Chapter 43: One in Syria, the Other in Ireland

Zul took the opportunity to visit one of his teachers in medina during the hajj season 1996. He asked for his teacher’s advice regarding the candidate that he felt is suitable from among the three candidates introduced to him by Husni.

Zulkifli, a pious woman is a gift in marriage. The Prophet PBUH said:

فَاظْفَرْ بِذَاتِ الدِّينِ تَرِبَتْ يَدَاكَ

“So, get the one (a woman to marry) who is religious and prosper.” [1]

Imam Nawawi stated that the above hadith explained to us that usually when choosing a wife, people will look at four factors. Rasullullah PBUH instructed to look at her religion for it is what will benefit him in this world and the hereafter. [2]

Syeikh Abdullah Bassam explained the meaning “فَاظْفَرْ” is to find and strive or put an effort and race to get a woman whose religion is good. [3] So, when a person found a woman, whose religion is good, don’t change his choice. Immediately marry her… [4] You have learned Bulugh al-Maram and its syarah by Imam San’ani when you were in Medina. That is his advice when choosing a wife.

Zul nodded his head, understanding what his teacher is telling him. He didn’t even drink the tea served in front of him. Ever since Husni suggested to him to choose a wife candidate, there are numerous matters that he thought about especially matters related to his plans after marriage.

From what you have told me about your wife candidate, I agree with it. I always pray that Allah will bless you and your choice.” His teacher said ending their conversation.


Which one are you going to choose Ustaz Zul? Looking so austere out here?” Husni teases Zul who was thoughtfully scrutinizing the photograph given. Maybe there are so much on his mind regarding the preparation he needs before marriage.

Jumhur of the Syafi’iyyah, Malikiyyah, Hanafiyyah scholars and some Hanabilah scholars ruled it sunnah for a person to look at the face of the candidate for a person’s wife or husband. In a hadith, Rasullullah PBUH said to one of his companions, who is about to get engaged:

انْظُرْ إِلَيْهَا فَإِنَّهُ أَحْرَى أَنْ يُؤْدَمَ بَيْنَكُمَا

“Go and look at her, for that is more likely to create love between you.” [5]

Likewise, in hadith narrated from Sahal bin Sa’d radhiyallahu ‘anhu, he said:

أَنَّ امْرَأَةً جَاءَتْ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَتْ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ جِئْتُ لأَهَبَ لَكَ نَفْسِى فَنَظَرَ إِلَيْهَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَصَعَّدَ النَّظَرَ إِلَيْهَا وَصَوَّبَهُ ثُمَّ طَأْطَأَ رَأْسَهُ

“O Messenger of Allah, I have come to offer myself to you (in marriage).” The Messenger of Allah looked her up and down then lowered his head.” [6]

From Abu Hurairah radhiyallahu ‘anhu, he said:

كُنْتُ عِنْدَ النَّبِىِّ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- فَأَتَاهُ رَجُلٌ فَأَخْبَرَهُ أَنَّهُ تَزَوَّجَ امْرَأَةً مِنَ الأَنْصَارِ فَقَالَ لَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم أَنَظَرْتَ إِلَيْهَ. قَالَ لاَ. قَالَ « فَاذْهَبْ فَانْظُرْ إِلَيْهَا فَإِنَّ فِى أَعْيُنِ الأَنْصَارِ شَيْئًا.

