Allah has created Angels with reason but having no desires; animals with desires but no reason, & man with both reason and desires. Therefore, if one’s reason is stronger than his desires, he is like an Angel… while if his desires are stronger than his reason, he is like an animal.
Wednesday, 28 December 2011
Questions to ask a prospective Spouse
IN THE NAME OF ALLAH – THE SOURCE OF MERCY – THE MOST MERCIFUL
When choosing a life partner, there are numerous questions that should be asked and scenarios that should be explored. Following the principle that prevention is better than cure, it seems wise to air these questions and scenarios before a match is finalised. Some of the issues may appear trivial or mundane, but the stuff of everyday life is also the stuff of laughter, companionship, compromise and let's not forget the 'constructive criticisms'!
Other issues are more serious, and may be indicative of the potential for a dysfunctional marriage. Each marriage will have its ups and downs, but settling some of these matters may avoid the emergence of problems and consequent heartbreak and ultimately lead towards a genuine relationship.
The object of the quest for marriage is to explore all avenues that would clear up any confusion for both parties and lead towards bliss and contentment.
Questions may be asked directly or "researched" by observation, asking his relatives, members of the community, etc. The prospective bride may ask some of these questions when the couple meet, but many women may feel too shy to ask outright. Family or friends can also help with the research. In many Muslim countries, relatives of prospective partners often visit to check the person out!
Asking and answering such questions about him is not a bad thing and people should not hesitate to tell the truth when it concerns a possible marriage; the intent is to establish whether these two people are compatible. Avoiding a poor match will save all concerned from much heartache. At the same time, whether the marriage proceeds or not, any information thus gathered should be kept confidential. Any "faults" uncovered should not be generally broadcast in the community! We hope that inshAllah these questions below help you to find the best suitable match and may Allah bless your choice and make it a happy one for you and the world. Zawajun Mubarakoon!
These suggested questions are derived from two sources: an article entitled "Spousal Abuse and its Prevention" by Br. Abdul Rehman in Islamic Sisters International, and the feedback I received during a workshop I led on "Choosing a Marriage Partner" at the ISSRA Conference on Health and Social Issues, Toronto, May 25, 1996.
The questions below may not be relevant for everyone, but they are listed here as a guide and catalyst to help in identifying issues that may be important. In the section below most of the questions are for women who may want to ask their prospective husband. On the following page the 100 questions to ask before marriage are for either prospective husband or wife.
The Big Issues:
(1) What makes him angry and how does he deal with his anger?
Does he blame everybody but himself?
Does he stop talking to the person involved?
Does he bear grudges ("I'll get him back one day!")
Has he ever physically or mentally abused anyone with whom he was angry?
Does he get angry when those who may be wiser disagree or suggest an alternative point of view?
Does he ever forgive those with whom he was angry?
(2) How does he behave during a crisis?
Does he become hostile towards an uninvolved member of an ethnic group which is known to abuse followers of Islam?
What steps does he take to face and deal with pressure?
Does he remain optimistic that things will get better, and that after every difficulty comes ease?
(3) How does he feel about women's rights in a Muslim home?
Did he ever observe abuse from his father towards his mother?
Did he ever act to prevent abuse at home? How?
Did he believe that his father was always right?
How does he make decisions? Does he rely on his own wisdom? Does he consult with close friends?
Will he be willing to consult with his spouse on any decision?
Does he stick firmly to his decisions?
(4) How does he deal with money matters?
Does he save his money for the future?
Does he give money to charities?
When he decides to buy something, will he consult his spouse in making the decision?
How does he describe his own spending and attitude towards money?
(5) What does he expect from his wife and children?
How would he react if his expectations are not met?
What is his vision of family life?
Would he pitch in and co-operate in family chores and the upbringing of children?
Would he be willing to change to accommodate your views?
(6) What is his family like?
What level of religiousness is in his family?
Does their approach to Islam differ from yours?
If this is a mixed match, are his folks open to outsiders, or will you face exclusion?
(7) What is his medical background?
(Many Imams in the US are now refusing to conduct Nikah until they see proof that the couple have undergone blood tests and have been given a clean bill of health)
Is there any history of major illness in his family?
Does he suffer from any illnesses?
(8) What are his views on education of women and children?
Will he allow you to continue and/or return to education?
What are his views on education and schooling of children? If you have strong views on Islamic schools, home schooling, etc., find out if his views coincide with yours.
Will he take part in the children's upbringing and education? Will he teach them Qur'an?
(9) Where does he want to live?
Does he want to settle in the country where you now live?
Does he want to return to his homeland? Does he want to move to a new country altogether?
Will the family have to move frequently because of his profession?
Will he take your feelings into account when deciding where to live?
Does he aspire to a large and luxurious home, or will he settle for less? Does he want to live in the heart of the city, in the suburbs, or in an isolated rural setting?
Some of these are individual preferences- what may deeply concern some may not even be an issue to others, but if you have some strong feelings on a matter, it is better to get it out into the open before you make a commitment:
Do you agree on the "Zabiha or non-Zabiha meat" issue?
Does he insist on only eating the food of his own ethnic group, or are his tastes more eclectic?
