Allah created man in a manner in which he is incomplete and imperfect without a spouse. Man may upgrade his knowledge, faith and qualities, but he shall never reach the desired perfection while he does not have a spouse. (Be it man or woman).
Nothing can substitute marriage and the raising of a family. Both the male and female sexes need each other from a spiritual, as well as physical point of view. And each one of them is incomplete and imperfect when alone and in solitude. When they are placed beside each other, they complete each other. This is the law of creation and it commands the whole universe.
The Qur’an calls man and woman the dress of each other.
هُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَكُمْ وَأَنْتُمْ لِبَاسٌ لَهُنَّ
“They (wives) are as a dress for you (husbands) and you are as a dress for them.” (2: 187)
That is to say, they are the enhancement, counterpart, and guard of each other’s honour and secrets, and each one needs the other. Man cannot live honourably and eminently in society without dress. He feels himself in a state of imperfection. The lonely person too feels himself imperfect.
Dress saves and protects a person from the effects of winter and summer. The spouse too saves one from worries, futility, homelessness, aimlessness, and solitude. As a dress decorates man, spouses too are the decoration of each other.
One of the greatest blessings of Allah to man is a nice life‑partner. The Prophet (S) said in this regard:
ما اسْتَفَادَ امْرُؤٌ مُسْلِمٌ فَائِدَةً بَعْدَ الإسْلامِ أفْضَلَ مِنْ زَوْجَةٍ مُسْلِمَةٍ (أو صَالِحَةٍ).
“The Muslim man has not achieved any benefit (from Allah’s blessings) better than a suitable Muslim wife, after Islam.”1
It is possible that some people who have not appreciated the depth of the philosophy of marriage and setting up of a joint life may say: ‘We satisfy our sexual lust through many other means apart from marriage and fulfil this desire through other ways, so what is the need of accepting the responsibility of marriage?”
It should be said in response to this creed and question that fulfilment of sexual desire and lust is not the only achievement and advantage of marriage. It is only one of its benefits. Instead, apart from soothing and comforting the sexual instinct, it has many other aspects and dimensions of excellence, worth and importance, like raising a family.
It gifts man with other factors such as commitment, completion, progress, maturity, development of personality, comfort and many more valuable benefits. Commitment to a wife and family brings magnanimity, splendour and a sense of social responsibility, and makes many of his capabilities and sleeping talents bloom and bear fruit.
After marriage, the personality of a man changes into a social personality and he considers himself absolutely responsible for the security of his wife and children’s future. On this account, he uses the sum total of his senses, initiatives and abilities.”2
There is an enjoyment and progress in raising a family to which nothing can be the substitute. Martyr Mutahhari (ra) says in this regard:
“There are ethical characteristics, which can not be achieved, except in the school of family raising. The foundation of a family means developing a kind of interest in the fate of others. The moralists and ascetics who have not crossed through this phase have a sort of immaturity and childhood in their personalities to the end of their lives. And it is one of the reasons why marriage has been stressed upon as a sacred matter and a service in Islam. Marriage is the first and preliminary phase of exit from the (shell of) natural personal self, and the expansion of human’s personality.”3
Similarly, he says about the training mode of marriage:
“There is a maturity, a maturity, which does not take shape except in the shade of marriage and raising of family. It is not shaped in school, formed in a crusade against ego, nor is it inculcated and raised through night vigil and prayers. It does not even come into existence through love and attachment with pious ones.”4
What a large number of people have been observed who did not follow any principles of ethics, religion, and society, and a form of frivolity, heedlessness, and debauchery overwhelmed their character. But after getting married, their character, morale, and attitude changed and they became sober and dignified. And their habits and manners began to show a kind of graciousness and sagaciousness.
Allah, who is the Creator of human beings and knows their peculiarities, characteristics, nature and instincts, described the creation of man and woman and placing them side by side, as one of His wisdoms and signs, and introduced marriage as the cause of love, affection, beneficence and comfort of man, saying:
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ مَوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
“And one of His signs is that he created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest in them, and He put between you love and compassion; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.”(30:21)
This peace and comfort is not the common and ordinary conventional comfort, which psychologists and psychiatrists describe; instead, in addition to that, it includes dignity, grace, balance of thought, vision and spirit, the feeling of being worthy and having a serious personality and the achievement of additional honour, status and so on.
Marriage and family raising imprints such an effect upon the existence of man by upgrading the worth of his personality on the way to its maturity, that even his practices and services become more valued and worthier before Allah and the angels, so that its value goes up to many times the previous one. For example, consider this Hadith of Imam Ja’far (a.s):
رَكْعَتانِ يُصَلِّيهِما المُتَزَوِّجُ أفْضَلُ مِن سَبْعِينَ رَكعَة يُصَلِّيهَا العَزِبُ.
“Two cycles of service offered by a married person is more excellent and worthier than seventy cycles of service offered by a bachelor and unmarried person.”5
The unit which is formed through marriage is the object of Allah’s love and kindness, and He views it with tenderness and benevolence. The great ambassador of Allah (S) has put it in this way:
“No construction has been constructed lovelier than marriage to Allah ‑ May He be honoured and glorified.”6
What prosperity and beneficence can be loftier than Allah’s love for one’s family and dwelling (that too in the super way) and viewing it with love, affection, and kindness?
Ali (a.s), the chief of believers, has described a very worthy fact about the value of marriage:
لَمْ يَكُن أحَدٌ مِن أصْحَابِ رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلّى اللهُ عَليهِ وَآلهِ يَتَزَوَّجُ إلاّ قَالَ رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلّى اللهُ عَلَيه وَآلهِ: “كمل دينه.”
“There were none of the friends of the Prophet (S) who would marry but the Prophet (S) would say his faith (religion) had been completed.”7
What a surprise! Marriage has this much worth and value that the Prophet of Allah (S) decorated the chests of those who married with medals of honor.
It is evident from these words of the Prophet (S) that while a person does not marry, his faith lies in danger. This is because sexual instinct, spiritual pressures, sense of solitude and futility, being devoid of shelter and the lack of a sense of social responsibility, as well as many other harms of remaining unmarried can damage the roots of man’s faith and destabilize it.
Marriage and establishing a family and resting beside an excellent, virtuous, lovely, sympathetic and faithful spouse not only controls sexual lust, but also a spiritual relaxation and comfort is achieved.
At the same time, man’s dependence and trust upon Allah is increased and grows. He moves out of the apprehensive condition and homelessness. He senses and feels security and personality. His eyes and mind are distracted and detached from other places, and concentrate and focus on his spouse.
Consequently, he achieves more proximity and nearness to Allah, and Allah’s beneficences cover him up more than ever, and his faith is strengthened and reaches completion.
Of course, we must be attentive to the fact that these glowing and shining results come to hand when the correct and true standards of “spouse selection”, family raising and the preparations of marriage are carefully and correctly observed.
In the next chapters, we will Insha’Allah discuss the topics of correct criterions and standards and the know how of crossing the preliminaries of marriage.
- 1. Wasail al-Shia vol 14. p 23.
- 2. Tafseer al-Nemoone, vol. 14, p 465.
- 3. Education and training in Islam, Sadra Publications, p 251 to 252.
- 4. Education and training in Islam, Sadra Publications, p 398.
- 5. Wasail Al-Shia, vol. 14, p 6.
- 6. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 103, p. 222.
- 7. Makaremul Akhlaq, p 99.