By Umm Halimah
It is no secret that finding a spouse in today’s world is much different than it was in the past. Many would say it is even more challenging. However, it is the desire of most people to have companionship in the form of a spouse and, as Muslims, it is considered to be half of our deen. With the straining of familial and social ties, along with the advent of social media and the online world in general, many people (both Muslim and non-Muslim) have turned to the internet to find that ‘special’ someone. Keeping this in mind, I thought it would be helpful to give some tips for being successful in the venture inshaAllah. Although I do not have first-hand experience in doing this, I have witnessed good and bad outcomes of online marriages and have noticed some things in the process. The following are a few things that I think a woman (and a man) should take into consideration when looking for a spouse online.
1. Never give out your personal information early on (give wali’s contact) – This is part of why you have a wali. There are a lot of people online claiming they are looking for a spouse. It goes without saying that unfortunately not everyone has good intentions. Some men may even try to lure you with piety and say that they are pious individuals looking for a pious spouse. Be careful. Before you give any personal information (i.e. your phone number, address, etc.), refer these potentials to your wali to help determine how serious they are. If they get in contact with your wali and they seem upright then you should continue with getting to know them if you wish.
2. Be straightforward about your purpose (not looking for friendship but marriage) – Be very clear that you are only interested in people who are seriously looking to get married. Do not waste your time talking about useless topics. Be careful of a man who just wants to bring up inappropriate topics with you such as an over obsession about looks (yours or his) or just plain flirting. As women, we like to be complimented and feel attractive to our partners; however, too much detailed talk about these things should be reserved for our spouses. Therefore, we should not fall into this action. Also, be careful about someone who repeatedly avoids your wali, as this may be a sign that he is not serious.
3. Always try to involve your wali/family – There seems to be an increase in girls who get married secretly or without the involvement of their families. While I understand that in some circumstances girls become frustrated or desperate due to the unrealistic demands of their families, it is still best to have the acknowledgement of your family. Therefore, try your best to involve them and have their consent, even if you are a divorcee. InshaAllah you will have more barakah in your marriage and you (and your future spouse) will feel more at ease about the whole situation. If you are having problems with your family, try to seek help from trusted and knowledgeable members of your community.
4. Look for references and consider meeting with the man’s family ahead of time – Ask for you or your wali to meet or speak to people who know the potential spouse. Also, it may be a good idea to do a legal background check on the individual. It is also a good idea to meet your potential in-laws if possible. You and your family/wali should meet or speak to his parents and siblings. You can learn a lot from these people about your potential spouse and about their expectations for you and how you will fit into the family. It will give them a chance to see who you are and to be at ease with you being a part of their family.
5. Make du’a – Finally, the most important part to help make this endeavor a success: make du’a to Allah subhana wa ta’ala to guide you to what is best and beneficial. The Prophet salAllahu alayhi wa sallam taught us to pray salatul Istikhara when trying to make any decision. I strongly encourage you to do that. When you do that, you should not necessarily look for some amazing dream or anything but just do it sincerely, seek good advice, and make a decision. InshaAllah, you should not regret whatever the outcome is because you did what you were supposed to do and Allah subhana wa ta’ala) is the Most Wise. In addition, a good idea that I got from a friend of mine, is to write down all of the things that are very important to you in a spouse and actually make du’a for those things, in addition to praying for a righteous spouse.
Keep in mind, however, that the best reason to marry a person is for his righteousness, so do not let transient things such as looks or wealth cloud your mind. If you want a righteous spouse make sure that you are trying to be righteous yourself. As Bilal Philips once said when asked how to find a righteous spouse, “It’s about being righteous yourself.” While looks and wealth are important, they are not the most important things. Marriage is half of our religion, probably in part due to the fact that it is a great struggle and a possible source of so much blessing. Additionally, it is wise to remember that everyone has their ups and downs – even the Sahaba and even the Prophet salAllahu alayhi wa sallam! Therefore, do not let romantic and “perfect” pictures on facebook fool you into thinking that others have a perfect life. You just do your best to pick a good spouse. Work hard afterwards at making your marriage a success, and continue making du’a to Allah subhana wa ta’ala, and He will reward you.
I hope that these few tips will be of some benefit to you. I pray that Allah subhana wa ta’ala grants us the coolness of our eyes through our spouses and offspring and gives us the best in this world and the next. Ameen.
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