8 Tips on Seeking a Spouse
by Siddiqua Hassan Haswarey
Perfection is an attribute of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) alone and there is no such thing as a perfect companion, at least not in the way we perceive perfection in a companion, simply because we as humans are not perfect. Each of us has defects or drawbacks, but the beauty of Allah's creation is such that, each of us also has something that makes us unique. Fix your priorities on what you exactly seek in a spouse, as a Muslim. To simplify the long search, write down all of your priorities on paper and number them as to what comes first for you and what comes last. Also, make a separate list of the points that you are willing to compromise with in a spouse and those that you are not willing to over look. This way you will be better focused in your search for a life-long companion.
1. Istikharah Prayer
If you wish assistance from Allah, then you have to ASK of him and He (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) has promised to answer.
Remember the hadith of Rasullallah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) - Narrated by Abu Hurayrah (radhi Allahu anhu): The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said, "A woman is married for four things: her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. So you should marry the religious woman (otherwise) you will be a loser." (Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith)
Deen alone cannot certify the character or good nature of a person, but fear of Allah can prospect an awareness of the consequences of one's actions in the sight of Allah. There are some individuals who can be the best of Muslims outwardly, but are lacking in their character inwardly and then, there are those that are of good character but may not be from amongst those that wake up each night for tahajjud. I personally cannot be the judge of who is a better Muslim than whom, that would be something that you will have to personally analyze, but be sure not to be blinded by outward appearances.
3. Emotional Independence
This goes in particular for the women. If the man you are interested in has someone else making his life decisions (his parents, for example) you may want to address this issue directly before moving on. A man being the leader of the household has to have the emotional capability to make his own life decisions without worrying about what everyone else is thinking but rather worrying about what will be best for the family. After all, it will be he who will lead the family not everyone else.
Narrated by Abud Darda': The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: There is nothing heavier than good character put in the scale of a believer on the Day of Resurrection. (Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith)
Narrated by Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin: The Apostle of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: By his good character a believer will attain the degree of one who prays during the night and fasts during the day. (Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith)
Character can go a long way in raising a happy family, especially a just character, like the character of Rasullallah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam). Of course, there is no human alive who can come close to his character, but certain aspects are very basic and crucial for a happy marriage. For example, being just in one's dealings is a sure sign of good character. Bad temper is not. An individual has to be able to make a decision more practically than emotionally. A sense of justice and other basic behaviors like consideration and kindness are important for a healthy, loving and successful marriage.
5. Financial Independence
A person does not have to be rich to be a prospective spouse, but if you are particular about your lifestyle or living a certain way, you should talk about these details initially. In fact, even if you are not particular about the kind of life you intend to live, talk about where each of you sees your life ten years down the line. That way you'll know what to expect or at least understand how each of you sees your lives in the future.
Narrated by Umar bin Al Khattab: Allah's Apostle (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said, "The reward of deeds depends upon the intention and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for Allah and His Apostle, then his emigration was for Allah and His Apostle. And whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for." (Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith)
A very basic factor in any action - If you notice any form of duplicity in your potential spouse, talk about it, don't ignore these minor details and presume them to be insignificant. Bringing minor details out in the open initially can help you gauge what kind of a person he or she really is, in turn how sincere he or she is. The end result of all of our actions are also a result of what we intended by those actions.
You have to be able to tolerate each other, be able to live together each day for the next 20 or 30 years of your lives in the same house. A marriage lasts for a very long time, at least that is what most of us intend, but if you cannot even tolerate or feel a sense of affinity to your spouse, a marriage is definitely not going to work.
8. Physical Attraction
Narrated by Abu Hurayrah: I was in the company of Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) when there came a man and informed him that he had contracted to marry a woman of the Ansaar. Thereupon Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: "Did you cast a glance at her?" He said: No. He said: "Go and cast a glance at her, for there is something in the eyes of the Ansaar." (Sahih Muslim Hadith)
Last but most certainly not the least - there has to be some sort of physical attraction between the couple for a marriage to work. If you are particular about beauty, then be sure to mention it as a factor. It is better to be honest at that time than to be dubious and unjust later on in the marriage. Do not, however, be blinded by the beauty of a person so much so that you forego the other factors you seek in a spouse. Beauty does not last; it is as ephemeral as this dunya.
No matter how hard we try as individuals to look for that perfect mate, we will never be successful. "Perfection," like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. It is important for us to remember, that if we have our priorities set right as Muslims first, keeping in mind the long-term consequences of each of our actions, everything will work out just fine, InshaAllah!
The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence. Sometimes we look so for what we do not have or possess that in the process we overlook the real treasures around us. The way this life works, or rather the way Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) has designed this dunya to work, is such that each of our lives are directly or indirectly related to each other. Certain bad experiences in our lives may actually be the very catalysts that spurred us to become better Muslims, opening up our hearts and minds towards our creator. Being able to see our role in this dunya will help us set our priorities in our lives as a whole.
This list is to be only as additional help in the search for a spouse. Most people have more specifications or less. Making a flexible list will ease the search.
May Allah bless you and your companions and family.
O Allah! Make all of our deeds righteous and make them purely for Your Sake, and do not let there be any share for anyone or anything else in them. O Allah! Turner of Hearts! Keep our hearts steadfast on Your religion. Aameen. Allahumma Aameen.
Subhanaka `Allahumma wa bihamdika, wa `ash-hadu `an laa `Illaaha `illaa `anta, `astaghfiruka wa `atoobu `ilayka. (Glorified are You O' Allah and I am in Your praise, I testify that there is no deity except You, I ask Your forgiveness and repent unto You).
Siddiqua Hassan Haswarey