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

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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.

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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.

58 Comments

58 Comments

  1. Avatar

    shirtman

    February 12, 2010 at 6:00 AM

    Great stuff!

  2. Avatar

    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.

    • Avatar

      amad

      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%

    • Avatar

      cassiem

      October 15, 2014 at 5:28 AM

      Seriously! Shukr for putting that out there!

  3. Avatar

    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?

    • Avatar

      Sadaf

      February 12, 2010 at 8:59 PM

      Very valid demand. I second that.

    • Avatar

      SisAnon

      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.

  4. Avatar

    Muslima02

    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

    • Avatar

      Musa

      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.

  5. Avatar

    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 : ))

    • Avatar

      time

      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!

      • Avatar

        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.

  6. Avatar

    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.

  7. Avatar

    Sincerity

    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

        Amatullah

        February 13, 2010 at 3:24 AM

        Please be nice :)

        • Avatar

          Sincerity

          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. ;)

      • Avatar

        Sincerity

        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).

        • Avatar

          ukhti

          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.

          • Avatar

            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.

          • Avatar

            Someone Human

            February 15, 2010 at 10:42 PM

            > The brothers are definitely making looks a big priority

            ukhti,

            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

            Sincerity

            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

      Yanonimous

      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

  8. Avatar

    NahyanInc

    February 12, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    Excellent, excellent article. mashaAllah.

  9. Avatar

    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 - IslamicAnswers.com

    February 13, 2010 at 8:55 PM

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

    http://zawaj.com/editorials/impossible.html

  11. Avatar

    Abusafiyah

    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

      BK

      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.

    Signed,
    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

        Abusafiyah

        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

    um

    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

    Hala

    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
    salaamz
    hala

  15. Avatar

    Arshada

    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

      um

      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

        hala

        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
        salaamz
        hala

      • 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

    ameen

    February 24, 2010 at 12:41 PM

    Salaam everyone found a new Muslim matrimonial site @ Kabbool.com 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

  19. Avatar

    Ahmad

    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.

  20. Avatar

    yakisha

    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

    helper

    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

    Was’salam

  22. Avatar

    khan

    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

      Talkum

      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

      Maheen

      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

    sabirah

    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

    sabirah

    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

    Seerah

    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

      Maheen

      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

    Reply

    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

    Olivia

    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

    Maheen

    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

    BK

    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

    BK

    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

    Imane

    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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#Society

No-Nuptial Agreements: Maybe Next Time, Don’t Get Married

marriage
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 “Nikah is part of my sunnah, and whoever does not follow my sunnah has nothing to do with me.”

–Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), Narrated by Aisha raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her)

Many Muslims have experienced marriage, then suffered a subsequent divorce as a financial, emotional, and social meat grinder. Some critics have noted the divorce system seemingly exists primarily to benefit itself; the lawyers: mental health experts, investigators, forensic accountants.

They form an entire industry dedicated to extracting the wealth of a disintegrating family, often forcing the middle class or working class into poverty and bankruptcy. All of this happens without any noticeable benefit to society. It’s a self-licking ice cream cone.

For many, divorce happens multiple times. A divorced person who gets remarried is more likely to get divorced again.

While men often complain about how the “family court” system is against them, the reality is that women often bear the financial brunt of divorce. Divorce is more likely to drive women to bankruptcy than men.

After one or two divorces and a few lost years of retirement savings or a decade or more of home equity, another “marriage” starts to look downright irrational. My advice to such people: stop getting married, at least under state law. Get a nikah and a “no-nuptial agreement” instead. Allow me to explain.

Fun with Words

It is impossible to have a meaningful conversation about virtually anything unless we have a common understanding of the meaning of words we are using.

In law, even ordinary words have definitions that defy conventional understanding or even common sense. Basic familial terms like “son,” “daughter,” “father,” and “mother” have state law definitions that are different from what those words mean in Islam or our understanding. Under state law, “parents” can adopt adult “children” a similar age to them or even older, and have the same status as a biological child. In Islam, an adopted child is not the same as a biological child and does not have rights to inheritance in Islam.

In law, even words like “life” and “death” don’t always mean what you think they mean. A living person can go to court to dispute his death, demonstrate he is living, breathing, speaking, and everyone agrees he is the “dead person” in question, yet, he is ruled legally dead. Famously, corporations are legally people and are immortal.

