Self -Sacrificial Marriage
By: Ali Akbar Mazaheri
Definition of This Form of Marriages
Self-sacrificial marriage means a marriage conducted for a lofty aim (having the most sublime aim which attracts Allah's pleasure) and for the sake of kindness, sympathy an any worthy objective or cause with a person who has a defect or deformity, and to endure the shortage for the sake of that lofty aim, For example, a person who marries someone with a physical deformity and bears and endures that shortage for worthy aim. Similarly, all other deficiencies, defects, shortages and differences etc.
This form of marriage is out of the range of the necessity of equity and matching of spouses described in chapter 5 because in that chapter it was said that there should not be any eye-catching differences between the spouses in any point.
The Worth And Excellence Of This Kind Of Marriage
There is no doubt that basically these marriages are highly worthy and excellent from a divine and human values point of view and the one practicing them would be highly rewarded.
Islam has given importance and worth to such marriages and encouraged them and has practically materialised them such as the marriage of the Prophet (S) with Khadija (a.s) and the marriage of Zalfa with Juwaiber, which took place on the command of the Prophet (S).
Islam has condemned imaginary class differences. In our society too we have witnessed the grand marriages of self-sacrificing orthodox girls with the dear soldiers and crippled and incapacitated youth of the Islamic revolution.
The number of girls who excelled Zalfa is not small n our society and Islam and the revolution takes pride in them. And so it does in the self-sacrificing boys who, for the sake of Allah's pleasure marry girls apparently possessing a lower status of distinction than them and who also have prosperous lives. Thus, there is no controversy in the excellence and worth of such marriages, but they have to be with their own conditions.
Self-Sacrificial Marriage Is Not A General Prescription
Every body does not have the power and capacity for such a marriages and cannot endure and bear it. Such marriages need a vast capacity of mind and conscience and energy and strong endurance and lofty aim as a stimulant.
For those who lack such asserts, it is not in anyway advisable for them to take steps on account of sympathy and swiftly-fading sentiments. The one who intends to marry such persons should take his interior energies in view and see whether he or she can endure this shortage and defect to the end of life and not complain or grumble about it.
Does he or she possess all that energy and magnanimity not to boast of a favour to his or her spouse and not to humiliate and belittle him or her for that physical deformity, defect belittle him or her for that physical deformity, defect or handicap?
If someone marries such a person and thereafter boasts of a favour to his or her spouse and annoys and displeased him or her, it will not only have no reward, rather, he/she will have committed a sin as well. If someone favours a person and later on boasts of that favour, annoying and hurting him or her, the reward of the favour will be finished and totally lost and there will also be a sin committed by him.
The Qur’an and Islamic traditions indicated many points in this respect. Let us concentrate upon the following verse of Qur’an:
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“O you who believe! do not make your charity worthless by reproach and injury.”(2:264)
We were talking to one of the officers of the Foundation of disabled Soldiers, who was himself a disabled soldier, about a girl who was the candidate to marry a disabled man. He said to me, “Tell that lady she must think very carefully and not take that decision due to the turmoil of youthful sentiments. If you marry a disabled soldier who might have only lost his fingers (and nothing else), one thing you must do for him is to button up his clothes for the whole of your life, apart from hundreds of other things that need to be done.
If you possess such a strength, patience, and sacrificial power to serve him all your life, not to be rough and rude to him or boast of your favour, then come along, do it in the name of Allah, the Merciful and Beneficent.”
Such marriages are very sacred and have a high reward and value to Allah, and heaven can be achieved through them. There are many people who discharge its responsibilities well, but not everybody can. One should not venture into this work simply on the basis of sympathy and feelings, Instead, one must take one's energies onto view, and consult those individuals who are aware about the matter, before taking a decision.
“Wise is the one who meditates about the end.”“Wise is the one who meditates about the end.”
Remorse before Marriage
One of the problems which may arise is that the boy or the girl or both of them, after passing through some of the preliminary phases of marriage, such as negotiations, visits proposal, approval and sometimes even after the marriage contract and attaining more acquaintance with respect to the morality, conduct, peculiarities, face and figure, family and other associated, may become remorseful and penitent. They might start thinking that he/she was not the life partner they desired and imagined, or the person turned out contrary to their desire after they probed.