“When I was with the Prophet PBUH, a man came to see him and told him that he is about to marry an Ansar woman. Thus, the Messenger PBUH said: Have you looked at her? He answered: No. The Messenger PBUH said: Go and look at her. For the eyes of an Ansar is different, of which may not appeal to you.” [7]

In a hadith narrated from Abu Humayd al-Sa’idi RA, Rasullullah PBUH said:

إِذَا خَطَبَ أَحَدُكُمْ امْرَأَةً فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِ أَنْ يَنْظُرَ إِلَيْهَا إِذَا كَانَ إِنَّمَا يَنْظُرُ إِلَيْهَا لِخِطْبَتِهِ وَإِنْ كَانَتْ لَا تَعْلَمُ

When any one of you want to propose to a woman, then it is not wrong for you to look at her first if the purpose of looking is for a proposal even when it is unknown by the woman.” [8]

Syeikh Dr Mustafa al-Khin once had a talk with Zul regarding marriage at his house. Syeikh said, “A woman also reserves a right to look at the man so that she’ll not regret it after marriage. The reason is a woman is also attracted to man, just like a man is attracted to a woman.


Damascus International Airport was crowded with people who were waiting for the return of hajj pilgrims. It has been a tradition there that a special gate is opened and their return is celebrated from the airport until they arrive at their hometowns. Hajj pilgrims are welcomed as if they were kings who have just come down from his throne where he is served with various feasts and meals. It is also a custom for Syrians to call “Haj” and “Hajah” for those who have completed their hajj.

Back at his rented house, Zul and his friends who have just returned receive numerous visits from Malaysian students in Damascus. Zul whispered to Hazman, “Man, zam zam water just a bottle each. We have a lot of guests here. I only invited 10 people. By the looks of it, it seems like ten buses came. We are running out of zam zam water.

Hazman scratched his head. Both don’t know what to do. It’s impossible to ask their guests to just return home. Their house is crowded with people who have been coming non-stop to visit them.

I have an idea but only the two of us can know about it…” Zul whispered to Hazman and signals him to follow him to the kitchen. Hazman was confused about what is Zul’s suggestion for their predicament. Both went to the kitchen quietly.

Zul took a bottle of plain water and mixed it with zam zam water. “You’re so cunning, but that’s smart. It’s fine, it is still considered zam zam water. We want to honour all of our guests. They wanted to have a drink of zam zam water.” Hazman said as he held on to his sides tightly, trying to hold in his laughter.

Immediately after arriving back in Syria from hajj, Zul went to meet his teacher at Manjak Mosque. He asked for his teacher’s opinion and advice regarding his decision to marry a candidate of his choice.

In my opinion, it is a good choice. In a hadith narrated from Abdullah bin ‘Amr RA, the Prophet PBUH said:

الدُّنْيَا مَتَاعٌ وَخَيْرُ مَتَاعِ الدُّنْيَا الْمَرْأَةُ الصَّالِحَةُ

“The whole world is to be enjoyed, but the best thing in the world is a righteous woman.” [9]

Imam al-Qurthubi explained that a righteous woman means in this hadith is a woman that can make her husband happy when he sees her, obedient and protect and maintain her husband’s dignity and property when he is absent. [10]

Syeikh giggles before continuing his advice, “Maybe some will ask, what’s the wisdom of choosing a righteous woman? What about her looks and beauty? Know that religion will continue to strengthen as time passes. Whilst character is improved each day and grow with one’s life’s experience. When a couple chose religion and character as their basic factor in choosing, then it guarantees everlasting love.

However, this does not deny that people should also take into consideration of other factors such as lineage and beauty. Consequently, it means that if one’s choice is limited, then choose a woman with the best religion. If a woman is from a good lineage, beautiful and have a great character and religion, then that is the best of a spouse. Do you understand, Zulkifli?” His teacher asked as he patted Zul’s shoulder.

