SunniPath Answers: How Does a Muslim Woman Find a Spouse by Herself?
Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, SunniPath Academy Teacher
How can a Muslim woman Islamically look for a spouse if family members are overwhelmed with their personal routines and unable to do so? Bearing in mind, parental consent would be gained first. After that, what method of communication is best, if permissible at all?
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful,
Praise be to Allah. May the peace and blessings of Allah shower upon our Beloved Messenger, his family, companions, and those who follow them.
There are many different ways of finding a spouse. Many people prefer to go through the recommendations of family members. However, if your family is unable to help in this process, then you are perfectly entitled to take your own initiative.
1. Ask your married friends if their husbands know of any single brothers. Make sure you let your friends know what you are looking for in a spouse.
2. It is also fine to meet someone through school or work or a community gathering as long as the parameters of modest behavior are observed. If you meet someone you would like to discuss marriage with, just arrange for the brother to meet your wali or family.
3. There are several online matrimonial sites where you can look for potential suitors. I can’t vouch for each and every website, but some successful matches have resulted from online matrimonials. Two of the most popular sites are: www.zawaj.com and www.nikah.com. Some matrimonial sites require that a sister have a wali (guardian) in order to post her ad. Others prefer that the sister post her wali’s contact information, rather than her own. This is obviously for the sister’s protection.
A note of caution about online matrimonials: The nature of cyberspace lends itself to anonymity. It’s very easy for people to misrepresent themselves online. Trust your instincts. If you feel that something’s not right with someone, then don’t pursue discussions with them. Never give out your personal information. Once you feel that someone has potential, get that person in touch with your wali or family. Make sure that your wali or family thoroughly checks this person out before you proceed with the first meeting. And always insist that the potential suitor provide references. This advice applies to whoever you meet, whether it’s through a website or at school or work or anything else.
As to methods of communication, this depends on what you feel comfortable with. If you find someone through an online matrimonial, I believe that initial communication will proceed via email. You may want to correspond with the person through email or snail mail (regular mail) before you decide to meet. Once you feel like this person really has potential, then it’s important to arrange a face-to-face meeting in the presence of your wali or family members. It is entirely up to you how often and for how long you meet. A short meeting where everyone introduces themselves and establishes common ground may be better than a long meeting at first. If you both decide that you’d like to meet again, then you can have longer meetings to discuss issues of importance.
Once again, it’s important to consider two things:
1. Always meet in the presence of your wali or family members. This is for your protection. Your father is your natural wali, or guardian. If he doesn’t want to take this role, then I would suggest your grandfather, brother, or uncle. If none are available, then it is imperative that you ask a pious, mature brother from the community to act as your wali. Once you find a potential suitor, make sure to direct him to your wali.
2. If you correspond via email or talk on the phone, make sure that your conversations are reflective of Islamic propriety. Once you feel attracted to each other and are quite sure you want to marry, then I would suggest that you cut down emailing and phone conversations. This is better for both of you in terms of adab. At this point, it is better to have serious meetings in the presence of your chaperone to hash out the final details of the wedding.
I pray that Allah gives you success in your search for a righteous spouse.
And Allah knows best.
Umm Salah (Zaynab Ansari)