The Necessity For Guardianship in Marriage
It is important to know that no matter how many questions you ask a brother, or how much you think you know him, or how sure you think you are that he is a great guy, YOU MUST HAVE A MARRIAGE GUARDIAN! Many time sisters end up so sorry because they were cheated out of their dowry or mislead some how. In some cases she found out things after the marriage that proved devastating all because she did not have a marriage guardian to investigate the brother she was interested in marrying.
The first thing that you must do, before you start looking for a husband is to find a marriage guardian. Without the marriage guardian your marriage is not valid. In a sound Hadeeth it is recorded that The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam , said: "A woman shall not marry off another woman nor shall a woman marry herself off." (Ibn Majah and Darul-Qutni) Another sound Hadeeth states "Any woman who marries without the sanction of her guardian, then her marriage is invalid; and if he has already consummated the marriage with her, then the dowry is hers to keep for what he has enjoyed of her; and if they dispute, then the ruler is the guardian for the one who has none." (Ibn Majah and others) A Muslim should be getting married for the completion of their religion, and leaving out the marriage guardian is violating Allah's laws. When one violates Allah's laws and transgresses the limits He sets, it is of no benefit to the parties involved. So don't deiced that you have everything under control or that no one in your community is of interest to you to pick to be your Wali. Be selective, pick a member of the community (unless your family is Muslim and you can select one from there) who is religious and knows what his job would be as a marriage guardian. Don't just pick any body out of a hat, because this guardian will be your protector, before and during the marriage.
The marriage guardian is there for your protection. Leaving him out is like walking into a potential dangerous zone without a hard hat. He will help to make sure that the person you are considering is a good practicing Muslim who is able to provide for you. He is there to make sure that your dowry is given to you up front. He is also there to insure that secret meetings don't occur or secret marriages, abuse or unlawful sex.
If you have chosen a marriage guardian who is not doing all that he should, approach him in a nice manner and remind him of what duties he is lacking. Your marriage guardian is the one that should handle all calls that a brother makes in inquiring about you. He is to handle investigation of the brother. (He should be the one asking these questions on your behalf, but if he does not and you want them answered, ask your marriage guardian to set up a supervised meeting so that you can ask these questions) He is to handle your dowry (making sure that it is given in full and that whatever the brother is promising to give to you, that he is capable of doing so).
Don't rush into any thing you are not ready for. Take your time, and make sure that you are happy with the marriage prospect before agreeing to marriage. Even if you feel pressured, don't do it until you are ready. Many times people rush through things and end up sorry later because they did not take the time to get the brother investigated. Lastly, don't' be gullible or naive. So many women entering into a marriage with an idealistic fantasy that any brother properly dressed, or that seems nice will be to best husband one could expect. Wake up from that fantasy. Very few men in this day and age make the effort to be as devout as they claim and as nice and considerate as they should be. Truly, there are some brothers out there, that are good or excellent in character and piety, but they are far and few between. Therefore be mindful of red flags during your interview process. Also, always have a back up plan if the marriage doesn't work out. Have some money saved as a safety net and don't let anyone strong arm it away from you.
If you have any questions regarding marriage and divorce rights, interaction between men and women and other issues see the searchable database at http://www.islamqa.com/en