Marriage preferences can make a huge difference in changing the orientation of a community. Generally, we know that marrying someone with good deen and good character is important, but specific red flags are important to know as well.
In the past, I have given advice to the brothers. Now let me give some nasiha to the sisters.
Sisters, refuse to marry a guy who:
– Is fine hanging out with other women casually, frequently communicating with them for non-legitimate purposes, having fun, joke-y interactions with them, etc.
– Doesn’t have any close Muslim brother friends, i.e., friends who themselves are strong Muslims.
– Has mostly non-Muslim friends.
– Has had zero experience learning deen from scholars and doesn’t have a deep respect and appreciation for scholars.
– Is not interested in standing strong for Islam and the Umma.
– Is not passionate about building the future of the Umma in his own way (and one of the main ways is to get married and raise as many strong Muslim children as possible).
– Talks about reforming Islam or even hints at the idea that “Times have changed and the Muslim scholarly tradition needs updating for our context.”
Sisters who are not married, you have a big responsibility here. Don’t settle for weak men. You need to demand strong Muslim men.
“Strong” doesn’t mean a white knight who is going to women’s marches and wearing pink “Hillary is MY President” t-shirts.
“Strong” doesn’t mean a perennialist wet noodle going around talking about how beautiful all “faith traditions” are.
“Strong” doesn’t mean an elitist taking 10 pictures every week of his expensive latte with a carefully placed tasbih next to it.
“Strong” is not a pretentious academic type trying to “bring Islam into the 21st century.”
You get the idea.
Practically, talk to your wali about these points so that both of you are able to investigate and interrogate potential suitors. You have a lot of power in being able to choose who gets to be your husband. Use that power for the benefit of Islam and the Umma and Allah will reward you for your good intentions.
May all our sisters marry strong Muslim husbands who will protect them, cherish them, and lead them to every good in this life and the next.