CHOOSING THE DESIRED WIFE


All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds, the Merciful,
the Hearer of supplications, and peace and blessings upon our
beloved and humble prophet Muhammad,and upon his family and
companions.

When marriage is spoken of during these "modern" times, Muslims
become horrified, conjuring images of an arranged marriage,
trying to find that "perfect" companion, how much of a financial
burden it will become, and so on. The reality is that Islam came
to solve these problems, not exacerbate them, yet unfortunately
we have integrated our local  traditions and customs with Islam
so that marriage has become a major concern for a man rather
than a delightful experience.

When living in a free, perverted and corrupt Western society,
the Muslim male youth finds many temptations and tests, as a
result of mixing with females, which he must face and overcome.
He must constantly resist these temptations, which are thrown at
him  in the streets, on the media, and at work. And so the
wisdom of the Prophet (s.a.w) echoes on, when he said: "O young
men, those among you who can support a wife should marry, for it
restrains the eyes from  casting (evil glances), and preserves
one from immorality..."

When seriously considering marriage, you must pose the question
to yourself as to just what kind of wife you want, what her
qualities should be in order to establish an Islamic and
peaceful household, and how you will know who she is.

As Muslims, we believe that Allah wants the best for us, and
that His Prophet (s.a.w) illustrated this through his own life.
So note that by following the advise of our own Creator, and
that of His beloved servant, we can only be successful.


WHO TO MARRY


Islam is clear on the kind of wife you should be seeking. The
Prophet (s.a.w) said: "A woman may be married for four reasons:
for her property, her status, her beauty, and her religion; so
try to get one who is religious, may you be blessed." This
specifically defines  just what kind of a companion we are
seeking, for if we marry her for anything other than her
religious piety, our marriage is bound to fall into misery.

True, beauty and charm is hard to resist, yet beauty does not
last forever and does not guarantee you her obedience and
religiousness. Financial status is dynamic, and so is worldly
status, yet religion strongly establishes a household, and it
may be that through your intention of marrying her for her
religion, the rest is given to you anyway.  In another hadith,
the Prophet (s.a.w) said: "The whole world is a provision, and
the best object of benefit of the world is the pious woman."
Imagine!  Nothing in this world is as valuable as a pious
woman!  This point has been stressed many times by Rasulallah
(s.a.w), who himself, when asked what three things he loved the
most, mentioned  a pious woman. Once the following ayah was
revealed: "They who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it
in the way of Allah, unto  them give tidings of a painful doom.
On that day when it will (all) be heated in the fire of
Jahannam, and their foreheads and flanks and their backs will be
branded therewith (and it will be said to them):  'Here is what
you hoarded for yourselves, now taste of what you used to hoard'
"[al-Taubah: 34-35]. Umar (r.a.a) has been quoted to say that,
when this ayah was revealed, he approached the Prophet (s.a.w),
submitting that the ayah weighed heavily on the minds of the
Sahaba. Rasulallah (s.a.w) replied that the best  thing to be
treasured is the devoted wife who causes pleasure when seen,
obeys orders instantly and takes full care of herself and her
husbands property when he is away. Abu Bakr once asked
Rasulallah  (s.a.w) what was the best thing to be treasured, and
he (s.a.w) replied: "the tongue in remembrance of Allah, the
heart filled with thanks to Allah, and a pious wife who helps in
virtuous deeds".  Look at how valuable  such a woman is in the
sight of Allah! How can a man live unhappily with such a
person.


QUALITIES OF THE PIOUS WOMAN


Alright, you say, you've convinced me, but what actually makes
her a pious woman? The answer is simple: Allah himself has
described those qualities most loved by Him in the Qur'an, and
in the ahadith there are numerous accounts of the virtuous
attributes of a  pious woman.

The following are some ayahs on the attributes of the wife you
should be seeking, so note those fine and appreciative
qualities.  The following are some ayahs on the attributes of
the wife you should be seeking, so note those fine and
appreciative qualities.

