What Will People Think?

How I escaped the ‘what will people think…’ notion:

The journey of finding my wife and my best friend

But what will people think… This was a notion my family always uttered.

I was looking for a wife for some time. And I had come across quite a few potentials. Those my family had brought, my friends had recommended and those I stumbled across through different means as well… They all had different personalities, different interests, different levels of practice but one thing they all had in common is that they were the same ethnicity as me.

I was born and brought up in England as were my siblings and my parents, even my grandparents lived up north! BUT none of that meant anything. I had to find a wife from the same roots as my ancestors.

At first I thought this was bizarre. But then, coming from an Asian background, I thought, you know what – although this is bizarre – there must be loads of Asian girls out there. Surely one will meet my interests and personality and also the ethnicity side as well. Then it’s a win, win situation. I get what I want and always longed for in a wife and my parents will be happy too!

The profiles and meetings began and although they were all the same ethnicity, none of them clicked with me. Some were less practicing, some more, some the total opposite of my personality and interests and basically all in all not what I imagined my wife to be…

I started looking myself too. Looking for everything I wanted… just with the added criteria of them having to be of the same ethnicity. Why weren’t any meeting my other criteria?

And then I realised. I had my lightbulb moment.

I kept hitting a dead end. Why?

Because I thought good character, piety, similar personality, righteousness and all these positive traits were a given. Surely must embody them to some degree? As much as we wish everyone holds these traits, it’s far from the truth and reality. I made ethnicity my priority and deal breaker and everything else that actually matters in a marriage subsidiary… 

But what made me realise this?

I realised this after my best friend had sent me a profile. He texted me just before Fajr and forwarded me the profile which he received from the brother of the sister in question. I still remember the text! He said to me, bro I know she’s not from the same ethnic background but just read her profile and see if your parents will come round. Just give it a go.

When I saw his first line I just knew this was another dead end. My parents would never accept someone from a different ethnic background. What’s the point in trying? I’ll just upset the sister by eventually saying no! I was dubious to read on as if I had already set an answer in my head…

Curiosity had the better of me though and I continued to read. Her profile clicked with me as soon as I read it. You just know sometimes. Her interests, hobbies, level of practice – it all resonated with me. I felt as though I had written parts of her profile, that’s how similar it was to my way of thinking! And then I knew why my friend had sent it to me. He knew me inside out and knew this sisters profile would be a perfect match. 5 years down the road, I’m so happy I did because she ended up being my wife and my closest ally. 

I had mixed feelings. I was so excited to finally have a profile before me of a sister who seemingly met all my criteria but then I was fearful as she didn’t meet the most important one for my parents… ethnicity. I didn’t want to upset or hurt my parents. Ultimately they’re your parents, right? All my siblings married in the same ethnicity, would I be the one to ‘ruin’ this?

I thought and thought, sought advice and prayed istikhara and came to the realisation that you know what, trying will never kill anybody. And in fact it might change a mindset that’ll change a generation to come. I knew that although my parents held ethnicity in high regard, they wouldn’t be truly happy if I wasn’t. I bit the bullet and approached my parents. Never had I been so nervous before. I felt as though I was crushing all their hopes and desires for me. But inside I knew and had so much conviction that if this sister was good for me, Allah will make it work and Allah will fill my parents hearts with love for her.

What I saw thereafter brothers and sisters was my miracle. Fast forwarding, my parents saw the profile, met the sister, her parents and her family – and not long afterwards, we married. They fell in love with her character and personality to such an extent the notion of ethnicity hardly ever arose. All the points I had rehearsed to try and convince them weren’t even needed! Allah took care of it all.

And that’s it. That was my miracle. And now I am happily married Alhamdulillah and my parents have never been more pleased.

And it’s because we chose and picked the traits that matter the most and that’s righteousness.

Sometimes you need to see things that don’t work to really appreciate that which will.

But to those brothers and sisters out there who are struggling with their parents or family, whether it be with ethnicity or something else, do not lose hope. If what you are asking for is good, Allah will help you. But you need to tie your camel first. And then trust Allah. Stand up, take initiative and make people understand with wisdom and utmost respect always.

There’s wisdom in everything.

Things won’t magically appear on your plate. You need to make the first move.

May God guide us and grant us ease, ameen.

Written by an anonymous muzmatch user


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11 Responses

  1. Abdul says:

    As-salāmu ʿalaykum. Absolutely loved your thoughts. I agree with you completely. It’s unfortunate that when Islam promotes one body one soul, cultural practices has made us drift apart. Being in muzmatch for some time, I can’t help but wonder why sisters (from personal experience) seek for brothers from a particular ethnicity. Some unfortunately go one step further by mentioning a particular caste. In 2018 we shouldn’t fall victim to cultural practices. I’m sure a lot of brothers does the same. We need to educate ourselves in our Deen. We lack it a lot. insha’Allah with so many marriages happening outside of a particular ethnicity, things will improve.

