The Spiritual Dimension of Marriage
The phenomenon of birth is quite unique within the Islamic Cosmos. Birth in general is the beginning of new life with many opportunities; however, within Islam, it brings about many realities with it and also for it: realities through which ‘the newly evolved creation’ benefits, but also, all those who are at its reach will fully utilize its presence and also ‘just’ due to its presence.
In order to understand this meta-physical principle of birth, let us state a few examples. The birth of a moon brings the new month as well as the benefits within it – for instance, the month of Sha’ban which we are in, regarded as the month of the Prophet and forgiveness of sins, and within it hearts the blessed night of the 15th of Sha’ban. This all begins with the beginning or birth of the month. The birth of the new day unfolds with it many opportunities for all, and furthermore the necessity of it for the ecosystem through which the natural balance remains. This brings about many supplications with it, providing the servant to supplicate in a special fashion and with greater closeness. In like manner, the birth of the prayer time has a special influx of angels upon the earth which result in a Harakah within all the jabaruti, malakuti, and mulki plain.
The birth of a child guarantees the acceptance of supplications for the mother. Furthermore, giving birth raises her status to the term Khaliq, and she reaches the ultimate proximity to God in due process. This birth guarantees her sins being forgiven due to this procedure, and the pure and immaculate newborn’s witnessing benefits the whole clan and also all those who glimpses upon him. The child’s cries are considered as Tasbih and Dhikr, and taking care of it is considered Ibadah.
The birth of the relationship “marriage” has the same unique realities packed within it. Let us analyze on the basis of the Qur’an and Hadith. The Qur’an says: “We have near us treasures, and from it we sent on this earth a limited amount.” Everything that manifest here is from that treasure near God, and when that is being reflected or sent, it brings about an opening in the heavens, and that whole plane becomes the stage of nearness which guarantees the acceptance of Du’a as mentioned by our Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny), “When a marriage contract is being recited, the doors of heaven are opened and is the time of the acceptance of du’a.” This indicates the whole “time and space” is raised in proximity, which brings about that effect of acceptance of du’a. Furthermore, this is indeed a Me’raj in itself of not only the wedded couple but of those who witness it. The traditions have left no doubt that “marriage” is transformation to a higher level of humanity or an ascension of the two individual getting married. Indeed, this is why we see the Prophet stating that the prayers of a married person are multiplied 70 times than the unmarried. It shows that a bachelor needs 70 extra prayers to attain that nearness to God vis-à-vis a married person.
A poet says, “When you look at yourself in the mirror, that is you and not you. Similarly, the creation is God but not God.” The value of a mirror or the space, stage is only due to the reflection of the Divine (Truth) and also in what capacity it reflects. Marriage is considered as a sign of God, and every sign must reflect the Divine. Furthermore the sign is of no value without that which it is indicating: “…Love and mercy, and indeed it is a sign from God.”
The ability of the sign reflecting God depends upon its capacity, whether it be of the heart (space) or of horizon. Within the formation of a “marriage”, many of God’s signs are manifested. For example, the core principle of Tawhid (Oneness) is understood in the sense that marriage allows the Divine reflection of Unity in multiplicity, and due to this, it is through this great sign which becomes the source of Khaliqiyyah of God. The complexity of the sign dictates the greatness of the sign or the value of it. What we mean by complexity is that it contains within it many of the Divine principles and even the opposites. For instance, God is Merciful, but at the same time, the Avenger. Marriage outwardly is “multiplicity”, but inwardly it is “unity”. As the very meta-physical principle of “Unity within multiplicity” – “Wherever you turn, there is the face of God” – all these verses point in the direction of that reality. When it becomes such a great sign, then it results in being regarded as an “institution” through which people graduate or develop piety.
Shaikh Abbas Mirza has studied in the Hawza Ilmiya for over ten years and is currently completing his PhD in Islamic mysticism at Exeter University.