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Marriage in Islam is the legal union of a man and a woman for life. Islam recomends one to marry whoever he/she wills. A man can marry upto four wives at a go but a woman could only marry once at a go. The wisdom behind this is that when the woman is pregnant, it would be known who the father is. Islam has stressed a lot on marriage and like all the other aspects of life, Islam has explained fully about marriage. The prophet (s.a.w) said: "We do not see a better resort for those who love each other than marriage". The prophet (s.a.w) has also advised the young men to marry. He said: O Young men! Whoever could afford it should get married as it helps lower the gaze and protects the sexual organ (from illegal sexual activity)." Choosing a partner The prophet (s.a.w) said: "A woman is married for four things, for her wealth, for her noble descent, for her beauty and for her religion. Therefore be victorious by marrying a woman who has religious piety." The prophet (s.a.w) in the above Hadeeth, advises men to choose a religious woman as a wife. This is as a religious woman is going to protect her dignity and her chastity. She is going to ensure that also her husband's dignity is protected. She would do what she can to ensure the happiness of her family. She is going to raise their children nicely. But if a man chooses to mary a woman for anything other than her religion, she will not be a good wife or a mother. The prophet (s.a.w) was asked who among the women is best (for marriage). He said: "The one who would please him when he looks at her, obeys him if he commands and avoids disobeying him in what he hates concerning herself and money".

The prophet (s.a.w) addressed the guardians by saying "When one comes to you and pleases you with his religion and behaviour, marry him (to your daughters)" Conditions for Marriage Before a marriage is considered valid, there are some conditions to be fulfilled. These conditions are: The bride-to-be MUST give her consent to the marriage and to the partner she is going to marry The bridegroom-to-be MUST be marying willingly The Guardian of the bride MUST give his/her consent Atleast two reliable male witnesses must be present at the wedding ceremony The marriage must be between two persons whose marriage is not forbidden The reason why the bride and the bridegroom must give their consent is so that the two would be able to live fast with happiness and minimise divorce. The Guardian must give his consent but if he disagrees it must be based on something which is Islamically acceptable. For example, if the bride wants to marry

Muslim man who does not observe the Islamic law, and the guardian refuses to give his consent, then the marriage would be invalid. But if the bride has agreed to marry a Muslim man who follows the Islamic shariah, but is poor and the guardian refuses to give his consent because the man is poor, the marriage would be valid. The dowry is also a requirement for the marriage to be valid. The dowry is not to buy the woman nor does it signify her worth. It is given to the bride so as to bring love between the bride and the bride-groom. Treatment of the wife Islam commands a man to be good to his wife at all times. The prophet (s.a.w) said:

"The most perfect believers are the best in conduct and best of you are those who are best to their wives" (Ibn Hanbal, No.7396). When we divorce women, Allah tells us:

"And when you have divorced women and they have fulfilled the term of their prescribed period, either take them back on reasonable basis or set them free on reasonable basis. But do not take them back to hurt them, and whoever does that, then he has wronged himself..." (Qur'an 2:231) Thus, Islam commands us to be nice to our wives at all times even if we are parting. Duties of a Husband He MUST provide his wife and children with sustenance He MUST satisfy his wife's sexual needs He MUST keep his marriage affairs a secret between him and his wife He MUST respect and be kind to his wife He MUST ensure Islamic obligations are observed in the house He MUST do everything to ensure happiness prevails in his family He MUST be faithful to his wife Duties of a Wife She MUST make herself available to her husband whenver he desires her She MUST NOT leave the house without the husband's permision nor should she allow into the house someone he disapproves She MUST look after his property She MUST respect her chatsity and maintain her own and her husband's dignity She MUST keep her life affairs a secret between her and her husband She MUST NOT accept gifts from anyone other than her parents without her husband's knowledge She MUST obey, respect and serve him at all times