As you read, Islam does not allow us to marry off our daughters to several groups of people including the corrupt, the stupid, the ill-tempered, and the alcoholics. Thus by prohibiting such marriages, a woman's respect and honor are safeguarded. In the same manner, Islam prohibits the marriage of young noble, believing men with those women who do not meet divine and Islamic conditions. There exist many important traditions cited in authentic books regarding this issue which have been cited from the sources of revelations. A reference is made to some of them here.
The Prophet (Pbuh) said: Avoid marrying stupid women since living with them will ruin your life and their children will be oppressors. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.103, pp.232-237]
He also said: Avoid a trashy beauty. He was asked: What do you mean by a trash beauty? He replied: I mean a beautiful woman who is raised in a bad family. [Ibid]
The Prophet (Pbuh) used to say in his prayers to God: I seek refuge in Thee from a child who orders me around instead of being obedient; from property which goes to waste without giving any profit; and from a woman who makes me old too fast due to her stupidity and bad behavior; and from a friend who is deceitful. [Marriage in Islam, pp.75-77]
The Prophet (Pbuh) said: The worst of your women are the ones who are sterile; filthy; stubborn; disobedient; disgusted by the family, and dear to themselves; disobedient to the husband and submissive to others. [Ibid]
He also said: Three things have a bad omen: a woman, a quadruped and a house. A woman's bad omen is in her nuptial gift and sterility. [Ibid]
He also said: A bad woman is the worst thing. [Mustadrak, Nekah book, Chapters 6 and 8]
The Commander of the Faithful (Imam Ali) stated: The worst wife is a woman who is not complaisant. [Ibid]
The Prophet (Pbuh) said: Should I not introduce the worst women? Those who are not respectable in their own family; who are haughty to their husbands; who are sterile; who are malicious; who do not stop doing evil deeds; who adorn themselves in the absence of their husbands, and do not adorn themselves in his presence; who are disobedient to their husbands, and do not please them in their own privacy; who do not accept their husband's apology and do not forgive them. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.100, p.235]
How to Choose a Spouse
Marriage is my tradition, and whoever does not long for my tradition is not of my nation. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.103, p.220]
The Evil-Doer is Deprived of God's Mercy
In a very important tradition by the noble Prophet of Islam it is stated in Arabic "Al-Naqess Melown" which means "The evil-doer is denied God's Mercy." Undoubtedly, the Arabic term "Naqess" in this tradition does not carry its usual meaning. It does not refer to someone without eyes, a hand, a foot or having any other type of congenital deformity. Here it refers to one who has not taken steps to attain wisdom, to acquire good habits nor to adorn himself/herself with beneficial actions, and does not attend to himself/herself by means other than eating, sleeping and lust. In fact man has the potential to realize all the facts and attain full perfection. He should try to do so. He should constantly strive to remove his mental, spiritual and inward flaws. He should avoid listlessness. If he does not try to eliminate his imperfections, then he will be spoiled just as unpalatable water does. He will be damned and deprived of God's Mercy.
Unfortunately there are some seventy or even eighty year olds who have the mentality of a one-year old child, and their actions and morality are similar to those of a five-year old. They have not used the divine spiritual blessings such as Heavenly Books; the Prophethood; the Religious Leadership of the Immaculate Imams; the mysticism of the true mystics and the wisdom of the wise during their lifetime. They have been only engaged in eating and drinking to expand their body from a tiny sperm to some eighty or ninety kilograms. They could have turned their bodies into a good tree. They could have built themselves up to become a source of facts and perfection. However, they became proud of simply engaging in material affairs to build up their physical form. Thus they remained poor, imperfect and evil-doers as they first were. They had business deals and were occupied by their desk and chair. They had wealth, a spouse and children, but were evil-doers. Therefore, they are at a loss. They commit any form of sin or crime, they violate other people's rights. They oppress while benefiting from God's blessings without shame. Yet, they cooperate with God's enemies, being the men and jinn, in all areas.
