. Let us concentrate upon the following verse of Quran:
﴿يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لا تُبْطِلُوا صَدَقَاتِكُمْ بِالْمَنِّ وَالأَذَى.﴾
“O you who believe! do not make your charity worthless by reproach and injury.” (2:264)
We were talking to one of the officers of the Foundation of Disabled Soldiers, who was himself a disabled soldier, about a girl who was the candidate to marry a disabled man. He said to me, “Tell that lady she must think very carefully and not take that decision due to the turmoil of youthful sentiments. If you marry a disabled soldier who might have only lost his fingers (and nothing else), one thing you must do for him is to button up his clothes for the whole of your
life, apart from hundreds of other things that need to be done. If you possess such a strength, patience, and sacrificial power to serve him all your life, not to be rough and rude to him or boast of your favour, then come along, do it in the name of Allah, the Merciful and Beneficent.”
Such marriages are very sacred and have a high reward and value to Allah, and heaven can be achieved through them. There are many people who discharge its responsibilities well, but not everybody can. One should not venture into this work simply on the basis of sympathy and feelings. Instead, one must take one’s energies into view, and consult those individuals who are aware about the matter, before taking a decision.
“Wise is the one who meditates about the end.”
One of the problems which may arise is that the boy or the girl or both of them, after passing through some of the preliminary phases of marriage, such as negotiations, visits proposal, approval and sometimes even after the marriage contract and attaining more acquaintance with respect to the morality, conduct, peculiarities, face and figure, family and other associates, may become remorseful and penitent. They might start thinking that he/she was not the life partner they desired and imagined, or the person turned out contrary to their desire after they probed. They may also sometimes discover that they do not have any inclination toward that person or, let us say, they dislike or even hate him/her and cannot get along together nicely
in their coming life. Whatever may be the logic and reason (sometimes there is no reason) they just do not like the person as a spouse.
Now when they want to give up the idea and dispense with the matter, (alas! Woe to these ‘buts’) certain factors put a constraint on them and stop them from turning back. For instance, they imagine: “Now it is bad to desist. Our news has been circulated between the two families. What must we reply to the people? What would they say if they understand the situation? Perhaps they think there was a special reason behind it. Now it is not fair to break the heart of the individual concerned and damage the reputation of the family in question. If we do it, they would be annoyed and an enmity would appear. Now everything is over and we must endure and bear it, etc.”
Others speak to their parents, close relatives and intimate friends, but they frighten them saying the things described above. They try to justify their critical questions and even promise them things like “Love would develop afterwards and things would gradually move on the right track.”
These factors completely crush their courage, fortitude and intent to change their mind and explain the facts. Consequently, they keep their remorse and disinclination in their hearts and apparently manifest their agreement and tendency and finally submit to an undesired marriage.
Following the marriage, they exert pressure upon themselves to show their agreeability and love for their new life and spend their time with
an artificial love, whilst there is a turmoil and revolt in their interior. Gradually, the energy to show artificial love and agreement subsides, since it is impossible and absurd that one can keep living together with someone whom she or he detests or at least does not have any inclination and attraction to, and whose interior feelings will not become obvious to the other side.
Then the differences and disputes, excuse findings, impatience, and ill- naturedness will start taking shape (God forbid).
The cause of this remorse is that the standards of spouse selection described in chapter 5, and the ways of its selection and the ‘guide map’ of chapter 6, particularly the recommendations and advice of that chapter, i.e. crossing the way with caution and carefully, step by step, patience and slow movement, were not observed.
If those criteria and programmes are taken into view and the course of the ‘guide map’ is traversed as described, it will not result in remorse, or the chances of it would diminish to the smallest possibility. This is because by following and implementing that schedule, if any remorse develops, it is before the proposal and marriage, not afterwards.
I emphatically and confidently say that if the standards of spouse selection (chapter 5) and spouse choosing (chapter 6) are observed as explained, in the same style, step by step, with perfect care and caution while crossing its slippery course, then the probability of repentance and remorse after proposal and marriage would be reduced to less than 10%. But if not observed,
there would be a huge number of chances for such remorse and penitence.
What Must Be Done In Such Cases?
If the youth (the boy or the girl) have come to confront the remorse and stumbled into this marsh, what must they do? Should they stay there and submit to this undesired situation or can they rescue themselves?
Breaking a proposition and engagement, particularly when the marriage contract has taken shape, is not a good thing to do and one should be cautious not to allow things to reach such a stage. Having said that, it is even worse for a person to lead his life in repentance, shame, disinclination and agony.
If the boy and the girl or one of them has developed a sense of remorse about the relation, then the best way out is to separate before marriage and discontinue the movement. Although it is displeasing, marrying and leading a life with repentance, remorse and uneasiness is harder and more displeasing.
The responsibility of parents and families in this respect is as follows:
Firstly: they should help and guide the boy and the girl in spouse selection, so that the matter does not reach the stage of remorse.
Secondly: if such a problem arises, then they should be guided, since it may be due to undue obsession, and undue expectations.
Thirdly: if repentance develops and they see that they are not willing to marry, then they must not in any case be reprimanded or rebuked and not be forced into an undesired marriage by frightening and threatening them of the
consequences. Instead, they must agree to their separation and level the ground for the settlement of this problem, short of any annoyance, conflict, quarrel, menace and enmity. It is in the interest of the boy, the girl, and their families.
If this marriage takes shape unwanted with remorse and disinclination, then it would be followed by a lot of difficulties for the wife, the husband and their families. Although this separation is bitter and displeasing for the families, particularly the girl’s family, marriage with displeasure and reluctance is more displeasing and bitter.
“Clever Is The One Who Takes The End Into View.”
Young sister and brother:
Firstly: Try not to face remorse by observing the factors described in chapters 5 and 6.
Secondly: If you happen to face it, be cautious that your remorse and repentance is not due to undue obsession and ‘childlike excuses.’ Know that a perfectly faultless, flawless, desired person is never found. Everyone and every family have faults just as you and your own family does. This is the nature of every fallible.
Thirdly: If you are not pleased with this marriage, do not conceal your displeasure, rather announce it openly and do not continue with it. Do not be afraid at all; be dauntless and brave. Although it is not a good thing and the matter should not have reached this point, when it is so, there is no alternative and remedy except to stop and turn back.
Clearly announce that you do not want to continue on this way. A joint life is not one day,
one month or one year, it is endured and tolerated under pressure and undesirable circumstances. You want to spend the whole of a long life with your spouse, which is not a simple thing to do.
Do not allow the problem to get complicated. Do not let the marriage take shape, so that you must either separate through divorce, or tolerate and endure it all of your life. A life led with unwillingness will not be a successful life and will not bear any good fruit.
Do not let the circumstances lead to a divorce after marriage. Do not let this innocent man and his family face misery and misfortune. Do not make the life a hell. Do not make the children motherless or fatherless. Take steps before it is too late and decide the matter. Do not let affairs reach dangerous points. Look into this lesson- giving example and think upon it and do not let yourself meet anguish and tragedy.
Hameed was an orthodox and religious youth. He was good- natured, intelligent, educated and sensible. But he did not have the necessary knowledge and experience about spouse selection. He narrated the story of his spouse selection and the difficulty he met as follows:
“One of my friends, who is the resident of another city, introduced a girl of his city to me for marriage. I went with my family to propose to the girl.
There was a long distance between our home and that of the girl, and this minimised the chances of complete mutual recognition. In
addition, I was not very conversant with the essentiality of spouse recognition.
