Can I have his hand in marriage? Asking for a proposal?

>> Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I really need ADVICE on some stuff and kind of think you might be the right one to give me all the advice i need :)There is someone I am really interested in marrying, but I am not sure that he is interested. I want to ask him but I'm scared he will judge me for taking the first step.

Assalam-o-alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatahu!

Your question made me smile as it reminded me of the dilemma of many a girl in our times-boys can be a bit too slow, can't they? ;)

I'll just reiterate what I've always thought about this. Since we're Muslims, everything we look at, reflect on, judge by, we do it through glasses coloured by the Quran and Sunnah. “Is this thing right? What do the Quran and Sunnah say about it?” (And of course, Fiqh and all that jazz, but for now, I'll stick to the basics). Luckily for us, we don't have to look too far for the answer. There is a story that each Muslim kid knows since his or her childhood-that of the marriage of Hazrat Khadija (radi Allahu anha) and Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alyhee wa sallam) and how Hazrat Khadija (radi Allahu anha) was the one who initiated the talk for their marriage and the Prophet (sal Allahu alyhee wa sallam) accepted :) Now you could say, but that was before Islam! Fortunately for us, we have many more examples where the Sahabiat or their families took the initiative, rather than a Sahabi, one of them being Hazrat Umar (radi Allahu anhu) going first to Hazrat Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) and then to Hazrat Uthman (radi Allahu anhu) for Hazrat Hafsa's (radi Allahu anha) hand in marriage (the former didn't accept since he knew the Prophet's (sal Allahu alyhee wa sallam) intention of marrying her himself, and the latter since he was too distraught at the loss of Hazrat Ruqayyah (radi Allahu anha) not because they judged the girl’s family for sending the proposal!). You might be wondering why I'm talking about the validity of such an action, when your question was not strictly that. The thing is, I was just trying to highlight the fact, that according to our Shariah, it's completely okay for a marriage proposal to originate from the woman's side. Unfortunately, it's most cultures and societies which look down upon this, not our religion. Therefore, firstly we must change our mindsets, and realize, there is no 'judgment' for an action that is not wrong. YOU need to decide, do you want to be culturally sound, or do anything allowed within the bounds of our Shariah?

Having established the rightness of the action, let me tell you about a friend of mine. Sarah (the name has been changed to protect her privacy) became a sincerely practicing Muslimah after she went to the States for higher education. After getting her degree, she realized that she was no longer the feminist she once thought herself and wanted to get married. Now there were 2 ways for her to do it-sit back and wait for someone back home to send her a rishta (Urdu word for proposal), OR actively search for someone in the community she'd become a part of. Being a Pakistani, option number 2 was the culturally right choice, but she realized that left her a bit crippled. Not only is the men:women ratio already less, the number of properly practicing men is even lesser, especially in a non-Muslim country (in her case, but generally in Muslim countries too) therefore, being apathetic was not really a choice if she really wanted to get married to Mr. Right (btw, as an aside, it's Mr. Right, and not Mr. Perfect some girls keep waiting for ;) ) So she kept her eyes and ears open, and finally she realized that a boy whom she frequently saw volunteering at the masjid she went to regularly, was a good candidate. She approached the Imam, who told her that indeed, the boy was a practicing Muslim, a Hafiz and a regular at the Masjid, and gave her other background information. She talked to her parents and the Imam who then talked to the boy, who decided he did indeed want to consider my friend as a possible spouse.  Unfortunately, after some QA sessions, and family meetings, they decided to call it quits. However, the cause of that was something entirely different and not my friend’s initiating The Talk.  And even though it didn't work out, my friend did not have any regrets since at least she knew for sure that that candidate was a No. Had she not approached the Imam, or waited for the boy to notice her, she would've never known for sure. If you need to reach a destination and know of two paths that go there which one will you choose-one that you know without doubt, is straight, without any turns, is smooth riding and gets you to your destination in 15 minutes; or one about which you have no idea, and you're even unsure about the fact that it takes you to your destination. Anyone right in their mind would obviously choose the first one. Therefore even if you ask and get judged and the boy says no, the destination or the outcome will be the same as not asking, but at least you will know for certain!

Hopefully by now you're seeing the light-that is, are realizing that you have nothing to lose by asking, and more to lose by not asking, let’s make an action plan (because every important thing that we undertake
must have a clear action plan!)

1)      First of all, I need you to sit down, take a pen/pencil and paper and list down all the reasons you want to marry this person. This is a lifelong decision and should not be based on something as flimsy as how the other person looks or talks (no seriously, I had a thing for British accents-blame all the Mind Your Language I watched as a kid!-and my husband most definitely does NOT have one. I wonder if it’s too late to get him enrolled in some ‘Develop an Accent’ classes. Hmmm…But I digress). It helps, but really, in the long run, there are many more things that are humungous-ly more important!). Therefore what you need to do is something that most of us find difficult to do-be scrupulously honest with yourself (trust me, even though this is THE most important thing, most of us deceive ourselves easily on a day-to-day basis). Make a  checklist of your top priorities, make a pros and cons list, or whatever else you're comfortable with. Once you've done this and are still convinced this is the person you want to marry, move ahead to step 2.