Zul’s meeting with two of his teachers in medina and Syria is his effort of istisyarah after he has performed istikharah in Mecca. Istikharah is one of the sunnah taught by the prophet PBUH to his ummah. Allah SWT states:

وَاستَعِينُواْ بِالصَّبرِ وَالصَّلَوةِ

“And ask for help (to Allah) with patience and praying.” [11]

The ruling for istikharah Is sunnah according to ijma’ of scholars based on a hadith narrated by al-Bukhari from Saidina Jabir RA:

كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يُعَلِّمُنَا الاسْتِخَارَةَ فِي الأُمُورِ كُلِّهَا كَمَا يُعَلِّمُنَا السُّورَةَ مِنْ الْقُرْآنِ يَقُولُ : إذَا هَمَّ أَحَدُكُمْ بِالأَمْرِ فَلْيَرْكَعْ رَكْعَتَيْنِ مِنْ غَيْرِ الْفَرِيضَةِ ثُمَّ لِيَقُلْ

The Prophet PBUH used to teach us the way of doing Istikhara (Istikhara means to ask Allah to guide one to the right sort of action concerning any job or a deed), in all matters as he taught us the Suras of the Qur’an. He said, “If anyone of you thinks of doing any job, he should offer a two rak`at prayer other than the compulsory ones and say (after the prayer):

اللَّهُمَّ إنِّي أَسْتَخِيرُكَ بِعِلْمِكَ , وَأَسْتَقْدِرُكَ بِقُدْرَتِكَ وَأَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ فَضْلِكَ الْعَظِيمِ فَإِنَّكَ تَقْدِرُ وَلا أَقْدِرُ وَتَعْلَمُ وَلا أَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتَ عَلامُ الْغُيُوبِ. اللَّهُمَّ إنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الأَمْرَ خَيْرٌ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي أَوْ قَالَ : عَاجِلِ أَمْرِي وَآجِلِهِ فَاقْدُرْهُ لِي وَيَسِّرْهُ لِي ثُمَّ بَارِكْ لِي فِيهِ اللَّهُمَّ وَإِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الأَمْرَ شَرٌّ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي أَوْ قَالَ : عَاجِلِ أَمْرِي وَآجِلِهِ , فَاصْرِفْهُ عَنِّي وَاصْرِفْنِي عَنْهُ وَاقْدُرْ لِي الْخَيْرَ حَيْثُ كَانَ ثُمَّ ارْضِنِي بِهِ

“O Allah! I ask guidance from Your knowledge, And Power from Your Might and I ask for Your great blessings. You are capable and I am not. You know and I do not and You know the unseen. O Allah! If You know that this job is good for my religion and my subsistence and in my Hereafter–(or said: If it is better for my present and later needs)–Then You ordain it for me and make it easy for me to get, And then bless me in it, and if You know that this job is harmful to me In my religion and subsistence and the Hereafter–(or said: If it is worse for my present and later needs)–Then keep it away from me and let me be away from it. And ordain for me whatever is good for me, and make me satisfied with it).” [12]

Imam al-Nawawi in his book al-Azkar said:

وَإِذَا اسْتَخَارَ مَضَى بَعْدَهَا لِمَا يَنْشَرِحُ لَهُ صَدْرُهُ ، والله أعلم

“And when a person has performed istikharah, then he should do what is easy for him in his heart in making his decision.”

Syeikh advised Zul, “You did the right thing. You have performed istikharah and istisyarah (seek advice and opinion). Rasullullah PBUH said:

مَا خَابَ مَنِ اسْتَخَارَ وَلَا نَدِمَ مَنِ اسْتَشَارَ وَلَا عَالَ مَن اقتَصَد

“None will be disappointed when he has performed istikharah, none will regret after seeking advice and none will be poor when he lived modestly.” [13]

Not long afterwards, Zul accompanied by Abdul Halim – his friend from Cambodia who lives in Melacca – return to his hometown and informed his decision of getting married to his parents. Alhamdulillah, they agreed and immediately Zul travelled to Negeri Sembilan to meet his mother-in-law to be and wife candidate.

In their first meeting, Zul didn’t talk much, he just shared some of his family background to Hajah Aisyah, the aunt of his wife-to-be. From the meeting, both families agreed for the marriage to take place two weeks from then. The preparation for their ceremony is done modestly since both of them are just students at the time. His wife-to-be is a Bachelor’s degree student at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI Dublin) while Zul is a Master’s degree student at al-Majma’ al-Ilmi al-‘Ali Jami’ Sadat, Damascus, Syria. Both fields are very different but they met each other by the will and fate of Allah SWT.


