A distant relative found out about my offer and told me, “Man, you should take it! Any girl will accept you [for marriage] with that kind of cash… You can buy her the biggest rock and throw the nicest wedding party.” After thinking about it, I have the following reflections to share.
In Islam, we all know that the man should be financially capable of getting married and able to support a family. However, that does not translate into a dowry or lavish and extravagant wedding that becomes a burden for the couple getting married. There is a lot of pressure from our families and communities to “go all out” on a wedding, spending beyond our limits – an act that displeases Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He), especially when we attempt to please others so that they can praise us.
Alhamdulillah (praise be to God), many brothers I know can afford to get married and have a beautiful wedding celebration. They all have great incomes and are content. Brothers in my network always remind each other to make the Prophetic du`a (supplication): “O Allah, we ask you for beneficial knowledge, blessed wealth, and accepted actions.” They do not ask Allah (swt) for more wealth, but ask Him to bless what He gave them and to make them content. They refuse to submit themselves to the marriage industry – materialism and pressure for an overly expensive and complicated marriage process – when Islam has made marriage easy. A man (or couple if they decide) should put on a wedding they can afford, a wedding that will be beautiful and welcoming for their guests.
There is so much pressure and unbelievably unrealistic expectations from our communities and families to put on an extravagant wedding (or if already married, to live outside their means) to the point where some brothers may resort to making money that is haram (impermissible), or if not inherently haram, obtained in a haram way (i.e. lying, cheating, etc.). All this for what? This extracts blessings from a marriage or relationship since there are no blessings in the wealth of the family. In fact, a haram income or the mismanagement of money can cause a family to deteriorate because the center of such a relationship is money and pleasing people, rather than pleasing Allah (swt), and Him alone. Living a financially balanced life within our means is one of the characteristics of `ibaad ar-Rahman – those who worship The Merciful (Qur’an 25:67). Do you not want you and your spouse to have this honor?
Many brothers are more concerned with taking care of their future wife and the family they will raise than with putting on an unaffordable lavish wedding, or living an unsatisfying materialistic lifestyle. Many brothers want to have a nice wedding, but at the same time focus on the marriage. There is a difference.
To my dear sisters – do you want to know a secret that is exceptionally attractive to a man? A content woman, wholeheartedly satisfied with what Allah (swt) provides and with what her husband is working hard to earn, sincerely appreciative of his hard work to take care of her. A real man, attracted to this, will spend even more and happily on her and the family, rather than resentfully, regretfully or hesitantly if the wife is insatiable. This is only natural, because Allah (swt) promises more to those that are sincerely grateful in their hearts.
“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.'” (Qur’an 14:7)
We often forget what the definition of a man is. The Arabic word for a man is “rajul” and is derived from “rijil”, or leg. By a basic linguistic definition, a man is defined as one who is able to stand up on his own two feet – to be responsible, independent and to support others.
If a couple is starting out their lives together, they should build it together. That relationship is built starting on day one, even before the wedding. As for parental financial support, this is obviously permissible, but I personally believe that the parents’ financial support should be minimal. The man, as long as he is financially stable, will gift a woman with a dowry he can afford and put on a wedding that he can afford, without any help except the help of Allah (swt).
My dear brothers and sisters, if a prospect does not accept you for who you are and is not content with what you have to offer as a person, then you have your answer as to whether this is the right person for you.
May Allah (swt) guide us to what pleases Him, preserve the Muslim relationships, grant all the single people pious spouses, protect us in this world and honor us with Paradise, where the real party is at.
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