Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Finding Mr. Right(eous)

I probably wouldn't have married my husband had I not inadvertently tuned in to a conservative talk radio station a few weeks before we met.

The host's advice to women on how to find Mr. Right caught my ear. Make a list of three qualities essential in your future spouse, he said, and seriously consider anyone you meet who has those traits. 

That seemed like a novel idea considering I (and many other single girls around me) had spent years rejecting proposals for random things ("We didn't click!" "He doesn't have a sense of humor!" "What a FOB!"*).  Having gotten mixed messages from American, Bollywood and our traditional cultures, many of us were a mess when it came to figuring out who to marry successfully and how to go about doing it.

Had we worked within God's clear guidelines on spouse selection, we could have saved ourselves and our parents much undue hardship.

Like everything else in life, we are supposed to get married to bring us closer to God.

"And they say: 'Our Lord, let our spouses and our children be a source of joy for us, and keep us in the forefront of the righteous." (Quran 25:74)

"You marry one another with the intention that I will try to bring this person to Paradise with me," says scholar Usama Abdul-Ghani.

Prophet Muhammad (S) taught us not only to have a standard but also what that standard should be. 

"It is binding upon you to have a religious spouse," he said.

"A man who marries a person for the sake of her wealth, God leaves him in his own condition," according to the Prophet (S). "One who marries her (only) for her beauty, will find in her things he dislikes (unpleasing manners). God will gather up all these things for one who marries her for the sake of her faith (religiousness)."

While religiousness is the most important criterion, we are also supposed to consider a propective's good  nature, compatibility, decent family, reasoning ability and physical and mental health.

The Prophet's (S) daughter Fatima Zahra (one of the four perfect women) and her husband Ali revealed their basis for valuing one another in the following exchange. 

The day after their wedding, the Prophet (S) came to visit them and inquired of Ali: "How do you find your spouse?"

"I found Zahra as the best help in worshipping God Almighty," Ali replied.

The Prophet asked Fatima the same question and she said: "He is the best husband."

Spouse selection is not left to personal choice only because the decision's effects are so widespread. When we choose a spouse we are also selecting the father/mother of our future children.

"Islam aims to perfect man even before he is born, before his parents marry, by stating what kind of spouse a man and a woman should choose," says Imam Khomeini, leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. "Why does it do this? Because the husband and wife are the origin of the individual(s) and Islam wants these individuals, who are to be handed over to society, to be religious individuals."

To further help ensure that a girl (who's tying the knot for the first time) is marrying the right person, God has mandated that she make this decision under the guidance and with the permission (not rubber stamp) of no other than her own father. 

For those single or married, poet Jalal ad-Din Rumi sums up our end goal beautifully:

"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourselves that you have built against it."
*FOB--Fresh Off the Boat, reference to recent immigrants


Anonymous said...

Great job! One thing that I am never clear about is that Allah has made women from the man's rib then how does this husband selection work. If you are already created from a man's rib then you are supposed to marry that man. How can you marry another man. What's our role in finding Mr.Right.

Sarosh said...

Salam Salina,
Jazaki- Allah Khair for another beautiful insight, for the Quranic Aayah and our beloved prophet's(S.A.W)advise to mankind.
Marriage is a milestone, an important sunnah to be followed to live in a society within the legal boundaries of Shariah. And hence all the factors and gudelines from the Quran should be given utmost importance when choosing a spouse.
There is no such thing as Mr. Right or Ms. Perfect. We all come with flaws but the beauty and the success lies in overlooking and coming out from these pitfalls just for the sake & love of Allah.
If the person is righteous then he/she has those sound value,a strong character and some wisdom to make the marriage work. So it is important to seek a righteous spouse & also from a good lineage.

May Allah grant us the wisdom to help guide and choose the right partners for our children and may they be blessed with best of Imaan, happiness and health always. ( Ya Rabb!)

Salina Khan said...

Salam, Anonymous,
You should probably consult a scholar about Eve being created from Adam's rib. From what I have read, that is a Biblical concept not supported by Islam.
Those looking to get married, should explore all halal (legal) avenues, including the matrimonial services available at the upcoming annual conventions. My duas are with all of you!

