The Half-empty Glass: Marriage and Regard for Allah

In the Spirit of the Gracious and Compassionate
Creator of the Heavens and the Earth

Lester A. Knibbs aka Doctor Hakeem

Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said, “When a man marries he has fulfilled half of the religion, so let him fear God regarding the remaining half.” (From Sayings of Prophet Muhammad, compiled by Ghazi Ahmad.)

Being one of those who suffers from the lack of marriage — the lack of companionship, of children, of family relations, of the economic benefits, and so forth — I feel oppressed by the constant misrepresentation of what the Prophet said. Prophet Muhammad did not say that marriage is half of our deen — “religion” is a bad translation for this word, and no other word will convey the proper meaning (the expression “way of life” comes closer) — other than in the sense that when a man marries his glass is half empty. This meaning is clear if you repeat the quotation in its entirety, and not just part of it. But, the proper meaning becomes clearer when we consider it in the light of the Qur’an.

Nowhere in the Qur’an is it said that a man who does not marry will not enter paradise and be doomed to hell-fire. Nowhere in the Qur’an is it said that a man who does marry will surely enter paradise and surely be saved from hell-fire.

But, from one end of the Qur’an to the other, it is made clear that a man who lacks the proper regard for Allah — who lacks taqwa (a term whose meaning is not properly conveyed by “fear of Allah”) — is on the road to hell-fire.

There is another saying attributed to the Prophet: “Part of the good of one’s surrender (islaam) to Allah is leaving alone what does not concern him.”

None of the Muslims that I know were acquainted with me during the first 30 years of my life. I may have excellent reasons for not being married. Your obligations are to acknowledge that Allah knows everything and that you do not know, to acknowledge that Allah is the judge and that you are not the judge, and to treat me like your brother.

As the Prophet is reported to have said: “When you see your brother doing something good, help him.” I have been doing good things for sixty-five years. Are you helping me? That would be taqwa.

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2 Responses to The Half-empty Glass: Marriage and Regard for Allah

  1. Rashad Abdul-Rahmaan says:

    As-Salaam Alaikum,

    • Administrator says:

      Wa-alaikum as-Salaam.

      Thanks for your encouraging words, Rashad. Please share your thoughts on my writings with others and encourage my African American Muslim Brothers, in particular, to share their responses (pro and con) with me. I find honest and supportive — by “supportive” I do not mean agreeing with whatever I write, but constructive criticism as well as agreement — very helpful to me personally. I am not, as Allah is, self-sufficient. I feel very much alone, because my Brothers are not communicating with me. It makes me more than a bit cranky at times.

      Thank you, Rashad, for being my good friend for so many years. May Allah continue to bless you and increase your blessings.

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