"And women of purity are for men of purity, and men of purity
are for women of purity"[s.24;v.26]

"Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard
in (the husbands) absence what Allah would have them
guard"[s.4;v.34]

"It may be, if he divorced you (all), that Allah will give him
in exchange consorts better than you, who submit (Muslims), who
believe, who are devout, who turn to Allah in repentance, who
worship (in humility), who travel (for faith) and
fast..."[s.66;v.5].

And then, in surah Ahzab, is a full list of those qualities
loved by Allah, qualities which by the way should be evident in
both males and females. So, my dear brother, choose her for the
following attributes:

-a Muslim woman

-a believing woman

-a devout woman

-a true woman

-a woman who is patient and constant

-a woman who humbles herself

-a woman who gives charity

-a woman who fasts and denies herself

-a woman who guards her chastity

-a woman who engages much in Allah's praise.

Among the four known perfect women was Maryam. She was loved by
Allah because of her religious qualities: "O Maryam! Worship
your Lord: prostrate yourself, and bow down (in prayer) with
those who bow down"[s.3;v.43].  Another was the wife of Pharaoh:
"And  Allah sets forth, as an example to those who believe, the
wife of Pharaoh: behold she said: 'O my Lord, build for me, in
nearness to Thee, a mansion in the Garden' "[s.66;v.11].

The Prophet (s.a.w) loved his wives because of their religious
qualities.  Aisha once related the fine qualities of Zainab:
"(Zainab) was the one who was somewhat equal in rank with me in
the eyes of Allah's Messenger (s.a.w), and I have never seen a
woman more  advanced in religious piety than Zainab, more
God-conscious, more truthful, more alive to the ties of blood,
more generous and having more sense of self-sacrifice in
practical life and having more  charitable disposition and thus
more closer to Allah, the Exalted, than her."

Ahh, you think, but you'll never find such a woman! Well, if
that was true, Allah would not have described her in the first
place, and furthermore those qualities were emanating from the
women described above. Islam deals with reality, not fiction.
Sure, the  perfect woman doesn't exist, yet "if you take a
dislike to them, it may be that you dislike a thing, and Allah
brings about through it a great deal of good"[s.4;v.19].
Remember also that you are not perfect  either.


KNOWING WHO SHE IS


To find that pious woman, there are two steps to be taken, and
that firstone relies on your personal observation. In surah
Nisaa, Allah asks the believing women that they should "lower
their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display
their beauty and  ornaments," and also that they "should not
strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden
ornaments"[s.24;v.31]. If you notice a woman acting modestly,
being not too obvious through her actions (by lowering her voice
when around men), one who attempts to hide her attractions
(which includes her external beauty as well as her internal
charms), then you know she has some of those precious
qualities.  When you see a woman unashamedly flirting,
unconcerned about her revealing clothes, and freely converses
with males- keep far, far away. I'm sure when you get married
you want your wife to devote her love to you, not to twenty
other "just good friends".

Through simple observation, you can get a glimpse of her nature;
for example, the way she stands when conversing, how she
maintains eye-contact, her clothes, where she spends her time
etc. Look for her strong points, and don't stress on her weak
ones.

Yet, after all this, we still have to come to the most important
topic. You can look all you want ather, set a private investigator 
to track her movements, read her diaries (all of which I consider 
extreme and unIslamic), yet, my dear brother, no-one knows her heart  
and intentions, no-one knows whether she will turn sour or more 
religious, or whether you are suitable for each other, except for Allah.


TRUST IN ALLAH


We are choosing our wife for her permanent values; namely her
religious devotions, moral integrity, character etc. But believe
me, if we try ourselves to combine a marriage, we are almost
sure to fail, because we have no knowledge.

Allah loves a servant when he puts his trust in Him. When we do
so, it is illustrating how we rely upon Him for help, and
proving our sincerity to Him, establishing that we recognise His
infinite knowledge and wisdom.

