Marriage is recommended for partners who share a common way of life. The matrimonial partners should be able to fulfill their purpose of creation as defined by Allah. They should be able to effectively carry out their responsibility as care-takers (Khalifah) of earth. They should share the common goal of building a well-integrated Muslim community and be able to work harmoniously towards it.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) recommended Muslims to select those partners who are best in religion (Deen) and character.
Islam has given freedom of choice to those who wish to get married. The mutual choice of the would-be-spouses is given the highest consideration:
''Do not prevent them from marrying their husbands when they agree between themselves in a lawful manner.'' [Holy Quran – 2:232]
The process of mate selection should be a function of a healthy balance between the freedom of choice of the would-be-spouses and consideration of the influence and consent of the parents/guardians.
Normally the criteria for selecting matrimonial mates are many: wealth, beauty, rank, character, congeniality, compatibility, religion, etc. The Quran enjoins Muslims to select partners who are good and pure (Tayyib).
''Women of purity are for men of purity, and men of purity are for women of purity.'' [Holy Quran – 24:26]
Yet, as to make a clear classifications, below items can be mentioned which are briefly explained:
When a man came to the Prophet (PBUH) to seek guidance for selecting a spouse, he said, ''It is binding upon you to have a religious spouse.''
Knowing the human weakness for beauty and wealth, the Messenger of Allah (S) has forewarned, ''A man who marries a woman for the sake of her wealth, Allah leaves him in his own condition, and one who marries her (only) for her beauty, will find in her (things) which he dislikes (unpleasing manners) and Allah will gather up all these things for one who marries her for the sake of her faith (religiousness).
B. Good Nature
If he is ill-natured (bad tempered), don’t marry your daughter to him. The same will apply where the bride-to-be lacks a good nature. Such a woman, though she may be beautiful and rich, would make the life of her husband miserable. She can never be patient in the difficulties that arise in married life.
The Prophet (PBUH) gave no recognition to class distinction, but in marriage, he stressed upon compatibility. The marrying partners must be Kufw of each other, so that there are no unnecessary misgivings later. It is better for a religious woman who is committed to laws and principles to marry a man like herself.
D. Decent Family
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) also said, ''Look very carefully and minutely as to where you are placing your child because genes and hereditary qualities are transferred in a concealed and unintentional way and have their effect.''
Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS) strongly forbade marrying a foolish and insane person. ''Avoid marrying a stupid woman, since her company is a woe (distress) and her children too get wasted.''
F. Physical and Mental Health
Though religiousness and piety are most important, it does not mean that we totally disregard the physical appearance and beauty of the prospective spouse.