Choosing Your Life Partner Part II
Amr KhaledTranslated by http://www.daralislaamlive.com
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
As stated before, the purpose of these lectures is to return the love to our homes. Allah says in verse 21 from Chapter Ar-Rum: “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy.”
In the last lecture, we talked about the criteria for choosing your spouse, as well as compatibility. We also said that there are three main things that need to be taken into consideration. These are: religion, an acceptable appearance and a compatible social and educational/mental level. This needs to be done because in the end, your goal should be to go to heaven, to raise good children who will become good Muslims and so you need to choose a partner who will help accomplish this. And don’t forget that you will lose a lot of things if you do not marry someone who is religious, which was mentioned in part one of this lecture.
In part one, we also talked about how to find your significant other and decided that the best way to do that is to create a strong network of family, neighbours and friends. In these lectures, we focus a lot on the parents because it is important that mothers and fathers learn to become friends with their daughters and sons. Family members should stick together and run towards one another, not away from each other. Narrated Abu Huraira: A man came to Allah’s Apostle and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Who is more entitled to be treated with the best companionship by me?” The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) said, “Your mother.” The man said. “Who is next?” The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) said, “Your mother.” The man further said, “Who is next?” The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) said, “Your mother.” The man asked for the fourth time, “Who is next?” The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) said, “Your father.” You may think that this is a little off topic but it isn’t. Befriending your parents or children will help with the process of choosing a good significant other. We need our families to be more open and receptive. Parents and their kids should be able to talk to one another about their problems and to share their opinions.
A girl once had a crush on a guy, but she didn’t tell him because it is not appropriate. After fleeing from Egypt, Moses went to Madian and he was exhausted when he arrived. When he arrived, he found men watering their flocks and besides were two women standing on the side. Moses then went to the two girls and said, “What is the wrong?” They said: “We cannot water (our flocks) until the shepherds take (their flocks). And our father is a very old man.” So he watered (their flocks) for them, then he turned back to the shade and said: “My Lord! Truly I am in need of whatever good that You bestow on me!”Then there came to him one of the two women, walking shyly. She said: “Verily, my father calls you that he may reward you for having watered (our flocks) for us.” So when he came to him and narrated the story he said: “Fear you not. You have escaped from the people who are Zalimun (polytheists, disbelievers and wrongdoers.” When they went home, one of the women said to her father: And said one of them (the two women): “O my father! Hire him! Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy.” He said: “I intend to wed one of these two daughters of mine to you” (Qur’an: Chapter Al-Qasas verses 23-27).
In this story, one of the sisters had developed a crush on Moses and it was that same sister that talked to him and told him that her father wanted to meet him and reward him. When the father spoke to his daughter, he could sense what it was that she wanted and so he proposed to wed her to Moses. This shows that it is okay for a father to look for a good husband for his daughter; at the same however, a father should not force his daughter to marry a certain individual. The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) said that a woman is not to be wed without her consent.
Love is an instinct, which means that if a woman finds a man that she would like to marry, without doing anything wrong, then she could either say, “I want to marry this man” or she could find a middle person. Most men feel that it is they who should pursue a woman and not the other way around. It is for that reason that a woman should not directly say to a man that she wants to marry him. The best and safest thing to do is to find a middle person. This is what the Prophet’s (P.B.U.H.) wife Khadeejah did. While Khadeejah was sitting one day, her friend Nafeesa came and asked her what the matter was and what was troubling her mind. Khadeejah replied and said that she saw in Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) what she did not see in other men. She continued to say that she saw in him manners, a good mind, trust, honesty, and that she felt that he was going to be someone important in this time period.
Nafeesa then felt for her friend and sensed what it was she wanted, so she asked Khadeejah what she would think if Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) would be her husband. Khadeejah didn’t know how that would happen, so Nafeesa said she would take care of it. Nafeesa went to the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) and said, “Muhammad, won’t you marry?” The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) said he did not have anything to marry with. Khadeejah then asked him if he would marry if he found something to marry with and above that someone who had beauty, a good family and so on. The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) asked Nafeesa who this woman would be and Nafeesa replied that it would be Khadeejah. The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) asked Nafeesa if she thought Khadeeja would agree and Nafeesa said she would ask Khadeejah. When you choose a middle person, you need to choose a middle person who is smart and knows what to do and what to say.
