بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ
Article syndicated from The Khilafah Diaries, author Aimi Afeeqah
We’ve all seen and heard of people going through devastating marriages that end in divorce. (May Allah ease their situations).
Whether it is in our own family or circle of friends, it is very common. The thing is, they never intentionally get into marriages to get divorced.
Where did they go wrong?
The truth is, there are many red flags or warning signs that are flailing in the air even before marriage. But most of us choose to ignore them out of our own shortcomings.
Some of us get too emotionally attached in the early stages of a relationship that we could not – for the love of Allah – recognize all the red flags.
And marry the unmarried among you and the righteous among your male and female slaves. If they should be poor, Allah will enrich them from His bounty, and Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.[Surah An-Nur, 24:32]
Many women also courageously tie the knot thinking they can change their future husbands down the road. This could not be further from the truth.
Trust me, I’ve been married for 4 years and there is nothing that I could change about my husband. The fact that there are areas in your life that you couldn’t change yourself shows how hard it is to even attempt to fix others. This will ALL lead to one road… disappointment.
So, let’s be smart and learn from other people’s mistakes and not make them ourselves. You will have a much better chance at building a truly happy, strong and healthy Muslim family insyaAllah.
May Allah give us all healthy spouses to build a healthy Muslim marriage with. Ameen.
10 Red flags to look out for before marriage.
1. Different Iman levels
Iman (faith in Islam) is the most important aspect of a person you should be looking at when choosing a spouse because it sets the foundation of your marriage. Both of you should be passionate about your relationship with Allah.
Do not give (your women) in marriage to polytheist men, unless they come to believe; a Muslim slave is better than a polytheist, even though he may attract you. They invite to the Fire when Allah invites, by His will, to Paradise, and to forgiveness. He makes His verses clear to the people, so that they may heed the advice.[Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:221]
If a man does not have a high level of iman, his actions in fulfilling his Islamic obligations will show, ie. not making Salah 5 times a day (or always being late), reluctant to read the Quran, does not follow the Islamic teachings in handling mundane situations etc.
Many women do not regard iman as the highest criteria in a future spouse until they face struggles in the marriage, start getting closer to Allah and want to instill Islamic values in their children.
This is dangerous.
It is like buying a car that can’t move. It does not serve its purpose. In this case, the purpose of building a healthy Muslim family.
Even though you might think having someone to marry is better than not having at all, in the long run, when you start growing your iman, and your husband does not, the two of you will very much find yourselves going in opposite directions.
Not to mention your children will suffer too.
2. A mysterious man
A good honest man will have nothing to hide – the good, the bad, the ugly – he will be upfront about himself if he truly values you as his partner. On the other hand, a man who keeps his past or certain parts of his life a secret, may be hiding his true colours from you.
Here are some ways you can detect if he is keeping secrets from you.
- He avoids or dodges certain questions about himself.
- He might say ‘I don’t want to talk about it’ when asked about his past or family and friends.
- He is reluctant to let you meet his family and close friends, disguising them as ‘dysfunctional’.
No one has a perfect life living on this planet. It is only up to us to make the most out of it and be a good person. If your man can’t do this, he might be doing it the wrong or even evil way. You must find out the truth from his parents and the people who know him well.
The Messenger (ﷺ) said:
“It is obligatory for you to tell the truth, for the truth leads to virtue and virtue leads to Paradise, and the man who continues to speak the truth and endeavors, to tell the truth is eventually recorded as truthful with Allah, and beware of telling of a lie for telling of a lie leads to obscenity and obscenity leads to Hell-Fire, and the person who keeps telling lies and endeavors to tell a lie is recorded as a liar with Allah.” [Muslim]
He might have a forgiveness issue and have not reconciled certain relationships in his life.
3. No respect for his mother
The Messenger SAW of Allah said: “Your heaven lies under the feet of your mother“. (an-Nasa’i 3104)
A man’s mother should be the most important person in his life right after Allah SWT and Prophet Muhammad SAW. If he’s not treating the most important woman in life with the utmost respect, what makes you think he will respect you once you become one of the most important women in his life too?
Observe how he treats his mother. Does he speak to her in a kind voice? Does he help her around the house? Does he respect all her friends too? If you like how he treats his mother and all the women in his life, insyaAllah, he will be a good and kind husband to you too.
And Allah brought you out of the wombs of your mothers while you knew nothing, and gave you hearing, sight, and intellect so perhaps you would be thankful[Surah An-Nahl, 16:78]
Never compromise on the way a man treats his mother, there is barakah (blessing) in your marriage. If his mother is not happy, there is a chance your marriage can suffer in the long run because Allah is displeased too.
