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Islam from the Foundation Up
This second volume in the series of books on Trust, Marriage, Disturbance and Remedy is fundamentally about the origin of the Islāmic Institution of Marriage, its main features, structure, and purpose. The aim of this effort can be explained metaphorically like this, if one is presented for the very first time with a motor vehicle, common sense tells us that they, if they are intelligent, will ask the maker to explain its structure, the mechanics in order to operate it properly, its purpose, and the do’s and the don’ts in order to prevent any damage to the vehicle. Those same requirements are also true of the original Islāmic marriage. So, if without making the necessary inquiries and receiving the appropriate answers, someone was to get behind the wheel of the novel mechanical instrument, they will be reliant upon trials and errors to attain an understanding of it and, in the process, the probabilities are that they would cause damage to the vehicle, and themselves, in the process.
As the human race developed, the pure understanding of the original Islāmic marriage, and its divine purpose, has become forgotten, lost, or defaced and corrupted. The result is that we now have numerous relationships that are termed a “marriage”. But while they have in common the name, outwardly and inwardly they bear no real structural and spiritual resemblance to the real and original pre-planet Earth Islāmic marriage.
Marriage today, in the vast majority of cases, is a social and customary current, and people are carried away by it because they are living within a society and is influenced by its strength. It is either they are told and/or are compelled to marry someone, or else they see and experience its presence and, because they are excited by its benefits, they are ready and willing to participate and join the fraternity of married men and women. That, however, is an extremely shallow and dangerous approach, and would account for the many transgressions, abuses, and the tremendous hurt and harm the many who have dared to indulge have suffered.
To dilute the original divine Islāmic marriage, there has been a shift in the focus regarding it, so that most people see it as being based upon peoples’ raw emotions and purely material in its benefits, thus making it confusing and more complicated than it ought to be, and extremely difficult to manage and sustain. This was precisely the type of situations contemplated by Allāh (swt), when He (swt) revealed, in the Glorious Arabic Qur’ān the following ‘ayāh (An Arabic word which is rendered to mean,lesson, teachings, sign, miracle, evidence, and directive [the plural is ‘ayāt]):
If the Truth had been in accord with their own desired likes and dislikes, truly the heavens and the earth, and all beings therein would have been in confusion and corruption! Nay, [in this divine writ] We have sent them their admonition, but they [heedlessly] turn away from their admonition. (Sūrah Al-Mu’minūn [Ch.23] :71)
Accordingly, all marriages should be Islāmic in nature, and so be based, not upon the many different human whims, and their customary, traditional and legal formats for agreeing and contracting to enter into a marriage arrangement, but, upon what was the original Divine Will, Desire and Purpose. However, the human made reality is that for generations now, the composition components, and ceremonial formalities of marriages have been configured in many different ways to suit diverse aims and ends. Indeed, in the following ḥadith, it is narrated by Abu Huraira that the final prophet of Islām, Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] said:
A woman is (normally) married for four things, her wealth, her family status, her (external physical) beauty and her piety in Deen (her discipline and morality in her Way of Life – religion). So, you should marry the pious woman ((the one who is discipline and morally upright in her Way of Life – religion, otherwise) you will be of the losers. (Ṣaḥiḥ Bukhari Ḥadith Volume 7, Book 62, Number 27)
He clearly recognized the social realities that had been going on for ages in societies, regarding the violation of the sacredness of institution of marriage. Spousal relationships that are entered into in pursuit of the attainment of wealth, status and having a woman because of external physicalbeauty, are all born out of the lower impure human emotion of lust. Its natural disposition is the pursuit and attainment of what is vain, ephemeral and prone to diminish with passing of time (short-lived). It inevitably produces unstable, ungrateful and discontented personalities who will become embroiled in bitter conflicts over wealth (which includes money, property, land, and children), infidelity and want of power, and thus they end up becoming losers. So, Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] pointed his followers in the direction of the original Divine Will, Desire and Purpose behind the Islāmic Institution of Marriage; that is to say, those human qualities of unflinching and unfettered obedience and submission in servitude to Allāh’s (swt) every Desire, Guidance and Command. It is this that will cause spouses to remain truthful, just, calm, trustworthy and patient, and their marriages orderly, blissful, and long-lasting.
In rejection of that sound and profound admonition and guidance, most of the prevailing modern marriages are diverse in their composition, structure, formalities and aims and, judging by the ever-increasing rate of divorce, many are the number of losers who did not heed the warning and guidance, and made very poor choices and judgements in the affair of their marriage. One would be misguided, and it would be wrong to think these new forms of “non-Islāmic sham marriages’ are limited to any particular group of people, that is by no means the case, and many who label themselves as Jews, Christians and Muslims are also guilty of not adhering to the Prophet’s instruction in the above ḥadith.
The belief behind and object of this effort is to establish a “Marriage Driving School” to facilitate people wishing to learn what it is that Allāh (swt), the Originator and Creator of the original Islāmic Institution of Marriage, did when He (swt) established it and fixed its structure; what were its original features; what He (swt) has commanded and said by way of guidance about its operation and purpose; and the natural examples and similitudes that have been left behind for human beings to follow to keep the original purity in that relationship.
