In this lesson, visiting scholar, Shaykh Riad Saloojee, gives an overview of the Chapter on the Etiquettes of Marriage by Imam Ghazali. Shaykh Riad delves into the spiritual meanings that can be observed during the marriage. Shaykh Riad begins with a beautiful quote that sums up the lesson “two bodies cannot connect in the same way that two souls can”. There are many material benefits to being married, but the real meaning is the connection of our hearts to Allah through it. However, before we come to marriage we need to have an understanding of ourselves. In addition, one should be aware not only of their spiritual self but of their nafs (lower self) as well, to understand my wants and needs in relation to that. Lastly, Imam Ghazali also speaks in the chapter about the fiqh of marriage which is important to learn prior to.
There are three main verses of the Quran that the Prophet, peace be upon him, referenced in relation to marriage. All of these verses begin with “oh you who believe” or “oh people have consciousness (taqwa) of Allah”; that is to say that God-consciousness is at the center of any successful marriage and in the dealings between the couple. Conversely, as well, marriage is a way for one to attain greater God-consciousness (taqwa). Shaykh Riad reminds us to take marriage as a field of training for my character, one that exposes a person to their faults and shortcomings. As such, it is a great way for one to also grow their character and address their mistakes.
Lastly, Shaykh Riad concludes with a reflection on thankfulness and Allah’s promise to increase one if they are thankful; Ramadan is a great time to be thankful and to use the bounties Allah gives us in a way that pleases him. Thus, while fasting, one should be grateful for their spouse, their children and for the love, they are blessed with. In this brief overview of Imam Ghazali’s opus magnum, Ihya Ulum al-Din (Renewing the Religious Sciences), this series will serve as a blueprint for how the believer can bring to life their religion. It will aim to help the believer to not just practice the form of the religion properly, but to also practice it with excellence.
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