In another tradition from Imam Musa, the son of Jafar (Pbuh) we read: One for whom two days are the same is at a loss; one for whom the end of the two days is the worst time is damned; and one whose life passes and does not improve himself is at a loss. For such a person death is better than life. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.78, p.327; v.75, p.327, Beirut Press]
There is another tradition with nearly the same context in the authentic Shiite books from Imam Sadiq. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.71, p.173]
In another tradition from the noble Prophet of Islam (Pbuh) we read: "One who does business, is loved by God". Undoubtedly the highest form of doing business and the best trade is obtaining nobility, knowledge, good and human morality. A businessman, such as the Prophet, is a valuable being and is loved by God.
Let’s try not to be evil-doers. Let’s not let two consecutive days of our lives be the same. Let’s avoid denying ourselves the attainment of perfection, since in the Hereafter whoever is short of spiritual affairs; intellectual development and moral and practical perfection is damned and at a loss. His balance of deeds will be light and he will deserve torture. But if the balance of his spirituality is heavy, that is, he has good faith, morality and good deeds, then he will prosper. Consider the following two verses of the Glorious Quran in this regard:
The balance that they will be true (to a nicety): Those whose scale (of good) will be heavy, will prosper. [Holy Quran: A'raf 7:8]
Those whose scale will be light, will find their souls in perdition, for that they wrongfully treated Our Signs. [Holy Quran: A'raf 7:9]
The Path to Perfection
In the Glorious Quran, God the Benevolent has recommended that all people realize two facts to strive towards perfection, giving due consideration to divine and humane conditions. These two are related to the material life and the spiritual life, which are expressed in four verses of the Chapter Al-i-Imran in the Holy Quran.
Fair in the eyes of men is the love of things they covet: women and sons; heaped-up hoards of gold and silver; horses branded (for blood and excellence); and (wealth of) cattle and well-tilled land. Such are the possessions of this world's life; but in nearness to God is the best of goals (to return to).
Say: Shall I give you glad tidings of things far better than those? For the righteous are Gardens in nearness to their Lord, with rivers flowing beneath; therein is their eternal home; with companions pure (and holy); and the good pleasure of God. For in God's sight are (all) His servants, (namely), those who say: "Our Lord! we have indeed believed: forgive us, then, our sins, and save us from the agony of the Fire;"- Those who show patience, firmness and self-control; who are true (in word and deed); who worship devoutly; who spend (in the way of God); and who pray for forgiveness in the early hours of the morning. [Holy Quran: Al-i-Imran 3:14-17]
The passive form of the verb "Zuyanna" in the Arabic text of the first verse implies its importance, that is, God is the doer of the verb or the one who makes all those facts fair in the eyes of men. This is so that they become inclined and attracted to these issues and through this inclination, love and attraction, they get married; work; subdue the animals; irrigate or build the land; and they attain some productivity in their material life. On the other hand they are also adorned with piety, faith, supplication, and fear of the Hereafter and strive to obtain perseverance, honesty, worship, spending in charity and imploring God's forgiveness. This is so that they can attain God's pleasure, the promised Heaven and pure heavenly spouses.
Anyway according to the noble verses of the Glorious Quran, the cause of man's attraction to and love for women is their delicate creation, beauty, dignity, intrinsic shyness, delicate voice, amorous playfulness and coquetishness. This attraction and lust is the main drive for men to become interested and fall in love with women and get married and establish a joint life. Thus, they can have children and work hard in business, agriculture, etc. to provide for their material life and guarantee the continuation of the life of the household and the family. If this is complemented with piety and is void of sin; is accompanied with faith, supplication, perseverance, honesty, worship, spending and imploring God's forgiveness at dawn, then man's prosperity in this world and the Hereafter is guaranteed. Man can thus benefit from all worldly pleasures, and vast eternal benefits, most importantly God's pleasure.
