This is totally an old post from over at the "Bride Wears Hijab" because I always get converts/reverts asking me, how do I get to marry the kind of man that I want.
Before you get married at all, know your own religion. Know what your duties are as a Muslim woman, and know the duties of what a Muslim man are. Love the sunnah (the actions of the Prophet Mohammed sallalahu alahi wa salaam) and seek out a man that tries to live the sunnah (this is why you gotta know the sunnah yourself dearies). I recommend these two books, since they are about the character of the true Muslim man http://store.dar-us-salam.com/main.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=r11, and the ideal Muslim woman http://www.darussalam.com/product_info.php?products_id=29. I read the Ideal Muslim man first (since I totally borrowed it and forgot to return it from Aalia's husband), and then I read the Ideal Muslimah. If your marriage isn't based on Islam and yet one or the other of you is a Muslim, it will fail in sooooo mnay aspects that it makes your life painful. Also, if you don't go about starting your marriage in halal manner (no touching, I mean, your fiance is not your maharam until the nikah) then don't expect your husband to deal with ANYTHING in the marriage Islamically whatsoever, even its ending. Know your rights and the sunnah before approaching marriage. They say marriage is on third of the religion since family is so important, but the other two aspects are aqeedah (faith in Allah), and knowledge of the sunnah. You can ask Lisa over at her blog http://thelongjourneybackhome.blogspot.com/ what sorrows you have to go through if you don't wise up about your rights and duties, and his rights and duties, and what kind of man to marry, before you marry your handsome exotic Arab lad. I remember alot of the ladies at the masjid tried to rush me into marriage, but remember the example of Khadijah, she waited until the right man came along, and until she knew enough about him to form her opinion. She ended up married to the best men of all time, the Prophet Mohammed sallalahu alahi wa salaam!
Next up, marry a man for his character and his piety before you go looking for a man of a certain ethnicity, or look, or for how much money he's got. My mother married for money and it has got her nothing but misery and the nastiest divorce your ladies ever saw. I have had friends that pursued men just because the men were good looking. Well alot of other ladies thought so too, and you really don't want to end up with a man that drinks and parties and checks out other girls while you sit at home. It annoys me when a convert girl is like, I only want to marry a man from Saudi. K, my husband is Saudi, but I know how difficult his stupid and lovely country can be at times, and I didn't marry him for his ethnicity (I happen to be attracted to African features) but his character. Sure, maybe a guy from a specific region in the world whose culture you find interesting and whose features are attractive to you will show up, but don't rule out the pious convert white and African-American brothers that shows up at your door either right? For all you know they could be worth more and make you more happy than a dozen lamer dudes from Saudi. Marry for commone ideals, character, and religion, since Allah subhanhu wa ta'ala's advice was this is best for you. Sure money and beauty are allowed, but if Allah says something else is best, why don't you heed that advice for your own happiness and safety?
Men do marry for beauty, and wealth, but the best the Prophet sallalahu alahi wa salaam said, was to marry a woman of faith. Faith is founded on wisdom, goodness, knowledge, and an active body. That is why faith is the best to marry for. A hijab on the head and a visit to the masjid or even a shahada pronounced does not a woman of faith make. It is, by the will of Allah, those things she was composed of before. The same is true for men of faith. Thus, Aalia created a sort of guide for convert/revert girls, which is kinda like a gardener's manual of feild flowers--it helps you weed out the losers, pour the right ammount of salt on the parasites that will soak the life out of you, and keep you from withering in the shade of a fool.
RULE #1: You made your shahada right? Never stop making du'a for forgiveness but you get to have a blessing that a born muslim doesn't get complete benefit of--- you are literally given a second chance, a clean slate. You are not magically a virgin a again in body but you are in spirit. Treat yourself with the new respect for women the Qu'ran instructs you to have and NEVER catch yourself as thinking of yourself as less than other Muslim women.
RULE #2: Know the faith of your potential suitor. Indeed, please, please know your own! Follow the sunnah of the Prophet SAW (his actions) and never do an action he or his wives did not do because a man you love or are married to tells you to! There are many who claim to be Muslim but either practice an innovation to Islam, or assocaite partners with Allah. Know what is Islam, and what is culture, before you even deem yourself ready to marry.
RULE #3: You cannot be married to a non-muslim man. The Qu'ran says the believing women are not for the unbelievers. This also includes Muslim women who are married to so-called muslim men who do not pray the obligatory prayers. Believe me without asking why, this may sound harsh, but I am one who has one of the deepest rights to rule without pity on this. It is hard, and is not instant if you are stuck in this situation, but you cannot be anything but rewarded, the closest to Abraham's sacrifice as we are asked to give in this day and age.
RULE #4: You need a maharam to be with a man; hijab in body and soul. No man you are not married to should be seeing you without your headscarf, and he is not behaving Islamically if he is seeing you without an Islamic chaperone present (a maharam). Any honorable, properly acting Muslim brother you bump into will find you a Maharam (since, like myself, you, as a convert, have no Islamic father or Uncle or brother). The Imam of your local masjid can act as your Maharam for you. If there is no such figure available for you, contact an Imam online for advice. Here is one such man from my area firstname.lastname@example.org The man who like to operate without one we like to call the Arab playboy in the best of circumstances, and he is not to be trusted. Of course the chaperone will let you two be off a little ways a bit to talk in private (very Jane Austen) but you shouldn't ever be physically alone.
RULE #5: Temporary marriage was forbidden by the Prophet, peace be upon him, until the day of resurrection. Any one else who tells you such is a liar because I have done the research, in both Sunni and Shi'a hadith. There are men who come to the West and study or work and don't want to committ a sin with a woman so they make temporary marriage with her and then leave her. Beware of marrying one of these less-than-humans. I'd kick the ____ out of one if I caught one, miserable suckers. Sorry all for the language, but they make me SICK. My husband once said to one of these guys, if this is so right, then give me your sister, and I'll do to her what you will do to this girl. The guy didn't like the comparison.
RULE #6: Beware of the man that wants to clone you into a woman of his culture. You are not Arab. You are not Pakistani. You don't have to be a house-slave, and you don't have to do what ever he says. If a man can't accept your culture don't bother. You will both make eachother miserable.
RULE #7: Beware of the convert-control freak. This man wants a young muslimah still weak in her faith so that he can groom her into his own little sad version of Islam. If you are strong in your religion before you start window-shopping for husbands this jerk can't even touch you.
There's probably more, but these were the bits Aalia thought important enough to warn me of, at the same time telling me, Muslim men are the best men in the world, and you know, if you find one who is living Islam in the right way, he is. This could also be called a few steps to being one of the happiest women in the world: D Love all, ameen.