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In the Name of God بسم الله
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I came along a post by a brother on this website regarding creating a centralised marriage bureau. This is a wonderful idea and had always been on the back of my mind. I always wanted to contribute to our community and what better project like this that can be useful to a lot of my family memebers and friends. Though it seems like a difficult and expensive project, I still think its doable. I see so many of us youth struggling to find a partner especially Shias living outside their home countries since thre aren’t enough Shias everywhere and I know people ready to marry a Sunni just because they can’t find a good Shia partner. That is like losing a part of our generation to Sunnis. I think if no one from our generation takes an effort to find a solution to this then our next generation will struggle even more and may marry outside the sect and religion. My idea is to create a centralised database of all the eligible people over an app and to get registered on this app you will need to go through your local Islamic center or mosque. This way the people on the app are only verified people. Also, you can keep a small amount of yearly membership fee in order to keep all the non serious people away. This can be a youth marriage organisation with the same name but branches in major cities of the world like London, New York, Toronto, Dubai, Chicago etc etc. Something like ‘who is Hussain’. We can get volunteers to work in different parts of the world to verify the people and give them a green signal to be on the app. Though there’s shiamatch but it is pretty outdated and are a lot of duplicate profiles and people who have already been married but never bothered to deactivate their accounts. With muzmatch the problem is it has mainly Sunnis and very few Shias. I just need some suggestions, feedback and comments on this. What do you think of this idea? How do you think we can go about implementing it? Please don’t bother commenting if your intention is just to criticise the idea however constructive criticism will be appreciated :). Thank you in advance
Bismillah Ta'la 1) Be Open This is the most important one. In my experiences, almost always the ones who stay single are the ones who have very narrow criteria for a spouse and they stick to those criteria. The Islamic criteria for a suitable spouse are well known (deen and aklaq, for a man the ability to give najaqat, etc). If you start adding others things on top of this (has to have so much money, has to be from my same village / area, has to be sayyid, etc, etc) the harder it will be and the longer it will take to find a spouse, if one is ever found. There is no evidence that I have ever seen that says someone who marries from a certain income level, a certain village, a certain culture, sayyid / non sayyid, etc have any better chance of having a good and long marriage vs someone who marries from a spouse that doesn't have these things. There will be trials and difficulties in a marriage, whether the husband and wife are cousins or whether they are from opposite sides of the earth. When the difficulties come, what will get you thru as a couple is following Islam by having good aklaq with each other and trusting and respecting each other, what your cultural background or family background is will not help you. 2) Who you marry is your choice, not your families choice. The only person in the family who has any role to play in spouse selection is the father or paternal grandfather. This role is limited to objecting to a man based on three things, and only three things. A ) Nafakha (permanent marriage only). He cannot support the wife financially. This means that he cannot provide for the minimum level of support, the nafakha, meaning a place to live, food, and two dresses. If the potential husband can provide that, then the father has no right to object B) Deen. If the man is not muslim, and some add to this if he is non shia, the father has the right to object. If he is muslim, and some say that if he is non shia but fulfills all the other criteria, then the father has no right to object. Also, if he is fasiq, meaning he openly violates a clear ordinance(for example he drinks alcohol publicly, does zina, steals from people, etc) or doesn't do the wajib(doesn't pray, doesn't fast during Ramadan) then the father has the right to object. Also, if there are three credible witnesses from the community that have witnessed him violating the religion, in a clear way, then the father has the right to object on grounds of deen, based on the famous hadith from Rasoulallah(p.b.u.h) that says 'Any father who marries his daughter to a fasiq has done qataa' Al Rahim'. (severed the connections of the womb). C) Aklaq. If the man has a disagreeable personality, meaning he is not kind to his parents, not kind to others, is miserly, is a known liar, or he has a bad personality trait that is extreme so that everyone or almost everyone around him notices it, then the father has the right to object on the grounds of aklaq. Those are the three grounds. If the father's objection is based on anything else, he has no right to object. The other people in the family (mother, sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles) have no say in the matter, even if they object based on these grounds. Anyone who stands in the way of a marriage and has no Haqq(no right to do it) and their objection isn't based on one of the above legitimate criteria, they are doing a sin by becoming a roadblock in the way of a brother or sister trying to complete their deen and their is accountability and possibly punishment for this in this world and the next. The husband and the wife are responsible and accountable for the decisions they make or don't make regarding marriage. They can take the advice of people if they wish, or don't take it but they are ultimately the one's responsible. Noone has the right to block or sabotage a potential marriage for their own personal reasons or their own personal gain. 3) Get Married Early, not Late There are so many hadiths regarding the merits of marrying early, that I don't feel there is any need to post them again, but if requested, I will do. The window for marriage opens when a man or women has met the criteria of being baligh(mature) and rushd(of sound mind). The criteria for baligh and rushd vary slightly depending on the society and lifestyle of the community but generally this is around 14 for girls and 16 for boys. Also, the laws of the country need to be taken into consideration regarding the age when girls and boys are considered 'able to consent to sexual intercourse'. In Western Countries, this is generally 16 years of age for girls and boys, and different ages in other countries. Once the marriage window opens, based