Qadi Shurayh was the chief judge in Kufa during and after the Caliphate of 'Ali, may God be pleased with him. Besides judging the cases referred to him, he also used to give advice on different matters to those who applied to him for judgment. Once a young man came to him for advice about marriage.
Qadi Shurayh began his response by reporting to the young man the saying of the Prophet, 'The home of a Muslim family is like Paradise'. Then, he warned him that in order that a home may be like Paradise, the members of the family should have received Islamic education. After that, he narrated to the young man an incident he recollected:
— I was passing by the tents of Banu Makhzum during my youth when I saw a girl and offered her marriage. Her people agreed and we married. But I was having second thoughts as she was the daughter of a nomadic family and I wondered if, having been brought up in desert as a nomad, she might be uneducated and ill-mannered. However, in the early days of our marriage, she told me:
'Master! You are a very famous scholar and jurist, while I am the daughter of the chieftain of a nomadic tribe. You were expected to have married a girl fitted for you in nobility and education, while I was supposed to marry a nomad. However, Destiny ordained that we should marry; it caused an unsophisticated, uncivilized nomadic girl like me to marry a man famous for his knowledge and nobility like you. It is my duty to make you happy as your wife, so teach me what your likes and dislikes are and how I should behave toward your family and friends.'
I was disappointed and also ashamed of what I had thought of her. I responded to her that if she did as she promised, she would make me really happy.
My wife really did behaved as she had promised. We were leading a very happy life when I saw a veiled woman at home one evening on my return there. She was my mother-in-law. I paid her great respect. She asked me whether I was happy with her daughter. I answered:
— May God be pleased with her and you. I have never seen her neglect her duties either toward me as a wife or toward God as a servant.
My mother-in-law gave me the following unforgettable reply:
— My son! I was certain you would be happy with my daughter, for I brought her up in Paradise. We were living in a tent but our tent was like Paradise. Fear of God, love of His Prophet and a zeal to live the religion prevailed there. Our tent resembled a school of Qur'an. We brought up our daughter according to Islam, for we believed that Islamic education was enough for one to be happy and make one's spouse also happy.
After narrating this memory of his to the young man, Qadi Shurayh concluded:
Dear son! This is my story. That nomadic girl was not brought
up in a city, but she received Islamic education. One can
be happy only by means of Islamic education. I regard myself
as one of the most happy of people on account of a nomadic
girl who received Islamic education. If you marry, choose
a girl who has received true Islamic education.