Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wedding In Pakistan

UBTAN
Uptan is a paste made from turmeric, sandalwood powder, herbs and aromatic oils, which groom's mother brings for bride. She blesses bride and applies “uptan’ to the bride's hands and face. Groom's sister also does the same, and a thick string called a “gana” is tied to the bride’s arm. “Uptan” is applied to the bride's skin each day leading up to the wedding. Similar ceremony is held for the groom, where bride's mother, sisters, cousins and friends bring “uptan” for groom and rub it on his skin.
DOLKI
Dolki is a popular ceremony of singing traditional wedding & popular songs accompanied by two or three percussion instruments Dolki being the main. The girl is officially treated as bride (dulhan). She wears traditional Pakistani yellow outfit. Her brothers, sisters, and cousins bring her (bride) in the dholki party.
RASM-E-MEHNDI

Rasm E Mehndi (Henna Party) takes place a day before the wedding. It’s a ceremony mainly of women. They apply Mehndi (Henna) to the bride's hands and feet, sing, dance, and bless the bride. Sadka (warding off evil) is performed on the bride i.e. donating money circling three times on the bride’s head. Traditionally mehndi was brought by groom's parents. Mehndi (Henna) is applied in beautiful floral designs and sometimes groom's name is written in designs. After the ceremony dinner is organized for the guests. Traditionally, the bride is not allowed to take part in the celebrations and keeps her face hidden in veil. Rasm E Mehndi is organized for grooms also in some parts of Pakistan.
BARAT
Baraat is procession of family, relatives, and friends of groom that accompany the groom to bride’s home for official wedding ceremony. Groom makes his way to the bride's home on a richly decked horse or in a car and “baraat” follows in different vehicles. Groom is given warm welcome by the bride’s family with flower garlands and rose petals. Family and relatives of the groom and the bride exchange glasses of juice or sherbet along with money. Guests are welcomed by the bride’s sisters by playfully hitting them with a stick wrapped and decorated with flowers.
NIKAH
Nikah is purely Islamic official wedding ceremony that usually takes place at the bride’s home. Nikah is attended by close family members, relatives, and friends of groom and bride. Usually, the men and women are made to sit separately, in different rooms, or have a purdah, or curtain, separating them.
Nikah-naama (document of marriage contract) is registered in Nikah. The Nikahnaama contains several terms and conditions that are to be respected by both parties (bride & groom). It includes bride’s right to divorce her husband. Nikahnaama specifies “Meher,” the monetary amount the groom will give the bride. Meher includes two amounts; one that is due before the marriage is consummated and the other that is a deferred amount given to the bride at a time to be determined. The Meher guarantees the bride's freedom within the marriage, and acts as the bride's safety net.
The fathers of groom and bride (Walis) act as witnesses to the wedding. If father is not available, the senior male, brother or uncle performs the ceremony. Islamic Imam (called maulana or maulvi in Urdu) reads selected verses from the Quran and waits for the Ijab-e-Qubul (proposal and acceptance) of wedding. Usually, the groom's side makes proposal and the bride's side conveys her assent. Maulvi and witnesses (gavah) take the Nikahnaama to the bride and read it aloud to her. She accepts the Nikahnaama saying 'qabool kiya,' meaning 'I accept and signs it. The Nikahnaama is then taken to the groom and read aloud to him. He accepts saying 'qabool kiya and signs the document. The Maulvi and witnesses (gavah) also do sign the Nikahnaama contract and the wedding becomes legal. The Maulvi recites the Fatihah, the first chapter of the Quran, and various durud, or blessings to mark the closing of Nikah ceremony.
After the wedding is legally announced, dishes of dates and misri (unrefined sugar) are served to the groom's family. Groom is then escorted to his bride where he’s allowed to site beside his wife. This is the time when sisters-in-law of groom play pranks and tease the groom.
MOOH DIKHAI
Mooh Dikhai is the ceremony of first time “showing of the face” after the Nikah. The couple is made to see each other in the mirror and the bride unveils her face that she keeps hidden during the Nikah. The custom of Mooh Dikhai is also called “Aarsi Musshaf.” The bride and groom share a piece of sweet fruit, such as a date and family and friends congratulate the couple and offer gifts. Dinner is served to the guests. The sisters, friends, and female cousins of bride take this opportunity to steal the groom's shoes and demand a sum of money for shoes. This is very popular custom and groom usually carries a lot of cash, due to the popularity of this custom. He pays money to get back his shoes and girls divide the money among themselves.
RUKHSATI
Ruksati is the ceremony to bid farewell to the bride before her departure to the groom's house. She says goodbye to her parents, close friends and family. The Quran is held over her head as a blessing. It’s a pretty touching moment. Although this practice is un-Islamic but a lot of Pakistani families have come to adopt it.
Several traditional games are played at groom’s house. A tray full of a mixture of water and milk is placed before the couple and a ring is thrown into the mixture and husband and wife are asked to find the ring. The one who finds the ring is considered winner and dominant partner in the relationship. The couple is asked to untie the “ganas” (thick strings) that were tied on their writs before wedding. The one who unties it first is considered the dominant partner in the relationship. Bride eats kheer (sweet, pudding-type desert) out of the groom’s hand. This customs are designed to make the couple more intimate before the physical relationship. Groom washes the feet of the bride in a basin of water that is sprinkled into the four corners of the house. It’s believed that this brings wealth, prosperity and luck into the home.
WALIMA
Walima is ceremony to announce the wedding to community and friends. It’s a grand reception hosted by the groom's parents. Relatives, friends and community people are invited to the reception and wedding is celebrated with great fun and festivities.
CHAUTHI
Chauthi is the custom of bringing the bride back to her parents' home the next day, or on the fourth day after the wedding (depending on family tradition). Usually bride's brothers perform the Chauthi and goes to fetch their sister home.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Turning S-e-x Into Sadaqa

An excerpt from 'The Muslim Marriage Guide', By Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood (Amana Publications), reprinted in Beliefnet.com

