Please give me an advice. I have the following situation. Two young men want to marry me. First young man I know for a long time. He has no parents. In my childhood we were very close friends, we trust each other. He is a good and decent, but he doesn’t perform salah yet, he's only going to begin it. My parents want me to marry him, because we are the one nationality and they know him well. With the second boy I met recently, he is a Russian Muslim who converted to Islam four years ago. He is a practicing Muslim who performs salah, attends a mosque. I'm still in school, I graduate from the school this year. I don’t know – how to choose. Help me please. Zarema”.
Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakaatuh
There are a few factors that you need to take into consideration before giving preference to a suitor for marriage. The first and foremost is the person’s religious commitment. In the Hadith, the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said as advice to his companion seeking a bride:
تنكح المرأة لأربع لمالها ولحسبها وجمالها ولدينها فاظفر بذات الدين تربت يداك
"A woman may is usually married for four reasons: for her wealth, her status, her beauty, and her religion; so be successful by choosing the one who is religious, may you be blessed." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith #: 5090, Narrated by Abu Hurayrah)
The same advice in the Hadith also applies to a woman selecting a husband. That religious commitment should be the first quality she should look for in a husband apart from the other aspects like wealth, appearance and social standing.
However, this does not mean she should totally ignore all the other aspects of attraction and only look for religion as the deciding factor. It is also important for her to find her suitor attractive and compatible and this is why in the Hadith, the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) encouraged that prospective spouses see each other before marriage (obviously within the parameters of Islamic law).
Sayyiduna Jabir bin Abdillah (Radiyallahu Anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
إذا خطب أحدكم المرأة، فإن استطاع أن ينظر إلى ما يدعوه إلى نكاحها فليفعل
“When you go to ask for a girl’s hand in marriage, then if you are able to look at that which motivates you to marry her (i.e.; her beauty), then do so”
(Abu Dawood, Hadith #: 2082)
In another Hadith, Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (Radiyallahu Anhu) narrates:
كنت عند النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم، فأتاه رجل فأخبره أنه تزوج امرأة من الأنصار، فقال له رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: «أنظرت إليها؟» ، قال: لا، قال: «فاذهب فانظر إليها، فإن في أعين الأنصار شيئا
“Once, I was by Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and a man came and informed him that he had married a woman from the Ansaar. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) asked him: “Did you look at her?” the man replied: “No”. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) then said to him: “Go and look at her, for there is something in the eyes of the Ansaar” (Sahih Muslim, Hadith #: 1424)
In another Hadith, Sayyiduna Mugheerah bin Shu’bah (Radiyallahu Anhu) says:
خطبت امرأة على عهد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، فقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: «أنظرت إليها؟» قلت: لا، قال: «فانظر إليها، فإنه أجدر أن يؤدم بينكما
I went to ask for a girl’s hand in marriage during the time of Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). He asked me: “Did you look at her?” I said: “No”. He said: “Go and see her for this will be a means of you becoming familiar with each other”
(Sunan an-Nasai, Hadith #: 3235)
It is mentioned that they had thereafter had a very successful marriage
You have mentioned that the one suitor is a good and decent person that you are familiar with; who does not perform Salaah but will start; and the other is a Muslim for four years and regular with his Salaah.
In this situation, it will not be correct to say that one is better than the other in religion especially if the first person has now decided to start performing his Salaah.
I therefore advise you to do Istikharah (ask Allah for guidance in choosing the best option), take into consideration the advice of your parents and choose the person that you are more comfortable with and inclined towards.
Remember that you are not forced to marry someone just because your parents want you to. The important thing is that you should marry a person whom you are happy with and whom your parents are happy with also.
And Allah Knows Best.
Mufti Suhail Tarmahomed