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According to Islam, marriage is encouraged: It provides companionship and protects both men and women from immoral behavior. In fact, according to the Quran, it is better for a man to be married than to be celibate. Poverty is not a reason to avoid marriage in Islam, but there are circumstances in which it is not a good idea to marry. A couple's being in love, however, is not one of the reasons.
Love and Marriage
It's good for a couple to be in love. The Quran makes it very clear that sex between a married couple is not only for procreation, but for pleasure also. In fact, according to Islam, if a man and a woman love each other and are attracted to each other, they should marry so they do not do anything immoral. However, their love should be based on mutual respect and goals, and not on infatuation and lust: Marriages based on lust will not likely last.
Marrying for love is believed to be only a positive thing if the couple did not engage in any illicit sexual behavior prior to the marriage -- including kissing. According to Islam, a man and woman should not even be alone together unless they are married. Even if the couple truly loves each other, the fact that they have committed such sins means that they are building their future on unstable ground -- because of their actions, they will receive fewer blessings on their marriage. So, marrying for love is good, but only if the couple has been pure in their actions prior to the marriage.
The Parents' Role
Muslim parents are generally more involved in their children's love lives than are non-Muslims or those from modern Western families. It is considered parents' responsibility to make sure their son or daughter sees what is compatible about the other person and what is not compatible. If there is a difference in religion, the marriage will be strongly discouraged. Beauty, social standing and wealth are all considered when looking at a potential match, but they do not matter nearly as much as the religious practices of the future bride or groom. It is the parents' job to stand in the gap for their children and ensure that the match will be a good one.
Arranged marriages are allowed in Islam, but forced marriages are not. The practice of arranging marriage for social or political gain is common but severely discouraged in modern times. Instead, an arranged marriage is only allowed if both parties agree to it, and often, the bride and groom will be asked separately if they truly agree to the marriage -- giving them a chance to back out if necessary. If the question is answered with silence, that is considered to be consent. The bride or groom must actually say the word "no" for the marriage ceremony to be halted.
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