One of the motivations of those who convert to Islam may be marrying someone who is a Muslim. In Islam, marriage is a sacred and dear institution to Allah, and it plays a very crucial role in the formation of an ideal society. It is in fact, considered one of the greatest Divine blessings for responding to the natural instincts of human beings. However, according to the Islamic teachings, faith is the first quality to be considered in choosing a spouse.
A faithful and harmonious partner plays a crucial role in having a prosperous life. It is on this basis that the Quran, the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) and his Ahl al-Bayt (AS) have laid great emphasis on religion and well mannerism as necessary criteria for marriage.
Meanwhile, an important question that comes to mind is that, “can we convert to Islam for the sake of marriage or not?”
Marriage is a natural necessity for every human being and several good outcomes such as procreation, sexual satisfaction, peace of mind, etc. are considered as the purposes of marriage. However, these could not be the ultimate goal of marriage in Islam as the non-Muslims can also achieve these, perhaps in better ways.
Humankind is not created solely to eat, drink, sleep, seek pleasure or act lustfully. Thus, the aim of marriage for a religious person should be a means of gaining proximity to Allah and avoiding sins. In this regards, a good and faithful partner assumes a vital role as he/she invites his/her partner to goodness, in the same way as a corrupt person would tempt his/her partner towards corruption. Islam has enjoined its adherents to consider religion and good manners as necessary criteria for the selection of their future partners on different occasions.
The Prophet (PBUH&HP) said: “If I were to bestow all the good of both worlds upon a Muslim, I would endow him with a humble heart; a tongue which continuously utters the praises of Allah; a body patient enough to withstand all calamities; and I would give him a pious spouse, who when he sees her becomes happy and protects his property as well as her own honour in his absence”.
In the Quran, it is said:
“Do not marry idolatresses until they embrace faith. A faithful slave girl is better than an idolatress, though she should impress you. And do not marry [your daughters] to idolaters until they embrace faith…” (2: 221)
From the above verse, it is clear that faith and religion is an uncompromised condition for marriage in Islam. It has explicitly prohibited marriage with the infidels except that they embrace Islam, as the statement “until they embrace faith” indicates. Thus, neither is the man allowed to marry an idolatress nor a Muslim woman is allowed to marry an idolater. However, there is a separate ruling [i] to the marriage with the people of the Book (i.e., Jews and Christians).
Meanwhile, following the Islamic jurisprudence, it is considered permissible for someone to convert to Islam for marriage, as there is not any religion hindrance on that, as far as it is based on the sincerity of intention and a strong determination to act by the Islamic teachings. Although such a conversion might not be the best idea, it might be a perfect chance to think more about converting to the real and true religion.
In Islam, faith and religion are crucial requirements to be considered in the choice of a future spouse. This is because the ultimate goal of a marriage is the everlasting salvation in this world and the Hereafter. And this cannot be achieved by marrying an idolatress or idolater. However, based on the verdicts of the Islamic jurists, it is acceptable to convert to Islam for the sake of marriage, so far as it is based on the sincerity of intention and a resolution to work in line with the teachings of the religion.
[i] Books on the Islamic jurisprudence or the official sites of the religious authorities should be consulted for details of the ruling.
- Hur Amuli; Wasa’il as-Shiah, Vol. 14, P. 3.
children's rights in Islam covers all the years of childhood and infancy and include all the needs of a child in the process of his/her growth
Having a good name is one of the important children's rights in Islam. This is because a good name affects one's mind. A child hears his name day and night; and consequently, the meaning of that name unconsciously strengthens those features which are implied in it.
Therefore, the first duty of a parent towards his/her child is to give him/her a good name at birth. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) has said: “It is the responsibility of every father to choose a good name for his child ".
According to the researchers, male circumcision reduces many possible diseases in a man's reproductive organ. As one of the children's rights in Islam, it is recommended that the boy be circumcised on the seventh day of his birth. But it is obligatory to circumcise before the boy reaches puberty [i].
