Pick up any book about a devoted Muslim’s way of life and you will find passages and even chapters devoted to married life. As marriage represents half of our faith, it makes perfect sense to make that half the best half. This, in essence, is to choose the best spouse as one’s soul mate all the way to Jannah.
Piety – top of the list.
With Prophet Muhammad (SAW) as the best of advisors, a resounding narration reminds us that “a woman should be married for four reasons: for her property, her status, her beauty and for her religion; so marry one who is religious, so you may be blessed.” (Bukhari)
Piety plays an important role in a marriage through life partners who encourage each other to love all that is halal for the sake of Allah (SWT) and hate all that is forbidden for the sake of Allah (SWT) too. So even if a man is attracted to a woman’s beauty, wealth or upbringing, her piety should take precedence over the other things. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) told us that ‘The whole world is a provision, and the best provision of the world is the pious woman,” (Muslim) as choosing our spouses shapes the household and the generation of Muslims to come. And while these ahadith seem to be aimed at men, the same holds true for women. We all have a good idea of the traits we want in a husband and although wealth, status and charming good looks are amiable ingredients in a man, Islam advises choosing a husband who can be a good leader of the household.
From Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) farewell sermon, we are reminded of what we can expect of a husband who remains God-fearing and conscious of the presence of Allah (SWT) at all times: he will be fair and just to his wife, respect and honour her rights, in return for obligations that his wife has towards him. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) himself was a living reminder, the best husband of all time, due to his piety.
Take a good look at ourselves
“And women of purity are for men with purity. And men of purity are for women with purity,” (an-Nur: 26).
The same way Allah (SWT) wishes for men to find pious wives, we too must seek out men with piety, who provide for, honour, and respect us, who will be doting fathers to our children, and will lead the family with the best values Islam has to offer.
However, with the verse above, it is also an important reminder that the spouse of choice is a reflection of the person who chooses him. Thus, for sisters who wish to marry, we should ask ourselves, “Am I deserving of a pious man? How shall I improve my aqeedah for the sake of Allah (SWT)? How do I represent Islam as a Muslim woman? If I truly wish for a husband who is as pious as Prophet Muhammad (SAW), am I practicing my religion at the same level as Khadijah (RA), to provide his favours in return?”
The Prayer to make a Choice
When a marriage proposal ensues, the prayer of Istikarah – a two raka’ah prayer with a specific du’a – is always recommended for guidance to help us make such an important life decision.
The Istikarah prayer was a Prophetic Sunnah when asking a favour from Allah (SWT). The essence of the prayer and the invocations that follow include: acknowledging that Allah (SWT) has all knowledge and power in the dunya and hereafter, whereas we do not; Acknowledging that only Allah (SWT) knows best of decision that we make, and we do not. We thus, ask Allah (SWT) to guide us to the decision that would benefit our iman and taqwa. And lastly, it is through Istikarah that we ask Allah (SWT) to turn us away from decisions that may harm us and give us strength to take another route, insha Allah.
The Better Half of Me
Choosing a spouse is a reflection of ourselves. And choosing a person to spend our entire life with will require constant self-reflection. What type of person do I want to spend my life with? How do I ensure I choose character over chemistry or material wealth? What can I do to better myself as a wife for the sake of Allah (SWT)? How will our union be pleasing to Allah (SWT)?
However one looks at it, choosing your other half is a crucial stepping stone on the journey called marriage; a journey we share with that one other important person with the goal of Jannah as our final resting destination, insha Allah.
When we make the choice of who to marry, who will be our other half, we must – with the guidance and knowledge of Allah (SWT) – make the best decisions. Doing so will not only give a promising start to our marriage, but also complete half of our faith.
Maria Zain was a prolific contributor to SISTERS magazine, writing extensively about issues including parenting, inter-cultural relationships, homeschooling and homebirthing, and even Muslim fashion. In December 2014 Maria Zain died, insha Allah a shaheedah, related to birthing her sixth child, who survived. SISTERS magazine will always be indebted to Maria for the immense work she did for the magazine as well as for the SISTERS family as a whole. We ask that readers consider donating to a fund for her six children in hopes to help their father continue to raise them in the loving and deen-centered style the parents worked so hard to foster.
Donations can be made at www.gofundme.com/mariazain