How to Choose a Spouse in Islam
The approach to choosing a spouse is much different in the angelic spirit of Islam, when compared to those religions or schools of thought which have become void of the spirit of revelations. Islam does not allow a believing Muslim man to choose any woman as his wife. Neither does it allow a believing Muslim woman to choose any man as her husband. This is so because there are certain things to be considered in marriage, such as their well-being and prosperity in this world and the Hereafter; immunity from corruption and Satanic plans. As viewed in Islam, marriage is not just based on lust, carnal desires, and material gains. The goal of Islam from marriage is to maintain people's beliefs; to build a divine home; to raise good children; and to seek God's pleasure. It is in this framework that all that is involved; the marriage itself; maintaining a spouse; loving a legitimate spouse; having sex as much as either side requires; respecting each others' rights; bearing children; raising them; carrying out the necessary duties such as working to provide for the housing, food and clothing of the wife and the children are all considered to be worship of God and each step taken in this regard will have a great heavenly reward. It is in this context that one can understand why Islam insists on finding a well-matched spouse. We are forced to humbly accept Islam's divine conditions for marriage, since a marriage without regard for these conditions will end up in a life full of sedition. The house will be filled with torture and suffering; pain and agony; sadness and sorrow. Such a life might end up in separation and divorce with its ever-lasting bad feelings. It may even end up in insanity or suicide if one party is not strong enough.
Avoid associating or marrying a woman who has not attained intellectual development through studying; and has not helped herself reach perfection by attaining piety, faith and morality. Such women are raised in a family void of monotheism, morality, piety, worship and belief in God's unity. They bring nothing for their husbands but sedition, corruption and destruction. An important tradition from Imam Baqir (Pbuh) has been quoted as: "The Prophet (Pbuh) passed by some women. He suddenly stopped and addressed them, and said: I have not seen any group of people lacking wisdom and religion like you, and stealing the wisdom of the wise. I have seen that your torture is greater than that of all the dwellers of Hell. I strongly recommend that you try to get closer to God, by perfecting your faith and acquiring knowledge, and good deeds." [Marriage in Islam, p.45 as cited in Vasa'il al-Shiaa Abvab Muqadamat Nikah]
Imam Sadiq (Pbuh) said: "The strongest enemy of a believing man is his bad wife." [Bihar al-Anwar, v.100, p.240]
In another tradition it has been stated: "There are six things which are essential causes of committing sins and rebelling against God: love of this world; love of power; excessive sleeping; love for women; love for eating and being lazy." [Vasa'il al-Shiaa Abvab Muqadamat Nikah, Chapter 4; Bihar al-Anwar, v.100, p.225, Vafa Press]
Thus it is best that you confine yourself to abide by the conditions stated by Islam in choosing a spouse. I shall express all these conditions based on traditions. Try not to choose a spouse based on her beauty, love or wealth. The Prophet (Pbuh) said: "Do not choose a wife for her wealth or beauty. Her wealth will cause her rebellion, and her beauty will cause her corruption. You must consider her faith and religiousness for marriage." [Mustadrak al-Vasa'il, On Marriage, Ch.13]
The Prophet (Pbuh) has been quoted as saying: "If there is bad omen in anything, that is a woman."[Bihar al-Anwar, v.100, p.227]
In fact if a woman is deprived of knowledge, faith, morality, good-temper, dignity and nobility, then she is bad and will ruin her husband's life.
The Prophet (Pbuh) also said: "A bad woman is the worst thing."[Ibid]
An Amazing Story
It has been written in the commentary by Abul-Futuh-i-Razi: There was a young fellow who would recite the call to prayer from the top of the special place on the mosque. One night he looked at the houses surrounding the mosque when he was reciting the call to prayer. This kind of looking has been prohibited by Islam to safeguard man from sedition and for his own sake. Suddenly he saw a good-looking young girl, and fell in love with her. After saying the call to prayer he went and knocked at her door. The house owner opened the door. The young man told him that he had come and was ready to marry their daughter. The man said that they were Assyrian Christians, and they would only wed their daughter to him if he accepted Christianity. The young fellow who had fallen madly in love with that beautiful girl did not choose a best match and let lust and beauty be the reasons for his marriage. He accepted her father's condition and abandoned Islam, but on the wedding day, he fell down the stairs and died.
