What to do upon receiving a proposal:
The young woman should pray Istikhaarah (i.e., the Prayer of Guidance) and not to ask others to pray it on her behalf, as some women do, as this is a baseless act and an innovation in the religion. Furthermore, she should seek the advice of trustworthy people and inquire about the person.
Imaam Ahmad reported the story of Julaybeeb, may Allah be pleased with him, who was sent by the Prophet to one of the families of the Ansaar (i.e., the residents of Madeenah) to give him their daughter in marriage. Julaybeeb, may Allah be pleased with him, was very impoverished and so the young woman’s mother reused the offer, but the young woman spoke out and agreed to marry him because he was sent to her by the Prophet himself. The result was that she never suffered in any way, and that there was no other woman of the Ansaar who was wealthier than her. This is because Julaybeeb, may Allah be pleased with him, was killed in the very next battle that occurred after his marriage, having killed seven disbelievers in it. Upon finding his body, the Prophet carried him and buried him with his own hands. He also supplicated for the widow, saying: “O Allah! Pour Your blessings upon her and do not make her suffer in life.” It was due to this supplication that she never suffered, in any way, and that there was no woman from the Ansaar wealthier than her.
If the man proposing wishes that his future wife give up her studies or job after marriage, and he is a suitable man, then this should not hamper the marriage. Also, if the man finds such a young woman to be a suitable one, he should not reconsider marrying her due to this, as he could marry her and then convince her after marriage to give it up.
Similarly, the family and the young woman should not refuse a proposal from a man due to him having children from a previous marriage.
Some young women overlook certain matters, such as the man’s looks and wealth, only to have misgivings and regret their decision later. Therefore, the young woman should be absolutely sure before giving her approval and be honest with herself when she makes her decision. Moreover, she should be content with him based on religious convictions. Some women always advise their friends regarding the matter of being a second wife, stating that it is an integral part of Islam and that they should not refuse a man simply because he is already married; however, when they themselves get married as second wives, they act very differently to the advice they gave others, due to their covetousness.
The young woman should be a facilitating factor in her marriage; she should, for example, refuse to set unbearable conditions or a high dowry, but if her family insists, then she should nominally agree and then relieve her husband of such difficulties later on.
Some women behave arrogantly towards their husbands due to holding advanced degrees, having a noble lineage, the wealth of their families, or their beauty. The result of this arrogance is that they act rebelliously towards their husbands and thus acquire sin.
Fears of some young women in the process of marriage:
Some young women fear the imminent loss of their close friends and sisters due to their impending marriage. This may cause them to hate the future husband, perhaps causing them, prior to the wedding night, to go as far as to seek to annul the marriage contract.
This could happen for many reasons, such as:
- Improperly assessing the consequences of such actions.
- Having an irresponsible and reckless attitude.
- Favouring the joy of the short term over the long term one of having children and the establishment of a happy marital life.
Also, the husband should not deprive his wife of her female friends and relatives. The Prophet would allow the female friends of ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, to visit her.
When a young woman is being proposed to, she should educate herself about the rulings of marriage, the rights of the husband, the rights of the wife, and how to live in kindness and harmony with her spouse. On the other hand, she should not concern herself with studying the sexual aspects of marital life until the marriage contract is completed.
The wife’s role in her home:
This is to serve her husband, bear, nurse, and nurture his children, and be a housewife.
If a woman is used to being immersed in the study and propagation of Islam, and then marries whilst not clearly having in mind a role as a wife, she may begin feeling, very shortly after marriage, that her new role as a wife is a trivial one. This may cause her to begin leaving her house to resume her former lifestyle. It is vital, however, that she understand her role and obligation as a wife and the reward of fulfilling them. Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet said: “If a woman prays her five daily prayers, fasts her month (i.e. the month of Ramadan), guards her private parts and obeys her husband, she will enter Paradise from any of its gates that she wishes.”[Abu Nu’aym]
The married woman must persevere through the hardships of pregnancy, pre-delivery contractions and the agony of the delivery itself. Some women refuse to go through such hardships and take birth control pills to prevent pregnancy, or, if they do get pregnant, prefer a caesarean section over a normal delivery.
‘Amr Ibn Hijr married Kindah Bint ‘Awf Ash-Shaybaani . On her wedding night, her mother, Umaamah Bint Al-Haarith, may Allah be pleased with her, took her aside and advised her: “Dear daughter! You are leaving the environment which you are accustomed to and departing from the place you grew up in to a partner whom you are unfamiliar with. If a woman had no need of a husband due to her parents sufficing her, then you would be the last person to require a husband, but women were created to be the partners of men, and men were created to be the partners of women. Act like his slave, and he will become like your slave. Uphold the following ten matters and you will find them to be provisions: The first and second are to be content with what he provides and to listen to and obey him. The third and the fourth are to make sure that all he sees and smells from you are pleasing to him, so he should not see you in a displeasing appearance, nor smell anything but a fine fragrance from you. The fifth and the sixth are to comfort him in his sleep and food, because repeated hunger and lack of sleep will enflame his anger. The seventh and the eighth are to protect his wealth and take care of his children; the focal point regarding wealth is to have good judgement in spending it, and that regarding the children is to properly nurture them. The ninth and the tenth are to not disobey his commands or disclose his secrets, because when you disobey him you intimidate him, and if you disclose his secrets you would not know what he may do to you. Do not be joyful in front of him when he is upset, or express sadness if he is happy."
‘Abdullaah Ibn Ja’far addressed his daughter saying: “Avoid jealousy, as it is the key to your divorce; avoid complaint, as it instigates anger; adorn yourself for him, and make sure you wash away any bad odours by frequent bathing.”
Pre-marital errors on the part of women:
- Freely talking to males on the telephone and being open with male relatives.
- Being over confident and rejecting many of those who propose.
- Not differentiating between wisdom and fast rejection.
- Not having the criterion by which to judge the proposing person clearly in mind.
Finally, many young women wish to get married but they waste their time daydreaming and wishfully thinking about the ideal husband. This is all fruitless; the best way for them to attain a good husband would be to busy themselves in supplicating to Allah to provide such a person.
Advice to women regarding marriage – I