Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam aleykum,
I have heard of the Hadith about the four reasons of why individuals getting married with the deen being the most important. However, because you aren’t allowed to talk extensively etc, how are you meant to determine whether the person is religious?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. Please forgive me for the delay.
Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “I was sent to perfect good character.” [Al-Adab Al-Mufrad]
Please know that it is extremely important for you to do your due diligence before you get married. This involves speaking to your prospective husband as much as you need to, before you are sure. This is a useful resource for you – Before the Wedding: Questions for Muslims to Ask Before Getting Married.
For starters, you can ask basic questions such as whether or not your prospective husband does his obligatory prayers, fasts, and so on. And then you can ask what other acts of worship he does. Remember that part of someone’s religiosity is character.
Investigate what he is like with those close to him – does he treat his parents with kindness? Does is get along with his siblings? Watch how he interacts with strangers. Is he kind to waiters? To small children? What is he like with animals? These may seem like strange questions, but if a big warning sign to look out for is any sign of cruelty.
You can do your research by doing courses such as Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages, read books such as Before You Tie The Knot: A Guide For Couples.
Limitations can help you be more creative.
I have heard of interesting stories such as asking one’s young niece or nephew to tip water over a prospective suitor’s lap to see how patient he really is. I may not recommend that, but perhaps you can brainstorm with your family and close friends about what you can all do to further investigate the character and deen of the man you are interested in. What is he like under pressure? How does he cope with different religious opinions?
Often, what someone does is a lot more telling than what someone says. Anyone can lie and claim to be religious. This is why you need to ask around – ask his family, ask his friends etc. It is better for you to be married to a man who fulfils his basic obligations, and who knows how to be kind and loving to you, compared to being married to a man who goes above and beyond his religious obligations but does not know how to treat you with compassion. Balance, as always, is key.
Every marriage involves risk. It is not possible for you to find out what your future husband is truly like until after you get married to him. This is where the Prayer of Guidance is so important. Use this to guide your decision, and watch for what Allah unfolds in your life.
Marriage, like anything else in our lives, is something that can bring us closer to Allah. This sacred contract is an opportunity for us to grow into the best versions of ourselves. Growth is also painful. Know that whoever Allah chooses for you is what you need, even if it may not be exactly what you want.
I pray that Allah sends you the a husband who has both deen and good character. May He bless your marriage with love, tranquility and the gift of pious children.
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.