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The process of finding a spouse?

Question: I frankly say that we, the young men of nowadays, see, hear, and understand the sexual matters that our fathers might have understood when they became thirty years old, and simply somehow. In this age, everything excites. The means of practicing sex, in most countries, are available even to children. What is the view of Islam concerning satisfying this pressing lust that our fathers do not understand?
The answer by Abdul Azeem al-Muhtadi al-Bahrani: We understand this feeling with all its details, and there is no shyness in religion. Thank you for your daring question and your search for the view of Islam about this important subject.
The natural inclination between man and woman has deep roots and is connected with the creation of man and woman, because Allah has made it as a bridge for the life of humankind to continue by reproduction on the earth. On the other hand, if this inclination is not satisfied, excited nerves become tired, and this is a continuous torture for both man and woman.
Looking, laughing, flirting, gestures, and soft tones excite and move the fiery sexual lust and cause torture for both the excited and the exciter. Every one understands this fact.
Such excitements make some husbands unsatisfied with their wives, and this leads to divorce and the destruction of families. The same is said about some wives who look at men, who are more handsome than their husbands, for the sake of pleasure and lust.
This is in our societies that are aloof from their Islam, but as for the western societies and their cultures of libertinism, sexual inclination has had an ardent color for the past century and then has developed into a scientific method through profound researches and studies in the fields of education and psychological medicine.
There is no doubt that politicians and businessmen, who have great capitals in the world, have played their malicious roles in exploiting the sexual lusts to bind peoples and societies and draw them towards their financial benefits.
Islam has its own view towards this natural instinct and its unique method in responding to it. Islam has established teachings and principles to achieve a balanced conduct in satisfying the sexual instinct and to arrive at the best method, which protects man from deviation and problems that can destroy families and their happiness.
Islam does not suppress the sexual lust, but it rectifies it and offers it to be satisfied with the best educational manners to save the entity of family from dissolution and destruction. A good family that follows Islam produces good children, who stand against the corruptions surrounding them in society.
Islam does not neglect the requirements of the sexual instinct, but instead Islam makes it submissive to man instead of subjecting man to the Satan and degrading his dignity and honor to make him as a worthless beast.
O young men, whoever submits to his lusts without limits is not free but is in fact a slave to his lusts. Free people are those who control their lusts that they could satisfy in any way but they do not do so.
Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Whoever leaves lusts is free.’
He also said, ‘The worst enemies of man are his anger and lust. Whoever controls them is exalted and he reaches his aims.’
Since woman, as a whole, is beauty and excitement in her voice and doings, Islam has ordered her not to show her beauty, not to soften her voice, and not to do exciting gestures except for her husband.
We read in the Qur'an that Allah the Almighty has forbidden the Prophet’s wives from talking to foreigners with exciting tones that might move their lusts and then those with diseased hearts might covet them.
(O wives of the Prophet! you are not like any other of the women; If you will be on your guard, then be not soft in (your) speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease yearn; but speak a good word)[38].
Softening in speech, exciting gestures, joking, and jesting or any thing that is lawful only between a wife and her husband or a woman and her mahram, are not lawful to take place between a woman and a foreign man [39] in order to not be as the beginning towards something else.
The Holy Qur'an also teaches us the manners of family and social relations between men and women in this way, (And when you ask of them (the wives of the Prophet) anything, ask it of them from behind a curtain. That is purer for your hearts and for their hearts)[40].
These are the Islamic facts that the Muslims must pay attention to, but the reality that the society lives in is something else; and the question of the youth shows they are looking for an Islamic resolution according to the actual reality of the society.
Here, we advise of the following:
1. Early marriage; and if it is not possible due to a reasonable excuse, a young man should be patient and should fast, but if the lust overcomes him and he fears committing sin, he should practice temporary marriage until Allah makes him able to marry in eternal marriage.
2. Fathers and mothers have to understand these facts and comprehend the sexual needs of the youth in the lawful way; otherwise, parents unknowingly throw their children into corruption, and hence they will be punished on the Day of Resurrection with two punishments; one for prohibiting a lawful thing and the other for causing the youth to become involved in sin.
[38] Holy Qur’an, 33:32.
[39] Foreign man here means man that is not (mahram) to a woman; and the mahram person is he with whom it is unlawful to get married.
[40]Holy Qur’an, 33:53.
