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Some Reasons for Success in Choosing a Life Partner

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Darul Iftaa Jordan
From the perspective of Sharia, what are the aspects to be taken into consideration when choosing the future wife?


All perfect praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. May His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

It is no secret that marriage is a very serious matter in the life of man and woman alike and that finding the right spouse is a great blessing. On the contrary, choosing the wrong spouse entails leading a permanent miserable life or resorting to divorce creating a deep break in the partner`s heart and between the two families.

From the viewpoint of Sharia, marriage should be permanent and Islam has forbidden Nikah Mut`ah (Temporary marriage for pleasure) which existed in Jahiliyyah (Translated as "the Age of Ignorance": An Islamic concept referring to the period of time and state of affairs in Arabia before the advent of Islam in 610 CE). At the beginning of the Muslim reign, the Prophet (PBUH) was silent about this type of marriage, then declared abolishing it upon the Conquest of Makkah (8H). Similarly, he (PBUH) was silent about intoxicants, then declared that they are prohibited. 

In order to avoid choosing the wrong spouse, Islam has ordered doing many things:

1- Asking about spouse`s ethics and qualities, which are hard to know save by those who really know him/her and this includes stating negative ones although this is backbiting, which is prohibited. In this respect, the family plays a vital role in choosing that  spouse, not through compulsion but through advice since it isn`t permissible to resort to compulsion with either of them.

2-The suitor is permitted to look only at the face and hands of the betrothed since facial features say a lot about one`s character, and, similarly, she is allowed to look at his face although, in principle, this is prohibited because Allah the Almighty says {What means}: " Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest. That is purer for them. Lo! Allah is aware of what they do." {An-Nur, 30}. He also says {What means}: " And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest," {An-Nur,31}

3-It isn`t permissible to force the man to marry a certain woman and if it was proven that this has actually happened then this marriage is void. It is also impermissible to force the woman as well. This is attested to in the following Hadith: Abu Huraira reported God’s Messenger as saying, “A woman without a husband must not be married till she is consulted, and a virgin must not be married till her permission is asked.” When asked how her permission was indicated he replied that it was by her saying nothing. * Ayyim. This means a woman who has no husband. It may mean a woman who has not been married, whether a virgin or not, or a woman previously married who has no husband. {Bukhari and Muslim}.

4-For the marriage contract to be valid, there must be a Wali (Guardian) of the woman and witnesses. If this isn`t the case then this marriage is just a whim which both will soon regret.

5-There should be a wedding feast to form some sort of social pressure to encourage both spouses to continue their marital life.

6-As for marrying a relative, some women are prohibited in marriage, such as one`s sister, and maternal or paternal aunt. As for relative women permissible in marriage, the criterion of selection is morality and other qualities, not kinship ties.

7-The basic criterion for choosing a spouse is religion since Abu Huraira reported God’s Messenger as saying, “A woman may be married for four reasons, for her property, her rank, her beauty and her religion; so get the one who is religious and prosper." {Bukhari and Muslim}. In addition, He reported God’s Messenger as saying, “When someone with whose religion and character you are satisfied asks your daughter in marriage, accede to his request. If you do not do so there will be temptation in the earth and extensive corruption." {Related by Tirmidhi}. And Allah the Almighty knows best.


This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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