So The Brother Wants to Talk Marriage? 10 Questions You Need to Ask Before You Say Yes!
Posted on 24 June 2018
He’s been talking to your Wali for a while. Your family seems to like him, and you’ve heard nothing but good things about him. Now it’s time to have a sit-down discussion with him. You’re sitting face to face with him. You’re too shy to look directly at him, so you divert your eyes, pretending to be aloof, but every time you catch a glimpse of him you start blushing all over.
He’s sooooo handsome. His beard is glistening, his thobe is crisp, clean and neatly pressed, His teeth are beautiful from chewing the miswak and you are absolutely smitten. Well pump the brakes girlfriend, you need to step back and breathe for a minute! Before you get taken in by his physical beauty, you need to ask some serious questions to be sure he’s “the right one.”
Marriage is a truly mercy from Allah Subhanna wa ta’ ala. There is nothing more beloved than having a righteous spouse to remind you of Allah, and who encourages you to enjoin the good and forbid the evil and with whom you can share all of life’s special moments. Allah Azza Wa Jal said “And among His Signs is that he created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect. (Surah Ar-Rum, ayat 21).
Choosing the right spouse should be a decision you make very carefully. Asking the right questions before you get married can give you valuable insights into your potential spouse’s character and his practice and understanding of Islam.
To help you ladies out, we surveyed a group of sisters on the top questions they would ask when evaluating a potential suitor for marriage. To ensure the questions were presented from a balanced perspective, we surveyed sisters across the marriage spectrum including some of whom have been married for over 30 years, others who are have been married for over 10 years, some who are recently married, some who have never been married and some who are divorced. As you can imagine, we had broad range of responses, but we narrowed them down to the top ten. Here you go:
1. What is your Aqueedah?
Above any other question you ask, the first should be inquiring as to his beliefs and understanding of Islam. If his Islam is established with a sound understanding and correct foundation, then his deen will be straight. You need to understand and be clear on whether this brother is following the Qur’an and the Sunnah. If not, you’re putting your own deen at risk because you may be influenced by his behaviors and practices.
Allah, the Most High said, “it is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and his Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have an option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and his Messenger he has indeed strayed in plain error.” (Surah Al Azhab, ayat 36). Following Qur’an and Sunnah is obligatory upon all of us and includes things such as leaving off innovations in actions and beliefs, adhering to obligatory duties, staying away from what is haram and striving for righteousness to the best of your ability.
Don’t be shy to ask this question. Understanding his beliefs and practice of Islam is vital to the success of your marriage.
2. Are you financially capable of maintaining a wife?
In Islam, men are required to provide full financial support for their wives. Allah, Subhanna wa ta’ ala said, “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women…” (Surah Al Nisa, ayat 34). This means providing financially is not an option, or a nice to have, this is a commandment from Allah. This means the husband has full financial responsibility for paying for housing, food, clothing and other necessities for his wife and family.
The notion of the two of you splitting the bills half and half is not from Islam. Even if you have a job and your own income, you are not required to help him pay anything and he shouldn’t be counting your income towards his ability to provide for you financially. He needs to clear that it’s his responsibility and his alone. If you want to help, you can, but you are not required to. If he has any notions about relying on your income, you need let him know. sorry bro’ that’s not how this is goin’ down!
3. Are you currently married and if so how many wives do you have?
If you don’t already know the answer to this question, please make sure you ask. Allah, Azza Wa Jal said “…marry women of your choice, two, three or four but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal with them justly, then only one…” (Surah Al Nisa, ayat 3).
No matter what your feelings may be about it, plural marriage is legislated in Islam and when done according to Qur’an and Sunnah, can be a beautiful experience for sisters who are co-wives. I know many situations where co-wives have a profound love and respect for each other and they work harmoniously to bring about peace and tranquility to their homes and families. However, you need to know if YOU are prepared to be a co-wife and what that entails.
If you don’t think you are emotionally capable of becoming a co-wife, then know that if the brother is already married, no matter how attracted you are to him and how nice he may be, this may not be the right situation for you. The last thing you want to do is enter a marriage where there are other sisters involved and bring about discord due to your own issues.
4. How do you feel about me working or going to school?
It may be the case that you are currently working or going to school. These days, many sisters have jobs or are enrolled in academic programs outside of the home. And while there is no prohibition on doing so in Islam, so long as the boundaries of the religion are not transgressed, and the rights of the husband are not compromised, your potential spouse may want to you be a stay at home wife. This is something the two of you should discuss beforehand.
