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Nikah (Marriage)

Sep 2, 2008 by     1 Comment    Posted under: Articles, Fiqh

Nikah (Marriage)

Allah said in the Quran:

4:3 If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice.

He also said:
24:32 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.

The Prophet peace and blessings be upon him said in a hadith narrated by Bukhari and Muslim, “O you gathering of youth, who ever amongst you can afford to get married then let him do so for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and protecting chastity. Whoever cannot afford that should fast, for it will be a shield for him.”

The Verses, Ahadith, Sayings (of the Salaf), and Rulings are too numerous to list here but I wanted to share a few basics on the concept of marriage in Islam.

Let’s start of by defining Nikah (marriage) linguistically and technically.

Linguistic Definition: The meaning of Nikah linguistically is to come together or to incline towards.

Technical Definition: The technical definition of Nikah is “a contract which makes permissible the enjoyment (intercourse and its prefaces) of both the spouses with each other in an Islamic manner.”

The word Nikah in the Arabic language has two connotations. It is used to mean the actual marriage contract and also for intercourse.

Nikah is an Islamic ordained practice and the proofs for this are far too many to list. I have mentioned a few above from the Quran and the Sunnah. Another proof for the Islamic ordainment of Nikah is the consensus of the scholars. It is a Sunnah of our beloved prophet Muhammad and also of the Messengers before him, as it was narrated in At-Tirmidhi:
Abu Ayyoub Narrates that the prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Four things are from the practice of the Messengers: Bashfulness, Wearing Fragrances, Siwaak, and Marriage”

Allah says in the Quran when speaking of the story of Moses,
28:27 He said: “I intend to wed one of these my daughters to thee, on condition that thou serve me for eight years; but if thou complete ten years, it will be (grace) from thee. But I intend not to place thee under a difficulty: thou wilt find me, indeed, if Allah wills, one of the righteous.”

The Ruling of Nikah

The scholars differed concerning the ruling of Nikah. Some of the scholars like the Dhahiriyyah said that it is an obligation for each individual to get married. This is because they took the tenses in some of the verses and ahadith at face value. Some of the later Maliki scholars said that it is an obligation for some; preferable for some; and is optional for others. The ruling of the Maliki scholars depended on the degree of the individuals fear of falling into sin.
The opinion of the vast majority of the scholars is that Nikah is a Sunnah (preferable).

Seeking a Spouse

The first thing that should come to a persons mind when he/she is selecting a spouse is the deen. If this is made the deciding factor in choosing a prospective spouse, you won’t need to worry about it later on. The Deen should always be a person’s first priority when it comes to marriage from the time when he/she begins thinking about getting married to the actual marriage and after that as well.

Allah says in the Quran:
24:32 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.

Ibn Abbas said, “Allah encouraged them to marry and commanded the free people and the slaves, and promised them their provision.”

So keeping this in mind, and the fact that if a person were to have the correct intention, his marriage could be an act of worship, we can better understand what was said a few lines above (deen should be the first priority).

The prophet said in hadith that is related by Bukhari and Muslim, “A woman may be married for four things – her wealth, her lineage, her beauty and her commitment to religion. Choose the one who is religious, may your hands be rubbed with dust [an Arabic saying which means, may you prosper]!”

Guardians of women should also be concerned about marrying there daughters to the right spouses. Guardians should also be aware that it is not lawful for them to stop those women from marriage who are under their guardianship. If a woman, who is mature ( past the age puberty), and is sane, demands her guardian to marry her to an individual who is her equivalent, then it becomes obligatory upon the guardian to marry her to this individual. In some cases the guardian may know some things about this individual which causes him to scrutinize, or he may have another person in mind who is also an equivalent for the woman. If this is the case, then the guardian is allowed to pick who he wishes. But, if the guardian obstructs his daughter from marriage several times, then this persistence on his part may cause his guardianship to be dropped. Her guardianship is then placed in the hands of her paternal grandfather and if he refuses then it comes to her brother and this continues on until there is no one left to take her guardianship in her family. In this case, the hadith of the prophet comes into practice in which he said,

“The leader is the Guardian of whoever does not have a guardian”

The guardian should also be extremely careful when picking a spouse for the woman under their guardianship. The following statement of Al-Hasan is an excellent criteria for choosing a husband for women under ones guardianship.

A man came to Al-Hasan and asked, “Who should I marry my daughter to?” He replied, “To him who fears Allah, because if he loves her he would treat her nicely, and if he dislikes her he wouldn’t be unjust with her.”

Another factor that a lot of people miss out when they are searching for a spouse is the fact that the spouse should not be from his/her close relatives. When I say it should not be, I don’t mean that this is not allowed, rather I mean that it is better to avoid this because, according to some of the scholars, it causes the baby to be slim and small.

Al-Shafi said, “A man should not get married to his close relatives.”

It was also mentioned that the prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said something that has a similar meaning, but I do not know of a proper chain that sites this from the prophet and Allah knows best.

One might say that the prophet married his daughter to his cousin Ali, so how do we reconcile between what some of the scholars said and the action of the prophet? There are two things that one needs to consider when making the claim of contradiction in this ruling. The prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) may have done this to show the permissibility of this action. It is also noteworthy that Ali was not a close relative of Fatima. Fatima was the daughter of the cousin (prophet) of Ali.