Will he insist on having every meal cooked from scratch, or will you be able to have convenience food or take-away on busy days?
Does he have some strong preferences for meat, or will you "go vegetarian" some days?
Does he smoke? Do any of his family or friends smoke? Will he let people smoke in your non-smoking home?
(3) Going Out:
How does he feel about women going outside the home? studying outside? working outside?
Will he want to "check out" your friends and only let you visit those of whom he approves?
How does he feel about women driving?
Are either of you very keen to keep pets at home?
Do either of you have any allergies, dislikes, or phobias when it comes to animals?
Bent Rib: A Journey through women's issues in Islam by Huda al-Khattab 100 Premarital Questions
1.What is your concept of marriage?
2.Have you been married before?
3.Are you married now?
4.What are your expectations of marriage?
5.What are your goals in life? (long and short term)
6.Identify three things that you want to accomplish in the near future.
7.Identify three things that you want to accomplish, long term.
8.Why have you chosen me/other person as a potential spouse?
9.What is the role of religion in your life now?
10.Are you a spiritual person?
11.What is your understanding of an Islamic marriage?
12.What are you expecting of your spouse, religiously?
13.What is your relationship between yourself and the Muslims community in your area?
14.Are you volunteering in any Islamic activities?
15.What can you offer your zawj (spouse), spiritually?
16.What is the role of the husband?
17.What is the role of the wife?
18.Do you want to practice polygamy?
19.What is your relationship with your family?
20.What do you expect your relationship with the family of your spouse to be?
21.What do you expect your spouses relationship with your family to be?
22.Is there anyone in your family living with you now?
23.Are you planning to have anyone in your family live with you in the future?
24.If, for any reason, my relationship with your family turns sour, what should be done?
25.Who are your friends? (Identify at least three.)
26.How did you get to know them?
27.Why are they your friends?
28.What do you like most about them?
29.What will your relationship with them after marriage be?
30.Do you have friends of the opposite sex?
31.What is the level of your relationship with them now?
32.What will be the level of your relationship with them after marriage?
33.What type of relationship do you want your spouse to have with your friends?
34.What are the things that you do in your free time?
35.Do you love to have guests in your home for entertainment?
36.What are you expecting from your spouse when your friends come to the house?
37.What is your opinion of speaking other languages in home that I do not understand? (with friends or family)
38.Do you travel?
39.How do you spend your vacations?
40.How do you think your spouse should spend vacations?
41.Do you read?
42.What do you read?
43.After marriage, do you think that you are one to express romantic feelings verbally?
44.After marriage, do you think that you want to express affection in public?
45.How do you express your admiration for someone that you know now?
46.How do you express your feelings to someone who has done a favor for you?
47.Do you like to write your feelings?
48.If you wrong someone, how do you apologize?
49.If someone has wronged you, how do you want (s) he to apologize to you?
50.How much time passes before you can forgive someone?
51.How do you make important and less important decisions in your life?
52.Do you use foul language at home? In public? With family?
53.Do your friends use foul language?
54.Does your family use foul language?
55.How do you express anger?
56.How do you expect your spouse to express anger?
57.What do you do when you are angry?
58.When do you think it is appropriate to initiate mediation in marriage?
59.5When there is a dispute in your marriage, religious or otherwise, how should the conflict get resolved?
60.Define mental, verbal, emotional and physical abuse.
61.What would you do if you felt that you had been abused?
62.Who would you call for assistance if you were being abused?
63.Do you suffer from any chronic disease or condition?
64.Are you willing to take a physical exam by a physician before marriage?
65.What is your understanding of proper health and nutrition?
66.How do you support your own health and nutrition?
67.What is you definition of wealth?
68.How do you spend money?
69.How do you save money?
70.How do you think that your use of money will change after marriage?
71.Do you have any debts now? If so, how are you making progress to eliminate them?
72.Do you use credit cards?
73.Do you support the idea of taking loans to buy a new home?
74.What are you expecting from your spouse financially?
75.What is your financial responsibility in the marriage?
76.Do you support the idea of a working wife?
77.If so, how do you think a dual-income family should manage funds?
78.Do you currently use a budget to manage your finances?
79.Who are the people to whom you are financially responsible?
80.Do you support the idea of utilizing baby sitters and/or maids?
81.Do you want to have children? If not, how come?
82.To the best of your understanding, are you able to have children?
83.Do you want to have children in the first two years of marriage? If not, when?
84.Do you believe in abortion?
85.Do you have children now?
86.What is your relationship with your children now?
87.What is your relationship with their other parent?
88.What relationship do you expect your spouse to have with your children and their parent?
89.What is the best method (s) of raising children?
90.What is the best method (s) of disciplining children?
91.How were you raised?
92.How were you disciplined?
93.Do you believe in spanking children? Under what circumstances?
94.Do you believe in public school for your children?
95.Do you believe in Islamic school for your children?
96.Do you believe in home schooling for your children?
97.What type of relationship should your children have with non-Muslim classmates/friends?
98.Would you send your children to visit their extended family if they lived in another state or country?
99.What type of relationship do you want your children to have with all their grandparents?
100.If there are members of my family that are not Muslim, that are of a different race or culture, what type of relationship do you want to have with them?