For those seeking a spouse it is important to ask yourself one important question before embarking on a search: What is your main goal in life? Is it to acquire more wealth? Or maybe status is important to you? Hopefully, your main goal is to get closer to Allah and to work for the Akhira.
The reason why it is important to ask yourself this question is because when choosing a spouse your main goal in life will be a factor in helping you to choose your spouse. For instance, if gaining more wealth and/or status is the main goal for you, then you would probably lean towards looking for a spouse who has wealth and/or status. Among many Muslims, whether the person is a doctor, attorney or some other kind of professional is of paramount importance in choosing a spouse.
There are also those who seek a spouse based on how beautiful or handsome the potential spouse is. Of course both potential spouses should have some element of attraction to one another, but for some that is the overriding factor, and others are refused because they didn’t meet the standard of beauty to someone. It is possible that someone of piety and good character is refused because they didn’t meet the standard of beauty, or wealth, or status for a person.
So while factors such as wealth, status, and beauty can all be considered, they shouldn’t be given preference over piety and good character. If your goal is getting closer to Allah and the Akhira, then you will look for that person who has piety and good character. If you choose a person because their inner being is beautiful, then love will eventually blossom. If both spouses are working towards the same goal of getting closer to Allah and the Akhira, they can both grow together and learn together.
Those whose goals are the dunya, that is seeking more wealth and/or status, can only hope to stay happy together as long as the wealth and status are there. What happens if the wealth is lost overnight? Or status? Would you still love the person and want to stay married? Also looks will change as people age. What happens when the beautiful woman now has wrinkles and gray hair? Or the handsome, well-built man has sagging muscles and is weakening? If you married your spouse based on his/her piety and good character, then as you age mutual love and respect will only increase. That’s because both have spent time together in mutually assisting one another to grow closer to Allah. In Sura al-’Asr (chapter 103 of the Quran) we are reminded that mankind is bankrupt except for those who believe and do good and assist one another in Truth, Patience and Constancy.
Now that it is established that seeking someone of piety and good character should be the defining factor when seeking a spouse, we need to learn what makes a person pious and of good character. Do we know what is Islamic akhlaq according to the Qur’an and Hadith? One of the best ways to learn about issues such as Islamic akhlaq and choosing a spouse is to take knowledge from a noted marriage expert. Ustadha Hedaya Hartford, based at Qibla Islamic Sciences Online, is such an expert. Ustadha Hedaya Hartford’s course, The Successful Islamic Marriage, delves into the topic of Islamic akhlaq along with such topics as the fiqh of marriage and divorce and psychological factors and staying married. Ustadha Hedaya Hartford will give you the knowledge you need to choose the right spouse, how to work through problems as they arise, and how to stay married.