Zul took a deep breath before declaring, “I accept the marriage to Shereen binti Yunos…

Alhamdulillah…” echoed the voices of Zul’s schoolmates from SMAASZA Ladang and SMAASZA Batu Burok who were all present behind him.

Zul glances at Shukri and several of his other friends who were all smiling widely.

Unexpectedly, it all starts from a sudden question from Husni and it ends with Zul building a palace of his own called marriage with his wife. Husni helped him a lot in easing the process of getting to know each other up till that historical day in his life.

Ustaz Zul, don’t forget our promise. Syura Muslimun Committee will invite you for our Summer Training Camp in the UK!” Husni reminded Zul before going back home. Both shook each other’s hands and hugged. “Thank you so much, Husni. You’ve been a great help to me, from the beginning until today,” It’s still clear in his mind of their last meeting with Husni during the hajj season.

 Mutawalli al-Sya’rawi, Zul’s youngest brother, just watched his brother from afar with a camera in his hands. Zul called to his brother and asked, “Wallie, do you want to take a picture with me? Come here!” The camera is passed to Khairul and both brothers took their pictures together with smiles on their faces.

Zul and his wife’s wedding ceremony is very simple with a low dowry and modest gifts. The total number of guests for both the ceremony in Negeri Sembilan and Welcoming the in Law is just about 100-200 people. However, it is a joyful and happy occasion filled with mahabbah and pleasure. This is in line with a hadith narrated from Sahl bin Sa’ad radhiallahu’anhu, who said:

أَتَتِ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ امْرَأَةٌ، فَقَالَتْ: إِنَّهَا قَدْ وَهَبَتْ نَفْسَهَا لِلَّهِ وَلِرَسُولِهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، فَقَالَ: مَا لِي فِي النِّسَاءِ مِنْ حَاجَةٍ، فَقَالَ رَجُلٌ: زَوِّجْنِيهَا، قَالَ: أَعْطِهَا ثَوْبًا، قَالَ: لاَ أَجِدُ، قَالَ: أَعْطِهَا وَلَوْ خَاتَمًا مِنْ حَدِيدٍ،

A lady came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and declared that she had decided to offer herself to Allah and His Apostle. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “I am not in need of women.” A man said (to the Prophet) “Please marry her to me.” The Prophet (ﷺ) said (to him), “Give her a garment.” The man said, “I cannot afford it.” The Prophet said, “Give her anything, even if it were an iron ring.” [14]

Imam al-Nawawi explained the hadith saying: “This hadith shows that even with a little dowry (of low value) or a lot (expensive) when both people are content, this is fine, for an iron ring is a little of dowry. This is the opinion in madhhab Syafi’i and also the opinion of jumhur of scholars from among the aslaf and khalaf.” [15]

After several weeks staying in Malaysia, Zul and his wife new life begin as they return to their student lives separated in two different continents, Zul in the west part of the Asian continent and his wife Europe.


[1] Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 4802; Muslim, no. 1466

[2] Syarh al-Nawawi ‘ala Sahih Muslim, 10/51-52

[3] Taudhih al-Ahkam min Bulugh a-Maram, 5/234

[4] Subul al-Salam, 10/4

[5] Narrated by al-Tirmizi (1087)

[6] Sahih al-Bukhari (4833)

[7] Sahih Muslim (3550)

[8] Musnad Ahmad, no. 23602

[9] Sahih Muslim (715)

[10] Al-Mufhim, 4/221

[11] (Surah al-Baqarah: 45)

[12] Sahih al-Bukhari: (1166)

[13] Narrated by al-Tabarani, no. 2267.

[14] Sahih al-Bukhari (4741) and Muslim (1425)

[15] Syarh al-Nawawi ‘ala Muslim, 9/190

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *