What Muslim Women Look For In A Husband

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By Pure Matrimony -

What Muslim Women Look For In A Husband

Bismillahi’Rahmani’Raheem. In the name of God, entirely
Compassionate, especially Merciful.

Through the ages various psychosocial theories have arisen in
support of one basic scientific fact: men and women’s make-up
is not the same. They have vastly different agendas for
marriage and they think differently. They are in fact complete
opposites.

Given that our fitra (natural instincts) and our DNA is from
Allah, we must unravel how we are different to create solid
Muslim marriages. A catchphrase I have with a twist is ‘women
are from Madina, men are from Makkah’. We live and think in
two separate worlds therefore we won’t “get” the other until we
cross the border and study one another. And this is how we do
that. Insha’Allah.

How Women Fall In Love
Modern biologists have scientifically narrowed down our
process of ‘falling in love’. It is no more glorious than a
chemical imbalance. Because Muslims believe in Allah’s
perfect design, we always value our connections with people as
part of Divine creation. Love is therefore rewarding.

In various cultures the “L” word (no, not that word), is a taboo
emotion that is either not understood, is side-swept as
something dirty or rarely expressed healthily. Love is different
to lust. Lust is a desire that if acted upon pollutes your ‘imaan
(faith) and well being. Islam tells us love is normal, it is from
Allah, it is necessary for any bond to exist and it is part of our
religion.

• The Science Bit
Both men and women have ‘sex hormones’ that are known as
1. testosterone and 2. oxytocin.

Men have up to 20 x more testosterone than women, which
primarily promotes the male reproductive organs. Testosterone
in men – and this is something to note – also promotes the
sexual characteristics in male behaviour and appearance. So,
testosterone enhances a man’s build, it creates the shape of
his jawline, his man-hands or the way he walks and speaks. It
is what switches on his high sexuality. Basically testosterone
makes a man, a man. Or as I would say, it makes a man, a
sexy man. *Preferences and attractions differ.

Oxytocin on the other hand is a women’s arena, and I add here
for the medical humour, it is known as the “love hormone”.
Yes, you guessed it, for women it’s all about the love.

While there is disputable evidence in support of oxytocin’s role
in women’s sexuality, its primary functions lie in female
reproduction and is significantly higher in women than men.
Higher levels of oxytocin generally lead to more emotional
sensitivity, a positive emotional response and lower stress
levels. Recently a study at the University of Switzerland
revealed that new mothers with lower levels of oxytocin are
more prone to feeling post-natal “blues”. Therefore, more
oxytocin = more emotional consideration, or a more loving
nature.

• “Falling” In Love
When a man falls in love with a woman the normal levels of
testosterone which otherwise make a man manly and tough,
reduces significantly, and the level of oxytocin increases which
turn him into a softer, more bubbly fellow. He’s happier, he’s
filled with energy, he’s being ‘romantic’, he’s emotionally
charged and he’s probably praying harder. (*He may also be
dellusional, daydreaming and excited, if you catch my
meaning). When you can’t think straight and you’ve
contemplated life-threatening events, congratulations, you’re in
love (!)

Sexual appetite will no doubt increase but now there is a
stronger attachment at stake: his wife’s welfare is his primary
concern, not his own satisfaction. Women are attracted to this
loving behaviour because it means men are paying them quality
attention, they are being pursued, and I would surmise to say
this phase does not last. I’m sorry.

Shaykh Yasir Qadhi has plenty to share on the phases of love.
Coming soon.

This is where you need to ask yourself is this really love I’m
feeling?

For women, an emotional and sexual attachment follows the
same path as men but where the opposite hormones tip the
scales. When in love, a woman’s level of testosterone
increases. This means a woman’s sexual energy increases to
almost match up with a man’s and both are giving and receiving
what the other needs. They both show loving signs to one
another. Although this biological data and understanding is
observed from all human relationships, here we are talking
about the intimacy within halal (lawful) marriage between a
Muslim man and woman. Therefore love outside of marriage,
while perfectly normal and involuntary, is not something to act
upon.

‘It is here when the Muslims have to step up and realise that
marriage was most definitely more than just “falling in love”,
eroticism and the short-term. Rather it is for the sake of Allah,
it is for the sake of the children, and it’s for the sake of the
community at large who need to see people battle it out and
suppress their desires for risk, excitement and throwing away
stressful responsibility…’
– Imam Abu Eesa Niamatullah.