What is your advice about a young man who seduces women and deceives them then abandons them after getting what he wants?
Question: I have a handsome friend who is twenty-two years old. He has had love relations with more than thirty girls since he became an adult, as he claims. Of course, they do not know that. He exchanges love affairs with each of them and promises to marry them in the future. He might even practice something unlawful with them; I am not sure, but I would not put that past him. He tells me that he, via the telephone, makes friends with them, deceives them, and then laughs at their naiveties. When he satisfies his desires, he fabricates an excuse to move on to his new quarry! He describes girls as an amusement and they are like toys in his hand.
I have advised him to give up these prohibited acts, but he often invites me to join his deceitful table saying: we have to enjoy our lives!!
Sometimes, he lifts the telephone and lets me hear the voice of a girl who has been deceived by his words of love. When I see this, I become so angry at the naivety of our girls. I myself know some of them who are from noble and honorable families, but I fear that troubles may happen if I tell their families about this.
O Sheikh, please tell me how to deal with this friend so that Allah may be pleased with me and that my conscience may be at ease, and also tell how to protect the honor of our girls from such beastly human beings!
The answer by Abdul Azeem al-Muhtadi al-Bahrani: Dear faithful brother, may Allah bless your protectiveness! As for your friend, though he really is not a friend, you should ask him: how would you like to see a young man do with your sisters or nieces the same thing that you do with the daughters of other people? In the future, when you get married and have daughters, and when your daughters grow up and become teenagers, how would you feel if you saw a young man doing with your daughters as you do with the girls of your society today?
Continue guiding him with the aid of clergymen and religious people, and do not let him play with the honors of people and Muslim girls! Be certain that the girls will thank you, even later on, and thank whoever tries to protect their reputations.
As for those girls whom you know, send them unsigned letters in which you advise them due to religion and protectiveness. Tell them that they are being deceived by one who deceives other girls at the same time.
I have a word to say to the oblivious fathers and mothers of these girls: awake from torpor and loss! Where are your conscience and jealousy? Where are your honor and magnanimity? Where are your dignity and morality? Why have you sunk into the pleasures of this world to the degree of vice and scandal? Do you not see death, the grave, and torment? Are there no graveyards in your town to visit and from which to take lessons from the people in the graves and ponder on their states under the ground?
Alas for the loss of good morals!
O our Lord, we seek Your protection from misleading fancies and from following the mirage of the Satan. O Allah, awake us from the torpor of ignorance and take us peacefully to the eternal abode near You!
I want to get married, but I want you to advise me. How should I move to a life that I have not known before?
Question: I want to get married, but I want you to advise me. How should I move to a life that I have not known before?
The answer by Abdul Azeem al-Muhtadi al-Bahrani: Dear young man, marriage is a great and important decision in one’s life. When a reasonable man decides to take such an important decision, he has to think deeply and wisely.
Dear brother, first, you have to prepare for all the requirements of marriage, and then do not act, when choosing the partner of your life, as if you are buying something from a store. This is also said to a young woman when choosing the partner of her life. You have to be very precise in choosing the qualities of your future wife in order to be happy and successful and to win the good end.
It is mentioned that one day a young man, whose name was Ibrahim al-Karkhi, asked Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) a question like yours. Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) said to him, ‘See where you will put yourself, who you will make a partner in your wealth, and to whom you will reveal your religion and secrets…[54]’
In another tradition, Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) has said, ‘Woman is like a necklace. See what necklace you put on!’[55]
Then, advance to take the other steps and beware of aiming at just beauty or wealth, because these two things may disappear by accidents, which will not tell you before they take place. If you do not concentrate your choice on faith and morals, you will face a dark fate.
Do not misunderstand me and think that Islam does not pay attention to beauty and wealth, but Islam warns of making them the priority when choosing one’s wife (or husband). The Prophet (S) has said, ‘From the happiness of a Muslim man is…a beautiful woman who is religious.[56]’ He has also said, ‘A Muslim man does not profit from anything, after Islam, better than a Muslim woman, who pleases him when he looks at her, obeys him when he orders her, and is devoted to him in keeping her honor and his wealth when he is absent.[57]’
Outward beauty may give pleasure, but religious and moral beauty gives more pleasure. Therefore, it is mentioned that one day a man asked Imam Hasan (a.s.), ‘To whom should I marry my daughter?’ Imam Hasan (a.s.) said to him, ‘Marry her to a pious man, because if he loves her, he will honor her, and if he hates her, he will not do wrong towards her.[58]’
The beauty of morals and piety defeats the crises that throw marital life into melancholy. O dear young man who are about to get married, you have to read about these principles and values and then rely on Allah. We would like to say to you and to your wife: congratulations on your marriage!
[54] Wassa’il ash-Shia, vol.14 p.14, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.103 p.232.
[55] Bihar al-Anwar, vol.103 p.232.
[56] Bihar al-Anwar, vol.103 p.217.
[57] Bihar al-Anwar, vol.103 p.235.
[58] Makarim al-Akhlaq, p.204.
Is it lawful for a young unmarried couple thinking of marriage to exchange feelings by phone and letters and to spend time together in public places like parks if no touching is involved?
Question: What is the viewpoint of Islam about the love between a young man and a young woman before the legal agreement of marriage, where they exchange their feelings via the telephone and letters or by going together to the park for example – of course without any touching with the hand or body? Some (religious) people say that this is lawful as long as it is as the initial step towards marriage. What do you think about the matter?
The answer by Abdul Azeem al-Muhtadi al-Bahrani: In the steps that precede marriage, it is sufficient to obtain information from relatives first, and then, as a second step, have a public meeting with family and without gestures or words that may excite lust. There is no objection if a young man looks at a young woman without her veil when there is a serious intention of marriage. But, if a young man intends to be deceitful just to get pleasure, the company and the meeting will be unlawful. It has been noticed in the cases of love between the youth in our present age that they are of the second kind, in which love relation continues until it reaches touching of the hands and body, because after the premises mentioned in the questions, lust overcomes both the young man and the young woman until they sleep together to satisfy their furious lust. Then, the young man goes to look for another victim and so on. As experience has proven, girls who are deceived by the words of love become the losers at the end.
The Islamic Sharia has prohibited these premises because it knows the consequences, which we witness in real life. Also Islam prohibits these things in order to protect the dignity of young women and to close the door before the youth who try to take advantage of the honor of young women and then leave them to look for a second victim to deceive and then a third, and so on…!
I do not think that Islam agrees with the present day love relations at all. Religious men and women have to be absolutely careful, for a reasonable person is one who takes lessons from the experiences of others.
I want to know what I should do to begin the process for marriage properly and avoid lustful sin while yet at a young age.
Question: I am a young man at the beginning of adulthood. I suffer from a fierce pressure of lust. As you know, Islam encourages early marriage lest the youth commit sins and disobediences in this critical age, but I do not know how I should venture into my future and from what point I should begin. Please, explain to me what I should understand in this age, and I have determined to get married Inshallah.
The answer by Abdul Azeem al-Muhtadi al-Bahrani: Dear brother, there are some things I would like to advise you of:
1. You should know that you are about to establish a joint life that has new concepts and manners. It is mixed with sweetness and bitterness, but its sweetness prevails if you choose the partner of your life according to reasonable steps, and its bitterness prevails if you choose due to the passion of lust and sentimental motives. Therefore, Islam teaches us, ‘If you want to get married, ask Allah for proper guidance and determination, and then offer two-rak’as prayer, and raise your hands and say, "O Allah, I want to get married. Prepare for me from the women the best of them in shape and morals, the most chaste, the best in keeping my honor and wealth, the most beautiful, and the most productive.[44]"
Thus, you encompass your desires and your religious values and spiritual honesty.
2. Know well that a new life, which is connected with your fate, is worth reading about before falling into its problems.
It is necessary for those who want to get married to read one book, at least, about the matters they will face at the time of marriage because after marriage, time is spent on sentimental relations, and then the joint life would be based on ignorance of the basis of happiness; therefore problems after problems will take place that may destroy the real pleasure of marriage which is happiness, calmness, love, and joy.
3. Try not to be rash in getting married! Make all preparations and secure your material ability as much as possible for the traditional requirements, but within the limits of reason! Beware of wasting or thinking of play and amusement in the wedding, because a marriage that begins with unlawful things will not have a good end because Allah will not bless it, and the Satan does not have any blessings to give!
[44] Said by Imam ar-Ridha (s), as in Wassa’il ash-Shia, vol.14 p.79

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