On Monday evening, I was on a date with a potential suitor who had been introduced to me through family, when he said: “I just don’t see why a successful woman with as much charisma and ambition as you would want to, one; marry me, and two; move to my remote village in the Midlands.”
I sat back, having otherwise been completely carried away with the dream of this knight in shining armour, whisking me off my feet with all the romance he could muster. I looked over at the American woman sitting next to us in the Grand Dorchester lobby, who had just interrupted our conversation to tell me that her boyfriend of 12 years dumped her on Christmas Eve – by email. In that moment I realised she represented the dilemma of women today. She was an obviously successful and beautiful 40-something U.S. corporate lawyer – very Ally McBeal – but was she content or happy? Far from it.
I looked at my suitor and then back at her and contemplated answering him with the following line: “You’re so right. I have no need to get married just yet. I have so much more to achieve and many more places to go and people to meet.” (My new lawyer friend had just offered to set me up with some meetings in New York and I was genuinely enthused). But instead, I looked into his eyes and I’m not sure what made me say it, but I replied: “I want you to be better than that dream. I want you to make me feel like a single day with you is better than all the time in the world spent seeking out this ‘career’ and ‘success’ because we all ultimately seek success for one end goal. Happiness. And for me, there is nothing more fulfilling than a loving marriage.”
This is the dilemma that women today are facing. They’re being sold an idea of singledom and success, evaluated by how many countries you’ve worked in and how many public achievements you have accumulated.
There has also been an explosion of male unemployment and a steep decline in men’s life prospects that has disrupted the “romantic market.” Internationally, the number of complaints about the drought in good men – declared by successful and intelligent women no less – is endless. Increasingly, the choice is between deadbeat husbands (whose numbers are rising) and playboys (whose power is growing) as described by Kate Bolick in The Atlantic.
It seems the Japanese would agree. I came across an article about a group of Japanese menknown as hikikomori (socially withdrawn boys), soshoku danshi (“herbivore” men, uninterested in sex). In a recent government study, the number of unmarried men has increased by nine percent from five years ago, with 61 percent of those unwed men reported not having a girlfriend, and 45 percent saying they couldn’t care less about finding one. “Maybe we’re just advanced human beings,” says a Japanese friend of the editor. She is an attractive, 40-something at one of Japan’s premier fashion magazines, and she is still single. “Maybe,” she adds, “we’ve learned how to service ourselves.”
I looked back at my suitor and wondered, have I learnt to sustain myself? Is it possible that marriage is just a fad of old times and one of those institutions which has no wisdom today?
Yet throughout the ages, marriage, as a concept, never seems to wane. In the fourth century BCE Socrates famously said: “My advice to you is to get married. If you find a good wife, you’ll be happy; if not, you’ll become a philosopher”. In the sixth century, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: ”The World is a pleasure and the best pleasure in it is the righteous partner.” And in the 18th century, Benjamin Franklin confirmed no change in this station of marriage, stating “Marriage is the most natural state of man, and the state in which you will find solid happiness.”
Marriage in Islam is of the most highly regarded acts, so much so that it is narrated from traditional Islamic sources that there is one sin for which only marriage can expiate a person. Imam Al Ghazali, an 11th to 12th century philosopher and theologian, describes it as “a taste of Paradise.” Ghazali explains that marriage is the raison d’etre: “and He (God) created the womb and the penis, and appointed passion in man and a woman. He created the seeds of offspring in the spines and breasts of men and women; the purpose of this is not hidden from any reasonable person…”. Regardless of religious beliefs, men and women are created with specific tools, which lead to a specific purpose – that of creating a new being. It seems obvious to me that this must be my purpose. Why would anything in life be created for no reason at all?
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf talks about this often when he says, “her natural virtues, kindness, compassion, selflessness and love predominate in men, men are able to overcome their natural vices and realise their full humanity.” I don’t think enough men realise the incredible impact a good woman can have in their lives. Many think they need to establish themselves before they marry, yet the right women often lead to the greatest of success.
My favourite description from the Quran is where men and women are described as garments for each other (Quran 2:187). There is nothing closer to you than the clothes that you wear and that touch your skin. This is what a husband should be to me, and me to him. As such, I would feel honoured to have the opportunity to enter this union.
Abdul Qadir Al Jilani, a 12th century Islamic scholar, sums up the role of a husband. On being a husband ‘he must not eat, unless they have already eaten. In relation to his dependents, he must be like a trusted agent and a servant, and like a slave with his master. He must carry the firm conviction that, by serving his dependents, labouring to support them, and looking after their interests, he is fulfilling the commandment of God in worshipful obedience to Him.’
So given my status as a woman and what I see as my fundamental role, I realise that the passion felt between a man and myself points to a higher purpose. And it is clear to me that we should act in accordance with this blessing.
For most women the sacrifice needn’t be great. Many women can, and do, balance successful careers with great family lives and Islam doesn’t preclude that. But I wouldn’t want to take the risk of rejecting a blessing in a good man, like this man sitting opposite me, one who recognises his duties towards a wife and one who described love to me as that innate desire of wanting to care for someone in every moment.
This was reaffirmed when he said: “Love is when, every day before you sleep, you prepare an entire pomegranate for your wife so that she can enjoy her favourite fruit without getting her hands dirty.” I knew from the moment I heard this that only a man of great character and understanding could come up with it, one who understood that his treatment of me is a higher form of worship than any supererogatory prayer. A man who takes his example from the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), a man who would look for mercy and love in his wife’s embrace, and who would sacrifice everything for a moment of her joy. Such a man is a rarity today and beats a life of having to peel your own pomegranate, hands down.