Briefly speaking, I was negligent, and without seeing whether I was inclined toward the girl or not, I entered into a marriage contract, following a brief acquaintance and the preliminary stages. After the marriage contract (Nikah) the visits became more frequent and I discovered that I did not have any liking for the girl and so I was unhappy about the marriage. I discussed the problem with my friend and my relatives and the girl’s but they held the opinion that after the marriage took place, the liking would develop. But I was not satisfied with these words and now, I am extremely remorseful regarding this relation, though the girl and her family do not have any shortcomings. I do not have any liking and inclination toward this girl or wish to marry her and am at a loss about what to do.”
I had many rounds of talks and conversations with Hameed and I suggested ways and means to remove his disinclination and create a liking. He practiced all the ways I had suggested, but regretfully, his repentance did not end and he developed no fondness for the girl.
Following the exercising of all remedies, I came to the conclusion that this marriage would not have a pleasant future and there was no alternative except separation.
I told Hameed my view openly, saying that although separation was bitter and unpleasant, it was the only possible solution and that this marriage was in the interests of no
He said: “I wish it from the core of my heart, but I feel sorry for the girl and her family whose reputation and honour will be damaged.”
I told him: “It is better to separate right now than to divorce her after marriage, which will cause even more damage to their status and honour. Furthermore, it is better to be separated right away than to marry and lead a miserable life and make the girl and her family more miserable in that way.”
Hameed said: “If I want to divorce her, I do not have the money to pay the dowry.”
I replied: “So far you have just made the marriage contract and marriage has not yet materialised; so you owe them 50% of the dowry sum. Moreover, the girl and her parents usually, in such cases when she is a virgin and marriage has not taken place, absolve and spare the half amount of the dowry sum. Only if marriage takes place, is the girl entitled to the entire amount and if divorce takes shape in that case, the total amount should be paid.”
Hameed said: “I am afraid from a religious point of view. I have the fear that I may be the defaulter in Allah’s view and be taken to account and punished on the resurrection day.”
I said: “Of course separation and divorce is undesirable and the cause of Allah’s displeasure, but:
Firstly: Allah has formed this law Himself for the occasion when there is no alternative left except separation. And your case is such that
there is no way out except separation.
Secondly: Divorce after the marriage is even more disliked by Allah than the one before marriage. If you marry and divorce, after her losing her virginity and sometimes bearing a child, it will cause more of the displeasure of Allah than the present divorce.
Thirdly: Developing a hopeless, unwilling frigid life, which has lots of painful consequences and becomes the cause of excess over the spouse, negating their rights, weakening religion, ones nerves and spirit and producing unhappy, ailing and problematic children will be far worse than divorce and increase Allah’s wrath and displeasure.”
Anyhow, I convinced Hameed to decide the matter and go ahead with a resolution, closing the affair. But (woe to these buts) his relatives and associates pressurised and frightened him about its results and consequences and he refrained from doing it. Once again, he came to me, saying:
“I could not finish the matter. Now what must I do? I am still remorseful and perplexed.”
I said: “I am unable to help you any longer. Whatever I could do, I have already done.”
He said: “Do you know someone else who may solve my problem?”
I gave him the addresses of a number of clergymen who were conversant with the family problems. He went to see them.
After a period, he returned and said: “I visited them and explained my problem. They said: ‘Go and get married and do not care about repentance and hopelessness. Love and liking develops later on’.”
I do not know how Hameed explained his problem and what were
the policies they took into view before giving such a response to him.
I said to Hameed: “I do not know why those gentlemen expressed the view that you should marry. Perhaps there was not much time to explain the problem to them and they were not in the current of this problem for months, like I was. Otherwise, they would not have suggested your marriage. Perhaps they took other policies into view. Anyway, their views are worthy of respect but I still hold the opinion which I previously held and am against this marriage.”
Hameed left and for a few months there came no news of him. At last I discovered that he had married and begun his joint life.
I prayed to Allah for their prosperous life, but I was anxious and worried about them.
After a few months Hameed’s friends brought the news to me that their joint life had disintegrated and his wife had gone to her parents’ house in her own city (alas) and Hameed felt too embarrassed and shy to visit me.
Hameed and his wife’s matter reached the court, which could not do a thing for them; not because it could not reform their affair, rather, their life was not repairable. A life based upon unwillingness, hate and remorse is not repaired or endurable. A dead body cannot be made to move on a certain course.
I sent a message for Hameed, saying: “The logic was evident to you and you can not make any excuse and pretext. Now, when this thing has happened,
treat your wife and her family respectfully and with love and pay the entire dowry amount. And if they mistreated you in the divorce and court affair, you must endure it and have decent conduct with them.”
Hameed did not have the economical capacity to pay his wife’s dowry sum wholly, so the court was obliged to fix an amount of monthly instalments for him to pay for a period of many years.
Now, one year after the divorce, I received a sorrowful letter from him about that affair. Please have a look at the various parts of it:
“When I sit down to think about the past, I see that I have crossed over and met a number of incidents and events in my life. As a matter of fact, I had plenty of difficulties to cross over. But even in the most critical moment and difficult problems I never felt myself so tired, fatigued and worn out. I always held that man can surpass and cross over the difficult obstacles. But this difficulty (marriage and divorce) has a certain specification of its own, since it is not an obstacle in the way of the goal, like the rest of difficulties and results in the misery of a man, which is incomprehensible. Given this, I have lots of troubles and agonies with it, so much so that I have met a social set back. I have retarded from an educational point of view and am even damaged spiritually. Materially too I have faced loss. But what is
impossible to endure and bear, or at least is very difficult to tolerate, is that I have made a person miserable and doomed, hindering her movement on the course of progress and completion. And I have put her to shame and adversity in a society where there is such a (negative) view about the divorced woman. However, I am positive that this was the worst, yet the only possible way; since the continuity of this life cannot have any result apart from deterioration and ruining of the mental and spiritual organs of both parties.
“Taking all the above factors in to consideration, I do not know how to content myself, especially when there are other difficulties as well, such as:
1 - I feel that I have become abnormally cowardice so that I am even afraid of carrying out a normal journey. I do not have any stock of goodness and benevolence and think what would I do with these sins if I met an accident? Additionally, I have not paid off the dowry sum, which is her fundamental right.
2- Life has become meaningless to me to a great extent and I think the passing of days is nothing except the passing and evading of life. Although this is a fact, I think life is passing with a strange speed and swiftness. I feel a deep void exists in my life.”
What I wrote in response to his painful letter may inshallah be left over to a future leisure and the future editions of the book.
problems take shape in this regard (separation before marriage), which are more bitter than the separation itself. That is to say, when a remorseful person (whether a boy or a girl) sees that he or she does not have the boldness and courage to describe his/her inner feelings clearly, honestly and truly and take responsibility on his/her shoulders due to the pressures exerted by the associates in order to rescue oneself from this entanglement and to have an excuse and logic for separation and withdrawal, one invents accusations, faults and unworthy things and attributes them to the person he or she was supposed to marry.
This practice is forbidden, very obnoxious and unclean, and causes the fury and wrath of Allah. It is a very grave sin and may be the cause of one’s misery in this world and the Hereafter.
At such an occasion when a person wants to incur spiritual and social damage upon a person and his family by separation, dissolving and breaking one’s word and arrangements of the engagement, he/she must console them and ask forgiveness and separate honourably. Not in addition to giving the first blow, also give them another spiritual and respect –damaging blow. This is against religion, conscience, manhood, nobility and freedom.
Imam Hussain (a.s) said,
إنْ لَم يَكُن لَكُم دِينٌ وَكُنْتُم َلا تَخَافُونَ المَعادَ فَكُونُوا أحْراراً في دُنياكُم.
“If you have no religion and you are not afraid of the Resurrection Day, then at least be free in your world.”
At such junctures, even if some faults and demerits have been observed, they
must be concealed and covered up, and not by inventing and engineering blame and accusations, and dishonouring each other.
At the end of this discussion, it is essential to remember that the topic ‘excuses of the heart’ in chapter seven (in the part concerning the calamities of the engagement period) suits this topic (repentance and remorse before marriage) very much and can be beneficial and a way- opener.
