By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, MMNS
I wrote the counterpart to this article last year. It was titled â€œHow to Choose a Good Wife.â€ I was asked to write the article, I presumed, because people thought I had made a good choice in my wifr of 32 years, Dr. Cheryl El-Amin. I commented on the fact piousness is one of the most desirable qualities she should have (and she does). Now I see a need to present the other side of the equation. What women should look for in choosing a husband.
Iâ€™m writing this article because I see so many women (young and old, indigenous and immigrant) making some bad choices. I see women marrying men that are not in way, form or fashion good marriage material.
Recently, Imam Siraj Wahhaj, amir of Muslim Alliance of North America, (MANA) led a program called Healthy Marriage Initiative. As part of this initiative, I, along with many other imams across the country signed a pledge in which we promised that we would look differently at the way we perform marriages.
We pledged that we would not perform any more â€œdrive-byâ€ marriages where couples (especially young couples) drop by the masjid and ask to be married on the spot. We also set a goal to do at least three counseling sessions before the marriage. Sometimes four or more may be necessary; sometimes only one will suffice. But the important thing is there is at least some attention put on some of the important parts of a marriage to look at BEFORE THE MARRIAGE.
First of all, a great deal of the responsibility falls on the male. Almighty ALLAH has placed the man a â€œdegreeâ€ above the woman. This degree of superiority doesnâ€™t mean the man is authorized to be a brute. It means he has the responsibility to maintain and protect the woman and the offspring. These are the first things a woman should look for in a man. He must be gainfully employed and show the probability of remaining so throughout the years.
A good spiritual base is also essential to guide the manâ€™s everyday thoughts and actions. You should watch small things about a person. Saying his prayers is important, but more importantly is DOING WHAT THE PRAYERS SAY â€“ PUTTING IT TO ACTION.
If you are looking for a good husband, you want a man who has regard for ALLAH and bows down in prayer. I see many men make the mistake of getting a non-Muslim woman or a woman weak in her deen, or a woman who just wants to get married, and think he can â€œIslamizeâ€ her to his satisfaction. You should never allow a man to try and change you into a person he thinks he wants. As a matter of fact, he canâ€™t even change some things he doesnâ€™t like about himself.
Look for piety in a husband. Look for strength, graced in a character that contributes positively to the society we live in. Look for the type of man that you would like to raise your children. Would you want a brute that victimizes with his strength, or, on the other hand, a weak cry baby with no job raising your children? I donâ€™t think so. You want a man who makes your home safe, peaceful and who puts the Islamic atmosphere in the house.
You want him to be intelligent; and if he is educated and intelligent, so much the better. I say that because I want to make it known that a man/person can be intelligent without formal education. And, on the other hand, a man can be formally educated and not have the intelligence to peacefully run a household. This human, morally-conscious intelligence only comes from a submissive heart that feeds the mind so that good decisions can be made. This submissive heart is not submissive to any one except ALLAH alone, which is guaranteed to make the spouse happy.
So look and choose carefully sisters. Look for the characteristics that ALLAH lays out for the human beingâ€”then choose a man whose character most closely comes to that which ALLAH desires in a human being – and you will be happy.
As Salaam alaikum
(Al Hajj) Imam Abdullah El-Amin