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Islam's First Tale of Love

Divorce rates have soared to worrying heights, because wisdom, loyalty, forbearance, and other such attributes of a person’s character, which are inevitably heightened and refined with age, are sacrificed for more superficial and temporal charms such as youth, innocence and inexperience.  This is the irony. By the time many Muslims get married, in their mid to late twenties, or even thirties, they are so exhausted after the struggle to get that far that they barely have any energy left to put towards a fruitful and successful marriage. Who do we look to when we are trying so very hard to achieve what is going beyond a simple and natural goal; a happy marriage?


The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and Khadija, may Allah be pleased with her, set the foundations of a successful, ideal and meaningful marriage. The beautiful story of our Lady Khadija the Great; the sacrifices, steadfastness and determination, remind us that working towards a successful marriage and achieving greatness, contentment and felicity through it are certainly not meant to be without struggles.  They shared a long and loving relationship, which was tested repeatedly during their marriage. It is important to realise that the ideal time and age for marriage is not set in stone. This is just social convention that adds unnecessary restrictions and pressures, particularly on women to act according to what is deemed appropriate. As a result, many people are rushed into a decision based on the fear that the right time for marriage will quickly pass rather than a carefully considered, mutually beneficial decision based on marrying the right person. Whilst the appeal and attraction of a woman never married may be obvious, I believe that serious thought needs to be given to the way in which our society and culture has come to define what an ideal spouse is. The stigma attached to women who have gone past a certain age, whether single or divorced, is a warped and especially worrying one in view of the Prophet Muhammad’s marriage to Khadija. At the age of twenty-five he, may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him, chose to marry a woman who had already been married twice. It takes determination, courage and patience to marry for the right reasons.


Furthermore the struggle of actually trying to marry is one of the most obvious and visible ones amongst young people. Muslim society today presents a confusing spectrum of traditions and customs surrounding marriage. Seeking love puts you in a battlefield of parent against child, traditional versus modern, Islam versus culture and individual versus community. Is there hope anywhere? Does anybody have the right answers or our best interests at heart? Muslim marriages today involve lengthy dialogue between families, which include everyone aside from the two individuals concerned. Hard bargains and negotiations determine the value and worth of the bride in terms of bright red and green stones set in chains of gold. In addition, obscene, unpleasant and offensive amounts of guests and food set the tone of the wedding day itself. Then there is the added burden and expenditure of the ten minute Nikah ceremony lead by the imam from the local mosque rushing through the ‘marriage verses’ only to move on to get the bride and groom signing the default copy of his mosque’s Nikah contract. This, of course, is the mother of all inconvenient formalities that needs to be seen to, given how much effort has gone into preparing for the string of endless nights of partying, drumming and henna gatherings. What is the origin of the yellow and green outfits, oil, candles, ten-pound notes and gold rings, and indecently dressed women dancing in the company of unrelated males? This is because so much more is invested in preparing for the actual event of marriage than consideration for the rest of the couple’s married life. It becomes impossible to imagine how long it may take for a family to get to the position of being financially able to put on such a grand spectacle!


The Prophet, may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him, not only enacted divine guidance by marrying and living simply, but advised against excessiveness and ostentation. The struggles actually make the marriage all the more worth it. If only we could realise that marriage is only the start of a lifetime of hard work and responsibility, not the end in itself. Our ideas and aspirations of an ideal marriage need to be seriously reviewed and what better place to start than to refer back to Islam’s first tale of love?


Lubaba Qasim 

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Comments (4)

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simply beautiful :) MashAllah

[1] neekynia at 00:54 on 29 Jul 11 report this

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very well said, mashallah. The other fantastic marriage we need to look at second to Prophet Muhammad and Khadijah are Ali and Fatemah. When Ali was asked by the Holy Prophet the next day of his marriage :- How do you find marriage and my daughter fatemah". He responded "I found her the best partner in uplifting my faith and getting me closer to Almighty God. We need marriage to be based on spiritual upliftment and how 2 souls can get more closer to the Almighty God rather than looks, wealth, culture, race, etc etc. For it is the Almighty God we are here to serve and it is His Heaven that we are all yearning and hope to enter in the hereafter. AMEN.

[2] mshivji at 18:57 on 20 Jul 11 report this

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Having said that, I think girls more than boys, have a set ideals of how their wedding day is going to be as they all act like spoilt princesses to some extent and fair enough and many males realise that. It's just sad when the happiness that should come from the love that the couple have found is lost in the materialism of the spectacle.

[3] at 23:56 on 7 Feb 11 report this

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Wow great writing with a poignant theme, in today's culture rich societies, people seem to be following conventions rather than what Islam has laid out before them. The older generation especially worry about keeping face in their families and doing things a certain way to please the elders.

Marriage should be a joyous and happy occasion celebrated with whatever the couple can afford, debt should always be avoided in accordance to Islam.

Also of importance for women is the question of dowry and there is no obligation on the women side to give any such gifts.

"In Islam it is the man who pays the Mahr (dower) to the woman. The following verses in the Qur'an prove that it is the man who is obligated to pay the Mahr (dower) to the woman unless the woman chooses not to take it."

"And give women (on marriage) their dower (Mahr) as a free gift; but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it and enjoy it with right good cheer." (An-Nisa' :4)

[4] at 23:51 on 7 Feb 11 report this

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