Likewise, it is suitable to refer to those two sorrowful letters, which are presented in the previous chapter (‘love the axis of life’).
Similarly, the story of Ismail and Safoora, given in the fifth chapter, is also concordant with this discussion, because, became remorseful about getting married during the period of engagement.
I recollect the face of Ismail, on his wedding night, which was severely sullen, sad and sorrowful.
I whispered to him: “Is it your father’s mourning ceremony tonight that you look so gloomy and withered?”
He said: “Why should I be happy? Nothing new and attractive has taken shape for me so that I should be pleased!”
And ultimately this undesired marriage had all the displeasure and regret you observed in chapter 5.
“O Allah! Be a helper and guide to the youth in this important problem.”
In some cases, family marriages such as marriage between cousins may bring about difficulties concerning the production of children; i.e. weak or deformed children. This has been proved and there is no chance of denying it.
We remember a few points in this regard:
1 -This genetic law is not total and common and does not include all
family marriages. All family marriages cannot therefore be discarded and considered prohibited.
2- People desiring such marriages must definitely scrutinize the medical aspect and let essential tests be carried out until they are satisfied that there are no difficulties. During this period, they must not marry.
3- Medical tests and whatever is necessary must be done before the marriage creates an attachment between the boy and the girl and they become hopeful about each other. They should also be done before the marriage proposal becomes open and revealed to people, so that a noise is not created.
If it is decided that the marriage must not take place, as under medical advice, then the matter should be closed as soon as possible. The more it is delayed, the more difficult would the separation be and the headache will only increase.
4- Those family marriages which took place among the Prophet’s progeny (such as the marriage of Ali (a.s) and Fatima (a.s) and did not have any difficulty, was due to many reasons, one of which was that by virtue of the divine knowledge bestowed upon them by Allah, they knew that these marriages would not bring any difficulty for them. So referring to the practice of those magnanimous personalities, the established genetic and medical facts should not be overlooked.
In some families, a very bad habit and custom exists, which is that the boy and the girl are engaged during childhood. For example, they engage cousins and conventionally name them with each other, so that when those nominated grow
older, they may marry each other.
This practice is wrong from every aspect, and it can bring about lots of difficulties.
This problem needs a detailed discussion with descriptions of examples and specimens, which at present cannot be accommodated here.
For now, what is necessary to point out is as follows:
1 - Families must not do such things, which are not in any way advisable.
2- It is also strongly recommended to girls and boys: that they do not pay heed to such matters. If they are bent and inclined towards the person they have been engaged to during childhood, accept and marry them, otherwise do not.
3- The marriage of cousins has not at all been conducted in the heavens. This belief is a nonsense.
The issue of spouse selection is higher and more important than such invalid customs, ceremonies and rituals.
One factor that has a sensitive role to play in a joint life is the engagement period.
If this duration of time is dealt with elegantly and its peculiar duties are performed, then it can have a profound and immense effect upon the later periods of growth, fruitfulness and solidarity.
There is a common saying that ‘one day of the engagement period is better than a year of the post marriage period.’ Although this saying is an exaggeration, it describes an important fact and actually the engagement period is, from many aspects, more important, sweeter, enjoyable and personality-developing than the post marriage period. In this period, the pillars and foundations of the future life can be laid.
In chapter 4, it
was partially brought under discussion from a particular angle that engagement is a way of solving way the duration of education and military training. But hereby, we will consider the engagement period as an independent and overwhelming entity and subject.
By ‘engagement duration’, we mean the time distance between the marriage contract and the marriage ceremony. That is to say, ‘Nikah’ or marriage contract should have taken place, or if they are not prepared for the permanent marriage contract and they want to conduct it at a particular leisure or with special celebration, then they can enter into a ‘temporary marriage contract’ until such time as they decide on the time of the ‘permanent marriage contract’.
The temporary marriage contract has specific laws and conditions that must be observed. One of them is that it must definitely be conducted with the permission of the girl’s father (just as is the case in permanent marriage contract.)
So be careful and cautious that here we are not discussing anything about the engagement without a marriage contract).
From certain aspects it is essential that there be a distance between the contract and marriage.
1-The girl who has lived for many years in a family with her family members, especially her father and mother, has a deep and strong attachment to them and separation from them is very tough and difficult for her. So it is not advisable to suddenly detach her from her family, since this would emotionally be harmful for her. Instead, it is necessary to bring a gradual readiness in
her to face the separation.
2- The boy and the girl whose life responsibilities were, up until now on the shoulders of the parents, do not have the readiness to shoulder that at once, therefore a gap is necessary so that they may prepare themselves to shoulder the weight of joint life responsibilities.
The style of birds’ lives is very beautiful and based upon wisdom in this respect. The mother bird trains her offspring for a long time to fly and live independently. She prepares them to organise their own lives and does not let them go away from her until this readiness comes into existence.
3-It is difficult for the boy and girl who were strangers only sometime ago to adjust beside each other without any preliminary stages and all of a sudden start an independent life. It is necessary for them to get familiar and develop attachment to be ready for their common life together.
4- It is possible that the girl and the boy, due to certain reasons like those described in chapter four, such as: continuing education or military training, are not prepared to begin a joint and independent life, but do have the readiness to get engaged. So they get engaged, and remain so until such time as the hurdles and restraints are removed and they can marry.
5-The parents of the girl and the boy also need to get prepared for the marriage of their dear ones. The duration of the engagement provides them with the necessary opportunity to be ready for it.
Benefits Of The Engagement Period And The Duties Of The Girl And The Boy During It
In addition to the needs and benefits, which have been described in the above discussion, i.e. the need of the engagement period’, and the benefits of marriage previously described, the engagement period has independent benefits and, at the same time, the boy and the girl have some duties to perform which are described as follows:.
Although the boy and the girl should have gained sufficient mutual recognition in the phase of selection (described in chapter 6), they must also develop a much closer and intimate recognition, with more knowledge of one another’s spirits, morality and views. In fact this familiarity and recognition of the engagement period accomplishes the recognition developed during the phase of selection. Thereafter, they prepare themselves for an understanding and homogeneity in their joint life, in the reflection of this close and complete recognition.
That recognition was meant for selection and this is for understanding and harmony.
If someone observes a peculiarity in his/her fiancé which may not be liked by him/her and he/she may want to remove, rectify, or reform it or even create another virtue or condition in him/her, then the engagement period is the best time for such a reformation, change and training. This is because their mutual relations have not shaped into usual ones and they believe in a particular mutual love and reverence. As a result, their mutual accommodation and the ground for change, reform and rectification is more positive and level.
On the basis of the discussion ‘love, the pivot of life,’ one of the actual and real conditions of prosperity in marital life is love and its ground should be levelled before marriage.
Nevertheless, the engagement duration is the best chance and opportunity for the growth, enhancement, consolidation and strengthening of love. The conduct, conversation and all the practices of the fiancés are effective in increasing or decreasing love. Therefore, the boy and the girl must be very careful and attentive to their practices. And they must not spare any effort to increase love and avoid the love decreasing practices.
Hope too has an important role in the prosperity of common life. Fiancés should not be negligent about strengthening hope in each other’s heart by hopeful words, soberness and confidence of conduct.
The boy and girl are usually attached and aligned with the parents’ life; this alignment should change into independence.
The period of engagement is a suitable chance to lay the foundation of this independence. Fiancés should do the future planning, design the aims and horizons of their future life and the ways to reach them.
Fiancés should be careful about each other’s sentiments and emotions and value and answer them appropriately. Some fiancés do not consider it necessary to answer the delicate sentiments and feelings of their fiancés and think this would cause them to become dearer to their fiancés, whereas, on the contrary, the feelings of their fiancés are hurt. As a result, they start nursing a grudge against them and may harm their lives seriously.
