Community Affairs

How Do You Look at Marriage?

Traditional Muslim weddingThe Western culture has a big impact on the youth of today, but Islam has provided a way to keep us on the right path. It has strongly recommended early marriage. All the problems of today can be solved with this simple step. It is said that the Holy Prophet was proud of the fact that Islam has made it easy to get married. Have we not turned this around? Traditional Muslim weddingMost parents today view marriage through the glass of culture and traditions. They have a set picture of the son/daughter in law, of their family, of the wedding day, of almost everything. Unfortunately, some fail to look at the real Islam and the real issues of today when creating this picture. Today is not the same as when the parents were younger. Just like Imam Ali (peace be upon him) has said in his famous hadith, “Do not force your children to behave like you, for surely they have been created for a time which is different to your time.”

How much longer will parents agree to all these Islamic proofs but keep following the culture? The youth today have different needs and different way of approaching things. Imam Ali also states: “People resemble the people of their time more than they do their fathers.” He knows better than we do. Why not listen to him?

Marriage is one such topic. We need to admit that the youth today have a different way, and as long as that way is not un-Islamic, parents need to start listening with an open mind. Culture is not something the youth pay attention to, especially when it comes to marriage. The youth today have had a lot more exposure to scholars and learning Islam without the mix of culture, which is a blessing since it is learned as pure Islam, without some of the meaningless cultural traditions. Usually culture conflicts with what youth are learning about what Islam says and what their parents make them do. Even so, many parents have learned true Islam after attending speeches, lectures, conferences, etc. They have changed their lives completely (observing Hijab, eating Halal, praying Namaz). But when it comes down to marriage, they have not picked up the true Islamic way of looking at it. Is that not double standards? You can’t pick a little of Islam and leave the other parts of it. 

The number one mistake parents make is thinking it is too early for their children to get married, that they are not “mature” yet. A girl is a woman when she is nine. Allah did not set this rule for no reason. She is no longer a girl, but a woman, meaning her physicaland mental psyche is no longer that of a child. It is the same for men at age 15. Getting married early keeps the youth away from sin and corruption. Especially today, not fulfilling or denying marriage leads one to engage in dating, causes them to sin more (not lowering their gaze, etc.), look to other sources to satisfy their desires, etc.

Some parents may think it is easy to attend a Western school, which is co-ed, in which all around you is Shaitan. It is very tough to fight off these distractions, especially for the youth. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) states: “O youths, whosoever among you can marry, he should do so, because marriage protects your eyes (from indulging in sin by looking lustily at others) and privacy.”  

The Western culture has a big impact on the youth of today, but Islam has provided a way to keep us on the right path. It has strongly recommended early marriage. All the problems of today can be solved with this simple step. It is said that the Holy Prophet was proud of the fact that Islam has made it easy to get married. Have we not turned this around? Not only does it stop from sinning, it builds spiritually. It has been narrated that when a youngster marries early in his youth, Shaitan cries out of desperation and says, “Alas! This person has protected one third of his religion, now he will protect the remaining two thirds also.” (Mustadrak al-Wasail)

Another issue is the new approaches youth are taking to get married. It’s not always the same story where parents find the spouse; rather, the majority of the youth today are taking the responsibility to find someone. Through school, work, etc., many youth find someone who is a suitable match and begin to consider marriage. How should youth and parents take that? If it’s not according to parental plans, does it make it wrong? According to Islam, both parents and youth must agree, but eventually the youth’s input is the most important and final. Unfortunately, what’s happening today is that the youth find a suitable match, and instead of getting consideration from the parents, they hear a “no way” without discussion. The usual reasons are “you’re too young”, “the guy’s not stable yet”, or “(s)he’s not of the same culture”.

Break these down, and you’ll see that these reasons hold no substance in the view of Islam. Islam considers just one thing when looking for a spouse, and that is piety. Islam does not regard social status, race or culture as an obstacle in marriage. It simply states that the first attribute that should be taken into consideration is Taqwa (piety).  

