He stood there by the fireplace, attired in a satin tuxedo. His hair casually fell on his forehead and the glow of the fire cast a mysterious thoughtful look on his face. The sound of laughter and chitter-chatter of people emanated from the hall outside.
“It’s time”, his father was standing at the door. Ahmed took a deep breath and moved towards the door.
“Son, you are doing a noble thing”, his father smiled. He embraced him, tears brimming in his eyes. “Thank you Abba,” Ahmed replied. He let go and after receiving a motivational thump on his back by his father, both of them made their way across the hall to the Sofa where Imam Javed was sitting.
The chitter-chatter around him had decreased. Ahmed could make out several familiar faces in the congregation assembled for his Nikaah. Many of them were beaming.
“Assalam o alaikum Uncle Javed,” he said shaking hands with the Imam, who was a dear friend of his father, and a frequent visitor to his home.
“Waalaikumusalam! Attaboy! You look quite handsome today. May Allah bless you,” Imam Javed responded encouragingly, gesturing with his hand for Ahmed to take a seat. “Shall we begin?” He cast an inquiring look at Ahmed’s father.
“Yes, indeed. Bismillah”.
Imam Javed began with the Magnification and Glorification of Allah and blessings upon the Prophet (SAWW). “Thanks be to Allah that we praise Him, pray to Him for help; ask Him for pardon; we believe in Him, We trust Him; and ask Him to guard us from the evil of our own souls and from the evil consequences of our own deeds”.
Alhamdulilah. The words were soothing to Ahmed’s ears. He realized the importance of starting all important tasks with the name of Allah. He knew that not only had the Sunnah been followed but invoking Allah was a simple yet important way to pray for barakah and khair for his future life.
The Imam was now reciting the first verse of Surah Al-Nisa. “O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women. be careful of your duty towards Allah in whom you claim (your rights) of one another, and toward the wombs (that bear you). Lo, Allah hath been a watcher over you.”
“Ittaqulah. Ittaqulah. Ittaqulah. O mankind, be careful of your duty to your Lord. Have taqwa of Allah. Be conscious of Him because Allah is a watcher over you,” Imam Javed explained emphatically. Everyone in the hall was listening closely to every word he was saying. It was the most important message of the Khutbah of Nikaah…
Marriage. Excited? All ears (read eyes)?! :) I would start off with a personal anecdote. I did my high school from a competitive college, where the prime focus of our time and energies was getting admission into a good university or medical school. When I came to Shifa, I was surprised at the fascination a lot of girls had with marriage. ‘Humari shadi kab ho gi?’ and hence came up the famous joke: A teacher asks a student, “What would you do when you grow up?” Student replies, “get married.”Year upon year, I would hear girls claiming emotions for movie actors, singers, seniors and fictional novel characters..yes even that. Almost five years of college have passed and as final year comes to a close (insha’Allah), I would like to shed light on some essential ground realities. So buckle up!
Contrary to our expectations and dreams, marriage is not a fairy tale. I don’t blame the average girl. From a very tender age, we are raised on stories like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, to name a few. Cartoons and a lot of PG-rated movies are frequently infiltrated with both blatant and subtle age-inappropriate messages, conveying a very superficial approach to relationships with the opposite gender. With so much exposure to media, it often becomes hard to hold on to the practical aspects of committing oneself fully to a relationship that has been described as ‘half your deen’.
On the other hand, the Nikaah khutbah is so beautiful for it breaks all pompous and superfluous expectations from marriage. Yes your spouse is not the Tom Cruise many of you had imagined your husband to be, nor does he own a limo or can afford to fly you away to a luxurious hill resort every year. But, if you have chosen him for all the right reasons, for his deen and his character, know that he will be qurratul ai’in for you.
So, planning to get married? Want barakah and khair for beginning this beautiful journey?
1. Get your intentions right.
Brothers and sisters, do not get married to someone so that you can show-off your spouse at weddings and social gatherings. Modesty and moral values are of utmost importance in Islam, and marriage is a means of protecting Muslims from sins and preventing them from falling prey to desires and fulfilling them the wrong way. The Prophet (SAWW) said, “O young men! Whoever is able to marry should marry, for that will help him to lower his gaze and guard his modesty.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]
2. Know what you are looking for.
What would happen if you go to a market but without any action plan or list of things to buy? You would either end up going through shop after shop but not buying anything, or buying things randomly that are of no benefit to you. So, when you intend to marry, know what you are looking for in your spouse. Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported: The Prophet said, "A woman is married for four things, i.e., her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. So you should marry the religious woman.”
Be clear on the qualities you want your spouse to have like commitment to religion, obedience to parents, good akhlaq etc.
There is no substitute to du’a. Allah has promised His slave a response for the du’as he makes to Him, the Al-Mujib. So make du’a to Allah, as mentioned in Surah Furqan, verse 74: Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous.
A very pertinent aspect of the Nikah Khutbah is the repeated emphasis on fearing Allah and being conscious of Him. The Prophet (sws) used to recite verses from Surah Nisa, Surah Ahzab etc, all of which had a common message in them: taqwa. Why is Taqwa so important? Firstly it forms a bond between the believing slave and His Master. The muttaqi would know that every action he or she does is being watched by Allah. So before shouting back at his or her spouse, he/she would fear Allah. Before transgressing or committing an act that would disrupt the atmosphere of the house, the husband or the wife would remember the punishment of Allah. The Prophet (sws) said: “The best of you is he who is best to his family” [Mishkat]
As I conclude this article, I reiterate the importance of opting for a spouse with a sound character and religious orientation. You can make du’a for worldly characteristics too but do not lose sight of the quality that will ultimately be coolness of the eyes for you. May Allah be our guide!