Islam is a complete code of life which is the single formula that will bring us bliss and joy in this world and the eternal life of the hereafter. It is the system designed by our creator, Allah Ta’aala Who alone has complete and perfect knowledge of the intricacies of human nature. On no issue of importance to our daily life is the Shariah silent. Every aspect has been addressed where we have been given such guidelines that are simple yet all encompassing. The critical institution of Nikah has also been graced with these beautiful guidelines. The choice of your partner in marriage is absolutely crucial since your entire future and that of your offspring rests on it. We have been given such beautiful guidelines in this matter which are sure to bring great joy, if only we could subject ourselves to it. The brevity of this article does not allow us to discuss the wealth of information on this subject. However, we will suffice with just two Ahadith.
THE CHOSEN BRIDE
The first of these Ahadith contains guidelines for the prospective groom. Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “Generally four aspects are considered in a woman when choosing her for marriage. These are her wealth, social standing, beauty and Islamic character and piety. Become successful by giving preference to her Islamic Character and piety”. (Mishkat). When one realizes that marriage constitutes a situation where the problems of daily life as well as the burden of domestic and social responsibilities have to be faced with ones partner, then the wisdom of the grounds of preference becomes very clear. To a very large extent the very Deeni character and Jannat of the coming generation is influenced by the mother. While the beauty of a woman is important to the level that there should be some natural inclination, making this the basis, as is so often done nowadays, is the height of foolishness. It must be realized that once the attraction wears off, it is the personality you will have to live with. Only the fear of Allah Ta’aala will create within a woman the spirit to give preference to her husband and children over herself. For a woman of piety looks at the gains of Aakhirat, not the small sacrifices of this world.
THE CHOSEN GROOM
We can well appreciate the vital need for having a wife of Islamic stature especially in the modern and permissive society in which we live where women are subjected to such propaganda that is coldly calculated to strip her of any decency or desire to be a obedient wife and loving mother.
The second Hadith deals with the guidelines given to a prospective bride and her family. Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “When an offer of marriage is received from a person whose piety and character pleases you then accept this proposal. If you do not do so, then great Fitnah (mischief) will spread on the earth” (Mishkat).
Here too we find parents generally basing their selection upon the wealth and social standing of the groom, while scant attention is paid to his Deeni character. Aside from the disastrous and far-reaching consequences with regard to the Aakhirat of our daughter and grandchildren, we often find ourselves having to come to terms with the disastrous domestic situation of our daughter. Wife bashing, neglect, coming home at ungodly hours, infidelity are just some of the vast spectrum of heart-breaking problems our daughters are faced with. Surely a preference of Deeni character would have given us the inner peace of heart and protect us from all these problems. This would be coupled with a warm sense of satisfaction achieved by the wonderful sight of the Islamic nurturing and development of our grandchildren before our very eyes. The fruits of this can never be matched by all the treasures of this material world put together.
Consider just one incident from the lives of the Sahaaba (Radhiyallaahu Anhum), where their abstinence from the wealth of this world is clearly exhibited: Thaabit Bunaani reports that Yazid bin Muawiya (The ruler of that time) sent a proposal for the daughter of Abu Darda (Radhiyallaahu Anhu). The proposal was rejected. One of the members of Yazid’s court gave him Dua and requested permission to send a proposal for himself. The permission was grudgingly given. This person, thereafter, sent a proposal which was duly accepted. This created quite a buzz amongst the people who could not fathom why the rulers’ proposal had been rejected while that of a lowly courtier had been received favourably. Abu Darda (Radhiyallaahu Anhu) explained his action thus, “I looked towards my daughter and imagined the day when eunuchs (Court servants) would be at her back and call and she would be surrounded by wealth and people. Where would her Deen (Desire for Aakhirat and abstinence from this world) be in those days?” (Ahmad, Hilyah).