Many men and women spend years looking for a suitable spouse without knowing what to look for. Perhaps, it would have been easier if the options were laid out on a sheet of paper, like an order form of a luxury car that allows you to pick leather interior, wooden dashboard, automatic transmission and the color. But that's not the case when looking for a spouse.

Everyone has sketched an image of an ideal spouse, which is usually no less perfect than the Platonic Forms. Though there is nothing wrong in desiring a beautiful wife or a financially well-off bloke, you probably want to go beyond the superficial before you commit yourself to that person.

Marriage is a social contract. But, as Imam Zaid said, it is also a "spiritual covenant."

Some women speak bitterly about polygamy in Islam that allows men to have up to four wives at a time. And most certainly the practice can be misused. On the other hand, men complain of women's infidelity. The ramifications are obvious: The growing trend of divorces. The recent study suggests that one in five divorces, in Egypt, were due to a spouse finding a lover on Facebook. It's discouraging! And it raises many unanswered questions that makes it even more difficult to choose a spouse for marriage.

ILLUME's Fahad Faruqui had an in depth discussion with Imam Zaid Shakir about marriage in Islam, polygamy, and temporary marriage, like misyar and mu'tah, in attempt to tease out the true spirit of marriage in Islam.


Re: Polygamy

April 5th

Today, the ratio between men and women may be one to one in some countries, but, in the past, there have been many more women than men, because of the warfare. Polygamy offers a solution for widowed, divorced and unmarried women in the society.


April 5th

I don't get the whole population break up justification. In china today there are more men than women. And why do we adopt an attitude of encouraging women to educate themselves and get jobs (ie teach them how to fish) rather than marrying them to alleviate their poverty. Also there are many well-off women in the world and men too suffer from poverty. Poverty is not something that only inflicts women. Are there any other reasons for polygamy being permitted?

Finding Halal Food Should Not Be Hard