Nikah is the Foundation of Marriage
Compliance with Sharia requirements pertaining to marriage between man and woman is the foundation of a Muslim family and bears considerable importance. Any things that man does in life are done by him to glorify the Almighty Allah and to fulfil His commandments. Marriage is one of such commandments. In order for it to be pleasing for the Lord, it must be concluded with adherence to a number of conditions, the sum of which is known as ‘nikah’.
If secular marriages are effected by an officer of the state, a Muslim marriage is effected by Allah Himself. This is not only an obligation by a man and a woman to be true to one another, to love each other and to safeguard the interests of each other, but it is also an obligation to be true to Allah, to love Him and to safeguard His interests. Allah has made all the necessary provisions for a man’s married life to be lived as an act of faith, worshipping of and devotion to Allah, these things being the main conditions for the success of any undertaking on earth. The requirements of nikah defend the basics of Islam which Allah decreed to man. For instance, the requirement to make the wedding gift (known as ‘mahr’) by the bridegroom to the fiancée. This requirement is the fulfilment of one of the major conditions set for married couples and married life whereby the husband must provide for his wife. The aspiring husband must demonstrate to Allah his financial stability. What better way to do it if not by means of mahr?
Nikah as such is man’s protection from the devilish sin of zina (fornication). Any cohabitation without it shall be construed as one. Allah has arranged it so that men would have no difficulty performing the nikah. The rules of it are simple and quite distinct from a visit to the register office. “The best marriage is the one that is most easy” (Sunan Abu Dawood, 2117). It shall be easy in Islam to become man and wife, yet the commitments acquired through this act shall not be that simple. The newlyweds become accountable to Allah for the viability of their marriage, especially the man, for he is the head of the family and the household.
These are the main rules for it: voluntary consent of both parties (for a girl the custodian’s consent is also required), presence of two witnesses (for the marriage to be known publicly). The procedure would then consist in the girls’s father saying the ijab (marriage offer: ‘I have given you my daughter as your wife’) and the young man replying with qabul (marriage assent: ‘I have taken her for my wife’). Exactly at this moment God unites the man and the woman into a Muslim family and the two receive the impregnation in their minds that they are now united by the order of Allah to honour Him and to lead their lives and rear their children in strict compliance with His laws.
Nikah is the safeguard of Muslim piety and morals. It serves not only as the law and commandment for each one to follow but as education for men, the education in faith and truthfulness to the righteous ways