"Women shall have rights similar to the rights upon them; according to what is equitable and just; and men have a degree of advantage over them." (Quran, 2:216)
They do indeed! This passage of the Holy Quran was revealed in connection with the rights of women following a divorce, but it also has a general sense. One basic right of every person taking on a contract never to have sex other than with their own legitimate partner is that each spouse should therefore provide sexual fulfillment (imta') to the other, as part of the bargain.
Now, every man knows what sexual things please him--but some men, particularly those who have not been married before and are therefore lacking experience, don't seem to know much about how to give the same pleasure to the woman; even worse, some men do know but they can't be bothered to make the effort. Yet this is vital if a marriage is to succeed and not just be a disappointing burden for the woman, and it is a vital part of one's Islamic duty.
It is not acceptable for a Muslim man just to satisfy himself while ignoring his wife's needs. Experts agree that the basic psychological need of a man is respect, while that of a woman is love. Neither respect nor love are things that can be forced--they have to be worked for, and earned. The Prophet (s) stated that in one's sexual intimacy with one's life partner there is sadaqa (worship through giving):
God's Messenger(s) said: "In the sexual act of each of you there is a sadaqa." The Companions replied: "0 Messenger of God! When one of us fulfils his sexual desire, will he be given a reward for that?" And he said, "Do you not think that were he to act upon it unlawfully, he would be sinning? Likewise, if he acts upon it lawfully he will be rewarded." (Muslim)
This hadith only makes sense if the sexual act is raised above the mere animal level.
What is the magic ingredient that turns sex into sadaqa, that makes it a matter of reward or punishment from Allah? It is by making one's sex life more than simple physical gratification; it is by thought for pleasing Allah by unselfish care for one's partner. A husband that cannot understand this will never be fully respected by his wife.
Neither spouse should ever act in a manner that would be injurious or harmful to their conjugal life. Nikah is the sacred tie between husband and wife, that sincere and devoted love without which they cannot attain happiness and peace of mind.
"Of His signs is this: that He created for you spouses that you might find rest in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy." (Quran, 30:21)
Now, every Muslim knows that a man has a right on his wife. However, because nikah is a contract never to seek sexual satisfaction outside the marriage bond, Islam commands not only the women but the men in this respect, and makes it clear that if a husband is not aware of the urges and needs of his wife, he will be committing a sin by depriving her of her rights.
According to all four orthodox jurists, it is incumbent upon the husband to keep his wife happy and pleased in this respect. Likewise, it is essential for the wife to satisfy the desire of the husband. Neither should reject the other, unless there is some lawful excuse.

Now, it is fairly easy for a woman to satisfy a man and make herself available to him, even if she is not really in the mood. It is far harder for a man to satisfy a woman if he is not in the mood, and this is where an important aspect of male responsibility needs to be brought to every Muslim man's attention, and stressed strongly.

The jurists believed that a woman's private parts needed "protecting" (tahsin). What they meant was that it was important for a Muslim husband to satisfy his wife's sexual needs so that she would not be tempted to commit zina out of despair or frustration.
A Muslim wife is not merely a lump of flesh without emotions or feelings, just there to satisfy a man's natural urges. On the contrary, her body contains a soul no less important in God's sight than her husband's. Her heart is very tender and delicate, and crude or rough manners would hurt her feelings and drive away love. The husband would be both foolish and immoral to act in any way unpalatable to her natural temperament, and a man selfishly seeking his own satisfaction without considering that of his wife is a selfish boor. In fact, according to a hadith:
"Three things are counted inadequacies in a man. Firstly, meeting someone he would like to get to know, and taking leave of him before learning his name and his family. Secondly, rebuffing the generosity that another shows to him. And thirdly, going to his wife and having intercourse with her before talking to her and gaining her intimacy, satisfying his need from her before she has satisfied her need from him." (Daylami)
This is another of the things implied by the saying that one's wife is "a tilth unto you." (Quran, 2:223) The imagery is that of a farmer taking care of his fields. According to Mawlana Abul-Ala Mawdudi:
"The farmer sows the seed in order to reap the harvest, but he does not sow it out of season or cultivate it in a manner which will injure or exhaust the soil. He is wise and considerate, and does not run riot." (Afzalur Rahman, Quranic Sciences, London 1981, p.285)
Likewise, in the case of husband and wife, the husband should not just:
“Take hold of his wife and rub the seed and finish the business of procreation. The damage in this case could sometimes be irreparable, because a woman, unlike a farm, is very sensitive and has emotions, feelings, and strong passions which need full satisfaction and attention in a proper and appropriate manner.” (Afzalur Rahman, Quranic Sciences, London 1981, p. 286)
If this is not taken into consideration, and the wife is not properly prepared to start lovemaking, or is unsatisfied when it is finished, there could be many psychological and physiological complications leading to frigidity and other abnormalities. Indeed, many husbands eventually become disappointed with their wives, believing them to be frigid or unable to respond to their activities (unlike the sirens on the film or TV screen), and they wonder what is wrong with them. A possible explanation will follow in a moment.
Allah created male and female from a single soul in order that man might live with her in serenity (Quran, 7:189), and not in unhappiness, frustration and strife. If your marriage is frankly awful, then you must ask yourself how such a desperate and tragic scenario could be regarded by anyone as "half the Faith." According to a hadith:
"Not one of you should fall upon his wife like an animal; but let there first be a messenger between you." "And what is that messenger?" they asked, and he replied: "Kisses and words." (Daylami)

These "kisses and words" do not just include foreplay once intimacy has commenced. To set the right mood, little signals should begin well in advance, so that the wife has a clue as to what is coming, and is pleasantly expectant, and also has adequate time to make herself clean, attractive and ready. As regards intimacy itself, all men know that they cannot achieve sexual fulfillment if they are not aroused. They should also realise that it is actually harmful and painful for the female organs to be used for sex without proper preparation. In simple biological terms, the woman's private parts need a kind of natural lubrication before the sexual act takes place. For this, Allah has created special glands, known to modern doctors as the Bartholin glands, which provide the necessary "oils."

