How can a man know if a woman will be a loving and fertile wife before marriage?
It was narrated that Ma’qil ibn Yasaar said: A man came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said: “O Messenger of Allaah, I have found a woman who is from a good family and is beautiful, but she does not bear children; should I marry her?” He told him not to. Then he came to him a second time and said something similar and he told him not to marry her. Then he came to him a third time and said something similar and he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Marry the one who is loving and fertile, for I will be proud of your great numbers.”
Narrated by Abu Dawood, 2050; al-Nasaa’i, 3227; classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) in Adaab al-Zafaaf, p. 132.
There are two ways of knowing whether a woman will be fertile:
1 – By looking at her mother and sisters
2 – If she has been married before; that will be known from her previous marriage.
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeem Abaadi said in ‘Awn al-Ma’bood (6/33): Marry the one who is loving, means, the one who loves her husband; and the one who is fertile, is the one who bears a lot of children.
It may be understood from this that if the one who is fertile is not loving, it is not recommended to marry her, and if the one who is loving is not fertile, then the purpose of marriage, which is to increase the numbers of the ummah by bearing many children, will not be achieved. These two qualities may be known in the case of virgins from their relatives, because relatives are usually similar, physically and in attitude, to one another.
And Allaah knows best.