Law is not the same thing as truth.

Similarly, it is folly to conflate nikah, the thing that exists in Islam, with marriage under state law. In different states, rules for who and under what circumstances people can get married can vary. One thing that all the state law definitions have in common is that they are not marriage in Islam.

What is Marriage?

For marriage, there is a state law definition, there is an Islamic definition, and there is the definition that the individual married couple has. Under state law, two men can be married to each other, but three men cannot be. In Islam, marriage (let’s call it nikah to be more precise) is a halal social and sexual relationship, and there are rules in the fiqh that are different from state law.

Under some state laws, “secret marriages” with no witnesses or publicly available registration are part of the law and commonly used. In Islam, there is a witness requirement for nikah. None of the rules in Islam require the state’s approval for nikah.

The third definition is how each couple sees their marriage. It is a flexible institution. To the extent it is an economic, social or familial partnership can vary widely. Couples may live together or apart. They may have one income or two.  They may share the same social circles or share none of them. The variations are endless.

Domestic Partnerships

For most of the history of legal marriage in the United States, marriage can only be between one man and one woman. States started allowing for “domestic partnerships” to give some “benefits” of marriage to same-sex couples, like employer health benefits and hospital visitation.

In many instances, these were available almost exclusively to same-sex couples, even after same-sex marriage became part of the law in all states. However, as of January 2020, California opened up domestic partnerships to everyone, including different-sex couples.

As a practical matter, domestic partnerships are simply state-sanctioned marriage by another name. It is notable though some jurisdictions may have limited domestic partnerships that are something less than marriage. In most states that have it, the same family law system, for good or ill, that comes with marriage under state law is also true of domestic partnerships.

While domestic partnership combined with a nikah is available to Muslims in states where it exists, there is no real advantage to using it.

No-Nuptial Agreements

For decades now, in the United States, there has been no taboo against men and women openly having sexual relationships with each other, living and raising families together outside marriage. Courts have long recognized these people should have contractual rights with each other.

When a man and women live together, those involved may be gaining something and giving something up. So if a man promises a woman something, and the agreement is not founded merely on sexual services, the state should enforce those promises, not in family court but civil court.

Marvin started it all

The principle case that established this is the California case of Marvin v. Marvin in 1976. A couple broke up, but the woman wanted to enforce promises made to her by the man. The man felt such a commitment should not be enforceable because, among other reasons, he was legally married to a completely different woman when this non-marital relationship started. Under California law, at the time (abolished by the time the case got to the court), this was criminal adultery.

No-nuptial agreements (sometimes called cohabitation agreements or Marvin agreements) can be used by couples when they want to have enforceable contracts but do not want to subject themselves to the family court system or the family code. They can include provisions of mahar, sharing expenses, equity as well as dispute resolution processes like arbitration and mediation.

The couple can also document limits on what they agreed to to what is in writing. For example, during a breakup, one party may be able to claim an oral promise the other party never made and potentially have it enforced in court. A written agreement protects both parties and the understanding they had when they entered into the relationship.

These agreements have a broad utility for many different kinds of couples. However, for some couples, the main benefit would be documentation that nobody is under the illusion that this is a marriage under state law. It is a private contract between two individuals.

Example of a No-Nuptial Agreement

Salma, 58, does a nikah with Sheher Ali, 62. They also create a no-nuptial agreement. Sheher Ali is a widower, and Salma is a divorcee. They both have their separate assets, including their own homes. Each has adult children and young grandchildren. Both want to put their adult children at ease that this relationship does not exist for predatory financial reasons – a common fear when parents marry later in life.

Salma, 58, does a nikah with Sheher Ali, 62. They also create a no-nuptial agreement. Sheher Ali is a widower, and Salma is a divorcee. They both have their separate assets, including their own homes. Each has adult children and young grandchildren.Click To Tweet

Salma and Sheher Ali do not plan to live together, which is common for couples their age. They mostly pay for their expenses themselves. They may spend the night at each other’s homes whenever they want but will split time with their separate children, grandchildren and social circles. Sheher Ali pays for joint vacations and outings. He agreed to a mahar. Both agree in writing they did not marry under state law.