Islamic and Humane Conditions in Choosing a Spouse
1- The respectable families should provide the means for the young man and woman to meet each other before marriage. It is not necessary to wed them to make them Mahram (lawful to see each other) for this purpose. This has been allowed by Islam, and is considered legitimate in Islamic jurisprudence. They must see each other, so that they can recognize each others' good characteristics or apparent defects, and then decide. This will also block the way for future claims. Of course, this visit should be with the intention of getting married and deciding whether or not to finalize the marriage. It should be void of sin.
Please notice the traditions in this regard:
The Prophet (Pbuh) told Mughayreh, the son of Shua'ba who had married a woman: "Had you looked at her before you got married, there was more hope for you to get along with her." [Marriage in Islam, p.47]
Muhammad, the son of Muslim said that he asked Imam Baqir (Pbuh): "Does a man who wants to get married have the right to look at the woman?" He answered: "Yes of course. He wants to purchase with the highest price, yet how can he not look?" [Vasa'il al-Shiia, Introductory chapters on marriage, Chapter 36]
Hassan Sary said: I asked Imam Sadiq (Pbuh): "Is it permissible for the man to take a good look at a woman before he marries her? Can he look at her face and the back of her head?" He answered: "Yes. It is not forbidden to look at the back of her head or look at her face." [Vasa'il al-Shiia, Introductory chapters on marriage, Chapter 36]
A man told the sixth Imam: "Is it permissible for a man to look at a woman's hair and her beauties when he wants to marry her?" He said: "If he wants to become aware of her characteristics it is all right." [Vasa'il al-Shiia, Introductory chapters on marriage, Chapter 36]
In another tradition the Imam was asked: "Is it permissible for the woman to stand up so that the man can see her?" He answered: "Yes, she can even wear clothing showing the form of her body at that time." [Marriage in Islam, p.49]
The Prophet (Pbuh) told a man from his companions who had proposed to marry a woman: "Look at her face and her hands."
These traditions and the like imply that if someone chooses a woman to marry, after he investigates about her family, her faith and morality, it is fine to look at her to learn about her physical features such as her hair, her looks and beauty, her height, and her posture. This will block any future claims about her defects which might otherwise cause disappointment or argument. This does not mean that men can go around to look inside every house and observe all the beauties of the Muslim girls to choose one if they please. [Marriage in Islam, p.49]
2- When you choose a wife and decide to marry her, you must intend to marry to seek God's pleasure, not her beauty, perfection, amorous playfulness or coquetishness. You must act to please God and to abide His decree and to follow the tradition of the divine Prophets, especially the noble Prophet of Islam (Pbuh) There are many important traditions regarding marriage in order to get nearer to God and attain His pleasure cited from the Prophet (Pbuh): One who marries for God's sake, and strives to provide the means for the marriage of others for God's sake, deserves to be a Friend of God. [Muhjat ul-Biyza, v.3, p.54]
Yes, people of such character and nobility deserve to be included among those mentioned in the following verse:
God is the protector of those who have faith: from the depths of darkness He will lead them forth into light. [Holy Quran: Baqara 2:257]
God likes men to have a wife and children. That is why He granted John to Zacharias; and granted Ismael to Abraham when they were old. God Has stated in one of the verses of His Book to His Pure Prophet:
We did send apostles before thee, and appointed for them wives and children: [Holy Quran: Ra'd 13:38]
3- It is not right to rush into marriage. It has been stated in Islamic teachings that to rush into something is the work of Satan. One must be careful in choosing a spouse. He/she must spend enough time, consult with others, and get to know the other party and his/her family. This is all necessary so that any great loss; spiritual, or psychological blow to either party can be avoided. In this regard Imam Sadiq (Pbuh) said: In fact a woman is similar to a necklace. Be careful about the necklace you wear forever. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.100, p.233, Vafa Press]
