In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.
Kitāb An-Nikāh [The Book of Marriage]
Comments of the Shaikh, the ‘Allāmah, Sālih Al-Fawzān:
The term Nikāh in the language is Ikhtilāt, to mix two things together. It is the well-known contract or covenant that takes place between a man and woman that is referred to as a Nikāh and a union because of the fact that it is mentioned in the Qur’an.
Nikāh can also refer to al-wat’u (i.e. sexual relations) because the covenant between a man and a woman permits sexual intercourse. Nevertheless, in both the language and in general usage the term Nikāh refers to a covenant (of marriage). Allah, the Most High, stated:
“And do not consummate the contract of Nikāh (‘uqdatun-nikaah) until the waiting period prescribed is fulfilled.” [al-Baqarah: 235]
Also the Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “A person in Ihrām (for Hajj or Umrah) cannot make a nikāh, nor can he marry someone off, nor can he propose.” [Reported by Muslim, 1409] So the intent here by Nikāh is a covenant. So a person in Ihram cannot contract marriage, not for himself and not for others.
The subject of marriage in Islam is a mighty affair – Allah ordained it and commanded it. The Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) commanded with it due to what it contains from benefits such as the building of a family, and mutual benefits of the union between a husband and wife – and morality and chastity; and controlling the eyes from gazing and straying; and preserving the lineage and the continuation of it.
So marriage in Islam is a mighty institution upon which are established tremendously important benefits that are not hidden. So the Nikāh is a mighty covenant without any doubt, encompassing benefits for the husband and wife, for the family and for the Ummah. These benefits between the couple bring about harmony, companionship, and tranquility in living together and by that, the fulfillment of sexual desires, preservation of the private parts, and lowering of the gaze, as is mentioned in the narration to come. So by the Nikāh, the family is built, a continuation of lineage and offspring, which in turn strengthens the Muslim society and community. There is in marriage cooperation between the spouses comes about in the affairs of life. So the husband works hard, expending his efforts and spending upon his wife and family. And the wife looks after the affairs of the house – so each of them performs a duty not performed by the other. They produce offspring by way of whom Allah benefits the parents and the Ummah – so in that their are huge benefits. For this very reason, marriage is mentioned in various places throughout the Qur’an and Allah encourages with it:
“So marry women of your choice, two, three or four, but if you fear that you will not be able to deal justly with them, then marry only one. Or with the captives you possess.” [An-Nisaa: 3]
“And marry those amongst you who are single, and the righteous of your male and female servants. If they be poor, Allaah will enrich them out of His bounty.” [an-Noor: 32]
Adapted from volume 4, page 303-304: Title: Kitābun-Nikāh (The Book of Marriage) from Shaikh Sālih al-Fawzān’s explanation of Bulūgh Al-Marām min Adillatil-Ahkām of Al-Hāfidh Ahmad Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Hajr Al-Asqalāni (born 773H, died 852H), entitled Tas-heel al-Ilmām bi-fiqhil-Ahādeeth min Bulūghil-Marām and is printed in seven volumes.