Two sisters decided to marry their children with each other. The girl had a poor vision due to which she started wearing glasses. After some time, a discord surfaced between both the sisters to such an extent that the mother of the boy said to the mother of the girl, ‘I cannot marry my faultless son to your blind daughter.’ Having heard this, her sister felt a massive shock because the one who found fault with her daughter was not anyone else but her own sister. Anyhow, her sister left after breaking off the relation. On the other hand, when she reached home, a thought came to her that iron pipes were kept lying downstairs which she should shift to the roof. She also included her son in this work. What happened was that suddenly an iron pipe slipped from her hand and hit straightin the eye of her son and his eye came out. She was absolutely stunned and the words she uttered to her sister started resonating through her ears, ‘I cannot marry my faultless son to your blind daughter’.
Readers of the monthly magazine Faizan-e-Madinah! By virtue of the sacred relation of Nikah, not only bridegroom and bride are associated with each other, but the families of both are also linked to each other. To see a marriage proposal, investigate it, then to accept or reject it are very important decisions because they affect many people.
Standard of marriage proposal
Islam has also guided us on it. Talking about the basic standard for proposing a girl, our Beloved Rasool صَلَّى اللّٰەُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has stated: Four things are kept in mind when marrying a woman: (1) Her wealth (2) Lineage (3) Beauty and (4) religion. He صَلَّى اللّٰەُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم then said: May your hand get dusty. You make efforts to get a religious woman. (Sahih Bukhari, vol. 3, pp. 429, Hadees 5090) i.e. People usually consider a woman’s wealth, beauty and lineage; they perform Nikah by seeing only these things, but you see a woman’s nobility and religiousness before all the things, as wealth and beauty are mortal things [and] religion is everlasting wealth! Wealth can be lost at one stroke and beauty can be lost due to one disease. (Mirat-ul-Manajih, vol. 5, pp. 3)
Who should I marry my daughter to?
A person came to Sayyiduna Hasan Basri رَحْمَةُ اللّٰەِ عَلَيْه, a Taabi’i Saint, and humbly said: I have only one daughter who I love very much. I have received many marriage proposals for her. What do you suggest who should I marry her to? He رَحْمَةُ اللّٰەِ عَلَيْه replied: Marry her to the man who has Divine-fear because if such a person loves your daughter, he will give her respect and if he hates your daughter, he will not do injustice (out of Divine fear) to her. (Sharh-us-Sunnah lil-Baghawi, vol. 5, pp. 9, Taht-al-Hadees: 2234)
At the present time, many parents are anxious about looking for good proposals for their children. It is not the case that there are no proposals as there are hundreds of thousands of bachelors, but those who are looking for a proposal see the dreams which do not come true for them. Therefore instead of focusing on financial status, honour, fame, beauty and status, if good manners, good character, living style and habits are kept in mind, then obstacles in the way of marriages can be reduced. These qualities will also be helpful in strengthening the marital relationship.
Ways of finding a match
Finding a match [girl] for a boy is usually done by his mother, sisters and other women relatives. There was a time when elderly women would wisely check her manners of speaking, cooking, managing house chores, her education and upbringing, etc., besides her beauty in such a way that the family of the girl did not mind it. It may happen now as well but those who go to see the girl make sometimes such mistakes which are astonishing. They sometimes check a girl by making her walk in front of themselves, sometimes they check the teeth of the girl after asking her to open her mouth, sometimes they take the girl outside in the sun to make it sure whether the fair colour of the girl is genuine or not, sometimes they check the height of the girl after making her take off her slippers, etc. Seeing all these things, what mental distress would the girl’s family undergo can be best described by them only!
On the other hand, some people who see the boy also make such silly mistakes. For example, if the boy is wearing a cap, they ask him to take it off in order to check whether or not he is bald; if the boy is quiet most of the time, they compel him to speak something in order to check if he stammers; if he is wearing glasses, they start asking about the number of the glasses in order to check if he has very poor vision; they reach his office in order to get his salary or post confirmed, etc.
Picture without a cap
No one can deny the fact that it is the right of the families of the boy and the girl to examine the proposal carefully, but they should not forget manners and decency. An Islamic brother has said: When some people came to see my elder brother, my brother was wearing a cap. When they returned, they sent us a message to send them the picture of my brother without cap so that they could see whether or not he was bald. Then they would think about him.
