Q & A
Q. How do you judge whether someone will be good for you or not?
Below is an extremely brief outline of an answer and the details as always, must be evaluated in the light of scholars who have the qualified knowledge to help and be of assistance.
The marriage process in Islam does not involve marrying someone merely on the basis of a recommendation or suggestion without further investigation and consideration. The Prophet (SAW) emphasized the requirement of looking at the person one may potentially marry:
1. On the authority of Shu`bah b. Mughirah (RA) that he proposed to a woman and the Prophet (SAW) said: “look at her for it is more likely to enrich things between you both…”
2. On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (RA) that he said: a man proposed to a woman and the Prophet (SAW) said: “look at her for there is something in the eyes of the Ansar”.
3. On the authority of Jabir (RA) who said: I heard the Prophet (SAW) say: “when anyone of you seeks to marry a woman, if he is able to see that much of her that will make him marry her, then let him do so”.
4. On the authority of Humaydah who said: the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “When one of you seeks to marry a woman, there is no blame in him seeing of her what he can [or is able]…”
5. On the authority of Muhammad b. Maslamah (RA) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) say: “If Allah (mighty and exalted is He!) casts the desire of a marriage to a woman into the heart of a person, then there is nothing wrong with him looking at her…”
The judgment of whether or not a person will be the ‘right one’ is of course a matter of personal taste and evaluation. However, Islam has laid down the recommended attribute one should seek which is a person’s strong inclination for the religion (din). The Prophet (SAW) said:
2. “A woman is married for four things, i.e. her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. You should marry the religious woman [otherwise] you will be a loser.”
3. “The whole world is a provision, and the best object of benefit of the world is the pious woman (wa khayr mata` al-dunya al-mar’ah al-salihah).”
The hadiths also apply to men even though the wording explicitly has ‘woman’ (al-mar’ah) as confirmed by the hadith of the Prophet (SAW):
“When someone with whose religion and character you are satisfied asks to marry your daughter, comply with his request. If you do not do so, there may be corruption and great evil on earth.”
Therefore, those seeking to get married must see each other and talk in order to glean and gather the relevant information they think is important in a potential spouse. Attributes such as beauty, physique, behaviour and ideals such as goals, aspirations, etc. can only be ascertained if a setting is available where potential couples can see and discover all this about each other. This setting or means is provided (in the case of a woman) by the woman/fully mature girl appointing a legal guardian (wali) as her representative who will be present when a male suitor is interested and so comes to talk, discuss and get to know her.
As with anything related to the process of marriage, a person (male or female) has to exercise extreme caution and maintain a sincere intention so that temptations and deviations do not get the better of them.
And Allah (SWT) is the only helper.
 Narrated by Tirmidhi (# 1087), Nasa’i (# 3235) and Ibn Majah (# 1865) in their Sunan as well as Ahmad in his Musnad, 4/246.
 As narrated by Nasa’i (# 3234) in his Sunan and Ahmad in the Musnad, 2/299. What is meant by “there is something in the eyes of the Ansar” is either a defect or youthfulness or small size.
 See Abu Dawud (# 2082) in the Sunan and Ahmad in the Musnad, 3/360.
 See Ahmad, Musnad, 5/424.
 Narrated by Ibn Majah (# 1864) and Ahmad in the Musnad, 4/225).
 Meaning her adherence and commitment to Islam.
 Narrated by Muslim in his Sahih (# 3620) and Tirmidhi in his Sunan (# 1086).
 Narrated by Bukhari in his Sahih (# 5090) as well as Abu Dawud (# 2047), Nasa’i (# 3230) and Ibn Majah (# 1858) in their Sunans and Ahmad in the Musnad, 2/482. This last phrase, translated as “you will be a loser” (taribat yadaka) is a metonymic expression (kinayah) meaning ‘it will touch earth’ (lasiqat bi ’l-turab) which stands for ‘poverty/loss/impoverishment’ (faqr/iftiqar). Some say that the phrase has the implicit condition (shart muqaddar): ‘loss will occur for you if you do not do this’ while others state that the statement is a report (khabr) with the meaning of a request or du`a’ without the actual reality of poverty or loss occurring. This last meaning was that of al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani. See al-Shawkani, Nayl al-Awtar, 1:1301.
 Narrated by Muslim in his Sahih (# 1467).
 Narrated by Tirmidhi in the Sunan (# 1085).