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Single Ever After

“The grass is no more greener on the other side” married women often tell their single sisters. Whilst women will forever debate the pros and cons of married life, one thing is clear; although marriage is not all a happily ever after fairytale, there is nothing desirable about prolonged singlehood. Allah designed us to need the companionship and comfort that can only be found in marriage, describing husbands and wives as garments for one another.[1]

Many young people aspire to get a degree and a job, get married and have children. They may experience obstacles along the way, and maybe all their priorities were wrong, but our generation could not have foreseen what would happen after the degrees were secured and the job-interviews were over. No doubt, most people followed up their successful careers with successful marriages, but a significant, (largely increasing) minority are wrestling with the fact that life didn’t work out quite like they planned.

The reasons for a prolonged singlehood are complex; everything from having a successful career and being overweight, to a shortage of practising brothers. Just as the cause is difficult to identify, the solution is equally elusive. Nevertheless, it is high-time our community woke up to the realisation that prolonged singlehood is not just affecting their daughters or a few so-called ineligible women. The tide has turned, and the struggle facing practising Muslim women has reached nearly every home (with few exceptions). There is no doubt that an increasing number of Muslims and a disproportionate number of women are finding themselves single well into their 20s and even 30s.

There is a growing concern about our young sisters, in particular, and the effect that delaying marriage is having on their lives. Much has been made of the so-called “boomerang generation” (people who have returned home to live with their parents, after having lived elsewhere); how their struggle with housing and living costs have forced them to move back in with mum and dad. Recent research by Mintel shows that 3 million adults have moved back in with their parents.[2] Muslim couples are no exception in having strong opinions on living with in-laws. However, the psychological impact of Muslim women living at home well beyond adolescence is largely ignored. They may have all the trappings of adulthood; a car, a job, and money in the bank, but they are still living in the same room they grew up in. Unable to get married, they have long outgrown their family home, but remain within its four-walls under the care and authority of their parents for longer than ever before. This can inevitably lead to much frustration and tension as the lines between childhood and adulthood merge, which can culminate in some women regrettably deciding to, or being forced to, leave home and set-up on their own.

Our increasingly immoral society has had a devastating impact on Muslim men,[3] but what of the impact on our women? The decade or two between adolescence and marriage can be the loneliest time for women who cannot marry. Modesty in a practising woman is something assumed. Yet the outer strength of our most practising sisters masks an inner struggle to lower the gaze, control the nafs, and to avoid the company of the non-mahram men. And, in a world where nothing is as pure as it once was, many of our sisters are falling into sins that marriage at earlier age could have prevented. The challenges of staying chaste are further compounded for women who do not have the security of a family-home environment.

As these women edge towards their late 20s, loneliness can become coupled with an increasing desire to have their own children. Whilst their friends may already be adding to their happy brood, they are still struggling through a cycle of proposals and marriage meetings. These concerns are heightened in women in their 30s, who may start to question whether they will ever marry and start a family. A women’s fertility declines more quickly with age than a man’s – declining rapidly after the age of 35.[4]

Women should remember, however, that although time might not be on their side, Allah in His Mercy will bestow children on whomever He wills. Zakariyya was an old man, with a head full of gray hair, and his wife was barren. Yet he supplicated,

“My Lord, grant me from you a righteous offspring, you are indeed the All-Hearer of invocation.”[5]

Little is said about the role of a single (or childless) Muslim woman in society, despite the fact that the wife of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him), A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), was left childless and single upon his death at just 18 years old. And yet, we have a plethora of articles, lectures and advice from scholars on how to be a good wife and mother. Isn’t it time to redress the balance? Whilst other women get busy raising their families, what should single women dedicate their lives to? Many women follow up their degrees with further qualifications, and then their qualifications with one job after another. Although the rewards in the corporeal world are clear, what of the rewards in the hereafter? We were not created to be wives and mothers, yet great rewards are attached to these roles which cannot be comparable to a degree and a good job. No doubt, Allah does not place a burden on anyone greater than they can bear, and every person shall have that which they intended – but we need far greater clarity on the role of single Muslim women in society.

The greatest blessing for any person, if they have the opportunity, is to serve their parents when they reach old-age. The reward of this cannot be underestimated.

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) as saying,

“Let him be humbled into dust; let him be humbled into dust. It was said: ‘Allah’s Messenger, who is he?’ He said: He who sees either of his parents during their old age or he sees both of them but does not enter Paradise.”[6]

If a person was to dedicate their entire life to taking care of their parents, they would have gained a great reward in the hereafter. Yet, there has never been, even within our own community, a role for women to simply be great daughters without letters after her name, and a well-sounding job title, society would never be satisfied, and even parents themselves could not be content. After all, the often-asked question, “Are you married?” is swiftly followed by, “What do you do?”

We should not simply assign single women to roles which their married counter-parts have become too busy to fulfil, in family life, Da’wah, the work place etc., without a greater understanding of the rewards in the hereafter. As their siblings and peers will leave a legacy of children who will do good deeds, and make du’a for them, single women should be equally greedy for a noble legacy that lives on beyond the grave.

