Like other special occasions in Islam (Jummah and Eid), the Nikah ceremony too is marked by a Khutbah, in accordance with the practice of our beloved Prophet (sa).The Nikah sermon is an essential part of every Muslim wedding. However, unfortunately, women rarely get to hear it, and the men who do hear it seldom understand the meaning.
Whatever the Prophet (sa) did or said had a purpose behind it. The Khutbah of Nikah is not just a ritualistic repetition of a few words. This simple, concise, and yet profound sermon contains a message for all those who are involved in the making of a new family: the bride, the groom, and their respective parents and siblings.
Let us, as parents, ponder over and extract lessons pertaining to the marriage of our children.
From the Lips of Our Beloved (sa):
“Praise be to Allah (swt). We seek His help and His forgiveness, and rely on Him. We seek refuge with Allah (swt) from the evil of our own souls and from our bad deeds. Whomsoever Allah (swt) guides will never be led astray, and whomsoever Allah (swt) leaves astray can be guided by no one. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah (swt), and I bear witness that Muhammad (sa) is His slave and Messenger.
O you who believe! Fear Allah (swt), as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allah (swt). (Al-Imran 3:102)
O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person, and from him He created his wife, and from them both He created many men and women, and fear Allah (swt), through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah (swt) is ever an All-Watcher over you. (An-Nisa 4:1)
O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah (swt) and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth.” (Al-Ahzab 33:70) (Nasai and Abu Dawood)
- Taqwa – the foundation
The significance of Taqwa (fear and consciousness of Allah) cannot be undermined. It has been repeated four times in the aforementioned sermon. Indeed, being mindful of Allah (swt) keeps us away from his disobedience in every aspect, whether it is in terms of the rights of people or the rights of Allah (swt).
Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “Have Taqwa of Allah (swt), wherever you may be; follow up a bad deed with a good one which will wipe it out, and behave well towards the people.” (Tirmidhi; a reliable Hadeeth)
This Hadeeth contains some implications of Taqwa, which are also practical guidelines for dealing with the in-laws:
- Fear Allah (swt) in your dealings. He is watching whatever you do, and is listening to whatever you say.
- We are weak as human beings and may make mistakes. Wipe away these bad deeds through good ones. A rude exchange of words should be followed up by a sincere apology and kind words.
- Husne Akhlaq is the key to winning hearts and living a pleasant life.
- Humility and thankfulness
The Khutbah begins with an exhibition of humility and thankfulness to Allah (swt) with which the ego is stricken and the ‘me’ is belittled. Pride often becomes a barrier between people, and is one of the weapons of Shaitan that causes rifts between hearts. The first word of the sermon cancels it out by proclaiming that all praise is for Allah (swt).
We are reminded that whatever happiness we get is from Allah (swt), and if we want it to increase manifold, we must keep thanking Him, instead of mourning over every little detail that displeases us. We tend to forget Allah (swt) at times of joy whereas it is that very time when we must increase our gratitude, obedience, and Astaghfar (repentance).
- Faith takes precedence
Talking about death is considered to be a taboo. However, the Prophet (sa) is reminding us about it at a blissful moment – the time of marriage! Do not die, except in a state of Iman. Faith is the most important asset of a Muslim and should not be compromised in this new phase of life.
As parents, do we worry about the faith of our children like we worry about their worldly affairs? Does the potential husband of my daughter earn Halal, or the mansion was just lavish enough to satisfy me? Is my chosen daughter-in-law a practicing Muslimah? Have I taught my children their duty to their Creator lest they forget Him?
- The evil of our souls
Malice, spite, envy, suspicion, and hatred all sprout as the evils of our heart. These are the very causes behind every post-marital problem. As parents, our advice to children about their family dealings should be free from these. Instead it should be based on truth, fairness, compassion, compromise, and love.
- Strengthening the ties of kinship
Marriage marks the beginning of new relationships; these relationships are still feeble and need cultivation. At this point, Allah (swt) is telling us not to break any ties of kinship. We need to remind ourselves and our children about the importance of strengthening ties. Silah Rehmi (caring for our relatives) is not that we are kind only to return the kindness done to us. The real Silah Rehmi, according to a Hadeeth, is being kind to those who do not treat us well.
- Effective communication
Lack of communication, which leads to many misunderstandings, is another root cause of familial disputes. Firstly, we must always assume good about our Muslim brethren. Secondly, Allah (swt) has told us to use speech that is ‘Sadeed’, which means clear and unambiguous, leaving no room for misinterpretation. It means to speak the truth but in an appropriate manner. Talking in a straightforward, polite manner is better than staying quiet and brewing malice in the heart that soon erupts.
- Success and Barakah
A wedding is one of those occasions on which many of Allah’s (swt) commandments are transgressed. Let the marriage of your children be like the marriage of the daughters of Rasulullah (sa). If you do not love his example, how can you expect to be in his company in the Hereafter? From the extravagance on the occasion to the demand of heavy Jahez (dowry), from the music and dancing to the intermingling, remember that Barakah (blessings) and success in every marriage lies in obeying Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa).
Happily ever after is only in the Hereafter. Your offspring came into the world to face an examination of how well he/she would worship and please Allah (swt). Marriage is just a transition to a new tougher exam. It is a test for both you and them. Hold firm to the answers given in the Quran and Sunnah, and watch the mercy of Allah (swt) descend on your home and your heart.