4- The characteristics of a good woman who deserves to get married to a believing young Muslim man have been carefully stated in credible traditions cited in valuable Shiite books. The Prophet (Pbuh) said: When you intend to get married to a woman, investigate about her hair as well as her face, since her hair is also a part of her beauties. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.100, p.237]
5-13- Jaber, the son of Abdullah Ansari has stated: "We were sitting with the Prophet(Pbuh). Then we started to talk about women, and how some are superior to others. The Prophet (Pbuh) asked if he should talk to us in this regard, and we welcomed his proposal. He said the best of your women is one who is kind; bears children; is chaste; is respected in her family; and is humble to her husband; beutifies herself only for her husband and is respectful but indifferent to others; obeys her husband; submits to him in private but does not act like dirty old men. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.100, p.235]
14 to 18- The Commander of the Faithful (Pbuh) said: The best of your women have five traits. He was asked what they were. Then he answered: leniency; good-temperedness; easy to get along with; one who does not rest until her husband is pleased and calm once he gets angry; protects her husband's honor in his absence. Such a woman is one of the agents of God and should not be disappointed of God's Mercy. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.100, p.231]
19- Imam Baqir (Pbuh) said: A man consulted with the Prophet(Pbuh) regarding marriage. The Prophet (Pbuh) said: "Get married, but with a religious woman. God will give you a good reward. A good woman is similar to an especial crow which is hard to get." The man asked what especial crow? He responded: "One with one white leg." [Marriage in Islam, p.59]
20 to 21- Abraham Karkhy said that he told Imam Sadiq (Pbuh): "My wife who was my companion has died and now I am considering getting married again." The Imam told him: "Be extremely careful with whom you marry and share all your secrets, wealth, religion and trust. If you have no choice but to marry, find a well-behaved and good-tempered young woman." [Bihar al-Anwar, v.100, p.232]
22- The Prophet (Pbuh) said: One of the beneficial things that God has destined for a Muslim man is a woman looking at whom pleases him, one who protects his honor in his absence; and one who obeys him in his presence. [Marriage in Islam, p.60]
23- The Prophet (Pbuh) said: "The noblest woman in my nation is one with the most beauty and a nuptial gift of the least amount." [Bihar al-Anwar, v.100, p.236]
24- The Commander of the Faithful (Pbuh) said: The Prophet (Pbuh) asked the people: Let me know what is best for women? Fatimah (Pbuh) responded: That she does not see men, and men do not see her, too. The Prophet (Pbuh) who was amazed at this response said: Fatimah is the chip off the old block![Bihar al-Anwar, v.100, p.238]
25-26- Imam Sadiq (Pbuh) said: The best of your women is one who is grateful if you give her property, and if for some reason you denied her of some property she is pleased and satisfied." [Bihar al-Anwar, v.100, p.239]
27-30- The sixth Imam (Pbuh) said: The best of your women is one who smells good; cooks well; spends properly; abstains from spending at the right time. Such women are agents of God. For them there is no disappointment. They shall not be sorry. [Marriage in Islam, p.61]
31- The Prophet (Pbuh) said: The most blessed wife is one who imposes the least expenses upon her husband. [Marriage in Islam, p.70]
32-34- The Commander of the Faithful (Pbuh) said: The best characteristics of a woman in marriage are the worst of men's characteristics: pride, fear and jealousy. If she has pride, she will not submit to anyone but her husband. If she is jealous, she protects their belongings, and if she has fear, then she gets afraid of any circumstances and tries to protect herself. Thus she will not fall prey to others. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.100, p.238]
35-38- The Prophet (Pbuh) said: Marry virgin girls. They have sweeter lips, and tighter wombs. They learn faster, and their love for their husband and mutual life is more lasting. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.100, p.237]
39 to 40- Imam Sadiq (Pbuh) said: The best of your women is one who is no longer shy when she is undressed in private quarters with her husband. And when she wears her clothes, she is shy. [Marriage in Islam, p.67]
These are the characteristics of a good Muslim woman. Our dear young Muslim men should look for these nearly forty traits in women. Once they find one with a reasonable amount of positive traits, then they should choose her as their wife and the mother of their children. They should try not to be too strict in choosing a spouse, since such an obsession will make it hard to marry.