You should know his expectations and understand if he wants you to quit school or work, whether this is something that is agreeable to you. You need to think through the consequences of this and weigh the benefits and disadvantages for you if things do not go so well with the marriage. This is a decision that only you can make, and you should think it through carefully to make sure you’re comfortable with whatever you decide.
5. What is your relationship with your parents?
If he is good to his parents there is a good likelihood that he will treat you well. Allah, the Most Merciful said “And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy and say: ‘My Lord, Bestow upon them your mercy, as they did bring me up when I was small.’” (Surah Al Isra, ayat 24).
If he respects and shows kindness to his parents, then his understanding of his obligation in this regard is sound. Allah, Subhanna wa ta’ ala said “And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years- give thanks to Me and to your parents – unto Me is the final destination.” (Surah Luqman, ayat 14). His kindness, particularly to his mother, is also a very good gauge of how he treats women and speaks volumes about his character.
6. What is the one thing you are struggling with in your Deen?
Everyone has areas that they struggle with in their deen. Maybe it’s fasting or getting up for Fajr. It can be several things. Let’s face it, no one is perfect and each and every one of us commits sins. On the authority of Anas (Radi Allahu Anahu), the Prophet Muhammad, (Salla Lahu Alayhee wa Salaam), said: “Every son of Adam sins, and the best of those who sin are those who repent.” (al-Tirmidhi, 2499).
Hopefully, your potential spouse is honest enough to share some of his shortcomings and doing so shows he understands his place as a believer. These shortcomings may be some of your own, so this might be an opportunity for the two of you to grow together and encourage each other upon good. Don’t expect him to perfect because neither are you.
7. Do you practice patience in times of hardship?
Life is great when things are going well. But the true test of faith and commitment is when hardship or calamity occurs. Being married is a trial in and of itself. How a person handles hardships and trials depends on his level of eeman. You will want to know how this brother handles hardships because you can rest assured, you will both be tested. Is he one to practice patience or will he run away when things get tough?
Many of us know of situations where things became difficult and a brother abandoned his family and responsibilities. Allah Subhanna Wa ta’ ala said, “And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to the patient.” (Sura Al Baqarah, ayat 155). Patience, firmness upon eeman and consistent remembrance of Allah will help make your marriage strong.
8. Do you have any children and what is your relationship like with them and their mothers?
It is not uncommon for a man to have been married before and or have children from prior marriages. His responsibilities to his children go beyond financial support and include how he interacts with them. Abdullah ibn Umar reported (radi Allahu Anhu), the Messenger of Allah, (Salla Lahu Alayhee wa Salaam), said, “Every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock… A man is the guardian of his family and he is responsible for them…” (Sahih Bukhari, 2719).
It’s a good idea to understand how he is handling his responsibilities to his children and how he gets along with their mother. If these relationships are rocky, this tension is likely to spill over into your household. Remember, whether you love it or not, you are all family once you get married.
9. How do you like to spend your free time?
Is he spending time reading Qur’an and Hadith and performing acts of Ibadah? Or he is consumed with watching mindless TV shows, or posting to social media? These acts may seem harmless, but overconsumption can lead to negligence in the religion and cause the heart to weaken in faith.
A brother who studies Islam, seeks beneficial knowledge and tries to be the best he can with consistent acts of Ibadah will be the better husband for you in the long run. Narrated by Ibn Abbas (Radi Allahu Anhu), the Prophet Muhammad (Salla Lahu Alayhee wa Salaam) said, “There are two blessings which many people lose, (they are) health and free time for doing good.” (Sahih Bukhari, 6412). Wasting time with affairs of the dunya can lead to corruption in his deen and can be a cause of frustration for you in your marriage.
Be sure to look at his social media pages. This can be very telling of where his head is and can sometimes clue you in as to exactly what matters to him. If he is wasting most of his free time with activities that are of no benefit to his deen before you marry him, then don’t expect things to change once you get married.
10. Do you have any pre-existing health conditions?
The issue of health and wellness should not be overlooked nor taken for granted. The state of a brother’s mental and physical health will impact his ibadah and your marriage (which is of course a form of Iabadah). Poor health and chronic disease can impact his ability to provide financially and can sometimes have an effect on intimacy.
If he is aware of a chronic health condition that will impact your marriage, then he should disclose it to you and give you the option to decide if they want to deal with it. If he chooses to disclose his condition and you opt not to marry him, you should guard his privacy and never disclose that condition to anyone. Have respect for him as your brother in Islam and safeguard his privacy the same way you would want yours protected.