When Must We Marry?
When Must We Marry?
One of the important problems in connection with marriage and choosing a spouse, which must be taken into consideration, is the time and age of it.
Much has been written and said on this topic. And everybody has endeavoured to answer this question according to his own taste and perdisposition, understanding, knowledge, and mental ability. We must say that the answer to the question "when must we marry?" is hidden in the interior of man's nature and instinct and does not need and answer, logic of knowledge, or philosophy.
We should look inside ourselves and ask its answer from our nature, instincts and inclinations, which do reply in a truthful manner, without different hurdles, ceremonies, habits, customs and prejudices. It is much like hunger and thirst, which are not controlled or governed by any law, which tells when to eat and drink. Instead, a man knows by virtue of his nature when he is hungry or thirsty and when he is not and when is a suitable time to eat, and when is not.
yes! Laws can be formulated for the pertinent matters such as not eating rotten, prohibited and illegal food, and never drinking contaminated water. Instead, man should eat licit, lawful and healthy food and must not eat during fasting etc. But a law cannot be set for the actual and basic needs of hunger, thirst, eating and drinking.
The need for a spouse and raising a family is a natural and instinctive need, which Allah has, through His wisdom, placed in the human being. It is awakened at its particular time and season, and makes its demand. If it is answered on time and properly and its requirement is fulfilled, it traverses its natural course and reaches the summit of maturity and completion and makes man reach that point. If it is delayed or answered in an incorrect and unnatural mode, it deviates from its natural course, revolts and rebels, and not only becomes corrupt itself, but also corrupts the man; just as if the natural and instinctive needs of man such as hunger and thirst are not properly answered, they become deviated and drive man towards ailment, disease, the eating of stale and prohibited food, and occasionally, stealing and death.
So any law in this connection must pertain to the balancing of this urge and provisioning of aids and assistance with regard to this difficulty and the removal of hurdles on the way.
But when must this need be fulfilled and when must the man and woman marry? This cannot be regulated inside a particular law. It does not have any specific law and regulation; its law is genetic and the Creator has gifted it inside human nature. Therefore, 'shoulds' and 'should-nots' in this connection are not correct. But one can study and research to discover its approaching time so as to be informed in advance and provide a suitable ground for welcoming it.
THE PUBERTY AGE
After giving all sorts of explanations, young men still ask, "Nevertheless, when is the proper time and age of marry?" The answer is: The proper time and age of marrying is when the "sexual and mental maturity" has reached its desired completion in a person. (Reaching completion does not mean the climax and apex of the possible completion, because reaching that stage particularly in the case of mental puberty, is much distanced and difficult; but here it means reaching the ordinary and commonly known limit).
Some say Islam has fixed the marriage age for boys at 15 years and that of girls at the age of nine years. This is not correct. Islam has not given any such order. Islam is the religion of nature and gives an order against nature and human instinct. But Islam commands one to marry when one reaches puberty and maturity. According to the interpretation of the Prophet (peace be upon him) it is like a fruit whose ripening is its maturity and adult age.
Yes! Islam's divine legislation in this connection stressed the desirability of marriage (in the previous chapter we discussed some fact about the merits of marriage). But whenever this need and urge stirs itself and desires revolt and rebel and make man probe and practice prohibited acts, then it becomes obligatory, and postponing and delaying it becomes prohibited.