My respected elders have accused me of having a false understanding of marriage in Islam and say that my teaching is incorrect. Their belief is that Rasool Allah (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) encouraged marriage in the family before looking else where. Is there any basis for this?
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) himself explained the criterion on which a life partner should be chosen.
Sayyiduna Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “If one, whose Deen and good character pleases you, requests you for marriage, then accept his request, otherwise there will be great trial (fitna) and widespread destruction.” (Sunan Tirmidhi, 1/207)
In another Hadith, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “A woman is married for four reasons, her wealth, lineage, status and Deen. So choose the one who is religious.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, 2/762)
Thus, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) clearly mentioned that the criterion on which a marriage partner should be selected is a person’s Deen and good manners.
Suitability and compatibility (kafa’a) is also one of the important things that need to be considered when choosing a spouse. One of the main ingredients for a prosperous and successful marriage is compatibility. The greater the compatibility and more similar your goals and outlooks, the more likely is the prospect of a successful marriage.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) is reported to have said: “When you find a suitable partner for a widow (non-married woman, m), then conduct the marriage without any delay.” (Sunan Tirmidhi, 1/206)
The above is clear in determining that the most important aspect that needs to be considered when choosing a spouse is one’s religious inclination and manners. There is no mention of looking for a spouse in the family.
Compatibility is encouraged, but that does not necessarily mean looking for a spouse within the family. Many times, you may have so much in common with somebody from a total different background, whereas no chemistry is found between first cousins.
There are many examples where the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and the Companions (Sahaba, Allah be pleased with them all) contracted marriages outside the family. Thus, to place exaggerated emphasis on marriages within the family based purely on pride of ancestry and lineage is something that Islam disapproves of.
And Allah Knows Best
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK