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Pointers on Choosing Marriage Partners
by
Miss Syed

In light of the experience of the past years, it is time to take stock and try to halt the ever-mounting tide of divorces among Muslims. It is not unusual today to find Muslim women (and even an occasional Muslim man) who, by the time they are 30 or 35, have been married three or four times, their children suffering again and again through the trauma of fatherless and broken homes. Accordingly, we may list a few essential points to be considered by both brothers and sisters in the process of choosing a partner in life (although the masculine pronoun has been used throughout for the sake of simplicity, the following is generally equally applicable to both men and women).

1. Du'a. Unceasingly ask help and guidance from Allah, Most High, in the matter of finding and choosing a mate. As often as you feel it necessary, pray Salaah al-Istikhara, Islam's special prayer for guidance, in order to reach a suitable decision.

2. Consult your heart. Listen to what your inner voice, the 'radar' which Allah has given you to guide you, tells you about the prospective partner. It is likely to be more correct than your mind, which often plays tricks and can rationalise almost anything. For many people, first impressions are often the most accurate.

3. Enquire. Find out the reason why this man wants to marry you. Is he interested in you as an individual or will just any person do? Why is he not doing the logical thing, that is, to marry someone from his culture? If there is evidence that the primary reason for this marriage, despite claims to the contrary, is for convenience (greencard, money, property, etc.), forget it. This spells trouble.

4. Get to know your prospective partner, within the limits of what is permissible in Islam, before deciding on marriage. Just ' seeing' someone once or twice in the company of others, who may be anxious for this marriage to take place, is simply not enough under today's conditions, where two per- sons of totally dissimilar backgrounds are meeting each other without the safeguards of families. Without violating Islam's prohibition about being alone, try to understand his nature, what makes him tick, his temperament, what he might be like to live with.

5. Talk to several people who know your prospective partner, not just one, or have someone whom you can trust do this for you. Ask about him from various people, not just from his friends because they may conceal facts.

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