Marriage in the Qur’an pt.1 – Conditions for Marriage: Imam al-Sa’di

In his book of thematic tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di dedicated a chapter to the issues related to marriage. This series of articles will present the different sub-divisions of this chapter in order. This is the first section, please click the links the visit the other sections: 12345678 – 9 – 10

قال الله تعالى: { وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تُقْسِطُوا فِي الْيَتَامَىٰ فَانكِحُوا مَا طَابَ لَكُم مِّنَ النِّسَاءِ مَثْنَىٰ وَثُلَاثَ وَرُ‌بَاعَ ۖ فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا فَوَاحِدَةً أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰ أَلَّا تَعُولُوا ﴿٣﴾ وَآتُوا النِّسَاءَ صَدُقَاتِهِنَّ نِحْلَةً ۚ فَإِن طِبْنَ لَكُمْ عَن شَيْءٍ مِّنْهُ نَفْسًا فَكُلُوهُ هَنِيئًا مَّرِ‌يئًا } [ النساء: 3 و 4 ]. ـ

Allah says:

وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تُقْسِطُوا فِي الْيَتَامَىٰ فَانكِحُوا مَا طَابَ لَكُم مِّنَ النِّسَاءِ مَثْنَىٰ وَثُلَاثَ وَرُ‌بَاعَ ۖ فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا فَوَاحِدَةً أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰ أَلَّا تَعُولُوا ﴿٣﴾ وَآتُوا النِّسَاءَ صَدُقَاتِهِنَّ نِحْلَةً ۚ فَإِن طِبْنَ لَكُمْ عَن شَيْءٍ مِّنْهُ نَفْسًا فَكُلُوهُ هَنِيئًا مَّرِ‌يئًا

And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice]. * And give the women [upon marriage] their [bridal] gifts graciously. But if they give up willingly to you anything of it, then take it in satisfaction and ease. [4:3-4]

لمّا منّ الباري على عباده بالنكاح قدرا وأباحه شرعا، بل أحبه ورضيه وحث عليه؛ لما يترتب عليه من المصالح الكثيرة، رتب عليه أحكاما كثيرة وحقوقا متنوعة تدور كلها على الصلاح وإصلاح أحوال الزوجين، ودفع الضرر والفساد، وهي من محاسن الشريعة، والشريعة كلها محاسن، وجلب للمصالح، ودرء للمفاسد . ـ

Since the Creator blessed His slaves with marriage as a decree, and made it permitted in terms of the divine legislation – rather, He loves it, is pleased with it and encourages it due to the many benefits which result from it – therefore, He arranged many rulings and various rights which all revolve around the rectification of and setting the affairs of the married couple in order as well as repelling harm and corruption. And this is one of the good qualities of the sharee’ah – and the entire sharee’ah is composed of good qualities and for the purpose of the bringing about benefit and repelling harmful matters.

يقول تعالى هنا: { وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تُقْسِطُوا}  أي: تقوموا بحق النساء اليتامى اللاتي تحت حجوركم وولايتكم لعدم محبتكم إياهن فاعدلوا إلى غيرهن . ـ

Allah said here:

وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تُقْسِطُوا

And if you fear that you will not deal justly… [4:3]

– meaning: that you will not be able to establish the rights of the orphan girls under your care and authority due to an absence of love for them, then find others to be just to.

ـ { فَانكِحُوا مَا طَابَ لَكُم مِّنَ النِّسَاءِ } أي: ينبغي أن تختاروا منهن الطيبات في أنفسهن اللاتي تطيب لكم الحياة بالاتصال بهن، الجامعات للدين والحسب والعقل والآداب الحسنة وغير ذلك من الأوصاف الداعية لنكاحهن. ـ

فَانكِحُوا مَا طَابَ لَكُم مِّنَ النِّسَاءِ

then marry those that please you of [other] women

– meaning: it is befitting for you to select those who are themselves good and who will make life pleasant for you when you join yourselves with them – those who combine deen, noble lineage, intellect, good manners and other such qualities which entice one to marry them.

وفي هذه الآية الحث على الاختيار قبل الخطبة، وأنه ينبغي أن لا يتزوج إلا الجامعة للصفات المقصودة بالنكاح، فإن النكاح يقصد لأمور كثيرة من أهمها كفاءة البيت والعائلة وحسن التدبير وحسن التربية، وأهم صفة هذا النوع الدين والعقل. ـ

And this ayah contains an encouragement towards making the selection prior to the engagement, and that it is befitting that they would not wed unless there is the desired combination of qualities sought for in marriage. For there are many things which are sought for in a spouse – among the most important are: compatibility of the household and family, good organization, good cultivation of children. and the most important trait in this area is deen and intellect.