The question is, how do we take people from the point of theoretical knowledge to practical understanding, and then to the wisdom of implementation and manifestation. The ‘ayāh and template for this is again one that is divine in its origin, and it is to be found in the Glorious Arabic Qur’ān. In its ‘ayāt on the pre-Earth Ādamic educational experience humans are provided with the profoundest guidance on that point, and it is that Arabic Qur’ānic instruction that is intended to form the solid and realistic basis for this work.
The Superb Arabic Qur’ān leaves us in no doubt that Ādam’s education, like the creation of the heavens and the earth, was a process. But, what we are not told is the length of the period, in terms of Al-Akhira’s “Creation Time”, it took for Allāh (swt) to teach Ādam “the names and the nature of all things” (Sūrah Al-Baqarah [Ch.2]:31). The plain and unequivocal Qur’āmic knowledge however, is that real “Creation Time” in the Al-Akhira realm is limitless, and that it is reckoned there relative to events and what it will take for each subject matter to reach its optimum in truth and justice, and be completed.
The result is that, how real “Creation Time” is measured, in that “Other/Next” realm, bears no comparison as to how “Trial Time” is being calculated in Ad-Dunyaa (see, post for meaning). This clearly has implications for the exact measure of the duration of the process in educating Ādam. That period for his schooling was most certainly not in just one “Trial Time” day, or even a month. In all probability, his period of learning may have taken many of our Ad-Dunyaa years before it was accomplished.
A further interesting feature of the pre-Earth period in educating Ādam is that it was the closest in Islām to what is termed Zuhd (Arabic: meaning, “asceticism, detachment from lawful wealth, pleasure and or society”). There is support in the action taken by Allāh (swt), His (swt) direct and literal ḤADITH in the Glorious Arabic Qur’ān, and in Prophet Muhammad’s [pbuh] own personal ḥadith, for the generally agreed and accepted knowledge that the Islāmic Deen does not propagate excess in anything, including isolation and seclusion from the pressing realities of the social and domestic life, the masses, and the creation of the woman without which the first two would not be:
O mankind! Fear and be conscious of your Sustainer, who has created you out of one living entity, and out of it created its mate, and out of the two spread abroad a multitude of men and women. And remain Fearful and be conscious of Allāh, in whose name you demand [your rights] from one another, and of these ties of kinship. Verily, Allāh is ever watchful over you! (Sūrah Al-Nisā [Ch.4] :1)
“O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your deen (meaning, way of life/religion); nor say of Allāh aught but the truth” (Sūrah Al-Nisā [Ch.4] :171)
And thereupon We caused [other of] Our messengers to follow in their footsteps; and [in the course of time] We sent after them Jesus, the son of Mary, upon whom We bestowed the Gospel and in the hearts of those who [truly] followed him We engendered compassion and mercy. But as for monastic asceticism – We did not enjoin it upon them: they invented it themselves out of a desire for Allāh’s goodly acceptance. But then, they did not [always] observe it as it ought to have been observed and so We granted their recompense unto such of them as had [truly] attained to faith, whereas many of them became iniquitous/transgressors – (Sūrah Al-Hadeed[Ch.57] :27)
Strongest among men in enmity to the believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, “We are Christians”: because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant. (Sūrah Al-Mā’idah [Ch.5] :82)
The pre-Earth precedent is thus that, while being single and becoming engaged in a measure of seclusion can be beneficial to learning, neither state should be seen as what was divinely prescribed and intended. We know this to be true because, evidently, Ḥawwā’ was created as wife and helpmate for Ādam within a short period following the cessation of his educational training and immediately prior to him being commissioned to function as Allāh’s (swt) Khalēefa (see post). Thus, Ādam being representative of the human race, was not allowed to continue being single, nor to remain permanently detached from having a relationship with another human being, and by extension society and the natural world, so that he could be tested and provoked with their constant effort in wanting their vain desires to be met, and their harrowing and disturbing actions.
It is also noteworthy that, even after that lengthy educational process, and with having Allāh (swt) as his only Rabb and Mawlānā (Sūrah Al-Baqarah [Ch.2]:286; Sūrah Al-Tawbah [Ch.9]:51; and Sūrah Al-Ḥajj [Ch.22]:78), Ādam failed to use and apply his acquired knowledge in a useful and beneficial manner. The lesson here for human beings, both ancient and modern, is pretty basic. What they are divinely taught in that pre-Earth Ādamic experience is that, even after many years being educated (as an infant, going to the madrassas (schools), and from thence to colleges and the secular and Islāmic universities) and coming away with secular and Islāmic knowledge, whatever the acquired knowledge, it does not necessarily become our consciousness, character and conduct.
