Praise be to Allaah.
We appreciate your eagerness to find out the attributes which will help you to choose a righteous husband, in shaa Allaah. There follows a description of the most important qualities which should be present in the man whom you choose or accept to be your husband and the father of your children, if Allaah decrees that you will have children.
Religious commitment. This is the most important thing to look for in the man you want to marry. The husband should be a Muslim who adheres to all the laws and teachings of Islam in his daily life. The woman’s guardian (wali) should strive to check out this matter and not rely only on outward appearances. One of the most important things to ask about is the man’s prayer (salaah); the one who neglects the rights of Allaah is more likely to neglect the rights of others. The true believer does not oppress or mistreat his wife; if he loves her, he honours her, and if he does not love her, he does not mistreat or humiliate her. It is very rare to find this attitude among those who are not sincere Muslims. Allaah says (interpretation of the meanings):
“and verily, a believing slave is better than a (free) Mushrik (idolater), even though he pleases you” [al-Baqarah 2:221]
“Verily, the most honourable of you with Allaah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwaa [i.e. he is one of the Muttaqoon (the pious)]” [al-Hujuraat 49:13]
“Good statements are for good people (or good women for good men) and good people for good statements (or good men for good women)” [al-Noor 24:26]
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“If there comes to you one whose religious commitment and attitude pleases you, then marry [your female relative who is under your care] to him, for if you do not do that, there will be tribulation on earth and much corruption.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 1084).
As well as being religiously committed, it is preferable that he should come from a good family and a known lineage. If two men come to propose marriage to one woman, and they are equal in terms of religious commitment, then preference should be given to the one who comes from a good family that is known for its adherence to the commands of Allaah, so long as the other person is not better than him in terms of religious commitment – because the righteousness of the husband’s close relatives could be passed on to his children and his good origins and lineage may make him refrain from many foolish and cheap actions. The righteousness of the father and grandfather are beneficial to the children and grandchildren. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the town; and there was under it a treasure belonging to them; and their father was a righteous man, and your Lord intended that they should attain their age of full strength and take out their treasure as a mercy from your Lord” [al-Kahf 18:82].
See how Allaah protected their father’s wealth for the two boys after the father died, as an honour to him because of his righteousness and taqwaa. By the same token, if the husband comes from a righteous family and his parents are good, Allaah will make things easy for him and protect him as an honour to his parents.
It is good if he has sufficient wealth to keep him and his family from having to ask people for anything, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to Faatimah bint Qays (may Allaah be pleased with her), when she came to consult him about three men who had proposed marriage to her, “As for Mu’aawiyah, he is a poor man who has no wealth…” (Narrated by Muslim, 1480). It is not essential that he should be a businessman or rich, it is sufficient for him to have an income that will keep him and his family from having to ask people for anything. If there is a choice between a man who is religiously committed and a man who is wealthy, then the religious man should be given preference over the wealthy man.
It is preferable that he should be kind and gentle towards women, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to Faatimah bint Qays, in the hadeeth quoted above, “As for Abu Jaham, his stick never leaves his shoulder”, referring to the fact that he used to beat women a lot.
It is good if he is sound of body and healthy, free of faults, sickness, etc., and not disabled or sterile.
It is preferable that he should have knowledge of the Qur’aan and Sunnah; if you find someone like this it is good, otherwise you should realize that this is something rare.
It is permissible for the woman to look at the man who comes to propose marriage, and for him to look at her. This should be in the presence of her mahram, and it is not permitted to look more than is necessary, or for him to see her alone, or for her to go out with him on her own, or to meet repeatedly for no reason.
According to Islam, the woman’s wali (guardian) should check on the man who proposes marriage to the woman who is under his guardianship; he should ask those whom he trusts among those who mix with him and who know him, about his commitment to Islam and his trustworthiness. He should ask them for an honest opinion and sincere, sound advice.
Before and during all of this, you must turn towards Allaah and pray to Him to make it easy for you and help you to make a good choice and to grant you wisdom. Then after all these efforts, when you have decided on a particular person, you should pray Istikhaarah, asking Allaah for that which is good. For more details on Salaat al-Istikhaarah, please see Question # 2217. Then after you have done your utmost, put your trust in Allaah, for He is the best of helpers, may He be glorified.
Adapted from Jaami’ Ahkaam al-Nisaa’ by Shaykh Mustafaa al-‘Adawi.
We ask Allaah, the Exalted, the Powerful, to make things easy for you, to help you make a wise choice, and to bless you with a righteous husband and good offspring, for He is Able to do all that. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid