A Shallow Marriage Doomed for Failure

Are you getting married?


Hold on a second, can I ask you something vital before you sign the‘akd (Islamic Marriage Contract)?

Did you make sure to purify your intention to Allah and pick a religious and righteous Muslim spouse to the best of your knowledge?

You may say: “Don’t exaggerate, why all these complications, it’s just a marriage not a transaction!!”

I would respond: “It’s even more important than any transaction you would make as you are about to plant the seeds of a new generation that will be a part and parcel in molding the society to either good or bad. Simply, your choice will determine what fruits you will reap!!”

What qualities are you looking for in your other half?

Are you getting married because of the glitz and glamor of an extravagant wedding?

Are you looking for a beauty queen to show her off to your friends?

Is he a multi-millionaire and will get you the house of your dreams or a Prince Charming coming to save you from your boring life?

While it’s not wrong to enjoy a high standard of living or have a good looking spouse, be aware that this is not what will solely give you happiness and tranquility in life, for if the money and charms go what will you be left with?!!

Marriage Based on Deen

Allah most exalted describes the beauty of a marriage based on Deen:

{And among His signs that He has created for you — from your very selves — spouses, to dwell to one another. And He ordained between you tenderness and mercy. There, truly are signs in this for those who reflect.}(Quran 30:21)

Marriage Based on Deen = Tenderness + Mercy.

A person who follows the Deen worshipping Allah through his/her Prayers, Charity, Zakat, Fasting, etc. will be more God conscious and fear Allah in his/her actions, treating you gently and with respect. The treatment will not only encompass yourself but moreover your offspring who will also have their share of this ideal treatment.

When culture is stronger than religion, which is unfortunately the case in many marriages, either or both spouses and even the offspring experience abuse or unjust behavior.

How often have we heard of sisters complaining how their husbands treat them unjustly and how their kids too have not been spared of this aggressive behavior?

Sister L told me her sad story of how her husband constantly abused her verbally and mentally, to the extent that she was on the verge of losing her mind and had to be committed to an asylum!! Her kids had their share too of this behavior and were left feeling shattered and unworthy.

Unjust treatment is also apparent in some marriages where the wife is expected to be a servant! Sometimes, she might even have a full time job but still be expected to do all the household chores in addition to being a “driver” to her kids and maintaining all their needs whilst at the same time she has to be the “perfect” wife and also tend to the needs of her husband’s parents or her own.

However, a truly religious man would have mercy on his wife. We find the best role model in Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) when his wife Aisha describes how:

“He would clean his clothes, milk his ewe and serve himself.” (Shama’il Muhammadiyah, 325)

She was also asked about what the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to do in his house, and she said:

“He used to serve his family, then when the time for prayer came, he would go out to pray.” (Al-Bukhari, 676)

Marriage Based on Khuluq
Unfortunately, Deen is not always combined with character (khuluq).

Some Muslims may perform Islamic worship in an excellent manner but somehow it is not reflected in their manners. Whether this is an issue of an incomplete purification of intention or just pure ignorance could be debated. A book could be written on this issue!!

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) even confirms the importance of the inclusion of both Deen and Khuluq, in his famous hadith:

“Whoever comes to you and you’re pleased with their Deen and Character (Khuluq) marry them!” (At-Tirmidhi, 1085)

He (peace be upon him) also says:

“The believer with the most complete faith is the one with the best character, and the best of them are those whom treat their women the best.” (At-Tirmidhi,1162)

Needless to say, you want your spouse to be modest, chaste, not drinking, smoking, cursing, etc.? Then search for Islamic Khuluq.

Brother T made shallow choices when he searched for his other half. He was fixated about looking for a beauty Queen and did not bother about neither the Deen nor theKhuluq of his wife. Result?

He ended up getting married twice as he made the same mistake the second time. Both wives were not that modest and seemed to be after his money right from the start.

His life was a big mess with kids from both marriages and endless trips to the court to try to solve the judicial complications his wives had held him accountable for. However, he learned from his mistakes, turned to Allah and became more religious.

The third time he made sure to pick his wife starting with Deen and Khuluq. She was still pretty but that was not the only thing he paid heed to this time.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) advises us to look for a religious wife as he says:

“Men choose women for four reasons: for their money, for their rank, for their beauty and for their religion, but marry one who is religious and you will succeed (Al-Bukhari, 5090; Muslim, 1466)

Always Ask for References
Before you make your final decision, make sure to find an honest reference. The article Marriage: Purpose and Obligation provides tips on this matter:

“This is also where your “third party” comes in handy. Not only will they be able to be your reference. They can also check out a prospective mate’s references.

A reference can include an Imam who knows the brother who proposed to you, a sister who knows well the woman you may want to marry, a family friend, a boss, a co-worker, and/or business partner.

A note about honesty and references: the people you ask may know something not very nice about your prospective spouse. Remind them that if they reveal this information, they would not be backbiting from the Islamic perspective.

In fact, in the case of seeking marriage, complete information should be given about an individual, both good and bad. The advice of one of the companions of the Prophet, Umar ibn Al-Khattab can help in this regard:

A man came to Umar ibn Al-Khattab and spoke in praise of another. Umar asked him:

“Are you his nearest neighbor such that you know his goings and his comings?”


“Have you been his companion on a journey so that you could see evidence of his good character?”


“Have you had dealings with him involving dinars and dirhams (money) which would indicate the piety of the man?”


“I think you saw him standing in the mosque muttering the Quran and moving his head up and down?”


“Go, for you do not know him…”

And to the man in question, Umar said:

“Go and bring me someone who knows you.” (Quoted from Islam The Natural Way by Abdul Wahid Hamid, p. 66)

This gives you three types of people you can ask about a prospective mate’s character: a neighbor, business colleague or someone who has traveled with them.”

Prayer of Seeking Guidance

Last but not least, make sure to pray salatul istikhara (Prayer of seeking guidance) asking Allah to guide you to the right decision.

Narrated Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah: The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to teach us the way of doing Istikhara, in all matters as he taught us the Surahs (Chapters) of the Quran. He said, “If anyone of you thinks of doing any job he should offer a twoRakat prayer other than the compulsory ones and say (after the prayer):


“O Allah! I seek goodness from Your Knowledge and with Your Power (and Might) I seek strength, and I ask from You Your Great Blessings, because You have the Power and I do not have the power. You Know everything and I do not know, and You have knowledge of the unseen.

Oh Allah! If in Your Knowledge this action ———————————————— (which I intend to do) is better for my religion and faith, for my life and end [death], for here [in this world] and the hereafter then make it destined for me and make it easy for me and then add blessings [baraka’] in it, for me.

O Allah! In Your Knowledge if this action is bad for me, bad for my religion and faith, for my life and end [death], for here [in this world] and the hereafter then turn it away from me and turn me away from it and whatever is better for me, ordain [destine] that for me and then make me satisfied with it.” (Al-Bukhari,7390)

May Allah unite you with a spouse with the Deen and Khuluq of Islam:

{And those who say, “Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous.}(Quran 25:74)


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