Salam, Sarosh, I changed the title of this entry :) Thank you for your insight!

Taahira H. said...

As Salaamu Alaikum! Very nice blog post as usual. And speaking of your husband, what did your husband think of the session with Sh. Abbas Aleya? I've been curious. (This is the girl you met there who does art by the way :))

Salina Khan said...

WA, Taahira! Nice to hear from you! We learned a lot at the seminar.... I do wish they had handed out copies of his powerpoint, though. I want to blog about salat but am having trouble reading my notes :(

Samira said...

Salaam, Sr. Salina:

Great entry! You're absolutely right in the point that most of us raised here end up looking for something totally different in a spouse - "love at first sight," is he romantic?, etc.

I hope all the single girls and guys out there find their suitable counterpart and do it by using religious guidelines, instead of thinking that they are out looking for their "soul mate."


Salina Khan said...

WA, Samira! Thank you and Ameen!!

xavier said...

As the above poster alludes to, unfortunately religious guidelines come second to social status, PhDs and cultural acceptance. Parents seem more guilty of this than you would think simply because we as a community have put Islamic teachings second to what should be our first parameter to judge by. In places like Iran, divorce rates are escalating to mirror Western levels here in the U.S and the U.K, two societies which are focused on material gains. Yet, there is a trend in these societies to find a more sincere way of forming a family and how people should choose spouses, as they are suffering crises in their communities that stem from poor marriage selection: divorce, out of wedlock pregnancy, crime rates, etc.

Look at many women magazines that have articles such as "Marry the Ugly Guy" columns. Often filled with fluff, they are afraid to address the issue that they avoid out of fear of alienating their consumer base: that religious morality and ethics should the measuring stick by which to select. While it is no guarantee of a long marriage, Allah (swt) has given us the guide and we as Muslims should have faith that indeed Allah (swt) knows best.

Many friends of mine who have good iman, tell me that when they got married for religious reasons, love came naturally. Not only that, but the hadith that Sister Salina mentioned also bore fruit, in that Allah (swt) blessed them with prosperity and children. This is not to say that you should get married and expect endless bounties, but that by getting married with respect to Allah's (swt) commands, you are opening up the door to more of His endless Beneficence.

I leave this one comment for the sisters on this blog and it is what I fill my emails with: A woman's heart should be so lost in Allah (swt) that a man who have to seek Him in order to find her.

Ponder this over my dear sisters. Indeed, men must focus their energies in this way, as well. The family structure is too important to leave it up to man's own devices, as our societies have shown us the ills of this way. We must go back to our Imams as they are the continuing sunnah from the Last Noble Prophet. And thus by doing this with faith and sincerity, it is a return to the love of our religion.

xavier said...

Just to clarify, when I said "no guarantee of a long marriage," what I meant is that the emphasis of religious adherence does not stop at spousal selection. It must be practiced within the marriage. Love within marriage is a purification of the soul. It is something that must be attended to every day like wudu. We cleanse our bodies for prayer and to stay in a state of purity, and that's how we should develop our love for our spouses: a constant cleansing of intention to the man or woman that we wish to love and create a family with.

As Allah (swt) says in the Qur'an, Sura ar-Rum 30:21-

And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.

Dwell in tranquility. Think of this action and what it implies. To "dwell" means to enjoy yourself in an almost euphoric state of peace (tranquility). Read the subtleness of Allah's (swt) beautiful words. He is telling us how to love and how to enjoy this love everyday. He is telling us that through this peace he is placing compassion between two people. And even more so, that this is a sign of Him. That is so powerful! Subhan'allah!

That the rest and comfort that you experience in this love is one of His Signs of Mercy and Love from Him! But this state can only be found if we take that first step and submit to what He instructs of us. Allah (swt) is giving us the access to His mercy and His presence through His powerful love. If only we reflect! If only we reflect!

Sisters, instruct your daughters, family and friends of this intricate access to Allah (swt). Marriage is a way to Him! Subhan'allah!

Salina Khan said...

Thank you, Brother, especially on your reminder of the need to adhere to religious instructions after marriage.