Islam strictly recommends breastfeeding, as one of the most significant children's rights in Islam, besides every day more and more scientific evidence confirms the advantages of this act. Breastfeeding is one of the factors affecting the physical, psychological and ethical characteristics of a baby.
According to the Holy Quran: “Mothers shall breastfeed their children for two whole years…” (2:233). Therefore, it is considered a child's right to be breastfed until the approximate age of two.
It is narrated from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP): “For a child, there is no milk better than the milk of the mother” .
This theory has been proved that the human mind at the very beginning is quite blank, and it only gradually that starts using the faculties of sight, hearing, etc.
As it is noted in Holly Quran, “God has brought you from the wombs of your mothers while you did not know anything and He gave you hearing and sight and hearts that you may give thanks” (16:78)
Consequently, the atmosphere of family and society continuously influence the child's mind, although he/she is not aware of this process. Children are reflections of their parents. The best way to inculcate good behavior in children is to treat them with good grace.
It is emphasized in Islamic thought that children should be kept in a nice and respectful environment. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said: “Respect your children and behave them in a nice manner” .
Although there is no compulsion on children to do religious duties, it is praised to gradually give children religious training. The impressions gained in childhood are very difficult to erase, and if respect and love of religion are infused into his/her mind in childhood, he/she will always remain attached to the religion.
In this stage, the best way of familiarizing the child with religious teachings is performing religious duties in front of him; children are the mirrors of their surroundings.
Imam Baqir (AS) said: “When the child reaches three years, teach him seven times to recite la ilahailla ' llah (there is no God but Allah). Then leave him at that till he is three years seven months and 20 days old; then train him to say Muhammad-un rasul-u 'llah (Muhammad is the messenger of Allah). Then leave him at that till he completes four years. Then teach him seven times to say Salla 'llahu ala Muhammadin wa aali Muhammad (Peace be upon Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad). Then leave him at that till he reaches the age of 5 years; then ask him which one is his right hand and which one is the left. When he knows it, then make him face Qiblah [i] and tell him to do prostration (Sajdah)” .
This is to continue until he is six years of age. Then he should be told to pray and taught The Bowing (Ruku) and Prostration (Sajdah).
Through mentioned methods, the children learn their religious duties without coercion and feeling any burden upon themselves.
[i] Imam Sadeq (AS) said: "Circumcise your sons when they are seven days old as it is cleaner and the flesh grows faster and because the earth hates the urine of the uncircumcised" .
- Al-Hurr al-Aamili , Wasail al-shiah, vol. 2, p. 618.
- Al-Kafi Al-Kalini, Abu-Ja'afar Muhammad Ibn-Yaqub. Al-furu'min al-kafi. Vol. 6 Tehran: Dar al-kutub al-islamiyyah. 1981:34.
- Mirza Hussayn Nuri ,Mustadrak al-Wasāil, vol. 15, p.156.
- Muhammad Muhammadi Rayshari,Mizan al-Hikmah, vol, 1 , p. 7109.
- Ibn-e Fazl-e Tabarsi,Makarim Al Akhlaq, p. 115.
Today, one of the Islamic regulations that is the cause of many prejudgments about Islam in western countries is the law of polygamy in Islam. This practice refers to a form of marriage that allows a man to have two, three, or four wives at the same time, but, on the contrary, never ever allows a woman to have more than one husband simultaneously.
In this article, you will read the philosophy behind this law from different perspectives and finally see Islam’s recommendation on that.
Polygamy was practiced long before Islam among different nations and was considered as an acceptable common deed in the history of some other faiths including Christianity and Judaism, although it is frowned upon and forbidden in their cultures now.
According to the Jewish encyclopedia: “While there is no evidence of a polyandrous state in primitive Jewish society, polygamy seems to have been a well-established institution, dating from the most ancient times and extending to comparatively modern days” .