They may also sometimes discover that they do not have any inclination toward that person or, let us say, they dislike or even hate him/her and cannot get along together nicely in their coming life. Whatever may be the logic and reason (sometimes there is no reason) they just do not like the person as a spouse.
Now when they want to give up the idea and dispense with the matter, (alas! Woe to these 'buts') certain factors put a constraint on them and stop them from turning back. For instance, they imagine: “Now it is bad to desist. Our news has been circulated between the two families. What must we reply to the people? What would they say if they understand the situation? Perhaps they think there was a special reason behind it.
Now it is not fair to break the heart of the individual concerned and damage the reputation of the family in question. If we do it, they would be annoyed and an enmity would appear. Now everything is over and we must endure and bear it, etc.”
Others speak to their parents, close relatives and intimate friends, but they frighten them saying the things described above. They try to justify their critical questions and even promise them thins like “Love would develop afterwards and things would gradually move on the right track.”
These factors completely crush their courage, fortitude and intent to change their mind and explain the facts. Consequently, they keep their remorse and disinclination in their hearts and apparently manifest their agreement and tendency and finally submit to an undesired marriage.
Following the marriage, they exert pressure upon themselves to show their agreeability and love for their new life and spend their time with an artificial love, whilst there is a turmoil and revolt in their interior. Gradually, the energy to show artificial love and agreement subsides, since it is impossible and absurd that ne can keep living together with someone whom she or he detests or at least does not have any inclination and attraction to, and whose interior feelings will not become obvious to the other side.
Then the differences and disputes, excuse findings, impatience, and ill-naturedness will start taking shape (God forbid).
The Cause of This Remorse
The cause of this remorse is that the standards of spouse selection described in chapter 5, and the ways of its selection and the 'guide map' of chapter 6, particularly the recommendations and advice of that chapter i.e. crossing the way with caution and carefully, step by step, patience and slow movement, were not observed.
If those criteria and programmes are taken into view and the course of the 'guide map' is traversed as described, it will not result in remorse, or the chances of it would diminish to the smallest possibility. This is because by following and implementing that schedule, if any remorse develops, it is before the proposal and marriage, not afterwards.
I emphatically and confidently say that if the standards of spouse selection (chapter 5) and spouse choosing (chapter 6) are observed as explained, in the same style, step by step, with perfect care and caution while crossing its slippery course, then the probability of repentance and remorse after proposal and marriage would be reduced to less than 10%. But if not observed, there would be a huge number of chances for such remorse and penitence.
What Must Be Done In Such Case?
If the youth (the boy or the girl) have come to confront the remorse and stumbled into this marsh, what must they do? Should they stay there and submit to this undesired situation or can they rescue themselves?
Breaking a proposition and engagement, particularly when the marriage contract has taken shape, is not a good think to do and one should be cautious not to allow things to reach such a stage. Having said that, it is even worse for a person to lead his life in repentance, shame, disinclination and agony.
If the boy and the girl or one of them has developed a sense of remorse about the relation, then the best way out is to separate before marriage and discontinue the movement. Although it is displeasing, marrying and leading a life with repentance, remorse and uneasiness is harder and more displeasing.
The responsibility of parents and families in this respects is as follows:
Firstly: they should help and guide the boy and the girl in spouse selection, so that the matter does not reach the stage of remorse.
Secondly: if such a problem arises, then they should be guide, since it may be due to undue obsession, and undue expectations.
Thirdly: if repentance develops and they see that they are not willing to marry, then they must not in any case be reprimanded or rebuked and not be forced into an undesired marriage by frightening and threatening them of the consequences. Instead, they must agree to their separation and level the ground for the settlement of this problem, short of any annoyance, conflict, quarrel, menace and enmity. It is in the interest of the boy, the girl, and their families.
If this marriage takes shape unwanted with remorse and disinclination, then it would be followed by a lot of difficulties for the wife, the husband and their families. Although this separation is bitter and displeasing for the families, particularly the girl's family, marriage with displeasure and reluctance is more displeasing and bitter.
“Clever Is The One Who Takes The End Into View.”
Young sister and brother:
Firstly: Try not to face remorse by observing the factors described in chapter 5 and 6.
