When choosing a partner, there are numerous issues which may lead to friction and conflict. Following the principle that prevention is better than cure, it seems wise to air these issues before a match is finalized. Some of the issues may appear trivial or mundane, but the stuff of everyday life is also the stuff of arguments! Other issues are more serious, and may be indicative of the potential for a stormy and abusive marriage. Each marriage will have its ups and downs, but settling some of these matters may avoid the emergence of major, insoluble problems and consequent heartbreak.
These are all questions that may be asked directly or else "researched" by observation, asking his relatives, members of the community, etc. The prospective bride may ask some of these questions when the couple meet, but many women may feel too shy to ask outright. Family or friends can also help with the research - in many Muslim countries, relatives of prospective partners often visit to check the person out!
Asking/answering such questions is not gheebah or backbiting, and people should not hesitate to tell the truth when it concerns a possible marriage; the intent is to establish whether these two people are compatible. Avoiding a poor match will save all concerned from much heartache. At the same time, whether the marriage proceeds or not, any information thus gathered should be kept confidential - any "faults" uncovered should not be generally broadcast in the community!
The Big Issues:
(1) What makes him angry and how does he deal with his anger?
Does he blame everybody but himself?
Does he stop talking to the person involved?
Does he bear grudges ("I'll get him back one day!")
Has he ever physically or mentally abused anyone with whom he was angry?
Does he get angry when those who may be wiser disagree or suggest an alternative point of view?
Does he ever forgive those with whom he was angry?
(2) How does he behave during a crisis?
Does he blame everyone except himself?
Does he become hostile towards an uninvolved member of an ethnic group which is known to abuse followers of Islam?
What steps does he take to face and deal with pressure?
Does he remain optimistic that things will get better, and that after every difficulty comes ease?
(3) How does he feel about women's rights in a Muslim home?
Did he ever observe abuse from his father towards his mother?
Did he ever act to prevent abuse at home? How?
Did he believe that his father was always right?
Does he believe that all women deserve abuse?
How does he make decisions? Does he rely on his own wisdom? Does he consult with close friends?
Will he be willing to consult with his spouse on any decision?
Does he stick firmly to his decisions?
(4) How does he deal with money matters?
Does he save his money for the future?
Does he give money to charities?
When he decides to buy something, will he consult his spouse in making the decision?
How does he describe his own spending and attitude towards money?
(5) What does he expect from his wife and children?
How would he react if his expectations are not met?
What is his vision of family life?
Would he pitch in and co-operate in family chores and the upbringing of children?
Would he be willing to change to accommodate your views?
(6) What are his family like?
Are his family religious, or will you be the only one in hijab?
Does their approach to Islam differ from yours - will you be the only "fundamentalists" in a family whose Islam is more "traditional"?
If this is a mixed match, are his folks open to outsiders, or will you face clannishness and exclusion?
(7) What is his medical background?
(Many Imams in the US are now refusing to conduct Nikah until they see proof that the couple have undergone blood tests and been given a clean bill of health)
Has he ever had an AIDS test, and what was the result?
Is there any history of major illness in his family?
(8) What are his views on education of women and children?
Will he allow you to continue and/or return to education?
What are his views on education and schooling of children? If you have strong views on Islamic schools, home schooling, etc., find out if his views coincide with yours.
Will he take part in the children's upbringing and education? Will he teach them Qur'an?
(9) Where does he want to live?
Does he want to settle in the country where you now live?
Does he want to return to his homeland? Does he want to move to a new country altogether?
Will the family have to move frequently because of his profession?
Will he take your feelings into account when deciding where to live?
Does he aspire to a large and luxurious home, or will he settle for less? Does he want to live in the heart of the city, in the suburbs, or in an isolated rural setting?
Some of these are individual preferences - what may deeply concern some may not even be an issue to others, but if you have some strong feelings on a matter, it is better to get it out into the open before you make a commitment:
Do you agree on the "halal meat" issue - some people will only eat halal-slaughtered meat, whilst others will eat any "meat of the Jews and Christians" as long as it's not pork.
Does he insist on only eating the food of his own ethnic group, or are his tastes more eclectic?
Will he insist on having every meal cooked from scratch, or will you be able to have convenience food or take-away on busy days?
Does he have some strong preferences for meat, or will you "go vegetarian" some days?
Does he smoke? Do any of his family or friends smoke? Will he let people smoke in your non-smoking home?
(3) Going Out:
How does he feel about women going outside the home? studying outside? working outside?
Will he want to "check out" your friends and only let you visit those of whom he approves?
How does he feel about women driving?
Are either of you very keen to keep pets at home?
