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Is delaying marriage justified to pursue studies?

Should Nikah be a temporary solution?

Dr Imteyaz Ahmad Khan

I find the answer to this question rather difficult . If I was in your shoes I would face the same dilemma, I would have liked to have both my cake and eat it as well. I would be keen to get my daughter married as soon as a nice appropriate rishta came but at the same time I would like to her to complete her study without any impediment.

Basically in Islam one should get married as soon as it is possible to do so. Hazrat Ali said that a Muslim shouldn't delay in performing three things i) Namaz ( Salat) when the time begins ii) in getting married the girl when she reaches adolescence iii) In funeral when Janaza is ready.

However in this day and age there are other practical considerations of great importance and generally marriage does interfere in study where lot of swotting and hard work is required.

And let those who find not the financial means for marriage keep themselves chaste, until Allah enriches them of His Bounty. And such of your slaves as seek a writing (of emancipation), give them such writing, if you know that they are good and trustworthy. And give them something yourselves out of the wealth of Allah which He has bestowed upon you. And force not your maids to prostitution, if they desire chastity, in order that you may make a gain in the (perishable) goods of this worldly life. But if anyone compels them (to prostitution), then after such compulsion, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (to those women, i.e. He will forgive them because they have been forced to do this evil action unwillingly). [Quran, Surah An-Noor (chapter-24), Verse-33]

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On the other hand I know some of my friend's children in UK got married while they were still in 3rd and fourth year Medical school and their spouses successfully compiled the study with remarkable success. In the end it all depends on the individual how disciplined, determined . focussed, and ambitious they are.

I have a friend ( from Hyderabad ) in Los Angeles who is a world famous professor of cancer. His wife was in the first year of Medical college when he got married and came to UK with her in 1967 and then after FRCS emigrated to USA. His wife went to complete her remaining 4years of MBBS ( remaining) after having four children and she is also in radiotherapy( cancer t/t) in Los Angeles. But then they are a rare example of people with tenacity prepared to work as hard as necessary to achieve the ambition and reach the goal post. They are exceptions.

The other issue is about the time lag between Nikah and Rukhsati and union between the spouses.

1. The marriage in Islam is the Nikah NOT Rukhsati which is a cultural carry–over of the Indian subcontinent. Thus it is fundamentally wrong to put restrictions on the degree and nature of contact between couples after the Nikah has occurred. Any and all contact is permissible and healthy whilst externally imposed restrictions can and does lead to problems. It is unwise, unkind , unfair and Islamically unacceptable.
2. When consenting adults enter into a marriage contract they do so with all the mutual rights and privileges to one another and no one should or can say otherwise. Should either party not wish this then they should NOT enter into this sacrosanct arrangement until they are ready to do so.
3. The position and relative importance of the Nikah and ‘Rukhsati’ have over time strangely adopted the respective positions of ‘engagement’ and ‘wedding’ in the West which is completely wrong. It is felt if not said that husband and wife should not be together (at any level) until the Rukhsati takes place. Tradition over our Islam. The Nikah should not be viewed as a ‘deposit’ or downpayment’ to secure an attractive Rishta
4. Conversely, there is no reason why given the particular circumstances of the husband or wife, THEY as the consenting parties to this arrangement, cannot choose the degree and extent of contact they maintain at any stage of the marriage. Thus geography, work, education may mean that for example they live apart initially or later, but it does not stop (nor should it) them developing a relationship appropriate to that of a married couple with trust, consideration, care, support and love for one another through whatever means and opportunities they have available. Once again for the health of the marriage, this should be their choice not that of a third party where as well as it being forbidden can lead to unnecessary strains and stresses at the very tender stages of a marriage.

My elder son Khalid got married in February 2001 but due to some practical problem Rukhsati was done in September. In the intervening (8 months gap) period they were in contact with each other by phone, email and time to time he visited her at her parent' house.