How Muslim Women Choose Potential Husbands
Generally, Muslim women look for stability and leadership
qualities in men. They are attracted to men who have various
and successful roles in inter-personal relationships. This is in
addition to wanting a severely (1) compassionate, (2)
communicative and (3) active friendship. I say severely
because often women demand too much from men. And these
are traits that most men do not think about too deeply
themselves.

Women fall prey to emotional dissatisfaction more quickly than
men do (ISNA). W. Bradford Wilcox (director, National
Marriage Project, University of Virginia) says:
“While men tend to be more content with the status quo,
women now place more of a premium on being fulfilled in their
marriages – having their dreams for intimacy, for sexual
satisfaction, for challenge, all wrapped up into their marriage.
That’s a hard order to fill, and these people are likely to end up
on the rocks because they learn pretty quickly that no one
person is capable of delivering all their deepest hopes for
meaning and purpose and happiness”.
(Women’s Health, March 2010)

It’s not enough that he’s the masjid imam, a fireman, a skilled
public speaker and an avid fundraiser; he has to submit to your
entire family, be the most pious man you ever met, be from the
most pious family in the country, own a separate house, be
superhuman and be willing to share all of his problems with his
“soul-mate”: You.

That’s a nice list to base a marriage on, but that’s not how it
works in reality.

Allah has designed men and women as a pair that fit. Like
jigsaw pieces, both are shaped differently and have different
functions. There is not a single pair that will fit perfectly *in
every possible meaning, and not every pair will last. This is
important to understand and accept before we try to suss one
another out.

And for women whose list of 3 top things to look for in a
husband includes 1 material (car, money, house), 1 obscure
(incredible physique) and 1 impossible (eternal happiness): you
are not ready for marriage yet.

So let’s get in a woman’s mind and break this down. The usual
suspects on a Muslim woman’s wish-list (in no particular order)
includes:

• Looks
→ What Do We Mean By looks?
We say that “looks don’t matter”, that Allah does not measure
our physical dress and appearance. But we do. In our
relationships we are attracted to what our minds find beautiful.
For women, “looks” could mean how physically handsome a
man is, how he dresses or how he presents himself. Women
overlook scars and dents, and most women do not even
contemplate a man’s “package”.

→ Beards, Beards, Beards
Many women are attracted to bearded men (preferential). Not a
scraggly, unkempt birds’ nest but a maintained, neat beard.
Most sisters say a beard shows a man’s “manliness”. A neat
beard is linked to good hygiene and a point on the “religious”
card, as mentioned below.

→ Do Appearances Matter?
Contrary to the interpretations of Muslim female hayaa
(modesty), women are very visual and attracted to men with the
same bias and objectification. There is little control over which
man a woman is physically attracted to and looks are not
usually a deciding factor for marriage. Women love men’s
bodies as much as men love women’s, and this is Allah’s
design. Education, upbringing and Allah ta`la has simply
“encultured” Muslim women to maintain a higher modesty
component, which is why they are not as concerned with men’s
looks. Muslim women DO use physical attraction as an initial
hook.

But there is a difference. While men can fall in love at first sight
more easily, women tend to look deeper into appearances.
They analyse dress sense, smartness and even style. Women
are more astute than men. They can pick up complex
information just by looking. They see a man’s professionalism,
attitude, fitness, ancestry, openness, health, uptightness or
easy-going-ness… whatever. The average man will think this
strange, however, even in Islam, how you present yourself
speaks volumes about your lifestyle. And it’s the lifestyle that
women see in how you look. Ergo: smarten up.

→ Real Couples
You see couples come in all shapes and sizes and you can see
that that relationship wasn’t built on looks (alone). We judge
each other mercilessly but we get pudgier as we age, and we
forgive the sagging, we CAN be forgiving. We know that looks
fade, so after the first 5 years it is what’s inside each person
that holds a marriage together. As you get older you realise that
youth is mistaken for beauty. Yes, they have this and that asset
but a wise Muslim knows looks are temporal and if the
attraction goes deeper to a mutual love for the whole person,
then every freckle, greying hair and imperfection is still
accepted as perfect.

• Experience & Age
→ Why Age Is A Factor
When a Muslim women carries out a background check on her
potential husband (I’m kidding), she looks at several factors.
How old is he? Where has he travelled? What does he do?
What was his life’s journey? Who was he with? What did he
learn? Mark my words that women care about a man’s past
lives. While a not-as-Islamic past is kindly overlooked
(insha’Allah), it helps show who that man is today therefore this
area should be discussed with discretion.