The memories of the engagement period linger on in the memory until the last part of life and affect one’s future life (both sweet and bitter memories).
Therefore, the fiancé must have a perfectly calculated and planned conduct and refrain from practices that damage one’s ego and personality. Indifference, carelessness, pride and insolence toward the fiancé harms and hurts the sentiments and personality of the other side heavily.
The girl must be proud and reticent, but towards strangers and those not intimate, not toward her legal fiancé.
Regretfully, it is often observed that the youth complain about the proud and reticent attitude of their fiancés. For instance, they say: “I bought a gift for her and went to see her with thousands of hopes and aspirations, but she showed carelessness and disrespect and
did not accept my gift and I returned with a broken and bleeding heart.”
Religious girls must know that such conduct is not part of faith and modesty, rather, these are prohibited.
It is meaningless for a girl to hide herself from her fiancé who is her intimate and husband and to show recklessness.
Yes, we admit that modest girls feel shy in the former parts of the engagement and cannot show much intimacy and love toward their fiancé. Boys too must observe and recognise this fact, but this condition of shamefulness must soon go and their relation be based upon intimacy and love, accompanied by mutual respect.
Presents have a strange role in attracting hearts and enhancing and boosting love. It is essential for the fiancés not to be negligent of this beautiful and important point.
It is not necessary that the gifts should be very precious, but it is essential that it must be concordant with the inclination of the other party. And more importantly, that it is presented in an elegant and fine way. Presenting a gift requires a particular elegance and style. It must not be forgotten that presentation of a gift should not be one-sided. (Not that only boys give gifts.)
Of course, he may present more than the girl.
Writing letters full of love and purity has a nice effect upon the enhancement of love and strengthening of mutual relations. Even if the two fiancés are close to each other and always see each other, writing a letter has a positive effect.
They should write the letters and at the time of visiting and departure, give them to each other. Of course, in case of travelling and being far away from each other, the letters should be detailed and more in number.
We have seen many spouses who retain the letters written during the engagement period even after the passage of many years. They read, cherish, and enjoy those sweet memories.
Fiancés should have lovely visits in the sweet and memorable time of the engagement. These visits strengthen the hope, enthusiasm and love of them both. The visits not only are modest, but also strengthen modesty for the both of them.
During these visits they should have warm and sincere dialogue and show love, affection and affiliation towards each other and talk about their future life and express hope and warmth of feeling for each other. And they might proceed on journeys, recreation and sightseeing (journeys during this period have a vital role and place).
During this worthy and precious opportunity between the marriage contract and the marriage, a better co-ordination and understanding may develop so as to provide a ground for their future life. They can make use of travels and journeys to reach this aim.
Journeys, even though short, are a suitable ground for the unconscious manifestation of positive and negative aspects of human morality and character. Hence it provides a good opportunity for getting know each other better. A logic for these is that since the formal life has not yet started, so both parties have the readiness and flexibility to rectify and reform themselves upon the positive suggestion and criticism of each other.
These journeys, apart from being beneficial for the enhancement of mutual recognition on morality and the spirits of each other, are quite beautiful, lovely and memorable.
Of course, it is evidently understood that these should be done with the permission of the parents of the girl.
One of the constructive programmes, which has a positive effect upon the spiritual and moral progress and maturity, development of mutual understanding between spouses and increasing the magnificence of this grand period is joint participation in the aggregations and meetings of knowledge, religion, and morality.
one’s life, caring for a spouse and the study of books in this respect.
Spouseship, management of life and training of children needs education and this education and training must start before marriage and continue to the end of one’s life.
It is necessary for parents to acquaint their children gradually with the matters and responsibilities of life right from childhood, so as to make them prepared for their life.
Some of parents, as a love to their offspring, refrain from letting them work and becoming familiar and conversant with the matters pertaining to their future lives. This practice of parents is not only not a love and service to their children, but it also incurs heavy losses upon them. This is because it is in the childhood and youth that the nature of is children gets prepared for all types of education and training. If they do not become familiar and conversant with the problems of life and the essential readiness does not develop in them, when they themselves get to shoulder the responsibilities of running a life, they will be defeated and lost. When they lose the help and shelter of their parents and come to face the facts and hardships and responsibilities, they will become harassed, disappointed, and hopeless and
will develop a sense of self- depreciation and inferiority.
Many of the youth have ample amount of information about the variant problems, but they know little or nothing about spouseship and life management.
Fortunately, nowadays it is observed that the youth show a great deal of zeal and enthusiasm and inclination toward gaining various education, arts and skills, both curricular and extra curricular. This makes one hopeful about a better and affluent future.
There are classes of different subjects being held, and plenty of books and teachers are also available, but unfortunately, there is no organisation, arrangement and inclination concerning subjects and arts like spouseship, household affairs, life administration, children training, understanding and co-ordination between the husband and the wife. Briefly speaking, the organising and maintaining of the garden of life,’ which is the real nucleus in composing society, is not observed. And this inattentiveness and slackness incurs heavy damages upon the structure of society, the remedy and compensation for which in most cases is not possible.
There are many youths in our society (and many other societies) who achieve degrees in various subjects, including technology, arts, science and research, but when it comes to compose a marital life, they become perplexed and do not know the alphabet of the arts and sciences of the foundations of life, of erecting the pillars of the centre of life and the tender plant of life and the gardening of the garden of life. There are only few who help and assist them and drag them out of this terrifying and dreadful
whirlpool and make them reach the shore.
Then these youths who are untrained and unequipped in the ways of spouse selection, spouseship and running the life feel a huge void in themselves. Since they greatly need a spouse, they are obliged to somehow marry and organise a family and then they face those undesirable results which include: turmoiled and disturbed families, depressing conflicts and contentions, shameful and scandalous indecent words, dishonouring beatings, worn out nerves, sad and depressed souls, withered hearts, upset and diseased digestive systems, ruining and destructive corruption, lost and wasted talents, destroyed aspirations, depressed hopes, damaged desires, unreached aims, defeated struggles, agonising problems, sad deprivations, injured and hurt sentiments and feelings and frozen hearts.
And the after- fruits of this thorny garden are untrained, mannerless, badly trained, difficult, talentless, weak, mean and naughty children.
Oh Allah, be it that your hidden hand comes to our help and guides us out of this valley of perplexity and aberration.
So it is essential for boys and girls to equip themselves with the arts, awareness, and knowledge of the life administration before marriage and attend the institutions and classes regarding these matters (if there are any) and to study books on this topic.
The engagement period and the time gap between the marriage contract and the marriage is a suitable opportunity to achieve this end to be prepared and ready.
Now we suggest some books about this subject.
1- Constitution of spouseship, by Ayatollah Ibrahim Ameeni.
This is one of the best books written on this topic and has two parts. One part
pertains to ‘wife maintaining’ and the other is about ‘husband maintaining’. Each one of the two may be studied by the boy and the girl, or the husband and the wife to learn their duties and practice them. Of course, there is no harm if each one reads both the parts. But not that girls and women study the part concerning men, and boys and men read the part specified for girls and women so that they understand what rights they have upon the other; instead, each one should understand and take in what are his/her duties and responsibilities to be performed.
2-Family’s Heaven, two volumes, by late Dr. Sayyid Jawad Mustafawi.
3- Marriage; the man making school, by martyr Dr. Pak Nijad. This book has three volumes, all in a single binding. Volume 2 is related to the issues concerning the engagement period and the chamber of marriage. The writer has produced a few beneficial books about marriage, spouse maintaining and the issues relating to family life.
4- Books of Dr. Ali Qayemi. (He has some good books on the issues and various phases of family life.)
5- The guide to life for young couples, by Sayyid Hadi Mudarresi.
