Madrasah Taleemuddeen - Durban - South Africa
The West has to a great extent abandoned the customary marriage and adopted in its place the "living together" concept. When the partners do not feel like "living together" anymore, they just say "good bye" and part company. The result of this is glaring for all the world to see. Abortion, thousands of illegitimate children, AIDS, teenage pregnancies and suicide are just a few of the many direct consequences of abandoning the bond of marriage.
Thus the importance of nikah can never be over emphasised. In the light of what has been mentioned it is much easier to grasp the true implications of the words of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) who said: "Verily the nikah which is blessed with the greatest amount of barakah (blessings) is that nikah wherein the least expense is incurred." By stressing the aspect of incurring the least expenditure, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) paved the way for the nikah to be easily affordable for the rich and poor alike. When this advice is not heeded, nikah becomes a costly affair. It becomes a big worry and a huge burden. The very rich will afford it, the middle class will resort to loans (even on interest) in order to make it, while the poor will only dream about it. The matter does not end there. Those who cannot afford it and abstain are prone to becoming victims of the social evils mentioned above and thus every level of society is affected.
However this sunnah and ibadah of nikah has in many cases become just a kuffaar style wedding. The greatest expense is incurred. Every effort is made to keep up with the trend. To start off with, thousands of rands are wasted on absolutely futile wedding cards (which, as time goes, become more fashionable and expensive in order to impress). The most impressionable and expensive venues are booked. Much more wealth, which is purely a gift and bounty from Allah Ta'ala, is squandered on hiring floral arrangements and other fancy accessories. The "stage" (for the wedding show) is then made up at considerable cost. The wastage list goes on, with many new shocking items being added on. Such weddings are actually setting the stage to destroy all barakah from the nikah. The barakah is totally lost, while the great impression which one sets out to make is also seldom achieved. After having filled their bellies, people generally leave commenting on the wastage and discussing the flaws and defects.
While on the one hand thousands of rands are wasted on futile aspects, at the same time some novel ideas have been invented to extract "gifts" from others. Invitations are sent out (with or without the knowledge of the bride-to-be) towards a "bridal shower" which takes place a few days before the wedding. The unwritten rule is that the invited person must come with a gift for the bride. It is unthinkable to attend without bringing a gift along. This subtle way of extracting gifts tantamounts to a sophisticated form of begging. People are being invited to "please come along," and with it goes the unwritten rule, the object of the invitation — "and don't forget the present!" This is in direct conflict with the hadith wherein it is mentioned: "The wealth of a Muslim is not permissible except when he gives it whole-heartedly (without coercion or obligation)." Thus it is time to break away from these alien customs and practices which destroy the barakah from the nikah.
The nikah is the foundation of the building that has to be erected upon it — the building of a lifelong marriage. If this foundation is absolutely weakened and deprived of the barakah from Allah Ta'ala, how much hope can one then have of the building remaining firmly erect on such a weak foundation?
The only solution then is to return to the sunnah — by adopting the guidance of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and the Sahaaba (R.A.). Far from inviting the world, many of the Sahaaba (R.A.) were married while Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was present in Madinatul Munawwara without Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) being aware of the nikah. Neither did they deem it necessary that he should be informed, nor did Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) take exception to this attitude. The nikah in that era was an extremely simple affair. The least cost was incurred. The greatest amount of barakah was attained. This is the example that we have to keep as an ideal in front of us. Then every attempt should be made to follow it as closely as possible.
SHACKLES VS NATURAL FREEDOM
May Allah Ta'ala grant us the intelligence and ability to release ourselves from the heavy and burdensome shackles of baseless customs. May He enable us to adopt the wonderful sunnah so that we may earn His pleasure while at the same time enjoy the numerous benefits of the sunnah, among which are its absolute ease, elegant simplicity and natural freedom.