Islam is likened to being as a house, and in my estimation
nothing cements that house together as well as putting our trust
in Allah.

It is related on the authority of Jabir ibn 'Abdullah that the
Prophet (s.a.w) used to teach his companions to seek, through a
special du'a (known as an istikharah), the guidance of Allah in
all matters which affected them.  Rasulallah (s.a.w) said: "When
you are confused  about what you should do in a certain
situation, then pray two rak'at of nafl salaat and read the
following du'a (du'a of istikharah)."

I am surprised at the criticisms thrown at this du'a, and of its
negligence.  We are humans, powerless in this sphere of life,
knowledgeable only enough to survive.  So why shouldn't we turn
to Allah and seek His perfect help whenever we require it? Allah
responds to the  call of His servant when he asks for guidance,
and we are after all seeking to do something in order to please
Him.

Many wrong notions exist concerning istikharah. Many Muslims
will pray, read the du'a, and run to bed expecting to see a
dream showing them their future wife, what her favourite colour
is, and some other weird fantasy. That is not the purpose of
this salaat.

The results of an istikharah can take many forms. Basically, you
go by your feelings, whether you now feel more favourable or
not. Also, you may notice events have changed, either for or
against you. Finally, as a wonderful gift from Allah, you may be
blessed with a  dream. Note that you must follow the results of
an istikharah, because  not doing so is tantamount to rejecting
Allah's guidance once you've asked for it. Also, you should
firstly clear your mind, not have your  mind already decided,
and then afterwards follow the results willingly.

The  Prophet (s.a.w) once sent Zainab a proposal of marriage.
She refused to accept the proposal straight away, expressing her
intention to refer the matter to Allah: "I do not do anything
until I solicit the will of my Lord." Allah, the Responsive,
answered her plea for  help and revealed an ayah approving of
the marriage. We may seem shocked at her refusal to accept a
proposal from what is the best husband any woman can have, yet
she was just recognising that it is Allah who  knows how
successful such a marriage will be, and as a sign of
appreciation, that reply is now preserved in our Holy Book: al
Qur'an.

The  Prophet (s.a.w) once said to Aisha: "I saw you in a dream
for three nights when an angel brought you to me in a silk cloth
and he said: 'Here is your wife', and when I removed (the cloth)
from your face, lo, it was yourself, so I said: 'if this is from
Allah, let  Him carry it out' ".

Marriage is a serious step, and requires the right attitude. If
marriage completes half our faith, shouldn't that half be the
best half? A woman married for the wrong reasons can only weaken
the Muslim household.  Consider that she will be your life-long
companion, the rearer of your children. Don't marry her for her
worldly wealth, but for her wealth in Islamic wisdom and
knowledge. Her status in this life is but illusionary, so choose
her for her status in the sight  of Allah. Beauty is but
superficial, but the beauty of Iman is transcendent.

When asking Allah for a wife, call upon Him by His beautiful
names, as He has commanded us: "For Allah are certain and
dignified names: therefore call upon Him by them"[s.7;v.189].
Ask for a companion who is devout, pious, patient and so on. Be
among  those who say: "Our Lord, may our spouses and our
offspring be a joy to our eyes and make us leaders of the
righteous"[al-Furqan,74].

I cannot provide a better conclusion than saying that you must
put your trust in Allah. You must have trust in His concern for
us, and His ability to help us. Allah says: "Put your trust in
Allah, for Allah loves those who put their trust in
Him"[s.3;v.159].

May Allah help us in our sincere efforts in following His
commandments and the way of His beloved servant, and provide us
with wives whom He loves.

"When my servants ask you concerning Me, I am indeed close (to
them): I respond to the prayer of every supplicant when he calls
on Me: let them also, with a will, listen to my call, and
believe in Me: that they may walk in the right
way"[al-Baqarah,v.186].


By: IBRAHIM ABU KHALID




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