on the above criteria, it has a period of time which it stays open. The purpose of this thread is not to debate how long it stays open, but to say that it is better to marry earlier in this window rather than later. This applies to men as much as it does for women. The main reason for this is that when people are young, they are more flexible as far as adapting to their partner. Spouses always have different thoughts, opinions, personalities, and life experiences. Because spouses have to 'join together' (zawaja), both physically, psychologically, and spiritually, there is an urgent need for them to be able to adapt to the others habits, thoughts, opinions, and personality. This is much, much easier when you are young, and then go thru life together vs marrying older when you are less flexible and less able to adapt in the thorough way you need to adapt to a spouse. If spouses marry when they are young and both are committed to following the religion of Islam and being honest, caring, and trusting of each other, there is nothing stopping them from having a long, happy, and sucessful marriage. This is not to say that someone who marries later in life is 'doomed' to a unhappy or failed marriage, but marrying later in life is a more difficult and challenging process and thus more prone to failure. Also, there are no hadiths that I have ever read that encourage someone to marry later in life. 4) Consider Mutah I am not saying this is the right option for everyone, but it is the right option for many single brothers and sisters. If you are in university, living away from your country, etc, this is a much better option than being single. Mutah is marriage and marriage is highly mustahab and encouraged in itself. According to all scholars, both Shia and Sunni, Mutah was a common practice in the early years of Islam, before it was prohibited by Omar, and it was not seen as a 'lesser' form of marriage by the muslims at the time of Rasoulallah(p.b.u.h) and there was no stigma attached to women who engaged in this form of marriage. These opinions came about later and were a result of the actions of Omar plus Islam being mixed with other cultures in which women were seen as property. I think we need to encourage the practice of Mutah, practiced responsibly and within the context of Islamic ethics and aklaq, at least to revive the Sunnah or Rasoulallah(p.b.u.h) and to give brothers and sisters who are in different situations this option and also to reverse the tide of social corruption based on large numbers of single brothers and sisters in our community. Also, being a second wife may be an option for certain sisters, if they are comfortable with this situation and the man has solid deen and aklaq and the other wife(s) are also comfortable with the situation. If a sister is considering this type of marriage, make sure that this is not a 'secret' marriage and that the other wives are aware and that your rights and dignity is protected in this situation. 5) Be Active Don't sit back and passively wait for someone to find you a spouse. Noone cares about you finding the right spouse for you more than you do. Be your best friend and your best advocate. From the Holy Quran, فَإِذَا قُضِيَتِ الصَّلَاةُ فَانتَشِرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَابْتَغُوا مِن فَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ 62:10 And when the prayer is ended, disperse freely on earth and seek to obtain [something] of God's bounty; but remember God often, so that you might attain to a happy state! إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّى يُغَيِّرُواْ مَا بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ 13:11...God does not change people's condition unless they change their own selves The generally accepted meaning of these two verses is that one should not be passive toward the things in life which bring to bounty of Allah(s.w.a), meaning the thing in life which one needs to be happy and prosper. We are commanded to go out and actively seek those things. Get involved in Islamic Projects in your community, Use online tools(but be safe and reasonable with these), talk to family, friends, let people know that you are looking, attend conferences, etc. Allah(s.w.a) helps those who help themselves when it comes to their needs.
(salam) There have been many beneficial discussions and threads on the importance of religiosity (Imaan and Piety) and Akhlaq as being the two most important characteristics that an individual seeking to get married should look for in a potential spouse. However sometimes there has been little attention/analysis given to the significance of 'Physical attractiveness' between the potential spouses. According to the 35 years experienced therapist who have written an article on this subject, on http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/magnetic-partners/201311/the-role-physical-attraction-in-your-relationship , Physical attractiveness is vital in a successful marriage life. In the article he talks about how even though some couples that came to him for help, loved and respected their partner because of their good characteristics, yet the lack of 'physical attraction' was what led their marriage to failure and thus came to seek his help. Here are some of his important quotes: - In nearly 35 years of practicing couple’s therapy I’ve never seen a partner “get it” when they “never had it” to begin with, (referring to physical attraction). - I’ve seen a few who “had some” and “grew more,” but even those that were attracted to non-physical aspects of their partners (such as intellect) couldn’t seem to harvest a physical attraction. In this sense, you either have it from the beginning or… - None of the partners that lost desire disliked their mates. All felt guilty about their behaviour and expressed empathy for their partners. Also some viewers have commented at the bottom of the article about how they also suffer or did suffer from this problem. I went on al-islam.org and found this book on marriage by Sayed Athar Hussain H.S Rizvi, http://www.al-islam.org/islamic-marriage-syed-athar-husain-sh-rizvi, there which I found a hadith by the Prophet (P) which says, “When one intends to marry a woman, he should ask about her hair, just as he asks about her face (beauty), since the hair is one of the two beauties (of women).” Thus encouraging the importance of physical attraction when looking for a potential life partner. Consequently those that advice young people saying that physical attraction is not important, or it fades away, are not quite right. Nonetheless this does not goes to say that one should go looking for the most attractive spouse they can find and sacrifice other more important traits, but rather one should consider the chemistry when choosing a potential spouse. I'd like to see the opinions of specially our married brothers and sisters on this forum.