ويقصد به إحصان الفرج، والسرور في الحياة، وعمدة هذا حسن الأخلاق الظاهرة، وحسن الخلائق الباطنة. ـ

And also what is sought after through marriage is the protection of the private parts [i.e. from zinaa] and happiness in life, and the main aid in this matter is having good manners outwardly and good manners inwardly.

ويقصد به نجابة الأولاد وشرفهم، وأساسه الحسب والنسب الرفيع، ولهذا أباح الشارع بل أمر بالنظر لمن يخطبها؛ ليكون على بصيرة من أمره.ـ

And also what is sought after through marriage is a noble descent and honorableness of children, and the foundation of this is good lineage and lofty ancestry. And for this reason the Divine Legislator permits – nay, commands – seeing the one to whom one proposes, in order that one may be upon clarity in his decision.

ـ{ مَثْنَىٰ وَثُلَاثَ وَرُ‌بَاعَ } أي: من أحب أن يتزوج اثنتين فليفعل، أو ثلاثا أو أربعا فليفعل، ولا يزيد على الأربع؛ لأن الآية سيقت للامتنان، فلا يجوز الزيادة على غير ما سمى الله إجماعا، وذلك أن الرجل قد لا تندفع شهوته بالواحدة، أو لا يحصل مقصوده أو مقاصده بها، كما تقدم أن النكاح له عدة مقاصد، فلهذا أباح الله له هذا العدد؛ لأن في الأربع غنية لكل أحد إلا ما ندر، ومع هذا فإذا خاف من نفسه الجور والظلم بالزيادة على الواحدة فليقتصر على الواحدة، أو على ملك يمينه التي لا يجب عليه لها قسم كالزوجات . ـ

مَثْنَىٰ وَثُلَاثَ وَرُ‌بَاعَ

“two or three or four”

– meaning: whoever would like to marry two women, then let him do so; or three or four, then let him do so. But do not increase beyond four, for this ayah comes out to be a blessing, so it is not allowed to increase above what Allah has named in this grouping. That is because perhaps a man could not repel his desires with just one or could not achieve his goal or objectives thereby – just as has previously been mentioned that marriage has a number of goals – so for this reason Allah permits these numbers for that person. But four is sufficient for every single person, except for the rare outlier. That being said, if he fears himself committing inequity and oppression through increasing beyond one wife, then let him limit himself to one or to those whom his right hand possesses who do require a set division of his time like one’s wives do.

ـ { ذَٰلِكَ } أي: الاقتصار على واحدة من الزوجات، أو ما ملكت اليمين، أدنى أن لا تعولوا أي: تظلموا وتجوروا.ـ

ذَٰلِكَ

That…

meaning: limiting oneself to one wife or to what one’s right hand possesses is further removed from committing oppression – i.e. being unjust and transgressing the proper bounds.

ويستفاد من هذا المعنى أن تعرض العبد للأمر الذي يخاف منه الجور والظلم وعدم القيام بالواجب – ولو كان مباحا – لا ينبغي له أن يتعرض له، بل يلزم السعة والعافية، فإن العافية خير ما أعطي العبد، ولما كان كثير من الناس يظلمون النساء ويهضمونهن حقوقهن، وخصوصا الصداق الذي يكون شيئا كثيرا دفعة واحدة يشق عليهم، حثهم على إيتاء النساء صدقاتهن أي: مهورهن . ـ

And it is deduced from this meaning that the slave should turn away from a issue from which he fears inequity, injustice and not fulfilling what is due – if the issue is optional – then it is not fitting for him to meddle with it. Rather, he should stick to what is within his capacity and what is conducive to well-being, for well-being is the best of what is given to the slave. And because many people mistreat women and encroach on their due rights – especially the dowry which is something which is often difficult for the men to pay in a single payment – , therefore Allah stressed that they give the women their “gifts” – i.e. their dowries.

 ـ { نِحْلَةً } أي: عن حال طمأنينة وطيب نفس من غير مطل ولا بخس منه شيئا.ـ

نِحْلَةً

graciously

meaning: in a state of calmness and good-spiritedness and without any delay or undervaluing at all.

وفيه أن المهر للمرأة، وأنه يدفع إليها أو إلى وكيلها إن كانت رشيدة، أو إلى وليها إن لم تكن رشيدة، وأنها تملكه بالعقد لأنه أضافه إليها وأمر بإعطائه لها، وذلك يقتضي الملك . ـ

So this point indicates the fact that the dowry belongs to and goes to the woman and that it is paid to her or to an appointed representative of hers if she is a legal adult, or it is paid to her legal guardian if she is not a legal adult. And she takes possession of it by right of the contract because it is attributed to her and Allah commanded to give it to her, and this is what is ownership entails.

ـ{ فَإِن طِبْنَ لَكُمْ عَن شَيْءٍ مِّنْهُ } أي: من الصداق . ـ

فَإِن طِبْنَ لَكُمْ عَن شَيْءٍ مِّنْهُ

But if they (i.e. the women) give up anything of it to you…

– meaning: of the dowry.