According to the book Islamic Family Structure, Imam Zainul Abideen (peace be upon him) said to a man who was regarding race/ethnicity in marriage: “Do you not know that God the Almighty removed all inferiorities and compensated for all defects by Islam? He replaced inferiority with nobility. Now, no matter what the social status of a Muslim is, (s)he is not inferior but is respectable. The inferiorities belong to the Age of Ignorance.” If a Muslim couple has faith, piety, morality, trustworthiness, chastity, purity and health, then they are well-matched. This is true even if one is an Arab, and the other one is a Persian; one lives in a city, and the other one is a villager; one is rich, and the other is poor; one is white, and the other is black; one belongs to a noble family, and the other one does not.

There is also no rule in Islam that says the guy/girl must have a bachelor’s degree, a job, and a house in order to get married. Parents need to get over that way of thinking! Islam encourages an early marriage; in fact marriage becomes mandatory when fear of sin is involved. The majority of parents is so afraid of their children committing these sins (like dating) that they overprotect instead of using the Islamic solution of Mut’a or marriage, and in turn, the child rebels and commits these sins because all his/her friends are doing it, and there is no other way the parent will allow him/her to satisfy their needs.

Shaheed Ayatollah Mutahhari says: “Each generation is responsible for the guidance of the proceeding generation.” At the same time, he urges us not to address challenges of today with the solutions of yesterday.  In this regard, he states: “The issue of leadership and guidance of this generation differs in its methods and techniques throughout the various time periods and differs according to the groups or people whom we are working with. Thus, we must completely remove the thought from our heads that this new generation must be guided by following the methods used by the previous generations.”

To the next reason, Allah has stated in the Holy Qur’an, “Marry the single people from among you and the righteous (pious) slaves and slave-girls. If you are poor, Allah will make you rich through his favor; and Allah is bountiful, All-knowing.”  Not having money should not be the reason to put off marriage. If you have true faith, Allah will provide for you. Many scholars have spoke on this issue, and many parents have heard it, yet there seems to be only the lucky parents who have understood and accepted the true Islamic way of looking at marriage.

We all need to snap back to reality, not to culture. We all need to snap back to Islam. Let’s do our research on marriage and what it truly is in Islam. Marriage is a gift and blessing from Allah. The Holy Prophet has said: “No foundation of Islam is as beloved and as mighty as the foundation and institution of marriage.” We need to open our eyes, especially living here in the West; most of this applies to every youth and parent. This is a very serious issue that is causing many problems within the youths of today, but it seems some parents are being blind to it. It has been encouraged by many knowledgeable scholars that this topic needs to be addressed openly in our families and communities. Let us make the effort to take something which Islam has made a solution to sinning for the youth and understand its full reasoning with an open and Islamic mind.

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  • Zahara

    I disagree with your point on saying that at 9 years old a girl is a “woman.” She may be physically able at that point to have children (menstruation ages vary from 9 to 15), but it would be incredibly difficult for her physically and she is still mentally a child. I do understand the idea behind this concept, however; in the Prophet’s day people did not live as long and often married very young. I’m not against marrying at a younger age (i.e., late teens and twenties); I think it is healthy especially for child-bearing. However, Islam also states that we must follow the rules of the country we live in: the legal age of marriage in the United States (although it varies slightly state-by-state) is 18. Just a few of my thoughts.

  • Zahra Hasnain

    I must say this it is a very well written article mashallah with excellent refrences given.

    Personally, I completely agree with the fact that some parents should consider changing the way they think and not expect their kids to act as well as do the things in a particular manner as they (parents) would have done in the past.
    Many parents compel their kids into doing or not doing those things which were followed and taught by their parents, which many times is a mixture of their culture as well.

    They do not realise that the environment, place, people around their children of the current generation are all different and hence things are seen through a different perspective and issues are tackled using a different approach.

