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One Critical Mistake A Single Muslimah Makes
 When Finding Her Mr. Right For Marriage

Sh. Yaser Birjas



By Yaser Birjas & Megan Wyatt

A while ago, a father came to me for help with finding a potential husband for his daughter. So, I asked him to share her marriage resume with me.

A couple of days later, her father brought me a marriage resume.  After looking through her marriage resume, which was quite long, I told the father:

“I thought you wanted me to look for a potential husband for your daughter, not a job!”

What she described in all those pages could be summarized in two letters: MD.

So, how did she really need to describe herself?

That’s the focus of this article, and that’s just one of the three critical mistakes Sister Megan Wyatt and I shared with everyone very recently in this webinar.

From my years of teaching on the topic of love and marriage, and counseling singles, married couples, and their parents, I can tell you this:

By knowing about this one critical mistake, you will, in sha Allah, learn how to speak about yourself in a way that attracts the kind of brother you are searching for, allows you to keep at bay the brothers you do not want knocking on your father’s door, and prevents you from turning off the very kind of person you are seeking.

Now, let’s get into the details of that one mistake.

When Sister Megan Wyatt was conducting interviews with single Muslim sisters ages 25-30, she asked them to do the following:

“Describe yourself in a few sentences so I could in turn describe you to a brother who I think may be a potential suitor.”

Almost every sister told her what she does not want in a marriage; the kind of brother she does not want to meet. Hardly anyone actually answered the question. The few sisters who did answer gave short, one-liner responses.

The realization was this: many sisters have no idea how to present themselves.

You may be trying to get married in a way that worked in the past, while you are not like the women of the past.

Sixty to seventy years ago, even in this country, a woman’s role in marriage was clear.

Today, at the age of 19 or 20, most Muslim women expect to complete at a minimum a college degree before getting married.

Along with that degree, there is the question of whether or not you want a career, or perhaps just to dabble in the workforce for some time. Do you want to pursue grad school, and if so, who will take care of the kids, if you have any?

We are looking at this without judgment — however, there is something essential to be understood:

The majority of practicing Muslim men in the West, based on our interviews, blogs, and personal conversations with them across the country, despite growing up here are looking for a wife who will fill a more traditional role, that of a stay at home wife; and at the least to be home with future children, in sha Allah.

And we have also learned that many of you want to do just that: get married, and eventually, be there for your family and children in a more “traditional” role.

Now, many brothers are willing to be flexible to a point, but if you ask most of them their preference, this is what they want…

…leading us to that critical mistake:

Not knowing how to describe yourself for marriage.

What happens when the first thing you say about yourself, or your friend says about you is:

“She is 26 years old, and has a degree in chemistry, and she is currently in grad school.” Or, “…is working in a lab called xyz.”

From the brother’s perspective, he hears a description that says little (or nothing) about what he is looking for in a wife, aside from “educated.”

Let’s take another example:

“She is strong and active in Da’wah, is working on memorizing the Qur’an, has a degree in journalism, and teaches in her local Sunday school.”

Again, excellent qualities. It says a bit more about you, but still, for a brother: what is it that he is seeking?

The difficult reality is that brothers are looking for specific qualities, and when they hear them, it alerts them that this is the kind of sister worth considering.

But what happens if no one is describing you in a way, on your behalf, that speaks his language — that highlights the qualities he desires?

The idea of sitting around and waiting for others to find you someone is an option, but it is not necessarily the most proven option, especially these days.

Many brothers are asking other sisters to help them find a wife, because their families may be abroad, or their parents don’t share the same kind of values as them in terms of the deen.

The fact is that today both men and women are taking more of an active role in searching for a spouse on their own, which means that you may need to learn how to represent yourself to some degree — to explain who you are, and what you want in a husband.

So you need to think: How can I describe myself in a way that is truthful, while also telling him about me in a way that interests him?

So many sisters write about themselves as if they are looking for a pen pal! Seriously.

We sifted through the marriage resumes and bio-data of many sisters that we found online. (That’s another point altogether — having full access to a sister’s photo and her details available to complete strangers, without even having to log in!)

Let’s share two examples:

“I currently work as a Respiratory Practitioner and I intend on pursuing my Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. My hobbies include spending time with family and friends, taking road trips, and traveling the world. I love music and cooking ethnic cuisine! I come from a very loving, understanding, and supportive family.”

“My sister is 26 years old. She is a graduate of ABC University. Currently she is working as a chemist in a big name company. She is a great person with an open mind and a great heart. I am so glad that Allah (swt) blessed me with such a great sibiling. I love her and inshallah if you choose her you will know why she is so great. My sister, XYZ, enjoys reading and going out. She is slim and tall with a great smile. She is not a TV person. She is independent. We are 2 brothers and 2 sisters. XYZ is no. 3 in our little family. I am the older, married sister and I want to help my sister also get married so she can enjoy life like I am doing.”

We got bored reading through these. If we were searching for our own brother, we would think: “Forget this! Everyone sounds the same. Everyone likes to travel, shop, go to the cinema, eat, and everyone says they are a nice and caring person.”

So, what makes those two examples bad?

Reading through thousands of ads like that, here are just a few qualities that we found common in all of them:

  • Vague
  • Too long (too many details)
  • Not to the point
  • Confused or overconfident
  • Too personal
  • Too professional
  • Too flirtatious
  • Too good to be true
  • Too girlish
  • Too picky (race, culture, qualities etc.)
  • Confrontational (expecting a war for rights and obligations)
  • Suspicious

On the other hand, what are the qualities that are common in good descriptions or marriage resumes?

  • Very realistic in self description and in spousal demands (sounds real)
  • Balanced in personality and professionalism
  • Family first
  • To the point
  • Very clear language (Accurate spelling and good choice of words)
  • Natural flow of thoughts

If you’re serious about really getting this concept, we’d like you do a quick exercise (without anyone’s help, just by yourself).

First part of the exercise (three questions):

1) Write down 3-5 sentences describing yourself.

2) Write down 3-5 sentences about what kind of man you are looking for.

3) Write in only one sentence what you will not consider in a man.

It is important that you know how to speak about yourself confidently.  It is not humility to be unable to describe yourself, and just smile and fumble over words.

Oftentimes, when we think we are acting humbly we are actually attempting to hide our lack of self-esteem and lack of recognition of the qualities that Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) has given us to share with others.

Remember: you are not going around praising yourself; you are describing yourself for marriage. Think about it.

Now, for the second part of the exercise:

Go back and re-read your answers and ask yourself the following:

1) How true are the things I just wrote down? Is this really me? Is this how my friends and family would describe me?

2) What have I said that would be interesting to the kind of brother I am looking to meet?

As you think about the words, phrases, feelings, and qualities that you would choose, you will find that you may have some of the qualities your ‘Mr. Right’ will like and you may have some qualities your ‘Mr. Right’ will not like.

Being too personal is not a good idea.  Same is true for being too professional.

Whatever the case is, the keyword you need to remember is: “balance.”