Sheher Ali and Salma can still call each other husband and wife, since that is true for them and everyone they know. Both keep all of their finances separate, and each does their independent estate planning where they name each other as partial beneficiaries of their estates as required in Islam. The two also complete HIPAA forms allowing each to see the other’s private medical information and name each other in Advance Healthcare Directives so they can make healthcare decisions for each other.

Legal Strangers

Unmarried couples are “legal strangers.” Doctors won’t share healthcare information. Islamic spouses don’t get an inheritance from a no-nuptial agreement spouse by default. They don’t get things like tenancy by the entirety, community property, or elective shares in places where such things exist. As I described above, though, this can be remedied. However, as I described in the example above, the “legal stranger” aspect of the relationship may be more of a benefit than a downside in some cases.

Some “benefits” of marriage under state law are against Islamic principles.  For example, some state laws that provide for “elective shares” are diametrically opposed to the Quran’s share of inheritance.  Muslims must follow Islamic rules of inheritance anyway, which are different from default state rules, so being under state law is no special advantage. Even with proper planning, the downsides of the “legal stranger” problem still may come up in extraordinary contexts, however, such as lawsuits.

Immigration and Taxes

Another concern is that employee benefits to spouses and dependents don’t generally extend to those with no-nuptial agreements. Immigration law does not allow a path to the United States through the “family unification ” process for those with a no-nuptial contract. Marriage under state law (or the law of a foreign country recognized in the United States) may be the most practical solution in such cases.

In some cases, state-sanctioned marriage may lead to lower taxes. Other legally married couples may experience the so-called “marriage penalty” and pay higher taxes than couples with a no-nuptial agreement. Couples may often find they will pay less in taxes with a no-nuptial agreement than they would if they were married under state law.

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

One may wonder, to avoid the “meat grinder” of the family court system, why not just get a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement? It’s accurate that in general, having such arrangements are superior to not having them. These agreements offer greater certainty, though by no means total confidence, on how a divorce would end. There are disadvantages to such an agreement over no-nuptial agreements, however. A big one is that divorce is still in the family court system.

Many Muslim men, especially immigrants, may perceive cultural biases cause a stacked deck against them in family court. The nature of these agreements may make this perception worse. Sometimes, courts treat prenuptial and postnuptial agreements with a presumption of coercion. It is different from an ordinary contract. The family court system is often free to be more paternalistic and make a husband prove he did not force his wife to sign a document.

The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, which will be worded differently in the different states that adopted it, provides for a process to make these marital agreements harder to defeat. However, the process is perhaps arguably more expensive, cumbersome, and awkward for a couple than a no-nuptial contract. Talking about a prenuptial agreement with a fiancé may be more uncomfortable than bringing up a no-nuptial arrangement and nikah. Without a state-sanctioned marriage, a written agreement is essential. Many people perceive the pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements as both optional and, perhaps unfairly, as a sign of mistrust.

Custody and Child Support

Unfortunately, there is no agreement you can come up with that will pre-settle child support and custody. A judge will decide those things.

It does not matter if you have a “plain vanilla” marriage governed entirely by your state’s family code, a prenuptial agreement, or a no-nuptial agreement. Children are not parties to such a contract. No court anywhere will subject a child’s care and welfare to such things.

For custody and child support, courts in family court will use the sometimes hard to define standard of “best interests of the child.” One Massachusetts family law attorney in a popular divorce documentary cryptically joked that she called children in the system  “little bags of money.” They are often a significant reason family law cases are so profitable for lawyers, mental health professionals, investigators, and everyone else.

No Protection for Poor Life Choices

A good rule to follow is never to do nikah with a person capable of having children unless you are sure she or he can be trusted to raise your future children, and you have made peace with making child support payments to this individual if your relationship ends. If you have a child, you may be suck with a child support order. There is no getting out of this one.

As an Islamic estate planning lawyer, the most important advice I can ever give anyone is not to get a proper estate plan. It is not to get a good lawyer. Of course those things are good, indeed no-brainers, but they have limits. The most important advice is to choose a spouse wisely. If you fail here, there is no law, no lawyer or document in existence that can turn back the clock. A no-nuptial agreement may make a future breakup easier than a family court divorce. There is still no guarantee it won’t be a complete mess anyway. Good documents are never a substitute for poor life choices.

