By Shaykh Yusuf Badat
Marriage is an important component of human life. In each of the stages of human growth (infancy, childhood, teenage period, adulthood and the final stage of old age), there are numerous privileges, challenges and responsibilities. When one passes through these phases of life, understanding and fulfilling rights and responsibilities, one is bound to experience peace, tranquility and bliss with oneself and also the people one is surrounded by. Marriage is something that is to last forever. This is why it is said, “marriage is not a ‘word’ rather a ‘sentence’… ‘a life sentence’”. Marriage is a union that unites a man and woman, making them so close to one another that they now function as one unit. Each partner becomes a pillar of support and kindness for the other. The following verse of the Noble Quran expresses this profound relationship;
They are apparel for you, and you are apparel for them. (Quran 2:187)
Looking into the depths of this verse, the following meanings are highlighted;
Clothes are closely placed on our bodies. The inner garments we wear generally touch our skin. This perspective displays that the husband and wife are so closely attached to each other that they can confide in each other, sharing each other’s joys and sorrows without any hesitation what so ever.
Clothing hides one’s nudeness. Body pimples, body hair, private organs etc. are all hidden from public view. In marriage, the couple are to hide each other’s personal blemishes and faults from others.
Our garments belong to us. They are our property and no one has the right to take them away. In a similar fashion, this verse points out that married couples are exclusive to their partners. This exclusivity bond ensures that the husband and wife will never cheat each other. They will always remain exclusive for one another.
One of the functions of clothing is to protect us appropriately from the climate and other dangers, whether it be the heat of the summer or the bitter coldness of winter. Certain garments also protect from dust, snow and rain etc. On the very same token, the husband and wife protect each other from all forms of harm, abuse, hurt and injury. They build a home together in all goodness and peace.
Our clothing makes us presentable and respectable. We feel good about ourselves when we wear nice, neat and tidy clothing. We feel dignified. The marriage bond is of a similar nature. Each partner beautifies the other and feels dignified through the marriage. They also beautify each other by teaching each other the good. They are there for each other emotionally, physically, socially and economically. Thus they beautify one another.
Marriage is an intimate bond. Both partners must do their best to maintain this bond. Some years ago an elderly man told me that his wife had passed away after a successful marriage of over 50 years. He indicated that he had enjoyed every moment of his marriage. I inquired the secret to the success of his marriage. He replied by declaring that two specific traits were always adhered to in their marriage. Firstly ‘respect’. He mentioned that since the day they married, they promised to each other that they would always respect each other, no matter what. This respect was always displayed in speech, communication, emotions and interaction. Respect in arguments as well. Secondly, the couple would not allow any disagreement to be an obstacle in the sweetness of their union. They ensured that they would settle their differences before the end of day.
This is indeed is an example of maintaining the bond of marriage. Let us strive to bring this bond alive through closeness, concealment, exclusiveness, protection and beautification.
The Quranic prayer is something that we should always ask for;
…and those who say, Our Lord, give us, from our spouses and our children, comfort of eyes. (Quran 25:74)