Here is the key concept, the bottom line: Learn how to speak about yourself, learn how to describe yourself in a way that allows you to be confident, and beautiful in your modesty, that will connect with the words and thoughts in the mind of your Mr. Right.

Think about how you want to present yourself — the qualities you want to highlight which matter a lot to him, not what makes you fall in love with your own self!

After all, you are looking for a husband, someone from the opposite gender (not a female friend or a buddy).

Just a side note: if you do use a picture in a marriage resume (with permission from your wali!), please do not try to look like America’s next top hijabi model like the ones you see online, and particularly on the infamous Facebook.  Too many sisters try puckering their lips, looking over their shoulders with some sultry pout, etc. which turns off the kind of practicing man you are really seeking.

So, stick to a photo that has hayaa in the image; something normal and natural.

While you are searching for your Mr. Right, remember that in these moments there must be hidden gifts. As Muslims, we are to believe that there is an advantage to every situation in which we find ourselves.

Look at the time that has elapsed, and ask yourself:

“I’m not married, although I’ve been trying for a long time. What is it that Allah wants me to learn? What message, what lesson is waiting for my heart?”

We ask Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) to bless you with sabr, first and foremost, because Allah loves those who have patience, and He is close to those who have sabr.

We ask Allah to bring into your life the kind of husband you are searching for, and to allow your journey from start to finish to be a means of growing closer to Allah, finding His rahmah, and leading you to ever-increasing levels of eman.

Sh. Yaser Birjas is originally from Palestine. He received his Bachelors degree from Islamic University of Madinah in 1996 in Fiqh & Usool, graduating as the class valedictorian. After graduating, he went on to work as a youth counselor and relief program aide in war-torn Bosnia. Thereafter, he immigrated to the U.S. and currently resides in Dallas, Texas. He is also an instructor at AlMaghrib Institute, where he teaches popular seminars such as Fiqh of Love, The Code Evolved, and Heavenly Hues.



  1. Avatar


    February 12, 2010 at 6:00 AM

    Great stuff!

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    Yasir Qadhi

    February 12, 2010 at 6:26 AM

    Ma sha Allah, great article!

    I look forward to part two: The 101 Critical Mistakes Guys Make when Looking for a Muslimah :)

    On a serious note, it would be good to write a complementary article from the Muslim male’s perspective.

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      February 12, 2010 at 9:37 AM

      I look forward to part two: The 101 Critical Mistakes Guys Make when Looking for a Muslimah

      it’s water under the bridge now unless… ;)

    • Avatar

      Ibn Masood

      February 13, 2010 at 8:22 AM

      Agreed 142%

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      October 15, 2014 at 5:28 AM

      Seriously! Shukr for putting that out there!

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    Ahmed B.

    February 12, 2010 at 7:30 AM

    MashaAllah, awesome article indeed. I second Sh. Yasir Qadhi’s opinion that the brother’s should receive a complementary article :)

    Quick comment: how about citing examples of good self-descriptions people wrote?

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      February 12, 2010 at 8:59 PM

      Very valid demand. I second that.

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      February 12, 2010 at 9:51 PM

      I third that request. I was thinking the same thing halfway through.

      Alhamdulillah good pointers though Shaykh, jazakallah khayr.

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    February 12, 2010 at 9:03 AM

    As’salaam Aleykum,

    Jezzak Allahu Khairan for the posting, and I am cracking up at the line about “the over the shoulder sultry pout” I see it so much and all it does is let a brother know you’re Extremely desperate, wa’Allahu Alim. This is coming from a sister who has friends doing this on a regular basis. Then once the contact is made between them and the potential spouse and he’s way in left field with his practicing – hum, wonder why. You attract what you project.

    I was just commenting to my husband that both Brothers/Sisters conduct themselves as if they are shopping at HEB/Walmart on an empty stomach and dinner time is in two hours. We all know when you’re hungry (desperate) you’ll pick up the first thing you see. Often I noticed with my friends that I’ve seen marry in the last couple years is that once they Stop looking and allow the natural process of things to take course (allowing the Wali, community, yourself to mature) the right Brother comes along. The same thing can be said for brothers as well.

    Also, I think we’d have to do a separate write-up to deal with the pit-falls plaguing the Black Muslims when seeking marriage, this can not be done with Prt 2 and grouped with ‘Critical Mistakes Guys Make’. This is coming from a Black person who feels like our issues are entirely different, strangely enough. I could go on for days.

    Jezzak Allahu Khairan

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      July 11, 2015 at 2:45 PM

      How a person presents him/herself in society determines the kind of people s/he will attract. I could never understand the pseudo-logic of seeing sultry poses as “empowerment” and expecting decent men as life partners at the same time.

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    Umm Bilqis

    February 12, 2010 at 9:37 AM

    Ultimately we are all involved in sales : ))If you are doing dawah, or even if you are trying to sell your spouse or children on your ideas; you are involved in sales and must explain how this will be a benefit to them as well as yourself! Truly it seems more difficult now to get married then even a generation ago. I empathize!

    Here is an idea for sisters who wish to get married and live a more traditional life and remember there is nothing wrong with this sentiment.

    ” I would like to support my future husband by providing a stable, respectful environment in my home. Meaning I will always strive to maintain peace and look out for my family’s welfare at all times.”
    ” When we do have children I expect to fully address their needs and not occupy myself with the business of strangers.” Which basically means please give me my rights for maintenance and protection : ))

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      February 12, 2010 at 10:51 AM

      ” I would like to support my future husband by providing a stable, respectful environment in my home. Meaning I will always strive to maintain peace and look out for my family’s welfare at all times.”
      ” When we do have children I expect to fully address their needs and not occupy myself with the business of strangers.”

      MashAllah, thats really nice!

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        Umm Bilqis

        February 12, 2010 at 10:52 PM

        Thank you for that statement> Time.

        Sometimes marriage oriented people are focusing on the wrong issues as Sh,Yasir and Megan Highlight.

        One quick word of advise for both parties (but especially to the brothers) would be to communicate your vision of married life and then let the potential spouse sign on to this vision.

        Quick advise for brothers>>Women like confident men who make them feel secure.
        Quick advise for the sisters>>Mahabba takes a long time to develop and is based on trust and caring.

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    Bint Mohamed

    February 12, 2010 at 11:09 AM

    As salam aleikom,

    Jazakallah khair for this article I hope people will follow your advice inshaAllah. This is exactly how I found my husband alhumdulillah. Before I started looking for a spouse, I wrote down what questions I would ask and what answers I would accept. I then asked a close friend of mine if she knew any brothers who were looking. She said she knew of a brother, she described to me his qualities. I was looking for a person, not a person with a certain job, or car, or degree (I think people make this mistake often and forget that all those things can be taken away from us). We chatted by email first, I never sent him my picture because I wanted to have honest answers from him first and not hear him reply in a manner just to please me. Then we agreed to meet (with chaperones), I asked him my list of questions. He now says that was what impressed him the most, that I was clear, and I knew what I was looking for. I also asked other people in the community about his qualities, if he was in good character or not. Alhumdulillah it worked out and I make duaa my brothers and sisters also find their spouse soon inshaAllah.

