Tips on getting married — the halal way
Nailah Dean from Salams - the marriage, friendship and networking app - gives us her top tips on how to find that special someone the halal way
As Muslims living in today’s society, we often struggle to preserve our Islamic identity while adhering to the cultural practices of society at large. We navigate our dual identities when selecting careers, style of dress, and entertainment. We avoid compromising our Islamic values while attempting to find some level of balance. By far, the most challenging of life endeavours to manoeuvre is the search for love and marriage.
In an age when relationships are found through casual encounters like lounges, cafes, or college dorms, young Muslims must utilise halal means to find their potential spouse. One of the most popular avenues to find a Muslim spouse involves tapping into the online scene. While once thought to be taboo, Muslim marriage apps like Salams are now amongst the top methods for Muslims to get married.
Due to the increase in efforts to solve what some have called a “marriage crisis,” the opportunities for Muslims in the West to meet potentials has grown significantly in the last decade. That being said, I would argue that the more tricky aspect of the marriage hunt is not so much finding candidates, but rather figuring out how to sort through them.
It is during the “courtship” phase (often referred to as halal dating or Muslim dating) that the complexities of finding love and marriage as a Muslim really come to life. Before the couple even meet, a frenzy of questions arise like, can we go out together alone, or how soon do I need to call her parents? Because of the various religious opinions (madhabs), and varying levels of individual practice, many young Muslims simply do not know how to approach the getting-to-know-you phase of a new relationship.
Here are 5 tips to move forward on the path to tying the knot in a halal way
1. Set an intention (and check your partner’s intention too!)
The most important step in this process is to declare your nia, or intention. Oftentimes, when we get caught up in the thrill of meeting a potential, we sometimes forget to lay the groundwork for success. We must remember our purpose (i.e marriage) in talking to that person and relate our goal back to Allah.
2. Identify timelines
Identifying what your potential is seeking is crucial. While the purpose for pursuing any romantic relationship in Islam should always be for the sake of marriage, it should never be assumed that thats what the person on the other side of the phone wants. After you both state an intention for marriage, it’s best practice to ask the other side about timelines. One person's definition of an engagement can take place after mere weeks, while another person might need months. Sketching out a fuzzy outline of how the chain of events will go if there is compatibility and all the other boxes are checked, is a good way to embark on the path to marriage.
3. Use premarital questions
For Muslims, the bread and butter of our relationships consists of conversation. Without physical intimacy, the main way you’re going to inspire connection, test compatibility, and inspire feelings of love, is by talking to one another. Discussion that takes place over the course of a few hours or a few days, should be kindled like a fire.
You can start off slow by setting the groundwork for a solid friendship by trying to understand the potential’s personality, work and family life, as well as their goals for the future. Then, you should dig straight into the nitty gritty. These more serious topics include addressing “deal breakers” and pulling out the premarital questions. I personally love the 100 questions created by Imam Magid from the book “Before You Tie the Knot.” While daunting at first glance, these questions really help a couple understand if they are good candidates for marriage, or if they should just go their separate ways!
4. Involve your friends
Some people choose to hold out on news about their potential spouse until the very end of the process. However, we should inform our family early on in the relationship. They know you and can help you through the process of determining if your potential spouse is compatible for you. Some think we should ONLY involve family; however, we should also involve our friends.
Why? Because close friends will know your personality and be able to help you determine if who you may be interested in would clash or compliment you. By inviting your friends to join your initial meet-up you are minimising any potential inappropriate behaviour. Also, having friends present can help serve as another check for red flags, or other types of inconsistencies that you might overlook if you’re blinded by the rose-colored glasses created by feelings of love.
5. Make Istikhara
When in doubt, always turn your attention back to Allah. The road to getting married can be long and filled with unexpected twists and turns. When we remember to pray our two rakats of Istikhara and read the dua after, we are asking Allah to guide our decision as to whether this potential is good for us in this life and in the next.
While it's important to do your homework about the individual and seek naseeha, you must continuously turn back to Allah and make sure to check-in with Him. Ultimately, it will be His decision as to who is the best partner for you to marry. Rely on Him to make that final decision after you have done your part.