It is still possible to read old-fashioned advice to husbands that a desirable wife should be "dry"--which is remarkable ignorance and makes one really grieve for the poor wives of such inconsiderate men. Just as no one would dream of trying to run an engine without the correct lubricating fluids, it is the same, through the creative will of Allah, with the parts of the female body designed for sexual intimacy. A husband should know how to stimulate the production of these "oils" in his wife, or at the very least allow her to use some artificial "oils." This lack of knowledge or consideration is where so many marital problems frequently arise.
As Imam al-Ghazali says: "Sex should begin with gentle words and kissing," and Imam al-Zabidi adds: "This should include not only the cheeks and lips; and then he should caress the breasts and nipples, and every part of her body." (Zabidi, Ithaf al-Sada al Muttaqin, V 372) Most men will not need telling this; but it should be remembered that failure to observe this Islamic practice is to neglect or deny the way Allah has created women.
Insulting a wife with bad marital manners.
Firstly, a husband must overcome his shyness enough to actually look at his wife, and pay attention to her. If he cannot bring himself to follow this sunna, it is an insult to her, and extremely hurtful. Personal intimacy is a minefield of opportunities to hurt each other--glancing at the watch, a yawn at the wrong moment, appearing bored, and so on. A husband's duty is to convince his wife that he does love her--and this can only be done by word (constantly repeated word, I might add--such is the irritating nature of women!), and by looking and touching.
Many people believe that the expression in the eyes reveals much of the human soul. Certainly the lover's gaze is a most endearing and treasured thing. Many wives yearn for that gaze of love, even after they have been married for years. If you cannot bring yourself to look at her while paying attention to her, she can only interpret this as a sign that you do not really love her. And even though it may be irritating to you, and seem quite superfluous, most women are deeply moved when a man actually tells her that he loves her.
Sex is clean!
A modest upbringing is part of good character. The Prophet (s) himself said: "Modesty brings nothing but good." (Bukhari and Muslim) But another, also important, part of Islamic teaching says that all of Allah's creation is beautiful and pure, particularly when it is part of the body of human beings, who are designed as His deputies upon the earth. In some religions, people traditionally believed that the woman's private parts are in some way unclean, or dirty, or even evil.

WET DREAMS (ihtilam)

These usually happen when people are sexually frustrated, and are a mechanism whereby the body seeks to discharge excess sexual energy or sperm. They can happen to either sex. Both A'isha and Umm Salama asked the Prophet (s) about this subject, and were told it was natural. Ghusl is of course required afterwards.

WEDDINGS

It is sunna to hold a feast (walima) for a wedding. This is part of the duty to make the marriage public. The Prophet (s) said: `Publicise this marriage; celebrate it in the mosques; sound the tambourines to mark it!' (Tirmidhi.)
Al-Rubayyi bint Muawwidh narrated: `The Messenger of God (s) visited me the morning after my marriage was consummated. He sat on my bedding while some servant girls of ours began to play tambourine and sang eulogies of my ancestors who had died at the battle of Badr. Then one of them said: "And among us is a Prophet who knows what tomorrow brings." But he said to her: "Stop that, but say what you were saying before".' (Bukhari) .
Amir ibn Sa'd said: `Going in and finding Qaraza ibn Ka'b and Abu Mas'ud al-Ansari at a wedding where girls were singing, I said: "Is this being done in the presence of you two who are companions of God's Messenger, and were present at Badr?" They replied: "Sit down if you wish and listen along with us; or go away if you wish, for we have been given permission for amusement at a wedding."' (Nasa'i)
The actual form of weddings depends a lot on cultural backgrounds, which nowadays are often very un-Islamic in insisting on extravagance and show. The good Muslim practice is always against ostentation or waste in any form, and true Muslim weddings are happy but simple affairs. It often happens that young people have to defer marriage because they cannot afford the parties, and sometimes people demand an enormous mahr for the bride. Both practices undermine society and are un-Islamic. It is obviously important for a bride to receive a generous mahr, as an insurance policy in case of divorce and to ensure her financial independence. But this is a concession to human frailty. Hadiths recorded by Abu Daud and Tirmidhi show that the Prophet (s) forbade the giving of excessive dowries.

WASHING

Allah has ordained that ghusl should be carried out
(a) after sexual intercourse (meaning penetration of the penis beyond its head), or whenever an orgasm has occurred (in men and women);
(b) after menstruation;
(c) after post childbirth bleeding. (Suras 2:222; 4:43; 5:7.)
 (d) after wet dreams
This involves making a niyya, washing off impurities, cleaning the private parts, and then pouring pure water over the entire body and rubbing it at least once. As regards ladies' hair, three handfuls thrown on the head are sufficient; it is not necessary for the plaits to be undone. Warm water can be used; it is preferred to offer two rak'as upon completion.
The recorded sunna is that if a man wishes. to have sex a second time before he has carried out his ghusl, he should wash his genitals first. If he had a wet dream, or urinated, he should likewise wash them before having intercourse. There are, however, some traditions from A'isha that suggest that the Prophet (s) sometimes slept in the state of janaba without having touched any water.

UNISEX

The Blessed Prophet had a great respect for natural distinctions. He did not like men who try to resemble women, and women who try to resemble men'. (Bukhari.) Be proud of your gender, and ask yourself whether you have the virtues specific to your sex, as exemplified in the lives of the great male and female Companions. There is nothing more pathetic than the sight of `soft' modern males, who often infuriate their wives through their lack of decisiveness and leadership. Similarly, the decline of femininity has deprived many societies of the most indispensable reservoir of gentleness and beauty. Keep the poles magnetised if you want real attraction to continue between you!

TOLERANCE (tasamuh).

Remember that husband and wife, however compatible, will always be two different people. Live and let live - do not try to force somebody else to be what they are not; it never works, and only causes resentment. Accept people for what they are and love them `warts and all'. Be tolerant, forgiving, and understanding, as far as you are able.
`O you who believe! Some of your spouses and children can be your foes, so be careful with them. Yet if you pardon and forgive them, Allah will likewise be forgiving and merciful.' (64:14)
`Seek reconciliation with those who avoid you, give to those who withhold from you, and forgive those who deal with you unjustly.' (Hadith in Khara'iti)
`I was sent only to perfect the noble qualities of character.' (Hadith in Malik, Muwatta')
`You will not be able to suffice all people with your wealth; suffice them therefore with a cheerful face and goodness of character.' (Hadith in Hakim, Mustadrak)
`Whichever man is patient with the bad character of his wife shall be given a reward like unto that which Job shall receive; and whichever woman is patient with the bad character of her husband shall be given a reward like that of Asiya the (believing) wife of Pharoah.' (Al-Ghazali)

TIMING

It is bad manners to leave your sexual activity until you have gone to bed exhausted. It is a kind of insult, and a marital timebomb. People's sleep patterns are important: if a husband comes to bed at midnight, while the wife has dropped off just after the last prayer, midnight may feel early to him and she may be groggy if she is woken from a deep sleep. Tempers are bound to be frayed in the morning. People are usually either `owls' (active at night) or `larks' (active in the early morning). If your partner is the opposite to you, you must sort out an acceptable compromise routine. Be considerate, and compliment your spouse by setting aside proper and suitable times for lovemaking, especially during Ramadan.