    • Avatar

      Faruk Ahmed Umar

      July 6, 2010 at 10:48 AM

      Please Sister Bint Muhammad do share those questions with other Muslims Sisters. Perhaps it will help. Jazakillahu khairan.

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    February 12, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    The probelm I have is probably that there is no brothers in EastZone and too many eligible sisters m’A. Ever since I have been looking, Alhamdulillah Ive kept it totally Halal (told my married friends, aunties, father, etc) however most good brothers are already taken and those who do come along dont even pray five times a day. SubhanAllah.

    InshaAllah everything @ right time, however how are we supposed to meet the like minded people?

    • Avatar

      A Sincere Reality Check

      February 12, 2010 at 10:03 PM

      The probelm I have is probably that there is no brothers in EastZone […] most good brothers are already taken and those who do come along dont even pray five times a day.

      From that one can infer that the Atlantic United States has no Muslims who pray 5 times a day looking to get married.

      Com’on Sis, that’s a bit of stretch and I’m not even sure you read the entire article but just wanted to jump in to throw your 2 cents with the ‘no Muslim brothers’ argument otherwise you would have seen this gem Yaser & Megan conclude with:

      Look at the time that has elapsed, and ask yourself:

      “I’m not married, although I’ve been trying for a long time. What is it that Allah wants me to learn? What message, what lesson is waiting for my heart?”

      • Avatar


        February 13, 2010 at 3:24 AM

        Please be nice :)

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          February 13, 2010 at 11:25 AM

          It is all good Amatullah.

          By the way no offense to those who do attend seminars and bother to dress up. ;)

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        February 13, 2010 at 11:22 AM

        lol U can interpret it however you will, What I meant was pretty clear that those ”who come along” meaning those who come along my way. I was not making a sweeping generalization that no brothers are firm on their Salah. Thats why I asked, how do you meet like minded people inserting that inshaAllah there are brothers who are firm on their Salah and have a strong relationship with Qur’aan.

        Oh and yes I am not sitting here wasting my time waiting for some brother rather I took this time as a blessing and utilizing it to the best of my abilities (Working full time & memorizing Qur’aan full time, as oppose to dolling up for a double weekend seminar to get noticed).

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          February 14, 2010 at 10:01 AM

          From what I have see as to who gets married, that last one may net you a good husband. The brothers are definitely making looks a big priority.

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            Dunia's Stranger

            February 15, 2010 at 8:44 PM

            The brothers are definitely making looks a big priority.

            Its like they say sis:

            ‘what comes around goes around.’

            I’ve had sisters make brothers looks a big priority on my blog (see posts here). arguing they like they way George Clooney’s rocks his beard (i.e. 1/2 inch stuble) rather than Yusuf Islam’s Sunnah beard.

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            Someone Human

            February 15, 2010 at 10:42 PM

            > The brothers are definitely making looks a big priority


            Imagine a practicing brother who struggles EVERYDAY lowering his gaze, fights off all the open temptations, and saves himself for that “special someone” so, in the privacy of his home (after marriage), he does not have to lower his gaze at all!

            I’m not talking about a supermodel in hijab, but someone pleasing to the eye.

            Would that be an unrealistic expectation from a brother?

          • Avatar


            February 16, 2010 at 1:18 PM

            I have said no to more than one brother because I was not attracted to them physically @ all. It is not about making looks a priority, I believe that one certainly needs to be @ least somewhat attracted to their prospective spouse or else it shouldnt even move to the next point.

            However when brothers are running after girls who aren’t modestly dresses, jewlery , make up, fancy scarves as oppose to those who are dressed up more modestly with no accessory then thats when the Shaytan whispers in that sister ear and tells her to go in public w/ some make up, smaller Hijab & switch to skirts rather then Abaya.

            I dont mind dressing up with some make up if brother comes inside my house with my father present, doing that in public is not something sisters should compromise on.

    • Avatar


      June 11, 2016 at 6:45 PM

      Online! And keep searching at every venue/channel (with parents and matchmakers and all). I have met a lot of men, the halal way, in public and with chaperones (usually my parents), and most of them like to drink, smoke, are kind of finding their way to religion (is what they say), but don’t seem to have much orientation towards those goals, and have had tonnnnnnes of women! (and they DONT seem to be inclined to reform at all – a huge source of anger and sadness for me.) The good ones have been previously married. These are out of the few who exhibit mutual attraction with me.

      So I hear ya Sista!! It’s a tough one. Especially when we’ve been raised to establish and continue our careers the whole time. But hang in there, and keep dreaming, hoping and praying and chasing (through actual action) <3

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    February 12, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    Excellent, excellent article. mashaAllah.

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    Ohh that BOy

    February 13, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    Mash”Allah great article!
    I like how all the brothers comment saying “Mash’Allah.” I don’t know why I find it funny. LOL

  10. Avatar

    Wael -

    February 13, 2010 at 8:55 PM

    This reminds me of the very first editorial I wrote on ages ago, titled, “Impossible Woman Seeks Impossible Man.” You can read it here:

  11. Avatar


    February 15, 2010 at 6:20 AM

    Assalaamu Alaikum
    nice article…was thinkning of updating my profile accordingly lol…maybe i’ll just wait till part 2 (For the Brothers)comes out…
    Also pls give some advise to brothers looking for a 2nd & 3rd etc wife please. barukullah feek!

    so whens part 2 coming out?!

    • Avatar


      December 24, 2013 at 11:13 AM

      For 2nd or more , look for a widow , divorcee who are 30-plus . So the younger unwed brothers can marry young, unwed sisters .

  12. Avatar

    Dunia's Stranger

    February 15, 2010 at 8:27 PM

    Also pls give some advise to brothers looking for a 2nd & 3rd etc wife please.

    How about waiting till the single bros have found a first wife.

    Br. without wife

    • Avatar

      Someone Human

      February 15, 2010 at 10:36 PM

      Dunia’s Stranger,

      Interesting point.

      It’s the same point SOME older sisters make: “How about YOU (18 – 24 year old single sister) wait until WE (25+ single sisters) get married first?

      Would you put a “pause” in your life because of someone else? {Like, I’ll roam around do nothing while you graduate, so you can catch up to me?}

      Life moves on :) Sigh!

      • Avatar


        February 16, 2010 at 2:07 AM

        @Someone Human

        Well said,..

        i looked for a long time in the process i literally travelled thousands of miles had meetings with many sisters (in a islamic setting & manner ;)lol at one point i had almost all the aunties from Sh. Hussein Yee’s school looking out for me untill bi ithnillah i eventually found my wife ironnically back in my home country. my suggestions is to make dua..lots of dua especially in sujood and tahajjud salaah.

        now i am back on the search for that illusive foreigner.

