1. Be Clear and Straightforward
During this phase, I advise you to not discuss about feelings too much. Instead, focus more on your core values, your vision in marriage, your preparations to become a spouse and a parent, and the minimum criteria you are looking for in a partner.
Keep it focuses on those essential things. If you want to know if the person is interested, just ask a direct question like, “I am in the process of searching for a partner in marriage and I would like to do taaruf with you for that reason. Are you interested?”
If the answer is yes, proceed. If the answer is no, move on. As much as possible, leave feelings out of discussion. I don’t mean you shouldn’t feel anything. I mean don’t dwell on it too much.
Keep the conversation clear and straightforward to avoid misunderstandings and to reduce the emotional risk of uncertainty. Along that line, the conversation should be done face-to-face in a respectful environment. Due to the pandemic, meeting physically is not advisable.
So, use video conferencing and make sure you are accompanied by someone wise and mature.
2. Ask Relevant Questions
During taaruf, ask essential questions relevant to building and maintaining a marriage that will last a lifetime and beyond. Avoid petty questions like “what’s your favourite color?” and “what are you wearing today?”
Knowing her favourite color has very little to do with your vision of marriage in the long term. Plus, it opens up doors for possible flirting which should be avoided. Save it for during marriage. You can flirt with each other all you want and insha Allah, you will be rewarded for it. Ain’t that amazing? 😁
For guidance, search on Google for “100 premarital questions” to get ideas on essential questions to ask. Remember, this is only for guidance. It is not an obligation to ask them all, word for word. Feel free to modify as needed.
From the way that person reacts to the questions and answer the questions, you can see the person’s seriousness, mindset, core values, preparations, and compatibility with you.
Ask all the questions you need to ask based on the minimum criteria you set. No need to spend too much time. You just need to know enough to decide. You don’t spend years to think about when to sign a business deal or buy a house. When you are clear about what you want, you are also clear about what questions to ask.
3. Interview Closest Friends/Family Members
On top of that, I advise you to also interview individuals closest to him like his roommate, best buddy, family member, teacher, etc. Basically whoever knows him deeply and not just on the surface level. This is the same concept like putting in referrals in your CV.
You can ask him to give you some contacts. I know this may sound weird for the person, but if he understands the seriousness of the matter, he should be okay with it. The individual you interviewed should understand the gravity of the responsibility on his shoulders when answering your questions.
He should be 100% honest, even if he has to talk negatively about your potential husband. It would not be considered backbiting because this is one of the exceptional cases.
By the way, this guideline goes the same both ways. He should do the same to you too.
4. Get the Wali Involved
But for men in particular, there is something extra. Ladies, you can ask him to meet your wali face to face (due to physical distancing, video conferencing is the next best thing). Team up with your wali during this process and get your wali’s advice and guidance.
Perhaps your wali sees something you don’t. Have an open discussion about it and work out what’s best for you and your future family. Think of the kids that you are about to have and think of the kind of father you want for them.
Why your wali? Because it is his duty. It is mandated upon him as a man to take care of the women in his life, and that includes you. He should try his best to protect you from harm, physically, intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally.
During all the discussions, it would be nice if your wali is there. But if it’s too awkward, that’s understandable. Have another third person present who is wise and mature. That will, to a certain degree, help both of you maintain a reasonable level of respect and honour towards each other.
5. Be Professional and Warm, But Not Flirty
That doesn’t mean you become a robot. Be normal of course. Think of it like a business deal where you are figuring out whether or not to partner with a person for a huge business venture. There’s still warmth in the interaction, but you maintain a level of respect and honour for the occasion.
Obviously, there’s a lot more to discuss. I skipped a few steps before talking about taaruf so do take note that this discussion isn’t complete. Plus, I know there are plenty of social issues I left out. I am aware of them and I am also aware that I cannot address all of them.
So take this guide and apply it in your own circumstances, with hikmah. This is where we put that Higher Order Thinking Skills we learn in schools, colleges and universities to the test.
But with the intention to focus solely on the taaruf part, this is enough for now.
If you want to learn more, check out my online class Unbreakable.