The religion of Islam holds many specific regulations in conjunction with marriage and all that comes with it.
These regulations are highly valued and help to define some of the cultural values behind Muslim communities. Sects of marriage law include commitments and contracts, choosing of a spouse, repudiation, polygamy, and interreligious marriages. All of these issues are strongly tied to standards within Islamic law and help to define the nature of Islam in general.
Beginning a Marriage In the religion of Islam, marriage is viewed as a necessity.Celibacy is highly discouraged because marriage is seen as a completing factor of one’s life. Jacques Jomier, the author of How to Understand Islam, informs his readers that, “The general opinion is that men and women only attain the fullness of their personalities in parenthood” (Jomier 76). In fact, the main aim of marriage for woman is motherhood, while men receive pride and feelings of completion through having a wife and making children.
Because of the public looks of Muslim women, many may think that Islam belittles women and does not allow them many rights.However, the Qur’an, Muslims’ holy book, calls for “love and kindness between husbands and their spouses” (77). The issues of marital age and choice of spouse used to be much stricter than they are in modern Islamic countries. Many countries and states have made age requirements for when a Muslim couple can marry for safety and political reasons; traditional practices may have married a girl off as young as 13 or 14 years.
The same goes for the choice of a spouse. A woman now has the right to refuse a proposed husband, as opposed to her family choosing for her.Even those who hold to traditions to this day, have made boundaries: “Now even those who are most traditionalist no longer allow marriage to be concluded before the two interested parties have met.
” (Jomier 78) A Muslim male or female may not be married off to certain family members. Anne Cooper, author of Ishmael, My Brother explains this Islamic law in detail: “A Muslim may not marry blood relations of the immediate family, nor half-sisters or brothers, nor foster sisters or brothers whom your mother nursed. ” (Cooper 179).Marriage is made complete after a discussed contract is signed by the couple and the couple’s family members, after the dowry for the bride is paid and virginity is proven by the tradition of wiping the blood flow up off the bed sheets and showing that rag to a sober audience. All these requirements for even just beginning a marriage leave very little room for deceit between the couple or disappointment. Christianity carries much less regulations. In fact, certain standards are highly encouraged, but very rarely is a standard enforced.
These differences may explain why Christian marriages experience a higher rate of unfaithfulness than marriages brought together under Islamic law and regulations. Repudiation Repudiation is almost a fancy word for divorce; it involves sending the wife away for just or unjust reasons. The difference between repudiation and divorce is that repudiation can only be initiated by the husband and he must send his wife back to her family with the dowry that he paid to marry her. If the man regrets this decision, he has the right to call her back.
However, after repudiating her three times, the husband may not regain the woman unless she has gone to another man and also been repudiated by him. As modernity has made its way into Islamic practice, women can now also call for divorce, but only if it was found in the marriage contract. Cooper explains those requirements for a woman: “When a woman asks for a divorce, she must return all that she has received from the husband, the dowry, and the man accepts this payment.If the husband turns down her payment, she may go to the court to ask for the divorce” (Cooper 180) There is a certain court formed by the Islamic community that the woman would turn to in the case of her husband not accepting her payment to leave him. Despite the fact that repudiation is legal and necessary, it is highly discouraged.
Jomier describes it as, “A well-known tradition states that ‘repudiation is the most hateful of lawful things’” (Jomier 79). Thus, seeking of divorce by a woman or sending away of a wife by a man could easily be looked down upon in he Muslim community, forming yet another reason why faithfulness in marriage is prominent in the Muslim community. Polygamy Islamic law allows polygamy in the same way that Christianity allows intercultural marriages: It is not imposed, nor is it discouraged.
If it happens, it happens.However, Muslims have made regulations for polygamy so that it does not have room to get out of hand: “Islam allows polygamy on two conditions: first that the number of wives does not exceed four, and secondly, that the husband treats his wives equally, without favoring one at the expense of the others. (Jomier 79) In the Qur’an 4 and 3, there is a call for husbands to be just to all of his wives if he has more than one. However, many modernized Muslims argue that justice is not possible for a man with multiple wives; it simply isn’t doable for him to treat them all perfectly equally as if He was God. These modernists clearly argue for monogamy, but polygamy is still in play and has not been opposed nearly enough to become an issue equal to homosexuality in Christianity or the like.
Muslims also have seemed to find legitimate reasons for polygamy that adhere to the general needs of people: “Most Muslims believe polygamy is allowed when the wife is barren, or chronically ill, or when a society has more women than men, especially after times of war. ” (Cooper 180) If there is any legitimate argument for polygamy, it would be this as it means care for widows or those who might otherwise be without a husband. Mixed Marriages Inter-religious marriage is allowed within Islam, but only to a certain extent.The Muslim male is allowed to marry a non-Muslim woman, but a Muslim woman cannot enter into a marriage with a non-Muslim man.
If a Muslim man chooses a wife from outside the realm of Islam, he still has limits: “…only on condition that this is a woman taken from the ‘people of scripture’, i. e. above all Christians and Jews. The Muslim is prohibited from marrying a woman of traditional religion unless she becomes a Muslim. ” (Jomier 81) Even if a Christian or Jewish man desires to marry a Muslim woman, he would have to first convert to Islam in order for that to be allowed.
Islamic law also states that the Christian or Jewish wife of a Muslim man may continue to practice her faith, but the children produced through that marriage must practice Islam. If anything happens to the husband or the non-Muslim wife chooses to divorce him, the children will not be hers. Likewise, if her husband dies, she will not be cared for the Islamic community in the same way a Muslim wife would be. All this clearly discourages mixed marriages, but still leaves room for it if the couple wants to take that path. ConclusionThe aspects of marriage that I have covered in my research paper only hit up a few of the endless requirements and standards for marriage in Islam. It is truly fascinating how many standards there are. The temptation for me, as an American Christian, is to look down upon all these standards and think, “Wow, don’t they have any freedom? Especially the women? ” However, I find that while these laws may be constricting to some extent and annoying in certain situations, they encourage authenticity and faithfulness within marriage.
Just think if it were that discouraged and hard to get a divorce in the U. S. and if the Christian church opposed it so much, how many couples would rather try to work out their differences rather than giving up and parting ways just because they can? For that reason, I admire some of these accountability factors and regulations placed upon marriage within the Islam community.Works CitedCooper, Anne. “Muslim Women. ” Ishmael My Brother. Tunbridge Wells: MARC, 1993. 179-80.
Print. Jomier, Jacques. “Marriage Legislation. ” How to Understand Islam. New York: Crossroad, 1989.