Written by Ustadh Sirnucy Lafiagi
The practise of marriage in Islam is so easy and affordable, and does not involve any physical, mental or psychological stress, or financial recklessness. It is very simple and straightforward. It does not allow room for any crookedness, or exploitation or extortion.
When a Muslim man desires a lady, he either approaches her and informs her of his desire for her, or approaches her Waliy (her father or his wakeel (designate) or any of her paternal male relative (in the absence of her father due to death, difference of religion, or self disqualification (for instance where the father rejects the suitor citing flimsy excuses such as tribal/racial difference, et cetera). Allah says:
“And marry them by the permission of their guardians..” (Q. 4:25)
If he approaches her directly, she is expected to direct him to her Waliy who will carry out a comprehensive assessment of the prospective suitor in terms of his religiosity, character, as well as lineage. Her father may tell the suitor to return at an agreed date to hear the feedback from his findings, before deciding what next to do. Within the period of the finding, no relationship whatsoever must exist between the two parties as they are still considered as strangers to one another. If on the other hand, he approaches her father directly, it is expected of him to make adequate findings about the suitor as explained above before giving him a go ahead to talk to his daughter.
In any case, the father of the lady can also do “Istikhaarah” alongside his investigation of the lineage, religiosity and character of the suitor. He is however not permitted to approach herbalists, soothsayers or fortune tellers to check anything about the spiritual compatibility or fortune of both prospective couples. Islam warns sternly against approaching soothsayers. In one narration, the Prophet (upon him be peace) said, “Whoever approaches a soothsayer and asks him (about anything) will have his Salaat rejected for 40 days.”
As soon as the lady’s father is satisfied with the lineage, religiosity and character of the suitor, he should not waste time in inviting him over to meet his daughter whose consent is a major component of the contract. The Prophet (upon him be peace) said:
“If a man in whose religiosity and character you’re pleased approaches you (seeks your daughter’s hand in marriage), marry her to him, lest it becomes a great tribulation and corruption in the land.”
The father is expected to guide and admonish her appropriately on this issue since she is still a virgin and grossly immature and inexperienced in marital matters. Her mother also provides all necessary moral support for the prospective bride to help her settle down quickly and manage marital challenges.
Immediately the lady informs her parents of her acceptance of his proposal, the next thing is to arrange a sitting where the ‘Aqd will take place between the two lovebirds. ‘Aqd is an Arabic word which means solemnization. It is also called Nikaah or Zawaaj. The components of a proper ‘Aqd are:
- The two contracting parties (either or both of them can be represented.);
The Waliy (father of the lady or his designate or representative);
At least two just witnesses (they could be members of both families or strangers);
The Sadaaq (dower).
How then does introduction (as we know it today) comes in?
Find out in the next episode.