Most women prefer older men because they are thought to
have a wiser grasp on both the Muslim world and all its affairs,
and the secular world with all its affairs. Generally, culture
dictates that a husband should exceed his wife in age by a few
years (4 years) as a round-about guideline since men mature
much slower. Saying that though, a wider age gap is not as
controversial as it used to be. More Muslim women choose to
marry men a decade older than them, or younger. And this is
because of the maturity factor: For example, despite a woman
being 35 years old and her husband 25, his maturity as a
responsible, independent and considerate person shows that
he can reason and behave to her level, or above. This
understanding is what is attractive to a woman; a man who has
a similar outlook to the world as she does.

• Character & Behaviour
Think about why the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) said
regarding men:
“Whoever comes to you and you’re pleased with their deen and
character (khuluq) marry them!”

→ What is character?
Character is the principles you say you have. What is
behaviour? Behaviour is the principles you show in action. A
man’s character is important for women because it affects
them more than how much “deen” or “muslimness” he claims
to have. Not only is measuring “deen” a subjective variant, it’s
not a guarantee of a beautiful character you can live with. It
should be, but it isn’t. You can be a devout Muslim in prayer
and charity but if you have a temper, it affects your wife and by
extension, the health of your marriage.

Women are all about putting sentiments into action. If you say
you want her, show it, if you say you like her family, show it. If
you say she’s the most amazing person you have ever met,
prove it daily and frequently. Women want to see men back up
their words with action and this isn’t about buying her “stuff”,
it’s about following through your plans with sincerity. This is
why years later in a marriage during a heated argument she will
yell, “You never keep your promises” (even if you mostly did).
She will remember the one occasion you promised to fix some
broken appliance and 5 years later, you hadn’t. Your lack of
action here is very much a small negative on the larger scale of
things but it can build up and hurt a woman deeply. She will
see it as neglect, inconsideration and *buzzwords* a lack of
love.

A man’s character backed up by considerate actions shows a
woman love. And she wants this type of attentive love from a
man.

• Family & Background
→ Do Muslim women take a man’s family into account for
marriage?
Yes. Sometimes a lot of pressure is put on finding a man
attached to a noble family. According to Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ
hadith about women, a marriage can take place where the
status of the family is a selling point, but the active deen is
better. This is because no one person represents his entire
flock and no matter how wealthy, “religious” or famous the
man’s background is, it does not not indicate his real day-to-day
character and behaviour.

For many Muslim women though, this is the case as immediate
families wish the best for their daughters, asking them to find a
“good man from a good family”. Adversely, marriages do take
place where nobody hears from the man’s family and later
questions pop on heritage and newly discovered medical
conditions. A balance is required from the outset. A couple
needs to discuss the interaction they will have with one
another’s family, what role and level of involvement the
“grandparents” will have with their parenting, and who the black
sheep is that not everybody talks to (we all have one).
Basically, the in-laws are part of the equation for women, but
not a deciding factor in getting married to the man they love.

Eventually, after family nasiha (advice) is sought and the
decision is settled between a couple, families need to accept
their adult choice, as Allah said,
“…Do not prevent them from [re]marrying their husbands when
they agree between themselves in a lawful manner…” (Qur’an,
2:232)

• Wealth
Let me tell you that real Muslim women do not give a
tutankhamun about what a man owns. When women say they
prefer men in financially stable situations it means he needs to
have some form of regular halal income, since he is legally
obliged to provide for the family in Shari`ah (Islamic law).
Demanding a new apartment or house is not part of the
marriage package but with all the tension newly weds face
living with the in-laws, one would advise looking into separate
living arrangements as soon as possible. Extra wealth – the
man’s car, his pool house, his savings, whatever, are not in a
woman’s list of marriageable criteria. Saying that, it is fair to
maintain the standard of life the woman is accustomed to.
{Read about men’s Islamic marriage rights on
MUSLIMNESS.COM}

• Education & Profession:
For men who feel inferior for being unemployed or not earning
a substantial income, rest assured that most women do not ask
for or need a luxurious life. A foundation of trust, continuous
love and honesty builds a successful marriage, not an
accumulation of ching-ching (money) and certificates. Muslim
women want real wealth in the form of good treatment, open
communication and love.

A man’s education will reflect in his mannerisms and attitude,
which is why most educated Muslim women today aspire for
marrying someone with a similar if not equal pursuit of
academia. They want to be able to have deeper conversations,
to share household responsibilities, to talk about pertinent (or
random) topics that both husband and wife are knowledgeable
in. You’d be interested to know that where Muslim families
encourage their children to marry into identical professions, for
instance, doctors who marry other doctors, the divorce rate is
higher. Why?
“Over time, sleep deprivation, working long hours without
complaint, and coping with intense patient emotions on a daily
basis may cause doctors to become emotionally distant. Marital
discord is often the result of work-related stress and the
inability to wind down after work – the training years in
particular, are not a time for marital growth”. (Islamic Horizons
Magazine)

When we get down to it, the best of men do not need degrees
and secular or Islamic education does not prevent bad
character (read above). Thus, it is usually families and not
women who place professions on such high pedestals. If
anything, I would advise Muslim women to search for man with
a PhD in courtesy.