2)      Have a chat. Not with yourself, that'd be too easy (though you could do that too as part of the first step!) but with someone you're close to in your family. Your father/mother/sister/brother. It could even be a friend but make sure it is the kind of friend who wouldn't lie to you or agree with everything you say, but in fact be honest with you and help you sincerely. Tell this person you've chosen about your choice and decision and seek their advice. This serves a two-fold purpose. Firstly, it gives further clarity to your decision and secondly, believers are meant to make decisions by asking other believers for advice. This is known as istisharah.

3)      If the person you chose in Step 2 was not your father (or Wali), then either yourself or via the person in Step 2, discuss this with him. He will then make inquiries about this person (if he does not know him already) and talk with you and decide. If he is satisfied (and it is your job to convince him) then he is the person who will talk to the guy or the guy’s family. One thing I have to make clear here (if not already clear!) is that you don't talk to the guy yourself but via your Wali.

4)      Before the process is set in motion, but everyone is agreed at your side (or even before if you wish), do istikhara :
Jabir (radi Allahu anhu) stated: “As the Prophet (sal Allahu alyhee wa sallam) taught us the Quran, so also he instructed us to observe Istikhara in every matter. The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhee wa sallam) used to say, ‘When anyone among you is perplexed over an important matter, he should perform two Rakahs of supererogatory (nafl) prayer and then make this dua: O Allah, I ask You to show me what is best through Your knowledge, and bring it to pass through Your power, and I ask You of Your immense favour; for You are All-Powerful and I am not, You know and I do not, and You are the Knower of the Unseen. O Allah, if You know this matter to be better for me in my religion, livelihood, and final outcome, then bring it about and facilitate it for me, and bless me with abundance therein. And if You know this matter to be worse for me in my religion, livelihood, and final outcome, then keep it from me, and keep me from it, and bring about the good for me whatever it may be, and make me pleased with it.’”
[Sahih Bukhari]

5)      Make dua, and have tawakkal that whatever the outcome, it will be better for your akhira and dunya, and that Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) knows what is best for us, not me or you, but Him. So keep up that trust.
Anas (radi Allahu anhu) reported that a person asked Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alayhee wa sallam), “Should I tie my camel and have Tawakkul (trust in Allah for her protection) or should I leave her untied and have Tawakkul.” Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alayhee wa sallam) replied, “Tie her and have Tawakkul.” (Hasan) [Jami At-Tirmidhi] 

You've tied the camel, now wait for the result! I pray that whatever the outcome is, it's best for your Akhirah, Deen and Dunya.


9 wonderful sprinkely thoughts:

Anonymous,  December 18, 2013 at 6:16 AM  

Mashaa Allah, beautiful response. I love the checklist. They can be used toward any important decisions in life. May Allah(s..wt) bless you for sharing it with us:)

Anonymous,  December 18, 2013 at 6:45 AM  

Wow maashallah that really helped...I am in a situation similar to that..Sub-haanAllah I love this website, MaaShaaAllah!! May Allah grant you all the best in this Dunyah and the Aakihrah!! Ameen!!

Party of 5 December 18, 2013 at 9:42 PM  

Great... great, wonderful response. My first thought after reading the problem was to pray istikahara...I see that you mentioned it. I too was in that position a while back...the feminist could have been me, lol.


Anonymous,  December 19, 2013 at 3:27 PM  

Hey I am a feminist and I was going to get married! :P

Different Yet Similar January 17, 2014 at 4:03 AM  

@Anonymous 1&2- Jazakillah khayr and ameen! :)
@Party of 5- Jazakillah khayr :) Haha it might've been you-maybe I'm one of your friends in disguise ;)
@Anonymous 3- Haha somehow I was all 'I don't need a guy' in my 'feminist' phase, so I project that onto everyone else ;) Apologies for the incorrect assumption :D

Anonymous,  March 12, 2014 at 11:35 AM  

"You don't talk to the guy yourself but via your wali."

Ummm do you mean this for DURING the preliminary stages, where you need your wali to 'clear' a person for you, or do you mean throughout the entire process?? From what I understood it's fine to talk to the guy and ask questions etc in the presence of your chaperones.

Little Auntie March 17, 2014 at 12:38 AM  

She is talking about approaching the guy regarding marriage. As much as possible, we shouldn't talk to a guy by ourselves. OF course, you and the guy should later meet and discuss any questions you have with your wali present:
Take a look at this post:
And this one:

Different Yet Similar March 25, 2014 at 4:54 AM  

Salaam! Sorry just saw this question, jazakillah khayr Little Auntie for replying :)

@Anonymous-It's mentioned in step 3 which is before step 4, where I mention the entire process being set in motion-which is when the families and the prospective bride and groom meet :)

@Fifi-You're welcome :)

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Asalamu aialkum!
Well, what do you think? You know, you're part of the team, as well. Please help a sister out and share your own advice/experiences/etc. One for all and all for one =)
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