Importance of Marriage in Islam
I have often heard people saying that marriage is fardh and it is only the second, third and fourth marriage which is sunnah. According to the Qur’an, it is not fardh but something which highly encouraged:
You shall encourage those of you who are single to get married. They may marry the righteous among your male and female servants, if they are poor. Allah (SWT will enrich them from His grace. Allah (SWT) is Bounteous, Knower. [24:32]
And the relationship is so beautiful that Allah (SWT) actually gives it as a ‘proof’ of his own existence.
Among His proofs is that He created for you spouses from among yourselves, in order to have tranquility and contentment with each other, and He placed in your hearts love and care towards your spouses. In this, there are sufficient proofs for people who think. [30:21]
No wonder you start caring for your spouse the time you decide to get married to him/her. You never see that clause on the nikah but yet your happiness some how starts depending upon your spouse’s happiness.
And give the women (on marriage) their dower as a free gift; but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, Take it and enjoy it with right good cheer. [4:4]
But if ye decide to take one wife in place of another, even if ye had given the latter a whole treasure for dower, Take not the least bit of it back: Would ye take it by slander and manifest wrong? And how could ye take it when ye have gone in unto each other, and they have Taken from you a solemn covenant? [4:20-21]
As can been seen from the verses, Mahr is not to be given only at the time of divorce. It is a promise of a gift from the husband to the wife and must be according to the woman’s wishes. She may ask for a few verses of the Qur’an to be recited or a whole mountain of gold.
Now, as it is a promise, it becomes a debt on the husband to give his wife the Mahr that he agreed upon at the time of Nikah and must be paid according to the conditions set initially. If the Mahr is deferred as per the condition, it must be paid before the marriage dissolves. A marriage can dissolve in two ways: divorce or death of either of the two. Most people would pay Mahr at the time of divorce but do not think about paying Mahr in the second instance. As established earlier, Mahr is like a debt, it HAS to be paid by the husband unless the woman decides not to take it (as can be seen in 4:4 stated above).
If the man dies all his debts, including unpaid Mahr has to be paid before everyone gets their share of inheritance. If the woman dies, Mahr must be distributed amongst her heirs.
Allah (thus) directs you as regards your Children’s (Inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females: if only daughters, two or more, their share is two-thirds of the inheritance; if only one, her share is a half. For parents, a sixth share of the inheritance to each, if the deceased left children; if no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; if the deceased Left brothers (or sisters) the mother has a sixth. The distribution in all cases after the payment of legacies and debts. Ye know not whether your parents or your children are nearest to you in benefit. These are settled portions ordained by Allah. and Allah is All-knowing, All-wise. [4:11]