A recent article in the New York Times highlighted the importance of a couple agreeing on the type of financial lifestyle they wish to live before things get serious in a relationship. Questions such as “What is your credit score?” are increasingly asked on a first date. Unromantic? Very. Important? Exceptionally. As Muslims, we do not use dating as a means for marriage. But if a man and a woman are considering each other for marriage, a financial discussion is imperative. Research also conveys that one of the major reasons behind high divorce rates is poor money management, bad spending habits and debt distress. A couple must agree on the way their money will be spent. The romance comes later! By writing this, I seek to convey to my beloved Muslims to take heed of their financial decisions in a relationship and to instill an Islamic-financial perspective that will facilitate the marriage process in the Muslim community.
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him) told the youth to get married if they are able to, as marriage guards a person’s chastity. However, the Prophet ﷺ did not mention that youth need be rich to get married. Being rich has nothing to do with marriage. A family should be able to sustain itself financially for what they need at a minimum, at least in the beginning stages, and with the help of Allah, a couple can grow financially in the future.
The Prophet ﷺ also said: “A woman may be married for four reasons: for her wealth, for her lineage, for her beauty, and for her religion, so marry the one who is best in the religion and character, and you will prosper.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Beauty will not last forever. Wealth will come and go. But the religion and the character of a person is what will last throughout his or her life. Islam teaches us that being rich in the heart is more important than being rich in the pocket.
Our hearts should be content with what Allah gives us, and to constantly thank Him for the innumerable blessings He has bestowed upon us. A Muslim couple should not be preoccupied with what others have in wealth. It is only a distraction from enhancing their relationship with Allah and with each other. Make du`a’ (supplication) that Allah blesses others with what they have, and be content with what you have as a couple. No doubt that Muslims should have nice clothes and work hard for a comfortable lifestyle, but we must also live within our means without yearning for what others have.
Allah says in the Qur’an:
“And in the heaven is your provision and whatever you are promised.” (Qur’an 51:22)
Everything is written for us! Our rizq (provision, sustenance, wealth, etc.) is already predetermined by Allah. We must have full faith that what Allah (swt) gives us is in our best interest. No one will make a penny more or less than what Allah has prescribed for them. Our wealth does not belong to us, it belongs to Allah. Out of the immeasurable generosity of Allah, Allah has promised to reward those who righteously spend from He already owns. Everyone will be held accountable for the wealth they have, the way it was earned, and how it was spent. Every couple should be content with and grateful for the financial situation they have. As a team, a husband and wife should not only invest their time and wealth in this life, but to also invest in their Hereafter.
A number of financial discussions also come up when discussing the mahr (dowry) and weddings. Unfortunately, some disagreements between a prospective husband and wife, or even their two families, have a more cultural than Islamic basis. It is not uncommon for the family of the bride to ask the proposing man for a very high dowry, be it money or jewelry. However, the dowry is not a price that Islam puts on a woman when she gets married. Our Muslim sisters do not have a price tag attached to them when they get married. The dowry is a gift from the man to the woman he is proposing to, and there is no set amount that the man must give. The dowry is whatever the man can afford to give her. The only requirement is that both families agree to the dowry offered. The worth of a Muslim woman is set by her faith and character, not by the amount of dowry she is given.
It is understandable, and encouraged in Islam, to have a wedding that is memorable, decorative, and full of celebration, happiness and laughter. And it is also an Islamic principle to spend moderately, and not be stingy or excessive. However, as thousands of dollars are spent on weddings in the Muslim community, some more extravagant than others, Allah says in the Qur’an when describing the characteristics of the righteous worshipers of Al-Rahman, The Most Merciful:
“And [they are] those who, when they spend, do so not excessively or sparingly but are ever, between that, [justly] moderate.” (Qur’an, 25:67).
The Arabic word “israaf” in this verse is defined as excessive spending beyond one’s means. With that in mind, both stinginess and extravagance are denounced in Islam, and this verse should be kept in mind when planning weddings. Some couples actually go out of their way to get a loan for their wedding ceremony, at which point a couple begins their lives together paying off a loan, instead of building and investing that money for the couple’s future. Many couples are suffering because of the financial distress they are experiencing as a result of their unwise spending decisions and the massive debt they carry. Some have debt out of need, and we pray that Allah relieves them from the burdens of debt. However, some have debt out of their want for more, in which case they are adversely affecting their lives and those around them. Debt should be avoided, not only because of the Islamic prohibition of riba (monetary interest), but also so the couple can work for and focus on the family and its future rather than pay off a loan.
At times, our dear families worry too much about “What will others say about us?” when planning weddings. At times, people pressure themselves to put on a wedding that others will praise. It is notable to mention that our purpose in life is to please Allah before anyone else. Marriage is a means to please Allah and fulfill a sunnah (Prophetic tradition). Thus, weddings should avoid anything that may displease Allah, including excessive spending.
Without a doubt, a couple should enjoy their lives, cherish each other’s company and have memorable and quality time spent with each other. A couple should also strike a balance and keep in mind their future endeavors, such as the home they want to buy, the children they will have, the charity they will give, and the list goes on. With financial responsibility comes discipline. Financial professionals all agree that saving a portion of one’s money each month for the future is the best investment, and “if it doesn’t hurt, you’re not saving enough.”
Lastly, a successful relationship must have taqwa (God-Consciousness) at its center. For those who have taqwa, Allah says:
And [Allah] will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent. (Qur’an 65:3)
Allah will provide to those who uphold His commandments, strive to better themselves everyday, have good character, give in charity, treat their spouse with respect and honor, are patient in times of hardship and have trust in Him alone in all their matters. Rizq (provision) can come in many different forms, not only money. For example, sound health or one’s parents being pleased with him or her are considered rizq from Allah; and the Prophet ﷺ said: “The best provision in this world is a righteous spouse.” A righteous spouse is the best rizq from Allah, and therefore a couple should, together, please Allah with their actions and decisions.
Brothers should seek a wife whose ultimate goal is to enter Jannah (Paradise), not a Louis Vuitton store at the mall. Sisters should seek a husband who has a goal of pleasing Allah in all that he does, and not solely pleasing the boss at work for a promotion or bonus.
Allah is Al-Hay, The Ever-Living. Any relationship attached to Allah will never die, because Allah will never die. A relationship attached to Allah will thrive in this world, and continue in the Hereafter in Paradise.
We ask Allah to bless the marriages in the Muslim community and gather us with our families and spouses in Paradise, where the real wealth is.
Get married, free, on muzmatch.
By Jennifer Dawson
Preparing for a date can end up being a stress inducing activity most of the time. Fixing up hair and makeup alone takes up nearly forty minutes of a woman's time on an average day. As new trends in fashion continue to pop up, it can seem overwhelming trying to maintain a consistent style and routine, while still being current with today’s fashion. Here are a few ways to enhance your beauty for contemporary styles, while remaining true to the fashion that makes Muslim culture one of the most beautiful.
Dating can be intimidating, and our own insecurities can creep up, preventing us from putting ourselves out there to meet someone special. But those fears can be overcome. We should take pride in the modesty of our culture and commitment to Allah, especially with how we wear our hijabs. It’s fine to cut loose and outfit your hijab in a way that expresses both your beauty and inner devotion. Muslim fashion continues to develop side by side with contemporary fashion, letting diverse appearance flourish within modern fashion.
Styles such as the “casual chic”, which involve letting both sides of your hijab hang loose over both shoulders, are great for pulling off an effortless look that emphasizes your natural elegance and modesty. As long as you stay true to the core principles of modesty found in the Quran, then the elegance of your fashion sense will also shine through.
Make-up is the most powerful way for a Muslim woman to express her beauty while staying true to her faith. Whether with or without a hijab, cosmetics offer the chance for women to emphasis the facial qualities that make them beautiful. Women like Asha Hussein are excellent examples of how beauty conventions of both contemporary culture and Muslim tradition can fuse to create a captivating and popular look. Taking the time to learn eye makeup application and trends, such as having bold colors or strong brows, can be completely complimentary to your visual appearance and upstand the Muslim code of Modesty.
Modern culture is more than prepared for accommodating the belief that supports the styles that support and validate Muslim cultural practices. The fashion world is embracing the empowering virtue to be found in Muslim modesty. Whether through makeup or clothing, the diversity and energy put into your wardrobe should be expressed with pride and confidence. The principles found in our faith are wonderful and should be recognized as such. Claim your style as your own and embrace the beautiful principles that enchant your dress and appearance.
The world around us continues to diversify in ways that are supportive towards the beliefs and attire of our faith. There’s no need to place unnecessary restraint on your wardrobe, as long as you adhere to the principles of modesty which already come so naturally us Muslim women. Trust in your faith and your own uncompromising beauty.
Finding Love After Divorce
By Jennifer Dawson
‘Grey divorce’ has come to be a catchphrase of the millennium, largely because in contrast to general divorce rates (which are declining), the divorce rate among people over 50 is on the rise. Longer life expectancies mean that those who are in their 50s or even 60s can look forward to many decades ahead of a healthy and happy life and for many, this is a quest they would not like to undertake in their current situation.
As noted in a study by Z. Mohamed, Muslim divorce rates, particularly in Western countries, have been on the rise in recent years, with a dramatic increase in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and Australia.
Divorce can be liberating but also bring fear and anxiety. If you have been through a divorce and you are fearful about what the future holds, find inspiration in the Quran and consider online dating as a way to ensure those you date have the same life values as you. When you are ready, know that you can find love once again online and begin a new path in life.
Divorce is one of the highest entries on the Holmes-Rahe Stress Scale. In a way, it involves saying goodbye to many things – including (in some cases) one’s home, extended family and social circle. The Elisabeth Kubler-Ross model on the different stages of loss are also applicable to divorce. You may have to go through many stages – including sadness, anger, and regret, before you are ready to move on.