“The Law of the Land”

Islamic institutions like masajid are conservative don’t like taking needless risks, as they should be. Many will not officiate a nikah unless there is a marriage license. They usually will not officiate bigamous marriages, on account of it being illegal.  Of course bigamy, like marriage, has a specific legal definition under state law. One almost universal refrain is that as Muslims we need to follow “the law of the land.”

No-nuptial agreements are in full conformity with the 'law of the land.' It is not a marriage under state law. Nobody is claiming that it is. Limiting nikah to marriage under state law not based on Islam.Click To Tweet

But what if that term did not mean what you think it means? No-nuptial agreements are in full conformity with the “law of the land.” It is not a marriage under state law. Nobody is claiming that it is.  Limiting nikah to marriage under state law not based on Islam. Recently, the Islamic Institute of Orange County, a large masjid in the Los Angeles area, changed its nikah officiating policy. Instead of always requiring marriage certificates, they will also recognize no-nuptial agreements.

Masajid Should Welcome No-Nuptial Agreements

Masajid should have standardized policies and procedures in place. Every masjid should have carefully considered policies to protect the vulnerable and the institution. No masjid wants to open themselves up to a “drive-by nikah” or other nonsense. One policy may well include mandating a no-nuptial agreement when there is no marriage certificate. There is no reason to believe one protects people and institutions better than the other.

Nikah is a vital sunnah for us. It is not something that should be in the shadows, secret, or something shameful. It is fundamental to how we organize our families and communities. When it’s done right, it helps us strengthen our iman, bring us closer to our communities and our loved ones. State definitions of words should not always be your guide to right and wrong.

It is appropriate that Muslims want to do the sunnah of nikah at the masjid, publicly and with friends and family watching.  We should recognize and celebrate every new couple that has done a nikah in our communities. Never mind the state has not sanctioned it.

The state statute book has its definition, we have ours.

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#Life

Rebuilding Self-Love  in the Face of Trauma

touch trauma
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“…there is beauty in breaking” – Amir Sulaiman

Words fell softly from her lips as tears streamed down her face. A young woman, newly married, had reached out to me via social media to ask a question about how to reconnect with her body after trauma. Receiving intimacy and sex-related questions from Muslim women all over the world is a large part of my work.  But there was something about this particular questioner that struck me in a very deep place. I intimately knew her pain as a survivor. Not long after taking my shahada, I was the victim of sexual assault. The amount of trauma I suffered is indescribable. But rather than pulling me away from the faith, I relied heavily on the deen to pull me through one of the darkest periods of my life.

After trauma, rather than pulling away from the faith, I relied heavily on the deen to pull me through one of the darkest periods of my life. Click To Tweet

Healing after trauma took action, not only faith. For years, I struggled with the ability to connect with my body and to understand how to properly process emotions.  Intimacy, of all kinds, was a challenge for me. Reclaiming agency over my own body and establishing my right to pleasure led me down a life-changing path that has led to me now assisting other women in understanding and owning sexuality from a sacred perspective. My trauma broke me but it also showed me new ways to heal.

But getting back to pleasure really requires coming back to a sense of oneness and power within one’s self. It means owning your narrative and rebuilding the parts which have been broken. @TheVillageAuntieClick To Tweet

Re-engaging with sexual pleasure after trauma can be very difficult, especially for Muslim women who have been taught their whole lives to vigorously guard their bodies and not discuss sex. Talk of intimacy is still seen as taboo and, worse yet, the ability to report sexual assault and abuse remains a very difficult task for many women, regardless of faith.

But getting back to pleasure really requires coming back to a sense of oneness and power within one’s self. It means owning your narrative and rebuilding the parts which have been broken.

I have developed a five-step plan for helping women to navigate the heartbreaking process of reclaiming the body and opening one’s self to pleasure.

[*This plan is not to be used in place of mental health care (cognitive behavioral therapy, EMDR, trauma-informed somatic practice, etc.) but is meant to supplement intervention from a trusted licensed mental health provider.]

