The noble and blessed Messenger of God ﷺ stated that “Marriage is half of the religion,” and so in Islam great importance is placed upon the sacred union between a man and a woman. Hence, it is of great importance to know how to choose a spouse in Islam so as to ensure happiness and success in both this life and the next.
When marriage is approached with the goal of attaining to truth, reality, success and the pleasure of the Divine, we are in a far better position to make this important decision of how to choose a spouse in Islam intelligently and intentionally so as to ensure the attainment of these noble goals.
Yet when marriage is approached primarily for superficial reasons such as material wealth, physical beauty and social status, we increase the likelihood of suffering and unhappiness for ourselves, our spouses and our children subsequently.
This is not to in any way to say that beauty, means and other factors are not important. Yet in determining how to choose a spouse so as to ensure maximum happiness and long-term success, superficial factors must be seen as secondary and not primary considerations.
In this brief article, I will share the main criteria people normally use in choosing a spouse, and I will also share the key to knowing how to choose a spouse so as to ensure true and lasting success, health and happiness.
How to Choose a Spouse in Islam: Advice of the Prophet ﷺ
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ stated that people choose a spouse for one of four reasons: wealth, beauty, status or religion. He ﷺ went on to advise, “Choose based on religion, that you may prosper,” [Muslim].
Generally, and particularly in our current culture, human beings tend to choose a spouse based on the superficial criteria of wealth, beauty and social status.
Yet in consciously and intentionally learning how to choose a spouse in Islam so as to ensure true, real and lasting happiness and success, it is best for us to take to heart the wisdom and advice of the Prophet ﷺ.
We must remember that Allah Almighty revealed the religion and that the noble and blessed Prophet ﷺ advised us accordingly purely for our benefit and success, for God and His Messenger ﷺ but want for us success, health and happiness.
Thus, it is imperative that we learn how to choose a spouse in Islam based on religion. Yet what this means is not as obvious and straightforward as it may initially appear.
People choose a spouse for one of four reasons: wealth, beauty, status or religion. Choose based upon religion, that you may prosper.
— Prophet Muhammad ﷺ [Muslim]
How to Choose a Spouse in Islam: Religion
In determining how to choose a spouse in Islam, those who are somewhat familiar with the faith may have heard this tradition and advice from the Prophet ﷺ, and so may be predisposed to finding a spouse that is “religious” and “practicing.” Yet herein we tend to make another grave mistake.
Because we have been accustomed to equating piety and religiosity with the outward observance of forms, it is very easy to make the mistake of believing a particular person is sufficiently and sincerely living a faith-based life because they may outwardly appear religious.
Yet it is important to remember what “religion” actually is and what its true purpose is if we are to effectively take this wisdom into consideration when determining how to choose a spouse in Islam.
How to Choose a Spouse in Islam: Good Character
The holy and blessed Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in one of the most important traditions states, “I was but sent to perfect good character,” [al-Muwwata].
Thus, the truly pious and religious is he or she who has excellence in conduct and in character, which may also be referred to as spiritual excellence, or ihsan.
In other words, it is essential for us to recognize that what constitutes piety and sincerity in faith is not just the outward observance of forms, such as practices and appearance, but that true religion is the progressive perfection of one’s personality and character.
Thus, in determining how to choose a spouse in Islam so as to attain to both happiness and success, in addition to achieving the divine pleasure of God, the preeminent criteria must be the individual’s character and personality.
In determining how to choose a spouse in Islam so as to avoid suffering and that which can completely take us off course, we must intend for and seek a spouse who is sincerely seeking to follow the example of the Prophet ﷺ in cultivating light and true beauty through spiritual excellence.
How to Choose a Spouse in Islam: Humility
Above all other qualities and characteristics that graced and decorated the Messenger of God ﷺ, the holy and blessed Prophet ﷺ was a humble and selfless human being.
It was fundamentally through his incomparable selflessness and humility that he ﷺ most fully and completely manifested the divine qualities and attributes of God such as mercy, patience, love, compassion, tolerance and forgiveness.
The key to cultivating these noble, divine and transcendent qualities is humility, for humility is the key to surrender, and it is specifically surrender that is the very name of the path and the religion. It is through surrender made possible only through humility that a human being both develops true excellence in character and draws nearer unto the Divine.
Furthermore, it is only through humility, which progressively develops selflessness, that we as human beings cultivate the capacity for true and real love, which is the very purpose of marriage and the goal of the religion.
In summary and in conclusion, the most important factor in determining how to choose a spouse in Islam is to first and foremost seek out an individual who is humble and who possesses good character, for while wealth, beauty and social status may diminish, good character eternally grows and bears fruit forever.
To your divine and eternal success.