        May Allah help all my bros and sisters find their spouses

  13. Avatar


    February 17, 2010 at 9:04 AM

    Jazakum Allahu khairan. Really enjoyed this article, alhamdulillah.

    It would be helpful for sisters to go through this sort of internal process of thinking about who she is, what marriage is to her, how to present herself to the kind of husband she would want, etc. This will raise her self-esteem and confidence, set her criteria, and at the same time she will become more realistic and balanced in her approach, insha’Allah.

    Listing the education and achievements in a resume format – this can be an attempt to show she is respectable, show she is from a good family, good status, that the family invested a lot in her and does not expect her to be mistreated, and so on. We need to move to better ways of communicating value.

    A related topic I’d like to see addressed (for both females & males) — How to present the downsides? No one is perfect – how to be realistic and truthful (e.g. I’m not very good at cooking; I’m a neat freak, etc.) without it being necessarily a deal-breaker, or setting up for lifelong conflicts?

    Jazakum Allahu khairan

  14. Avatar


    February 17, 2010 at 5:43 PM

    i think internet marriage stuff is scary i dont know why, i also wouldnt encourage sisters to ever put their picture up in the internet even if they are looking for marriage god knows what horrible people can do with your pictures id advise anyone who uses internet marriage sites esp the sisters, coz i dont know why youd still a broz picture ;p, to be careful and let the person express interest in your qualities first, how beautiful you are should be an added bonus and not solely why you are interesting, i think it is important that the sister mentions if shes educated or works however uninteresting it might be instead of writing im funny or something because,if shes wanting to work and he doesnt want her to work he should know from the start and not be led on, if your looking for someone look at your qualities and ask yourself why would the “amazing rich handsome sophisticated sheikh, i.e. non excistent guy would want to marry you if your not ^the above, btw the author said ask yourself if your friends or fam would describe you that way, i think your friends and fam would describe you in your most flattering way, who has a friend whod call them ugly or not smart enough etc and if you ask my mum she’ll tell you im the most amazing person of all , and thats a bit too untrue, i plan to get married the more traditional way, let the guy find you and beg :P

  15. Avatar


    February 18, 2010 at 5:54 PM

    On a slightly different note. It was mentioned;

    “The majority of practicing Muslim men in the West, based on our interviews, blogs, and personal conversations with them across the country, despite growing up here are looking for a wife who will fill a more traditional role, that of a stay at home wife; and at the least to be home with future children, in sha Allah.”

    I found this point very interesting. It would be interesting to know if sisters are looking for as traditional marriage as the brothers. If in actually they aren’t, then maybe the way they are currently writing about themselves is, less attractive but, more honest representation of who they are. Maybe, they shouldn’t make these changes. They might attract the guys but not truly compatible with him.

    P.S. Very important and well written article. I think it definitely shows sisters how to better present themselves on paper.

    • Avatar


      February 18, 2010 at 6:24 PM

      this is very interesting point. also Hala’s points too.

      the issue of women wanting permission to work. is this why the resume format comes out?

      would having a line that speaks to this issue – for example, Enjoy working but would like to stay home to raise the kids when that time comes – be a another avenue?

      i agree with what was said, that if a sister wants the option to work in marriage she should be up front about that.

      also, this is observational from my limited experience — but there seem to be plenty of brothers out there who say they want traditional wives, but then once married insist their wives work, or make them feel really uncomfortable about being stay at home wives.

      brothers should do some soul searching as well if they truly want a traditional wife or not, and what they mean by that.

      just a note, i don’t know one working sister who isn’t also the primary/sole housekeeper and caretaker.

      • Avatar


        February 26, 2010 at 6:25 PM

        thats so true sister, and i think we need a bit more of a better definition of what a ‘traditional wife’, is because people are confused

      • Avatar

        manal k

        June 20, 2011 at 11:47 PM

        Or some brothers would “allow” their wife to work ONLY if she foregoes her wish to spend it as she pleases! Ridiculous..

  16. Avatar

    rafique ameen

    February 20, 2010 at 11:15 PM

    this article is gud for muslim n muslimah nowadays..
    masyaAllah =)

  17. Avatar

    H G

    February 23, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    JazakAllah khair for this very informative and useful article. Alhumdulillah it was very beneficial.

  18. Avatar


    February 24, 2010 at 12:41 PM

    Salaam everyone found a new Muslim matrimonial site @ have a look and register its free as there are single muslims online I found a decent Muslima and inshallah with your duas will be married by summer time..Jzk

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    February 28, 2010 at 11:07 AM

    I want an article in a males perspective. I really liked this one. I think guys are just as clueless when it comes to marriage. I know I am. I read this and started wondering how I would describe myself. I believe know what Im looking for in a wife but Im still very hazy on how to actually go about it all. Im 21 btw so yes a volley of “TOO EARLY, OMG!” comments will come my way from most adults but Id rather know than be told I dont need to know yet.

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    March 2, 2010 at 10:06 PM

    The irony here is that you complain the resumes only mention what they don’t want in a husband, but you do the exact same thing. You have not given a single example of what a good resume or description would look like, which would have been helpful.

  21. Avatar


    March 12, 2010 at 3:55 PM

    JazakAllah khair Shiekh and Sister Wyatt.

    Can you please give a dua to make things ie: marriage and finding the right spouse quicker. Is there anything that we can read to facilitate our affair.

    I read the ayat from surah kahf: Rabbana aatina mila dunka rahmatawn wa hayyi’ lana, min amree na rashada
    and this dua
    Allahumma ya jaami’an naasu li yawmil la raiba fihi ajma baynee wa bayna zawjee

    and also Allah’s names


  22. Avatar


    March 14, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    I noticed alot of times when I speak to brothers who are looking that most of them said that they need someone who are attracted to…

    The problem is if all females were ranked just based on their physical looks alone, the brothers definition of good looking was those girls who are 8,9, or 10.

    Thats not good looking, thats gorgeous. If all the brothers want a gorgeous wife, that might be a problem. Specially considering that most of the brothers I spoke to were a 5, 6 or 7 on a scale of 10. So if guys who would rank 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10 want girls who are 8, 9 or 10 then there will be an issue.

    Brothers need to wake up and smell real air. Not all air smells rosy ya ikhwan. For proof drive on New Jersey Turnpike across Elizabeth :)

    I should look for a sister who at least is on my level in terms of look. Now the deen, yeah go for 8, 9, or 10 because insha’ALLAH we all will strive to get there and we can get there. Looks, unless we resort to cosmetical surgery, the 5 will remain a 5 and the 10 will remain a 10 for some duration of time until we get real old, then we will all be sevens :)

    • Avatar


      March 14, 2010 at 4:21 PM

      I have the same observation, bro. Brothers at the 4, 5 level looking for ladies at a 9, 10 level. The relevant hadith that comes to mind is “None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.”

    • Avatar


      December 24, 2013 at 9:28 AM

      And don’t forget, we are not necessarily attracted to people initially. I have seen guys who look good, but once I see what utter jerks they are, their ugliness shines through. The opposite applies as well. Good character makes a hottie in the long term as well.