In Christianity also, polygamy does not contradict their Scripture: “Nowhere in the New Testament is there any explicit commandment that marriage should be monogamous or any explicit commandment forbidding polygamy” .
Islam did not invent the system of polygamy, neither did it ban this tradition which was practiced unlimitedly by Arabs. Instead, it restricted it to four wives and gave it specific conditions and terms.
It is explicitly stated in the Holy Quran that:
“If you fear that you may not deal justly with the orphans, then marry [other] women that you like, two, three, or four. But if you fear that you may not treat them fairly, then [marry only] one, or [marry from among] your slave-women. That makes it likelier that you will not be unfair” (4:3).
This verse was revealed in regard to the Arabs in the period of ignorance, who were seldom free from wars and fighting, and among whom death by killing was a common occurrence. So, there was always a great number of orphans and widows among them.
Usually, the leaders of tribes and people of power and influence took the orphan girls (with their properties) as wives and behaved with them unjustly. They would often turn them out after swallowing their property; the helpless girls would become poor; neither they had any money to live on, nor was there anyone willing to marry and maintain them. The Quran, then, has reproached those Arabs very severely for this evil habit and prohibited very strongly doing any injustice to orphans or devouring their property. Allah says in the previous verse:
“Give the orphans their property, and do not replace the good with the bad, and do not eat up their property [by mingling it] with your own property, for that is indeed a great sin” (4:2) [i].
On the whole, Allah urges them to be careful regarding the orphans, so much so that if they are afraid that they would not be able to treat the orphan girls equitably and therefore do not like to take them, wives, then they had better not marry them; instead they should marry other women- two, three or four .
Both the Quran and Sunnah (the Prophet’s (PBUH&HP) and infallible Imams’(AS) tradition) clearly indicate the legitimacy of polygamy in Islam and most of Islamic Jurists and Scholars agree with that. It is noteworthy, however, that Quran’s recommendation to marry two, three, or four does not in any way imply an obligation; neither has it been seen as a necessity in any of the Islamic sects. Now we will shed light on the reasons why Islam did not absolutely abolish this tradition.
There are two different stances among Muslim scholars about polygamy in Islam; some have denied it as a general Islamic law by saying that it was suited to that specific time -i.e., the time and occasion in which the verse (4:3) was revealed- in history. The others, on the other hand, make any attempt to defend this law by reasoning it and saying its benefits; some of their arguments are:
Men’s sexual desire is stronger and lasts longer than women’s.
Women are not capable of fulfilling men’s sexual desire fully because of the restrictions they have, viz. menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, etc.
There are usually more marriageable women than men due to women’s longer lifespan and men’s more frequent fatal casualties because of the dangerous incidents that happen to them, etc.
Among these reasons, the third one -if we suppose that it existed in the past or continues to be common in the present day- is of great importance in justifying polygamy in Islam. Not only that, but it creates a right in favor of women and duty and responsibility for men and society.
Clearly speaking, if, in any case, the number of women fit to be married exceeds the number of marriageable men, then a group of women would be left without husbands and would remain deprived of the right to family life, so the law restricting marriage to monogamy will be inconsistent with this natural right. Accordingly, it is only by the provision of the law of polygamy (of course with special conditions) that this natural right is revived.
What’s more, Islam disagrees with the belief that man is a born polygamist and that his nature is at variance with monogamy. Islam, also, is against the idea that loyalty is impossible for men, and that one woman is created for one man, and one man for all women.
Polygamy, in the Islamic perspective, rises from a social difficulty and is not due to the innate nature of men. If there did not exist in society the problem of an excess of the number of women in need of marriage over the number of marriageable men, the custom of polygamy would have ceased to exist or would have rarely existed .
Now read the second part of this article to see the Islamic restrictions on the law of polygamy in Islam.
- Eugene Hillman, Polygamy reconsidered, p. 140
- polygamy in Islam
- Morteza Motahari, women and her rights in Islam, p. 146-147