Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Too Young...Too Soon...

So I have a gripe. And, I'm going to share it.

I have a gripe against all those people who encourage Muslims brothers and sisters to marry 'young'. I also am not too chuffed with all those youngsters that then follow this advice.

I know it is encouraged in Islam to marry 'young'. But really, what is young? I'm going to try not to dwell the age thing too much because I can go on for a while...but really...there seems to be this new wave of thinking about people getting married young and I have an issue with it.

I follow the opinion that there are certain prerequisites that an individual must fulfil before they can get married. This is the same system as most other Islamic traditions, whether it be a life-altering act such as Hajj (you need to write a will, leave provisions for those dependent on you etc), or an everyday act such as Salah (cleanliness of mind and body)....there are certain pre-requisites that should be fulfilled. Marriage is no exception.

Let me give you an example that has become pretty common in Western Islamic communities....

Boy A is a good Muslim boy. He prays, he fasts, he looks after his parents, respectful towards his elders, etc etc.

Girl A is a nice Muslim girl. She's modest, active in her local community, caring towards her siblings etc etc.

(So basically they could be anyone you know)

Boy A is in higher education. He's in university, his parents are supporting him.
Girl A is also is higher education, being supported by her parents.

And then....Boy A meets Girl A. They like each other. They think they want to get married.

Modern solution: Get them married. Or have the Nikkah and save the big shindig for later, when they move in together etc.


Is it just me that notices this massive disregard for the prerequisites to getting married? Is all my reading about marriage and Nikkah and responsibilities of the husband missing an important element?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating that he make her his girlfriend or anything equally ridiculous. Neither am I of the opinion that a brother has to be a millionnaire before he can get married. I know, in theory, his parents can support both of them until he gets a job etc...but is that really the way it should be? Shouldn't we be caring for our parents rather than giving them extra burdens to bear?

Now obviously, I haven't been in this situation, but it seems a little...off to get married just because you like someone. I don't understand how parents allow this kinda thing. What are they scared their kids will get up to if they don't allow them to have their Nikkah? Seriously guys and gals, keep it in your pants, and if you're having issues, go fast (it's a pillar of Islam for a reason).

Some scholars say that if a child wishes to get married, and the parents say no, thus leading the child to do some indecent act, the sin is as much the parent's as it is the child's. But what if that child cannot fulfil the prerequisites of marriage?

In order to counteract the sexually charged atmosphere that young people are surrounded by nowadays, marriage seems like an answer to prevent all the wrong things from happening...I just don't think we should underestimate the responsibility that marriage brings to the table before jumping into it.

(And I know I concentrated on the financial burden that falls on the husband, but this applies to wives-to-be too.)



Anonymous said...

salaamu alykum,
i disagree. if two love birds have declared their "love" to each other and then Allah swt will provide a nest for them. I know of many young couples who are in middle of their unis or almost finished with tons of student loan they are living together on their student loan by renting out their own apartment.

and if aren't taking student loans, then i'm sure, each of them take on part time job to meet their basic needs. Now, that's where individuals might disagree. to the definition of 'standard living'. personally to be, one bedroom apartment, a cozy bed and a kitchen kitchen would suffice'. I have never lived an extravagant life nor I wish for one.

Personally, I'd love to marry young insha'Allah and take my husband to my uni as my "young halal boy friend". lol.

RedBerries said...

But that's a UK situation, where we have the luxury of student loans. What if the brother was an international student? I don't have an issue against marrying young...it's up to the individual after all...and like I said in my post, the bro doesn't have to be a millionnaire - I mean a roof over both their heads and some bread on the table is bascially what I mean by provision - but what if he can't financially support her? For whatever reason? Do you still think it's Islamically acceptable to ignore this prerequisite of marriage to prevent possible greater sin?

Is-za Jelass said...

Salam wa Alaykum sister,

I think you have a lot of valid points! I personally do not know of anyone in the states who get married that young...its much more rare when both boy and girl are in uni but I think it happens definetily with the family backing. Some families are well-endowed and provide a lot of support in their children's marriages.