TEMPTATION

Just because a person gets married, they are not suddenly made blind, or incapable of feeling a sudden urge for someone outside the marriage. It is vital that one deals promptly with the urge, so that the marriage partner is not hurt, the marriage is not weakened, and the possibility of major sin is averted.
A hadith tells us that the eye can commit zina. And as Imam alGhazali points out:
`the zina of the eye is one of the major faults, and soon leads on to a mortal and obscene sin, which is the zina of the flesh. The man who is unable to turn away his eyes will not be able to safeguard himself against unchastity.' (Disciplining the Soul)
In the Holy Quran (24:30-1) we read:
`Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and preserve their chastity. That is purer for them. Assuredly, Allah is Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and preserve their chastity ...
And the Prophet (s) said:
`A gaze is a poisoned arrow from Satan. Whoever abstains from it in fear of Allah shall receive from Him an increase in faith, the sweetness of which he shall feel in his heart.' (Ibn Hanbal)
The Prophet Yahya was once asked: `How does fornication begin?' and he replied: `With looking and wishing.'
No one should ever be too confident about his or her ability to control the sex drive. AI-Fayyad ibn Najih said: `When a man's penis becomes erect, two-thirds of his reason departs.' It is for this reason that khalwa - being alone with a non-mahrarn member of the opposite sex - is not permitted. Often taqwa is the only force powerful enough to save human beings from the disaster of adultery - and it is easy to overestimate the degree of one's own piety!

TEASING AND MENTAL CRUELTY

This is not permissible. Most women get very hurt by their husband's hankering after beautiful women on TV, videos, or in magazines. Husbands should learn the Islamic virtues of tact and contentment, and realise that a wife is not a model or a film-star, and may have all sorts of physical defects - but she loves you very much, and it is bad-mannered and wrong to hurt her feelings or deliberately make her jealous. Remember that film-stars and models are forever young and willing to please, whereas real human women get older, have aches and pains, get tired, and may not be overcome with enthusiasm for you. Remember that you too are not getting any younger! And remember that you should not be looking at those other women anyway ... (see Sura 24:30-31).

SPORT

It is a sunna to remain fit, and several types of sport are specifically recommended. They should not, of course, turn into an obsession. If the husband has to play sport every Saturday or Sunday, the wife should learn to live with this and use the time for things she can do better while he is out of the way. Husbands - remember your wife's good grace, and reward her!
Husbands need to remember that wives do not always want to watch sport on TV, and have a right to see some programmes of their choice too. Wives need to know that a real football fanatic cannot possibly be shifted from the `box' when a particular match is on, and will resist all pressure or temptation. There is no point in a wife trying to prove to herself that he loves her by attempting to seduce him while he is trying to watch the World Cup; he will only get more and more irritated by her. She should not `bash her head against a brick wall', but make the husband comfortable, see to his needs, and pick up his gratitude afterwards!

REWARD FOR SEX

The Prophet (s) actually spoke of a man's unselfish sexual fulfillment of his wife's needs as a sadaqa:
`In every declaration of subhan Allah there is a sadaqa; in every takbir, in every al-hamdu li'Llah, in every la ilaha illa'Llah, in every enjoining of good there is sadaqa. Forbidding that which is evil is sadaqa. And in a man's sexual intercourse with his wife there is sadaqa. ' (Muslim)

REFUSING SEX

Unless there is a genuine and legitimate reason, the refusal of the partner's advances is forbidden in Islam. It is a hurtful rejection. Men and women should realise that sometimes the partner has a very strong urge, which may prevent sleep, and should be kind.
The texts of Shari'a affirm that the wife, too, has the right to sex.
If either partner is `not in the mood', or perhaps is in deep sleep when the other partner feels amorous, it is un-Islamic and bad manners to bluntly reject the other. Men, because of the very obvious physical nature of their arousal, often find it hard to understand a woman's needs, which do not show themselves so conspicuously; they should bear in mind that the urge can be just as overwhelming and just as frustrating if not fulfilled.

PRAYER (salat)

It is important to a close relationship to pray together as much as possible. One purpose of the salat is to bring people closer together through spiritual and physical proximity, and this can be especially therapeutic in marriage. If also has the effect of attracting angels to the house.

POWER GAMES

No Muslim, male or female, is permitted to use or withhold sex to get their own way - either as a bribe, or for barter.
`Gentleness adorns everything, and its absence leaves everything tainted.' (Muslim)
`If a man invites his wife to sleep with him and she refuses to come to him, then the angels send their curses on her until morning.' (Bukhari)

POLYGAMY (ta'addud al-zawjat)

Islam did not institute plural marriages, but acknowledged that they are sometimes of value, restricting the maximum number of wives to four:
`Marry women that seem good to you, two or three or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (between them), then only one.' (Quran, 4:3)
Polygamy can be a useful and caring way of resolving serious difficulties. It can be a solution, for instance, when a wife is suffering from a disease such as paralysis which prevents the husband fulfilling his needs, and consumes his time with caring for her. It can help in situations where she is of unsound mind, or has a bad character that cannot be reformed. And in social circumstances where women greatly outnumber men, as after a war, it can save thousands of women from being left `on the shelf' - half a husband being preferable to none at all.
A few, however, believe that Allah has in fact forbidden plural marriages, on the grounds that it is impossible for a man to deal justly between co-wives.
`You will not be able to deal equally between wives, however much you may wish to.' (Quran, 4:129.)
Nonetheless, the fact that polygamy was part of the Prophet's sunna makes it impossible that he could have adopted this interpretation himself. But he counseled strict fairness in expenditure, allowances and timesharing:
`When a man has two wives and he does not observe equality and deals unfairly with them, he will come before the Throne of Justice with only half of his body.' (Hadith in Tirmidhi and Abu Daud)
The Sharia tells us that the women should receiveequal financial maintenance and be accommodated in separate but equal homes. Obviously, it is not permissible for more than one woman to be in one bed at any time.
A happy polygamous relationship, perhaps a menage a trois in which one woman looks after the home while the other is free to work without feeling guilty, can be a source of great strength to the women. But given human nature, the pitfalls are many and varied, and no-one should enter upon this kind of marriage unlessthere is a compelling moral rather than a selfish reason for it, and the full and intelligent consent of all parties has been obtained. Anything else is likely to end in disaster.