    May Allah reward you for ur efforts inshallah…

  • HA55AN

    Marriage is much more complicated then many of us think. Take it from a married man of 5 years. Although the youth thinks its as simply as selecting, the parents understand that this is a major decision with many consequences.
    I think the real need is education. Educating the youth on the dynamic of marriage (issues, decisions, risk, purpose, opportunities, etc.). Also educating the parents on how to part with their child and how to prepare their children. The first is more needed and it is up to the parents to do this education, rather than continueing to give a “no way” without discussion.
    Very well written. One sided though 😉

  • madiha


    Zahara, I couldn’t agree more! We must factor in the environment and the laws of where we live…I am in no way implying we get all of our girls married at nine…but I am implying that the mental state of a girl changes at the age of 9…therefore, it is important to begin to prepare your children at a young age about responsibilities and duties they will be facing as they grow older; of course a parent/family must see the capability and the readiness of a child before getting them even started in the marriage process.

    Br Hassan, you make great points! Of course it is not that easy! But the article was an approach to addressing the current issues that are going on in Islamic communities…There is a huge gap between youngsters and parents…this was a small attempt at a viewpoint I hear/see commonly today.

    Education is key, no doubt. InshaAllah those who are married like you can give tips and help in facilitating successful marriages in our communities.

  • ali123

    I completely agree with this article I am 22 years of age and through my recent years I have seen people dating undercover and parents just don’t have a clue. It does happen and parents don’t realise that young marriage is good and also you cannot always put culture in front because I know a few Muslim’s that are from different countries seeing each other or call it dating (including myself) but unable to tell their families of their happiness because of culture. This article is definitely on the point.

    Also talking about education by Hassan this is a good point but there is only a limit on how much education you can give someone before there’s a chance of lust for the opposite gender cracks as days go by being single because of shaitan in this western world. it is not easy and it is very hard for parents to understand because people these days are getting married more later and later and end up committing sins earlier.

  • Abdulazeez Abdulrasheed

    Salamu alaykum my beloves muslims,i will like to just a simple word and that is you have done a great work
    and you dont have to be discouraged by what some people may say about what you are doing but just to keep it up and pray for Allah’s guidance.I pray that Allah will continue to strength us in faith and accept the little we do as acts of worship(ibaadat). Maasalam.

  • sheedz

    salamz to all,

    I completely agree with this article as it is to the point, addresses issues which are a current problem, and is informative.
    However as a female I do disagree with the statement that a 9year old girl is a “woman”. I am currently 22 years of age, and of my experience of a 9year old girl, all that I thought about at that time in my life was going to school, coming home being with my family, and playing in the park with my friends. However I do understand the logic behind the statement as this is when a girl starts to mature.
    It is important to understand that in the times of the Prophet (pbuh) people died earlier in life, and people also matured earlier in life; and as the article states, times change.

    I think Hassan makes an excellent point about education, as uneducated Muslims feel they are doing what is right in the eyes of Allah, yet this is ignorance. Knowledge is the key to unlock ignorance. However ignorance is a very powerful thing, people choose ignorance over knowledge as it is easier and simpler. I feel ignorance also plays a part with ego. Since one’s ego is not wounded as long as ignorance prevails. It is these two evils: ignorance and ego, which heavily contribute to the current problems faced within society today.

    I feel what many people fail to realise is that culture and religion are two completely different things, and many people try to mix it up to make it one. They select things from both that suit them and ignore the things that don’t. And that sometimes by following culture one is ignoring and disregarding their religion. Culture is extremely important yet we have to realise it is religion which is the true set of guidelines set out by Allah in which we must try to live our lives. I feel Knowledge and education is yet again key to solving this problem.

    I agree with the fact that it is the parents responsibilty to teach children and make them aware of things such as marriage, sex, responsibilities and commitments in the eyes of islam. Because sooner or later these children will get exposed to it, and it is better they are exposed to it in the correct way rather than the wrong way.

