Married Life in Islam
In the Quran, the marriage relationship is described as one with "tranquility," "love" and "mercy." Elsewhere in the Quran, husband and wife are described as "garments" for each other (2:187). This metaphor is used because garments offer protection, comfort, modesty, and warmth. Above all, the Quran describes that the best garment is the "garment of God-consciousness" (7:26).
Muslims view marriage as the foundation of society and family life. All Muslims are advised to marry, and the Prophet Muhammad once said that "marriage is half of faith." Islamic scholars have commented that in this phrase, the Prophet was referring to the protection that marriage offers — keeping one away from temptation — as well as the tests that face married couples that they will need to face with patience, wisdom, and faith. Marriage shapes your character as a Muslim, and as a couple.
Hand-in-hand with feelings of love and faith, Islamic marriage has a practical aspect and is structured through legally-enforceable rights and duties of both spouses. In an atmosphere of love and respect, these rights and duties provide a framework for the balance of family life and the personal fulfillment of both partners.
- To be treated with honor, kindness, and patience.
- To enjoy intimate relations with each other.
- To have and raise children, by God's will.
- To keep one's legal and personal identity after marriage. Muslim women retain their own family names, inheritance rights, property, mahr, etc.
- To be faithful to the marriage bond.
- To assist and support one another, and to resolve disputes amicably.
- To strive to be attractive to one's spouse (both men and women)
- The husband has the duty to provide all physical maintenance of the family (housing, clothing, food, medical care, etc.).
These general rights and duties provide clarity for a couple in terms of their expectations. Of course, individuals may have different ideas and needs which may go beyond this foundation. It is important for each spouse to communicate clearly and express those feelings.
Islamically, this communication begins even during the courtship phase, when each party may add their own personal conditions to the marriage contract before it is signed. These conditions then become legally-enforceable rights in addition to the above. Just having the conversation helps open the couple up to clear communication which may help strengthen the relationship over the long term.