  23. Avatar


    March 14, 2010 at 4:39 PM

    you guys need to remember, nothing is forever.
    the girls on the 8, 9, 10 scale would most likely be on the 3, 4, 5 scale after the first or second child or after 10 years. I have seen many awesome wedding and engagement pictures of women that now look like they are my own grandmother a couple of years later.
    What happened to the custom to ask the imam in the masjid if he knows a suitable brother/sister?

    How degrading is it to grade women anyway? do you rate after western standards? Remember, Allah knows about the Pamela Anderson and Jessica Biel pictures in your basements…

  24. Avatar


    March 14, 2010 at 4:49 PM

    and yes, i have seen many good looking/not so good looking couples that perfectly worked out fine and they produced a nice looking bunch of children.
    @ Talkum that hadith comes into action when we talk about in-laws, I reckon

  25. Avatar


    June 20, 2011 at 3:02 PM

    Am i making a mistake by telling brothers that am a sickle cell patient? cos each time i do the next thing i see is their backs even though most of them are of the AA genotype. What could be responsible for this kind of attitude from them, after all that’s the only genotype that’s “safe” for me to marry. Each time they make me feel its better not to tell.

    • Avatar


      December 24, 2013 at 9:25 AM

      Maybe you should wait until the negotiations have become serious instead of mentioning it up front. I had a genetic issue as well, and I only mentioned it to my husband once we had met and both felt we were compatible for marriage. My family and I did not mention it at the beginning of the process because a. We were not sure how this very personal and private information would be used. b. we were not sure if the process of meeting with him and his family would lead to marriage. Once both of us and our families felt it was a good match and we were moving toward marriage, my family and I spoke to his about his, he got the required blood test, and Alhamdu lillah, we got married shortly after that. We have to be open about issues, but we also need to be careful in how that information is used.

  26. Avatar


    December 23, 2013 at 8:00 PM

    How do you know that they are AA?

    To answer your question though, this seems like something of importance that should be brought up soon (whether it should be mentioned right off the bat, I’m not sure). Especially for those that wish to have children, knowing risks and what they might be signing up for will allow them to make a better informed decision.

  27. Avatar


    December 23, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    Hey what about “the one critical mistake first wives makes when looking for a cowife”? Probably something like “forgot to mention anything about your husband” *snickers*

  28. Avatar


    December 24, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    Could you please post a sample of a good biodata? And as far as looks are concerned, brothers should care -as should sisters. I mean we sisters are promised hot men in Jannah, and few of us would be willing to overlook a guy who is overweight and has little hair. And even if you say you “don’t care” how he looks initially, I can guarantee this will be a problem later in the marriage. So while looking like (starlet/hot celebrity) of the day shouldn’t be an expectation for a potential, there should be some level of physical attraction.

  29. Avatar


    December 24, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    MashAllah great article !!

    I would like to share what I did.

    Make Dua . And have great reliance upon Allah. You don’t have to check out 10
    Brothers to find a spouse . Some sisters I see wait for someone better. The first one you meet could be your spouse.

    Look for someone who can take you to jannah with him.
    I was very clear on who I wanted to marry . I took advise from baba Ali’ s video and listed about 20 questions without yes/no answers,that would help me know more about him.

    I was careful not to fall in love before knowing the person . So was careful not to be flirtatious at all.

    Did some background research through friends. I knew I must accept the proposal when I started falling in love with his qualities . Accepted the proposal within a month.

    Prayed to Allah to put LOVe and Mercy in our hearts for each other . Got married as soon as possible .

    Alhamdulillah I am blessed with parents who did NOT complain about him being from another community.

    Many a time parents ruin it for their children .

  30. Avatar


    December 24, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    Maheen, I agree with you.

    There should be some sort of physical attraction . Not repulsive looks.

    After that make plenty of dua for physical attraction .

    If Allah blesses spouses with great physical attraction , no one can prevent it :)

  31. Avatar


    September 11, 2015 at 1:39 AM

    can’t believe that I just came across this article 5 years after publishment! great article, thanks :)

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#Current Affairs

The Duplicity of American Muslim Influencers And The ‘So-called Muslim Ban’

Dr Joseph Kaminski



As we approach the beginning of another painful year of the full enforcement of Presidential Proclamation 9645 (a.k.a. ‘the Muslim ban’) that effectively bars citizens of several Muslim majority countries from entering into the United States, the silence remains deafening. As I expected, most of the world has conveniently forgotten about this policy, which thus far has separated over 3,000 American families from their spouses and other immediate relatives. In June 2019, the Brennan Center of Justice notes that: The ban has also kept at least 1,545 children from their American parents and 3,460 parents from their American sons and daughters. While silence and apathy from the general public on this matter is to be expected— after all, it is not their families who are impacted— what is particularly troubling is the response that is beginning to emerge from some corners of the American Muslim social landscape.

While most Muslims and Muslim groups have been vocal in their condemnation of Presidential Proclamation 9645, other prominent voices have not. Shadi Hamid sought to rationalize the executive order on technical grounds arguing that it was a legally plausible interpretation. Perhaps this is true, but some of the other points made by Hamid are quite questionable. For example, he curiously contends that:

The decision does not turn American Muslims like myself into “second-class citizens,” and to insist that it does will make it impossible for us to claim that we have actually become second-class citizens, if such a thing ever happens.

I don’t know— being forced to choose exile in order to remain with one’s family certainly does sound like being turned into a ‘second-class citizen’ to me. Perhaps the executive order does not turn Muslims like himself, as he notes, into second-class citizens, but it definitely does others, unless it is possible in Hamid’s mind to remain a first-class citizen barred from living with his own spouse and children for completely arbitrary reasons, like me. To be fair to Hamid, in the same article he does comment that the executive order is a morally questionable decision, noting that he is “still deeply uncomfortable with the Supreme Court’s ruling” and that “It contributes to the legitimization and mainstreaming of anti-Muslim bigotry.”

On the other hand, more recently others have shown open disdain for those who are angered about the ‘so-called Muslim ban.’ On June 6th, 2019, Abdullah bin Hamid Ali, a Senior Faculty Member at Zaytuna College, Islamic scholar and the founder of the Lamppost Education Initiative, rationalized the ban on spurious security grounds. He commented that,

The so-called Muslim ban, of course, has us on edge about his potential. But, to be fair, a real Muslim ban would mean that no Muslim from any country should be allowed in the US. There are about 50 Muslim majority countries. Trump singled out only 7 of them, most of which are war torn and problem countries. So, it is unfair to claim that he was only motivated by a hatred for Islam and Muslims.

First, despite how redundant and unnecessary this point is to make again, one ought to be reminded that between 1975 and 2015, zero foreigners from the seven nations initially placed on the banned list (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) killed any Americans in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and zero Libyans or Syrians have ever even been convicted of planning a terrorist attack on U.S. soil during that same time period. I do not think these numbers have changed over the last 4 years either. If policy decisions are supposed to be made on sound empirical evidence and data, then there is even less justification for the ban.