Secondly: If you happen to face it, be cautious that your remorse and repentance is not due to undue obsession and 'childlike excuses.' Know that a perfectly faultless, flawless, desired person is never found. Everyone and every family have faults just as you and your own family does. This is the nature of every fallible.
Thirdly: If you are not pleased with this marriage, do not conceal your displeasure, rather announce it openly and do not continue with it. Do not be afraid at all; be dauntless and brave. Although it is not a good thing and the matter should not have reached this point, when it is so, there is no alternative and remedy except to stop and turn back.
Clearly announce that you do not want to continue on this way. A joint life is not one day, one month or one year; it is endured and tolerated under pressure and undesirable circumstances. You want to spend the whole of a long life with your spouse, which is to a simple thing to do.
Do not allow the problem to get complicated. Do not let the marriage take shape, so that you must either separate through divorce, or tolerate and endure it all of your life. A life led with unwillingness swill not be a successful life and will not bear any good fruit.
Do not let the circumstances lead to a divorce after marriage. Do not let this innocent man and his family face misery and misfortune. Do not make the life a hell. Do not make the children motherless or fatherless. Take steps before it is too late and decide the matter. Do not let affairs reach dangerous points. Look into this lesson-giving example and think upon it and do not let yourself meet anguish and tragedy.
A Considerable And Lesson -Taking Specimen
Hameed was and orthodox and religious youth. He was good-natured, intelligent, educated and sensible. But he did not have the necessary knowledge and experience about spouse selection. He narrated the story of his spouse selection and the difficulty he met as follows: “One of my friends, who is the resident of another city, introduced a girl of his city to me for marriage. I went with my family to propose to the girl.
There was a long distance between our home and that of the girl, and this minimised the chances of completed mutual recognition. In addition, I was not very conversant with the essentiality of spouse recognition.
Briefly speaking, I was negligent, and without seeing whether I was inclined towards the girl or not, I entered into a marriage contract, following a brief acquaintance and the preliminary stages. After the marriage contract (Nikah)13 the visits became more frequent and I discovered that I did not have any liking for the girl and so I was unhappy about the marriage. I discussed the problem with my friend and my relatives and the girl's but they held the opinion that after the marriage took place, the liking would develop.
But I was not satisfied with these words and now, I am extremely remorseful regarding this relation, though the girl and her family do not have any shortcomings. I do not have any liking and inclination towards this girl or wish to marry her and am at a loss about what to do.”
I had many rounds of talks and conversations with Hameed and I suggested ways and means to remove his disinclination and created a liking. He practiced all the ways I had suggested, but regretfully, his repentance did not end and he developed no fondness for the girl.
Following the exercising of all remedies, I came to the conclusion that this marriage would not have a pleasant future and there was no alternative except separation.
I told Hameed my view openly, saying that although separation was bitter and unpleasant, it was the only possible solution and that this marriage was in the interest of no one. He said: “I wish it from the core of my heart, but I feel sorry for the girl and her family whose reputation and honour will be damaged.”
I told him: “It is better to separate right now than to divorce her after marriage, which will cause even more damage to their status and honour. Furthermore, it is better to be separated right away than to marry and lead a miserable life and make the girl and her family more miserable in that way.
Hameed said: “If I want to divorce her, I do not have the money to pay the dowry.”
I replied: “So far you have just made the marriage contract and marriage has not yet materialised; so you owe them 50% of the dowry sum. Moreover, the girl and her parents usually, in such cases when she is a virgin and marriage has not taken place, absolve and spare the half amount of the dowry sum. Only if marriage takes place, is the girl entitles to the entire amount and if divorce takes shape in that case, the total account should be paid.”
Hameed said: “I am afraid from a religious point of view. I have the fear that I may be the defaulter in Allah's view and be taken to account an punished on the resurrection day.”
I said: “Of course separation and divorce is undesirable and the cause of Allah's displeasure, but:
Firstly: Allah has formed this law Himself for the occasion when there is no alternative left except separation. And your case is such that there is no way out except separation.
Secondly: Divorce after the marriage is even more disliked by Allah than the one before marriage. If you marry and divorce, after her losing her virginity and sometimes bearing a child, it will cause more of the displeasure of Allah than the present divorce.