He has written a number of volumes of useful books on this topic. The original books are in Arabic and they have many translations with various names. If you know the name of the writer and the topic, it would be easy to find the book.
6- Morality in the family, by Sayyid Ali Akbar Hussaini (the executer of the TV.
program ‘morality in the family’).
7 -The books of the “Association of Parents and Trainers” regarding the topic of family and marriage.
8-Answers to sexual- marital problems, by Dr. Hana Stone and Dr Abraham Stone (this book provides useful and essential information to the boy and the girl). Of course it may have objectionable matters, since the writers of this book are non- Muslims.
One of the interesting and useful programs in this field can be that the bride and bridegroom study a book in the sweet time of their engagement.
Here it is appropriate that we present a large part of the worthy essay of Mr. Mohammad Ale- Ishaq, written under the title ‘Engagement period, a solution to youth problems’ printed and circulated by the “Centre of Islamic Research of Qum’.
“It is our suggestion that the tradition of engagement be revived in society, and its revolutionary and scientific values be explained and illustrated through modern propagation media, so that it may reach the status of social consciousness and tradition. The same custom and policy which is current and customary in pure families of Qum and some parts of Mashhad and the north should be promoted.
If every youth has the right to pluck a flower from the garden of life, then let him choose it as long as it is a bud and before its petals have scattered.
If a man gets full up and fed with lawful bread and cheese, human nobility and decency stops him from committing excess and aggression against others’ dinner tables.
If we purchase a
garden full of grapes for a youth of ours and hand him over the key, he will never jump over the wall of others’ gardens.
How long can one endure thirst?
It is suggested that the religious marriage contract be done (with simple informal ceremonies). And so the two spouses may receive benefit through loving relations apart from marriage and fulfil their physical needs and requirements through legal and lawful means. When their studies are completed and they get a job and procure income, they can marry with all the ceremonies.
If one asks what the surety they will not marry is, we reply that if they marry, there would be no dowry for them and experience has shown that both the spouses guard their real capital.
In response to the question that they might get fed up with each other and separate by dissolving the engagement then what must be done, we reply that, firstly, engagement is the most suitable period in which they harmonise their common life in the shelter of passionate love and the differences change into the light and beauty of love. If as an unlikely case the homogeneity did not take shape, then it would be far better to separate before bearing children, and the capital has not been wasted and the future of a child has not been endangered.
Even in the ordinary marriages a few percent end up in separation, so then should people not marry at all?
The Value Of The Engagement Period
1-From a psychological point of view, instinctual deprivations cause spiritual problems
(complex) and unbalance man spiritually. And sexual deprivation is of the deepest of them, which, according to some psychologists (who are extremists), is the root of all the moral aberrations and deviations and the social crimes.
Reflection of the difficulty of sexual deprivations:
After the period of deprivation ends, one is involved and entangled in the reflections of it which become the cause of mistrust among wives in the shape of evil and polygamy and bring about family turmoil and disturbances. The only remedy to it is timely sexual saturation and satisfaction.
With these explanations is it suitable to invest in police, judicial and administrative operations or the promotion and expansion of engagement and timely sexual saturation? If we say engagement is the guarantee of human spiritual balance and the factor of preventing moral and social deviations and aberrations we would not have said anything wrong.
2-The love instinct, which is satisfied in infancy by a mother’s kisses exerts more pressure on the young generation’s spirit at the time of youth.
The young girl and boy have a thing lost and they feel themselves in a state of unfamiliarity, until such time as they find it. They go around, searching for a heart full of love and affection. It is better to say they are after a spiritual shelter so that they may feel self- assured and at peace beside that, and prepare themselves for the solution of life’s problems and combat against death causing factors. The pressure of this need is not less than that of the sexual need.
The plan of engagement secures the best shape of spiritual needs and satisfaction of the young generation.
3-The family is the centre of the conduct and behaviour of two human beings with two different and variant organisms, two cultures and two viewpoints towards life. Most people marry to achieve and lay hand upon their unrealised aspirations and desires (desires unrealised by their parents.)
Naturally, such an environment is the centre of differences and oppositions and the root of most separations and divorces lies in these very differences.
The engagement period is most suitable to solve these disputes and differences, since under the shelter of passionate love the differences are changed into uniformity and homology and the ground for a stable, sweet life is gained.
If we estimate the negative effects of these family differences upon children, we would fairly decide that the engagement period is the factor of prosperity and felicity.
4- Personal nobility and human personality is the factor, which stops man from committing indecent works. It is due to the pressure of the unsatisfied and unfulfilled natural needs that man does not have the strength to endure them and thus tramples human nobility and decency under his feet.
If the natural needs of the youth and their difficulties are taken into consideration and get satiated on time in a legal shape, the ground for most of the moral and social aberrations and deviations is finished and the immoral propaganda of the west becomes ineffective.
5- Dispersed and scattered thoughts are a danger which threaten the brains of youths. If the
Islamic revolution requires active, inventive and delightful brains, it should stop young brains from lusty thoughts.
Put yourself in the place of a pious and revolutionary youth. How many years can the thirst be endured and remained inattentive and indifferent towards stimulating and tempting factors? The reckless youth satisfy themselves through unfair means, but the one who does not want to commit sin; shall the aberrant thoughts leave him alone?
Experiments and experience of psychology has proved that one hour of deviational thoughts (particularly lustful ones) drain the mind empty of all its energies. As a result, the concentration of thought, power, subtlety, freshness, initiative, inventiveness and creativeness will he annihilated.
If engagement is the solution to all these problems, would parents denounce and reject it?
If engagement is the best way to fight and combat the hackneyed western culture and the satellite, would the executives remain indifferent to it? All that is important is that slogans alone are not sufficient and all modern propagational media must be co-ordinated. What happens if the television telecasts the ceremony of two engaged spouses during their initial contact, at the time of selection, and in a joint journey?
What if the aggregation of the marriage contract is shown in a simple way including the moment when the parents hand over the girl’s hand into the boy’s and the clergyman prays for their prosperity?
A particular length of time cannot be specified for the engagement period; rather it depends upon the position and the taste of the individuals. But it can be said that
if any specific conditions are not there, like continuing education and completing one’s military training, and the boy and the girl have made the necessary preparations for marriage, then a six to nine- month length of time seems suitable.
We reiterate and stress that a specific time period does not exist for it. All that is necessary is achieving the required preparation and readiness, which has already been described, so that special benefits may be reaped from this duration.
There exists a probability that catastrophes will take shape in this period. These ‘probable mishaps’ are not alike with respect to all societies and variant families; instead, in the same way as the habits, moralities, rituals, customs and beliefs of people are different, the mishaps of the engagement period and generally the catastrophes of family life too are different and variant, since these are attached and related to moralities, circumstances, beliefs and customs of the people.
Here we describe a few of these calamities so that the youth and their families may put a curb and restraint upon them and if, God forbid, they take place, they might remove and remedy them.
One of the peculiarities of man is that the power of one’s fancy and imagination flies very high, and if not controlled, curbed and balanced, does not stop anywhere. It skips over the facts and figures to fly in a world of dreams, unreal aspirations, and desires. On the other hand, man’s condition of comparison too is quite strong. He compares what he possesses to what others possess or to things he has reached in his fancies. And in these comparisons, he usually falls prey to fault and illusion, and does not see the facts as they are. Instead, he considers what is possessed by him as contemptible and little, and the things possessed by others or being imagined as great and beautiful.
The sense of variety- loving too helps in this matter, and as a result, he is confronted with sorrow, grief, emulation, regret,
loss and hopelessness and develops the desire to change his assets for others.
The third condition which exists in man is such that he does not have much interest and inclination towards what is legal and lawful for him, but he is greedy about what is prohibited for him.