• The All Important Connection
→ What is compatibility and why is it important?
For our parents and grandparents’ generation, a marriage was
based on family approval, or social honour or cultural balance
(i.e., he/she needed to be from the same background).
Immigrant Muslim families who inherited these customs meant
that future generations were expected to follow the same
marriage patterns. While this method of searching and
approving a spouse has been successful to some extent,
culture has nearly always dominated the Islamic aspects. And
Islam says above all, you need to be compatible.
“If it so happens that there is love between a man and a
woman, the most effective means of warding off fitnah
(temptation) and immorality is for them to get married, because
his heart will still remain attached to her if he does not marry
her, and that may lead to fitnah…” – Shaykh Muhammad al-
Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: “There is nothing for two who
love one another like marriage.”

Compatibility does not limit itself to having the same
background, language and similar hobbies. Even if you feel you
“click” with one another and you have the symptoms of
hardcore love, can you both carry an adult conversation? Can
you combine your lifestyles to create a new one?

Compatibility means having shared values. You both need to
talk about the important areas of life so you’re both on the
same page. He needs to understand you as a woman. He
needs to “get” you and accept you as you are, not what he
thinks you are. This is a connection that’s built only when you
actually meet one another, which is why the Prophet ﷺ
encouraged meeting one another publicly before marriage. It
builds compatibility, it builds love. Very often cultural standards
prohibit these meetings or families will stamp their approval and
rejection without informing the “singletons”. Such family
customs warrant respect but not to the detriment of Islam’s
freedoms. As a Muslim woman you NEED to have a
connection with your potential husband that will carry decades
into your marriage and help overcome obstacles. And here you
need to ask yourself: what principles and actions do I value the
most which I hope my future husband will also respect?

Most of us believe that opposites attract, and they do to an
extent, but familiarity attracts more. Women will secretly want
the bad-boy and the danger of a rebel but this is not marriage
material. Marrying somebody who is the complete opposite to
you also means there needs to be something else that
connects both of you; if you’re a tree-hugger and he’s a
corporate worker, when and how will you negotiate activities to
avoid getting bored?
Advice To Single Brothers Looking For Wives:
→ When you say you’re looking for someone who is “pious,
modest, smart and caring” you’re generalising about the
majority of the Muslimah population. You need to be specific
and you need to know what you would like to see in your wife –
in addition to the standard. If you don’t know why you want to
get married (besides sex, children and food) and you don’t
know what you’re looking for in a wife, you need to check what
it is you’re bringing to your marriage.

→ Avoid putting yourself down, even if it’s self-effacing
humour. When you say, “I’m not a social guy” or “I’m not that
good at talking”, this is what we call an EPIC fail. Women like
sociable men, confident men, men who know what they’re
doing and where they’re going, with goals and self-awareness.
However, there’s a fine line between confidence and sounding
cocky, a fine line between sharing ideas and taking charge.
Women want husbands, a partner in crime, not a manager. In
the talks developing before marriage you will be trying to show
that you’re an all-round easy-going communicator with
academic social skills and some degree of open interaction.
Saying, “eh, I don’t have any interests in life” makes you sound
like a bore. And yes, you are worth it, otherwise she wouldn’t
be talking to you.

→ Make a list of at least 10 specific things you hope to receive
from your marriage. Make a list of 10 specific things you hope
to bring to your marriage. Trust me, the woman you want to
marry has already made that list. And it’s longer than yours.

→ Watch out for the ‘red flags’ in women that show she may
not be prepared for marriage – overriding attractions to
materialism or the wedding day, childish impatience, a defeatist
attitude, emotional instability. Be her support now, encourage
her now to make du`a (supplication), and put her trust in Allah.
Perhaps more importantly, watch out for the good signs that
meet your personal criteria. Don’t hang about for the sister to
make a move, take appropriate action. Be courageous, don’t
give up your marriage intentions.