Thirdly: developing a hopeless, unwilling frigid life, which has lots of painful consequences and becomes the cause of excess over the spouse, negating their rights, weakening religion, ones nerves and spirit and producing unhappy, ailing and problematic children will be far worse than divorce and increase Allah's wrath and displeasure.”
Anyhow, I convinced Hameed to decide the matter and go ahead with a resolution, closing the affair. But (woe to these buts) his relatives and associated pressurised and frightened him about its results and consequences and he refrained from doing it. Once again, he came to me, saying: “I could not finish the matter. Now what must I do? I and still remorseful and perplexed.”
I said: “I am unable to help you any longer. Whatever I could do, I have already done.”
He said: “Do you know someone else who may solve my problem?”
I gave him the addresses of a number of clergymen who were conversant with the family problems. He went to see them.
After a period, he returned and said: “I visited them and explained my problem. They said: 'Go and get married and do not care about repentance and hopelessness. Love and liking develops later on'.”
I do no know how Hameed explained his problem and what were the policies they took into view before giving such a response to him.
I said to Hameed: “I do not know why those gentlemen expressed the view that you should marry. Perhaps there was not much time to explaining the problem to them and they were no in the current of his problem for months, like I was. Otherwise, they would not have suggested your marriage. Perhaps they took other policies into view. Anyway, their views are worthy of respect but I still hold the opinion which I previously held and am against this marriage.”
Hameed left and for a few months there came no news of him. At last I discovered that he had married and begun his joint life.
I prayed to Allah for their prosperous life, but I was anxious and worried about them.
After a few months Hameed's friends brought the news to me that their joint life had disintegrated and his wife had gone to her parents' house in her own city (alas) and Hameed felt too embarrassed and shy to visit me.
Hameed an his wife's matter reached the court, which could no do a thing for them; not because it could not reform their affair, rather, their life was no repairable. A life based upon unwillingness, hate and remorse is not repaired or endurable. A dead body cannot be made to move on a certain course.
I sent a message for Hameed, saying: “The logic was evident to you and you can not make any excuse and pretext. Now, when this thing has happened, treat your wife and her family respectfully and with love and pay the entire dowry amount. And if they mistreated you in the divorce and court affair, you must endure it and have decent conduct with them.”
Hameed did not have the economical capacity to pay his wife's dowry sum wholly, so the court was obliged to fix an amount of monthly installment for him to pay for a period of many years.
Now, one year after the divorce, I received a sorrowful letter from him about that affair. Please have a look at the various parts of it: 'When I sit down to think about the past, I see that I have crossed over and met a number of incidents and events in my life. As a matter of fact, I had plenty of difficulties to cross over. But even in the most critical moment and difficult problems I never felt myself so tired, fatigued and worn out.
I always held that man can surpass and cross over the difficult obstacles. But this difficulty (marriage and divorce) has a certain specification of its own, since it is not an obstacle in the way of the goal, like the rest of difficulties and results in the misery of a man, which is incomprehensible. Given this, I have lots of troubles and agonies with it, so much so that I have met a social set back. I have retarded from an educational point of view and am even damage spiritually. materially too I have faced loss.
But what is impossible to endure and bear, or at least is very difficulty to tolerate, is that I have made a person miserable and doomed, hindering her movement on the course of progress and completion. And I have put her to shame and adversity in a society where there is such a (negative) view about the divorced woman. However, I am positive that this was the worst , yet the only possible way; since the continuity of this life cannot have any result apart from deterioration and ruining of the mental and spiritual organs of both parties.
“Taking all the above factors in to consideration, I do not know how to content myself, especially when there are other difficulties as well, such as:
1- I feel that I have become abnormally cowardice so that I am even afraid of carrying out a normal journey. I do not have any stock of goodness and benevolence and think what would I do with these sins if I met an accident? Additionally, I have not paid off the dowry sum, which is her fundamental right.
2- Life has become meaningless to me to a great extent and I think the passing of days is nothing except the passing and evading of life. Although this is a fact, I think life is passing with a strange speed and swiftness. i feel a deep void exists in my life.”
What I wrote in response to his painful letter may Insha’Allah be left over to a future leisure and the future editions of the book.