Do either of you have any allergies, dislikes, or phobias when it comes to animals?
Taken from Bent Rib: A Journey through women's issues in Islam by Huda al-Khattab
100 Premarital Questions
1. What is your concept of marriage?
2. Have you been married before?
3. Are you married now?
4. What are you expectations of marriage?
5. What are your goals in life? (long and short term)
6. Identify three things that you want to accomplish in the near
7. Identify three things that you want to accomplish, long term.
8. Why have you chosen me/other person as a potential spouse?
9. What is the role of religion in your life now?
10. Are you a spiritual person?
11. What is your understanding of an Islamic marriage?
12. What are you expecting of your spouse, religiously?
13. What is your relationship between yourself and the Muslims
community in your area?
14. Are you volunteering in any Islamic activities?
15. What can you offer your zawj (spouse), spiritually?
16. What is the role of the husband?
17. What is the role of the wife?
18. Do you want to practice polygamy?
19. What is your relationship with your family?
20. What do you expect your relationship with the family of your
spouse to be?
21. What do you expect your spouses relationship with your family to
22. Is there anyone in your family living with you now?
23. Are you planning to have anyone in your family live with you in
24. If, for any reason, my relationship with your family turns sour,
what should be done?
25. Who are your friends? (Identify at least three.)
26. How did you get to know them?
27. Why are they your friends?
28. What do you like most about them?
29. What will your relationship with them after marriage be?
30. Do you have friends of the opposite sex?
31. What is the level of your relationship with them now?
32. What will be the level of your relationship with them after
33. What type of relationship do you want your spouse to have with
34. What are the things that you do in your free time?
35. Do you love to have guests in your home for entertainment?
36. What are you expecting from your spouse when your friends come to
37. What is your opinion of speaking other languages in home that I do
not understand? (with friends or family)
38. Do you travel?
39. How do you spend your vacations?
40. How do you think your spouse should spend vacations?
41. Do you read?
42. What do you read?
43. After marriage, do you think that you are one to express romantic
44. After marriage, do you think that you want to express affection in
45. How do you express your admiration for someone that you know now?
46. How do you express your feelings to someone who has done a favor
47. Do you like to write your feelings?
48. If you wrong someone, how do you apologize?
49. If someone has wronged you, how do you want (s)he to apologize to
50. How much time passes before you can forgive someone?
51. How do you make important and less important decisions in your
52. Do you use foul language at home? In public? With family?
53. Do your friends use foul language?
54. Does your family use foul language?
55. How do you express anger?
56. How do you expect your spouse to express anger?
57. What do you do when you are angry?
58. When do you think it is appropriate to initiate mediation in
59. When there is a dispute in your marriage, religious or otherwise,
how should the conflict get resolved?
60. Define mental, verbal, emotional and physical abuse.
61. What would you do if you felt that you had been abused?
62. Who would you call for assistance if you were being abused?
63. Do you suffer from any chronic disease or condition?
64. Are you willing to take a physical exam by a physician before
65. What is your understanding of proper health and nutrition?
66. How do you support your own health and nutrition?
67. What is you definition of wealth?
68. How do you spend money?
69. How do you save money?
70. How do you think that your use of money will change after
71. Do you have any debts now? If so, how are you making progress to
72. Do you use credit cards?
73. Do you support the idea of taking loans to buy a new home?
74. What are you expecting from your spouse financially?
75. What is your financial responsibility in the marriage?
76. Do you support the idea of a working wife?
77. If so, how do you think a dual-income family should manage funds?
78. Do you currently use a budget to manage your finances?
79. Who are the people to whom you are financially responsible?
80. Do you support the idea of utilizing baby sitters and/or maids?
81. Do you want to have children? If not, how come?
82. To the best of your understanding, are you able to have children?
83. Do you want to have children in the first two years of marriage?
If not, when?
84. Do you believe in abortion?
85. Do you have children now?
86. What is your relationship with your children now?
87. What is your relationship with their other parent?
88. What relationship do you expect your spouse to have with your
children and their parent?
89. What is the best method(s) of raising children?
90. What is the best method(s) of disciplining children?
91. How were you raised?
92. How were you disciplined?
93. Do you believe in spanking children? Under what circumstances?
94. Do you believe in public school for your children?
95. Do you believe in Islamic school for your children?
96. Do you believe in home schooling for your children?
97. What type of relationship should your children have with
98. Would you send your children to visit their extended family if
they lived in another state or country?
99. What type of relationship do you want your children to have with
all their grandparents?
100. If there are members of my family that are not Muslim, that are
of different race or culture, what type of relationship do you
want to have with them?