Marriage is considered an important turning point in one's life. Every young girl or boy looks forward to meeting the person of her or his dreams. A good mate is a major goal in life and young people are almost "indoctrinated" with the importance of finding one, which is certainly a natural wish. However, relations between man and woman are fundamentally based on unsound grounds in ignorant societies, namely societies in which people do not accept the Qur'anic way of life: "friendships" are solely romantic relationships in which both sexes seek emotional satisfaction. Yet, marriages are usually based on mutual material benefits. Many women try to find a "prosperous man" in expectation of a high standard of living. For such a purpose, a young girl may easily accept to be the life-long spouse of someone for whom she has no affection. On the other hand, what a man seeks in a woman is very often "good looks".
Yet the rationale behind the viewpoint of an ignorant society neglects a crucial fact: all these materialistic values are eventually doomed to perish; Allah can take back the fortune of a man in a moment. Similarly, it takes but a few seconds to lose good looks; as city dwellers, for instance, our daily commuting to and from work can at any time be thwarted by an accident that may leave hideous and permanent scars on the face. Time, meanwhile, deals irrecoverable damage to our health, strength and beauty. Under such unpredictable conditions, what consequences are there in a system based on purely materialistic values? For instance, think of a man who only marries a woman because he is impressed by her good looks. What would he think if her face is badly injured in an accident? Would he leave her when wrinkles start to appear on her face? The answers no doubt reveal the unreasonable basis of materialistic thinking.
A marriage becomes precious when it is intended purely to obtain the good pleasure of Allah. Otherwise, it becomes a burden both in this world and the next. If not in this world, man will ultimately understand in the hereafter that this is an improper way for the human soul. Yet, this will be too late; on the Day of Judgment, he would hold his wife, to whom he felt so close in this world, a ransom for his own salvation. The terror of that day will render all relations in this world meaningless. Allah gives a detailed account of the relationships between immediate family members on the Day of Judgment in the following verse:
Though they will be put in sight of each other, the wrongdoer's desire will be: would that he could redeem himself from the penalty of that Day by (sacrificing) his children, wife and his brother, kindred who sheltered him... (Surat al-Ma'arij: 11-13)
It is evident from the verses that people will no longer attach any importance to women, friends, brothers or sisters on the Day of Judgment. In their desperate efforts to be saved, everybody will be willing to pay their immediate family or relatives as a ransom for their own personal salvation. Furthermore, these people will curse each other since they never warned each other against such a terrible end. In the Qur'an, the case of Abu Lahab who deserved eternal punishment in hell and his wife is recounted:
The power of Abu Lahab will perish, and he will perish. His wealth and gains will not exempt him. He will be plunged in flaming fire, and his wife, the wood-carrier, will have upon her neck a halter of palm-fibre. (Surat al-Masad: 1-5)
The type of marriage acceptable in the presence of Allah is, however, based on totally different criteria. Contrary to the marriages common in an ignorant society, where people are heedless about earning the good pleasure of Allah, the criteria is not money, fame or beauty but a marriage intended to gain His good pleasure. For believers, the only criterion is taqwa, in other words, 'the avoidance of all that is prohibited, the fulfillment of all that is commanded, and the fear of Allah. Consequently, a believer can only marry someone who displays a deep loyalty to Allah. People find peace and happiness in this marriage. The relevant verse follows:
And among His Signs is this that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect. (Surat ar-Rum: 21)
Taqwa being the sole bond, believers will surely meet a pleasant life in the Hereafter. As they remind each other righteousness and guide one another to the paradise all through their lives, they will also remain close friends for all eternity. Their relations are described as follows:
The believers, men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practice regular charity, and obey Allah and His messenger. On them will Allah pour His mercy: for Allah is exalted in power, Wise. (Surat at-Tawbah: 71