This life is a test, and whilst some people are tested in their marriages, others are tested with the absence of them. We must remember that ultimately it is for Allah to decide how or with whom we should spend the rest of our lives. It is not for us to question the Decree of Allāh but rather strive to find the benefit of the du’a that has a delayed response, and allow it to be a means for us to turn back to Him.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to say in the night prayer:

“O Allāh, to You be praise, You are the Light of the heavens and the earth and everyone in them. To you be praise, You are the Sustainer of the heavens and the earth and everyone in them. To you be praise, You are the Sovereign of the heavens and the earth and everyone in them. To you be praise, You are the truth, Your promise is true, Your words are true, the meeting with you is true, Paradise is true, Hell is true, the Hour is true, Muhammad is true. O Allāh to you I have submitted, in You I put my trust, in you I have believed, to you I have repented, with Your help and guidance I have debated, and to You I turn for judgement. You are our Lord, unto You is our return. Forgive me for my past and future sins, for those I have committed secretly and those I have committed openly, for whatever You know more about than I. You are the One who brings forward and the One who puts back (Al Mu’akhhir), You are my God, there is no deity (worthy of worship) but You, and there is no power and no strength except with you.”[7]

Married couples, community leaders and scholars must also rise up to the challenge that is facing our community. We can no longer rely on word-of-mouth and family connections to facilitate the marriages of our youth. We have to move away from polite dinner-party conversations and friendly teasing, and realise that delays in marriage have serious consequences. Finally, we must acknowledge that sincere du’a must be accompanied by serious action. Buried beneath every test our sisters are enduring is the communal obligation to distance ourselves from accountability on the day of Judgement, and an individual opportunity to rise up and gain the pleasure of Allah.

 

Notes:
Sources:www.islam21c.com
Islam21c requests all the readers of this article, and others, to share it on your facebook, twitter, and other platforms to further spread our efforts.

[1]           Qur’an 2:187
[5]           Qur’an 37:100
[6]           Sahih Muslim 032: 6189
[7]           Sahih Bukhari 21: 221

 

About Umm Umaama

34 comments

  1. p.s.
    everyone needs to CALM DOWN, ot makes me sad when muslim brothers and sisters start to argue and get irritated with one another, dont let the shaytaan get in the way of very important brotherhood and sisterhood. This is very key so please keep taht love for your muslim bnrothers and sisters whilst discussing key issues inshAllah. Remember we are one ummah inshAllah

    • Canadianmuslimah

      BTW, your comment section is being derailed by advocates for feminist thought you should shoot down their tired arguments because ISLAM came with the best solutions.

      http://21stcenturywire.com/2015/02/23/electra-complex-why-billionaire-oligarchs-bankroll-feminism/

    • Abdelgadir alsudani

      Well said brother Abu Fatimah
      We really need to close the doors of Shytaan, and not give him the chance to spoil our brotherhood/sisterhood.

      The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The example of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever.”

      Why don’t the different islamic organizations co-operate to make a big conference where problems like this can be discussed in a much more productive setting, and where practical solutions can be reached and implemented.

      Allah will ask us why we didn’t do much when we see the problem affecting our dear sisters and brothers, affecting their dunya, and affecting their deen as well, they have nowhere else to turn to.

      We need to come back to the solutions that worked for the firs generation of this ummah.. When there was shortage of Muslim sisters, the brothers who had more than one wife kept one and divorced the rest so the other Muslim brothers can marry them…. and when there was shortage of brothers, the sisters has no issues sharing a Muslim brother wholeheartedly. and when there was economic problem, people used to marry with whatever they can come up with , even those brother who had no money at all gt married with the condition to teach their new wives some suras from Quraan …. can our brotherhood be to this high level ever….and why not?? do we want the true happiness, the happiness which come from living in accordance to the deen, not the happiness of materialism.. we live in societies where people who have all the material things kill themselves as they couldn’t find happiness in that Why not encourage those who cannot find a spouse in this country to look elsewhere for good muslim…. isn’t that an investment worth the trouble, why put to much emphasis on the risks that we cripple people until they are way old and solutions are harder …. Why do we let the feminists and the like ruin our dear sisters lives with their poisoning rhetorics like they have done to the non-muslims before.

      We need to wake up and get together, care for each other, and go back to our deen.. be content with it and the solutions it offers.. this dunya is just temporay,

  2. sister lizzy
    Sister lizzy I agree that there are good sisters out there who dont fall into the categories mentioned. I hope you understand this sint about woman bashing, may Allah protect us from that, its just raising awareness of some reasons for problems for teh muslim youth. Sometimes the issue is with teh parents (this is a lot of the time), some times its with the men (also a lot of the time as the quality of muslim men these days isnt good as you mentioend, too much haraam, too much dunya, too much westernisation etc etc), and some times its with the sisters (stigmatisation of polygamy, high mahr demands, wanting to go through career etc first etc).

