Late Marriages: Islamic and medical perspective

Family of a woman seeks a man who is a government employee because it is a kind of a job which has a secure tenure and other perks

Qazi Ather
Kashmir is predominantly a Muslim dominated region and the population of non-Muslims is almost negligible. The religion of Islam advocates and encourages early marriage, but contrary to the Islamic teachings, the anti Islamic traditions and customs are being practised and consequently promoted and endorsed.

According to National Health Profile 2015, compiled by Central Bureau of Health Intelligence under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the mean age of marriage for females in Jammu Kashmir is higher than any other State.

In Kashmir from past two decades the average age of marriage for male has increased from 24 to 32 and in females from 21 to 28.

In 2010, a research study conducted by the Kashmir University’s Sociology department revealed that 55 percent of total population of Kashmir never actually gets married even after attaining standard marriageable age. Six years have passed since this study was published. It is logical to make an assumption that the percentage in late marriages have increased and not decreased. This is undoubtedly a worrying trend from religious, physiological, social, and scientific point of view.

The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “Oh young men whosoever among you have means to get marry should get married.” Further he (SAW) said, “The marriage is my sunnah, whosoever shuns it is not amongst us.”

These two sayings of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) clearly indicate that not only marriage is obligatory upon Muslims who have means but also excludes a person from category of Muslims who willingly disobeys this commandment.

In another saying Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “A person who marries, completes his half of the religion.” This hadith can be interpreted by considering the duties which a person has to perform after getting married, for instance upbringing of children, fulfilling the obligations towards the spouse and their relatives etc and fulfillment of these obligations completes one half religion of a person.

In Kashmir, the factors that contribute towards the late marriages is that mostly the family of a woman seeks a man who is a government employee because it is a kind of a job which has a secure tenure, other perks and furthermore majority of families want that their son or daughter should be married to one who is from the same profession for instance doctor for a doctor, and civil servant for a civil servant. Similar barometers are applied for other professionals as well.

Such things are obviously time consuming and it takes years to find a suitable bride or groom by applying such unnecessary things. Most important factor rather a custom which is prevalent in Kashmiri society is the extravagant spending on the marriages.

Unless a person doesn’t spend lakhs on Wazwaan (local cuisine) he is looked upon as inferior or in Kashmiri terminology as a “shikaslad” (impoverished person).

The developed notion in the Kashmir is that in order to call a marriage as “best” the maximum hefty amount possible should be spent on a marriage irrespective of the fact weather a person is having requite economic resources or not contrary to the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “Best marriage is the one in which the least expenses had been made.”

The Quran terms the extravagant persons as the siblings of devil in Surah Isra 17:27. The extravagant spending on marriages had severely affected the institution of marriage and severely damaged the institution of family and in turn is responsible for late marriages, because extravagant expenses make the solemnisation of marriage expensive, difficult and economically speaking a tough task to perform.

Again contrary to the commandment of holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) where he said, “Make the marriage easy and least expensive.”

The late marriages are also responsible for growing immoral activities and illegitimate sexual intercourse among our young generation, because such acts seem to them as only available options to satisfy their sexual needs or best they suppress sexual desires which in turn affects a person psychologically.

According to psychologists’ the suppression of sexual desire may lead to short temperedness, intolerance etcetera. Undoubtedly, the marriage had been made as one of the difficult task to solemnise in our society because we follow the anti-Islamic traditions.

The late marriages also result in various medical complications predominantly higher rate of infertility among the lately married couples.

An eminent professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Government Medical College Srinagar mentioned that “The most fertile years in a woman’s life are between 18 and 28. The fertility curve drops with age. This is nothing new but the problems arising out of late marriages are something that appears new to us.”

She also said, “Egg stores of women are depleted with age and this sometimes becomes detrimental for her chances of conceiving.”

Few years ago there was a cardinal research conducted by the Department of Immunology And Molecular Medicine, SKIMS. The research was based on the “’Detection of the chromosomal abnormalities in an ethnic population of Kashmir”.

Research showed that genetic abnormalities in newly born babies are directly proportional to increased maternal age. Females who gave birth to their babies after 35 years of age had 75 percent chances of giving birth to genetically imperfect babies.

Other medical complications which are associated with late marriages include difficulty in conceiving, potentially increased risk of general maternal health problems, higher risk of miscarriages, like high blood pressure, increased risk of children having congenital complication, and prolonged labour while pregnancy.

The marriage is more burdensome for the family of the bride because its they who had to host the maximum number of guests from grooms side and the number of guests depends upon the groom’s will as how many persons he wants to accompany him with the “Baraat” and they are to be served Wazwaan apart from giving valuables to both the bride and groom in the form of gold.

In rare cases, if bride turns to be a lucky than there may not be a demand for dowry, otherwise the bride has to take various valuable items like electronic gadgets and other costly things with her.

This again is an anti-Islamic practice, whereby the family of the bride is most of the times forced to give valuable items.

This custom of dowry has infiltrated in Kashmiri society from the Hindu society, where this custom has been practiced from times immemorial.

This is the high time for the all the Kashmiris in general and youngsters in particular to introspect where are we heading before the satiations turn grimmer. The youngsters should take lead in this matter and to desist from spending extravagantly on marriages and to stop the practice of demanding and giving dowry which is both anti-Islamic and antithetical to the law of the land.

Youngsters should also prefer the simple marriages according to Sunnah (traditions of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and not the biddah the (innovated customs), as Islam says that every un-Islamic innovation leads to shame and every shame leads to hell fire.

Religious scholars should strive for promoting the Islamic concept of marriage, so anti-Islamic customs are rooted out from Kashmiri society. In every society or nation the youngsters are the ones who set the trend, let the Kashmiri youth take the pledge to uphold the Islamic values and to start the trend of solemnising marriage in way in which least expenses are incurred, so that a precedent is set for the other generations and situation is changed from bad to good and anti-Islamic to Islamic.

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