  1. Practice mindful forgiveness. This is not meant to be directed toward the abuser. Mindful forgiveness after trauma focuses on a need to forgive one’s self for the range of self-directed emotions that can be detrimental in the aftermath of sexual trauma. Sometimes women blame themselves when abuse takes place. This internalized oppression requires forgiveness because a victim should never assume blame for the heinous acts of others. Forgiving ourselves for any negative self-talk and asking Allah to grant His indelible mercy is a key foundation for the development of a healing path. It took years after my assault for me to understand the ways in which I had wounded myself with disparaging internal scripts. When I increased my level of istighfar and asked Allah to excuse all the instances where I doubted myself and harmed my spirit in the process, I was able to finally uncover long-hidden emotions and set about the work of true healing and reconciliation with my body.

    rights of women in Islam

  2. Seek knowledge about one’s own body and its rights. When I became a Muslim 21 years ago, I had no idea that Islam was such a sex-positive religion. The Seerah of the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is full of instances where he demonstrated the beauty and importance of sex as a form of marital bonding as well as an act of worship. Scouring books of fiqh, I learned the rights of women in Islam which affirmed that we are not human possessions meant to be tilled; women have undeniable rights to pleasure and protection of our most sacred human parts. Understanding that Islam is a guide for all areas of life can give a sense of comfort and provide a pathway to explore the sacredness of sexuality. This is key, especially for women who have been abused by men of faith or who have been victims of spiritual manipulation for carnal gain. Also, learning about the female anatomy, how the brain is an integral part of harnessing pleasure, and ways to use the mind to develop an internal sense of pleasure can also be extremely helpful in re-igniting one’s love of self.

  3. Activate the sensuality of everyday life.  There is a misunderstanding of the role of sensuality in pleasure. Sex is the physical joining of bodies. Sensuality, however, is a conscious internal awareness of pleasurable stimuli. It does not involve engaging with another person. This is key because many trauma sufferers may find physical human touch triggering.  Recognizing the sensual aspects of daily life requires the mindful perception of things that titillate or arouse. It can be as simple as the feel of a particular fabric against the skin, the smell of the air after a heavy rain, a sound that evokes sensual memories, a scent that conjures an arousing mood. Why is this important? Sex is not the sole route to pleasure. For women, pleasure is largely dependent upon a spiritual or mental connection within the body. By engaging in self-motivated pleasurable sensations, this can assist women in realizing the power and control that we have over our physical vessels. Muslim couple healing reciting Quran

  4. Be easy with yourself. In the Qur’an, Allah reminds us “O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” (2:153)  During the process of reclaiming one’s power, there will undoubtedly be times of anger, grief, sorrow, and resentment. These are human emotions and are quite reasonable given the magnitude of trauma’s effect on the heart. Be patient with yourself. Channel love and support during times of difficulty. Do not neglect your healing journey because of a setback. It is important to practice patience with one’s self and utilize prayer as a stabilizing force. Allah is Al Wali, our greatest Protector, and Supporter. During times of emotional despair, rather than directing our energy inward, we can learn to release these emotions through dua and remembrance. Trauma is not a fundamental characteristic of who you have become. Reclaiming your narrative means understanding that you have the power to create a different story with a powerful ending. Give yourself the time and space to rewrite your script.

    Allah is Al Wali, our greatest Protector, and Supporter. During times of emotional despair, rather than directing our energy inward, we can learn to release these emotions through dua and remembrance.Click To Tweethealing from trauma

  5. Find your circle. Healing is not a solitary act. Sometimes it requires the love and support of others. Do you have a circle of support? Who are the people in your circle? And if you don’t have one, how can you create one? When I was at my lowest, my circle was there to remind me of who I was and how far I had come. They were the ones with whom I could be my most authentic self. One of the ways in which we can heal trauma is by seeking human connection. Select your circle carefully and lean on them during times of need. The healing power of your personally curated community can be transformative and life-changing.

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#Life

Looking To Get Married? Here Are A Few Tips

will you marry me?
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It is a truth universally acknowledged that single young Muslims, despite not being in possession of any fortune, are always in search of a spouse.

However little prepared these people may be to undertake this ordeal is given little thought, and they are thrust out into the world of modern Muslim matchmaking. The generational divide in the community has meant that young people have received little training at home to navigate the process of finding a spouse. These individuals are seeking high-quality relationships, but few have the skills and emotional intelligence needed to find one. They are left to learn on their own through trial-and-error, and often a lot of pain.

With hopes of making this journey a little easier, we’ve compiled a few principles to keep in mind as you tread these cold uncharted waters.

You won’t attract what you want, you’ll attract what you are. Do you find in yourself the qualities that you seek in another?Click To Tweet

1. Work on yourself

You won’t attract what you want, you’ll attract what you are. Do you find in yourself the qualities that you seek in another?