    Different reasons apply to different people and tehre is no one sole cause for the problems, so please dont take offense if this article doesnt apply to you then great alhamdulillah whoever marries you is a lucky brotehr inshAllah and may Allah give you a righteous spouse, if your trying to get married and it never worked out then it just wasnt written and this is a fitnah and test for you no doubt and inshAllah if you are patient hopefully inshAllah Allah will give you more than you ever dreamed of

  3. Response to sister Yasmeen
    Salaam Sister, I think you took the sisters article a little personally. I do believe she hit the nail on the had on a lot of issues,I understand taht these hit a nerve with you as they have some similarities with ytour life but please dont take it personally, she wasnt aiming it at anyone and was only making general observations which dont always hold true but in most cases do. If you are happy with family then alhamdulillah. I agree the culture of not being able to marry someone older than you should change as it is the sunnah of our beloved prophet salalahu alayhi wasslam, my wife is2 years older than me and it doesnt much bother me.

    In general though tehre are some problems and I think people have been unneccessarily harsh towards the sisters for a true article taht attempts to deal with a serious issue so please dont let emotions be a fitnah for you

  4. alhamdulillaah
    Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem
    Assalaamu’alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh

    My dear sister in Islaam, I do not feel that you have been fair in your response to the brother’s comment; and more than that, I feel you have misconstrued his intentions greatly. I have read both your posts and his, a number of times, and I do not find the rudeness and sarcasm you blame him of.

    I remind myself and then all of us, that it is upon us to make excuses for each other. The righteous people of the past would urge us to think well of our believing brethren, and they would say that if, despite all the excuses you’ve made, you cannot find some good in what has reached you from your brother, then you should simply say: Maybe my brother has an excuse I do not know of. So please let us bear this good etiquette in mind inshaaAllaah, and let us think the best we possibly can of what reaches us from one another.

    Beyond that, some food for thought [for us all] may be found in this inshaaAllaah:

    I had the great pleasure of meeting and sitting in the company of a sister once, who practises as a Muslim Counsellor in the heart of a big Muslim community in London. She also runs various workshops and is asked to support various Muslim marriage events. And to be honest, what we quickly term a cliché, does in fact have much weight behind it. Stereotypes are not borne out of thin air, more often than not; we find a truth behind them. The counsellor gave me some examples of the types of dilemmas married Muslim couples seek her help with – which, Alhamdulillaah, I have the wisdom not to mention here. What she also mentioned was the great disproportion between the number of Muslim males and females in their late 20s and early 30s who attend the marriage events; a ratio of four women to every one man. I asked her as to why she thought this was – and here’s where that trifling cliché comes in – she informed me the main reason was because sisters nowadays were very focussed on establishing a career and finding personal and material success before they considered themselves ‘ready’ to marry. And of course, in expending their efforts in these pursuits, they’d now come to an age of 30ish [and over], before they were ‘ready’ to settle down.

    It’s up to each of us to make what we will of such information. I have my personal reservations about sisters marrying so late in life, but blah – whatever.

    I, like you sister, am an unmarried woman. I would say that I am looking to marry, but thus far the process has been a slow one, quite like I imagined. Alhamdulillaah, I am content thus far, for I know that I cannot die without my share of provision, and that Allaah will bring it to me, for Allaah [swt] does not betray the hopes of the one who hopes in Him, and He doesn’t cause any effort to go to waste. Nonetheless, this does not mean one does not undergo the emotional and psychological difficulty the brother describes, for as he rightly said, it wouldn’t be a test if you weren’t tried as such.

    Humans are not robots, and we think and feel everyday of our lives. It’s what makes us who we are, and we shouldn’t have to shy away from that.

    What I drew from the original article – the essence of which I think has been lost in all the proceeding comment and discussion – is that while you’re single, you have an equal, if not more wonderful opportunity, to strive for the sake of Allaah. One of the points the author was making was that our role and purpose as women is not simply to be wives and mothers. We are slaves of Allaah first, and alhamdulillaah, while we are unmarried we have an excellent opportunity to develop our relationship with Allaah, to increase our emaan, and to petition, with our few good deeds, to become of the elect, the chosen elite of Allah [swt].

    May Allaah Most High draw us all close, and bestow upon us all righteous spouses who will be one of our many avenues to Paradise, aameen. I pray there is benefit in these words, and that they’re not made a witness against me. Aameen.

    And Allaah knows best.

  5. To Abu Abdurrahman

    I stand by what I say and feel that what Lizzy and I have written is also perfectly valid. You may not agree with what I have written but that does not give you the right to judge me in the way you have by describing the fact that Allah has not at this time blessed me with a spouse at this moment in time as a ‘predicament’ and that I am somehow affected emotionally because of what I wrote. I am grateful to Allah with what he has given me and my life now. Your post just highlights your rudeness, sarcasm and lack of adab. You have not highlighted any specific points that I or the writer have written to support what you have said. You have just used it to attack me and put me down. This is the sort of misogyny that a brother like you has towards a sister who dared to disagree with what was written.

