Covenant or Contract?

Young girls will dream of love and marriage, thinking of the handsome man they will marry and the happy life they will have together.

For the Christian, marriage is a covenant, a promise that also involves God in the relationship.

It is clear that God not only approves of marriage between a man and woman, He promotes it as a part of His plan for His children. In Hebrews 13:4, God states that “Marriage is honorable.”

In Mark 10:6-8, Jesus teaches that “from the beginning of creation ‘God made them male and female.’” He then declared a beautiful truth of the marriage covenant, “For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh.” 

In a Christian wedding, the man and the woman stand together as equals and apart from their families. There is no dowry negotiated for the bride. At their wedding ceremony, the bride and groom `make a vow to be loyal, to love, honor, and cherish one another. It is a sacred covenant between the two before God.

Is a marriage ceremony the same in for a Muslim couple?

For a Muslim couple the marriage is different. In Islam, marriage is a contract that is much different than a Christian marriage covenant. For a woman to pick a mate in a gender-segregated, Sharia-ruled society is nearly impossible. Dating does not take place and in most families, she always has to be concerned with her reputation and honor. Above all, she must protect her virginity, which is the very focus of Muslim society. Although some families may allow their daughter to say “yes” or “no” to their choice, she does not pick the marriage partner. They are told never to question the way the marriage partner is chosen because “it is Allah’s law.”

The Sharia wedding is a legal and financial contract between one man and one woman, but not a covenant with God. The marriage contract is signed at the bride’s home. She waits in a separate room while the groom, her father, and the male relatives sit with the government official who performs marriages. The contract is then taken to the bride for her signature. It is essentially a document granting intercourse rights to the male and giving him control over his wife. For the husband to give a vow of loyalty to the wife is not expected or required. She is now considered his possession.  

Love between them may be a factor, but that is not the consideration for their relationship. As they enter their marriage, she realizes that if her husband is not satisfied with her, she has no rights. According to Sharia, Qur’an sura 4:3 declares he can have up to four wives. In sura 66:5 she is told she does not have any right to divorce her husband. However, he can divorce her simply by a spoken pronouncement. If he divorces her, he will have legal custody of their children. Her life is one of uncertainty, with no assurance of her future.

PRAYER POINTS

  • Every Muslim woman is loved by God. Ask the Lord to give them an understanding of their value as a woman, providing opportunities for her to learn that she is fully accepted through Jesus Christ.
  • During this time of Ramadan, she is more sensitive to spiritual things. Pray she will be drawn to the Internet or an outside source to read the New Testament in her native language where she can fully meet the God of love!

One Comment on “Covenant or Contract?

  1. You are doing a great job with the best current news. The articles are so readable and just long enough.

    Sent from my iPhone

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