    Parents should teach their children the realities of marriage, and the hardships faced within marriage. I also agree with Hassan’s point that marriage is a huge decision, and should not be made lightly. It is then the parent’s responsibility to make their son/daughter aware of what marriage expects of them whatever the age of the person seeking marriage.

    Certainly in this society more people are sinning because they are not looking to marriage as an option, or there are barriers faced within marriage.
    This article excellent references and is very well written.

  • dingdong

    Salam Alaikum
    We tend to also forget that practically speaking it is hard to remain in a state where one does not fear sinning due to not having a wife. If one has the fear of sinning because of not being married, marriage becomes wajib regardless of whether a person is mature or not, responsible or not, etc etc. Marriage can be whatever a person wants it to be. So a marriage can be a simple one like a temporary marriage so all the arguments about not being mature and not knowing what marriage is about are wrong.

  • drbadami

    Excekllent article. For someone who successfully made it to 26 yrs in marriage, I would stress that Both the partners should have good Islamic Education and understand each other’s rights and obligations, this is the ultimate secret of happiness in any marriage.

    Regarding early marriage, although permissible, I disagree to a certain extent, how many of our Imams married at an early age, how many ulema ( the ayatollahs) have married at an early age? It is true in todays westernized society , there is temptation everywhere, the answer to it is to popularise and liberalise the concept of Mutah,which is an evidence of Shia Islam’s beauty, modernity and perfection, and a Mercy from Allah.

    I would urge the readers to browse through these 2 books: Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi Ayatullah Murtada Mutahhari


  • Beeni Syed

    A/s….”one belongs to a noble family, and the other one does not.”…there is something wrong with your blood otherwise you would never say that…Imam Ali(A.S) married Bibi Fatema(A.S)…Bibi Fatema (A.s) could have been married to UMAR and Usman because they asked for her hand. They were both “pious”. They were “companions” of the Prophet Muhammad(SAW). But, why did Prophet Muhammad (SAW) give His daughters hand, the Kawther, to Imam Ali(A.S) , in the family. I will answer that for you. Imam Ali(A.S) was brought up in the house of the Prophet(SAW). To be brought up in a house where people have followed the Ahlul Bait(A.S) for generations and then go into a house where maybe the wife or husband is converted to Shia but the parents and the rest of the family, bad mouths them. Are you going to tolerate it if your mother-in-law or father-in-law say anything bad about Ahlul Bait(A.S)? As a Syeddani, i’ll tell you. I can tolerate anything and I mean anything but if someone comes in front of me and says one word against Ahlul Bait(A.S), my heart doesn’t know how to accept them or maybe it is my blood that fires up. Divorce is inevitable in cases like that. You can take what is similar and walk further but not when it comes to religion and blood. No matter how bad a Saadat is, he or she will show the blood somewhere and no matter how pious a Non-Syed is, he or she will show the blood they have somewhere.Imam Ali (A.S) said “Your children go seven steps ahead of you”. Why? If blood doesn’t matter, then why? Fact: If a poor person wants to get rich, they can. If a person who wants to get pious, he or she can. If a person wants to learn a culture, they can. But once you lose Saadat blood, you can’t get it back!!! Learn about Yazeed’s mother as well if you want to know why blood matters.

  • Bigotry

    [quote]No matter how bad a Saadat is, he or she will show the blood somewhere and no matter how pious a Non-Syed is, he or she will show the blood they have somewhere.[/quote]

    Rather, you will see it to validate your own misguided thinking. It is better for a true believer to marry a pious non-Syed then a bad Syed. It is better for a true believer to marry a sincere convert than a bigoted self-righteous Syed. Does not the Qur’an say it is better to marry a slave than a hypocrite or unbeliever? Or did it say it is better to marry a Syed no matter his/her belief?

