Quran is unique in presenting many cosmic and social phenomena in a general and universal manner. In doing so, Quran addresses them at the highest level of knowledge and understanding.
Creation in pairs is another universal phenomenon: “And of everything We have created pairs: that you may remember.” [51:49]. “Glory to Allah, who created in pairs all things that the earth produces, as well as their own selves and things of which they have no knowledge.” [36:36].
The mystery of pairs runs through all creation- in humans, in the animal kingdom, in plants and also in the inanimate environment.
It is interesting to know that the Islamic culture and experience generated and crafted a new terminology for marriage: Qiran. Originally, it is a terminology used in astronomy to refer to two stars getting closer to each other but continue to swim freely, each in its orbit. Similarly, in human marriage or “qiran” each spouse must remain in his or her orbit despite the close relationship between them. Listen to the advice of Gibran Khalil Gibran to the newlywed: ‘Love each other, but do not confine your love with chains. Let love be a moving ocean between the shores of you. Stand up together, but do not get too close; because the two pillars of the temple stand up separately, and the oak tree and the cypress tree each one does not grow in the shade of its kind.’
Why is it important for humans to recognize the phenomenon of creation in pairs in the Universe? This phenomenon is not only essential for life but for the quality of life. Let us see how Quran relates this phenomenon to “bahjah” or beauty and happiness: “And you see the earth barren and lifeless, but when We pour down rain on it, it is stirred to life, it swells, and it puts forth every kind of beautiful growth in pairs.” [22:5].
Let us see how Quran connects between this phenomenon and “karam” and “karamah” or generosity and dignity: “We send down rain from the sky and produce on the earth every kind of noble creature in pairs.” [31:10].
As humans interact and interrogate the Universe and establish a dialogue with its different elements and phenomena, they learn from it the quality and the attributes of the environment that gives the best fruits and results in their institution of marriage. The pairs who realize the qualities of beauty, happiness, nobility, dignity, and generosity in their marriage are the closest to the mandate of Allah and His Prophets.
Are there other qualities of the institution of marriage that are necessary for its success? “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 you.” [30:21].
Allah created humans from one self, and from that one self, He created Adam and his mate like the cell dividing to give two similar cells but of different genders. One is from the other, “You are one from another.” [3:195]. Consequently, each one needs the other to re-establish the condition of one self in its original state of balance and equilibrium, “By every human self, and the proportion and balance given to it.” [91:7]. Quran also calls this “sukun”, tranquility or calmness that follows the movement. This “sukun” does not mean total absence of movement but a static form of movement similar to what we see in chemical reactions: a state of balance where the speed in one direction equals that in the other direction. The picture seems to be apparently immobile. Each pair of husband and wife seeks that level of balance after a long day of movement, each one in his or her realm. In other words, spouses are in constant movement between each other searching for a relationship that is devoid of injustice, discrimination, bias, or looking down at the other as inferior. The “sukun” is maintained and preserved by “mawadda”, the highest level of love, and this love is protected by mercy, “rahma”: Unconditional love that transcends temporary infatuation, and accompanied by mutual forgiveness, respect, dignified dialogue, and kind treatment.
Marriage is an institution based on the principle and phenomenon of “zawjia” or creation in pairs. Love and mercy, justice and balance, kindness and forgiveness, humility and dignified dialogue constitute the environment for this institution to grow and succeed.
By Walid Khayr