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LifeMarriage

9 Mistakes To Avoid During Your Engagement Period

Communication is vital in any relationship. You must know the art of asking questions and not just bombard them with questions, rather, take things slowly. After all, it’s not a formal job interview. 

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w) is reported to have said:

“There is no institution in Islam more beloved and dearer to Allah than marriage.” 

“A married person sleeping is better in the sight of Allah than an unmarried person spending his night in fast and prayer.”

“Marriage is my practice, so whoever rejects my practice is not from me.” (Mizan al Hikmah) 

Islam emphasizes marriage since it is the most effective means whereby one can lead a virtuous life free from immorality. It is a fundamental building block of life. However, marriage is preceded by an engagement period, which is a very sensitive and challenging phase in a person’s life. As they move from single to married life, they are not immune to making mistakes in the process of finding a prospective spouse and dealing with them. 

Muslims must understand that an engagement in Islam is simply a promise of marriage. It’s just the time period between the marriage contract and the marriage ceremony and doesn’t offer them any special rights over one another. Hence, they have to refrain from any kind of intimacy or privacy and follow proper Islamic guidelines while seeking out a potential spouse.

The Holy Prophet  (s.a.w) has said: “Know for sure that Satan is the third-party to the illegitimate privacy of a man and a woman.” (Nahj al Fasahah) 

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) has said: “When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) took allegiance from the women he told them to take an oath that they will not sit alone in the company of non-mahram men.” (Wasael al Shi’a) 

This article focuses on where potential spouses usually go wrong and how to avoid that. 

1. Comparing your fiancé with others

Imam Ali (a.s.) has said: “Whoever leaves his eyes at liberty, will always suffer through his nerves, and will be trapped in a permanent state of envy.” (Mizan al Hikmah)

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w) has also said: “Whoever looks at what other people have, his sorrow endures and his regret is continuous.” (Mizan al Hikmah)

The above-mentioned hadiths highlight human nature. Man has a habit of comparing what he possesses with what others possess and in these comparisons, he typically falls prey to fault and illusion. He regards his possessions as small, and things possessed by others as great and beautiful. 

As a result, he is faced with sadness, loss, and despair. No one is perfect and if someone desires peace of mind, prosperity, and satisfaction, they have to give up this comparison and be satisfied with what they have (their fiancé/fiancée).

2. Changing their habits/behaviour after marriage

Regarding habits, Imam Ali (a.s.) has said:

“The most difficult politics are bringing about changes in the habits of nature.”

“Habits settle down upon people.” 

“Habits become second nature.” (Mizan al Hikmah) 

The common and very wrong assumption is that once you get married, you will be able to change your partner’s habits when you live together.  

Unfortunately, during the engagement period, erroneous behaviours and negative features of the partner are not taken under consideration. The intent is to discuss this issue after marriage, but it is a serious mistake that fails in most cases. 

Changing somebody’s behavior or habit is not that simple, and it takes a great deal of effort and time. For newlyweds, ongoing problems as such will create that drifting away of hearts and certainly lead to a loveless relationship and divorce in extreme cases. Sometimes, changes can seem to happen, but that’s temporary and once things fall back into place, so do the unhealthy traits. 

It will always better if you don’t marry ‘potential’, hoping that you would be able to change them. Don’t assume that you’ll be able to change their habits after your wedding.

There’s no guarantee in any respect. So if you can’t accept someone or imagine living with them as they are, then refrain from marrying them. 

These variations will embody a variety of things, such as their personality, especially in regards to whether they’re introverts or extroverts, their religious beliefs and practices, habits, communication skills, hijab, and anger issues.

3. Looking solely at appearance, money, and other material things

Knowing the human weaknesses for beauty and wealth, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) has said: “He who marries a woman solely for her beauty will not find anything he likes in her, he who marries her for her wealth will be deprived of it as soon as he marries her, so look to marry women of faith.” (Mizan al Hikmah) 

Don’t ever marry someone who’s only physically attracted to you. This kind of person will only value you as long as your beauty lasts. Moreover, marrying someone solely on the basis of their appearance won’t result in long-term happiness and compassion. 

Similarly, it could be the case that some marry for the sake of money. One becomes so attracted to the material side of things that they overlook the negative features of the opposite. Money is the least important thing in marriage and a relationship and it shouldn’t be your only focus when seeking out a potential spouse.

4. Worrying about people’s judgments and opinions

Man has a habit of commenting on others. The perspectives and judgments of people shouldn’t affect you. Not everyone wishes you well. 

As long as you do things that comply with Islamic laws, you don’t have to worry about other people’s opinions.  

Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.) said: “He who obeys the Creator is not bothered by the displeasure of the creation.” (Mizan al Hikmah)

5. Rushing into intimacy

An engagement doesn’t make your relationship halal. You are still non-mahram to each other. Rushing into any sort of intimacy during the courtship period is prohibited and not good at all. Not only is it a sin, but it will also remove the very ‘beauty’ of your marital life. 

Nowadays, many engagements break due to certain reasons. Rather than regret later, know your limits and keep your dignity. Always prepare yourself for the worst outcomes. Your respect is in your hands! Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said: “Be precautious with all things that you have the ability to carry out.” (Mizan al Hikmah) 

Moreover, If it’s possible for you, try to conceal your engagement, taking into consideration the worst possibilities. 

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w) has said: “Publicize the marriage, but conceal the engagement.” (Mizan al Hikmah)

6. Neglecting undesirable behaviour

If you notice any undesirable behaviour or habits in your prospective spouse, you shouldn’t overlook them and immediately take action since it’s most likely that they would create problems in your married life.

Watch out if they have addictions like drugs, gambling, watch illicit stuff, have anger issues, use foul language, or abuse you or any other person in any way, mingle a lot or flirt with the opposite gender, (be it online or offline!), or are too secretive.

7. Bragging about former lovers/proposals

Prior to the engagement, you may have had many proposals but to simply brag about them in front of your prospective spouse is not only disrespectful but also creates a grudge. Boasting has been condemned and prohibited in Islam. In Du’a Kumail, Imam Ali (a.s.) says: “Boasting issues from small minds.” 

Furthermore, Imam Ali (a.s.) has said: “Know that even the slightest showing off is tantamount to polytheism.” (Mizan al Hikmah)  

Brides and bridegrooms should not talk about themselves in this regard and must prevent their family members too from doing the same. Likewise, never tell the spouse regarding any affiliation or inclination which one may have had with anybody and refrain from talking about any other women or men because when it comes to forgiving and forgetting – humans are very weak!

8. Not asking enough questions

Communication is vital in any relationship. You must know the art of asking questions and not just bombard them with questions, rather, take things slowly. After all, it’s not a formal job interview. 

Here’s a list of things you can ask about to understand your potential spouse better:

  • Their age, educational qualifications, and job expectations. 
  • Their religious expectations and practices such as hijab and their level of following religious obligations. 
  • Their goals, long-term and short-term plans, areas of interest, and hobbies.
  • Their job income and stability, and if any financially dependent family members.
  • The family structure they prefer and if they expect to start a family soon after marriage.
  • If they socialize a lot or travel often.  
  • If they smoke or have any other undesirable habits. 
  • How they interact with the opposite sex. 
  • Whether they are willing to relocate after marriage. 
  • Their thoughts on studying and working after marriage.

9. Compromising your religious beliefs and morals for them

Imam Hasan (a.s.) has said: “He who seeks to please Allah at the expense of displeasing people, Allah suffices him in everything including his affairs with people. But the one who seeks to please people at the expense of Allah’s displeasure, Allah relegates him to those very people.” (Mizan al Hikmah) 

Don’t change your religious or moral values for them. Also, never sin for the sake of satisfying them.  

Some couple more mistakes to avoid:

  • Don’t hide things or lie about anything, especially about your age, job profile, and appearance. Represent yourself accurately since it’s almost impossible for a person to conceal their true self from their partner. Marriage shouldn’t be built upon lies. 

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w) has said: “A man who colors his hair black should let the woman whose hand he seeks in marriage know about that.” (Nahj al Fasahah) 

  • Refrain from making false promises. Don’t say you’ll do something if you can’t do it in order to make an impression on them. The breaking of promises is a vice, which is prohibited by Islam. Nowadays, most problems in relationships arise from communication where people make promises they can’t keep. So be honest and straightforward.  

“…and fulfill the promise, surely (every) promise shall be questioned about.” (Surah al-‘Isra’, 17:34) 

  • Don’t share your social media passwords, confidential information, or secrets with your prospective spouse. 
  • Don’t trust them blindly and pay attention to your hesitations and negative feelings. If their habits or behaviour makes you uncomfortable, don’t stay quiet, speak to them and take action. 
  • Avoid having a long engagement period since it opens the doors to second thoughts and possible distractions. Once you have decided they are the right person for you, try to get married as soon as possible. There’s no benefit in delaying it unnecessarily. 
  • Avoid having undue expectations and loading each other’s shoulders with heavy burdens. Be realistic and easy-going. Islam emphasizes simple weddings so that both parties could afford and have no need to compromise.

You can also seek knowledge, read books or perhaps listen to lectures on the rights and responsibilities of husbands and wives, rearing children, and self-grooming as an example of just a few of the topics around marriage and intimacy. 

In conclusion, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Refrain from all sorts of intimacy and privacy during your engagement period. Make the best use of this time by spending some quality time with your family members and by preparing for your married life.

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