But this does not mean he should be a mommy’s boy. There’s a huge difference.
Your man has to know his priorities when he marries you. If he seems too dependent on his mother, ie. can’t make his own decisions without her and still relying on his mother to do everything for him, there is a high chance that you will eventually be playing her role once you marry him.
4. Abuse or manipulation warning signs
No one gets into marriage thinking they will be abused. These things happen unexpectedly later on in the marriage, but there are clear warning signs that you can detect before marriage…
- He has anger issues
- He confesses his ‘love’ for you too soon before even knowing you deeply
- He goes above and beyond to prove how he can’t live without you
- The people who know him well do not like him
- He may have done things that make you uncomfortable but later on promise never to do it again
Many women admit that they’ve seen these signs early on before marriage, but they ignore them thinking they will change after marriage or they are the exception. But the reality is once you’ve become his ‘possession’, he will not hesitate to be more aggressive with you.
Our Lord, do not place us with the wrongdoing people.[Surah Al-A’raf, 7:47]
Some women marry too quickly to realize their partners’ true colors before marriage, this is why it is very important that you take your time and truly know your partner in and out before you tie the knot.
Here are some ways you can start to know him better:
- Get to know his family and friends. Are they good practicing Muslims? Do his parents have a great marriage? What do they have to say about your future husband?
- Observe his speech. Does he talk about himself too much? He may be a narcissist.
- Find out about his past. Has he abused anyone before or treated others unkindly? If he has in the past, chances are he will do it again.
Abusers can be very deceiving. There are women saying their husbands were the most charming man they’ve ever met, but as soon as they tie the knot, their true colors begin to show.
So, make istikhara and ask Allah for guidance. If your gut tells you he is not right for you, that may be a sign from Allah that he truly is not the one. Abusers can be very subtle in their abuse and manipulation. The best way to find out is from the people closest to him. And when you do, believe them!
You deserve better.
5. Opposing personalities
Jordan Peterson has shared that people with personalities from the opposing end of the spectrum have a hard time understanding and getting along with each other.
For example, someone who is a neat freak will not be able to tolerate a messy and artfully unorganized partner. And someone who is industrious and works really hard will not get along with a laid back go-wherever-the-wind-blows kind of person.
People say that opposites attract, but honestly if two people are too different from each other, they will have a hard time compromising and before they know it, resentment starts to build. That’s when major marriage problems start to rise.
Wicked women are for wicked men, and wicked men are for wicked women. And virtuous women are for virtuous men, and virtuous men are for virtuous women.[Surah An-Nur, 24:26]
In the early stages of a relationship, it is easy to overlook the other person’s undesirable traits thinking they somehow make up for what we lack. But as the mundane starts to take over and life starts to get normal again, you will need a team player who will be as equally efficient as you and values the same things you do.
Don’t be surprised if he suddenly finds another woman whom he feels has more in ‘common’ with him in the long run.
6. Communication is a problem
Communication is a major source of frustration in most marriages. When we don’t understand our partner, we make lots of assumptions in our heads that may not be true and this can lead to heartbreaks.
If your future husband is unable to express his thoughts and what he really feels about any issues that bother him, you may find yourself constantly trying to pull words out of him when he falls silent or ending the conversation when he overreacts and bursts in anger.
Believers, be mindful of God, speak in a direct fashion and to good purpose.[Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:70]
A healthy partner is confident in what he feels and would want to find a healthy solution to any problem that may occur between the two of you. That is the right way to handle conflicts that will inevitably occur in every marriage.
Even though your partner may be a great public speaker or a stellar communicator in his professional field, when it comes to matters of the heart, he will have to be able to be upfront with you.
Without good communication, over time, many unresolved issues will pile up and a snowball effect will occur where all these issues will suddenly become a MAJOR avalanche in marriage until one of you decides to back out.
Don’t forget that a good listener may not be a good communicator. Both of you will need to be verbal when settling any conflict. If you can’t talk now, you may never will. Best seek help addressing the problem or leave the relationship.
7. Different priorities
People operate based on the priorities they have set in their minds. If someone prioritizes his marriage before work, he may take a day off just to have that long-needed vacation his wife asked for.
If someone prioritizes Allah before anyone else, he will make decisions in his life based on what Allah wants and not what he himself or others want.
There are 2 ways you can find this out.
- Based on his decisions and actions every day, you can observe carefully what he prioritizes on a daily basis. People’s actions are louder than words!
