One of life’s milestones that many people look forward to is their nikkah.
That time that you are finally able to live with the one you love, and every act that was impermissible before becomes permissible for you both.
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “There is nothing like marriage, for two who love one another.” (Ibn Majah)
But there seems to be a problem these days. Many of us look forward so much to the nikkah and the permissible actions, that we do not pay as much mind to the whole institution of marriage.
Before planning your nikkah, ask yourself how much you know about these things:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “A woman is married for four (reasons): her wealth, noble ancestry, beauty and religion. Choose the religious woman lest your hand is stuck to dust (because of destitution).” [Al-Bukhari]
This is a hadith that shows the importance of religion in our choice of a spouse. Many people fall in love with someone from a different religion, but as Muslims, we know that whenever we seek love interests from the opposite gender, religion is important.
Before you think of nikkah, think of the person’s religion and how it syncs with yours.
Beyond religious compatibility, personal iman is also very important for two people intending a nikkah.
Your spouse should be a person who has the same love or enthusiasm for the Deen as you do.
When we are checking off our choices of a partner, many of us have ideals that we want the person to meet.
It could be a certain level of education, job, race, hobbies, etc. The same way we seek compatibility in these things with a person we wish to marry, so should we strive for the same in our Deen.
No one is a perfect Muslim, and many times, we find ourselves with people who have a different level of iman than ours. What is most important is that their current level of iman is what we would consider as a good (and positive) match for our own.
It’s a popular belief that you can’t really know a person till you’re married to them. But for Muslims, the character of the person that you are marrying is really important.
“Bad women are for bad men and bad men are for bad women. And good women are for good men and good men are for good women.” [Noble Quran 24:26]
A person who didn’t select their spouse carefully and was only focused on the nikkah may be doing themselves more harm that good.
Because few things ruin a marriage faster than getting married to someone with a negative character.
Fine, many marriages have problems that stem from a spouse’s bad character, even after their spouse may have carefully selected them. But in many instances, problems occur when people do not focus on the character of the person they are getting married to.
For example, there are people who treat their betrothed lovingly, but would treat other people around them poorly. For such a person, you begin to wonder if they are actually a good person, or if they are just pretending to the person they want to marry.
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Many people have dubbed the Istikhara prayer as the prayer of marriage. And for good reason. Istikhara is the prayer for guidance from Allah (ta’ala), and who else can guide a person apart from Him?
The Istikhara prayer is not just for marriage. It is a prayer for guidance, even for the smallest choice that you need to make.
So if we can make Istikhara for little decisions, it goes without saying that before we think of spending the rest of our life with someone, we should seek the guidance of Allah (ta’ala).
Never be so excited about the thought of a nikkah, that you forget to pray about it.
The Istikhara Dua
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْتَخِيرُكَ بِعِلْمِكَ وَأَسْتَقْدِرُكَ بِقُدْرَتِكَ وَأَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ فَضْلِكَ الْعَظِيمِ فَإِنَّكَ تَقْدِرُ وَلَا أَقْدِرُ وَتَعْلَمُ وَلَا أَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتَ عَلَّامُ الْغُيُوبِ اللَّهُمَّ إِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الْأَمْرَ خَيْرٌ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي فَاقْدُرْهُ لِي وَيَسِّرْهُ لِي ثُمَّ بَارِكْ لِي فِيهِ وَإِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الْأَمْرَ شَرٌّ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي فَاصْرِفْهُ عَنِّي وَاصْرِفْنِي عَنْهُ وَاقْدُرْ لِي الْخَيْرَ حَيْثُ كَانَ ثُمَّ أَرْضِنِي
“Allâhumma inni astakhiruka bi ilmika wa astaqdiruka biqudratika wa as’aluka min fadlikal-azimi, fa innaka taqdiru walâ aqdiru wa ta’lamu walâ a’lamu wa anta allamul ghuyubi. Allâhumma in kunta ta’lamu anna hâdhal amra khayrun li fi dini wa ma-ashi wa aqibati amri faqdir-hu li wa yassir-hu li thumma barik li fihi wa in kunta ta’lamu anna hâdhal amra sharrun li fi dini wa maâshi wa aqibati amri fasrifhu anni wasrifni anhu waqdir liyal-khayra haythu kâna thumma ardini.”
“O Allah, verily I seek the better [of either choice] from You, by Your knowledge, and I seek ability from You, by Your power, and I ask You from Your immense bounty. For indeed You have power, and I am powerless; You have knowledge and I know not; You are the Knower of the unseen realms. O Allah, if You know that this matter is good for me with regard to my religion, my livelihood and the end of my affair then decree it for me, facilitate it for me, and grant me blessing in it. And if You know that this matter is not good for me with regard to my religion, my livelihood and the end of my affair then turn it away from me and me from it; and decree for me better than it, wherever it may be, and make me content with it.”
Marriage in Islam
Many intending couples take care of every detail of the nikkah but forget this important bit – the knowledge of how marriage should be in Islam.
For some, the day of the nikkah is when they get to hear about the rights and responsibilities that each spouse has over, and should fulfill for the other.
Islam is a beautiful religion. It gives us guidance on every aspect of life, such that anyone who abides by these guides will live a good life.
So for anyone intending a nikkah, it’s important to learn about what marriage means in Islam, what your responsibilities are as well as the rights you have over your spouse.
Equally important, every intending couple should learn about the Islamic way of getting married, treating a spouse, and raising righteous children.
The knowledge (and proper application) of all these things is what makes a marriage beautiful.
A nikkah is a beautiful beginning for any couple and it should be one that has been planned with care, thoughtfulness and faith in Allah (ta’ala).