    • Abdelgadir alsudani

      Sister Yasmin & Lizzy
      We definetly as a community need to hear what everybody has to say. It is good that we listen, as we can only by listening know how to come to better solutions for everybody. But i cannot emphasis enough the importance of not attacking others verbally like that, whether here or with your spouses after you get married inshaaAllah. insult will only increase the misunderstanding, so i advice myself and everybody here to refrain from that. Take whatever you read form your brothers here as much as possible as being written with good intention. May Allah bless us all and show us the right way.

  6. Servant of Allah swt

    agree with both sides…..
    There is a lot of truth in what yasmeen and lizzy are saying. But the article has got good points. However, someone has already mentioned culture and sometimes parents/society can hinder marriage- so much pressure is on education, beauty, status these factors are considered alot more important then actually worrying about society and actually asking that young muslim person ”Hey, are you actually ready to get married?, do you WANT to get married, and Are you prepared for some of the challenges you might face? and what is the meaning of marriage- the purpose?’

    We need to ask young people questions such as this- so that we aware of our brothers and sisters and what their feeling s are towards marriage- yes some say getting married at a younger is better- and others prefer to wait until they are ‘ready’. However this is the 21
    st century alot has changed but doenst’ mean that religion has to astagfirulla-

    girls/women these days want their own space- they dont want in -laws naggin them constantly- and lets face it, it’s not going to cause any harmony, i’ve also noticed brothers want to get married to super women- and expect her to ‘obey’ live with her in laws, and basically keep quiet and get on with it- again confusing culture with our pure religion which gives rights to everyone.

    Yes, some young women do actually want get married but where do they find that gentelmen that will respect her and not ask too much of her? How do they tell their parents (who are not that keen and are the actual ones looking for Mr Right and delaying the process)- and what about relatives and the society that’s not as active as it used to be in helping these families find a potential paretner for their sons and daughters.

    We can not simply ‘blame’ these single muslim women for not getting married we have to be aware of the obstacles they face. Same with brothers especially ‘mummy’s boys’ they need to understand and creat a balance there is difference between respect and taking sides. Ofcourse parents are important, but when you intend to get married, you should be able to share love and care with your partner as well. To avoid problems.

    Above all, society causes alot of pressure looking for the perfect person, but everyone has to realise the clock is ticking and the ‘young’ person is not going to remain young for the rest of their lives. Yes, education can be important but so is family. Someone has laready mentioned- you can always carry on with education after marriage why not? i dont see any problem with that- it is apart of our religion -knowledge is important aswell. therefore finding that BALANCE and not expecting too much from someone can give a s a realistic goal.

    assalmualikum

  7. Abu Abdurrahman

    It’s easy to call an article simplistic
    Dear sister,

    The fact that you are so easily offended by reading an article written by someone who it is only reasonable to imagine is offering their sincere, well intended opinion/analysis – would be enough for some to feel that you asre affected emotionally by being in your predicament, decreed for you by Allah. And that is natural – if one were immune to the emotional, and indeed some psychological pain, it would hardly be called a test – IMHO. Allah knows best. You are free to disagree with her opinion/analysis – either of you could be right or wrong – I’m sure you recognise that.

    Cliches may be cliches, dear sister, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be true.

    Other issues which contribute to the problem will also need to be addressed in future perhaps.

    Denying the possibility that the author could be correct, only seeks to kill off any chance of solving what potentially could be a source of some of the issues we face in our communities

  8. MISS
    Salaam,
    I also thought it was great for these truths to finally be said out aloud. Wen eeed to open our eyes and hearts to ‘network’ as it were. People have stopped talking (honestly) and thus connecting and so it’s hard to find suitable matches. We just need to pray and have patience that whatever happens is good for us and keep doing/encouraging good inshallah.

  9. Course on Marriage
    A fantastic course in London: http://www.alkauthar.org/course.php?course=51

  10. I value and agree with this article….but there is one fundemental issue that has not been mentioned…the culture and sterotypes of individuals and families…speaking from experience most families have non-islamic standards when choosing a suitable partner for there child or children…this is causing an increase in brothers and sisters not getting married at an early stage…so please dont just point the finger at the muslim brothers and sisters who do want to marry in order to complete their dean…but do start to look into families and individuals who are not adhering to the islamic ways of seeking marriage.

