Author: Uzma Awan
THERE comes a time in your life when you have accomplished all the general things according to people’s criteria and a position on the invisible advisory board for public service opens up for you. Now, if you are explicitly a quiet person, it is implied you are a good listener as well. If you are a polite and down-to-earth person, it is expected you will totally accept other’s alibi and submit. This brings along surprises, amusements, shocks, disappointments, anguish and eventually exasperation.
Since your marital experience has crossed the +1 mark, you are now entitled to join the league of match making ladies. In the process you will meet sisters acknowledging, “There aren’t any good men left anymore” and brothers asking, “So, do you have any suitable girl for me in your mind?” The latter will give you a momentary jolt. You will have a quick talk with your inner self,“Do I look that old now?” But since, you have accepted a position on that invisible advisory board you are to honor your duties dutifully.
Assuming the responsibility, a series of questions and answers follow. The following is how the conversation takes place:
You: “What kind of a girl do you have in mind?”
Too-excited-to-be-a-groom: “Ah, well you know! She should be mature, educated, friendly, able to adjust with family, simple yet able to move in crowd with me, and of course a practicingMuslimah. She must wear hijab and offer all her prayers. That’s a must you know.”
You: [memorizing the long list of must-haves and knowing how looks are important to some of us] “And what about her looks? You are okay with marrying anyone? Looks aren’t that important for you?”
Too-excited-to-be-a-groom: “O no! The Prophet said we should have a look at the girl before marrying her. You can certainly show her picture or introduce her to me. You can send me link to her social media profile, can’t you?”
You: [Concealing uneasiness] “But if she is a practicing Muslimah how will she allow her picture being sent over?”
Too-excited-to-be-a-groom: “Ah well! Because she wants to get married.”
You: [O so that’s the reason. Gulping it down the throat; change the subject] “And what do you do for a living?”
Too-excited-to-be-a-groom: [laughter] “Nothing.”
You: [jaw dropped, eyebrows raised] “What do you mean by nothing?”
Too-excited-to-be-a-groom: “Well, I graduated from [insert any renowned university]. I have a Masters in [insert any popular degree].”
You: “Yeah that’s brilliant but what about your career? What do you plan to do in your life?”
Too-excited-to-be-a-groom: “Well, I live with my parents I don’t need to work.”
You: “Then how will you bear the expenses; your own and your wife’s? You understand your family will be growing in the future, in sha Allah?”
Too-excited-to-be-a-groom: “I have a rich Dad. He pays for my expenses. He will take care of us.”
You: [losing your patience] “I am not sure if any father would like to give his daughter’s hand in marriage to someone whose future is uncertain. You need to do something. You have to show you are responsible and can be depended upon.”
Too-excited-to-be-a-groom: “The Prophet said, when you are giving your daughter’s hand in marriage choose the one whose faith pleases you. I am a good Muslim I don’t cause anyone any harm.” [followed by a big wide smile]
You: [flabbergasted! Desperately waiting for the phone to ring. Hoping the aunty sitting two tables across you waves and calls you over. Help’s not coming….run!]
We, the Muslims, the lovers of Rasoolullah sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam stumble and falter trying to submit to the commands of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, but we try our best to hold on to our Prophet’s Sunnah. There’s one Sunnah in particular that is too dear to our hearts – marriage is half of your deen.
Indeed, it is! Since we are quoting the best person who ever walked on this earth, let’s peek into his seerah to educate ourselves on how he lived.
His first marriage to a rich businesswoman took place when he was only twenty five years old. An age most of us would like to get married by. How was he chosen as the best prospect among several others? Khadeeja radhiAllahi anha chose him after evaluating his honesty and trustworthiness in business dealings.
As much as a daughter’s marriage is any parents’ biggest dream come true, they will not give her hand to just about anyone. Marriage is a heavy responsibility. It is also a trust from Allahsubhanahu wa ta’ala. Parents will thoroughly investigate the prospective husband’s background and when it satisfies their heart only then will they approve of him.
Putting yourself in any parent’s position, reflect on the following:
Alhumdulillah that you are a good Muslim, and you do not cause anyone any harm, but being a Muslim doesn’t mean to sit back and see life unfold. By being curious about your working status, we, the parents, are not eyeing your money. We want to ensure when times are tough you will remain her strongest shoulder. She will not reminisce the days spent at her parents’ home and feel her past was better than her today. She wouldn’t look at us with complaining eyes in silence; her state narrating her ordeal. We don’t want either of you to hold grudges or anger and harm your own health. We want her to look forward to her life with you.
We have not raised our daughter to chase dunya, alhumdulillah like you she is a good Muslimahas well. She is not a materialistic person but she is a human, you know? She has needs. There will be grocery expenses even if she chooses frugal living for herself. You expect her to accompany you at social gatherings; she will need clothes to adorn. She can live with one new dress in two months, but clothes cost money, you know?
With the coming of the baby, in sha Allah, the expenses will increase further. The baby ain’t a toy either even if you choose mother’s milk and cloth diapers for him, there will be pediatrician’s visits you can’t avoid.
You see we raised our daughter with good values and pleasing conduct. We equipped her with the right education. We now expect that her knight in shining armor will take care of our beautiful daughter the way we did. He will help her grow both emotionally and intellectually. He will be a reason for her personal strength.
You may be a gentleman, but by your following a disciplined life proves you are responsible. You have goals and some purpose to serve. We don’t expect you to be a CEO at a multinational. We didn’t say your salary should be in six figures. Our expectations are quite realistic. We want our daughter to feel good about herself, safe and fulfilled while being with you.
And if you say you will pick some freelance projects, when your parents stop supporting you, do you expect us to see our daughter suffer between project to project not knowing when the next project will come?
As much as you want to marry a mature girl who supports and stands by you, we hope you will be mature enough to provide her a life worth standing by you.
We can’t marry our daughter off because she must be married. We love her and we want to ensure what’s best for her. If you want to hasten the marriage process for the sake of commitment, we advise you to speed up your job hunting process as well. It is Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala Who writes the qadr. If you have been chosen as her prospective husband, there’s nothing in the world that can alter it.
We don’t have any unreasonable expectations, you see? It is our heart that seeks contentment.