Second, Bin Hamid Ali comments that ‘the so-called Muslim ban, of course, has us on edge about his [Trump’s] potential.’ Whoa… hold on; on edge about his potential? For the millions of people banned from entering the United States and the thousands of Muslim families connected to these millions of people, this ‘potential’ has been more than realized. To reduce the ‘so-called Muslim ban’ to just targeting ‘war torn and problem countries’ is to reduce our family members—our husbands, wives, and children—to (inaccurate) statistics and gross stereotypes. Are spouses from Syria or Yemen seeking to reunite with their legally recognized spouses or children any less deserving to be with their immediate family members because they hail from ‘problem countries’? How can one be concerned with stereotypes while saying something like this? Is this not the exact thing that Abdullah bin Hamid Ali seeks to avoid? Surely the Professor would not invoke such stereotypes to justify the racial profiling of black American citizens. What makes black non-Americans, Arabs, and Iranians any different when it comes to draconian immigration profiling? From a purely Islamic perspective, the answer is absolutely nothing.

More recently, Sherman Jackson, a leading Islamic intellectual figure at the University of Southern California, King Faisal Chair in Islamic Thought and Culture and Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity, also waded into this discussion. In his essay, he reframed the Muslim ban as a question of identity politics rather than basic human right, pitting Muslim immigrants against what he calls ‘blackamericans’ drawing some incredibly questionable, nativist, and bigoted conclusions. Jackson in a recent blog responding to critiques by Ali al-Arian about his own questionable affiliations with authoritarian Arab regimes comments:

Al-Arian mentions that,

“the Muslim American community seemed united at least in its opposition to the Trump administration.”  He and those who make up this alleged consensus are apparently offended by Trump’s so-called Muslim ban.  But a Blackamerican sister in Chicago once asked me rhetorically why she should support having Muslims come to this country who are only going to treat her like crap.

These are baffling comments to make about ‘Trump’s so-called Muslim ban.’ Jackson creates a strawman by bringing up an anecdotal story that offers a gross generalization that clearly has prejudiced undertones of certain Muslim immigrants. Most interesting, however is how self-defeating Jackson’s invocation of identity politics is considering the fact that a large number of the ‘blackamerican’ Muslims that he is concerned about themselves have relatives from Somalia and other countries impacted by the travel ban. As of 2017, there were just over 52,000 Americans with Somali ancestry in the state of Minnesota alone. Are Somali-Americans only worth our sympathy so long as they do not have Somali spouses? What Jackson and Bin Hamid Ali do not seem to understand is that these Muslim immigrants they speak disparagingly of, by in large, are coming on family unification related visas.

Other people with large online followings have praised the comments offered by Abdullah bin Hamid Ali and Sherman Jackson. The controversial administrator of the popular The Muslim Skeptic website, Daniel Haqiqatjou, in defense of Jackson’s comments, stated:

This is the first time I have seen a prominent figure downplay the issue. And I think Jackson’s assessment is exactly right: The average American Muslim doesn’t really care about this. There is no evidence to indicate that this policy has had a significant impact on the community as a whole. Travel to the US from those four countries affected by the ban was already extremely difficult in the Obama era.

What Haqiqatjou seems to not realize is that while travel from these countries was difficult, it was not as ‘extremely difficult’ as he erroneously claims it was. The US issued 7,727 visas to Iranian passport holders in 2016 prior to the ban. After the ban in 2018, that number dropped to 1,449. My own wife was issued a B1/B2 Tourist visa to meet my family in 2016 after approximately 40 days of administrative processing which is standard for US visa seekers who hold Iranian passports. On the other hand, she was rejected for the same B1/B2 Tourist visa in 2018 after a grueling 60+ day wait due to Presidential Proclamation 9645. At the behest of the Counselor Officer where we currently live, she was told to just finish the immigration process since this would put her in a better position to receive one of these nearly impossible to get waivers. She had her interview on November 19, 2018, and we are still awaiting the results of whatever these epic, non-transparent ‘extreme vetting’ procedures yield. Somehow despite my wife being perfectly fine to enter in 2016, three years later, we are entering the 10th month of waiting for one of these elusive waivers with no end time in sight, nor any guarantee that things will work out. Tell me how this is pretty much the same as things have always been?

What these commentators seem to not realize is that the United States immigration system is incredibly rigid. One cannot hop on a plane and say they want to immigrate with an empty wallet to start of Kebab shop in Queens. It seems as if many of these people that take umbrage at the prospects of legal immigration believe that the immigration rules of 2019 are the same as they were in 1819. In the end, it is important to once again reiterate that the Muslim immigrants Jackson, Bin Hamid Ali and others are disparaging are those who most likely are the family members of American Muslim citizens; by belittling the spouses and children of American Muslims, these people are belittling American Muslims themselves.

Neo-nationalism, tribalism, and identity politics of this sort are wholly antithetical to the Islamic enterprise. We have now reached the point where people who are considered authority figures within the American Islamic community are promoting nativism and identity politics at the expense of American Muslim families. Instead of trying to rationalize the ‘so-called Muslim Ban’ via appeals to nativist and nationalist rhetoric, influential Muslim leaders and internet influencers need to demonstrate empathy and compassion for the thousands of US Muslim families being torn apart by this indefinite Muslim ban that we all know will never end so long as Donald Trump remains president. In reality, they should be willing to fight tooth-and-nail for American Muslim families. These are the same people who regularly critique the decline of the family unit and the rise of single-parent households. Do they not see the hypocrisy in their positions of not defending those Muslim families that seek to stay together?

If these people are not willing to advocate on behalf of those of us suffering— some of us living in self-imposed exile in third party countries to remain with our spouses and children— the least they can do is to not downplay our suffering or even worse, turn it into a political football (Social Justice Warrior politics vs. traditional ‘real’ Islam). It seems clear that if liberal Muslim activists were not as outspoken on this matter, these more conservative voices would take a different perspective. With the exception of Shadi Hamid, the other aforementioned names have made efforts to constrain themselves firmly to the ‘traditional’ Muslim camp. There is no reason that this issue, which obviously transcends petty partisan Muslim politics, ought to symbolize one’s allegiance to any particular social movement or camp within contemporary Islamic civil society.

If these people want a ‘traditional’ justification for why Muslim families should not be separated, they ought to be reminded that one of al-Ghazali’s 5 essential principles of the Shari’a was related to the protection of lineage/family and honor (ḥifẓ al-nasl). Our spouses are not cannon fodder for such childish partisan politics. We will continue to protect our families and their honor regardless of how hostile the environment may become for us and regardless of who we have to name and shame in the process.

When I got married over a year prior to Donald Trump being elected President, I vowed that only Allah would separate me from my spouse. I intend on keeping that vow regardless of what consequences that decision may have.

Photo courtesy: Adam Cairns / The Columbus Dispatch

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5 Tips for Surviving Ramadan. In The Summer. When You Have Small Children.





