Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What Qualities to look for in a Partner for Marriage

A really nice read. This was shared on FB. Really long :) but worth it. One of my most annoying (in a great way) cousins got engaged today :). Hope Allah Taála Blesses her marriage and gives her a real happy life Ameen. The full article can be found at the link below...

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Qualities to Look for in a Spouse
The importance of specific qualities in a spouse and that some of those qualities are much more important than others.

Importance of the Topic

The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) taught us in many hadith about the various characteristics which one looks for in a spouse and their relative importance and which ones determine success insha Allah and Allah's blessing on a marriage. Among those hadith:

"Inna al-mar'ata tunkahu lideeniha wa maaliha wa jamaaliha fa 'alaika bi dhaati ad-deeni taribat yadaaka."
"A woman is married for her deen, her wealth or her beauty. You must go for the one with deen, may your hands be in the dust! (if you fail to heed)" Muslim


In the following sections, we will discuss insha Allah, some of the most important characteristics that can be found in the Qur'an and the sunnah when it come to choosing a good spouse.

Religion
In the previous hadith, the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) mentioned various characteristics that people, by their nature and custom, look for in a spouse. He did not advocate any of them, but merely stated them as facts of human nature except for the issue of "deen", i.e., a prospective spouses piety and practice of Islam - their fulfilling of the wajib and their avoidance of the haraam. We must be careful not to be superficial in this issue. The mere wearing of hijab or keeping a beard and praying in the masjid, while obvious requirements of piety, do not by themselves guarantee it.

Character and Behavior
In the previous hadith addressed to those in charge of the marital affairs of Muslim women and girls, the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) commanded them to facilitate their marriage when they are satisfied with two issues: the faith of the suitor and his character. Therefore, the prospective spouses must ask and find out about the other person's behavior and manners. As a sign also, one may look at the other person's family's manners and behavior and many times (but not always) the behavior of people of the same family are similar. In other words, some characteristics tend to run in some families whether they be good or bad characters such as anger, politeness, stinginess, generosity, lying, truthfulness and so forth.


Beauty
This characteristic has a certain role to play since one of the purposes of marriage is to keep both spouses from sins. The best way to do this is to have a strong attraction between the spouses. Although this is something which surely grows over time, initial impressions can in some cases become an obstacle to a successful marriage. Beauty has its role, but remember that it is way down on the priority list under piety, character and deen. When a person puts beauty above all else, the results can be disastrous. This is one of the big reasons that young people seeking to get married must be helped by more mature family members in making their choice.

Looking at a Prospective Spouse
As we have seen, the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) encouraged men considering marriage to a particular woman to get a look at her. He (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said in another hadith:

"Idhaa khataba ahadukum al-mar'ata fa'in istataa'a an yandhura minha ilaa ma yad'oohu ilaa nikaahihaa falyaf'al."
"If one of you proposes to a woman and if he is able to look at of her that which motivates him to marry her, let him do so."
Abu Daud & others (hassan)

Note that this hadith does not abrogate the limits of what a woman may expose to non-mahaarim. She must continue to be well covered except for her face and hands in front of all of them and the prospective husband, even if he has proposed, is no exception to this.If a man and a woman decide that they want to marry each other, this does not make it allowed for them to continue to see each other. Just the opposite, since the decision has been made there is no longer any need for them to see each other and they are no longer allowed to do so. This is because until the moment the offer and acceptance of the marriage have been pronounced, there is no relationship of any kind between them and all of the laws regarding strange men and women still apply to them.


Being Alone With (Khalwa) a Prospective Spouse and Other Questions
Can a Man be Alone with His "Fiancee"?
Again, no matter what words, promises, commitments, etc. have passed between the parties, until the marriage contract has been transacted and a man and woman are actually married, there is no relationship at all between them and they are to each other as any other strange man and woman. The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) has forbidden for a man and a woman to be alone together. This ruling applies to a "fiancee" just as much as it applies to any other unrelated man and woman. One of the hadith which make this clear is:

"Laa yakhluwanna rajulun bi imra'atin illa ma'a dhiy mahram."
"A man cannot be alone with a woman except along with a male relative [of hers]." Bukhari & Muslim


Phone Calls
All the scholars have pointed out that it is not proper or acceptable for "fiancees" to be alone together or to have numerous encounters for the purpose of "getting to know each other". In fact, this is a horrible innovation that has spread among the Muslims. It must always be remembered that until they are married, they are like any other unrelated men and women to each other and their actions must reflect that fact.

