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Choosing a spouse

Assalamu Aleykum warahmatu Allah wabarakatuh
Dear Aunt Anjum,
What should I look for in choosing a spouse?
What do Deen and character mean? Many scholars fail to elaborate more on these two aspects.
Dear sister
Assalāmu ‘Alaikum 
When a person is searching for a spouse, it has been recommended by our beloved Prophet sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam to look for deen. 
What is deen? From my understanding, the first thing that comes under deen is Taqwa. That is what forms the basis of everything.
What is Taqwa? It is the consciousness of Allah at all times. If the man you marry is fearful of Allah, then he will be good to you. He will know his duties and he will honour you and honour your rights. 
How will you know that a man has Taqwa, since Taqwa resides in the heart? You can’t really know what’s in a person’s heart but you can judge by a person’s actions. So when looking at his actions, you focus on two things: Huqooq Allah and Huqooq al Ibaad. If he fulfills these two to the best of his abilities, then he will most likely have Taqwa. 
Does he give the rights of Allah? The rights of Allah are obedience to Him and upholding the five pillars. Being mindful of harām and halāl. Staying away from sins. Observing the sunnah acts. 
Does he give the rights of people? How does he treat his parents? Does he work hard to earn his living? Is he honest in his dealings with people, whether professionally or personally? Does he earn halal money? Does he have good manners?
His deen will definitely influence his behaviour, but be careful and don’t judge by just one or two things. Just because he does one good thing doesn’t mean he will not do anything bad. I’ll give some examples to explain. 
He may pray five times a day, but turn out to be abusive toward his wife. He may eat halal food only and be particular about it but indulge in usury (interest) and feel that there is nothing wrong with it. He may be good to his wife but, horrible to his parents. He may give loads of charity, but not allow his wife to wear hijab. Half-baked deen is not what you’re looking for. 
A person who values real deen will be well-rounded and will stay away from the major sins at least. Of course, no one is perfect and there may be some things lacking. Everyone has to strive and everyone makes mistakes. 
So the girl or her family have to inquire about him, regarding his behaviour and actions. Of course, the true reality will surface only after marriage but it’s very important to ask the right questions and investigate thoroughly.  Khadija, may Allah be pleased with her, inquired about the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam and based on what she heard about his manners and character, she was impressed and sent a proposal to
In conclusion, he will have deen when he thinks about and approaches everything with the aakhirah in mind and not just dunya. 
I wish you the best in your search. 
Written by: Aunty Anjum
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