A man came to Sufyan Bin Uyainah (may Allah have mercy on him) and complained about his wife. “I am the lowest and most despicable thing to her,” he said. Sufyan lowered his head for a few moments and asked, “Perhaps you wanted her in order to better your status?” The man said, “Indeed, Abu Muhammad.” Sufyan replied, “Whoever goes for glory will be tested with humiliation; whoever goes for wealth will be tested with poverty; but whoever goes for religiousness, Allah will bring together for him glory and wealth with the religion.”

Sufyan then mentioned his own story to the man. “We were four brothers,” he said. “Muhammad, ‘Umran, Ibrahim and I. Muhammad was the eldest, ‘Umran was the youngest, and I was in the middle. When Muhammad wanted to marry, he desired status and married a woman of higher standing, so Allah tested him with ignominy. ‘Umran desired wealth, so he married a richer woman and Allah tested him with poverty, as (her family) took everything from him and gave him nothing.”

“I pondered over their situation,” Sufyan continued. “Once when Mu’ammar Bin Rashid came to us, I consulted him and told him the story of my brothers. He reminded me of the Hadith of Yahya Bin Ja’dah and the Hadith of Ayesha.” The first Hadith states that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “A woman is married for four things: her religion, her status (lineage), her wealth or her beauty; so take the religious one and be successful.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) The second Hadith of Ayesha states that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The most blessed woman is she who is easiest to maintain.” (An-Nasa’i)

“Thus,” Sufyan said, “I chose (to marry a woman of) religion and with a modest dowry, in accordance with the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) and Allah gave me status and wealth along with the religion.” – Abu Nu’aym, Hilyatu Al-Awliya (7/289, 290)

Note: The second Hadith has been graded weak by scholars. However, scholars point out there is another narration that supports and adds to its meaning, which states: “It is from the good qualities in a woman that she (is taken in marriage with) an easy dowry, an easy proposal (via her guardian) and an easy womb (i.e. she is fertile and bares children without difficulty).” (Musnad Ahmad)