Discover the actual meaning of the Marriage Sermon through excerpts from Dr. Farhat Hashmi’s audio lecture “Nikah Mubarak” (transcribed by Sumaira Dada)
Abdullah Bin Masood (rta) has narrated that the Prophet (sa) taught us the following Khutbah (sermon) for marriage:
“Indeed all the praise is for Allah (swt). We praise Him, seek His help and forgiveness. We also seek refuge in Him from the evils of our own selves and from the evils of our deeds. Whoever Allah (swt) guides, no one can misguide him. Whoever He lets go astray, no one can put him back on track. I testify that there is no god but Allah (swt), and I testify that Muhammad (sa) is Allah’s (swt) servant and His messenger.”
“O you who believe! Fear Allah (swt) (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared. [Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always], 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 (Adam) and from him (Adam) He created his wife [Hawwa (Eve)], 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. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa), he has indeed achieved a great achievement (i.e. he will be saved from the Hell-fire and will be admitted to Paradise).” (Al-Ahzab 33:70-71)
(Bukhari, Ahmad, Abu Dawood, At-Tirmizi, An-Nisai, Ibn Majah, Ad-Darimee)
The Prophet (sa) said: “By Allah! Among all of you, I am the most God-fearing, and among you all, I am the super most to save myself from the wrath of Allah (swt); yet my state is that I observe prayer and sleep, too; I observe fasts and suspend observing them; I marry women also. And he, who turns away from my Sunnah, is not from me (not one of my followers)”. (Bukhari)
Many Muslims get married but, surprisingly, very few actually know what the Marriage Sermon means. Many of these new couples have little awareness of their rights and duties to their partners. Allah (swt) might forgive us, if there is some overlooking of His rights, but as far as the rights of fellow beings are concerned, He will forgive us only if those, who are wronged, forgive.
Praise of Allah (swt)
A believer understands that marriage is a blessing of Allah (swt), and by praising Allah (swt), he expresses his gratitude to Him. Gratitude protects blessings, and the believer feels happy.
Seeking His help and forgiveness
Sometimes, even the smallest thing is enough to disturb us, which proves the fact that we are by nature very weak and in constant need of Allah’s (swt) help. We must seek His forgiveness for all the wrongs we do, including the ones we commit without realizing. Even the Prophet (sa), who was innocent and free of sin, sought forgiveness of Allah (swt) more than seventy times a day. (Narrated by Abu Hurairah (rta) in Bukhari)
Analysis of the pre-marriage activities and the post-marriage conversations is enough to make one realize our need to repent. The run-up to the marriage involves long shopping trips that usually result in delayed or missed Salah. Extravagant late-night celebrations, usually with the purpose to impress others, have become the highlights of Muslim wedding festivities. The conversations at the wedding party and during the following days involve detailed discussions of people, including backbiting.
Seeking refuge from the evil of Nafs (self)
Prophet Yusuf (as) said: “Verily, the (human) self is inclined to evil.” (Yusuf 12:53) Jealousy, hatred, greed, negative thinking, and arrogance are some of the evils that the human self is inclined towards. Shaitan became the first victim of the evil of the Nafs, when he said: “I am better than him (Adam), You created me from fire, and him You created from clay.” (Al-Araf 7:12) Relations are spoilt because of the evil of the self, resulting in the displeasure of Allah (swt).
After marriage, the acceptance of Ibadah (worship) depends on the relations between a husband and his wife. From a Hadeeth we learn that when any woman prays her five prayers, fasts during the month of Ramadan, protects her honor and respect and obeys her husband is given the choice of entering Paradise from whichever door she wishes to enter. (Ibn Hibban, Sahih per Al-Albani)
Arguments of the new couple are a result of selfishness and arrogance of the Nafs. During these moments, each partner must remember that only the one, who gives in and is humble, can get love. To attain peace in the relationship, one must give one’s self up to Allah (swt) and seek His refuge from the evil of Nafs.
Seeking refuge from effects of bad deeds
Bad deeds result in a sense of guilt. To release the mountain of worry, we must seek refuge with Allah (swt) from the effects of bad deeds.
Praying for guidance
Guidance is a blessing given only to those, who want it. Even in marital relations Allah (swt) grants guidance, help, and patience to those, who seek it.
Reciting the Shahadah
Shahadah on the occasion of marriage is a reaffirmation of the Muslim faith – a reminder to follow Allah (swt) and to take care of each other fearing by Him. The new couple also pledges to follow the teachings of the Prophet (sa).
Taqwah (Allah consciousness)
We usually think that a successful marriage depends on designer clothes, expensive jewellery, a luxurious house, husband’s high job, or an educated wife. All these factors may be helpful towards building a healthy relationship, but if there is no fear of Allah (swt), relations will be patchy. In the three Ayahs recited in the sermon the word ‘Taqwa’ has been mentioned four times. It is obvious, therefore, that the relation of two people cannot be healthy, until both are mindful of Allah (swt).
Respecting each other
Social customs usually victimize the daughter-in-law. At times, her status is limited to that of a mere house help. This is quite in contrast to Islamic teachings. Anas Bin Malik (rta) has narrated: “Allah’s Messenger (sa) was on a journey, and he had a black slave called Anjasha, who was driving the camels (very fast, and there were women riding on those camels). Allah’s Apostle (sa) said: ‘Waihaka (May Allah (swt) be merciful to you), O Anjasha! Drive slowly (the camels) with the glass vessels (women)!’” (Bukhari) This shows the Prophet’s (sa) attitude towards women.
It is important for the in-laws to give to the new family member some time to adjust. Like a new plant, which at first has some difficulty in adjusting to the new environment, but then takes roots and blooms, the new daughter-in-law has some problems at first, then her roots strengthen – she becomes a mother and gains an important position in the family.
Likewise, the husband also has a right to be respected. If the wife has come from a family, which according to the worldly standards is superior to the husband’s family, it does not mean that she should start enforcing her orders in the new home. It is a situation, where she must remind herself that one gets a place in the household by helping, not by demanding rights.
Relatives – a blessing of Allah (swt)
From a Hadeeth of the Prophet (sa) we know that one, who cuts off relations with relatives, will not enter Paradise. (Bukhari and Muslim) In fact, even this world becomes Hell, when relations with them are unhealthy. Women should be more careful here, as they are usually responsible for making or breaking relationships.
Fear Allah (swt) and speak the truth
From the time the proposal comes to the time the marriage takes place, a lot of lies are usually told to cover such facts as the age of the partners-to-be or the status of each party. If the foundation of marriage is laid on deception, it creates a lot of problems later. We need to put our trust in Allah (swt) and not worry about the match not taking place, if we tell the truth.
The sermon ends with a reminder that whoever follows Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa) would have a great achievement. This is something we all need to be mindful of.