  • Mohammad masoom

    The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) states: “O youths, whosoever among you can marry, he should do so, because marriage protects your eyes (from indulging in sin by looking lustily at others) and privacy.”

    In the light of above sayings right age of marriage is when someone start to attract opposite sex. It can be 14 or 15 or 20. It differ from individual to individual..

    A girl is a woman when she is nine is not correct for current era.

  • A Syeddani

    There is no validity in saying someone’s “blood” determines the kind of person they are. There were sons and relatives of the Imams who worked against them. Is there a hadith or quranic ayat which you can provide as proof that it is better to marry a Syed over a non-Syed. It clearly states in the Quran that no person is better than another except on the basis of piety. The reason Bibi Fatima was married to Imam Ali was based on his piety-not his blood. Yazed turned out the way he did because his parents raised him in an impious way and he chose to follow them. In the Quran, it clearly states that everybody carries their own burden and the deeds of their relatives have nothing to do with their own judgement. Islam believes in free will and it is the responsibility of each person to be good. There are many hadiths by the Imams in this respect. I know Syeds who could care less if somebody said something bad about the Ahlul-Bayt in front of them and I know people who have converted to Islam and cry profusely when they speak about the Ahlul-Bayt. Blood has nothing to do with it.

  • A sister requesting prayers

    “There is also no rule in Islam that says the guy/girl must have a bachelor’s degree, a job, and a house in order to get married. Parents need to get over that way of thinking!”

    I really wish they would! Please pray for me

  • Guidance please

    Salam, I have a serious question that I haven`t been able to find an answer to these past couple of months. This is a serious situation for me because I have decided I`m only going to live in a halal way now.
    If we`re supposed to lower our gaze and not look away when we see temptation and all, how do you expect me to chat up a girl so it can lead to a halal mutah situation? I sincerely want to know because I`ve been trying abstinance for the past couple of months and I just can`t take it any more, I`ve tried to find a permanent Muslim wife and have even been open to the idea of getting fully married right away, but I am finding that it is impossible to meet Muslim women, you can`t talk to them so how i am i supposed to know them. Anyways, so now my only other option is to find out a halal way with non-Muslims without seducing them in a normal western manner that I`m used to by chatting them up etc., unless that`s somehow okay for mutah purposes. Somone please inform me, and please, if you`re not a mujtahid or an alim or something, please don`t give me your random thoughts, I want the truth according to our Ahlul Bayt Jafari school of thought, I`m not looking for an easy way out, if I wanted an easy way out, I would have never chosen this path.
    Thank you and God bless.

    • najafi110

      Wa Alaikum Assalam. Do you have a mother or a sister or other female relatives? If so, perhaps they can help find a suitable girl for you. Even if you find someone yourself, there is no problem in that. As far as speaking with someone to get to know them, It is possible to do that in a respectful and appropriate tone, as long as you remember that Allah is always watching you. This can be done in the presence of a chaperone or perhaps over email/instant messenger in order to avoid inappropriate glances.

  • m

    Yes, it is possible to talk to someone for purposes of marriage. It is not normal informal “chatting”, but asking each other questions, conversing to determine compatibility and future interests, etc. It may be better to do it in presence of a chaperone if one is unsure. I believe there are some articles in this sight about what questions to ask, etc.

  • muhammad ali

    brother i agree with you.
    i think that the direction in which our socirty is going with mobile ,internet and other electronic media our cultural values are becoming a hurdle. if our society does not want to realize this then i am sure a day will come when we will have no social values just like the west.
    islam is the only solution otherwise youth will become more and more rebblious and it will be impossible to control them in the way the parents think they can.

  • Payam

    Excellent article brother! I particularly find the culture imposition a false approach and ultimately a burden for youth like me who grew up in the West. I do not understand Middle Eastern thought, and I do not accept Western thought. Only Islamic thought makes sense to me and provides the balance; unfortunately, this Islamic thought has become increasingly rare and leaves youth to despair.