Preamble: Below is a real question and my answer to it. This happened to me in a country that I was visiting at the time to speak about the Seerah (life/way) of Rasoolullahﷺ. A very concerned young woman asked me this question. I answered her. After considering my response, she refused the proposal and lived to be very pleased with that decision. I am mentioning this here so that you know that this is not some hypothetical matter but very real. I am also mentioning this because this is a very common thing in many universities where Muslim boys and girls study together and try to follow their religion, but get confused when it comes to interpersonal relationships, often leading to disaster. I am publishing this in the hope that this will come to the aid of anyone in this situation.
I want to get married to this man in my university who says that the best thing for him is to get married to get out of the temptations that surround him. He is still a student on scholarship and has no income or career. What is your advice?
Thank you very much for your question. It may be the best thing for him, but is it the best thing for you? Also, what do you think of someone who is saying in effect, “This is the best thing for me, so sacrifice yourself at my altar.” I have seldom heard a more self-centered, selfish statement and am wondering how you don’t seem to see that.
My advice is that you learn to eat grass. If you marry someone without an income, that is what you will need to be able to do at some point. Sorry to be rude – but as George Bernard Shaw said, ‘You must never be afraid to offend people because that is the only time that they listen.’ So, I hope you are offended and can wake up from the hormone induced dream that you are in before it turns into a nightmare.
For a man to be suitable to marry, you must look for three things:
- How is his Deen?
-Is he on the Shari’ah and Sunnah?
-Is he particular about avoiding doubtful things?
-How are his manners? Not only to you – but to all around him.
-Is he argumentative and combative about everything? Is he an auto-refuter?
-Is he kind and considerate to those weaker than him? Does he thank the waiter and the doorman?
-Is there a smile on his face or a frown? Does he have a sense of humor?
-Is he smart? Does he read more than comics? Can you have a serious, sensible conversation with him?
-Is his brain bigger than his biceps? (If he proposed to you without an income, I seriously doubt that it is)
-Is his language that of inclusion or exclusion – looking down on others who he considers as not so good Muslims as himself?
-Does he praise more or criticize more? Is he forgiving of others or eager to expose their faults?
-How particular is he about avoiding Haraam? (Sorry to point out, but if he was having conversations with you without a Mahram, he and you were already indulging in Haraam)
- Can he support himself?
-How? Not dreams and smooth talk – but actual nuts and bolts. Today.
-Has he completed his education? How much longer will that take?
-Will his family support this marriage of yours until he can get a job (lousy situation to be in but better than eating grass)?
-What is his profession and how soon can he get a job?
-What kind of income does he have today and what can he expect?
-Is that enough to support you and your family?
-Believe me, today you may think that you can live on love and sunshine but I doubt that you can pay your rent with sunshine. Neither will sunshine buy you bread – that’s why I said that you may like to start eating grass because that is free and maybe you can even hire your services out as a walking lawn mower and make some money as well.
- How compatible are you with each other and each other’s families?
-That means that you wake up and ask some basic questions like what do they eat?
-Where do they come from? Country and culture. Not race. I have seen marriages between Africans and African Americans break up in six months because Africans and African Americans are two different cultures, even though racially they are the same. Race doesn’t matter. Culture does. Difference is not bad. Incompatibility is. And many a time, difference translates as incompatibility.
-What is the relationship and expectation from the parents in law?
-Are they from a multi-marriage culture where your husband-to-be who can’t resist temptations today will once again not be able to resist temptations and will take unto himself another wife; and perhaps another? So, how will you take to that?
-What kind of financial background do your husband’s family come from? Is there too much of a disparity? My mother used to say, ‘To patch a tear in a muslin garment you don’t use gold brocade.’
Finally, of all the dumb reasons to marry is to ‘stay out of temptation’. I know I have just put myself in line for the Fatawa of all my ‘strong’ brothers who will strike me down with this and that Hadith. But before I go down, let me say to you, my dear sister, in plain words; what he is saying in effect is that he needs a legal means for sex.
So, what happens when the hormones are not boiling any longer? He’s not marrying you for yourself. He is marrying you for himself. That is the worst reason to get married to anyone for. Believe me and wake up. Or keep sleeping and find out for yourself when the dream turns into a nightmare. After all nightmares are also dreams.
I will tell you what happens in 9 cases out of 10. When things get too tough and you demand time, attention, and money, he will walk away, and you will be left holding the baby – quite literally. Then what will you do?
Wake up and answer this questionnaire and if he comes out on top, marry him. If not suggest to him to take cold showers – maybe, he should put his bed in the shower – and you focus on your education. You came to the university to study. Not to look at boys. He came to study. Not to look at girls. Concentrate on your education. Get a distinction. And go home. And then see what Allah has in store for you in terms of your Rizq – a husband you can look up to and be proud of. A husband who will be proud of you and treat you like a princess – not only during your honeymoon but for all your life.
I wish you all the best in this world and the next.