Let me tell you about my first crush, Brian. Okay, that sounds bad, I know, but stay with me here. Brian was really cute. He was always very well groomed, his golden brown hair cut and styled to perfection. He was smart and funny. His smile was kind, his ways gentle. And he treated me like a queen. There was the time he hid behind the school fence to surprise me with a bouquet of fresh flowers he’d picked himself. And it wasn’t the flowers that delighted me, but the satisfaction I read on his face which said that he had been successful in pleasing me. There was the time when he insisted on taking me to the school cafeteria and buying me a sandwich. He held my hand and lamented when I said that I couldn’t eat ham which was the only available option (yes, I knew that ham came from pigs and was therefore haram, but I was still a bit ignorant on the boyfriend front). He actually went to the cafeteria supervisor after school and demanded that they serve more options.
Yes, Brian. He was smooth. He was my kindergarten sweetheart and I kid you not, I look back on those days and think if only he was Muslim, he would have made the perfect match for a fabulous Muslim sister.
So, what was it about Brian that was so appealing?
And how can the single Muslim guy emulate the traits that will win over the heart of his wife to be? Of course, we’re going to assume his faith is solid, as the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has said in the hadith, “If someone with whose piety and character you are satisfied comes to you, then marry him. If you do not do so, there will be disorder in the earth and a great deal of evil.” (Reported by At-Tirmidhi and others and classified as Hasan).
Let there be no question that these two traits are most important, but what else can help his cause?
1. Humility coupled with confidence
Many think that you must be humble, and indeed that is a very good thing – still, there is a way to also exude confidence. Finding the balance between the two is truly understanding the notion of ‘ihsaan’ –excellence and a sure way to be appealing to females. When said groom proposes, he must be confident that he will win the hand of his intended. He will show he is humble in his mannerisms, but absolutely sure that he can take excellent care of her and has no issues demonstrating this to her and her wali. How can she resist?
2. Funny is good
Having a sense of humour and the ability to make your intended laugh is a trait that will serve you well throughout your long and prosperous marriages, inshaAllah. I had an aunt who, whenever her husband spoke, would stare at him with complete and utter love. The fact of the matter is that he wasn’t the best looking guy on the block – but everyone wanted to be in his company because he was so funny. May Allah have mercy on my Uncle Mahmood, his ability to make people laugh so hard was only hindered by them having to go to the bathroom constantly while he was speaking. And his wife was his biggest fan! What man wouldn’t want his wife to be his biggest fan?
A woman is enamoured instantly when a light hearted chap asks for her hand in marriage because she knows that he’ll be fun. And don’t girls just want to have fun?
3. Kindness that doesn’t dissuade from decisiveness
He buys the mom flowers, he feeds the birds in the park, he helps wash the dishes in the masjid after a potluck Ramadhan iftar. He’s kind, yes. Does this mean that he is weak though? No. Once again it’s about finding that balance between being kind (not code for “doormat”) and still able to make his own decisions. It is how a man is able to take the lead in a way that makes those around him feel safe, yet still surrounded by kindness.
As always, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) himself is the example that best exemplifies how the man should be treating his womenfolk, while still maintaining a sense of focus and determination to do what needs to be done.
Geeks and nerds shouldn’t be hindered by their labels. Having the ability to speak to his potential mate’s doctor father about the functions of the digestive system and at the same time being able to discuss the latest PSP games with her younger brother will win the Muslim suitor some major points. Women want to be able to respect and cherish the men who they plan to spend their lives with. They don’t want some ignoramus. In the real world, fabulous Muslim women know that intellectual conversation trumps any type of “Prince Charming” fantasy. It’s what keeps things interesting, and gives us something to look forward to when the “Prince Charming” good looks begin to fade.
Speaking of which, I know that I haven’t mentioned it yet, but looking his best when he approaches his potential mate is certainly not a bad idea. My mom has a picture of my old kindergarten class and Brian really was something else in his three-piece baby blue suit.
And for those wondering: yes, my husband has approved this piece. He knows that he has surpassed Brian and all the traits that can win over any fabulous Muslimah. Now, brothers desperately seeking to complete half their deen, how about you?
Heba Alshareef is the author of Release Your Inner Queen of Sheba!: Procedure and Protocols to Lead Your Best Life.