Shaykh Muḥammad Bazmūl;
It was narrated that Abū Hurayrah said; It was said: O’ Messenger of Allah, which of women is best? He said: “The one who, when he looks at her he feels happy, when he tells her to do something she obeys him, and she does not go against his wishes with regard to herself or his wealth.” Narrated by Aḥmad (2/251); classed as ḥasan by al-Albānī in as-Silsilah as-Ṣaḥīḥah (no.1838).
As for the statement of the Prophet ﷺ;“The one who possesses beauty” then the evidence for it is in the ḥadīth of the Messenger; “The one who, when he looks at her he feels happy.”
So the happiness of man when he looks at the women lies in the beauty of her face and the beauty of her appearance. So this is evidence for the general meaning of seeking the one with beauty because the intent behind marriage is to keep oneself chaste. Therefore if he chooses a woman who is not very beautiful then maybe he would not (be able to) keep himself chaste if he marries her.
It has been reported that Imām Aḥmad said: “It is upon the man, if he wishes to marry that he asks about the beauty of the women, and then if she impressed him then he asks about her religion. If it impresses him then he should accept her and if she does not impress him he should reject her.”
So he either accepts or rejects her (after being pleased with her beauty) depending on the religion.
However, the youth of today do the opposite; he first enquires about religion, so if she possesses good religion, performs the prayers, fasts and so on, then when he enquires about her beauty they tell to him “By Allah ﷻ she is okay, she is 50/50” thus he leaves her. So his acceptance and rejection was based upon what? It was based upon beauty (this is not right).
Imām Aḥmad used to teach the people that the issue is not like that, (he taught them) to enquire about the beauty first, for beauty is something that is required. Ask about the beauty and if it pleases you then ask about her religion and if her religion impresses you then marry her and if her religion does not impress you then leave her – meaning, your acceptance or rejection (of her) was based upon her religion (after being impressed with her looks). Is this clear?
This is a proof from Imām Aḥmad that the beauty is something which is required and it is from the natural predisposition, it is something you desire.
However there are two things which you have to pay attention to:
The First Point:
Beware of extreme beauty which may be a distraction from work, life and worship, (a beauty which) occupies the man.
This is what has been narrated from Abū Bakr as-Ṣiddīq or ‘Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb that he ordered one of his sons to divorce his wife, (when he was asked why) he answered because “She distracts you with her beauty.” The boy did not want to sit except next to her, he does not want to move to the right or left but he just wants to be with her.
When the father witnessed the condition of his son, why did he order him to divorce her? He feared from her the religion of his son since her beauty distracted him and this proves that seeking “beauty” does not mean that you seek the extreme type of beauty.
Especially the youth of today! In this era there are many corrupt channels which display the pictures of beautiful women. So the young man depicts in his mind a picture of one of those women and then seeks a woman (to marry) just like the one in the picture. This is an error and not suitable.
That which is befitting for the youth is that he seeks a woman who is good-looking meaning beautiful and not blameworthy, ugly, a woman who is one-eyed or one who has defects and so on.
The people should pay attention to this point. It is not intended by the scholars – when they mention beauty – the type of beauty in a woman which will be a distraction nor is it a beauty which will be a trial for a person, drawing him away from his worship.
The Second Point:
Those who are experienced and know the condition of the women say, “By Allah, by living (with a woman) and having a good relationship with her everything will change.” How?
He says, “I married a women who possessed extreme beauty however when I lived with her, I saw arrogance and boastfulness (from her) and she did not carry out the household chores. She did not interact with me in a good way nor did I hear from her speech which was pleasing to me. I started to hate her and when I saw with her beauty I hated her.”
He explains, “I did not feel the pleasure of marriage nor marital bliss nor the pleasure of being a husband and having a wife until I divorced her and married a women less beautiful than her, rather she was average; however I felt the comfort and tranquility which is mentioned in the Qur’an regarding the relationship between the man and his wife.”
The Third Point:
The true beauty lies in the beauty of interaction, beauty of manners and the perfection of fulfilling the duties of both husband and wife.
If a person were to choose a woman with average looks then this will ensure – by the grace of Allah ﷻ, accompanied with her good manners and fulfilling her duties, that when (the man) looks at her he will be happy. However, the other man who had the beautiful wife said, after some time “when I used to look at her I used to feel resent and anger. She does not satisfy me and I am not comfortable anymore.”
So the true beauty which is upon the individual to seek is the beauty of manners and religion accompanied with average looks. Do not exaggerate and do not be deceived by the image shown (on the television, websites etc) and then look for a woman based upon this picture. This is in opposition to the Quran and Sunnah.
Rather some of the Salaf, when the father saw that his son became occupied with her beauty, he would command his son to divorce the woman who distracted him. Because as soon as he becomes preoccupied with her beauty then it is over; he will not want to go to work again and he will not perform Jihād when the time of Jihād arrives, so why would a father want this type of woman for his son? He orders him to divorce her because she distracted him, is this clear?
Therefore we say that the intent behind beauty is the average beauty – the woman who does not have defects – meaning the woman who does not have any defects in her (body, face etc).
For if there was a woman who had a beautiful figure and face but her character was evil, then she will chase the man away. So pay attention to the third point. What is the beauty which remains with the person? Is it the beauty of the figure and the face or is it the beauty of manners and interaction?
This is what will remain – the beauty of character and good relations. So you must consider these issues in relation to women (when seeking to marry them).