Right now, I am only functioning at about 50% of my brain capacity. The other 50% is occupied. Mostly with women; it’s not ‘a’ woman but women in general as a concept. I have been looking around the net for some objective analysis of premarital questions for Muslims but I did not find eye opening references so I decided to put my own humble listing.
As Muslims (and we thank Allah for guiding us), dating and pre-marital relationships are not permitted. So the background and compatibility checks will be done at various levels. But before going into the levels, the criteria and questions, success is from Allah; we take the means and then we depend on Allah all praise due to him. Also, supplication is your best friend at all times and look specifically for the times when supplication is answered (last third of a night).
Level 0 is the background check. This is done by asking about the candidate in school, university, neighborhood, etc. The goal here is to marry someone who is truly pure, has morals and has no (haram) un-permitted or suspicious history of relationships. Is she a good respectable woman? etc; ask about her and her family.
Next is level 1, you have to check the compatibility of a candidate which is done through your family; get your mother and sister to visit her and see what she’s like. After doing much research and reading what our prophet peace be upon him said and the scholars explained about marriage, I summarized the aspects to consider in this list:
1. Deen (way of life according to Islam): make sure that you wife would have deen. Deen that is genuine accompanied with fear of Allah and not the kind that is only transmitted to her by others (the osmosis effect). As a friend of mine put it, look for a fertile land not a land with trees. A good sign is if she wakes up for fajer everyday. A friend of mine told me of a story of a man who made the father swear on the Quran that his daughter indeed wakes up for fajer (a woman can do that too).
2. Good Roots: make sure that your wife is from a good family (in arabic: bent asool). By a good family, I mean that she comes from a family which is known by people who know them by goodness. They are good hearted and responsible; they have honor, values ,good personalities and purity. Order in the family is important in that the mother respects the father and vice versa and the kids respect their parents.
3. Make sure that your wife to be is ‘Wadoud’ which means kind, good hearted, feminine with a big heart. The one who if she hugged a crying baby, the baby would stop crying and fall asleep. Also check the ‘Walud’ part by looking at the family both: extended and nuclear.
4. Make sure that your wife to be has ‘haya” which means shyness (in a good sense). The kind that would turn her cheecks red the first time you talk to her and see her (I really shouldn’t be writing about this before I go to bed!!).
5. Beauty which is in the eye of the beholder.
The reason that I write this is that I am planning to get married this summer inshallah and with that comes a huge decision which will stick with me for a long long time. Level 2 of compatibility checking is through direct questions. Some of these questions are meant to provide an insight to the candidate as a human being; the personslaity and such. These questions could be also asked to your wife if you’re married too. I am sure many of us (men and women) would rather ask the candidate to fill out an application or ask them: why should I choose you? or what can you do for me? These questions are not practical and would usually get an opposite reaction to what one is expecting. So here we go,
Questions to ask your wife to be or your husband to be:
1. What do you want in your husband?
2. What do you not want in your husband?
3. If I had to ask your friends to describe you in one word, what would that be? (ask her to ask them)
4. Do you wake up to pray Fajer on time?
5. What is the relationship between you and your family?
6. Have you had any previous relations? (better not asked directly)
7. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Any goals you like to accomplish?
8. What is the thing you like most about yourself?
9. What is the thing that you do not like about yourself?
10. Do you like to read Quran? or Islamic Sciences?
11. Do you like to read in general?
11. Are you doing good in your academic studies? what’s your grades or GPA?
12. Do you like what you study or did you want to study something else?
13. How do you spend your day in detail?
14. How much do you spend watching TV? What is your opinion on TV?
15. Do you perform the Sunan?
16. Do you have the intention to wear Jilbab?
17. Throw a problem and ask for a solution? a situation and so on.
18. Send an article and ask for her opinion.
19. If you were doing something and you discovered that it was against the Sunna, would you change?
20. if you had some extra time to do what you want, what would you do? Do you like doing voluntary work?
21. What is the role of deen in your life? What priority does it take?
22. What are the roles of a husband and a wife? Does the wife have to obey the husband?
Another technique is to form the answer the question and ask her to comment on your answer. For example, you can say that you believe that the husband and the wife should know their roles in the relationship and that you think that the wife should obey the husband in what is permitted by Islam; you can then ask if she agrees with you. This could be done with other questions too. Also you have to answer you questions so that your wife-to-be would know your ideas and way of thinking.
In one of the lectures (for Sheikh Mohammed Yakoub), he said that in the first visit, one must be very observational; for example: how did she come in? how did she introduce herself? how she reacts to her family making comments? how she reacts to her little brother crying? what was served and how was it served? After all, she will be the mother of your children (or he’ll be the father of your children). One more point to emphasize on is to ask and examine the mother too because usually daughters will get most of their values and behavior from their mothers. Look at how the mother treats the father and so on. As a man, I am writing this from a man’s perspective.
For anyone who would like to be smart and tell me that I said there will be 20 questions and that I have included 22 questions, I say: in arabic a fraction can be omitted (How many Hadeeths are there in the 40 Hadeeths for Imam Nawawei?).
May Allah give us all good families and good offspring who practice Islam and make supplication for us and that we all die as Muslims inshallah. Please include comments and suggestions. I hope this helps.