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“And of His signs is that He created you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them, and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (Q30:21)
The religion of Islam attaches great importance to marriage and marital life of a human. It is believed that progress and development in every aspect of our live roots in how our family is formed. Hence, choosing a spouse should not be taken lightly, nor left to chance. Rather, a spouse should be chosen in accordance to the Islamic guidelines.
The first criterion to consider when choosing a spouse is faithfulness and righteousness. Whoever you are choosing as your spouse should have a firm belief in Allah and the principles of Islam. A relationship without primary, common goal of religiosity is, perhaps of no value. A person who has no religion is worthless! This is the reason Islam strongly recommends marriage between believing men and women and forbids marriage to idolaters and atheists.
Allah says in the Quran:
“And do not marry polytheistic women until they believe (worship and obey Allah alone). And a believing slave woman is better than a polytheist, even though she might please you. And do not marry polytheistic men [to your women] until they believe. And a believing slave is better than a polytheist, even though he might please you…” (Q2:221)
This is the cornerstone of a successful relationship.
Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “A woman is married for four things, i.e., her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. So you should marry the religious woman (otherwise) you will be losers.” (Bukhari)
The next essential feature to evaluate in the person you are willing to choose is good moral characters – that is, his/her modesty, chastity, forbearance, politeness, generosity, good speaking manner, and contentment…Islam encourages us to select a loving and caring partner. Do not choose blindly; remember that whoever you are choosing is meant to be clothing and a source of tranquillity for you.
“They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them…” (Q2:187)
“And of His signs is that He created you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy…” (Q30:21)
With these aforementioned qualities, you both will be able to protect, beautify, comfort, defend and complement each other in the future.
Furthermore, a family is the foundation of every relationship. A righteous family produces righteous children. Therefore, a family cannot be neglected. You need to consider the nobility of the family you are choosing from. The nobility I am talking about here is not social status or fame, but rather, piety, chastity, and modesty of the family.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was reported to have said:
“Mary in the lap of a decent family, since semen and genes have effect.” (Makarimul Akhlaq, vol. 1, p.432)
If fortunately, the person you wish to choose to fulfill the conditions discussed above, then observe Salatul-Istikhara (prayer for guidance) seek Allah’s help before making the final decision.
In addition, the young couple should also consider premarital counseling. Such counseling helps you to understand the necessary skills needed to maintain the relationship. Research studies have shown that people who pursue premarital counseling can reduce the risk of divorce by up to 30%, and also develop a significantly higher level of marital satisfaction. It also helps to comprehend how much compatible the young couples are. And, remember Aisha (Allah pleased with her) reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Make a (good) choice for your seed; marry who are compatible, and marry (your daughters) to them.” (Ibn Majah)
It is worth noting here that when young couples are getting to know each other, being alone together is considered a temptation toward wrongdoing. It is, therefore, recommended that you meet in a chaperoned group environment, in the presence of family members.
Umar reported that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
“Not one of you should meet a woman alone unless she is accompanied by a relative (mahram).”
The Prophet (PBUH) also reportedly said:
“Whenever a man is alone with a woman, Satan is the third among them.”
Finally, I remind you to fear Allah and observe His obligations in whatever you are doing. Islam recognizes that we are human and that we are prone to errancy. It thus warns us to safeguard ourselves from falling into the prohibitions of our Lord.
“Tell the believing men to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts… And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts…” (Q24:30-31).
He also says:
“And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way.” (Q17:32).