Common excuses that the youth -who are in need of marriage- propose to avoid the responsibility

If you were to go around and ask young men between the ages of seventeen and twenty-two who are in need of marriage to protect themselves from the promiscuous society that we are tested with, “Why don’t you get married?”, you will receive some of the following answers:


Let’s tackle each of these excuses one by one.


Sahl bin Saad Al-Saaide says, as narrated in Bukhari, “A woman came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I came to hand over my affair to you, so he looked at her and raised his sight and then brought his sight back to the same position. Then (after looking at what he needed to look at,) he put his face down. When the woman noticed that prophet didn’t decide anything in terms of her affair she sat down. A man from amongst the companions of the prophet stood and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, If you don’t have a need for her then marry her to me… The prophet at the end of this incident married her off to him for some chapters of the Quran that he had memorizedGA.
The point of this story is that even though this companion had nothing at all; except for a lower garment (Izaar) that he would wear, the prophet married her to him.
Some of the scholars mention Nikah amongst the things that increase a person provisions. This increase in ones provisions is supported by a large number of textual evidence from the Quran and the Sunnah.

Allah says in the Quran:
24:32 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.

Ibn Abas said, “Allah encouraged them to marry and commanding the free and slave and promised them with provision.”

Amongst the apparent reasons for that is the fact that as a person is in the womb of his mother, an angel writes his/her provision. Every person has a set amount of provision and the most common means that women receive their provision is through their spouses after marriage. So if this is the case, the provision of the man increases as a result of this equation.

Another reason for Nikah causing an increase in a person’s provision is mentioned by Al-Alosi:
“The prosperity of a poor person after he gets married has a very natural reason. And that natural reason is his increasing interest in seeking provision.”

So as a person is getting married, or when a person gets married it is only natural for his interest/concern for seeking provision to increase and this is because of the increase in his responsibility.

The proof for the increase in a persons provision as he gets married are many, I will list a few:
Allah says in the Quran,

24:32 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.

Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased him) said, “Obey Allah in the earlier portion of the verse and he will fulfill that which he promised you in the latter part of the verse.”

Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) said, “I am surprised by a person who does not seek provision in marriage, while Allah says, ‘if they are in poverty, Allah will give them means out of His grace’.”

The Prophet said in a Hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas: “Seek provision in Marriage”. In the chain of this hadith is Muslim ibn Khalid Al-Makki. The scholar differed in regards to his authenticity. Yahya Ibn Ma’een considered him to be a sound narrator in a narration from him (Ibn Ma’een). However, a large group of scholars consider him to be a weak narrator, amongst them are: Bukhari, Abu Dawood, Abu Hatim, and others. Al-Sakhawi said, “This hadith has a Shahid (another hadith that affirms this).”

That is the hadith of the prophet narrated by Aisha, “Marry women, because indeed they bring wealth along with them.” Al-Haithami said concerning the authenticity of the narrators of this hadith, “its narrators are the narrators of the Saheeh books except Muslim Bin Junada and he is also a sound narrator.”

Prophet said in a hadith narrated by Abu Huraira, “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There are three who are all entitled to Allaah’s help: the one who fights for the sake of Allaah; the mukaatab GAwho wants to pay (the price of his freedom); and the one who gets married seeking chastity.” Narrated by Al-Tirmidhi, Al-Nasai and ibn Majah.

Ibn Katheer says commenting on the hadith of Sahl ibn Saad which is mentioned above, “The prophet married that man to the woman even though he did not have anything other than an Izaar (lower garment). He wasn’t even able to find an iron ring. Despite all these factors, the Prophet still married that woman to this man, and made her dowry a few chapters of the Quran that he would teach her. That which is promised -by the grace of Allah- is that he will provide for him whatever is enough for them to survive.


I have noticed that most people that use this excuse do so because of the weakness of their deen. I ask Allah to make us all firm on his deen and to prefer the hereafter over this life. If you ever look at these people you will find that these are the same brothers/sisters who chat with their MSA mates on MSN, and these are the same people who discuss personal affairs with the opposite gender with excuses like, “I am just going to an MSA meeting” or “We have to organize the year end dinner”, and others.

A person’s need for interaction with the opposite gender is only natural. So if he doesn’t try to attain it in a lawful manner, he will try to tame his desires in an unlawful manner either knowing that what he is doing is unlawful or justifying his actions. If he makes lawful that which Allah has made unlawful, he could be leading him self to disbelief (that being said, please don’t pass rulings on people and fear Allah).

If a person takes these unlawful avenues it partially erases his need to get married because it gives him the companionship he needs. This is the meaning of the saying of Umar to Abu Al-Zawaid, “Nothing stops you from getting married except for incapacity or immorality.” (See Fiqh Al-Sunnah)


The answer to this excuse is very simple. How do people make time for unlawful relationships throughout their scholastic lives? This is a sufficient response to this excuse.

I ask Allah to benefit all of us with this action and give us Tawfeeq to practice and to convey.

Mississauga, Canada
AbdulWahab S.

1 Comment + Add Comment

  • Assalamua Alaikum Warahmatullah,

    A wonderful and inspiring article, Jazakallahu Khair

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