Sunday, 17 July 2011

Spiritual | What to look for in a husband & Salaat-ul-Istikhaarah

 The other day I uploaded a post titled 'I want a Sheikh!' and someone requested a post on what you should look for in a husband and where do you draw the line in your list of wants. Firstly most people should want a practicing Allah fearing man and that is because inshaAllah if he fears Allah he will treat you well this is one of the first things you should look at before anything else. There's no compromising with this one!
However, religion it seems, is not always foremost in the minds of many people. In fact, it's probably the last factor on too many Muslims' list.

According to Tasneem Qadeer, one of the seven volunteers who runs the Islamic Society of North America's matrimonial service, being a doctor or a lawyer is much more important to many Muslim women than piety.

And the men are not any better. Many matrimonial advertisements in Islamic publications for instance, demonstrate a key demand for a wife who is “fair, slim and beautiful”.

“If we want to have healthy Muslim families then Deen has to be first,” says Aneesah Nadir, president of the Islamic Social Services Association of the United States and Canada.

A lot of us want a husband to have all the characteristics that were pointed out in the last post and personally my answer to 'where do I draw the line?' is don't just think about what he is like now but think about if he doesn't have some of the qualities already will he be able to develop them after marriage? Think about it in terms of money, he may just have enough to live on right now and has a job lower down in his line of work but that may be because he just recently graduated, who knows by the will of Allah he may work his way up in that career and have enough money not just to live on but to spend in the way of charity...in short what I mean is think long term. Wealth will come and go and that is controlled by Allah so don't be hung up on his job not being good enough, his house not being big enough etc.

Also think in terms of how practicing he is, to be honest if you yourself are not very practicing then give up on that dream of finding a really religious husband because chances are he's looking for someone just as practicing as himself , be logical and think about things realistically. If you do want someone religious start to think about how you can change yourself to reach his standards. The minimum requirements will be different for every person because each individual is at a different level of imaan. I wouldn't recommend you go for someone less practicing than you (even if he says he can change) because you want someone that you can learn & practice Islam with, Someone who will draw you closer to Allah and not further away from Him. Marriage is a religious commitment so choose someone that will help you achieve your goal of pleasing Allah & getting to Jannah.

Things like taqwa, understanding, good manners, (anger management), good communication and sincerity are things that you should not compromise on, things such as wealth, bad habits and things that you don't like in general you can re-think and see if you can look past them or if you think he can change or improve them over time. Always look at yourself and see what you are like in terms of what you want in a husband. Don't dream of a perfect guy because no one is perfect but look for someone who is willing to change (not for you, but for them self and for Allah) Remember marriage is half your deen so choose carefully! Below is an article on what things we are supposed to look for in a husband according to Quran & Sunnah as well as information on Salaat-ul-Istikhaarah, a prayer made asking for Allah's guidance on big decisions in life (such as choosing a spouse or deciding if the one you are looking at is right for you)

What to look for in a husband

Religious commitment. This is the most important thing to look for in the man you want to marry. The husband should be a Muslim who adheres to all the laws and teachings of Islam in his daily life. The woman’s guardian (wali) should strive to check out this matter and not rely only on outward appearances. One of the most important things to ask about is the man’s prayer (salaah); the one who neglects the rights of Allaah is more likely to neglect the rights of others. The true believer does not oppress or mistreat his wife; if he loves her, he honors her, and if he does not love her, he does not mistreat or humiliate her. It is very rare to find this attitude among those who are not sincere Muslims.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meanings):

“and verily, a believing slave is better than a (free) Mushrik (idolater), even though he pleases you” [al-Baqarah 2:221]

“Verily, the most honourable of you with Allaah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwaa [i.e. he is one of the Muttaqoon (the pious)]” [al-Hujuraat 49:13]

“Good statements are for good people (or good women for good men) and good people for good statements (or good men for good women)” [al-Noor 24:26] 

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“If there comes to you one whose religious commitment and attitude pleases you, then marry [your female relative who is under your care] to him, for if you do not do that, there will be tribulation on earth and much corruption.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 1084).

As well as being religiously committed, it is preferable that he should come from a good family and a known lineage. If two men come to propose marriage to one woman, and they are equal in terms of religious commitment, then preference should be given to the one who comes from a good family that is known for its adherence to the commands of Allaah, so long as the other person is not better than him in terms of religious commitment – because the righteousness of the husband’s close relatives could be passed on to his children and his good origins and lineage may make him refrain from many foolish and cheap actions. The righteousness of the father and grandfather are beneficial to the children and grandchildren. 

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the town; and there was under it a treasure belonging to them; and their father was a righteous man, and your Lord intended that they should attain their age of full strength and take out their treasure as a mercy from your Lord” [al-Kahf 18:82].

