Originally Posted by anonymous
Asalaamu Alaikum Wr Wb, jazakallah khayran for your question. This question is what we all lingering in our minds whilst contemplating and considering a potential for marriage. If we want the approval from Allah then firstly we must do things the right way in accordance within the boundaries of Islam. That means no interaction or contact with potential except through our mahrams. This is for our own good. A potential who says that they want to pursue things in the right manner is surely the best type of person for marriage. If a potential wants to have direct contact then we know that person is not right for marriage. So doing things the right way is surely the best way to find the right partner.
Secondly one should see the potential in front of one's mahrams and ask questions which one feels are important. Initially before meeting a good way of doing this is to get one's mahram to mediate e mails between each other where both can ask important questions about work, deen, personal interests, temperament etc and then when one is satisfed after having fundamental questions answered then one can meet infront of mahram/s. After meeting one should also establish whether or not there is any spark of attraction as attraction is also very important and should not be disregarded and this is even emphasised in Islam particularly by Imam Hanbali (Ra).
One should look for deen in their potential in that they are practicing and wanting to become closer to Allah and one should look for someone who desires the hereafter as oppose to only desiring this world. One should also try and establish if they have good personal characteristics like patience, good manners, good temperament and that they dress in a sunnah way and try to implement Qur'an and Sunnah into their lives as much as possible.
If after a couple of meetings infront of mahram/s one is satisfied that one has met enough times to be able to make a decision then one should talk to one's family and get mashurah (advice) from them as well as learned friends and scholars. One should also try and get character reference from people who know the potential. Then one can pray isthikhara continuously preferably in the latter part of the night and ask of Allah sincerely whether one should pursue things or not and for Allah to guide us towards the right decision.
One will definatley get an inclination either way and if one has done things in the right manner then Allah will do what is best for us inshallah.
and Allah knows best in all matters