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Marriage Preparation
from Before the Wedding - 150 Questions for Muslims to Ask Before Getting Married by M. L. Ezzeldine

In Islam, marriage preparation is multi-dimensional. The first step in the marriage preparation process is that a person does some introspection to see if they are really ready for marriage. This would include determining your values and beliefs and what type of spouse you will make. It is advisable to make istikhara prayers, a prayer for guidance. Istikhara is where one asks Allah to guide them to the best choice possible in any matter including when seeking a spouse. Building a personal relationship with Allah is vital to being a good spouse as it will purify your intentions and help you clearly analyze the reasons for wanting to marry a particular person.

When selecting a spouse, everyone has certain qualities they are looking for. It is reported in a hadith (tradition of Prophet Muhammad) that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, "A woman is to be married for four reasons; for her property, status, beauty or religion; so try to marry the one who is religious" (Muslim). Of course, this hadith relates to what women should look for in men as well.

Additionally, any two people seeking to get married should have a wali (guardian) involved in the process who will oversee and guide the couple. The wali are usually the parents of the couple. Muslims who have non-Muslim parents, should still consult their parents and involve them in the "courting process". However, if the non-Muslim parents are unreceptive to Islam, it is suggested that the person ask their Imam (religious leader) to take on the position of guardian.

Respect for parents is paramount in Islam and taking note of their advice when selecting a spouse is essential. Marriage is the union of more than just two individuals; it is bringing together two families, and thus the process should include both families............Additionally, a couple should never be completely alone with one another before marriage because this would be khulwa. Khulwa is when a single man and single woman are alone together where no one can see them, thereby tempting them to commit fornication. A couple should always act with respect and mmodesty toward one another.

Finally, it is suggested that the couple find a mediator who can act as mentor to the young couple and open their eyes to the reality of marriage. A knowledgeable person trusted by both parties is an asset to a couple before the wedding, since he /she could be consulted should any problems arise after they are married.

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