After Abu Salama's death, the Prophet SAW asked for Umm Salama's hand in marriage. This was after her husband had prayed to Allah that should she remarry, Allah should grant her a husband who would be a better man than he ever was to her. So when the Prophet SAW proposed marriage, being the best man of humankind, she should have married him without hesitation. Any of us would have said yes in a heartbeat. Yet, she tarried. She sent a message back to the Prophet SAW stating that she is an old woman with a jealous nature; that she has children and has no elder to be a witness for her. The Prophet SAW then replied her saying that he was also old, and that there was no shame in marrying an older man as a old woman; that her orphan children would now have Allah and His messenger catering to their needs; that He would pray to Allah to rid her of her jealousy; and that none of her elders, present or otherwise, would say no to their union.
And so they got married.
Umm Salama's response to the Prophet (SAW) was not in dismissal of his proposal. It was in being honest with herself, and in acknowledging key areas that troubled her when it came to re-marrying. It was not only important for her to be honest about her disposition, but for the Prophet SAW as well. Her fears got allayed because of that conversation, and the Prophet SAW got a clearer picture of the woman he was to marry, if he did not know of those things before.
Today's article revolves around important questions a Muslim should ask before agreeing to marry. This article is relevant to both the male and female Muslim.
These are key questions that will steer you both quickly towards the direction in which your individual minds work. You can then decide whether or not you are both suitable for each other; if your paths align; and if marriage between you two is conceivable in the long run.
A lot of us marry because we are physically attracted to our partners. We also get swayed because someone or the people that we love deem them suitable for us. Sometimes, it is because of the good things that we have heard of them that makes us seek their hands. These things will undeniably spark our interest and influence our decisions, but it should not be all that we look to in affirming that they are good for us.
Speaking around relevant matters that are dear to you will however give a better picture and insha Allah, help you make a more informed decision. Rather than relying on assumptions based on what you perceive of them, it allows you the chance to be to a great extent, sure of who they are.
This is not a strict questionnaire, but is however a structured piece that allows you to ask questions that are peculiar to you and this person as well, it is more of a guide. May Allah SWT guide us all accordingly, for He is the best of guides, Ameen.
The questions are grouped into 4 categories.
Depending on our upbringing and outlook on life, our expectations vary from individual to individual. By the time we are ready for marriage, we always have an idea of what to expect. It is highly important that you have a look at what they expect of you and your marriage, so that you are not rudely shocked when you do marry.
Some of the expectations to discuss include:
1. Spirituality: What would you expect of them spiritually? What would they expect of you spiritually?
Aspirations and Dreams
This is where you would typically have the "where do you see yourself in so and so years?" questions. This just allows a broader insight into this person's future. Do not forget to answer these questions as well so that your partner gets as much an insight into your life.
At the end of it all, be prepared to ask and answer this key question: What role would you expect me to play in helping you achieve these things?
3. Fear and Worries
Just like Umm Salama, everyone has their fears. It is important to be aware of your partner's fear and worries. It makes you more sensitive and puts you in the position to determine whether or not certain traits you have would be a trigger or make you a better fit for this person.
Likewise, it gives you an opportunity to air your own fears and worries and listen to their response. It is easier to speak about lofty dreams and wishes than it is to speak about uncomfortable truths and realities. They must however still be aired out loud.
When discussing these things with someone that intends to marry you however, you have to be careful not to make it obvious that these are worry areas for you. This is because there are people who are skilled at giving you the answers that they sense that you want to hear. Try not to play into their hands. As long as they are determined to marry, there is the possibility that they will trivialize your worry areas or outrightly lie to prevent you from saying no to them.
These are tactful ways to go about some of the worries you might have. Not only will they get you direct answers, they will also give you an insight into deep rooted problems that would otherwise remain hidden had the conversation not occurred.
Do note that indicating your deal breakers verbally or written does not automatically erase the possibility of it happening during the marriage. It however always helps when you both know that this concern was raised beforehand.
4. Deal Breakers
Just like Umm Atika bint Zaid did when she was about to get married to her Zubayr, have your deal breakers. As with all contracts, marriage comes with its own terms and conditions as well. No matter how trivial it seems to others, as long as you understand how important it is to you, and how devastating it could be should it ever happen, make it clearly stated.
You should also understand that marriage places a lot of authority in the husband's hands over the wife, and that Allah SWT remains the ultimate judge in a man's dealings with his wife. For both parties, it will be harder to take certain stances after the marriage than before it.
In a lot of cultures, marriage is considered a market so dark, you can hardly see what you are buying. Even when you touch the product to determine its shape, until you make the transaction and step out of the market with your purchase; you can never really ascertain that you have made an excellent buy.
As Muslims though, Allah SWT remains the all-seeing, the all-hearing, all-knowing, who knows all the secrets hidden within the breasts of mankind. All intentions, good or bad, are known to Him.
More than any questions you pose to this person you intend to marry, make as many requests and prayers as you can to Allah SWT. Ask that He SWT guides you through this journey, that He protects you from the harms of this union, and that He grants you all the good within it. For He is the most merciful, the most kind.
This article was written by Sr. Rahmat Omole for ilmnikah.com. ilmnikah.com is a blog and a matrimonial platform for single Muslims living in the United States, Canada, UK, Turkey, South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Australia, New Zealand or Germany. Visit our homepage and sign up to receive email updates from us. Don't forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Clubhouse and Telegram.
Please don't forget to share so others can benefit as well insha Allah.
Please see the bottom of every blog post.