Asking About A Person's Past (When Helping Brothers/Sisters To Find Suitable Muslim Partners)
Islamic Rulings -
Living Shariah Verdicts
Islamic Questions & Answers
wai lai kum,
When helping brothers/sisters to find suitable Muslim
partners, what questions can be asked, and what is
forbidden to ask ?
Can one ask about their past when they were non-Muslim
or not practicing Muslims ?
Can one ask ones wife/sister to describe in detail the
appearance of an intended wife or describe in detail
to them regarding a brother ?
Praise be to Allaah.
If you want to look for a wife for someone, or a
husband for a woman, then you can ask him about his
wishes, such as the desired age, level of education,
employment situation, country and origin and position
of the family, and whether he has any preferences
about her general appearance, such as skin colour,
height, etc. The most important characteristic to ask
about is a person's level of commitment to Islam. This
kind of useful question is fine.
But asking for details of a person's past and wanting
to know what sins they might have committed when they
were ignorant about Islam – this is not right at all.
Allaah covers people's sins and loves to see them
covered (i.e., not dragged out into the open). So long
as a person has repented, his sins have been wiped
out. Islam deletes whatever came before, so why should
we ask questions that will only embarrass people?
Allaah accepts people's repentance without their
having to confess or expose their sins to any other
person. A number of the Sahaabah had committed
adultery and murder repeatedly, or had buried infant
girls alive, or stolen things, but when they entered
Islam they were the best of people. No one needs to be
reminded of a shameful past; it is over and done with,
and Allaah is the All-Forgiving, Most Merciful. What
matters when considering a person for marriage is how
that person is now: is he righteous or not? Has he cut
all ties with his past and his wrong deeds, or not? If
he is clearly living a good and righteous life now,
then it is wrong to dig up the past. If there is any
fear of anything that could have future implications,
such as certain diseases and so on, then there are
medical tests which can give the answer and put your
mind at rest.
As far as giving a detailed description of a
prospective wife to someone is concerned, this can be
done in writing: one of her mahram relatives (i.e. a
blood relative to whom marriage is permanently
forbidden) or a woman who knows her can write down a
description, then a trustworthy person can deliver it
to one who is seriously considering a marriage
proposal. The Prophet (Peace And Blessings Of Allaah
Be Upon Him) said: "No woman should describe another
woman to her husband as if he can see her." (Reported
by al-Bukhaari, 4839)
The wisdom behind this prohibition is the fact that a
husband might like the sound of what he hears, so he
may divorce the one who described the other to him, or
there may be temptation to do wrong. (Commentary on
the above hadeeth in Fath al-Baari).
We ask Allaah to help us all to do that which He loves
and will earn His pleasure. May Allaah bless our