* Muslims repeat the phrase “peace be upon him” after mentioning the Prophet Muhammad’s name. It is abbreviated to “pbuh” elsewhere in the text.
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My name is Halima and I'm from Gauteng, South Africa and my husband (Arshad) is from Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa; we are both South African Indians.
He liked my profile on muzmatch on the 8th of April 2018 and on the 9th we started chatting and Alhamdulillah, today we are husband and wife.
About a month before I joined muzmatch I remember speaking to my mother in the kitchen as we cooked supper and she had full confidence that I'd be getting married soon.
I told her that I felt that maybe I'm just not meant to get married and be happy, taking into consideration that I personally felt like one could never find a decent man whose intention is to make Nikah in this day and age.
My Moulana had recommended that I join Nikah/Muslim match-making groups and muzmatch populated amongst my searches, so I downloaded the app and registered. After a while I had lost hope so I deleted the app from my phone but did not deactivate my profile.
It was a Monday morning, I had woken up to get ready for work,
I checked my phone and I had an email notification from muzmatch which read "Arshad likes you".
I was quite surprised; I looked at his profile and his biography was quite captivating but it seemed so surreal - this was too good to be true.
I used the link in his bio to view his Facebook profile, we had a mutual friend which was my cousin that also resides in Kwa-Zulu Natal, so I felt a bit more assured that this is definitely real considering that I had started to think that this could potentially be a catfish.
We started chatting that very morning and there was an instant click. It felt like we were long lost friends because of how well we understood each other and could complete each others sentences. We had the same interests and the same intention; we could speak for hours on end without running out of things to say.
We had realized that we are most definitely soulmates.
Within 2 weeks he called my parents to ask for my hand in marriage. In July 2018 (21st), I booked a flight to visit him and his mum for the day and after spending time together we knew that this was the right decision and that Allah SWT had created us for each other.
We then saw each other once again in August 2018 (25th - A surprise for my 21st birthday planned by him and my mum); and again in November 2018 when he flew up to attend my younger sister's wedding with his mum, younger sister and brother-in-law.
Slowly the long distance had become difficult, our younger sisters were both already married and settled and we started wondering when would we actually get married. In February this year he decided to relocate to Gauteng and found a temporary job.
His dad visited my parents and they decided to set a Nikah date, Alhamdulillah once the date was set everything fell into place by the will of Allah. He found a job as a PC Engineering lecturer and we were able to find our own place with our parents help and support.
Today I am happily married, living my dream with my husband and I have wonderful in-laws that love me as much as they love Arshad.
The most important quality I wanted in a husband was someone that could take my family as his own and Alhamdulillah I found that in Arshad.
We are now a huge happy family Alhamdulillah.
Jazak'Allah muzmatch! Arshad has found me due to the creation of this wonderful app (He always says that he found me, not the other way around).
I would advise everyone to put their trust and faith in Allah SWT, never give up hope that Allah SWT will send the one who is meant for you when the time is right - for Allah is the greatest of planners. May all the other individuals find their spouses through this app as well Insha'Allah.
Halima & Arshad
My name is Yasmeen and I found my husband, Taymoor, on muzmatch on the last day of last ramadan. We were both divorced.
The first time we talked on muzmatch was in June and we got married one month later in August 2018. I always wanted to send our story to inspire others who are searching for a good husband and wife.
We are both Egyptians, from Cairo, we even work & live very near to each others in New Cairo city. I am a digital marketing manager and Taymoor is an IT manager. I am 37 years old and he is 40.
I have a daughter who is 12 years old, and I was searching for a real Muslim man who would be a good husband and father. Finally I found Taymoor, who is a good man and a good Muslim, he is very kind.
I am telling my friends that I found someone who really looks like me from the inside. He was divorced and also has a kid, who is 5 years old. When we first chatted on muzmatch we spoke for over 6 hours, he was surprised much we got on, he even thought that this was a prank!
I couldn't believe that I finally found the man I was looking for. The first time we met, was after Eid al futr, in the House of Cocoa, as Taymoor knew that I loved chocolate. We talked about ourselves for over six hours, I did not want to leave and neither did he.
After we met I told my family and friends, and he did too. He and his family visited us and we got married in only two months, I never imagined that I would find my soulmate and marry him that fast.
I always wanted to find a man to trust and love, after being a single mom for years, I found out that my dream man was hard to find, but alhamdullah I found him on your app.
Alhamdullah, we are very happy together, my daughter lives with us and his son visits us on the weekends. You cannot imagine how much I am now recommending muzmatch to all my friends.
It didn't even take me long to find my husband. I used the app for almost one month or less.
I am so happy alhamdullah now that I married a real muslim I always wanted.
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My name is Sara and I just wanted to thank muzmatch and let you know that I finally got engaged on 24th December 2018 and found my Fiance - Ghazunfar on the App.
We are really happy Alhamdulilah and just wanted to thank you for creating a platform for Muslims to find a suitable match for marriage!
I believe it's a real blessing because initially we matched but we didn't talk as he hadn't read my messages and was not appearing online. After around 4 weeks, I unmatched however after some weeks I logged in and I came across his profile again. After some giving it some thought I decided to rematch and give it a try again.
The next day he replied to me and the is history. Its been a almost a year since we matched on Muzmatch and we have set the Nikkah date which will be 1st March 2019 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
Our families are very happy and we are looking forward to entering into the blessed union of marriage Insha'Allah. We just wanted to say keep up the good work, may Allah bless you and request that you keep us in prayers.
One last thing to everyone using the muzmatch App - please do not give up, there is someone out there for us all!
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