The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) forbade us from riding the sea of hopes and dreams. Beware of living in a fantasy and a dream and hoping for things that are very unlikely to happen, because when they do not happen you will be disappointed and hurt. What about women who are getting older and are still single, who want to get married but have not yet found the right men to marry, what can they do? The best advice that can be given to them is to trust Allah, rely on Him and be content with what Allah has written. The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) said that the pens have been raised and the ink has dried; this pretty much means that it is already written whom you will marry. Allah is generous so don’t worry. Allah is more merciful than your mother, father and the whole world. If you are not married yet, then focus your time on something else; give your time to charity, to learn something new, do something for Islam and so on. Sometimes Allah postpones events for people because they are meant to do something else. Maybe Allah didn’t let someone have children right away because they were meant to fulfil a certain task/role of great benefit.
There is a very important step that people do not take. It is very important to pray the Istikhara (prayer for guidance) before you do anything. After you set your criteria and after you look for a suitable potential spouse, pray the Istikhara prayer. When you pray this prayer you are entrusting Allah, you tell Him to take care of you and the situation or decision to be made. Pray two raka’as (prostrations) and then say the following decision-making supplication:
Oh Allah! I seek Your guidance by virtue of Your knowledge, and I seek ability by virtue of Your power, and I ask You of Your great bounty. You have power; I have none. And You know; I know not. You are the Knower of hidden things. Oh Allah! If in Your knowledge, (this matter*) is good for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs, immediate and in the future, then ordain it for me, make it easy for me, and bless it for me. And if in Your knowledge, (this matter*) is bad for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs, immediate and in the future, then turn it away from me, and turn me away from it. And ordain for me the good wherever it may be, and make me content with it.
*You should substitute (this matter) with the issue you are praying for.
Once you do this, then let your heart rest and be assured that what is best will happen. What ever occurs after you pray this prayer will be the result of the Istikhara.
Another important step that many people need to do is to consult one another. So you find that at times, after the wedding has taken place, the family finds out that the father is not who he said he really was. It is very important to ask about the man/woman and their family. Some people do not know how to ask or do not ask enough. You will not regret asking around about the person your son or daughter is going to marry. What sort of questions should you ask? It is important to question the family’s source of income and make sure that the source is not unlawful. People have forgotten that question and instead ask about how rich the family is, or how much they make, instead of asking where the money came from. It is important because you do not want your son or daughter to enter into a family that makes haram money.
The last point to take into consideration is the parents’ approval. Let’s agree on something; do not get married without the approval and consent of your parents. If your parents are angry and do not approve of your marriage, then the blessing on your marriage could be lifted. If your parents are mad at you, how can Allah bless your marriage? You should not marry without your parents’ approval, even if they are not religious. You cannot anger and ruin a family to start one of your own. This leaves us with this question: how much can your parents interfere with your decision of whom you want to marry? Your parents can interfere when it comes to the social status or habits of your potential spouse’s family. What they cannot interfere with is your decisions based on the looks of your partner. Do not forget that in the end, it is not just a man marrying a woman; it is two families marrying each other.
Okay, so now what happens if the parents, for no good reason, do not approve and they will not change their minds, what happens then? It then becomes your right to say and insist that you will marry no other. This can be said without a fight, without yelling and without leaving the house. If they still do not agree, find a middle person, find someone who will have to ability to talk to and convince your parents. If this still does not work, then talk to your parents and tell them to hypothetically just switch places with you. Do a role-play where you pretend to be your parents and your parents pretend to be you. If they still do not agree then do some thinking. Parents are sometimes right and this may be one of those cases. So sit and think about what they have said without being stubborn. If you have prayed the Istikhara then no matter what happens, do not worry. Know that whatever happens is happening as a result of your prayer, which means it is happening for the best. Maybe Allah made your parents so strong against this marriage because it will do you more harm than good if you were to go through with it.
A man came to the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) and told him that two men proposed to his daughter, one of them was poor and the other was rich and that he wanted his daughter to marry the rich man. The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) wanted to know which of the two the daughter wanted to marry. The man told the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) that his daughter wanted to marry the poor man. The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) then said that if they love each other, they should marry each other.