What attributes should one look for in the person he/she wants to marry?

It is very important for both sides to select the right person to marry for the happiness of the future family and for the health and a good training of children. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), who advises us to be careful in choosing the candidates of brides and grooms, calls us to be cautious by saying People are like mines in terms of of goodness and badness. (1) Hazrat Umar tells these three things to one of his sons who asks the rights of the son on the father: Choose a chaste and moral mother, give him a nice name, and teach him the Quran. (2)

First of all, marriage aims to raise a virtuous generation; it is also important because it prevents man from possible sins and leads man to a decent life. If one marries for only physical satisfaction, it is bound to be a continous source of unrest in the future.

Al-Ghazali gives primary importance to two of Islams principles relating to the issue:

(1) piety,
(2) high ethics

Then (3) The compatibility/equality between the partners is of great importance to maintain the marriage. It is obvious that a pious woman and a frivolous man will not be in harmony because it is very difficult for two people of different worlds to live in harmony. Similarly, the marriage of a pious man with an irreligious woman who do not act in accordance with religious rules will bring about a lot of problems and will not last long. Thus, Islam takes preventive measures for the events and maintains the order in society.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) attracts our attention to the issue and says:

"One should marry a woman for four things: her wealth, nobleness, beauty, and her piety. Prefer the pious one so that you will be happy."(4)

Besides other attributes, looking for piety in the first place is the recommendation of the Prophet. Therefore, it is the most vital point that needs to be taken into consideration.

When Hazrat Umar asks What properties shall we possess to meet our needs?, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) says: The most precious of the property is a tongue doing dhikrullah (mentioning and remembrance of Allah), a thankful heart, and a faithful wife helping her husband in the services related to Islam and the afterlife. (5)

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) regards the woman helping her husband in serving Islam among the most precious properties one can have in this world.

Our Prophet, who often warns us about marriage, wants us to be more careful by saying: "Do not marry a woman only for her beauty, since it may take her into danger. And do not marry a woman only for her wealth because it may lead her astray. Marry the pious one. Surely a pious slave woman having a partially cut nose, a hole in her ear and black skin is better than an irreligious woman.

Men are advised to marry pious women; similarly, it is also the duty of the womans family to give priority to the piety of the man to be married. If they only look for superior qualities like handsomeness, wealth and rank and do not give importance to piety, they will cause disorder in society.

When a man comes to Hasan al-Basri asking What kind of a person should I give my daughter to?, he replies To a man who fears from Allah. If such a person loves your daughter, he does favor for her; and if he hates her he does not oppress her. (6)

Badiuzzaman says Spouses should be equal, mostly in the sense of the religion. That is, they should be suitable to one another. The most important aspect of being suitable is from the point of view of religion.
What a happy man is the husband who sees his wifes firm religion and follows her and he himself becomes pious not to lose her in the afterlife. And what a lucky woman is the wife who sees her husbands firmness in religion and becomes pious not to lose her eternal friend.

Both man and woman firstly should give primary importance to piety and then for other attributes in accordance with their importance. Another attribute that a woman should be preferred for is good manners and high ethics. Most of the women who are religious will naturally try to act in accordance with the rules of the religion.

The opinion of the woman about man should also be taken into consideration; it should not be neglected because marriage is a lifelong companionship.

1. Musnad, 2: 539.
2. Tarbiyah al Awlad, 1: 38.
3. Ihya, 2: 38.
4. Ibn Majah, Nikah: 6.
5. Tirmizi, Tafsir al Quran.- 48, Ibn Majah, Nikah: 5.
6. Ihya, 2: 43.
7. Lem'alar (Flashes), p. 186.

Source : Mehmet Paksu, Kadın, Aile, Hayat, Nesil Yayınları

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