Marriage in Islam is a sacred covenant, a bond of love and commitment guided by a set of pillars that uphold its sanctity and legality. Within this divine framework, some essential pillars stand prominently, shaping the foundation of every Islamic marriage.
The first pillar of Islamic marriage is “Offer and Acceptance (Ijab and Qubul).” This is a fundamental step embodied in the concept of mutual consent.
Both parties must willingly enter into a marriage contract, where their expressions of intent and acceptance pave the way for a blessed union.
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Another pivotal pillar is “The Presence of Witnesses,” a testament to the significance of transparency and legality in Islamic unions. Besides these, Islam has other fundamental elements that serve as pillars of marriage.
We will discuss the top 5 pillars of marriage in Islam, understanding how they shape and sanctify the marital journey within the rich tapestry of Islamic tradition.
Top 5 Pillars of Marriage in Islam: An Overview Based on the Quran and Hadiths
In Islam, the validity and sanctity of the marriage contract are built upon 5 principles of marriage, which ensure its integrity.
● Offer and acceptance (Ijab and Qubul)
● The two parties to the contract
● The presence of witnesses
● The dowry (Mahr)
● Announcement and immediate effectiveness of the marriage
Explore each Islamic marriage pillar in detail, with references from the Quran and hadith.
1. Offer and Acceptance (Ijab and Qubul)
Regarding Islamic marriage, the first and most fundamental pillar is the mutual offer and acceptance between the two parties involved.
This process is referred to as “Ijab” and “Qubul.” Ijab is the offer that should be made by the woman or her guardian, expressing the intent to marry in the eyes of most scholars.
Qubul, on the other hand, is the acceptance of this offer, which usually comes from the groom. It is essential to note that in Islam, both parties must consent willingly and without coercion or duress.
To understand this more in-depth, we can look at the example of Khadijah (Radhiyallahu), the first wife of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
According to Imam Elturk, Khadijah (Radhiyallahu) proposed to Prophet Muhammad (SAW), and he (SAW) accepted her offer.
This example shows that in Islamic marriage, it is not just the man who can propose, but even the woman or her family can initiate the proposal process.
2. The Two Parties to the Contract
The second pillar of marriage in Islam involves the consent and presence of two essential parties: the prospective husband and the woman’s guardian.
A guardian, also known as a “Wali,” is paramount in ensuring that the marriage contract is valid and in the woman’s best interests.
It is the Wali’s responsibility to negotiate the terms and conditions of the marriage and protect the bride’s rights.
There is more to the Wali’s role than simply permitting marriages. They are responsible for ensuring that the groom is suitable and that the terms of the marriage contract appropriately address the bride’s welfare.
Our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) emphatically declared, as narrated by ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), that “Any woman who gets married without the permission of her guardian, her marriage is invalid, her marriage is invalid, her marriage is invalid.”.
This Hadith is documented in al-Tirmidhi 1102; Abu Dawood, 2083; Ibn Maajah, 1879, and has been classified as authentic (saheeh) by al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghalil, 1840.
3. The Presence of Witnesses
The presence of witnesses is another crucial pillar of the Islamic marriage contract.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) stated, “There is no marriage contract except with a Walee and two witnesses” (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 7558).
It emphasizes the importance of witnesses in validating contracts. The two male witnesses must be of sound mind and mature age and should be able to understand the contract’s clauses and implications.
The witnesses’ function is to testify that the marriage contract has been executed correctly and in accordance with Islamic law.
They should be present during the Nikah when the couple exchanged vows and the final terms of the agreement are written down.
Moreover, witnesses must ensure that the bride and groom explicitly express their consent to the marriage. Also, ensure that you fully understand the terms and conditions of the contract and that you agree to them willingly.
4. The Dowry (Mahr)
Giving a dowry, or Mahr is an essential aspect of marriage in Islam. The concept of Mahr holds great significance in Islamic teachings. It symbolizes the groom’s commitment and responsibility towards his bride.
Mahr serves as a form of financial security for the wife, ensuring her well-being and protection, which is a key to a happy marriage.
Islam emphasizes the importance of granting the Mahr willingly and generously, in accordance with one’s means.
The Quran states, ‘And give the women [upon marriage] their [bridal] gifts graciously. But if they give up willingly to you, then take it in satisfaction and ease.’ (Surah An-Nisa 4:4).
As a gesture of love and respect, this verse emphasizes the importance of giving the Mahr to the bride.
During the marriage process, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) advocated simplicity and ease. According to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), “The best of marriage is that which is made easiest.” (Ibn Hibbaan).
This Hadith emphasizes the importance of the Mahr being reasonable and within the means of the groom, and it is an important key to a happy marriage.
5. Announcement and Immediate Effectiveness of the Marriage
Another vital pillar of marriage in Islam is the announcement of the marriage and the immediate effectiveness of the marriage contract.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) advised the community to publicly announce marriages. In a hadith, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stated, “Announce the marriage.” The source of this statement is Sahih Ibn Hibban 4066.
Marriage announcements prevent misunderstandings and let the community know the couple’s marital status.
Additionally, it fosters a sense of community and support for the newly wedded couple, creating a bond between the families and friends.
Announcing the marriage also maintains transparency and prevents secrecy in marital matters, which is essential in Islamic tradition.
Along with announcing the marriage, the marriage must take effect immediately upon the completion of the contract.
Delaying the marriage to a future date is not in accordance with the Sunnah, and the marriage should be consummated as soon as possible.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) instructed that the marriage should be conducted promptly once the offer and acceptance have been made. This ensures that the husband and wife start their life together without any unnecessary delay.
A hadith for promptly conducting marriage is stated by The Prophet of Allah (SWT): ‘Whoever chooses to follow my tradition must get married and produce offspring through marriage (and increase the population of Muslims) so that on the day of resurrection I shall confront other Ummah (nations) with the (great) numbers of my Ummah.’
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) also said: “When a man marries, he has fulfilled half of the religion; so let him fear Allah regarding the remaining half.” This is found in Miskat al-Masabih 3096.
Reflecting Upon the Sacred Foundations of Islamic Matrimony
Understanding the top 5 pillars of marriage in Islam provides you with a profound insight into this union’s sacred and structured nature.
These pillars, rooted in the Quran and Hadith, serve as the foundation of every Islamic marriage, ensuring its validity, transparency, and sanctity.
Mutual consent, guardianship, witnesses, dowries (Mahr), and immediate and public effects are the keys to a happy marriage.
In embracing these pillars, you uphold the traditions of Islam and foster a strong, harmonious, and blessed marriage that aligns with the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
These principles represent the essence of a union that carries both spiritual and worldly significance, guided by Allah’s divine wisdom.