Strange manner of refusal
After seeing the proposal of marriage, comes the stage of acceptance or refusal. If the marriage proposal is accepted with mutual understanding, it is very good, but if it has to be turned down, it should be turned down in a civilized manner like saying: We could not agree to the proposal; we are sorry, etc. But sometimes to prove yourself right in turning down the marriage proposal such reasons are given which have no base at all and such faults are mentioned which shock a person badly. For example, the family members of the boy say: The girl wears glasses; she is short; she is very thin; she has a big forehead; she is not educated; she is sharp-tongued; she is over-age; she has a fat or flat nose; her ears are large; she is overweight; she has small eyes; she observes Purdah; she is not sociable; she does not know how to talk; her mother is a very outspoken woman; why has her younger sister got married before her?; her so-and-so (relative woman) has quarrels at home, she will also be like her, etc.
Why did paternal grandmother refuse?
There was a house in which relatives gathered and were ready to accept a proposal with mutual understanding. They only needed the approval of their paternal grandma. Paternal grandma asked: What are the qualifications of the girl? It was replied that she was a diploma holder in Computer Software. Paternal grandma, who had a bent back, refused by saying that she would use computer sitting on a chair and would suffer from back pain after some period of time. That’s why her lineage would not increase.
Similarly, an incident occurred in Karachi. The mother of the boy said in front of the girl and her mother: The girl has a slightly dark complexion and then she said proudly: If she had been well educated, she would have been married in our family because our family is highly educated. The girl was holding a master’s degree in English. When she started speaking to the mother of the boy in English, she could not understand anything and remained quiet because she said they were highly educated only to show arrogance.
Anyhow! The family of the girl also sometimes use unfair and rude manner. I know a young man. Approximately 35 families declined his marriage proposal in around about 3 years. The reason why his proposal was declined was that: He is short, fat, has a beard; he belongs to such-and-such community and culture; he is ok, but his mother is very clever, etc.
At some places, when the family of a girl declines a proposal, they also say like this: The boy does not own his house, he lives on rent; he lives in a joint family system, he is not independent; the sisters of the boy have yet to be married, he will also have to bear the expenses of their marriage, so how will our daughter live happily; his father is seriously ill due to such-and-such disease and our daughter has to look after him; he has less education; his married sisters have more influence on the house, they will put pressure on our daughter; he has slightly dark complexion; he does not have good features; he is over-age or very young; he has many sisters; his salary is low; his sister has had a divorce and living at home; they have disputes in their family; he resides in a deprived area; he does not have his own bike or car; he does not have a government job and can be fired any time; his widow sister lives with him; where he works, he does not get any chance to earn ‘extra money’; he follows Shari’ah and will also make our daughter observe purdah; he will not get familiar with us; his marriage proposal has been turned down many times before this one, etc.
Refused to have Rukhsati
According to a news report, a Baraat reached a place and Nikah was performed. Before the Rukhsati the bride somehow had a look on the face of the bridegroom who had a dark complexion. The bride refused to have Rukhsati as a protest. Both the families had lots of arguments, but the matter was not resolved. When those who went to see the boy were asked: Did you like the boy by seeing him in a proper manner? They got rid of this situation by saying: When we went to see the boy, there had been no electricity. That’s why we could not make out that he has a dark complexion.
Sensible manner of finding a match
Just ponder! When someone declines someone’s proposal by mentioning faults, what will happen to the one whose proposal has been declined! When it happens again and again, then some become the victim of inferiority complex and some become psychiatric patient and then they refuse to get married. There can be another way of seeing a match: Whatever information you want, you should get it from any third person and the women of the family should see the house, etc. by using any strategy (it should not be disclosed to the families of the girl or boy that their match is being seen so that the refusal of the marriage proposal does not come as a shock to them.) When they make their mind to some extent, marriage proposal, as per the custom, should be sent to settle the remaining matters.
Parents should also reduce their conditions and demands so that their children enter into the marriage at a suitable time. The countless qualities we want to see in our daughter-in-law or son-in-law are not impossible but difficult to be found together. We have to learn how to compromise, otherwise, those who find fault with every marriage proposal reach the state due to the marriage being very late that they themselves say: ‘Now whatever the proposal is, we will accept it’. May Allah Almighty bless us with a good sense!
صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيۡهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم اٰمِيۡن بِجَاهِ النَّبِيِّ الۡاَمِيۡن
 If you do not act upon this saying of mine, you will get into trouble. (Mirat-ul-Manajih, vol. 5, pp. 3)