PERIODS (hayd)

New husbands often haven't got a clue about these. The matter should be explained to them, or they may get worried and upset, and not know how to sympathise with the wife's symptoms. Husbands need to know that the wife may bleed from 3 to 7 days in a period of time roughly corresponding to the lunar month, and that she may well be extra tired and weepy at these times. Women frequently suffer from PMT (pre-menstrual tension) for anything up to a week before their period starts. If they do, they are likely to be bad-tempered, depressed, illogical, and suffer from psychological disorders, and some are even at extra risk from things as serious as driving accidents, or moral disorders such as temptation to theft, etc. Sympathy is the best thing to offer - and make sure the wife has had medical advice. It is quite normal for doctors to recommend cutting down on salt (to limit water retention and bloating).
Some women also experience considerable physical pain at this time, and become sick and faint. Do not suffer in silence - go to a doctor.
A woman is not `dirty' during her period time unless she does not wash; the Prophet (s) recommended keeping up close contact with a menstruating wife, so that she did not feel hurt or rejected. His advice was to make sure she was well-covered between the navel and the knees, and to caress and enjoy her without penetration.
A man questioned Allah's Messenger (s), saying: `What is permitted to me of my wife when she is menstruating?' He said: `Let her wrap her waist-wrapper round herself tightly, and then what is above that is for you.' (Malik, Muwatta')
On one occasion A'isha was sleeping with him in onegarment, when suddenly she jumped up and left his side. The Messenger (s) said to her: `What is the matter? Are you losing blood?' She said, `Yes.' He said, `Wrap your waist-wrapper tightly about you, and come back to your sleeping-place.' (Malik, Muwatta')

NAGGING

The idea is to wear down the partner by continually going on about something. It rarely works, is never attractive in either partner, and can push a marriage onto the rocks because of one partner's tireless campaign to change the character of the other rather than loving them for what they are. The Prophet (s) disliked nags and gossips, and those with caustic tongues - no matter how religious they were.
A man said: `O Messenger of Allah, such-and-such a woman has a reputation for praying to an enormous extent, fasting and giving charity, but she harms her neighbours with her tongue.' He replied: `She is of the people of Hell.' Then the man mentioned another woman who didn't fast or pray much, but who `gives a piece of curd as sadaqa, and does not harm her neighbours with her tongue.' He replied, `She is of the people of Paradise.' (Ibn Hanbal)
And remember that your spouse is your nearest 'neighbour'!

MODESTY (haya')

Most Muslim women are extremely modest -the Prophet (s) said that `modesty brings nothing but good' - and so do not like to be looked at when nude. Have respect for your wife's feelings, and allow her to retain some clothing or put out the lights if she feels happier that way. Otherwise, she may be very inhibited and unhappy. Similarly, some Muslim men prefer to retain some clothing when in the bedroom. There is nothing whatsoever wrong with this. Others enjoy complete nudity, which is acceptable also. The scholars hold that is permissible to look at the private parts of one's spouse.
`When anyone from among you wishes to have sexual intercourse with his wife, he should pull a cover over him, and they should not be naked like two donkeys.' (A weak hadith in Ibn Maja)

MEN UNUSED TO WOMEN

If a man has not had to live with sisters, he will often be quite taken aback by female `trappings', such as tights hanging up in the bathroom, or girl's underwear on the radiators. The most important woman in his life has been his mother, and he may expect his wife to have the same habits and views, opinions on going out to work, looking after husbands, and so on - in which case living with a modern young woman may come as a shock! Worse, if his mother spoiled him, he may be completely untrained, and may even have treated his mother rather like a servant, and now expects his new wife to endlessly run round after him picking things up. A good Muslim man takes on marriage as a new form of living, and should be willing to be sympathetic, to be helpful, and to adjust to the new situation. A Muslim wife recognises that in some ways men nowadays always remain boys, but it is her duty to make him take responsibility for himself and his children - she is not his slave!
`Make things easy for people, and do not make them hard; cheer people up and do not rebuff them.' (Hadith from Muslim.)

LOOSE TALK

Never speak about your intimate life to another person, unless you are seeking medical help. Loose chatter about intimate things is extremely damaging, and you will never know to whom these secrets will be passed on, or when they will return again to embarrass you.
`On the Day of Judgment the lowest person in the sight of God will be the man who is intimate with his wife and then broadcast her secrets.' (Hadith in Muslim)
`A man should never discuss sexual matters with any of his wife's relatives.' (Imam al-Nawawi, Sharh al-Arba'in)

HOUSEWIFE

Never say that a woman is `only' a housewife. This infuriates every woman. It is a massive, demanding job, sometimes without a break for sixteen hours a day, and there is no retirement age. It requires intelligence, forethought, compassion and skill, and should never be thought of as inferior to so called `real' jobs outside the home. In fact, it is usually more difficult. If a man is lucky enough to have a housewife, he should appreciate her as one of life's greatest treasures. The sunna of the Blessed Prophet was to help his wives cheerfully: he helped with the less pleasant `chores', and lived in appreciation and respect for his wives. (See pages 22 and 56.)

HOMOSEXUALITY

This is not allowed in any revealed religion. We should recognise, however, that a few people do have a mental inclination towards the same sex, and the evidence is growing that this is often due to a defect in the chromosomes. Every human being is a mixture of male and female traits, and sometimes a person is born with an inner balance unsuited to his or her physical characteristics. Nowadays, when the distinction between male and female character is being increasingly blurred in the population at large, homosexuality is becoming more socially acceptable to the secular mind. This is no justification, of course, for committing what is the most unnatural of all human acts; but Muslims have to recognise that a person struggling for self control deserves approval. The increasing recognition of this tendency as a genetic rather than a purely moral problem holds out hope of medical treatment, as technology advances; and the day may not be far off when all human beings can benefit from the delights and responsibilities of parenthood.
`What - of all creatures do you come unto the males and leave the spouses which your Lord created for you? Assuredly, you are a people who transgress the limits.' (Quran, 26:165-6)
`Do you approach men in lust rather than women? You are a people that are ignorant.' (Quran, 27:54-5)

GENEROSITY

The Holy Quran warns frequently against niggardliness. Good Muslims `prefer others over themselves, though theirs be the greater need.' (59:9) Remember your spouse regularly, and offer gifts and surprises. A Muslim wife will always be on the lookout for little ways to treat her husband - husbands should try to return the compliment. Some men will go to any lengths to impress wealthy male friends, and yet cannot bring themselves to buy their wives a box of sweets!
`Whatever you spend for the pleasure of Allah, you will be rewarded for it. You will be rewarded even for that morsel which you put in the mouth of your wife.' (Bukhari and Muslim)
`The dinar you have spent in the way of Allah (is the one used) to liberate a slave, to help the poor, or on your wife and children; while the one that fetches the highest reward is the one you spend on your wife and children.' (Muslim)
`Give the worker his wage before his sweat dries!' (Muslim)

FRIGIDITY

Women appear frigid when they do not wish to make love to their husbands. This is not normally because they are frigid, but because they are unhappy about their spouse for some reason. It could be because the husband always waits until the wife is too tired, or fast asleep; or because he is not very clean, or his breath smells, or he does not bother to prepare his wife for lovemaking, or because sex has become painful to the wife, or something of a chore. It is the duty of a Muslim husband to be alert to the needs of his wife, and act with sensitivity. (Remember, when your wife won't speak to you, she is trying to tell you something!) If men could talk to their wives, and listen to what they say, so much female frigidity could probably be defeated once and for all! See Chapter 10, and Chishti, The Traditional Healer, 285-93.