- Talk to your future husband and let him list out his top priorities. Don’t tell him yours yet, let him genuinely reveal it to you.
These are the 6 major aspects you can look into – marriage, work, spirituality, health, friends & family and finance.
O believers! Enter into Islam wholeheartedly and do not follow Satan’s footsteps. Surely he is your sworn enemy.[Al-Baqarah 2:208]
Make sure he puts Allah as his No. 1 priority. Everything else can come second. You need to build a family with someone who is already committed to Allah before he is committing to anyone else.
8. No fear of authority
If We had sent down this Qur’ān upon a mountain, you would have seen it humbled and splitting from fear of Allah. And these examples We present to the people that perhaps they will give thought.[Surah Al-Hashr, 59:21]
Who is the ONE who has full authority over all of us? Yes, Allah. He can take away our life whenever He wants because He owns us. A healthy fear of Allah will make a person humble, wise and submissive to God, which is the essence of Islam. To fear Allah is to have taqwa where every action you take is carefully taken so as not to ever displease Him.
If your future spouse has no fear of authority, it indirectly means he has no fear of Allah. Look closely at his actions, does he follow the law? Does he respect his parents, boss, or police officer?
O you who have believed, fear Allah and be with those who are true.[Surah Tawbah, 9:119]
This is extremely important in the long run when you want your kids to also fear and respect you as their parents. Children don’t learn by talking, they learn by modelling. If you want them to respect their teachers, law-givers and supervisors, they will need to model it from both of you.
9. Extreme dependence
Does your future spouse say things like “you are my everything” and “I can’t live without you”? Consider it a warning sign because he is not taking full responsibility for who he is and is relying on you to ‘complete’ him whether emotionally, physically or spiritually.
The moment you fall short on this (which you inevitably will), he will no longer see you as his ‘everything’ therefore everything he promised you before marriage will come crumbling down as well. From there, all hell will break loose.
His extreme dependence can lead to intense jealousy, possessiveness and even depression.
And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him.[Surah At-Talaq, 65:3]
It is impossible for ANY human being to bear the burden of ‘completing’ another person. Only Allah, The Al-Mighty can fulfill our deepest desires and satisfy our need to be loved, happy and fulfilled. The moment your spouse leans on you to complete him in this way, he is bound to be disappointed.
Find a man who depends on Allah alone until he needs no one else to fulfill him. That’s a keeper.
Related: 10 Signs That You Have Found The One
10. Emotional baggage
Every one of us will be tested with people breaking our hearts. It’s just the way life is. When we get our hearts broken, we need to heal it by forgiving that person and seek help from Allah to heal our wounds.
No one but Allah can rescue a soul from hardship.[Surah An-Najm, 53:58]
We must always remember that Allah is the only one who can get us through all the hardships we go through in life. If we rely on anything other than Allah, we may never heal from our past wounds.
Some people bring their past wounds into marriage with the expectation that their spouse would be able to heal them. This is emotional baggage and it is extremely risky. Not only is it not fair that other people have to bear the burden of their emotional baggage, but that person will not even be able to heal them.
The best a spouse can do in this case is to direct that person back to Allah. If you are a caretaker by nature or a compassionate person, you would naturally be attracted to someone who is in emotional pain.
You believe that there is a chance your future spouse has not found the right solutions to their problems yet. So, you offer to help them. But the truth is, if they wanted to heal, they would have done it a long time ago. Think about it. An emotionally mature and healthy person will always find ways to let go of people’s shortcomings and seek harmony.
They don’t hold grudges, especially with their loved ones. You need to find emotionally healthy individuals to marry. If your man is only looking to you to heal all his emotional baggage, you will be in serious trouble.
Final thoughts on red flags
Allah gave us the best guidelines from the Quran and Sunnah. If we are not willing to follow it, we are actually denying ourselves of true love and happiness in this life.
This [Qur’ān] is a Book We have revealed [which is] blessed, so follow it and fear Allah that you may receive mercy.[Surah Al-An’am, 6:155]
Never marry a man without thoroughly checking in on his background.
Some people take forever to even choose a handbag. This is a husband to live our whole lives with for Allah’s sake! Choose wisely and make istikhara. Don’t let your attachment get the best of you, you could be falling into deep trouble.
May Allah protect us from evil and may he give us good spouses to build a strong and healthy Muslim family with. Ameen.
Love & Salam,
Any good from this article is from Allah and any evil is from the shaytaan and me. May Allah forgive our shortcomings in practicing His deen.
Wa billahi tawfeeq wa hidayah
(All successes come from Allah and His guidance).