For instance, in normal circumstances, he does not have much desire for a certain type of food. Perhaps that food is present in his house for days, but he does not consume it. But if he feels ill and the physician prohibits him from it, he develops a strange tendency and desire for it.
Or, when he is fasting and eating is prohibited for him, he starts to have a strong wish to eat and drink, but at the time of breakfast, he does not have much desire for it.
Actually, the power of imagination, discontentment with the present condition and variety loving nature of man should be discussed in another discussion, but here we consider it from a special angle:
Man is confronted with faults of opinion and recognition; in this way, he observes things from a distance and his mind takes a picture of them, then he flashes it to the interior of his mind and interprets and analyses it to reach a result, which usually differs from the reality of those things. Whenever a ground is provided so that he can observe and evaluate those things in a warm and sensitive manner, he discovers that they are different from what he has previously seen and evaluated from a
For instance, the scenes and people which we see in colour films, if we saw them closely or see them afterwards, we discover that their reality is quite different from what is seen in the film. Particularly, if the film and pictures are large and beautiful and seen from a distance.
Another example: If we see the people who perform in a theatre when light reflectors throw coloured light upon them from distance and we meet them afterward and have social contacts with them, we discover that the faces under the reflectors from a distance are quite different from the faces observed closely.
Or if we get something that was not in our means, and we had an extremely strong inclination towards it, we find that there was nothing so important about that.
Everyone has certain experiences in his life wherein he has observed these differences and is aware of this fact.
Now, if man (both ladies and gentlemen) puts on the spectacles of lust and passion on his eyes and watches lust- evoking, sexy scenes and then analyses them through his rich and high flying imagination, it is evident what sort of false pictures would be embedded in his conscience. Then the trouble starts when he may wish to conform and compare those false pictures with his wife.
It is quite clear that however much his wife may be beautiful and attractive; she cannot reach those false pictures. And that is the moment when hopelessness, dismay and excuse making will start. (Allah’s curse be upon the propagators and promoters
of corruption and the films containing sexy material. Allah knows what troubles and calamities these have, whether live or picture, brought for the youth and wives, though they may be aged.)
One of the factors causing the dismay and hopelessness in spouse relations is comparing one’s wife with the girls or wives of others. Usually this comparison leads to the wrong result that others’ spouses are better. There is a well-known idiom among our people that man sees the hen of the neighbour as a goose. This idiom describes the very wrong comparison and discontentment, incorrect notions and being greedy about things prohibited.
If a person wants peace of mind, prosperity and satisfaction, he must abandon this comparison and be contented with his won spouse. All the excellence described about contentment do not pertain to economical contentment. Instead, it includes being contented with one’s own spouse and it is more important than contentment in economical affairs.
One of the family – running negative effects of casting prohibited looks (both for men and women) is that a person looks at hundreds of girls, boys, men, and women of different colours and races in different dress, with figures and faces and imprints their picture in his/her heart. The power of imagination develops and decorates them and when he/she reaches the spouse and compares him/her to them, thinks him/her to be below and less than them in beauty and attractiveness. Then he/she is confronted with perplexity, envy, dismay, and disappointment.
The leaders of Islam have repeatedly forbidden people from casting prohibited looks.
النَّظْرَةُ سَهمٌ مِن سِهامِ إبْليسَ مَسمُومَةٌ. وَكَمْ مِن نَظْرَةٍ أوْرَثَتْ حَسْرةً.
“A prohibited look is one of the poisoned arrows of Satan. And many looks have been followed by prolonged remorse (regret).”
Casting prohibited looks is not specific to men, but includes women as well. My sister and brother, if you want felicity and fortune, then refrain and cover up your eyes, minds and thoughts from all women and men of the world and concentrate upon your own spouse. Do not compare your spouse with anybody. Be contented with each other. Do not think others are better than your spouse. No, they are also human beings and have faults, shortcomings, virtues and peculiarities. If you see faults in your spouse and do not find him/her perfect and according to your taste and ideal, know that others too are more or less the same. Just as you yourself are the same. That is to say, you are not ideal, complete and superb. As a matter of fact, Allah has created people in different forms and shapes based upon His wisdom. The training, environments and genetic factors are different, as are the morality and spirits of different persons.
Do not have obsessions. You cannot find anyone who is perfect according to your choice and liking.
‘Rivalry and envy’ which is considered void and rejected by all people (although practically they confirm it) is not specific to ceremonial affairs; rather it covers our discussion as well. Comparing one’s spouse with others is a form of rivalry.
It is not always that
a person compares his/her spouse in issues such as sexual attractiveness and s discontented, instead, this false comparison can also exist in spiritual and moral issues and issues of knowledge. That is, one says, “my spouse is at a lower grade of faith, knowledge and morality than the spouse of such and such a person; I wish so and so perfect and faithful woman was my wife; she is more rational and wise, faithful, educated, good mannered and skilled than my wife.
This comparison too is false and void and does not have any result, except frustration, regret, pain, dismay and disappointment. It may also only be a fancy, like the hen of a neighbour, which appears to be a goose. If you really wish the spiritual progress of your wife, help her on this way and provide the means for her development. Belittling and humiliating her is against piety and morality.
We have plenty of specimens in connection with excuses of the heart and mind, incorrect comparisons, greed and discontentment, but we only cite the following one:
Jawad worked in the female section of an institution and dealt with tens of girls and women daily.
One day he came to me, saying, “I am displeased with my wife because she lacks the virtues and perfection that I desire. I am very pained by this situation and have become disappointed with my wife.”
Then he described and counted her flaws and defects as causes of his displeasure. I, who was aware of the condition of his life and knew
his wife was a good lady, explained that after thinking and looking into the problems, his problems could be solved so he would stop feeling this disappointment and dismay. He could put things into practice so we could handle the other solutions. My suggestion was that he immediately resign his post in that unit of the institution and start working in another one where he did not have to deal with girls and ladies.
Jawad surprisingly asked: “What connection does that have with my problem?”
I said to him: “You are in contact with a lot of girls and ladies everyday and work with them. You may observe a virtue in each one of them, whether real or imaginary. Although you are a pure and faithful person, these pictures influence your personality, mind, and conscience. You then unconsciously compare your wife with them and since you are unaware of their faults and shortcomings and only look at their beauties, you simultaneously are aware of the flaws of your wife and come to the conclusion that she has shortcomings and lacking compared to them. Thus you become disappointed. You may not actually be conscious of this comparison, but your conscience does its job. Nobody can claim that he/she does not get affected and influenced by contact with the opposite sex and the non- intimate ones. Even Yousef (Joseph) (a.s) says to Allah, “If You do not save and secure me from the craftiness and cunningness of them (the women of Egypt) it is possible that I may be
inclined towards them.” So do not consider yourself safe from their effect. And, before your life has shattered, resign from that unit. On the other hand, your social contacts with all these ladies and girls has effects upon the sense of envy and jealousy of your wife, and it is hard for her to endure and tolerate that her husband permanently works closely with strange women and girls. This issue is the cause of her sorrow, agony, distress and dismay, although she may not utter a word so that her life and yours is not made bitter.”
At the beginning it was difficult for Jawad to accept this suggestion. But I brought him round to do it as a test.
Jawad resigned from the job and started working in the male section. He showed up after nearly two months and cheerfully said, “This test gave a good result and was very effective in improving the condition of my life.”
I told him, “If you want to be prosperous and comfortable in your family life, do not compare your wife with others.”
And then we looked into other problems of his life. And now that many years have passed after this event, he is leading a good felicitous life.
My sister and brother: Be pious and content and hold your spouse strongly. Do not exchange her/him for the whole world. She/he is the same spouse which you desired. The very one, not another one.
Of course, the grounds of progress, reform and personality construction is always provisioned. Put efforts in making her
progress and mature. But do not ask anything above her energy. She has a limited capacity. Just as you have!