By Afaaf Rajbee

This time a few years ago, I anticipated Ramadan with anxiety. I had 3 children, all under the age of 5, and was part of a large, busy household of working men and women.  When Ramadan finally arrived I was petrified inside at whether I would be able to cope with running after my youngest daughter, managing the school and nursery run with the older two, as well as keeping the house in order and preparing iftar for the family in the evening.

A year later, that anxiety has been replaced with something more positive; Ramadan is challenging there is no doubt about it. But I wanted to share some practical tips, as a mum, that made last Ramadan that much more manageable and a time of spiritual benefit.

1. Prepare the evening meal first thing in the morning. Decide on your menu and write it down into checklist form. This is the time to marinade, whizz up chutneys and even get out serving dishes. All the effort you invest early on will give you more time before Maghrib. It’s amazing how hectic it can get in the kitchen just before Maghrib – and when you’re dehydrated and tired it’s difficult to cook quickly. Instead, try to make your mornings your most productive time in preparing iftar.

2. Use salah times as the markers that divide your activities. I always set myself a target to get everything done in the kitchen before dhuhr. This way I avoided that feeling that I’m taking time away from work to pray salah. Dhuhr salah was a great way to end a productive housework-focussed morning in the kitchen and helped me refocus on the next tasks – whether that was having to go out or completing more housework or listening to a lecture or reading Qur’an.

3. Make sure you pray Asr before you start getting iftar on the table! So many times I’ve nearly missed Asr because of getting carried away in the kitchen – and this is true for so many mothers I’ve spoken to. I’ve found after the kids get home from school and I’d fed them and helped them with homework or reading, ‘Asr was a good marker to tie up that stage of the day.

4. Put the kids to bed as early as you can. Your evening ibadat, Qur’an reading and taraweeh depends on this. Leave bedtime any later and I guarantee you’ll most likely fall asleep with your kids and you’ll wake up 6 hours later feeling awful just having missed sehri, still wearing your day clothes and still having your contact lenses in… That was not a great evening.

5. Ramadan is not the time to deviate radically from your normal routine and responsibilities – else we would simply not receive its benefit. Yes, we should increase in certain types of ibadah – read more Qur’an, pray more nafl salah – but running a household, going out on errands, engaging with our children and keeping them safe is also part of life and hence part of our ibadah. Fasting was not prescribed for a week, or just a few days, but a whole month. The beauty of this duration is that it’s not so long to be a physical or mental burden but also it’s not so short that you can suspend your daily activities like a holiday. By normal activities, I’m referring to that ironing pile, the paperwork, hoovering. I found that even during the 20-hour fasts I could still pursue my normal routine but at a slower pace. If you do this, you’ll have no build up of housework that you’ll have to spend ages compensating at Eid time.

As you can probably tell, I’m a big fan of routine. But routine becomes monotonous and depressing if there is no time invested in personal growth, pursuing your passions or helping others. But generally, mothers of small children are tired; remember that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) knows your situation and that every aspect of our daily life can become an act of worship if our intentions are to please Him.

Afaaf Rajbee is a graduate in International Relations from the LSE, which surprisingly didn’t prepare her for life as a mother to 3 children. She is part of the Charity Week team and volunteers her skills for a variety of different organisations.

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Are You Prepared for Marriage and Building a Family?

Mona Islam



High School is that time which is ideal for preparing yourself for the rest of your life. There is so much excitement and opportunity. Youth is a time of energy, growth, health, beauty, and adventure. Along with the thrill of being one of the best times of life, there is a definite lack of life experience. In your youth, you end up depending on your own judgments as well as the advice of others who are further along the path. Your own judgments usually come from your own knowledge, assumptions, likes, and dislikes. No matter how wise, mature, or well-intended a youth is compared to his or her peers, the inherent lack of life experience can also mislead that person to go down a path which is not serving them or their loved ones best. A youth may walk into mistakes without knowing, or get themselves into trouble resulting from naivety.

Salma and Yousef: 

Salma and Yousef had grown up in the same community for many years. They had gone to the same masjid and attended youth group together during high school. After going off to college for a few years, both were back in town and found that they would make good prospects for marriage for each other. Yousef was moving along his career path, and Salma looked forward to her new relationship. Yousef was happy to settle down. The first few months after marriage were hectic: getting a new place, organizing, managing new jobs and extended family. After a few months, they began to wonder when things would settle down and be like the vision they had about married life.

Later with valuable life experience, we come to realize that the ideas we had in our youth about marriage and family are far from what are they are in reality. The things that we thought mattered in high school, may not matter as much, and the things that we took for granted really matter a lot more than we realized. In retrospect, we learn that marriage is not simply a door that we walk through which changes our life, but something that each young Muslim and Muslima should be preparing for individually through observation, introspection, and reflection. In order to prepare for marriage, each person must intend to want to be the best person he or she can be in that role. There is a conscious process that they must put themselves through.

This conscious process should begin in youth. Waiting until marriage to start this process is all too late. We must really start preparing for marriage as a conscious part of our growth, self-development, and character building from a young age. The more prepared we are internally, the better off we will be in the process of marriage. The best analogy would be the stronger the structure and foundation of a building, the better that building will be able to serve its purpose and withstand the environment. Another way to think of this process is like planting a seed. We plant a seed long before the harvest, but the more time, care, and attention, the more beautiful and beneficial the fruits will be.


Sarah and Hasan:

Hasan grew up on the East Coast. He had gone to boarding school all through high school, especially since his parents had died in an unfortunate accident. His next of kin was his aunt and uncle, who managed his finances, and cared for him when school was not in session. Hasan was safe and comfortable with his aunt and uncle, but he always felt there was something missing in his life. During his college years, Hasan was introduced to Sarah and eventually they decided to get married.

The first week of his new job, Hasan caught a really bad case of the flu that made it hard for him to get his projects done. Groggy in bed, he sees Sarah appear with a tray of soup and medicine every day until he felt better. Nobody had ever done that for him before. He remembered the “mawaddah and rahmah” that the Quran spoke of.

Knowledge, Skills, and Understanding:

The process of growing into that person who is ready to start a family is that we need to first to be aware of ourselves and be aware of others around us. We have to have knowledge of ourselves and our environment. With time, reflection and life experience, that knowledge activates into understanding and wisdom. This activity the ability to make choices between right and wrong, and predict how our actions will affect others related to us.


This series is made up of several parts which make up a unit about preparation for family life. Some of the topics covered include:

  • The Family Unit In Islam
  • Characteristics of an Individual Needed for Family Life
  • The Nuclear Family
  • The Extended Family

Hamza and Tamika

Tamika and Hamza got married six months ago. Tamika was getting her teacher certification in night school and started her first daytime teaching job at the local elementary school. She was shocked at the amount of energy it took to manage second graders. She thought teaching was about writing on a board and reading books to kids, but found out it had a lot more to do with discipline, speaking loudly, and chasing them around. This week she had state testing for the students and her finals at night school. She was not sure how to balance all this with her new home duties. One day feeling despair, she walked in her kitchen and found a surprise. Hamza had prepared a beautiful delicious dinner for them that would last a few days, and the home looked extra clean too. Tamika was pleasantly surprised and remembered the example of our Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

The Family Unit in Islam

We always have to start with the beginning. We have to ask, “What is the family unit in Islam?” To answer this we take a step further back, asking, “What is the world-wide definition of family? Is it the same for all people? Of course not. “Family” means a lot of different things to a lot of different people across the world. As Muslims, what family means to us, is affected by culture and values, as well as our own understanding of Islam.