FATHERHOOD

This usually comes as a shock the first time round. Couples are often unprepared for the sheer exhaustion, if they are not in an extended family situation which can ease the strain. Babies cry a lot, need feeding at night, and so on. Things are never the same again - you cannot put the clock back. To make matters worse, babies often come along just at the time when the husband is trying hard to get on at work. Although these days there are various aids to help busy mothers (like disposable nappies), the decline of old-fashioned family life means that there is often no doting granny or aunt to help look after baby, and the stress for mothers can seem overwhelming. Many new mothers feel tired and sometimes depressed as a result, just when everyone is expecting them to be bouncing around with enthusiasm. Actual physical help and a lot of sympathy and love are the Muslim husband's duty. Also, men have to realise that the experience of childbirth is so total for a woman that her feelings for him may be pushed into the background, and although it is foolish for a man to feel jealous of his own child, this often happens. A Muslim woman tries to ensure that her husband is not neglected, and that he shares her love for the baby. It is very important that the husband picks up and loves the child, helps to nurse it when sick, and generally relates to it. A wife should not be expected to recommence intercourse with her husband for at least six weeks, and even then, if they are both too tired, it is important to reestablish a loving and private relationship that is consoling and tender.

FANTASIES

Almost everyone has these. Sexual fantasies in dreams are not sinful, just the workings of an active imagination. No one could be held to blame for the content of their dreams, since this is out of their control. They are only harmful if they become a major part of your waking life so that they damage your partner, or turn into an obsession that makes a normal relationship difficult.
A good Muslim will obviously try to live in reality, rather than in a fantasy. He or she will try to avoid consciously fantasising about something that is forbidden in Islam, even though thinking about doing something but not doing it is not considered a sin.
Fantasies can sometimes prove useful as mental stimulants when a marriage is growing stale. But it is not always a good idea to reveal your fantasies to your partner - they could well have a good laugh at your expense, or, alternatively, feel threatened by them if they think that the spouse is getting bored or disappointed.

EGO (nafs)

This is the biggest problem of all. Nothing in Islam is easy until the lower and selfish desires of the nafs are under control. Happiness and fulfillment in marriage come about through making sacrifices for the sake of spouse and children; and such sacrifices will be painful and perhaps even impossible if one's own ego regularly wins its battles against mind (aql) and spirit (ruh).
There are many ways of controlling and weakening the nafs. The first is observing its activities, and cutting down on things it is strongly attached to, such as laziness, suspicion, or even certain types of food or TV programmes. Fasting can be a real help here. It is also important at the end of every day to think back over one's actions, and consider how to rectify obvious faults and acts of selfishness. Saying each prayer at the beginning of its time, and regularly reciting the Holy Quran and any wird or wazifa you may have, will also help to grind down the ego, and replace its darkness with light and ease in the heart. `And as for him who fears the standing before his Lord, and forbids his nafs its whim, assuredly the Garden shall be his place of refuge.' (79:40)

DOWRY

In the Subcontinent, the practice of giving dowries to the bridegroom or his family is on the increase among Muslims, but this habit is hardly known elsewhere in the Islamic world, and is almost certainly a borrowing from Hinduism. According to the Sharia, it is the man who has to give a wedding-gift, not the other way around, the idea being to make him take the marriage seriously, and to provide her with some financial security. The practice of the Companions was to hand this mahr over at the time of the marriage itself. See also `Weddings' below.

CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

The Prophet (s) did not forbid a man from giving instructions to his wife, as long as these were in accordance with Islam, or from giving his wife some form of physical discipline - even though he himself never struck any of his wives. However, this did not mean that a husband was allowed to beat his wife for things like burning the dinner, or forgetting something she should have done, or simply because he was in a foul mood!
There is one Quranic verse that grants husbands permission, but it states that this is only in cases where they genuinely fear nushuz (`rebellion', which in this context means treating the husband with arrogance and refusing the marital bed as a permanent principle, not just the odd occasion when the woman might have been ill).
`Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, through that in which Allah has given one more than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part you fear rebellion, (first) admonish them, (next) refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them; but if they return to obedience then do not seek against them any (further) means.' (Quran, 4:34)
The Prophet referred to this verse in his Final Sermon. He said:
`Hear me well! Treat your women kindly, for they resemble prisoners in your hands ... if they are guilty of flagrant misbehaviour, you may remove them from your beds, or beat them, but do not inflict upon them any severe punishment! Then, if they obey you, do not seek against them any (further) means. Hear me well! You have your rights over your wives, and they have their rights over you!'
The idea of punching or beating up a woman was totally repugnant to the Blessed Prophet, and belonged to the attitude towards women shown in the time of Jahiliya, or of societies where the consumption of alcohol was widespread. The hadiths tell us that he laughingly suggested that if a husband was obliged to spank his wife, he should use a miswak, the soff stick which Muslims use to clean the teeth (Tabari, Baghawi) or even a handkerchief (Razi).
A balance has to be struck between being a responsible male caring for a partner's earthly life and eternal fate (in trying to make her do the right thing), and allowing her the freedom to be herself -for in the end, her fate will be of her own making. It is obvious that when this permission was abused by violent men, the Prophet was very quick to listen to the complaints of the wives and rebuke the husbands.
Ibn Sa'd, for instance, comments that `the Prophet (s) had always persisted in his opposition to the beating of women. And men came to him to complain about their women; then he gave them permission, but said: "I cannot bear to see a quick-tempered man beat his wife in a fit of anger."' (Ibn Sa'd.)
The Prophet (s) also said: `How can any one of you beat his wife as he might beat a camel, and then expect to embrace her at night?' (Bukhari and Muslim.)
According to other hadiths, he appears to have forbidden the beating of women completely: `Do not beat Allah's handmaidens! ` (Abu Daud, Nasa'i, Ibn Maja, al-Hakim.)
Put together, all these sources suggest that beating, if it has to be done at all, should be a last resort to punish a wife for some major sin, such as adultery. It is the final manifestation of the husband's authority, not the first; a deterrent aimed at holding the marriage together.

CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

The Prophet (s) did not forbid a man from giving instructions to his wife, as long as these were in accordance with Islam, or from giving his wife some form of physical discipline - even though he himself never struck any of his wives. However, this did not mean that a husband was allowed to beat his wife for things like burning the dinner, or forgetting something she should have done, or simply because he was in a foul mood!
There is one Quranic verse that grants husbands permission, but it states that this is only in cases where they genuinely fear nushuz (`rebellion', which in this context means treating the husband with arrogance and refusing the marital bed as a permanent principle, not just the odd occasion when the woman might have been ill).
`Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, through that in which Allah has given one more than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part you fear rebellion, (first) admonish them, (next) refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them; but if they return to obedience then do not seek against them any (further) means.' (Quran, 4:34)
The Prophet referred to this verse in his Final Sermon. He said:
`Hear me well! Treat your women kindly, for they resemble prisoners in your hands ... if they are guilty of flagrant misbehaviour, you may remove them from your beds, or beat them, but do not inflict upon them any severe punishment! Then, if they obey you, do not seek against them any (further) means. Hear me well! You have your rights over your wives, and they have their rights over you!'
The idea of punching or beating up a woman was totally repugnant to the Blessed Prophet, and belonged to the attitude towards women shown in the time of Jahiliya, or of societies where the consumption of alcohol was widespread. The hadiths tell us that he laughingly suggested that if a husband was obliged to spank his wife, he should use a miswak, the soff stick which Muslims use to clean the teeth (Tabari, Baghawi) or even a handkerchief (Razi).
A balance has to be struck between being a responsible male caring for a partner's earthly life and eternal fate (in trying to make her do the right thing), and allowing her the freedom to be herself -for in the end, her fate will be of her own making. It is obvious that when this permission was abused by violent men, the Prophet was very quick to listen to the complaints of the wives and rebuke the husbands.
Ibn Sa'd, for instance, comments that `the Prophet (s) had always persisted in his opposition to the beating of women. And men came to him to complain about their women; then he gave them permission, but said: "I cannot bear to see a quick-tempered man beat his wife in a fit of anger."' (Ibn Sa'd.)
The Prophet (s) also said: `How can any one of you beat his wife as he might beat a camel, and then expect to embrace her at night?' (Bukhari and Muslim.)
According to other hadiths, he appears to have forbidden the beating of women completely: `Do not beat Allah's handmaidens! ` (Abu Daud, Nasa'i, Ibn Maja, al-Hakim.)
Put together, all these sources suggest that beating, if it has to be done at all, should be a last resort to punish a wife for some major sin, such as adultery. It is the final manifestation of the husband's authority, not the first; a deterrent aimed at holding the marriage together.

CONTRACT

An Islamically-valid marriage requires the fulfillment of five obligatory conditions:
(1) the consent of the guardian (or in his absence, or unjust refusal, the qadi); (2) the consent of the man and the woman; (3) the agreed-upon dower (mahr); (4) two Muslim witnesses of good character (shahiday adl); (5) an `offer and immediate acceptance' (ijab wa-qubul) using the word `marriage' or `wedding'
. Practices which are sunna but not obligatory are:
(1) the engagement proposal (khitba) made earlier to the guardian or in his presence; (2) the religious speech (khutba) before the marriage; (3) the bride and groom should see each other and learn about each other before consent is given; (4) friends and relations should attend the ceremony; (5) the couple should intend `upholding the Sunna, preserving modesty and seeking offspring'; (6) the ceremony should ideally take place in the local mosque and during the month of Shawwal.

CONDITIONS (shurut)

When a man marries a woman he takes upon himself certain conditions as duties, of which the Shari'a specifically mentions kindness, financial maintenance, clothing, sex and accommodation, all in accordance with the woman's background and normal expectations. If he fails to comply, he is sinning and the wife can take him to an Islamic judge to force him to mend his ways. If she lays down additional conditions for her marriage before the actual ceremony takes place, he must honour these also, as long as they do not invalidate any Islamic principle. According to the madhhab of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the bride can make it a legal condition of the marriage that the husband will not take a second wife. (Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim, IX, 202.)
`The condition most deserving to be honoured is that through which you make private parts halal for you. (Hadith in Muslim.)
CONDOM. If you are using these as your only method of contraception, remember that they easily split, burst or slip off, and there is quite a high rate of accidents. If you really don t wish to conceive, use a spermicide as well, or some other halal contraceptive.

COITUS INTERRUPTUS

Some people use azl - `coitus interruptus' (the male withdrawing from the female just short of climax) as a form of birth control. It is very unreliable. The Blessed Prophet allowed it as a method of contraception, but only with the wife's permission.
Some men practised it when their wives were suckling children, so as not to risk impregnating them again to the detriment of the baby. Others used to practise it when their wives were pregnant, superstitiously fearing to harm the unborn child (in fact, there is no evidence that sex during pregnancy is dangerous). Usama narrated that a man once came to the Prophet (s) and said: `O Messenger of God, I withdraw from my wife during sexual intercourse.' The Prophet (s) asked why, and he said that it was that he might not harm the child. The Prophet (s) replied: If there was any truth about harming the child, the people of Persia and Byzantium would suffer the same harm.' (Muslim.)
The Caliph Umar said it should never be done without the wife's permission; and the scholars hold that this applies to all forms of contraception.

CLEANLINESS

This is one of the basic aspects of Islam, and has been likened to half the faith. (Hadith in Ibn Hanbal.) It is certainly vital to marriage,The Blessed Prophet recommended ten things as being part of the fitra:
`Cutting the hair close on the lips, letting the beard grow, using the miswak for the teeth, cleaning out the nose, paring the nails, washing out the base of the fingers, removal of the hair in the armpits and pubic areas, washing the affected parts after a call of nature, and the rinsing of the mouth.' (Muslim.)
Some people need reminding of the obvious point of adab that not all of these cleansing activities should be done in public. People who have shaved off a large amount of hair in the bath or shower should remember that it can clog the drains. The Prophet's preferred method of disposal of haircutting's and nail parings was burning or burial, since these are part of the human body, and should not be discarded with ordinary filth and rubbish. See also `Washing' below.