See how Allaah protected their father’s wealth for the two boys after the father died, as an honour to him because of his righteousness and taqwaa. By the same token, if the husband comes from a righteous family and his parents are good, Allaah will make things easy for him and protect him as an honour to his parents.

It is good if he has sufficient wealth to keep him and his family from having to ask people for anything, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to Faatimah bint Qays (may Allaah be pleased with her), when she came to consult him about three men who had proposed marriage to her, “As for Mu’aawiyah, he is a poor man who has no wealth…” (Narrated by Muslim, 1480). 

It is not essential that he should be a businessman or rich, it is sufficient for him to have an income that will keep him and his family from having to ask people for anything. If there is a choice between a man who is religiously committed and a man who is wealthy, then the religious man should be given preference over the wealthy man.

It is preferable that he should be kind and gentle towards women, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to Faatimah bint Qays, in the hadeeth quoted above, “As for Abu Jaham, his stick never leaves his shoulder”, referring to the fact that he used to beat women a lot.

The Prophet (sas) commanded them to facilitate their marriage when they are satisfied with two issues:  the faith of the suitor and his character.
Character is of extreme importance in Islam and goes hand in hand with faith and piety.  The Prophet (sas) has even described it as the purpose of his mission to mankind as we can see from the following hadith:
"Innama bu'ithtu li utammima saliha al-akhlaaqi."
"I have only been sent to complete good character."  Al-Hakim and others (sahih)

"Anaa za'eemun bibaitin fiy a'laa al-jannati liman hassana khuluqahu."
"I am a guarantor of a house in the highest part of Paradise for one who makes his character good."  Abu Daud and it is hassan.

"Al-Birru husnu al-khuluqi."
"Righteousness is good character."  Muslim

"Akmalu al-mu'mineen imaanan ahsanuhum khuluqan."
"The believers with the most complete iman are those with the best character."  Abu Daud and it is sahih.
It is good if he is sound of body and healthy, free of faults, sickness, etc., and not disabled or sterile.

It is preferable that he should have knowledge of the Qur’aan and Sunnah; if you find someone like this it is good, otherwise you should realize that this is something rare.

It is permissible for the woman to look at the man who comes to propose marriage, and for him to look at her (You gotta be satisfied with the way he looks, I mean you're going to be spending the rest of your life with this man, is this the face you want to see every morning?). This should be in the presence of her mahram, and it is not permitted to look more than is necessary, or for him to see her alone, or for her to go out with him on her own, or to meet repeatedly for no reason.

This characteristic has a certain role to play since one of the purposes of marriage is to keep both spouses from sins.  The best way to do this is to have a strong attraction between the spouses.  Although this is something which surely grows over time, initial impressions can in come cases become an obstacle to a successful marriage.   The Prophet (sas) separated Qais ibn Shamaas from his wife in the famous case of Khul'a and her stated reason was that he was exceedingly displeasing to her.  There are many hadith which urge the prospective spouse to get a look at the other before undertaking the marriage.  Once a companion told him (sas) that he was going to get married.  The Prophet (sas) asked if he had seen her.  When the man said no, he (sas) said:
"Idh-hab fandhur ilaihaa fa innahu ahraa an yu'dama bainakum."
"Go and look at her for it is more likely to engender love between the two of you."  Ahmad and others and it is sahih.
Umar ibn Al-Khattab once said:  "Do not force your young girls to marry an ugly man, for they also love what you love."  Ibn Abideen (a famous faqeeh from last century) said:  "The woman should choose a man who is religious, of good character, generous and of ample wealth.  She should not marry an evildoer.  A person should not marry his young daughter to an old man and an ugly man but he should marry her to one similar."
Beauty has its role, but remember that it is way down on the priority list under piety, character and deen.  When a person puts beauty above all else, the results can be disastrous.  This is one of the big reasons that young people seeking to get married must be helped by more mature family members in making their choice.
According to Islam, the woman’s wali (guardian) should check on the man who proposes marriage to the woman who is under his guardianship; he should ask those whom he trusts among those who mix with him and who know him, about his commitment to Islam and his trustworthiness. He should ask them for an honest opinion and sincere, sound advice.

Before and during all of this, you must turn towards Allaah and pray to Him to make it easy for you and help you to make a good choice and to grant you wisdom. Then after all these efforts, when you have decided on a particular person, you should pray Istikhaarah, asking Allaah for that which is good. For more details on Salaat al-Istikhaarah, please see below. Then after you have done your utmost, put your trust in Allaah, for He is the best of helpers, may He be glorified.

Adapted from Jaami’ Ahkaam al-Nisaa’ by Shaykh Mustafaa al-‘Adawi.