  11. Sister Yasmeen, thank you so much for hitting it on the nail! 😀 I soooo agree with everything you said. At last someone who shares my sentiments! We’ve heard the same old rhetoric for far too long, it has got to stop!!! I’m fed up of the generalisations; not all of us chased a career and delayed marriage, neither did we demand high dowries or reject polygamy! In fact I’m the opposite and considered all sorts, from various ethnic backgrounds etc. I’ve lowered the bar many times and accepted so much in the hope of getting married, I’ve never demanded a high dowry, and in fact I’ve always shied away for fear of causing trouble to the other side. I’ve even gone as far as researching plural marriages and accepted a polygamous proposal even though it later emerged he wasn’t ready for it! So please enough of the Muslim woman-bashing, give us some credit pls and accept that the 21C man just isn’t ‘man’ enough and REAL men died ages ago! I also agree that it’s time to focus on the picky choosy men for whom a 30 year old woman is ‘past her sell by date,’ fussy men who can’t see past her beauty, her skin tone,height,features,weight,social status, caste etc., she simply isn’t good enough for this barbaric mummy’s boy and his tribe! And before you accuse us of being materialistic and wanting an extravagant wedding, a car or big house, I must tell you I am yet to find a humble man who shares my ideal nikah/walima, exactly sunnah style with 2 witnesses in a masjid and few family/friends, thats it, no flashy cars,no stages,no mixing and fitnah, but yet i find many men are put off this idea and there fairy tale wedding preps cause untold stress and anxiety,hence i end up rejecting such a man! Furthermore, there are the other ‘practising’ type men who are looking for an ‘Ayehsa’ (RA) whilst not behaving like Muhammad (SAW), these types have a totally misogynistic and twisted view of the wife’s role in marriage and their demanding, suffocating and misunderstanding of wifely ‘obedience’ is frightening to say the least! Then there are those who desire an ‘educated’ woman with a professional background i.e. doctor, lawyer, accountant etc., so any simple lady with an average job or an ‘unpaid’ job (i.e. house worker) will not suffice!! So yes, there are many factors contributing to singlehood in the Muslim woman. Finally, not all of us are desperate, unable to lower our gazes and frustrated or dislike living at home with family, neither do we all desire motherhood and seek marriage to bear children. Perhaps the Muslim world needs to wake up and realise that there’s nothing selfish about not wanting children, it’s an individual choice and must be respected, equally being barren is not a curse but the Will of Allah swt and perhaps it’s a blessing being childless in these current times! There’s definitely more to life than men, marriage and motherhood! Being single is liberating in many ways, you can serve your family and community, study and learn this deen without the distractions of marriage! I say work for Jannah, fulfil your purpose of creation, do it well and rejoice in eternal love and happiness where there’ll be no heartache, no criticism and a heavenly prince! Peace upon peace inshaAllah may Allah swt grant us His Pleasure and Paradise, ameen!

    • Canadianmuslimah

      You seriously need to learn more about Islam…….you seem to have a feminist bent total misunderstanding of the Islamic viewpoint .

      ‘Perhaps the Muslim world needs to wake up and realise that there’s nothing selfish about not wanting children, it’s an individual choice and must be respected, equally being barren is not a curse but the Will of Allah swt and perhaps it’s a blessing being childless in these current times! There’s definitely more to life than men, marriage and motherhood! Being single is liberating in many ways, you can serve your family and community, study and learn this deen without the distractions of marriage!’

      like I said with your Muslim world generalization are you even Muslim cause that world is huge and they do not all have the same issues i.e women in Bangledesh have different problems then women in Malaysia.
      Muslims do not think it is a curse to be childless we are not medieval Catholics.
      At the same time being Childless is not a blessing…….it is actually a sign of the end times when people will consider children a burden and the true burden riba/interest payments a blessing. You attitude is basically a herald of the endtimes.
      Finally marriage is not a distraction it actually is 50 percent of your religion because most normal people have sexual urges and are defeated by Satan through sins…….that so called distraction helps us remain pure.
      PS you might not be a non Muslims but you are a bought and paid for mental slave of western thinking. Don’t mind if the likes of you do not procreate and eschew the fun companionship of marriage.

      • @canadianmuslim Your way of responding to sistr lizzy was very rude you hav no right to doubt someones religion
        Secondly the comment you made in the last was very emature fear Allah as you can be tested by what she is going through. If you dont like her comment then dont reply to her.Even if she says that she doesnt want children it doesnt mean that she wont it is Allah’s decision. And i am sure when she finds her partner sh Allah will put that desire in her.
        Ps give your opinion without being judgmental about others you cant change anyones opinion.

    • Sister lizzy
      I am truly impressed by your story and how strong you are but when your duas take time to be answered dont ask for something you wont be happy with. You will get a single man just like you so jst kep praying.
      You just dont realise how much beautiful you are both from inside and outside. The man who marrys you will definitely be very lucky to find such a bold , passionate and brave muslimah. Dont losten to what people say just ask Allah seretly whatever you desire because he is greater than anything you will ever ask for.
      With love