Obviously, it is not allowed to be alone with, have telephone conversations or internet "chats" with unrelated men or women in order to "get to know each other". Those intending marriage but as yet unmarried are in the exact same position.

14 comments:

Ahmar said...

hmm...too long, din't read it so far :P...
but I noticed you have underlined some lines, was it so in the original text (I din't click) or you did it selectively..?

Uni said...

I am thinking of editing it to include only the important points now :) It really is too long. The underlined portion is a reminder - to me first, and then to the rest - because I had thought that 'getting to know each other' is permitted, if the intention is right. But it seems, that it isn't so.

Hence, yes I did that selectively.

Thanks for dropping by!

Ahmar said...

hey, maybe you shouldn't remove it, keep it as it is since others may find it all relevant...What you can instead do is write an adbridged version in a different color or something for the lazys :P

Uni said...

Well it is really long :), so I will give it a try to make it readable. Do read it then and see, whether its readable or not now. IA

Ahmar said...

Do read it then and see, whether its readable or not now.
now? did you edit it ? It looks like the same, isn't?
In any case, I am sure, people do read it (those who are good at reading online)....

Uni said...

I just did. Took me a while though!

Ahmar said...


"If one of you proposes to a woman and if he is able to look at of her that which motivates him to marry her, let him do so." Abu Daud & others (hassan)

Hmm....
does that mean that if I see a girl and like her and want to propose to her, I can ask her to come in front (with the Hijab of course) again if that motivates me to propose? (did I understood this correctly?)

Uni said...

Um, I'm no scholar. But my opinion is that when a person intends to marry somebody, and he has heard about the attributes/characteristics (from his family, which mostly happens in the arranged marriage process), and he has NOT seen her... then he may request a face-to-face meeting, and that is his haque...

So if this meeting is bound to motivate him for marriage, then he should have it, and nobody should deny it.

Hope this is clarified.

Ahmar said...

hmmm...I thought that the wordings refer to more like seeing something again that you like about somebody..doesn't that imply that?
(of course the subsequent explanation said that the woman has to be well covered even then ofcourse)

Uni said...

Well, as I said :D.. Im no scholar. If I agree to your interpretation, then it brings to mind, stuff like:

-- Guy/Girl having met before/talked etc, and then guy proposes, and even if they know each other pretty well, and seen her also, he demands 'meetings' after 'meetings'

Thats why it seems more pertinent to assume that the girl/guy do NOT know each other and thus the meeting after the families approve.

Allah Knows best, though.

Ahmar said...

and then guy proposes, and even if they know each other pretty well, and seen her also, he demands 'meetings' after 'meetings'
Well, ya this is one end of the spectrum...the other would be to say that the guy has no right to ask for meeting or seeing...khair, i was more like refering to e-kind stuff (e.g. pictures/videos), not meeting after meetings really..

Uni said...

Well then... I really can't say. The best course of action is to refer to either responsible elders, or a good scholar for some valid answers.

Because as far as I know, pictures are sent from girls' families etc, and then meetings take place. But if you're talking about online kinda setting, then the scenario is that they both know and/or seen each other etc... Thus it seems a lil weird for further exchange of pictures or something.

Confusing !!

Ahmar said...

nah ok, no problem..
Actually, But if you're talking about online kinda setting, then the scenario is that they both know and/or seen each other etc... Thus it seems a lil weird for further exchange of pictures or something.


is a valid point...But I was talking in the light of the words which kinda implied that if you like something about somebody and if that motivates you, then let him do so...
anyway, thanks for the explanations...
Jazaka'Allah khair..

Uni said...

No prob!