Marriage probably crosses the minds of many of you readers at least once a day. Whether you are in the process of marriage or just thinking about it, the biggest question one has is “how do I know this person is the one for me?” Now, I do not have an answer to that question, but I am here to provide you with some tips to consider when searching for the one. Consider this a quick marriage proposal checklist.
Renew your intention and Get Closer to Allah
The process of finding a partner can be very stressful and even disheartening at times. It is important to renew your intention get closer to Allah (SWT) during this time rather than focusing on other things. Renew your intention by reminding yourself that marriage is one of the signs of Allah (SWT), as He says in the Qur’an, ““And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy.
Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” [Chapter 30: 21].
A sign is something that leads you to a destination. In this case, our destination is Allah (SWT). Therefore, marriage (and the process) should be leading you to Allah (SWT).
Have Taqwa and Ask Smart Questions
By this, I mean to have taqwa in your pursuit of marriage. Be conscious of Allah (SWT) all the way through. In Islam, the ends do not justify the means. Do not do what is prohibited in the process to meet the end goal of marriage. When you do what is right and what is liked by Allah (SWT), He will descend his barakah and ease your affairs for you. Brothers, if you are serious about considering a sister for marriage, go through the proper channels. Ask people who may know her and once you are satisfied with their information, approach the sister’s mahram and let them know what your intentions are. Do not waste your time or the sister’s time through non-halal avenues. For sisters, remember that a brother should go through the proper channels if he is genuinely interested in proposing. A lot of times, both brothers and sisters string each other along, feigning interest, and when it is time to involve the parents, one of them gives some kind of excuse and drops out of the equation. If you are serious, get the parents involved as soon as possible.
Once you are in the stage of meeting each other and assessing compatibility, ask smart questions! Favorite color and animals will not tell you anything important about the person. Ask about things that really matter to you and things that are important to consider before spending the rest of your life with that person. For example:
- How he/she deals with anger and disputes
- Expenditures and who’s responsible for what
- Expectations for rights and duties of the spouse
- Life plan/vision/purpose
If he/she will be supportive of [insert something important to you (i.e., going back to school, wearing niqab, working, etc.)] then ask if this is something he/she will oppose or is open to and will be supportive of?
Do not fall into the Beauty and the Beast Effect
In the Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast, where the princess change the angry beast for the better. This is a fallacy. As the saying goes, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” or “a leopard can’t change its spots.” Both these sayings illustrate that it is difficult to get someone to change, especially if they are in or above their mid twenties as they have already consolidated a lot of their habits. It is much more fruitful to marry someone whose habits match yours than to spend the rest of your life trying to mold them into something they aren’t. This is unfair to you and to the person as you are not marrying who they are but an expectation of who you want them to be. This can cause serious problems later in the relationship.
Do not get pressured
It is important to not get pressured into marrying someone you do not want to. As you get older the pressure to marry increases. Just remember that it is you who will be spending the rest of your life with another human being so it is important that you like them.
Use istikharah properly
The last and most important tip in this marriage proposal checklist is to make istikharah properly. Many people either belittle or misuse the istikharah prayer. The istikharah prayer was taught to us by our beloved Prophet (SAWW):
Jabir (RA) reported that the Messenger (SAWW) used to teach them the istikharah (seeking guidance from Allah) in all matters as he (SAWW) would show us a surah of the Qur’an. He (SAWW) used to say: “When one of you contemplates entering upon an enterprise, let him perform two Rak’ah of optional prayer other than Fard prayers and then supplicate:
O Allah, I consult You through Your Knowledge, and I seek strength through Your Power, and ask of Your Great Bounty; for You are Capable whereas I am not and, You know and I do not, and You are the Knower of hidden things. O Allah, if You know that this matter (and name it) is good for me in respect of my Deen, my livelihood and the consequences of my affairs, (or he said), the sooner or the later of my affairs then ordain it for me, make it easy for me, and bless it for me. But if You know this matter (and name it) to be bad for my Deen, my livelihood or the consequences of my affairs, (or he said) the sooner or the later of my affairs then turn it away from me, and turn me away from it, and grant me power to do good whatever it may be, and cause me to be contented with it). And let the supplicant specify the object.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]
The istikharah prayer essentially asks Allah (SWT) to guide us to what is the best for us in all matters of our lives and to protect us from what hinders us. Allah (SWT) is the All Knowing, and He is in control of all of our affairs, so naturally, He is the One who we must seek guidance from. The istikharah prayer is performed by the person asking the guidance, not by a family member or Imam/religious person. In some cultures, it is thought that a religious person must perform the istikharah prayer on behalf of the individual seeking guidance, but this is wrong. The istikharah prayer is performed by the person seeking advice as the end of the istikharah prayer involves the person asking for the object he/she is trying guidance on.
I hope this marriage proposal checklist is of some benefit to your readers. I pray that Allah (SWT) makes the marriage process easy for us and blesses our marriages. Ameen.marriage proposal checklist