This bud has been bestowed upon you from the garden of existence. Secure her. Do not let her petals be scattered away.
You do not know the faults of others and only look at their virtues from a distance. Had you been able to look at the other side of the picture, you would have known that your wife is better than many others whom you wish were your wife.
Be attached to your heart-comforting mate and shut your eyes from the rest of the world.
Of course, the husband and the wife are duty- bound to decorate themselves externally and internally in a way that they may please each other so that their eyes are filled up with each other’s sights and there remains no room for others. Decoration, cleanliness, apparent beauty and positive attributes and the internal perfection have a real role to play in attracting hearts and developing the warmth of love and aspiration. The apparent decoration, beauty and decent interior attributes are the primary factors to attract man toward themselves and the lacking of them is the first cause of rejection and dismay.
Regretfully, at times it is observed that the girl, the boy or their families have undue expectations from each other and load each other’s shoulders with heavy burdens and turn this sweet period into a bitter one.
These undue expectations are usually materialistic, extravagant and rooted in rites and rituals of ignorance and every common sense considers them denounced and rejected.
Some parents and elders, who should be the helper of the youth and support them in organising their lives, pressurise them to the extent of bending, rather than breaking their backs. Youth with broken and painful hearts complain about these expectations, and impositions.
Such things are the cause of disappointment and damage to life, so they must be avoided. And if elders raise such problems, the boy and the girl should be careful and vigilant about each other. Besides not getting mixed up with these futile matters, it is a must for them to defend each
other. Each one must not allow the other to be pressurised.
The co-ordination and co-working of the boy, the girl and their families to organise their future life is an absolute necessity and these expectations and impositions are against co-working, communion of hearts and sincerity.
Emulation and races in decoration, ceremonies, rites and customs are wrong and restrain the development and independence of the youth.
Attention: One Must Certainly Have A Celebration
Celebration of marriage, besides not being undesirable, is rather recommended and desired. Youth, particularly girls, aspire and long for celebrations in their marriage. This aspiration must be answered positively. From an Islamic point of view, marriage celebrations are desirable and required. A celebration was held for the marriage of the commander of believers Ali (a.s) and Zahra (a.s) by the order of the Prophet (a.s).
We recommend to the youths that they hold celebrations for their marriage (marriage contract and marriage or both) and should not marry short of celebration. What is not required or desired is lavish and extravagant spending, (unnecessary) decor and undue expectations, not the actual celebration. Every person who has not deviated from human nature can understand the ugliness and undesirability of these matters and can differentiate between the desired celebration and the undesired celebration.
Man should free himself from the attachment and alignment of the beliefs and views of others and must not be apprehensive about others’ feelings about himself; instead he must try to judge his own duty, and act according to it. Thus he will be prosperous.
We have observed many youth
whose sweet period of engagement, and the pure nucleus of their lives and hearts are encountered with bitterness and coldness due to the interferences and meddling of scorpion- natured ignorant people (who sting by their nature) or the crafty, self interested ones (who look for disturbances to add fuel to the fire). (Allah’s curse be upon these enemies of youth prosperity.)
Some of the youth, when they get their spouses, forget their parents or pay less attention to them, and sometimes they are disrespectful to them.
At times, after bringing a bride or even after engagement and the marriage contract, the mother feels that her son does not have the previous affiliation and attachment to her. And this is a very hard and serious situation for her, which she cannot endure. Then she starts the conflict and quarrels.
An intelligent and clever man observes the rights of both sides, that of the parents, as well as the wife’s. Neither he sacrifices the parents for the wife, nor the other way round.
I have seen the inefficiency and mismanagement of the bridegroom in the conflicts between the bride and her husband’s mother. And I have seen the inattentiveness, inefficiency, and mismanagement of the bride in the husband’s disputes with his wife’s parents.
If the bride and bridegroom are completely focused on all matters and observe everyone’s rights most of the conflicts and tussles between them and the parents do not take shape.
The bride and the bridegroom must be aware that the parents have taken all that pain and labour for
many years and brought them up with hardships and now it would not be justice to have a cold attitude towards them. Annoying parents is followed by the displeasure of Allah and Allah’s displeasure brings grave and serious results for the life of children and becomes the cause of chastisement in the hereafter. Parents are the cause of abundance in their children’s lives and this worthy and precious capital must not be lost. Parents do not want the misery of their children. They wish their prosperity.
Young brother and sister, appreciate the worth of these heart- burns. It is not just to forget and push back these benefactors when you have your beloved. Many youth have been observed who come to appreciate the worth of parents only after bearing children and enduring some of their hardships’ even though we know that today’s facilities are much more than yesterday’s when our parents brought us up with more hardships.
So pay the right of everyone at his own place. It is not fair to be insolent and disrespectful to any of the two. Do not do anything which may have future sorrow and regret, and suddenly when you wake up, the parents are gone. Then there would be nothing much you could do.
During this period, the relation of girls and boys and their families should be warm and sincere, but must not reach excessive limits.
If the visits, feasts and parties become excessive, both parties become exhausted. And this exhaustion damages love, particularly if this duration is prolonged.
ask how many times a week or after how many days must we visit during the engagement and marriage. The reply is that it does not have a specified average or standard, instead it should be seen how much of the grounds are available and what is the quality of greetings. It should not be so rare to cause discouragement nor so frequent to be exhausting. Neither arrogance and indifference nor excessiveness and humiliating oneself and putting others to inconvenience.
Maintain balance since it is better.
Additionally, there must not be any kind of imposition and formality in these visits. Neither of the two sides should have the expectations of detailed formal feasts and colourful dinner tables and precious gifts. They must observe each other’s condition.
Likewise, the bride and bridegroom must observe the etiquette of modesty and shyness, particularly in families where there are other boys and girls. Indifference towards modesty becomes the cause of disrespect of the bride and the bridegroom in the parents’ eyes and the deviation of youngsters of the family.
During the period before marriage some offences and shortcomings may face the two sides.
During the various phases of marriage, including asking for the girl’s hand in marriage, giving the reply, setting the conditions of marriage, invitation, and such affairs, there might have been some words exchanged between the elders or associates of the two sides, or the boy or the girl might have said something discouraging or those scorpion- natured ones might have stung to create displeasure and offence. This offence must not
influence the marriage. All of these things must be cleared up no sooner the marriage contract is held, and must not prolong to cover the post marriage time. If someone has been shown disregard and he thinks he has been disrespected, he must forgive it for Allah’s sake.
Now that these two youths have started their joint life with safety, the chiefs and elders too should forgive and forget their displeasure and must never proceed for the compensation and the renewal of grudges.
Discussing these absurd and ignorance- based matters is the sign of immaturity of the husband and the wife and sometimes incurs heavy and serious damage upon the life of the two.
Some brides and bridegrooms and their associates (especially mothers and grandmothers), to make themselves more respectful and to compensate for their belittlement, or due to any other ill intention, talk about those previous ones who came to ask for their hand in marriage and usually describe their number in quite exaggerated numbers to boast of them. It not only does not make them respectful and is of no use, but it creates a grudge and is followed by plenty of harm.
Brides and bridegrooms should not talk about themselves in this regard and must prevent their associates from doing the same. Similarly, never tell the spouse about any association or inclination, which one might have had with anyone. And never talk about any other women, girls, or men before each other. Negligence of these points may apparently look to be small, but great harm
Here we appropriately produce the words of Ayatollah Ameeni:
“One of the important topics which the boy and the girl are prone to discover in the period between engagement and marriage is the grade of the love of their spouse for them. Each husband and wife wants to understand that his/her spouse has what degree of attachment for him/her. And this matter has great effects upon the future life. So it is essential for the wife and the husband to express the grade of love for each other and they must avoid uttering any discouraging word or practice, which might reflect their eagerness and love. Man must avoid looking at other women and men and must only look at one’s own spouse. Praising other men and women and talking about the existence of other men or women who asked for their hand in marriage as well as fault finding and criticism are among the causes of discouragement and must definitely be avoided. The wife and the husband must maintain prestige and seriousness in their conduct and avoid ugly jokes and non- serious and cheap activities. They must observe each other’s regard and respect and not do anything which may make them so open to each other that the parameter of respect is dissolved.”
