Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
What are my rights as a woman when seeking a spouse, and what should my preferences be? Obviously, piety is non-negotiable; however, can I consider other things? I feel my parents are discarding my preferences, such as which country I will be living in, what school of fiqh my spouse should follow, etc., and while I respect their opinion, I would also like to make my own life decisions.
Can I consider location? For instance, I would prefer to stay in my country for my family and not be forced to move to another country, especially a non-Muslim one. Is this okay, or am I being too picky?
Thank you for your question. May Allah Most High reward you for wanting to select a husband who is compatible with you in religion, a significant first step.
Your parents are simply following the command of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), who said, “When someone whose religion and character you are pleased with proposes to (someone under the care) of one of you, then marry to him. If you do not do so, then there will be turmoil (fitnah) in the land and abundant discord (fasad).” [Tirmidhi]
Of course, a girl may take fiqh and location into consideration. However, one shouldn’t necessarily reject a suitor based on them. Pious men are scarce to find, and if one meets a man who fears Allah Most High, who gives you your rights even during hardship, these other things should pale in comparison. Location can be worked out, and following different madhhabs can be managed as the differences are slight.
Rather than asking about madhhab and location, find out about his family, ask others about him, pray Istikhara, and follow your heart. Prepare yourself in the meanwhile by taking a course on marriage, reviewing personally obligatory fiqh, honing your domestic skill set, and learning conflict resolution.
Please see these links as well:
Important Traits to Look for in a Prospective Spouse
40 Hadiths on Successful Marriage: Key Teachings of the Prophet on Beautiful, Loving, Caring Married Life
Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriage
Keys to Successful Muslim Marriages: Practical lessons that explain the Prophetic Spirit of Marriage
Excellence with Parents: How to Fulfill the Rights of Your Parents.
May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.