You will probably know you are ready when you feel that you need to be out and socialize. Positive ideas may pop in your head, such as the thought that you are young and have retired or have free time on your hands, you would love to try out a new hobby or sport, or you feel like dressing up in your finest garb and feeling appreciated as a man or woman once again. Check out what other singles are up to on muzmatch; what starts out as a friendship could develop into something very special.
Online dating has been a big boom for singles who may not have a huge social circle. Muslim men and women who do work and have a good professional network may not necessarily have a wide social one. This is especially true if most of your friends are couples that you only saw when you went out with your ex. As noted by the BBC, online dating is big, especially among Western Muslims.
In Islam, marriage is considered equal to half your religion. It holds great importance, so it is important to make the right decision. Online dating allows you to ‘test the waters’ beforehand, so to speak. For instance, if you are a Muslim woman with a firm believe in feminism, you can ensure the people you date think along the same lines. Because devout Muslims of a mature age may be reticent to go to bars and other establishments were others enjoy meeting,
online dating gives them the safety, choice, and discretion that is unique in the dating sphere.
You are indeed never too old to love or be loved. Muslim scripture espouses the importance of love and marriage in many passages.
“We not see for those who love one another anything like marriage,”
says Sunan Ibn Majah 1847, while Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 1322 notes: “When you love someone, you become infatuated like a child.” These and other words may inspire you to experience the beauty of love and marriage once again.
If you are a Muslim who is aged 50+ and who has just been divorced, you certainly are not alone. So-called ‘gray divorce’ is rising in numbers the world over, but that does not mean you need to be lonely.
Internet dating is booming for Muslims, especially those who don’t want to have to seek love in clubs and other establishments that can seem more about casual encounters than long-lasting ones. If you’ve never been online, sign up on muzmatch and go into it with a view to simply meet others. In time, friendships can unexpectedly bloom and you may find the love of your life.
Hey everyone, it’s Ayesha from My Big Fat Halal Blog (MBFHB)! MBFHB is one of the UK’s biggest halal food platforms where I share halal restaurant reviews, recipes and travel guides! You can find out more about what I do on my website or Instagram.
Today, I’m collaborating with muzmatch to share some of my top Ramadan recipes. We hope you try them out and we would love to see any of your recreations.
Here’s a simple recipe for this delicious, filling smoothie bowl packed with nutritious dates… the only dates you should be having this Ramadan! ;)
1 banana, plus extra slices to garnish
5 pitted medjool dates, plus extra, chopped, to garnish
250ml semi-skimmed milk
2 tsp cocoa powder
1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground nuts, to decorate
Simply put all the ingredients in a blender, and whizz until smooth. Pour into a bowl, over ice, if you like, then arrange the nuts, extra banana and dates over the top to serve.
Let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be Ramadan without fried treats! Below is a recipe for my spicy, moreish potato cutlets. They’re always a hit with everyone!
750g Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
11⁄2 tbsp garam masala
2 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp ground coriander
Handful of coriander, roughly chopped
2 tbsp plain flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tbsp vegetable oil
Chutney/spicy salsa, to serve
1.Put the potatoes in a large pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then cook for 18-20 mins, until tender. Drain and set aside for 15-20 mins, until cool enough to handle.
2. Add the garam masala, chilli powder, ground coriander and fresh coriander to the potatoes. Season, then mash until smooth.
3. Wet your hands, then shape the mixture into 10 round patties, about 1cm thick.
4. Put the flour, egg and breadcrumbs onto separate plates, then dip each patty first in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs to coat.
5. Heat the oil to medium-high, then fry the patties in batches for 2-3 mins on each side, until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper, then serve with a chutney/ spicy salsa for dipping.
A feast would not be complete without dessert! Try out this delicious Egyptian bread pudding known as Um Ali. It’s made with croissants, nuts and condensed milk and it’s absolutely delicious!
850ml semi-skimmed milk
1⁄2 x 397g can condensed milk
1⁄2 tsp ground cardamom
1⁄4 tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra to serve
1 tsp vanilla extract
100ml double cream
1 tsp unsalted butter
4 all butter croissants, roughly torn
2 tbsp desiccated coconut
2 tbsp flaked almonds
2 tbsp unsalted pistachios, chopped
2 tbsp seedless raisins
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/Gas 4.
2. Stir the milk, condensed milk, cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla extract together in a saucepan. Slowly bring to the boil and simmer gently for 2mins, stirring occasionally. Add the cream and carefully bring back to the boil, then remove from the heat.
3. Using the butter, grease a round baking dish, roughly 22cm in diameter and 5cm deep, and cover the base with half the croissant pieces.
4. Sprinkle over half each of the coconut, almonds, pistachios and raisins, then pour over the milk mixture.
5. Top with the remaining croissants, nuts and raisins, plus an extra pinch of cinnamon.
6. Bake in the oven for 20-25mins until golden and bubbling, then leave to stand for 10 mins before serving.
I hope you enjoy these recipes and will try them out! You can find more of my recipes at mybigfathalalblog.com.