  12. Same old,same old?
    Sister Yasmeen, thank you so much for hitting it on the nail! 😀 I soooo agree with everything you said. At last someone who shares my sentiments! We’ve heard the same old rhetoric for far too long, it has got to stop!!! I’m fed up of the generalisations; not all of us chased a career and delayed marriage, neither did we demand high dowries or reject polygamy! In fact I’m the opposite and considered all sorts, from various ethnic backgrounds etc. I’ve lowered the bar many times and accepted so much in the hope of getting married, I’ve never demanded a high dowry, and in fact I’ve always shied away for fear of causing trouble to the other side. I’ve even gone as far as researching plural marriages and accepted a polygamous proposal even though it later emerged he wasn’t ready for it! So please enough of the Muslim woman-bashing, give us some credit pls and accept that the 21C man just isn’t ‘man’ enough and REAL men died ages ago! I also agree that it’s time to focus on the picky choosy men for whom a 30 year old woman is ‘past her sell by date,’ fussy men who can’t see past her beauty, her skin tone,height,features,weight,social status, caste etc., she simply isn’t good enough for this barbaric mummy’s boy and his tribe! And before you accuse us of being materialistic and wanting an extravagant wedding, a car or big house, I must tell you I am yet to find a humble man who shares my ideal nikah/walima, exactly sunnah style with 2 witnesses in a masjid and few family/friends, thats it, no flashy cars,no stages,no mixing and fitnah, but yet i find many men are put off this idea and there fairy tale wedding preps cause untold stress and anxiety,hence i end up rejecting such a man! Furthermore, there are the other ‘practising’ type men who are looking for an ‘Ayehsa’ (RA) whilst not behaving like Muhammad (SAW), these types have a totally misogynistic and twisted view of the wife’s role in marriage and their demanding, suffocating and misunderstanding of wifely ‘obedience’ is frightening to say the least! Then there are those who desire an ‘educated’ woman with a professional background i.e. doctor, lawyer, accountant etc., so any simple lady with an average job or an ‘unpaid’ job (i.e. house worker) will not suffice!! So yes, there are many factors contributing to singlehood in the Muslim woman. Finally, not all of us are desperate, unable to lower our gazes and frustrated or dislike living at home with family, neither do we all desire motherhood and seek marriage to bear children. Perhaps the Muslim world needs to wake up and realise that there’s nothing selfish about not wanting children, it’s an individual choice and must be respected, equally being barren is not a curse but the Will of Allah swt and perhaps it’s a blessing being childless in these current times! There’s definitely more to life than men, marriage and motherhood! Being single is liberating in many ways, you can serve your family and community, study and learn this deen without the distractions of marriage! I say work for Jannah, fulfil your purpose of creation, do it well and rejoice in eternal love and happiness where there’ll be no heartache, no criticism and a heavenly prince! Peace upon peace inshaAllah may Allah swt grant us His Pleasure and Paradise, ameen!

    • Abdelgadir alsudani

      Sisiter it was interesting to read your comment mashaaAllah.

      It was brave to tell about your personal story and about the “lowering of the bar” you did to complete your deen. That was humbling and very much educating , and hope other sisters learn from you . However, i would say to never to give up on having your own family, and never stop searching for your husband to be, and we pray you find a husband who treat like a queen inshaaAllah. You get tremendous reward for the effort you do whether your efforts were successful or not.

      Muslim brothers of this 21c are not perfect, but they are not as bad as you said either. Maybe you have met few of the wrong type, but to generalize is not right. You were angry when the brther generalized, and you were right in that. But why fall into the same mistake as his yourself ??

      I believe both men and women of islam need to strive to be better muslims. We are far from ideal and we have a long way to go.
      Let everyone of us “lit a candle”, and be the change he/she wants to see in the world, instead of blaming each other. The challenges of this 21c are a lot and so will be the reward for those who pass the test.

  13. The other side
    Sister Umm Umaama, Jazak Allaahu khairan for this article.

    You did a good job increasing the awareness about this matter. Hope you write another article addressing the parents who have forgotten the priorities of hereafter.

    Why this trend is becoming a norm? Who is encouraging us? In majority of cases, its the parents who discourage us or tell us that we are too young even though we are 21-23 years old ready to take the responsibility. My brother finished his master degree in engineering at the age of 23 years old and my parents think that he is still young to get married. My parents are able to afford to pay the expenses of the marriage and they would not let my brother and I to spend a single penny on our marriage expense.

    One of my family friends’ mother said to his son that he is too young to get married after he graduate from college, he should get married with he finishes his PhD thats when he would be 30 years old and that is the right time for him. His mother does not mind him having girl friends during this period and she gets happy to hear that girls are attracted to his son. Ironically, his mother got married when she was 17 years old. How could this mother thought that this is good for her son when she herself got married at such a early age? It seems like they got married so young that they never felt the urge of getting married like we do.

    There are three points I want to mention that I noticed in my community:
    Firstly, there is a huge emphasis of their daughter finishing her education first and the parents do not mind delaying the marriage for this goal. They will either reject the incoming proposals because their daughter is studying or tell the man’s family to wait until the girl finishes. Most of us men do not tend to wait. If some do then there is a high chance of engagement broke off after a period of time. When the girl finishes her studies, her parents then regret that they are not getting proposals from good man from good family.

    Secondly, I do not understand what made the parents think that man and woman can not study during marriage. I mean the education never finishes even one finishes the bachelor degree.

    Lastly, some sisters who are living aboard with their families are looking for men from their own ethnic group and in reality there are very few men from their ethnicity living in the same city. How they expect to get married early?

