The woman you marry will eventually be the mother of your children, therefore we need to choose wisely keeping in mind our future. Now people say beauty doesn’t really matter what matters is your character, but most of us are hypocrites, beauty is all that matters to us. We can see it clearly that when mothers search for their son’s a wife they first look at if she is fair and beautiful and then go on to the akhlaq part being very shortsighted. But we should remember the famous hadith of the Prophet where he said:
“Women may be married for four things: their wealth, their lineage, their beauty and their religious commitment. Choose the one who is religiously-committed, may your hands be rubbed with dust (i.e., may you prosper).” (Bukhaari, Muslim)
‘Abd al-‘Azeem Abaadi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
What this means is that a man who is religiously committed and of noble character should make religion his focus in all things, especially with regard to long-term matters. So the Prophet enjoined finding a wife who is religiously committed, which is the ultimate goal.
“may your hands be rubbed with dust” is urging him to strive hard and roll up his sleeves and seek that which is enjoined.
(‘Awn al-Ma’bood (6/31))
Why choose a religious spouse?
I have personally seen mothers who pray, read the Quran etc, casually telling their children to pray never once commanding them or trying to get them to have a deeper understanding of the Quran. Such mothers do little to pass on Islam to their children. Why? Because they themselves never committed to Islamic knowledge and have no eagerness to make their children religious. These mothers just fulfill their children’s physical and worldly needs not once thinking about their children’s spiritual needs.
The Prophet often stressed the importance of a righteous wife who is religiously committed:
It was narrated that from Abdullah bin Amr that: the Messenger of Allah said: “This world is but provisions, and there is no provision in this world better than a righteous wife.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Saheeh)
It was narrated that Thawbaan said: When there was revealed about silver and gold what was revealed, they said: So what kind of wealth should we acquire? ‘Umar said: I will find out about that for you. So he mounted his camel and caught up with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and I was right behind him. He said: O Messenger of Allah, what kind of wealth should we acquire? He said: “Let one of you acquire a thankful heart, a tongue that remembers Allah and a believing wife who will help him with regard to the Hereafter.” (Narrated and classed as hasan by al-Tirmidhi (3094))
In another version it says: “who will help him with his faith.” Ibn Maajah (1856). (Saheeh by al-Albaani)
Al-Mubaarakfoori (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “A believing wife who will help him with his faith” means, with his religious commitment, by reminding him to pray, fast and do other acts of worship, and will keep him from committing zina and all other haraam deeds. (Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi (8/390))
One may think that if the father is religious he could influence the children, but that’s rarely the case, as we know that children are in constant contact with their mothers. Mothers are the first teachers and role models. Fathers are usually busy with work and seeing to other matters of running the household. Rarely is there a case where due to the father, the children are religious. The mother always has to take the first step for her children to follow.
Others may think that the husband may change his wife after marriage. Then together they can teach the children. Often times it’s too late as the early years of the children is when their foundation is built. It is also very difficult to mold an adult them how we want, as they are already set in their ways, unless they themselves want to change. Children imitate their adults when young and if your wife does un-Islamic things your child will follow. Changing an adult is not easy as she has had her own values and to change overnight would be almost impossible.
Imam al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
The correct meaning of this hadeeth (the above hadith) is that the Prophet was speaking of what people usually do; they seek these four qualities, and the last of them in their view is the one who is religiously committed, so seek, O you who are guided, the one who is religiously committed.” (Sharh Muslim (10/51-52))
And he (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
“What that means is that people usually seek these four qualities in a woman, but you should seek the one who is religiously committed.” Riyadh al-Saaliheen (p. 454)
Furthermore, a woman who knows Islam well will know how to take care of her household, from time-management to a balanced diet, keeping you and your children healthy and happy.
Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allaah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband’s absence what Allaah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity and their husband’s property)”
Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Sa’di (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
“Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient” means: obedient to Allah, may He be exalted.
“guard in the husband’s absence” means: they are obedient to their husbands and even in their absence they guard themselves and their husband’s wealth, seeking the help of Allaah in that, because no one can do that by himself or herself, for the self is inclined towards evil, but the one who puts his trust in Allaah, He will suffice him and help him in his religious and worldly affairs. (Tafseer al-Sa’di (p. 177))
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: It was said to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): Which of women is best? He said: “The one who makes (her husband) happy when he looks at her, obeys him when he tells her to do something, and does not disobey him with regard to herself or her wealth in a way that he dislikes.” (Narrated by al-Nasaa’i (3131); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i. )
In conclusion, if she is religious i.e; not only prays five times but understands the Quran and Ahadith and applies them in her personal life, then she will understand her family’s needs and will always maintain healthy relations between yourselves and your family making your home a happy one. She will ingrain the teachings of Islam your children, teaching them to be righteous, obedient and dutiful. She will help you raise the next generation of Muslims, who will one day be the champions of the Ummah. She will help her husband in coming closer to Allah, and doing what is pleasing to Him, and in attaining the eternal abode of Paradise.
Inshallah we will dedicate another article to describing the qualities of a religiously committed woman.
Fatima Damad, AAT