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The Proper Conduct of Marriage in Islam (English Translation of "Adab an-Nikah") (Imam Abu Hamid al-Tusi al-Ghazali)

The Proper Conduct of Marriage in Islam (English Translation of "Adab an-Nikah") (Imam Abu Hamid al-Tusi al-Ghazali)

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ISBN: 1882216148
Author: Imam Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali; Muhtar Holland (translator)
Publisher: Al-Baz Publishing (1998)
Pages: 99 Binding: Paperback

Description from the publisher:

This is Book XII of Imam Ghazali's 'Ihya Ulum al-Din (Revival of the Religious Sciences), translated by the eloquent Muhtar Holland. Topics of the section on marriage in the 'Ihya include: benefits of marriage, challenges of marriage, selecting a spouse, rules of married life, relations between husband and wife, having children, preferred actions at childbirth, obligations of spouses to each other, and avoiding divorce.

Imam Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali (450/1058-505/1111) is justly describedas a "towering figure" in the history of Islam. He was born in the Iranian town ofTus, studied Islamic law and theology at the Seljuq college in Nishapur, andbecame a distinguished professor at the famous Nizamiyya University inBaghdad.

Despite his glittering success, he was inwardly dissatisfied, so he abandoned hiscareer for the life of hardship, abstinence and devotion to worship. During tenyears of wandering, he experienced a spiritual transformation, in which the Truthcame to him at last, as something received rather than acquired.

Blessed with an inner certainty, he then applied his outstanding faculties and vastlearning to the task of revitalizing the whole Islamic tradition. Through his directpersonal contacts, and through his many writings, he showed how every elementin that tradition could and should be turned to its true purpose.

Imam Ghazali's magnum opus is aptly entitled "The Revival of the ReligiousSciences [Ihya' 'Ulum ad-Din]." In its four volumes, the author deals with everyaspect of the outer and inner life of the Muslim. The subject of Marriage,discussed in the section covered by this translation, is surely of particular interestand importance to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Table of Contents

Author's Introduction.

Chapter One

On the merits and disadvantages of marriage.

1. The favorable view of marriage, supported by:

a) Qur'anic Verses [ayat] : b) Prophetic Traditions [akhbar] : c) Later Traditions[athar] :

2. Traditions unfavorable to marriage.

3. The benefits of marriage:

a) The begetting of children. b) Immunity from Satan; relief from craving;protection against the perils of lust. c) Relaxation and recreation for the soul. d)Freedom from concern with running the household. e) Self-discipline and trainingthrough custodianship and guardianship.

4. The disadvantages of marriage.

a) The difficulty of obtaining a lawful income. b) The difficulty of treating a wifeproperly. c) Worldly distractions.

5. Conclusions.

Chapter Two

1. Concerning the marriage contract.

Basic elements and conditions:

a) Concerning the consent of the marriage guardian [wali]. b) Concerning theagreement of the woman. c) Concerning the presence of witnesses. d) Concerningthe offer and immediate acceptance [ijab wa-qabul].

Customary practices:

a) The proposal of marriage [khitba]. b) The religious address [khutba] before themarriage. c) The bride should hear all about the bridegroom. It is likewiserecommended that the groom should get to see the bride before the wedding. d) Itis good to invite other virtuous people, as well as the witnesses. e) Thebridegroom should marry with the intention of upholding the Prophetic example, ofpreserving modesty, of seeking offspring, and of obtaining the other benefitsmentioned above. f) It is recommended that the marriage be contracted in themosque and in the month of Shawwal.

2. Concerning the qualifications of the bride.

Legal impediments to marriage:

a) She is already married to another. b) She is in the period of withdrawal ['idda]following widowhood, repudiation, or intercourse of uncertain legality. c) She hasbecome an apostate ['murtadda] from Islam. d) She is a Magian [Zoroastrian]. e)She is an idolatress or atheist [zindiqa], owing allegiance to no Prophet orScripture. f) She is a woman of scriptural religion, but embraced that religion afterit had been falsified, or subsequent to the mission of Allah's Messenger (Allahbless him and give him peace). g) She is a slave, while the prospective husband isa free man, either capable of supporting a free woman, or impoverished butimmune to moral danger if he remains unmarried. h) She is wholly or partiallyowned as a slave by the prospective husband. i) She is closely related to theprospective husband, being an ascendant or descendant of his, a descendant of hisascendants in the first degree, or a descendant in the first degree of a moreremote ascendant. j) She is forbidden through the relationship of suckling, whichcreates the same impediments as blood kinship with ascendants and descendants.k) She is related to him through marriage. l) She would be a fifth wife. m) Hersister or her aunt (paternal or maternal) is already married to the prospectivehusband. n) If the prospective husband has thrice repudiated her, she is unlawfulto him as long as she has not consummated a valid marriage with a differenthusband. o) When the man has pronounced the oath of anathema [li'an] againsthis wife, she is thereby forever unlawful to him. p) Either party is in a state ofconsecration [ihram] for the Pilgrimage or Visitation [to Mecca]; the marriagecannot be contracted till deconsecration has been completed. q) She is anon-virgin minor; marriage with her is not valid until after she has attainedpuberty. r) She is an orphan; marriage with her is not valid until after she hasattained puberty. s) She was one of the wives of Allah's Messenger (Allah blesshim and give him peace), and was left a widow by him, or he has cohabited withher; such women are 'Mothers of the Believers.'

Qualities in the woman that are conducive to a happy married life:

a) Religious devotion. b) Goodness of character. c) Beauty. d) Moderate dower.e) Fertility. f) Virginity. g) Good lineage. h) Absence of close kinship.

3. Qualities desirable in the husband.

Points to be considered by the marriage guardian [wali].

Chapter Three

Conjugal Life.

1. Duties of the husband.

The husband must observe fair treatment and good conduct in twelve matters:

a) the wedding feast; b) companionship; c) dalliance; d) the exercise of authority;e) jealousy; f) maintenance; g) education; h) distribution of time; i) chastisementfor disobedience; j) sexual intercourse; k) producing children; l) separationthrough repudiation.

Concerning birth control ['azl].

Proprieties connected with the birth of children:

a) A man should not be too overjoyed at getting a boy, nor unduly sad at getting agirl. b) Giving the Call to Prayer in the baby's ear. c) A fine name should be given,as something to which the child has a right. d) The 'aqiqa [customary sacrifice ofsheep]. e) Rubbing the child's palate.

In divorcing a wife, the husband must observe the following four points:

a) He should divorce her during a period of inter-menstrual purity, in which he hasnot copulated with her. b) He should confine himself to a single repudiationpronouncement, and not use a three-in-one formula. c) He should be gentle ingiving his reasons for repudiating her. d) He should not reveal secrets about hiswife, no more after a repudiation than during the marriage itself.

2. Rights of the husband.

The wife owes her husband absolute obedience in whatever he may demand ofher, where she herself is concerned, as long as no sin is involved. We find manytraditions emphasizing the husband's right over his wife.

Brief summary of the proprieties to be observed by a wife.


Cover artby Rohana Filippi

"Wa ma ana mina'l-mushrikin."

"Guard yourselvesand your families"Quran (66:6)


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