How to Choose a Spouse in Islam?

And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed, in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (30:21)

The concept of marriage is very ancient dating back beyond Abrahamic religions and recorded history and was practiced by all people of many cultures, religions, and ethnicities throughout the earth.  Among all belief systems, Islam is the only religion that accords great importance to marriage and humans’ marital life. The religion of Islam holds that the progress and development in all aspects of a person’s life roots in how his/her family is formed. Therefore, it provides the people who are ready for committing themselves to marriage with a comprehensive guideline.

Islamic guidelines for choosing a spouse


  • Having faith and piety

According to Islam, the first criterion of the most eligible person to marry is having faith and being pious; In other words, the candidate should have a firm belief in Allah and the principles of Islam. This characteristic is so important that without it no other criteria is worthy of attention.

The holy Quran says: “And do not marry polytheistic women until they believe. And a believing slave woman is better than a polytheist, even though she might please you. And do not marry polytheistic men [to your women] until they believe. And a believing slave is better than a polytheist, even though he might please you” (2:221).

If a person believes in God and whatever He commands him/her to do, consequently he/she will not be seduced by temptations of Satan, will be totally devoted to his/her own family and observant of his/her behavior towards them and will treat his/her spouse and the whole family fairly.

  • Morality

Another important feature in evaluating the suitable person for marriage, is being good-tempered and following the codes of morality in his/her behavior. This characteristic has been defined as “being modest, well-spoken and good-natured” [1] by Imam Sadeq (AS). Nevertheless, acting morally is not only restricted to being good-tempered but includes honesty, chastity, using decent language, forbearance, politeness, contentment, benevolence, faithfulness and generosity as well. The presence of morality in one’s behavior is so vital that when Imam Reza (AS) was asked of his advice in marrying a person who was famous for being ill-natured, he strongly disagreed [2].

choose a spouse in islam

  • Nobility of the family

It is stressed in the religion of Islam that one should choose her/his spouse from a decent and noble family. Family nobility does not mean fame, wealth, or social status; rather it means modesty, chastity, purity and religiousness, which will be all passed on to the next generations. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) has said in this regard: “Marry in the lap of a decent family, since the semen and the genes have effect.” [3]. He has also said to avoid the greenery (herbs) growing over a sewer (cesspool); i.e. a beautiful woman born and raised in an indecent family [4].

  • Compatibility

Islam also lays a special emphasis on compatibility in marriage. The marrying partners must be Kufw of each other; i.e. they should be equal and close to one another in terms of religiosity and morality, as well as social, financial and also physical aspects. Spouses in the Quran are likened to clothing: “They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them” (2:187). Just like clothes that should be of the right size, color and material to suit you well, your spouse has to be a suitable match for you. But do not forget that in Islamic view, the main point of similarity is in the couple’s belief and faith. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has said: “a faithful man is suitable for a faithful woman and a Muslim man is good for a Muslim woman” [5].

Someone who is inferior in faith to you may degrade your belief as well. Marriage is a means of elevation of the soul, so if it results in the opposite way the whole purpose of this holy union will be wasted.

choose a spouse in islam

  • Physical and Mental health

Although health problems do not preclude marriage, they have negative effects on the continuation of married life. There are various narrations in the Islamic teachings on the importance of marrying someone healthy and of sane state of mind: “when you intend to marry a woman, ask about her physical characteristics, since this will create a bond of affection and love between you and your spouse” Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) [6]. It has also been narrated from him that “Avoid marrying a stupid person, since her/his company is a woe” [7]. Moreover, we are advised by him to reject the proposal of a person who is accustomed to drinking alcohol for its detrimental effects on the body and soul.


It is noteworthy that there are other features for choosing the right person to marry like financial matters, age difference, racial differences, etc. Though there are a lot of psychological and religious advice on these issues as well, they are not of much importance in Islam as long as the girl and the boy are Muslims and have taken the five above-mentioned significant aspects into consideration.

Allah has promised to fulfil the other needs of the married couple Himself: “And marry the unmarried among you and the righteous among your male slaves and female slaves. If they should be poor, Allah will enrich them from His bounty, and Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing” (24:32)




[1]. Usul Al-Kafi , v. 2, p.563

[2]. Wasa’il ul-Shi’a, v. 14, p.54

[3]. Makaremul Akhlaq, v. 1, p. 432

[4]. Al-Kafi, v. 5, p. 332

[5]. Wasa’il ul-Shi’a, Vol. 14 , p.44

[6]. Shaikh al-Hur al-Aamili, Wasa’il ul-Shi’a, chapter 35

[7]. Al-Jafariat, p. 92

[8]. Choose a Spouse in Islam