Sometimes bitter problems take shape in this regard (separation before marriage), which are more bitter than the separation itself. That is to say, when a remorseful person (whether a boy or a girl) sees that he or she does not have the boldness and courage to describe his/her inner feelings clearly, honestly and truly and take responsibility on his/her shoulders due to the pressures exerted by the associates in order to rescue oneself from this entanglement and to have an excuse an logic for separation and withdrawal, one invents accusations, faults and unworthy things and attributes them to the person the or she was supposed to marry.
This practice is forbidden, very obnoxious and unclean, and causes the fury and wrath of Allah. It is a very grave sin and may be the cause of one's misery in this world and the Hereafter.
At such an occasion when a person wants to incur spiritual and social damage upon a person and his family by separation, dissolving and breaking one's word and arrangements of the engagement, he/she must console them and ask forgiveness and separate honourably. Not in addition to giving the first blow, also give them another spiritual and respect -damaging blow. This is against religion, conscience, manhood, nobility and freedom.
Imam Hussain (a.s) said:
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“If you have no religion and you are not afraid of the Resurrection Day, then at least be free in your world.” ( Maqtal (by Kharazi) and Lohuf, cited in “Philosophy of Ethics” (by Martyr Mutahhari, p 163).
At such junctures, even if some faults and demerits have been observed, they must be concealed and covered up, and not by inventing and engineering blame and accusations, and dishonouring each other.
At the end of this discussion, it is essential to remember that the topic 'excuses of the heart' in chapter seven (in the part concerning the calamities of the engagement period) suits this topic (repentance and remorse before marriage) very much and can be beneficial and a way-opener.
Likewise, it is suitable to refer to those two sorrowful letters, which are presented in the previous chapter (love the axis of life).
Similarly, the story of Ismail and Safoora, given in the fifth chapter, is also concordant with this discussion, because, became remorseful about getting married during the period of engagement.
I recollect the face of Ismail, on his wedding night which was severely sullen, sad and sorrowful.
I whispered to him
: “Is it your father's mourning ceremony tonight that you look so gloomy and withered?”
: “Why should I be happy? Nothing new and attractive has taken shape for me so that I should be pleased!”
And ultimately this undesired marriage had all the displeasure and regret you observed in chapter 5.
“O Allah! Be a helper and guide to the youth in this important problem.”
In some cases, family marriages such as marriage between cousins may bring about difficulties concerning the production of children; i.e. weak or deformed children. This has been proved and there is no chance of denying it.
We remember a few points in this regard:
1- This genetic law is not total and common and does not include all family marriages. Allah family marriages cannot therefore be discarded and considered prohibited.
2- People desiring such marriages must definitely scrutinize the medical aspect and let essential tests be carried out until they are satisfied that there are no difficulties. During this period, they must not marry.
3- Medical tests and whatever is necessary must be done before the marriage creates an attachment between the boy and the girl and they become hopeful about each other. They should also be done before the marriage proposal becomes open and revealed to people, so that a noise is not created.
If it is decide that the marriage must not take place, as under medical advice, then the matter should be closed as soon as possible. The more it is delayed, the more difficult would the separation be and the headache will only increase.
4- Those family marriage which took place among the Prophet's progeny (such as the marriage of Ali (a.s) and Fatima (s.a) and did not have any difficulty, was due to many reasons, one of which was that by virtue of the divine knowledge bestowed upon them by Allah, they knew that these marriages would not bring any difficulty for them. so referring to the practice of those magnanimous personalities, the established genetic and medical facts should not be overlooked.
In some families, a very bad habit and custom exists, which is that the boy and the girl are engaged during childhood, For example, they engage cousins and conventionally name them with each other, so hat when those nominated grow older, they may marry each other.
This practice is wrong from every aspect, and it can bring about lots of difficulties.
This problem needs a detailed discussion with descriptions of examples and specimens, which at present cannot be accommodated here.
For now, what is necessary to point out is as follows:
1- Families must not do such things, which are not in any way advisable.
2- It is also strongly recommended to girls and boys that they do not pay heed to such matters. If they are bent and inclined towards the person they have been engaged to during childhood, accept and marry them, otherwise do not.
3- The marriage of cousins has not at all been conducted in the heavens. This belief is nonsense.
The issue of spouse selection is higher and more important than such invalid customs, ceremonies and rituals.