How Should I Approach Getting Married?

Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour

Question

I’m 31 years old and still not married. My younger sister and younger brother are married which stressed me out. Also, I have two suitors who I’m not interested in due to age, maturity, and religiosity. I know that I won’t find a perfect guy but when I pray istikhara I don’t feel anything.

My parents won’t decide for me. They just tell me the guy’s name, and sometimes no details at all. I’m totally lost. How can I make a decision without some details about the guy and just some basic information for example their name, age, occupation?

Sometimes, my father just chats with them after they come to the house and then asks me if I accept them. Some of them ask if I’m willing to get to know the man through SMS/email/phone first. I’m against this as I tried it once and I know I’m not good at it and I don’t like to have useless chatting with boys. Please advise me.

Answer

Marriage is From your Provision (rizq)

The first thing to remember when approaching marriage is that it is part of your provision (rizq) which is guaranteed by Allah. Allah says, “There is not a single creature on the earth except that Allah takes care of its provision.” [Quran, 11:6]

So, no matter how old or young one is, their wealth, or whether their siblings married before them, these and other factors do not affect the provision that is guaranteed.

Depending on Allah

Although we know to depend on Allah for provision, He also instructed us to take the necessary means to achieve the provisions. True depending on Allah (tawakkul) is defined as “taking the necessary means while recognizing that Allah is the true provider.” [Mawlud, Purification of the Heart]

So in the case of quenching our thirst, for example, we don’t just wait for it to be quenched, we drink water as a means and recognize that Allah quenches our thirst, not the water.

Tying the Camel

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that a person asked the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), “Should I tie my camel and have Tawakkul (trust in Allah for her protection) or should I leave her untied and have Tawakkul.” The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “Tie her and have Tawakkul.” [Tirmidhi]

Getting to Know Someone

Before getting married, one should take the means to get to know the person. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) encouraged one of the Sahaba to look at a woman before marrying her. [Ahmad; others]

The reason for this is that there are traits a person may have in their personality or body that might complicate a strong relationship from forming.

The Limits of Interaction for non-Mahram

As long as one follows the rules of gender interaction, one can communicate with a potential suitor to ensure that there is compatibility. A woman can speak to a non-mahram as long as they do not maintain a constant gaze at each other, there is no flirting, and there is no pleasure being derived from the voice or conversation [Mawlud, Prohibitions of the Tongue].

The two also must be in plain sight of others to avoid the prohibition of being alone together (khalwa) and there cannot be any physical contact. Just as one can keep a conversation “strictly business” in a school or work environment, the same can be applied to a conversation about marriage.

[Shaykh] Rami Nsour