Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Decision of a Lifetime

Many people will spend months and sometimes even years preparing for a wedding that will last a few hours, not to mention the tens of thousands of dollars invested as well. But how many people actually prepare for marriage itself, which could last a lifetime, by ensuring they have selected the most suitable partner, based on the criteria set out by the Quran and Sunnah and the advice of experts in the field of forming healthy relationships that lead to successful marriages?

Unfortunately, it seems like we are facing a crisis as the rate of singles, the average age of marriage, as well as the rate of divorce have all increased in our Muslim community. It is especially alarming that the rate of divorce has increased in the first year or two of marriage, indicating the couple may have lacked in-depth knowledge of the personality and life style of each other before the marriage was completed, as well as possibly lacked the commitment needed to make the marriage successful and live their lives according to Islamic principles. The consequences of a poor choice of marriage partner and marital dissatisfaction are indeed far-reaching and have been correlated to higher rates of depression, lowered physical health and poor worker production, may Allah protect all of us from these negative

Allah (SwT) describes marriage to us so beautifully in the Quran: “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts). Verily in that are Signs for those who reflect” (30: 21).

So how is it that we can find this love and mercy? How is it that we can live in tranquility? How is it that we can increase our likelihood of success?

We need to learn, understand, and plan. There’s a quote that says: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. And I believe planning how you want your marriage to look like and how to select your partner is one of the most important decisions you need to plan for because it will affect everything in your life - from your faith, to your happiness, to your future children, to your hereafter.

Maybe some will say that it does not have to be that complicated; however, I believe that when it comes to making a life changing decision like this, that collecting as much information as you can, and seeking as much insight, guidance and mentoring is a must. Yes, indeed our parents and grandparents got married and may not have had to do much planning; however, in most cases our parents married from the same families or from the same small town they lived in. Today we have people marrying from halfway across the world and we live in a completely different society than our dear parents did. We have the influences of a much more open society that include TV, internet, education, work, etc. and therefore there are many more factors that shape people’s backgrounds, personalities, and values. As such, there needs to be a process that enables one to evaluate the compatibility of the other spouse objectively and within Islamic guidelines, before the marriage is completed.

After all, we are talking about choosing the person that you will spend the rest of your life and hereafter with, the person you will wake up next to everyday, the person you will give your love, time and energy to, the one that will be a parent to your children in sha Allah, and the person who can be your key to jannah.

There is so much that rests upon this one decision, yet most people conclude within a relatively short time that they really know the other person, and consequently they shut their investigative eyes. There is a world of difference between feeling you know someone and truly knowing that person. Not many people may know what are the warning signs to look for, what are the predictors of a successful marriage to look for – what are the questions you should ask, when you should ask them, and how else you can evaluate how compatible you are with your potential spouse, all within an Islamic framework.

Ultimately, this is not just a matter of ensuring a happy marriage – this is a matter of an ummah. And this is because a happy couple leads to a happy and strong family and therefore a successful and strong ummah and a better world in sha Allah. The family is indeed the core of society and so the decision of choosing the most suitable spouse is indeed a decision of paramount importance. This is why it’s important to have a process in mind to follow, and this process includes the following steps:

1. Develop Foundation
2. Decide on your desired characteristics in a spouse
3. Consider a potential spouse
4. Istikhara (The Guidance Prayer)/Istishara (Consultation)
5. Parents’ Approval

To expand on the last point, it is most important that the brother or sister getting married is confident they have chosen a spouse that fits with their background, personality, and values; however, it should be a decision that the family comes to together.

In conclusion, in hopes of building a stronger ummah and a better world, one happy couple at a time, I have put together an online course for Muslim sisters on how to choose a suitable husband, a husband that will take them by the hand to jannah in sha Allah.

The course is based on Islamic guidance from the Quran and Sunnah and a practical, easy-to-understand and comprehensive road map developed by experts in the field of selecting a spouse that will lead to a happy and successful marriage in sha Allah. If you would like more information, please feel free to visit