    Sister you stated the following:
    “We can no longer rely on word-of-mouth and family connections to facilitate the marriages of our youth.”

    You mentioned the problem but what is the solution. If no one is listening to community leaders and scholars, its the people fault. Scholars have always encouraged the single men to get married but the parents and their culture are the huge barrier for us to get married in early age.

    I disagree with you on this matter. It is better to do this way as one could find out about the opposite without getting into trials and sins. My friend’s wife or his mother or his sister would be able to find out more about a certain sister in the community and it is much much easier for them to do that.

    I am living abroad and know lots of brothers in Ireland, having trouble finding women to get married and they are not relying on word of mouth and family connections. The one who got married and found a good wife for themselves through word of mouth or through family connections.

    The problem lies in our generation. We need to be educated regarding fiqh of marriage. There should be a seminar regarding this matter. Spread the word and let the singles know about it and let them come and attend this seminar and understand the importance of it. This will helps the society as a whole, not one small group.

    Lots of sisters in my family and outside, think that they could do whatever they want before marriage (I mean listening to music, mixing and chatting with men, and not cover themselves properly) and after marriage they will give up all this things and become good and do whatever their husband wants. Do they think they will get righteous men just like that?

    In conclusion, I could only make dua that “May Allaah guide us all”.

  14. Muhammad Islam

    Maturity is in short-supply
    I speak as a happily married young Muslim, Alhamdulillaah. I find that with many (not all) young Muslims looking to get married, brothers and sisters, that they are not mature enough in their attitudes.

    Sisters overlook a brother who maybe clean shaved or have a short-beard but otherwise of decent character (sisters, a brother can grow his beard if you’re patient – don’t adopt the all-or-nothing attitude).

    Brothers overlook a sister who does not want to be chained to the house (brothers, get real and grow up. This isn’t a power-trip).

    A lot of sisters and brothers are unwilling to make compromises, no doubt an effect of living in an individualistic society. Like children they’re ready to throw tantrums at the first bump or disagreement and expect the other to surrender. Plain and simple, this immaturity has got to stop, and the amount of Qur’an and Sunnah you have studied makes no difference if you are not ready to implement them in your life by being gentle, accommodating, tolerant and ready to accept a mistake when you’re in the wrong.

    • Assalaamu ‘Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh

      Spot on! Well said! May Allah reward you abundantly

      Far too many of us are behaving like Mama’s Boys and Princesses. It’s time to grow up and be men and women. It’s time to take responsibility for our lives, realise that the world does not revolve around us as individuals (yes, you will need to sacrifice in a marriage and make compromises), etc.

      The world is not a Disney movie and “happily ever after” doesn’t just happen. It takes compromise, work, sacrifice, patience, constant care, compassion, etc.

      May Allah reward you akhi. I greatly appreciated your post

  15. Mr.
    Well written article for all young people.Please confirm the age of Aisha(Raa)at the time of death.What I have read is that she was born in the same year as Fathhima Al Zahra-604AD-or 4 to 5 yrs before prophethood in the year 610.Married in Madina after Higri in 623,at the age of 18/19.Time of the Prophets (PBUH) death 632AD,she would be 28/29,same as Ali(RAA).Could you kindly through light on the correct events of history.Jazak Allah

  16. From my experiences, I have identified three main reasons why brothers and sisters are unable to get married:

    1) The Unislamic (usually cultural) requirements that most are unable to fulfil.

    2) The ridiculous amount of money even practising brothers and sisters go out of their way to spend. This is especially the case with the dowry, which at a going rate of 10K is just off putting.

    3) And Waalees are not fulfiling their roles. Subhanallah, it’s only now that I was able to identify the wisdom behind assigning the walee as responsible over the women. Allah in His Infinite Wisdom Knew that this is a role that women will not be able to fulfil on their own (as we see today) and hence gave this responsibility to the waalee. However, the waalees are sadly not fearing Allah enough with regards to their womenfolk.

    And Allah Knows Best.

  17. JZK
    Jazakillah khair sis for this article. You have articulated the plethora of thoughts of many single singles on this topic very well mashaAllah. I’ve long searched for a scholar to comprehensively address the topic of the role of a British single Muslimah (alongside the often cumbersome task of finding a suitable spouse). The only/best attempt I’ve come across is Shaykh Haitham’s Role of the Muslim woman in the West (on youtube).

  18. lost oppotunities
    This is a very valid article in our times. From my own experience I have seen that, just like our brothers, our sisters have unrealistic expectations which in some cases lead to delaying marriage in the hope of waiting for the ‘right’ person.

    I would suggest that we need a structure of ‘training’ of our brothers so they can fully bear the responsibilities of taking care of their wives; be upright men who can positively face the challenges in our era.

    Both young Muslim men and women have too much longing for dunya, they want to live in a house not a flat, own a big sized fridge and a three piece sofa set (etc). Yet the joy of worshiping ALLAH (SWA) together through a simple life is often overlooked.

