Islam recognizes value of sex and advocates marriage. Islam does not believe in celibacy. The Prophet of Islam has said, “Marriage is my Sunnah (that is recommended action of the Prophet) and whoever does not follow my Sunnah is not my true follower.” (Ibn Haiah, Babun Nikah)
Allah has commanded the Muslims to marry:
“And marry those among you who are single….” (24:33)
In Islam, marriage is essentially a contract. However, the distinction between sacred and secular was never explicit in Islam. Any action or transaction in Islam has religious implications. It is not quite accurate, therefore, to designate marriage in Islam simply as a secular contract. The appropriate designation of marriage could be a “Divine Institution”.
For a valid marriage, the following conditions must be satisfied:
There must be a clear proposal.
There must be a clear acceptance.
There must be at least two competent witnesses. This is necessary to exclude illicit sex and to safeguard legitimacy of progeny. It is recommended that marriage should be widely publicized.
There must be a marriage gift, little or more, by the bridegroom to the bride.
Dowry or marriage gift by bridegroom to the bride is a symbolic expression of the groom’s cognizance of the economic responsibilities of marriage and of his readiness to assume all such responsibilities subsequent to marriage. Dowry is not any price paid either to wife or family of the wife. The general principle is that dowry should be estimated according to the circumstances with emphasis on moderation. The Prophet (Sm) is reported to have said that the most blessed marriage is that which is least costly and most easy