The practical and critical point here in the foregoing admonition is that, since human beings are gifted with the power of speech, the capacity to do so clearly and to reason, many students will leave their learning establishment fully able to articulate the knowledge they remember and, with regards to the Holy Arabic Qur’ān, ḥadith and the unauthenticated life experiences (Sira, meaning, “way of acting”, or “biography”) of Prophet Muhammad [pbuh], which they have spent many years studying, recite with exactitude and eloquently orate, with their mouths, that which they do not do:
And the Hypocrites also. These were told: “Come, fight in the way of Allāh, or (at least) drive (The foe from your city).” they said: “Had we known how to fight, we should certainly have followed you.” they were that day nearer to Unbelief than to Faith, saying with their lips what was not in their hearts but Allāh hath full knowledge of all they conceal. (Sūrah Al-‘Imrān [Ch.3] :167)
From the perspective of human spiritual development, and in relation to their redemption, this principle cannot be stressed enough; invariably, the natural abilities to recall and vocalise knowledge, does not necessarily reflect and, in most instances, has nothing to do with the real crystalized personality that the human actions will manifest. And it is precisely this propensity that justifies the human trials:
DO MEN THINK that on their [mere] saying, “We have trust and confidence (faith in Allāh)”, they will be left to themselves, and will not be put to a test? (Sūrah Al-‘Ankabūt [Ch.29] :2)
Guided by the pre-Earth Al-Akhira Ādamic experience it is plain that imparting knowledge by itself is never going to be enough to resolve the ever-evolving problem of failing marriages, which has become a plague to the world communities. That being said, the narrative, that one cannot give what they do not have, is also profound as a educational guide. Accordingly, if one does not have the knowledge of something, there is no possibility of being able to attain any understanding of it, grasp its wisdom and, with trust and confidence, apply and manifest the knowledge in a sincere and just manner.
The question then is, what knowledge and examples are there that Allāh (swt) has provided, the exposition of which will bring about a positive change. What is there from He (swt), the Creator of the Islāmic Institution of Marriage, that will spur the human race back to the correct form of marriage, inspire spouses to mutually cultivating the proper attributes, and generate the type of actions that will achieve the end goal of harmony, stability and happiness.
Among the ‘ayāt (lesson, teachings, sign, miracle, evidence, and directive) in the Majestic Arabic Qur’ān is the following direct and literal ḤADITH (Divine SAYING):
By (the passage of Trial) Time (through the ages), Verily Man (the race that is inclined to forget will find itself) is in loss, EXCEPT those who have achieved Faith (knowledge and understanding of “trust” and so as to be confident in demonstrating trustworthiness), and (the sincerity and integrity to) do righteous deeds, and enjoin (upon one another) in the mutual teaching and practice of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy in adversity. (Sūrah Al-‘Asr [Ch.103]:1-3)
It is thus, a contention in this work that marriages have, are and will continue to fail because of the passage of “Trial Time” in Ad-Dunyaa. The understanding derived from the above divine guidance is that, “Trial Time” in Ad-Dunyaa, by which Allāh (swt) Himself has sworn, is a vital and important factor in the collapse and loss, currently being experienced, in the harmony, stability and happiness in marriages. It will therefore be necessary to briefly consider “Trial Time” in Ad-Dunyaa later. It suffices to say that, it is as a result of Trial Time” that the profound knowledge and understanding of the wisdom of the context, origin, purpose, salient features, and structure of the Islāmic marriage have gradually became corrupted and lost. Accordingly, and based upon what has been stated about the essentials for giving anything, before there can be any chance of restoring the Islāmic marriage to its divinely decreed and rightful position as part of the human way of life within societies, all those ancient wisdoms must first be restored, brought together and be expounded to facilitate clarity, a deep sense of appreciation and overflowing gratitude; And that is certainly part of the core purpose of this book.
But to then enable transformation of all that positive attitude, and firm grasp in the understanding of the Islāmic marriage, into real, meaningful action and lasting success, it has been identified that something more is required. That more must also be based upon the example set by Allāh (swt) in educating man, having regards to his nature. The human race is appropriately described by Allāh (swt) as nāas, meaning, the race that is inclined to forget, and the positive and negative consequences of that quality are made to become decidedly visible and manifested only with the passage of “Trial Time” in Ad-Dunyaa. Because of that quality, and the fact that humans learns, and will have a more lasting recollection, from experiencing the evil consequences of his actions as well as being shown practically the benefits that flow from right-doing conduct, the narratives in this effort will attempt to graphically depict two things. First, the prevailing divine template of what it is that Allāh (swt) has established, and left as a clear, permanent, incorruptible and practical example of a successful Islāmic marriage, and second, the personal and collective sadness, pain, and the horrors that flow from the wickedness, perpetrated by men and women alike, in corrupting the pure concept of the Islāmic marriage.
By expounding and illuminating the lessons in the extremities those two templates, and by identifying the subtle part “Trial Time” in Ad-Dunyaa, will play in either negatively or positively impacting upon them, it is hoped that this effort will ignite, inspire and activate, the making a sound judgement in choice of the template to follow.
After having pointed out, in a plain and comprehensible way, the benefits in that divine blue print of a successful Islāmic marriage, what remains after that is the positive exercise of the internal power of discernment. Humans are free to will and action their desire to apply Allāh’s (swt) template of success to their matrimonial relationships. Further, their marriages will not end up in divorce, but will endure because of their acceptance, vigilance and steadfastness in using “Trial Time” to continually demonstrate, in every moment, obedience to Allāh’s (swt) design, structure and purpose in establishing the Islāmic marriage.