    Most young Muslims in the U.K have been indoctrinated to associate material commodities with a sense of happiness, satisfaction and achievement. Without a doubt if we change our expectations in line with ALLAH’s obedience the best of PROVIDERS will enrich our hearts and lives.

    Lastly I would like to mention polygamy. Is this really a choice sisters consider? Just as our Mother A’isha (RA) did not have children, and hence sisters who do not have children should not remain unmarried, she was also a co-wife. A brother who is married, responsible and upstanding will most likely treat his next wife better. The ability to appreciate a woman’s feeling, respect her needs and respond appropriately are issues which a man who is married understands better then those who are not.

    ALLAH (SWA) knows best

  19. Bla bla bla bla…
    I am most disturbed that the author generalizes that everyone wants what she wants. Is it not possible for a woman to actually WANT to be single rather than an babysitting extremely spoiled mama’s boy? A friend caters to her 15 year old son like a baby.. packing his gear for a camping trip etc… how can a normal woman compete with that kind of service? What then about the biggest divorce rates whose records are held by Muslim Malays? And people still get married indiscriminately. (eyeroll)

    Bla bla bla bla….

  20. I
    Mashallah, great article… Is the fact that we have left the practice of taking on women in need into second marriges a factor that has left us in this situation? The taboo of the idea amongst families, the regection of the concept amoungst women & the reluctance amounts the men to take on the responsibility? Afterall Allah has decreed laws that create balance in society & if we reject or alter those constants we will always be left with imbalance.

  21. This article is simplistic.
    I have read the article and disagree with a lot of what has been written and am also offended. The writer has written a very simplistic view of this problem. She has mainly equated this problem with sisters delaying marriage for the sake of careers and education – what a cliche. This is not the case for me and a lot of sisters. I am a sister in my thirties and I for one did not delay marriage for an education or a career. The reason that I am not married at the moment is because Allah SWT has not decreed that I be married at this time. In fact I would have given up my education and career if a suitable brother had come along. This is not to say that I have not tried to get married or that I am ‘undesirable’ or that no one has proposed.

    Why do we not deal with the issue of brothers refusing to consider a slightly older sister in her late twenties or thirties instead of blaming sisters for allegedly delaying marriage for education and careers.

    I also do not recognise the psychological impact the writer mentions regarding single sisters living at home beyond adulthood. I still live at home with my parents and siblings and enjoy it. I enjoy keeping my mum company and assisting her. I also enjoy the company and closeness that I have with my siblings. I have not been affected by this psychologically.

    The best thing that the Muslim community can do about this problem is to stop making making such simplistic judgements of unmarried sisters, talk to unmarried sisters, make dua and also educate brothers that older sisters are not strange, freaky or undesirable simply because we are slightly older and should be considered for marriage and not rejected superficially due to age.

    • Sistr yasmeen your story is wonderfull. And in the near future you will get even more than you desire by Allah’s will. Just be happy and keep your hopes high.

  22. I have read this article and disagree with a lot of what has been written. A lot of assumptions about single sisters have been made.
    I am a single sister in my thirties. This article assumes that sisters are delaying marriage for education and careers. I do not believe that this is the case for most sisters. I for one did not delay marriage for my education and career and am offended when this is increasingly said by many Muslims – what a cliche. I am not married at the moment because Allah SWT has not decreed that I get married yet. This is not to say I have not tried to get married, or not been proposed to or am ‘undesirable’.

    I also still live at home with my parents and do not suffer from any psychological impact of living at home that the writer mentions. In fact I like to keep my mum company and assist her. I also enjoy the company and closeness that I share with my siblings.

    The best thing that this community for single muslimahs can do is to stop making simplistic judgements about us and make dua for us and actually talk to single muslimahs to try to find a solution to this problem and not make us feel bad, wrong or not good enough just because we are not married.

    • Abdelgadir alsudani

      Well said sister, your comment shed more light on the issue.
      You are one lucky Muslimah to have the chance to take care of your parents at old age. Let your mother make lots of duaa for you, nobody in this universe whos’ duaa for you is more acceptable other than her.

      For the simplicty issue, i trust you didn’t mean to insult the author who took the time and effort to highlight this important issue. I personally think this article was a good try, and commenters like you and me can add to make the picture more complete. But i sincerely think the topic is very big and multifaceted that a big conference is needed where the issue can be be given its due study and discussion, and also where practical solutions can be derived and implemented.

      a group of scholars have initiated purematrimony.com a website dedicated for practicing muslim brothers and sisters, which was designed in a very special way to prevent random window shopping and protect privacy. Not the best website in the world but its a practical solution that can be improved and emulated.

      May Allah subhanhu wataala grant you a husband of your dream, and make you

  23. mr
    Allah is al mu’tee ‘the giver’. Tests are meant to be testing. To loose faith is the actual loss. The prophet s.a.w said ask for great things from Allah for nothing is too great for Allah. And Allah is al wakeel the disposer of affairs, the one to be relied upon.

    ( I hope my comments or its context are not misunderstood, otherwise apologies)

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