Bilal Naeem – Hiba magazine’s content writer
“And of His signs is that He created for you, from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for people who give thought.” (Surah Ar Rum: 21).
When you discuss early marriage with a young adult, a typical response is: “I know Islam tells us to get married early but it also says that we should have the means to take care of a family. So first let me complete my education, get a decent job, make some savings and investments , pay back my parents for all they have done for me and then maybe I’ll think about it.”
Statistics show that the average age of marriage is rising around the world and Muslim countries have followed suit. This thinking process is a reflection of our own misguided belief that Rizq comes from our efforts alone and that our sons and daughter can defend themselves against Shaitaan easily in their time of youth.
Marriage has been made difficult
Shaytan likes to make Halal things difficult and Haram things easy. By making marriage difficult and delaying it, the door to sin has been unlocked and now stands open wide.
What we need to understand is that the exposure provided by social media coupled with the intermingling of genders in colleges, universities and workplaces has made evil easily accessible.
Abdullah (rta) narrated: “The Messenger of Allah (sa) said to us: ‘O young men, whoever among you can afford it, let him get married, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and guarding chastity, and whoever cannot then he should fast, for it will be a restraint (Wija) for him.’” (An-Nasai)
So, when our children want to get married early, we should be open to this idea. We should understand that temptations surrounding them are just a word or a click away. They may already be stuck in these vices, unable to control themselves while the only Halal alternative is marriage. As parents, we cannot ask our children to simply brush these temptations aside and expect them to control themselves for the next ten years.
What’s worse- getting married and going through difficulties or not getting married and pushing our kids into sin?
The search for the ‘perfect’ proposal
We are still judging ‘love’ marriages and we judge proposals on the surface level according to short term aspects. What kind of job does the boy do? How much does he earn? Does he have his own house? Can this 26 year old offer my daughter the lifestyle that I, her 55 year old father, am providing?
What are we concerned with when considering girls? Is she pretty? Is she too old (which in Pakistan is anything above 25)? We do not want her to work but she is a qualified doctor, right?
We wait for the ‘perfect proposal’ when a ‘perfect’ spouse doesn’t exist. And you know what? This may come as a surprise, but your child isn’t perfect either.
Instead of delaying our children’s marriages with anecdotes of marriages that went wrong because they were too young, or the son wasn’t financially settled, or the girl was too old we should recognize our roles as parents. When a young man and young woman are mature and old enough to get married, they can make their own choices and their own decisions.
The parent’s role is to provide advice, a broader viewpoint and support where necessary. Even if it doesn’t work out despite everyone’s best efforts, we need to understand that these are Halal mistakes protecting them from a lot of Haram.
Social conventions and acceptability
When it comes to considering social conventions and acceptability a Pandora s Box is opened. Look at the marriage of Prophet Musa (as). Prophet Musa (as) was an Israeli marrying an Arab, so they did not share the same culture, country or background. He had no money, he was homeless and a fugitive from the law. What were the qualities that mattered to his father in law and wife? He was strong and could take care of his family, he was willing to work hard and he was trustworthy.
Musa (as) ended up living with his in-laws and in his father in law’s employment for around 10 years. Just imagine how we judge someone who does this today and the social pressure we place on young couples to achieve a certain lifestyle early on in their marriage.
The ancillary benefits of early marriage
Other than the core benefit of companionship in a Halal manner, early marriages have a myriad other benefits. You have the opportunity to grow up together and this means learning from each other and developing together, intellectually and emotionally. This creates a stronger connection between the spouses.
What is better than having children when you are young and having a smaller age gap? This creates a huge difference not only in the energy level you have to offer your kids but also it is easier to develop a close, friendly relationship as you get older and can actively participate in the milestones of their lives.
This thought process is not a negation of the realities of life. Our children have to study, have to work, have to earn and they have to be mature.
But we should be able to discern between the true realities of life and where Shaitaan puts fears in our hearts that negate the greatness and mercy of Allah (swt). We must remember that all marriages are hard work and that no marriage is smooth sailing.
Would we rather let our children be tempted and fall into sin when we have the means to give them a Halal alternative just because we are worried about their worldly achievements? This is the question today’s parents need to ask themselves.
This article draws heavily from the lecture by Nouman Ali Khan, “Why getting married early is actually a good decision” available online.