What I do intend is to try and offer some thoughts and meditations on some hadiths exploring aspects of marriage and meaning, love and intimacy, as well as cultural change.
As a sanctified social and legal institution, marriage is regarded in Islam as the bedrock of social order and communal harmony; guiding and regulating moral, sexual and familial relationships. If the institution of marriage and family crumble, so too does society. Yet this is what has happened in Britain over the past four decades or so. ‘Broken Britain’ is not just a bold turn of phrase, it is a reality that now haunts us as a society.
Traditional notions of marriage continue to be progressively undermined in favour of unrestrained gratification of adult sexual desires. As a result, statistics and surveys tell us, we are a nation where nearly half of all babies are born out of wedlock; that has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Europe; whose family courts are awash with cases involving disturbed and damaged children; and where it is acknowledged that children comming from fractured homes do worse, in general, in almost all walks of life, than children nurtured in stable homes within a traditional family environment. Added to this is the gay rights lobby, resolved on deposing hetrosexuality as being the behavioral norm for society.
In an age where marriage or cohabbiting, being straight or gay, is now a ‘lifestyle choice’; where selfish individualism runs amok in society; and where the cult of instant gratification has rendered us all but blind to the work that this generation must dedicate to the well-being of the next, we need to collectively reexamine these social developments and proposed redefinitions of marriage to see if they strengthen or undermine genuine human flourishing.
The next few blogs will reflect and ruminate on some prophetic hadiths concerning family, marriage and marital intimacy, and are offered as part of exploring Islam’s broader outlook on the matter.