ـ { نَفْسًا }  بإسقاط شيء منه، أو تأخيره، أو المحاباة في التعوض عنه . ـ

نَفْسًا

…willingly

by declining something of it, or delaying it, or being agreeable to being compensated with something else.

ـ{ فَكُلُوهُ هَنِيئًا مَّرِ‌يئًا } لا تبعة عليكم فيه ولا حرج؛ وهذا دليل على أن للمرأة الرشيدة التصرف في مالها، ولو بالتبرع، وأنه ليس لوليها من الصداق شيء إلا ما طابت نفسها به إذا كانت رشيدة . ـ

فَكُلُوهُ هَنِيئًا مَّرِ‌يئًا

“then take it in satisfaction and ease”

This entails no negative consequence or sin for you, and this is a proof that the adult woman has the freedom to make transactions with her wealth, even to donate it, and that nothing of the dowry goes to her legal guardian except for what she gives up to him willingly if she is an adult.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

ويؤخذ من الأمر بنكاح ما طاب من النساء تحريم نكاح الخبيثة التي لا يحل للمسلم نكاحها، وهي الكافرة غير الكتابية، وكذلك الزانية حتى تتوب كما نص الله على الثنتين.ـ

And it is understood from the command to wed those among the women who are good that there is a prohibition of marrying wicked women who are not permissible for the Muslim to marry – and that is the disbelieving woman who is neither a Jew nor a Christian, and likewise the fornicating woman until she repents, as Allah has given us the texts for both of these.

وفي هذه الآية دليل على أنه لا بد في النكاح من صداق، وأنه يجوز في الكثير واليسير للعموم، وأنه لا يباح لأحد أن يتزوج بدون صداق، وإن لم يسم فمهر المثل، إلا النبي فإن له ذلك خاصة، كما قال تعالى: { وَامْرَ‌أَةً مُّؤْمِنَةً إِن وَهَبَتْ نَفْسَهَا لِلنَّبِيِّ إِنْ أَرَ‌ادَ النَّبِيُّ أَن يَسْتَنكِحَهَا خَالِصَةً لَّكَ مِن دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ } [ الأحزاب: 50 ]. ـ

And in this ayah there is a proof that there should be a dowry as part of the marriage, and it is permissible for it to be a large amount or an easy amount according to the generality of the wording. And also, that it is not allowed to marry without a dowry, and if the dowry is not named (at the time of the marriage) then the dowry is according to what someone of similar standing was given. This is the case except for the Prophet, for that was something specific to him, just as Allah said:

وَامْرَ‌أَةً مُّؤْمِنَةً إِن وَهَبَتْ نَفْسَهَا لِلنَّبِيِّ إِنْ أَرَ‌ادَ النَّبِيُّ أَن يَسْتَنكِحَهَا خَالِصَةً لَّكَ مِن دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

And a believing woman if she offers herself to the Prophet, and the Prophet wishes to marry her; a privilege for you only, not for the (rest of) the believers. [33:50]

وفي قوله: { فَلَا تَعْضُلُوهُنَّ أَن يَنكِحْنَ أَزْوَاجَهُنَّ }  [ البقرة: 232 ] دليل على اعتبار الولي في النكاح، وهو العاصب، ويقدم منهم الأقرب فالأقرب، فإن تعذر الولي القريب والبعيد لعدم أو جهل أو غيبة طويلة قام الحاكم مقام الولي، فالسلطان والحاكم ولي من لا ولي لها من النساء. ـ

And in His statement:

فَلَا تَعْضُلُوهُنَّ أَن يَنكِحْنَ أَزْوَاجَهُنَّ

… then do not prevent them [O you male guardians] from marrying their (former) husbands [2:232]

this contains a proof for the role of the walee in marriage. He is the paternal kinsman, and the closest one takes precedence first and then the next closest. Then if it is difficult for both the close walee and the more distant walee to fulfill this role due to the lack of one, or his being ignorant, or a prolonged absence, then the judge can fulfill the role of the walee, for the leader and the judge are the walee of the woman who has no walee.

[Taysir al-Lateef al-Manaan pg. 198-201]

This article is the first in a series of ten on Marriage and Divorce in the Qur’an. See our Series Guide to see the other sections and for more details.

Continue reading the next section here: Marriage in the Qur’an pt.2 – Rights of Wives: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: The Mushirkoon invite to the fire, but Allah invites to Paradise and forgiveness

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10 thoughts on “Marriage in the Qur’an pt.1 – Conditions for Marriage: Imam al-Sa’di

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  4. Pingback: Marriage in the Qur’an pt.5 – Marital Discord: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

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  6. Pingback: Marriage in the Qur’an pt.7 – Justice Between Wives: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

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  9. Pingback: Divorce in the Qur’an – Part 2: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  10. Pingback: Special Circumstances of Marriage and Divorce: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

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