Some girls’ parents have undue and out of place ardour and emulation and prevent the friendly relation of their daughter with the lawful fiancé. And this practice becomes the cause of discouragement of them both.
I say to such mothers and fathers: If
you have liked this son- in- law and have confidence in him, accepted him after sufficient recognition and considered him to be a suitable spouse for your daughter, then there is no room left for apprehension, restraining, and prohibiting their seeing each other. But if you have not acquired the necessary recognition of him and have not liked him and do not have confidence in him, then why did you agree that your daughter marry him?
It is not reasonable that a person marries his daughter to someone and is suspicious about him and does not treat him as a suitable spouse for his daughter! This boy is now your son- in- law and the lawful and legal husband of your daughter and she too is the legal and lawful wife of him. From this point of view, the period of engagement does not have any difference from that of the after marriage.
If you say, if this girl is his wife, he should take her to his own house, not that she may be his wife and live in our house, I reply to it: Did we not discuss only a few pages before (in this book) under the topic ‘Need of engagement’ that it is essential that there should be a time distance between the marriage contract and the marriage itself and we also described the logic of it?
In any case, the girl’s parents must observe the condition of these two youths and not cause their annoyance by observing undue ardour, so that in the
future, the relations of the couple with the parents are based upon sincerity, purity, and respect and they do not have any malice and displeasure for them in their hearts.
Of course, the son- in- law must also make sure that while the girl is in her parents’ home and the ceremonial marriage has not taken place, the permission of the parents is sought in connection with going for recreation, journeys and all other matters. It cannot be expected that the parents should not hold any opinion and allow the girl and the boy to go freely in all the matters, since they must conserve and secure the honour of their family too.
The youth should not trespass their respect and commit excess upon their honour; instead, they must take their status and position into view. It is particularly necessary where there are other adult boys and girls in a family, which observe the conduct of their sister and her husband. In such a case, if they behave carelessly and do not observe the restrictions of honour, they can be the cause of aberration of other youth.
We emphatically recommend to the bride and the bridegroom that they must observe the honour, reverence, and agreement of parents in all matters. A recklessness and careless attitude in this connection can inflict heavy and grave damage.
My sister and brother, we have recommended to your parents, and we recommend it to you as well - leave the real and actual marriage to the marriage night. Now that the elders have
shown confidence in you, you also endeavour to honour their confidence. Do have enjoyable and lovely relations, but leave the real marriage and its peculiar issues for the marriage night.
I pray to the Almighty that you have a dynamic and prosperous life along with faith, piety, and duty consciousness.
اَللَّهُمَّ ألِّفْ بَينَهُما وَطَيِّبْ نَسْلَهُما وَكَثِّر رِزقَهُما.
“O Allah! Develop love and purity between them and purify their offspring and make their sustenance plentiful.“
Wasail al- Shia, vol. 14, p 22.
 Hind, the wife of Abu Sufian, chewed the liver of Hazrat Hamza (a.s) after his being martyred in the Uhud battle.
 His lessons about Nahjul Balagha in television.
 Wasail al-Shia vol 14. p 23.
 Education and training in Islam, Sadra Publications, p 251 to 252.
 Wasail Al-Shia, vol. 14, p 6.
 Makaremul Akhlaq, p 99.
 Bihourly An war, vol. 103, p 220.
 Intekhab-e Hamsar, p 31/32 (Fhe spouse selection).
 “The bond of life” by Khudakuf, translated by Habibian, p 13, seventh edition.
 Answers to sexual and marital problems, translated by Dr. Tarazullah Akhawan, P 14,19th Ed.
Wasail al-Shia, vol 14, p 39. Tabreerul Waseela (Imam Khomeini) vol. 2, chapter of Nikah (marriage).
 Nawadir al-Rawandi, p 36.
 Wasail al-Shia, Vol 3, p5.
 Wasail al-Shia, Vol. 3 p7.
 Noor al-Thaqalain, Vol. 3 p 599.
 Milk price is a certain amount of money taken from the bridegroom on behalf of the mother's feeding milk to her daughter (bride) during the bride's infancy.
 Imam Hussian (a.s).
 Nahjul Balagha, Sobhi Saleh, Wisdom 57.
 "Spouse selection", page 156-157, pub: the Islamic Propagation Organisation,
 We again reiterate and emphasize that the youth must make sure about wrongfulness of those oppositions.
 The students are trained for teaching in primary schools and cam a salary to suffice a simple life.
 A sentence commonly known from martyr Dr. Ayatollah Beheshti.
 Surah of Noor, verse 32.
 Wasail al-Shia, vol. 14. P 77.
 Nahjul Balagha; Subhi Saleh, sermon 108 (last sentence of the sermon.)
 Wasail al-Shia, vol. 14, p 30.
 Wasail al-Shia, vol. 14, p 31.
 Jawahir, vol. 29, p 37.
 Wasail al-Shia, vol. 14, p 29.
 Wasail al-Shia, vol. 14, P 56.
 Usool Kafi, vol. 1, Kitabul Aql Wal Jahl, Hadith 3.
 Biharul Anwar, vol. 103, p 237.
 Prophet (a.s), Usool-e Kafi, vol. 1, the chapter on Excellence of knowledge, Hadith 1.
 How to conduct the children, by Dr. Mohammad Reza Sharafi, p 50.
 Furoo-e Kafi, p 5.
 From his ethical reminders, seminary of Qom.
 Nahjul Balagha, Imam Ali's (a.s) letter to Usman bin Hunaif.
 We will discuss this issue in the seventh chapter "sacrificial marriages."
 We will discuss this in the chapter "sacrificial marriages."
 The attraction and repulsion of Ali (a.s), Sadra publication, sixth edition, p 48-50.
 Mathnawi Maulavi.
 Right of the woman in Islam, Sadra Publications, 8th edition, p 326, p 317.
 Attraction and repulsion of Ali (a.s) p 55-58
 Spouse selection, p 9S, 96, first edition.
 Spouse selection, p 191.
 Right of the woman in Islam, p 313, Sadra Publications, fifth edition.
 Nahjul Balagha, sermon 153, Subhi saleh.
 Marriage in the school of the prophet's progeny, by Najafi
Yazdi, p 88.
 Nahjul Balagha, Subhi Saleh, wisdom 26.
 Ustad Jawad Mohaddesi.
 This subject has been described in the previous chapter under the title of "beauty".
 This subject has been described in the previous chapter under the little of "beauty".
 Wasail al-Shia.
 Mustadrak al-Wasail.
 Wasail al-Shia, vol. 14, p 60.
 spouse selection, p 114.
 Makarimul Akhalq, p 369.
 Kashful Asrar, p 93, published by Nekukari Faterneeun Foundation.
 Spouse Sellection p 166-168.
 Certain Muslims enter Nikah (marriage congract) much before the marriage ceremony. The actual martial life, sex, child bearing and family raising starts after the girl’s leaving her parents’ house. But at time both the ceremonies can be held together.
 Maqtal (by Kharazmi) and Lohuf, cited in "Philosophy of Ethics" (by Martyr Mutahhari, p 163).
 Evidently, the introduction of these books does not approve all of their matters.
 Risalat Newspaper, Issue no. 2102 1st of Urdibehesht 1372 SH, P 4.
 Surah of Yousof, verse 33.
 Spouse selection. p 227.
In the name of Allah
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