→ READ CAREFULLY: You do not need to be a superhuman.
You do not need to buy her the world. You do not need to
promise her the world. You do not need to make her life a
paradise on earth. I say this because (A) you cannot and (b)
you won’t be able to maintain it. Eternal happiness is reserved
for Jannah, not Earth. Make realistic goals, be pragmatic. Real
Muslim women don’t expect “happily ever afters” because they
don’t exist; they want motivation, support and love. The magic
three words you need to overuse in your vocabulary are “Allah
Loves You”. (As well as “I Love You”, that’ll get you far too, if
you know what I mean).

→ Don’t joke about polygamy or divorce – this is hurtful in
scopes you couldn’t comprehend. Do not openly flirt, make
references to sex or how effective you will be at procreating –
this is embarrassing and crude. Sex is a part of marriage, we
get it, but maintain your modesty.

→ You cannot ask for your “perfect Khadija” or “somebody like
Khadijah bint Khuwaylid”. Khaijda (ra) was perfection for
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, an ideal woman. As a woman, Muslims
aspire to her roles but “Khadija” is the maximum standard of
womanhood, not the minimum. If you set the bar this high, you
will be disappointed in a wife who turns out to be human. And
your potential wife will expect you to be her “perfect
Muhammad”. Everyone has flaws.

→ Avoid high expectations of a niqab-wearing saint who has a
hermit lifestyle. This isn’t to say you don’t deserve the best in a
wife, or that Muslim women are not worthy but by putting these
prerequisites forward you stipulate some form of “religiosity” on
a woman. If that were fair, Muslim women would ask men to
wear thobes and never marry again in the prenuptial, but they
don’t out of the understanding that everyone’s imaan (faith) is
different. When you ask your potential wife to pray regularly,
fast and wear a jilbaab – in essence, to CHANGE – is it because
you want your wife to come spiritually closer to Allah in ibadat
(worship) or because you want to keep her all to yourself? If it’s
either, you need to highlight this before marriage.

→ Lastly: be patient with your potential wife and her family.
Women over-analyse your every move and word and think 10
steps ahead (she’s just waiting for you to catch up). Don’t try to
change this nature of women. Try to go at her pace and
understand that she has to sacrifice more to become your
spouse. Be the most respectful and considerate man possible
to all her family members, irrelevant of what they ask of you. At
the initial stages of getting to know one another’s family, you
need to make the best impression possible. Finally, be a man
of action. Women love men who show, who take steps to
progress, so the lazy bachelor thing you had is going to have to
come to an end.

*In the early years of finding a potential partner in crime a
woman’s criteria is heavier and longer. A typical list of 50 traits
a woman looks for in a man thankfully gets sieved as she
matures into things she ‘can live without’ to things she ‘can’t
live without’. As Abu Hurarya (ra) reported, the Prophet ﷺ said
love in a relationship needs to be in moderation, and a Muslim’s
ultimate dependence should not be with people, but with Allah.

Source: http://www.zaufishan.co.uk/2011/05/what-muslim-women-look-for-in-husband.html

9 Comments to What Muslim Women Look For In A Husband

  1. Masha’allah,am so contempted with ur service for sister’s community. its true that we,women expect nothing mor than their love and support. as well, we learn wat to expect and wen, which can build a peaceful, strong relation with understanding between both.. some men think that their soulmate, women is able to replace him after she had true and deep love with him. such men shud understand that it can happen only once in a true woman and however, how much he might suspect her, she will make him understand, love him, care him, she will never let him to make any decision he regrets, she will always be there to embrace him wen he comes back, not just because his welfare is significant for her but also bcz HE is the only one she loves and cherish in her heart in this Dhuniah and would like to live with in Aakhirah if Allah grants her Insha’ALlah.. Ameen.

  2. Assalamo ALaykum.

    Your article is very impressive and informative.. MashaAllah!! It is very concise and clearly stated. It gave more information especially I am in the process of choosing my potential husband.. May Allah Showers His Blessings to you and to the other members of pure matrimony. Continue the amazing work for the sake of Allah. Jazakallah khairan.

    Cita

  3. I find this very interesting and enlightening. I’d like to read about “what muslim men look for in a wife” too. Jazakallahu khairan.

  4. Ya ALLOH i love this article… want to get soon and get jannah.. hope can get the best and the right husband for me

  5. Mohamed Saeed

    Assalam Alaikum Dear,
    V v impressive n effective informative for both H n W
    how 2 live life lovingly peacefully
    Trustfully with full of understanding.
    Jazakallah Khairan

  6. What do you mean by this:

    “Perhaps more importantly, watch out for the good signs that
    meet your personal criteria. Don’t hang about for the sister to
    make a move, take appropriate action. Be courageous, don’t
    give up your marriage intentions.”

    ?

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