The world-wide definition of family is a group of people who are related to each other through blood or marriage. Beyond this point, is where there are many differences in views. Some people vary on how distantly related to consider a family. In some cultures, family is assumed to be only the nuclear family, consisting of mom dad and kids only. Other cultures assume family includes an extended family. Another large discrepancy lies in defining family roles and responsibilities. Various cultures promote different behavioral norms for different genders or roles in the family. For example, some cultures promote women staying at home in a life of luxury, while others esteem women joining the workforce while raising their kids on the side. Living styles vary too, where some cultures prefer individual family homes, while in other parts of the world extended families live together in large buildings always interacting with each other.


Layla and Ibrahim   

Layla and Ibrahim met at summer retreat where spirituality was the focus, and scholars were teaching them all day. Neither of them was seriously considering getting married, but one of the retreat teachers thought they might make a good match. It seemed like a fairytale, and the retreat gave them an extra spiritual high. Layla could not imagine anything going wrong. She was half Italian and half Egyptian, and Ibrahim came from a desi family. Soon after the nikah, Layla moved across the country into Ibrahim’s family home, where his parents, three siblings, and grandmother lived.  Come Ramadan, Layla’s mother-in-law, Ruqayya, was buying her new clothes to wear to the masjid. It was out of love, but Sarah had never worn a shalwar kameez in all her life! Ruqayya Aunty started getting upset when Layla was not as excited about the clothes as she was.

As Eid approached, Layla had just picked a cute dress from the department store that she was looking forward to wearing. Yet again, her mother-in-law had other plans for her.

Layla was getting upset inside. It was the night before Eid and the last thing she wanted to do was fight with her new husband. She did not want that stress, especially because they all lived together. At this point, Layla started looking through her Islamic lecture notes. She wanted to know, was this request from her mother-in-law a part of the culture, or was it part of the religion?


The basis of all families, undoubtedly, is the institution of marriage. In the Islamic model, the marriage consists of a husband and a wife. In broad terms, marriage is the commitment of two individuals towards each other and their children to live and work together to meet and support each other’s needs in the way that they see fit. What needs they meet vary as well, from person to person, and family to family. The marriage bond must sustain the weight of fulfilling first their own obligations toward each other. This is the priority. The marriage must also be strong enough to hold the responsibility of raising the kids, and then the extended family.

How are we as Muslims unique and what makes us different from other family models? We are responsible to Allah. The end goals are what makes us different, and the method in which we work. In other family systems, beliefs are different, goals are different, and the motives are different. Methods can especially be different. In the end, it is quite a different system. What makes us better? Not because we say we are better or because we automatically feel better about ourselves due to a misplaced feeling of superiority. But instead it is because we are adhering to the system put in place by the most perfect God, Allah, the Creator and Sustainer of all the worlds, the One Who knows best what it is we need.

Family Roles:

Each person in the family has a role which Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has meant for them to have, and which ethics and common sense tell us to follow. However, our nafs and ego can easily misguide us to live our family life in the wrong way, which is harmful and keeps us suffering. Suffering can take place in many ways. It can take place in the form of neglect or abuse. In the spectrum of right and wrong, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) tells us that we are a nation meant for the middle path. So we should not go to any extreme in neglect or abuse.

What are the consequences of mishandling our family roles? Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) calls this type of wrongdoing “transgression” or “oppression”. There are definitely consequences of oppression, abuse, and neglect. There are worldly consequences which we feel in this life, and there are long term consequences in the Akhirah.

Razan and Farhaan

Razan and Farhan had gotten married two years ago. Since they were from different towns, Razan would have to move to Farhaan’s hometown. On top of the change of married life, Razan felt pangs of homesickness and did not know many people in the new town. However, Farhaan did not realize what she was going through. He still had the same friends he grew up with for years. They had a die-hard routine to go to football games on Friday night and play basketball on Saturday at the rec center.

Razan was losing her patience. How could he think it was okay to go out with his friends twice on the weekend? Yet he expected her to keep the home together? Her blood started to boil. What does Islam say about this?

Mawaddah and Rahma

The starting point of a family is a healthy relationship between the husband and wife. Allah SWT prescribed in Surah 25: verse 74, that the marriage relationship is supposed to be built on Mawaddah (compassion) and Rahma (mercy). A loving family environment responds to both the needs of the children and the needs of parents. Good parenting prepares children to become responsible adults.

Aliyaah and Irwan

Aliyaah and Irwan had homeschooled their twin children, Jannah and Omar, for four years. They were cautious about where to admit their children for the next school year. Aliyaah felt that she wanted to homeschool her children for another few years. There were no Islamic Schools in their town. Irwan wanted to let his kids go to public schools. He felt that was nothing wrong with knowing how things in the real world are. However, every conversation they started about this issue ended up into a conflict or fight. This was beginning to affect their relationship.


Two significant roles that adults in a family play are that they are married and they are parents. It is important that parents work to preserve and protect their marital relationship since it is really the pillar which supports the parenting role. Parenting is a role which Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) directly addresses in our religion. We will be asked very thoroughly about this most important role which we will all play in our lives.

There is a hadith in which the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) reminds us,

“All of you are shepherds and responsible for your wards under you care. The imam is the shepherd of his subjects and is responsible for them, and a man is a shepherd of his family and is responsible for them. A woman is the shepherd of her husband’s house and is responsible for it. A servant is the shepherd of his master’s belongings and is responsible for them. A man is the shepherd of his father’s property and is responsible for them”. (Bukhari and Muslim)

Islam has placed a lot of importance on the family unit. A family is the basic building block of Islam. A strong family can facilitate positive social change within itself and the society as a whole. The Quran asserts that human beings are entrusted by their Creator to be his trustees on Earth, thus they need to be trained and prepared for the task of trusteeship (isthiklaf).

Asa youth, it is important to make a concerted effort to develop our family skills so that we grow into that role smoothly. Proper development will prepare a person emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically for marriage and family life.

Mona Islam is a youth worker, community builder, motivational speaker, writer, and author. For the past 25 years, Sr. Mona has been on the forefront of her passion both locally and nationally, which is inculcating character development in youth (tarbiyah).  Sr. Mona has extensive knowledge of Islamic sciences through the privilege of studying under many scholars and traveling worldwide.  An educator by profession, she is a published author, completed her masters in Educational Admin and currently doing her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. Sr. Mona is married with five children and lives in Houston, TX.

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