Choosing a Good Spouse in Marriage – ‘Abdus-Salaam bin ‘Abdillaah As-Sulaymaan

AUTHOR: ‘Abdus-Salaam bin ‘Abdillaah As-Sulaymaan
SOURCE: Tarbiyat-ul-Awlaad fee Daw’-il-Kitaabi was-Sunnah (pg. 18-22)

[From the upcoming Al-Ibaanah publication: “Raising Children in Light of the Qur’aan and Sunnah” by ‘Abdus-Salaam As-Sulaymaan. The book was introduced and commended by Shaikh Saalih Al-Fawzaan.]

2. Choosing the Mother (i.e. one’s wife):

If someone wishes to produce ripe fruits, he will indeed search for the land that is most fertile. One of the great aspects of wisdom behind getting married is to produce righteous offspring that will worship Allaah and serve as a provision for their parents. The Prophet said: “Marry women that are loving and fertile for indeed I will outnumber the nations through you.” [Reported by Abu Dawood] [1]

Furthermore, the Prophet clarified the people’s standards when seeking a partner for marriage, saying: “A woman is married for four (reasons): Her wealth, her lineage, her beauty and her religion. So choose the woman with (good) religious qualities, may your hand be covered in dust.”[2]

Allaah says: “Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient and guard in the husband’s absence what Allaah orders them to guard.” [Surah An-Nisaa: 34]

The devoutly obedient (Qaanitaat) here refers to those women obey their husbands – by guarding their honor, wealth and lives in their absence.

The Prophet warned about (marrying) a beautiful woman from a bad origin, saying: “Beware of the green manure.” The Companions asked: “What is the green manure?” He said: “A beautiful woman of bad origin (i.e. upbringing).” [Reported by Ad-Daaraqutnee] [3]

On the other hand, he praised a woman with good religious qualities, saying: “Shall I not inform you of the best treasure that a man gathers – A righteous wife.” [Reported by Al-Haakim] [4]

And he said: “Choose for your seeds (a good mother), for indeed breeding is a strategy.”[Reported by Ibn Maajah] [5]

This is from the rights that a child has over his father – that he picks a good mother for him.

A man once came to ‘Umar bin Al-Khattaab complaining about his son being undutiful to him. He had brought his son with him and began blaming him for his disobedience, so the son asked: “Doesn’t a son have a right over his father also?” ‘Umar said: “Of course.” The son said: “Then what is it?” ‘Umar replied: “That his father carefully chooses a mother for him, that he gives him a good name and that he teaches him the Qur’aan.”

At this, the son said: “My father has not done any of these things. As for my mother, she was a black slave woman that used to belong to a Zoroastrian (Majoos). He named me Ju’al and did not teach me even one letter from the Qur’aan.” ‘Umar turned to the man and said: “You came to me to complain about your son being undutiful to you, however, it is you who were undutiful to him before that!”

Abul-Aswad Ad-Du’alee once told his children: “I was good to you when you were children, when you grew up, and also before you were born.” They asked: “And how is it that you were good to us before we were born?” He said: “I chose for you a mother through whom you would not be mistreated.”

Ar-Riyaashee would recite this same theme in the following poetic verses:

“The first good thing I did for you was my choosing (for you)
an honorable woman of noble descent and clear virtue.”

The Wife Searching for a Righteous Husband:

Just as a husband should look for a righteous wife, so too should a woman look to choose a righteous husband. Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allaah said: “If someone should come to you whose religion and character you are pleased with, marry (your daughter) off to him. If you do not do so, there will be mischief in the land and widespread corruption.” [6]

Based on this, we see that the firm foundation that a potential couple should base their selection of one another should be that of: Religion and Character. This is what will bring about a correct and proper upbringing for children.

On the wedding night when the groom consummates the marriage, it is recommended for him to say:“O Allaah, I ask you for her good and the good that she was molded upon” whilst placing his hand upon her head. He should also pray two rak’aat with her. [7]


[1] Reported by Abu Dawood (2050) and An-Nasaa’ee (3227) from the narration of Ma’qal bin Yassaar and authenticated by Ibn Hibbaan (4056 and 4057). The hadeeth was also reported by Ahmad in al-Musnad (12613) and Ibn Hibbaan (4028) from the narration of Anas bin Maalik.

[2] Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (5090), Muslim (1466), Abu Dawood (2047), An-Nasaa’ee (3230) and Ahmad in al-Musnad (9521)

[3] Reported by Ad-Daaraqutnee in al-Afraad from the narration of Abu Sa’eed in marfoo’ form. Al-‘Ajaloonee mentioned it in Kashf-ul-Khafaa (1/319, no. 855). What it means is that it is disliked to marry a corrupt woman since a woman with bad roots will affect her child negatively. The basis (for the similitude) is that crops grow upon manure that is placed in a dirty area. So the outward appearance of the crops appears nice but the inner appearance of the manure is vile and rotten. The word diman is the plural of the word dimnah, and that refers to manure (i.e. fertilizer). [4] Reported by Al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak (2/363, no. 3281) from the narration of Ibn ‘Abbaas.

[5] Reported by Ibn Maajah (1968) from the narration of ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, with the wording: “Choose (a good mother) for your seeds, marry the suitable ones (among women) and wed (your children) to them.” It is also reported with the wording: “And look into which source you place your child for indeed breeding is a strategy.” This hadeeth was transmitted by Al-Qadaa’ee in Musnad-ush-Shihaab (1/370, no. 638) from the narration of Ibn ‘Umar. Also see Kashf-ul-Khafaa (1/358, no. 960).

[6] Reported by At-Tirmidhee (1085) from the narration of Abu Haatim Al-Muznee, and he said: “This is a hasan ghareeb hadeeth.” Abu Haatim Al-Muznee was a Companion. No other hadeeth is known to have been reported by him on the Prophet except this hadeeth. Abu Dawood also mentioned it in al-Maraaseel (224) but according to him, Abu Haatim Al-Muznee is a Taabi’ee. The hadeeth also has a supporting witness in the hadeeth of Abu Hurairah with the wording: “If someone whose religion and character you are pleased with proposes marriage to you (i.e. your daughter), then marry (her) off to him. If you fail to do so, there will be mischief in the land and widespread corruption.” [Reported by At-Tirmidhee (1084) and Ibn Maajah (1967)]

[7] Reported by Al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak (2/202, no. 2757); ‘Abdullaah bin ‘Amr reported that Allaah’s Messenger said: “If one of you obtains a slave-girl or a wife or a riding beast, he should take hold of her forelock, supplicate for blessings and say: ‘O Allaah, I ask You for her good and the good that she was molded upon. And I seek refuge in You from her evil and the evil that she was molded upon.” Al-Haakim authenticated it and Adh-Dhahabee agreed.

Published on: April 4, 2007

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