Istikhaarah prayer is a Sunnah which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) prescribed for anyone who wants to do an action but is hesitant about it. Discussion of Istikhaarah prayer covers eight points: 

1-     Definition
2-     Ruling
3-     The wisdom behind prescribing it
4-     Reasons for it
5-     When Istikhaarah should be started
6-     Consulting people before praying istikhaarah
7-     What should be recited in istikhaarah
8-     When should the du’aa’ be recited? 

1 – Definition 

Istikhaarah in Arabic means seeking guidance to make a decision concerning something. It is said in Arabic Istakhir Allaaha yakhir laka (Seek guidance from Allaah and He will guide you (to the right decision)). In sharee’ah terminology, Istikhaarah means seeking guidance (to the right decision), i.e., seeking guidance as to what Allaah knows is the best and most appropriate choice, by means of prayer or the du’aa’ narrated concerning Istikhaarah. 

2 – Ruling 

The scholars are unanimously agreed that Istikhaarah is Sunnah. The evidence that it is prescribed is the hadeeth narrated by al-Bukhaari from Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: 

“The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to teach his companions to make istikhaarah in all matters, just as he used to teach them soorahs from the Qur’aan. 

He said: ‘If any one of you is deliberating about a decision he has to make, then let him pray two rak’ahs of non-obligatory prayer, then say: 

Allaahumma inni astakheeruka bi ‘ilmika wa astaqdiruka bi qudratika wa as’aluka min fadlika, fa innaka taqdiru wa laa aqdir, wa ta’lamu wa laa a’lam, wa anta ‘allaam al-ghuyoob. Allaahumma fa in kunta ta’lamu haadha’l-amra (then the matter should be mentioned by name) khayran li fi ‘aajil amri wa aajilihi (or: fi deeni wa ma’aashi wa ‘aaqibati amri) faqdurhu li wa yassirhu li thumma baarik li fihi. Allaahumma wa in kunta ta’lamu annahu sharrun li fi deeni wa ma’aashi wa ‘aaqibati amri (or: fi ‘aajili amri wa aajilihi) fasrifni ‘anhu [wasrafhu ‘anni] waqdur li al-khayr haythu kaana thumma radini bihi

(O Allaah, I seek Your guidance [in making a choice] by virtue of Your knowledge, and I seek ability by virtue of Your power, and I ask You of Your great bounty. You have power, I have none. And You know, I know not. You are the Knower of hidden things. O Allaah, if in Your knowledge, this matter (then it should be mentioned by name) is good for me both in this world and in the Hereafter (or: in my religion, my livelihood and my affairs), then ordain it for me, make it easy for me, and bless it for me. And if in Your knowledge it is bad for me and for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs (or: for me both in this world and the next), then turn me away from it, [and turn it away from me], and ordain for me the good wherever it may be and make me pleased with it).” 

Narrated by al-Bukhaari in several places in his Saheeh (1166). 

3 – The wisdom behind prescribing it: 

The reason why Istikhaarah is prescribed is that it is submission to the command of Allaah and a practical demonstration that one has no power and no strength of one’s own. It means turning to Allaah and seeking to combine the goodness of this world and of the Hereafter. In order to achieve that, one has to knock at the door of the King, Allaah, may He be glorified, and there is nothing more beneficial in this regard than salaah (prayer) and du’aa’ (supplication), because they involve venerating Allaah, praising Him and expressing one’s need for Him. Then after praying istikhaarah one should do that which one feels is best. 

4 – Reasons for it: 

In what circumstances should one pray istikhaarah? The four madhhabs are agreed that istikhaarah is prescribed in cases where a person does not know the right decision to make. In matters where it is known whether a thing is good or bad, such as acts of worship, doing good deeds, sins or evil actions, there is no need to pray istikhaarah in these cases. But if a person wants to find out the right time to do something, such as whether to do Hajj this year, because there is the possibility of encountering an enemy or some tribulation, or whether to go with a certain person or not, then he may pray istikhaarah with regard to such decisions. But there is no room for Istikhaarah when it comes to things that are obligatory, haraam or makrooh. Rather Istikhaarah has to do with things that are recommended or permissible. Istikhaarah is not ordinarily required with regard to things that are recommended, rather it should be done in cases where there is a conflict, i.e., when a person has a choice of two things and must decide which one to start with or which one not to do. With regard to permissible things, he may pray Istikhaarah as a regular matter. 

5 – When should he start praying Istikhaarah? 

The person who wants to pray Istikhaarah should have an open mind, and not have decided on a specific course of action. The phrase “If any one of you is deliberating” indicates that Istikhaarah should be prayed when one starts to think of the matter, when through the blessing of prayer and du’aa’ what is good will become clear to him, in contrast to when the idea has taken root and his resolve to do it is firm, in which case his inclination will sway him, and there is the fear that wisdom may not prevail because he is inclined to do that which he has already decided to do. It may be that which is meant by deliberation here is resolve, because a passing thought does not matter. And a person should not pray istikhaarah except when he has decided to do something but does not have a strong inclination towards it. Otherwise, if a person were to pray Istikhaarah for every thought that crosses his mind, he would never stop and he would waste all his time doing that. 

