It is 2021 and Muslims are finding it particularly difficult to get partners to settle down with. Most people end up getting married later than they envisaged. Some are still not married, and a lot of those who have had to go through hoops to do so.
If marriage is one of the most beautiful traditions performed by Muslims, why has it become such a nightmare to actually get married? This article focuses on some of the reasons why 21st century Muslims find the whole process tedious and how we can work towards ensuring that we don't fall victim to this.
The 5 points highlighted below are steeped in intentionality and an openness to revamping certain mindsets you might carry. They however hold rich benefits and are necessary to aiding your steps towards marriage In Shaa Allah.
1. The Cinderella narrative is not the Muslim's narrative.
Muslims have Seerahs and beautiful stories of how the companions of the Prophet SAW lived their lives. The west has fairytale stories of princesses and princes, damsels in distress and knights in shining armor.
The problem is that people forget that whether originally from the west or westernized, Islam is a culture on its own, and our way of life as Muslims should ideally stem from the Quran, Sunnah and narrations of how the companions lived their lives. Islam is an all encompassing religion with enduring practices meant to guide us through all of life's ventures. Including marriage.
The Halal way of seeking spouses is plenty, but it does not include dancing with a non-mahram till 12:00 midnight or letting your hair down through the window for a knight to climb on and steal kisses while your stepmother sleeps. While it is their way, it is not ours. So if the lens through which you seek a spouse has been tainted by the western infused mindset of courtship, you are going about it the wrong way.
There are varying means of seeking a spouse, and these include referrals, proposals, halal matchmaking services, and so many more. You do not have to be a damsel in distress to desire companionship, or to crave the warmth that comes with family. It is not desperate or demeaning, it is a part of our fitrah, and it is only right that we fulfill that.
First, accept and admit the fact that you do want to get married. Make your intentions known to those around you. Khadija RA was a pioneer of her time. She owned a lot in terms of wealth, beauty and prestige. Yet, she was not hesitant to mention that she desired a spouse. She just needed to ensure that she was marrying the right person for her. Since she was honest about her wishes, Maysara was quick to inform her when she found someone that seemed to meet her specifications. Centuries down the line, their beautiful marriage still seems unattainable to even the most devoted of spouses.
2. Know yourself to avoid kissing a thousand frogs.
While dating is frowned upon in Islam, a lot of Muslims still engage in courting multiple men before they finally settle down. Mainstream media says it is normal to kiss a few frogs, maybe more than a few, before finally landing your prince. First of all, in Islam, the only man that you are kissing is your husband, not your fiancé or boyfriend. Secondly, unless you truly take out time and start contemplating as early as possible who you are and what you want out of this life, you will end up with a lot of heart breaking entanglements than is healthy.
Knowing who you are helps you be firmly rooted in identity and self awareness. It also helps with self acceptance as a Muslim, and as a person. That way, even when people approach you for marriage, you know who to entertain and who to kindly dismiss. This saves you a lot of heartache and stress. Also, as opposed to the western narrative, the only people you will be considering are princes and princesses. The frogs will not even get a chance to be evaluated. You just have to discover your prince or princess among those that you speak with.
Umm Salama RA had proposals from companions of the Prophet SAW, but she refused them all. This wasn't out of pride, but out of self preservation. She then proceeded to marry the Prophet SAW himself after he proposed marriage.
3. Love me as I am, or leave me be.
This is a very well thought out mindset to have. It's also a very misinterpreted and romanticized one by everyone. A lot of us would rather change partners than change who we are. The truth is that nobody today wants to improve themselves. We will work for an upgrade in every other part of our lives but will refuse to put in the personal work required to better ourselves.
Even when we barely know what marriage means to us, the rights our partners have over us and our obligations towards others in our marriage; everyone seems to know that they want submissive wives and providing husbands. While it is important to know what you want in a spouse, it is important that you ask yourself from time to time, "am I the kind of person that the kind of person I want wants?" Simply put, whoever the man or woman you have described in your head is; ask yourself, if I were this person, would I want to marry me too?
Good things come to those who wait, better things belong to those who are willing to honestly strive for it. One of the companions of the Prophet SAW was proposed to by a man who greatly cherished her, but she told him, you are a kafir, and so you are unlawful to me. She then went on to demand that should he desire her hand in marriage, he would have to accept Islam. He did, and his acceptance was her mahr.
You want a woman who is a homemaker. A woman who would give all of her time to raising your children and ensuring that the house is filled with warmth and love. Have you thought about the fact that such a woman would require a man that can provide wholly for the family? A man who can afford her and her children the necessities of life. Have you then asked yourself if you are that kind of man? If the state of your finances can afford you to keep that kind of home? Because that is the kind of man the kind of woman you seek is seeking.
So while it is absurd to change the core of who you are simply to please someone, kindly note that you might have to improve in certain areas or intensify your efforts towards certain endeavors so as to be the kind of spouse that the spouse that you seek needs.
4. It is always too early until it is too late.
Early marriage is considered admirable in Islam and is highly encouraged. The mindset that you have all the time in the world is one that the west idolizes. This stems from a lot of reasons that counter Islamic practices, zina is one of them. It is already widely practiced in the west, so marriage is not something that they have to fulfill to seek intimacy of any sort. Marriage is also not considered as an essential act in the west. Muslims on the other hand are guided by spiritual inclinations, and religious practices. We are different people. If you try to understand Islam through the lens of the west, your view will continually be blurred. You have to take those lens off, and see through the eyes of the Muslim that you are.
The earlier you come to the acceptance of marriage as an essential part of your life, the earlier you start to prepare for it. There is a stark difference between "I am not ready," and "I have not found the right spouse for me." Both are equally important in your growth as a Muslim looking to get married. Even when you are not in the second phase, be in the first. It is in knowing that you are not ready that you prepare yourself accordingly. It is in accepting that you are ready that you understand that we can never fully be prepared, but with the right spouse, by Allah's grace, all obstacles can be overcome.
Even when you are not sure of how it's going to happen, or when it's going to be; you have to be sure of your why and who. What marriage means to you, why you seek marriage, and who you have to be with to have the kind of marriage that you desire. Work on what you have control over and watch Allah SWT align it all with the things that do not make sense at the moment.
It is never too early to start the process of self discovery. Once you cross the threshold of being completely dependent on your parents for survival into being an independent person; It is never too early to start working on the kind of man or woman you want to be to your family.
5. You speak to everyone but Allah
In Surah Al-Ghafir, verse 60, Allah SWt says, "Call on me and I will answer."
Even when we are now open about our desire to have a spouse, a lot of us refuse to take it where it matters the most. We refuse to ask Allah for all that we need in our spouses. And even when we do, we do not ask Him enough.
It doesn't have to be a crippling need that brings us to our need. Once our heart starts throbbing, and our souls start itching for companionship, for the desire to proceed through life as a part of a whole, we should take our wishes to Allah and ask that He fulfills them. And He will in His wisdom, grace and benevolence, grant our requests.
May Allah SWT grant us goodness and ease all of our affairs. May He SWT grant all of those who seek spouses beautiful soulmates that may be coolness to theirs. Ameen.
This article was written by Sr. Rahmat Omole for ilmnikah.com. ilmnikah.com is a blog and a matrimonial platform for single Muslims living in the United States, Canada, UK, Turkey, South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Australia, New Zealand or Germany. Visit our homepage and sign up to receive email updates from us. Don't forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Clubhouse and Telegram.
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