October 26, 2012
Matters of matrimony
There are many books on the Islamic religion and many more on the institution of marriage. Sheikh Muhammed Karakunnu wrote a book in Malayalam where he combined the two. It is this book on matrimony which K.M. Muhammed has translated into Tamil. It is more or less a textbook with instructions on the various aspects of marriage based on the tenets of Islam and Hadees (sayings of the Prophet).
Quoting heavily from the Holy Book, the author exhorts youth to get married. He deals with the pitfalls of bachelorhood in the second chapter where he cautions those who are not married, to observe fasts to resist evil thoughts and temptation. Marriage is aimed to regulate human life, he believes.
From choosing the bride to the rituals, the writer says that if a man intends to marry a woman after having conducted enquiries, he may take a look at her preferably without her knowledge. This is because in the event of his not liking her, her feelings should not be hurt. He cannot meet her alone. Most of the Islamic scholars opine that he can look only at her face and forearm.
It is the girl who has to decide on her alliance, and her consent for marriage is imperative. If however the marriage takes place without her consent, she has the right to cancel it.
There are seven categories of blood relationship within which marriage is prohibited, some of which have been discussed here in detail.
Clarifying the point that the Quran allows a man to marry up to four women, the author says the rule is only permissive and not obligatory. The latitudes of idealistic and realistic love have to be distinguished so that Muslims can restrict himself to only one wife if he feels he may not be able to treat all of them alike. There is a clear warning not to use religion for worldly convenience in this regard. True religion goes far deeper and true love transforms the very nature of man.
Solemnising a Muslim marriage is simple. Of the two parties, one expresses consent and satisfaction for the alliance known as ‘Ejab’ while the other party conveys acceptance or ‘Khabool’. In the presence of two witnesses, the bride’s father or guardian gives away the girl. Once the groom conveys his acceptance, the marriage agreement stands completed. Supplication for the well-being of the newly weds follows and then the feast.
Explaining the concept of Meher, the author says it is gift to the bride from the groom and a portion of it should be paid at the time of the Nikkah (marriage). Islam prohibits wasteful expenditure during weddings.
The other chapters dwell on issues such as child marriage, widow re-marriage, dowry, prostitution, duties of a wife, matrimonial rights, divorce, remarriage, sex, family planning and homosexuality.
The views of the four Imams and a host of Islamic scholars are presented in the book which has 30 chapters. There are quotes with footnotes by people from all walks of life. A question-answer section is helpful
The content is packaged in good prose and coherent language that is practical and contemporary. There is a sense of purpose and passion throughout, and the book is a comprehensive and exhaustive study.
Sheikh Muhammed Karakunnu (Malayalam), Translated in Tamil by K.M.Muhammed, Published by Islamic Foundation Trust, Chennai -12.
Pages: 408, Price: Rs 170.