6 – Consulting others before praying istikhaarah 

Al-Nawawi said: It is mustahabb, before praying istikhaarah, to consult someone whom you knows is sincere, caring and has experience, and who is trustworthy with regard to his religious commitment and knowledge. 

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 
“and consult them in the affairs”

[Aal ‘Imraan 3:159]

7 – What is to be recited in Salaat al-Istikhaarah 

There are three opinions as to what should be recited in Salaat al-Istikhaarah: 

(a)     The Hanafis, Maalikis and Shaafa’is said that it is mustahabb, after reciting al-Faatihah, to recite Qul yaa ayyuha’l-kaafiroon in the first rak’ah and Qul huwa Allaahu ahad in the second.  Al-Nawawi said, explaining the reason for that: It is appropriate to recite these in prayer, to show sincerity and expressing your leaving your affairs to Allaah. They said that it is also permissible to add other verses from Qur’aan where the context refers to the idea of making a choice or decision.

(b)    Some of the Salaf said that in praying istikhaarah it is good to add, after reciting al-Faatihah, the following verses in the first rak’ah:

“And your Lord creates whatsoever He wills and chooses, no choice have they (in any matter). Glorified is Allaah, and exalted above all that they associate (as partners with Him).

And your Lord knows what their breasts conceal, and what they reveal.
And He is Allaah; Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), all praises and thanks be to Him (both) in the first (i.e. in this world) and in the last (i.e. in the Hereafter). And for Him is the Decision, and to Him shall you (all) be returned”

[al-Qasas 28:68 – interpretation of the meaning]

And the following verse in the second rak’ah:

“It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allaah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allaah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed into a plain error”

[al-Ahzaab 33:36 – interpretation of the meaning]

(c)    The Hanbalis and some of the fuqaha’ did not say that any particular verses are to be recited when praying Istikhaarah. 

8 – When one should pray Istikhaarah

 The Hanafis, Maalikis, Shaafa’is and Hanbalis stated that the du’aa’ should be recited immediately after the prayer. This is in accordance with what was stated in the hadeeth narrated from the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). See al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, part 3, p. 241. 

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in al-Fataawa al-Kubra: Part 2, p. 265 Question concerning Du’aa’ al-Istikhaarah: should this du’aa’ be recited during salaah (prayer) or after saying the salaam?  The answer is that it is permissible to recite the du’aa’ of istikhaarah before or after the salaam, whether you are praying salaat al-istikhaarah or another prayer. Reciting du’aa’ before the salaam is preferable, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to recite a lot of du’aa’ before the salaam, and the worshipper before saying the salaam still in a state of prayer, so it is better to recite the du’aa’ then.

 And Allaah knows best


  1. Assalamu Alaikum Sister,
    I honestly Im lost for words to thank you with.
    I did not think you would do this so soon or even read my comment.

    Jazzak Allahu Kairen from the bottom of my heart!

    I appreciate your time and effort you have put into this and make dua to Allah swt to guide &protect you and your loved ones eternally from anything bad for you, keep everyone in good health. To make the coming month of ramadan very blessed for you iA, Ameen

    I agree with you in all the points you have made and yes your right that being the individuals we are we have different ideals and points in mind.

    InshaAllah everything goes well for all of us regarding this. Like another sister pointed out in the previous post, when we listen to the stories of our Prophet pbuh and his companion (may Allah be pleased with them all) we want the same but its impossible to find someone like that today. (I guess the brothers feel the same?)

    Today it frightens me to even think about marriage with everything that is happening. If it wasn't half our deen i would not get married.

    I have put everything onto the hands of Allah The Almighty, The All-Knowing as this is way beyond me. inshaAllah with Allah's guidance and blessings the most rightful man for us (those who are single) will come our way.

    Take care sister and Thank you once again.
    Allah Hafiz
    -Halema :o)

  2. @Halema
    Assalamualaikum sister,
    Believe me I share the same thoughts about marriage.. Sometimes though it excites me to think of getting married .. but most of the times it frightens me to the core, Even though i still have min 2 years for it,Inshallah! :D ..
    But well like you said, I guess what's important is for us to trust in Allah and believe that whatever Allah has decreed for us will be for our good since its only Him that knows best.

    @iHijabi .. Jazakallahu Khayra sister! This is a very helpful article!! :)
    May Allah bless you! :)

  3. ^Waassalaamu alaikum sister,
    Nice to know im not the only one out here feeling like this-haha!
    I know I hope i have more than 2 years..Hehe

    Take Care, Assalamu Alaikum