ARRANGED MARRIAGE

A good thing if all parties are happy with the match. It is not permissible in Shari'a for a woman to be married against her will.
A'isha, may Allah be pleased with her, once asked the Prophet (s) whether a family who wished to marry off a young girl should ask her permission, and he said: Yes, her permission should be sought.' (Muslim.)
Imam Nawawi:
`The woman has a right over herself concerning marriage, and her guardian has a right over her concerning marriage; but her right takes precedence over his. If he wishes to marry her to someone of a proper background, and she refuses, then she cannot be compelled; while if she wishes to marry someone who has a proper background, and her guardian refuses, he will be compelled to submit to her wishes; and if he persists in his refusal, the qadi is authorised to give her away in marriage in his stead.'

ANAL INTERCOURSE

Some people find this gratifying, although most women do not, and are grateful that the Prophet (s) spoke out strongly against it. Abu Hurayra reported that he said:
`Do not approach women from the anus.' (Tirmidhi.)
`Allah will not look at the face of he who has committed sodomy with his wife.' (Ibn Maja.)
This practice still seems to be quite common in some societies, and is a very traumatic thing for a woman to be forced to submit to. It has been used as a method of contraception, of not spoiling a girl's virginity, or as a novel method of intercourse in a tighter `channel' than the vagina. According to the Hanbali scholar Ibn alQayyim:
`It is the right of the wife that her husband should have natural sexual relations with her. By committing sodomy he deprives her of her right, and also fails to satisfy her sexual desire ... She was not created for this dirty act. Hence all those who avoid the natural course and indulge in unnatural means have ignored the wisdom of Allah and His Shari'a.' (Ibn al-Qayyim, Zad al-Ma'ad)
Incidentally, it should be made clear than when the Prophet (s) sanctioned `intercourse from behind', he did not mean anal intercourse, but vaginal intercourse from behind. But there is nothing wrong with enjoying the areas nearby. Imam Zabidi says: `To enjoy the backside without entering the rectum is permissible, because with that exception, all parts of a woman's body may be enjoyed by the husband.' (Ithaf al-Sada al-Muttaqin, V 331.)

Marriage AGE

It is generally best if the husband is older than his bride, because women seem to mature more quickly, and also because he will be better able to support her financially.
As far as the sex drive goes, this diminishes far less quickly with age than is commonly imagined. Sexual activity will continue well into the sixties and even seventies, provided that the couple have developed an active and varied sex life from early marriage, and have taken steps to avoid getting bored.

ABSTINENCE

Sometimes a couple decides to live without sex for a period of time. This is not generally advisable in a marriage, because if can lead to a range of inhibitions and problems. If both parties wish to rest from sex, then that is their business. Both partners have to agree, of course, as the Shari'a forbids either to renounce sex without the other's permission. There is a danger, however, that marital relations may not start up again, and the man and wife may be attracted to others. Islam is alert to the need to prevent adultery, and therefore sees abstinence as encouraging a temptation that is unnecessary.
`Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire hardship for you.' (Quran, 2:185)
There is a hadith of Salman al-Farisi to Abu'1-Darda', whose wife had begun to neglect herself because she was so depressed by her husband's lack of care for her: `Allah has rights over you, and so do your wife and children. So try to fulfill all these rights. The fulfillment of one duty should not cause the negligence of others.' When the Prophet (s) was informed about this, he said that Salman was right. (Bukhari.)

Shadi In Islam

`The quest for knowledge is every Muslim's duty.' (Hadith from Ibn Maja)
`You will not have faith until you love one another.' (Hadith from Muslim)

ABANDONMENT. A major sin. Imam al-Ghazali records: `It is related that if a man runs away from his family, Allah will not accept his prayer or his fasting until he returns home.'
ABORTION. The Prophet (s) believed that every conceived child had a right to life, and there are strong Quranic ayats against the killing of children. `Do not slay your children for fear of poverty. We provide for you and for them.' (6:151)
Every human being has a living soul, and should be loved, respected, and have his or her proper place in a family. Muslim jurists are of the unanimous view that after the foetus has been given a soul by Allah, it is forbidden to kill it. An unborn child has legal rights, depending whether it was formed and showing signs of independent life. If it was, and if someone hurt a pregnant woman and she miscarried, full diya (blood compensation) has to be paid, just as for an adult person. A foetus can also inherit. The janaza prayer is performed for a `formed' foetus, and it is given a name. If the foetus is not `formed', janaza is prohibited.
The majority of jurists are of the opinion that the soul does not enter the body of the unborn baby until the time it is `ensouled' (nafh al-ruh), which is in the sixteenth week of pregnancy; and if an abortion is absolutely necessary, it has to be performed before that time. The Hanafis permit abortion until the end of the fourth month. Others, particularly the Maliki scholars, feel that the matter of when the soul enters the foetus is unproven, and therefore prohibit abortion absolutely.
The Hanafis grant women the right to an abortion even without the man's permission, but urge that this not be done without genuine and pressing reasons.
After `ensoulment', abortion is only allowed if the pregnancy will endanger the mother's life, the principle being that the real life of the mother takes precedence over the potential life of the unborn child.
A casual attitude to abortion has developed in a few countries, where it is often used routinely whenever contraception fails, but it is now increasingly realised that many women who have abortions in order to solve one problem end up with psychological problems later on as the result of the guilt and sadness of destroying their unborn child.

Shadi Ki Pehli Raat In Islam

Please Dont give wrong information
Answering your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

1. Sexual intercourse
There is nothing in the Islamic sources to indicate that it is necessary for the couple to have sex on the very first night (shadi ki pehli raat) of the marriage. It is up to the couple to decide when to have intercourse, so long as they do it through consensual agreement and they stay clear of the prohibited practices mentioned below:

1. Sexual intercourse is not permitted while the woman is experiencing her menstrual period. They must wait until she has completed the period and has purified herself through ghusl (major ablution involving complete bathing). Allah says, "do not approach women (while they are menstruating) until they have purified themselves." (Al-Baqarah: 222). However, everything other than sexual intercourse is perfectly permissible during the period.

2. Anal intercourse is strictly forbidden; sexual intercourse must be done only in the vagina, while there are no restrictions in regards to other forms of sexual satisfaction, so long as they are done consensually.

3. If they are resorting to family planning on a temporary basis, it must be done consensually, not unilaterally.

4. Sexual intercourse is not permissible while one is fasting during the month of Ramadan. It is also forbidden while one is in a state of ihram (consecration for Hajj or `Umrah).

Furthermore, Islam teaches the couple to be gentle in their approach towards one another, and to make the sexual act as deeply fulfilling as possible, emotionally, physically and spiritually.