Another argument for arranged marriages :mellow: This is about online dating specifically but I think it is equally relevant for marriage and spouse selection. If online dating hasn’t led you to your perfect match, perhaps the issue isn’t that you’re too choosy, but rather that there’s too much choice. There’s no doubt that dating in the 21st century offers a lot of opportunities. Think about your parents’ generation: They grew up with no Internet, they likely stayed in the same town for most of their lives, and they automatically had more in common with the people in that town as a result. Today, women and men are increasingly marrying someone outside of their religion, their ethnicity and their geographic area. Never in history have we had so many potential partners to choose from - and never have we had so much difficulty choosing. In fact, several recent studies suggest that this explosion of options has made men and women feel more confused and uncertain about finding a partner than ever before. The challenges of choice was well illustrated in a study in 2000 that looked at people’s buying habits. Researchers asked customers to participate in a tasting of different types of jam; those who sampled the product were given a $1-off coupon. On the first day, the researchers offered a choice of six different jams. On the next, they offered 24 different jams. People tasted the same number of jams, regardless of the number of available samples. Yet their buying choices varied dramatically: Offered six jams, about 30% of samplers ended up purchasing a jar. Faced with 24 choices, though, only 3% bought a jar. The conclusion: When given so many choices, people have more trouble making any decision, and this sense of indecisiveness could lead to a cascade of negative effects. In his seminal book, "The Paradox Of Choice," Dr. Barry Schwartz writes, “Choice overload can make you question the decisions you make before you even make them, it can set you up for unrealistically high expectations, and it can make you blame yourself for any and all failures. In the long run, this can lead to decision-making paralysis. And in a culture that tells us that there is no excuse for falling short of perfection when your options are limitless, too much choice can lead to clinical depression.” The problem could be our quest for perfection. We all want to believe in "The One" - a person that meets every item on our relationship checklist, who’s our soul mate forever. But when you search for perfection, you’re unlikely to find it. “People who attempt to make the 'perfect' choice, whether it comes to buying a car or finding a partner, end up less satisfied, regardless of what or who they choose. That’s because they tend to look for flaws, and become disillusioned with all of their options," says Andy Trees, Ph.D., author of "A Scientific Guide to Successful Dating." Many services also ask you to fill out exhaustive questionnaires about your likes and dislikes. It might seem like more information would help you make smarter choices, but again, that’s often not the case. The more criteria and qualities you consider for a partner, the tougher it can be to narrow down your choices. In fact, according to a 2006 Pew study of online dating, people generally use Internet sites because they believe that having lots of choices will result in a better match. But research suggests that such increased choices actually have the opposite effect. There’s evidence that even non-Web-based dating services can suffer from the challenge of choice: A study of people attending speed-dating events, published in the August 2011 issue of Biology Letters, found that they made fewer decisions to date when they attended events with higher numbers of candidates and greater variety. Again, the researchers concluded that people who have too many options will choose nothing. Although one day someone may indeed invent the perfect algorithm to match two people, no online dating site has yet provided proof that its formula works, regardless of what its marketing department wants you to think. So how can you harness the power of technology to your advantage? “First, don’t give up on the Internet - it can still be a useful way to meet people," says Trees. "Understand, though, that you’ll need to take the responsibility to choose your matches. Don’t expect the service to find you the perfect person. Pace yourself and keep a normal dating schedule. Seeing a new person every night of the week isn’t going to increase your chances of romance, just your risk of exhaustion. "And be patient and realistic. There’s no perfect mate out there, just people that you can enjoy spending a day - or maybe even the rest of your days - with.” http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/26/dating-and-the-challenge-of-too-many-choices/ I agree and I think this is even more a problem with all the media and technology we have around us. Before the advent of TV, movies, internet, social media... you didn't even realize how many 'fish were in the sea' so you were more satisfied with whatever partner you ended up marrying because you didn't have so many people to compare to.
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