Choosing a Spouse
Islam considers marriage to be the biggest step in the life of both men and women, and it is not to be entered into lightly. Muslims approach this life choice with guidance and support from their families and community.
The Qur'an makes clear that certain categories of people cannot be married to one another. This is a moral and biological protection to prevent incestuous relationships. Beyond these restrictions, Muslims are encouraged to marry someone who is suitable. Factors of religion, social status, and culture may come into play, but the most important is that both partners have a similar religious outlook.
The Prophet Muhammad once said, “Whenever a man is alone with a woman, Satan is the third among them.” When young people are getting to know each other, being alone together may be a temptation. To ward off this temptation, courting couples always meet in a group environment.
Choosing a spouse is a major life decision that should not be made hastily or left to chance or hormones. In Islam, it is taken as seriously as any other decision in life — with prayer, careful investigation, and family involvement. Muslim parents play an important role in the screening process of potential spouses, because they know their children extremely well — their personalities, their likes and dislikes, and their possible pitfalls. They may look at a potential suitor objectively with these aspects in mind. While parents are not permitted to randomly reject suitors without Islamic justification, they play an important role in narrowing down prospects.