    • Hauwa says:

      You spoke my mind

    • FractalIntakeMkII says:

      South Asians (me including) are uniquely factional by nature. You can attribute several factors as to why, historical, cultural and so on.

      I’m of Bengali descent. So I’ve seen multiple profiles that filters out people from outside of particular cities or even districts. Like Sylheti’s refusing to marry someone from Dhaka. Even being a Sylheti isn’t good enough, they have to be within a certain district.

      It’s like a someone from London rejecting a proposal from someone from Newcastle. It’s utterly absurd when you step out and see the world without of your turmeric paste coloured glasses.

      Women are generally more critical when choosing a partner, it’s just how we evolved as a species. Women also rely on social groups with an extensive network of emotional support. And it’s easier to seek that from people who are familiar to you. Slightly different with men though. For one we are prepared to take more risk. If that means starting a family with someone from a completely different culture to you, then bring it on. We are more autonomous emotionally and aren’t so active in seeking support (which isn’t always a good thing btw). It’s less of a dive for us perhaps? We also associate our self with people who share similar activities, interests or work. I’d much rather be with a lady from Khabarovsk who’s more compatible with me than a Bengali lady who just happen to born in the same piece of rock as me.

      Everyone has the right to a preference. It’s your choice if you only want to marry someone from your own district. But then don’t complain about your difficulty in finding a partner. Because they don’t meet your Waffen SS like criteria.

      There’s no shortage of men and women in Muzmatch. Yet most people still linger around the carousel like an expired product.

      We have no one else but ourselves to blame

  2. Abu says:

    Alhamdulillah. Miracle works in mysterious ways.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Awesome and encouraging experience. It’s really heart-shattering seeing the level of racism in Islam especially in the western world. May Allah forgive us and our parents. We claim we practice Islam but we practice what pleases us not Allah. It’s pathetic seeing brothers and sisters searching for a perfect spouse, looking for a list of irrelevant qualities. We forgot the advice of the prophet pbuh in terms of choosing a spouse. May Allah grant us goodness.

  4. Hamza says:

    Al hamdulillah
    Bilal (ra) was very dark skinned. He (ra) will be the first man to enter paradise. Mashallah… but did you know the messenger (saws) have said what about bilal (ra) speaking about him for marriage but there wasn’t a response to marry him. And think of our conditions and we say we like to go to paradise. Really? Is the question we should be asking ourselves. What about the parents of the beautiful girl that married jubilee. Her parents didn’t like for her to marry him because he was deformed. However the messenger (saws) request for the young beautiful women to marry him and she done so even without the advice of parents. The girl say that the messenger (saws) advise the I will take it and she didn’t take her parents advice be she believe in Allah and the messenger (saws) but what happens to a girl that fears her family disowning her practically abandoning her because she likes to marry another. May Allah have mercy on us. Ameen

  5. Lola says:

    Thank you so much for this post as it’s an eye opener for me. I met a brother here on this platform he posses all the qualities that I want but lacks education which is a big one for me. I’m African but a certified lawyer he’s American but has a high school diploma. However has intention to go to college in the nearest future. He has a great paying job. But the lack of education is my issue.. I need advice is that enough for me to say I’m not interested forgeting the great qualities he posses. This is an issue I’m seriously battling my thoughts on. May Allah make it easy.

    • Ken says:

      Omo Naija , Ronu, think before you leap , what is important to you ? Love happiness or the status quo ? I know a girl who is a graduate and married a plumber and of a security guard who married a doctor and also news of an IT Exec who married a security guard at the place where she was working ( both of them were from Naija)
      Many other cases but if you are one of those that places more value on his educational background, then look before you leap because it means that you would never respect him and it will only lead to problems down the line.

  6. Ashiraf says:

    My WhatsApp is +256756150555 ,am looking for a Moslem wife to marry.let any one ready, inbox me

  7. Iman says:

    Alhamdulillah, your article was thoughtful and inspirational. My husband actually taught me Islam and then we were happily married for over 32 years until Allah took him in 2010. Imagine, if you will, an Irish American married to a Libyan. Yet what we shared in common was so much more important than any differences between us. I have two amazing daughters. My oldest is married to an Egyptian, 6 older children. My younger one (26) is still at home, works as a college counselor and a co-founder of a non-profit helping needy college kids. I know how difficult it is trying to find a special someone who can appreciate a thoughtful and caring young woman like her. But we can wait for the one Allah has planned for her. Reading your story has given me a smile. Thank you.

  8. Salam says:

    Remember there’s no racism in Islam cut the haterism. You’re not Muslim being this way. I scroll through this muzmatch site and wonder about these profiles I’m seeing. I’m disappointed in most of them. Inshallah I’m able to meet a real true Muslima non judgmental inshallah.

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