Now if there was evidence that these two young people become lazy or selfish or their marriages fell a part I would agree more with your points. But something I think is important to remember is that in Islam there is a concept that you if there are two bad things likely to happen you go with the lessor evil. Its interesting because there are two ways to look at it. I would say the greatest evil is zina and not having the financial prerequisite is the lessor. Perhaps you see that not having that prerequisite as leading to something worse down the road. And also with the way the world is going, it is much harder to earn a living and being able to provide provision in general. THe US is still crippled with this recession (im a victim haha). Also I thought it would be more common in the states and western countries to get married young while in uni and live off parents then overseas ...???

Effervescent said...

Salaam. I agree with hijabi.sailoress.

We are encouraged to marry young. Doesnt mean you MUST, its a liked thing. Zina is VERY BAD! And I think it wouldnt be a problem if people were brought up properly, the education system takes over evreything, peoples lives revolve around it, and it slows people down. Look at the sahabah, they had no ecuation system, yet they were the most knowledgable, they didnt wait around for college or university to take steps forward, but obviously we have to follow this system, but that doesnt mean we slow down with the system while we are in the system.

Ofcourse you can only get a job at a certain age but its at an age (16) where a guy can easily save up, it wouldnt necessarily be a burden on the parents, and if he hasnt got a job the guys parents were looking after him and providing for him when he lived with them and the girls parents were providing for her when she lived with them, now its just that theyve come together, no extra money would need to be dug out.

But I don't think people should leave marriage if they are not financially stable, if they are ready for marriage and have the means to get married then they should marry. If he has a part time job even if he starts saving after the marriage then I think that would suffice, a simple, halal marriage is not hard.

Look how much zina is happening out there, how many teenage pregnancies how many people sleping around how much STD's STI's, this wouldnt be the case if people just married. If you do it for the sake of Allah, Allah will look after you and if you put your trust in Him He will provide for you from sources which you wouldn't even think of.

I don't know if any of that made sense lol but my view, basically, finance shoudlnt get in the way, everyone is capable of stabalising a marriage and yes you can fast to control your desires but your not always going to be able to overcome it.

Wasalaam x

RedBerries said...

There's always going to be more than one opinion on what to do in these kinda situations...I've seen close friends wait for brothers to be in a situation where they can fulfil their prerequisites (be they financial or otherwise) so I'm always a little bit confused about why others are in such a rush. But unless one is in such a situation...well, let's say I don't know what if I would do...and inshA all those that have been in similar situations made choices that have been beneficial to both them and their potential spouses.

Sara سارة said...

Assalaam Alaikum sister,

Really interesting blog you have here! Glad I came across it. =)

This is the second entry I read today about marriage and whether it is a good idea to encourage youth to marry early on vs. later when they have themselves better established. I have to say although you make a valid point, I disagree. Our beloved Prophet (SAW) encouraged us to marry young for a reason despite the hardships young couples must face (this can applicable in all ages, and certainly was during the time of RasulAllah). If a brother and sister are mature, aware of the responsibility marriage entails, and would like to get married young, just because the brother may not be well established does not mean they should not get married. There is too much fitna in today's society for us to ask children to delay their marriages merely due to the financial aspect. Certainly a brother should be able to take care of the sister, but if he greatly fears falling into zina then it will be an obligation or wajib for him to marry. However, if he fears mistreating the sister due to being unable to financially take care of her, then he should control his urges -- I believe this is the general consensus of the Shuyookh as well (please see the Sunnipath answers archive for more details).

Lastly, there is an ayah in the Qur'an where Allah (SWT) promises those who marry early that he will provide for them, and asks parents not to worry.

Hope you don't mind my adding my two cents on the issue!

* Also please note that I used the example of the husband being well established because that it is his primary responsibility to take care of his wife financially. Not the other way around.