Aspire to be self-fulfilled and complete on your own, rather than hoping for someone else to do that for you. Operationally, this entails refining both your inner and outer self. On the outside this could include basic things like being well-groomed (especially for men), knowing how to cook a healthy diet, exercising regularly and supporting yourself financially. You should also ensure you have good relationships with loved ones – do the people you care about love you back? Admit any wrongs you may have done to them and make amends to improve ties if they are strained. The state of your current relationships can be a good indicator of future ones.

On the inside, you should make a moral inventory and work to address your shortcomings in character. You must work on your selfishness, your anger, your dishonesty, your lust, your pride, your stinginess, your harshness, your resentments, your stubbornness, your fears, your jealousy, your self-righteousness, your vanity. This list is never ending and it’s a lifelong process; the sooner you get started the better off you’ll be.

You must also get help for any serious problems that you fear might affect a relationship – instead of hoping these problems will go away with the ‘right partner’. If you have a pornography problem, seek out help and don’t be deluded into thinking marriage will solve that for you. If you have no control over your desires before marriage, you won’t magically gain control afterward. If you have a substance abuse problem, join a 12-step program. If you feel you are emotionally unhealthy, get help from a professional. Bottom line is, have your house in order before you decide to build a new one.

2. Maintain good mental health throughout the process

Be purposeful in your search but don’t make it the purpose of your life. The process of finding a spouse can become emotionally draining and overwhelming if you don’t do it in a healthy fashion. Understand that this process entails too many factors that are completely out of your control; things won’t always go your way, so don’t be too attached to the outcome.  The only things you control are your responses and actions, so just focus on putting your best foot forward.

A common mistake people make is they give themselves a timeline e.g. ‘I want to be married by X age, or by X year’. This only results in unnecessary pressure that can lead to anxiety and poor mental health; it can also force one to make imprudent choices. Everyone has a different timeline; have trust in God’s plan for you.

Anytime mental health is disturbed, stop and revaluate. Some signs of poor mental health include: obsessive thinking, inability to focus on your everyday affairs, compulsive attachment and clinginess, disturbed sleep, anxiety, difficulty making decisions, inability to multitask, feeling overwhelmed, panic attacks, depression, irritability, changes in eating habits, and a loss of inner serenity. It is best to get help from counselors, such as those at Naseeha, if you feel stuck in this situation.

3. Adopt a mindset of giving

The measure you give is the measure you get back. Instead of worrying so much about what you want, focus on what you have to offer.

While you should certainly express your interest in someone you like, don’t taint it with desperation and neediness. If you’ve implemented the first point mentioned, you are already a confident and self-sufficient person. You will be fine no matter what. Focus on giving without expectation and building a healthy companionship. Be a giver and you’ll be surprised how easily you will attract the right people towards you. The ‘mindset of want’ is a self-defeating mindset: you might not find all the things you want in someone, and even if you did, there is no guarantee they’ll want you back!

4. Don’t overthink it

Living in a capitalist society, we’ve developed the bad habit of picking out people the same way we go shopping for a new product. We like to explore the market, do a cost-benefit analysis of various options, try to make sure the product isn’t damaged and hope to pick out the best possible item. We are careful about how we ‘invest our time’ and we try to ensure we can get an appropriate return on our investment. If we could, we’d ask for a money-back guarantee on people too!

Human hearts, unfortunately, cannot be picked out the way we choose commercial products. Each has its flaws and its strengths, you have to accept both the good and the bad; the pro-con list approach won’t work here. When we start taking this reductionist approach to relationships, we naturally get into overthinking, feel anxious and overwhelmed. With the widespread use of online dating, the choices seem limitless and it can seem impossible to try to figure out how to find the right person.

Marriage is a decision that’s to be taken with the heart; you have to rely on your guts and your instincts to steer you towards the person most suitable for you. This doesn’t mean throwing rational thought out the door, it means looking to your inner-self as the source of motivation for your decision making. It takes emotional intelligence and self-awareness to be able to determine what kind of a person you’ll be able to build a future with; it’s not always someone that looks best on paper. There are very few people with whom you’ll find compatibility and reciprocity, so don’t obsess over exploring as many possible ‘options’ with hopes of marking off all the items on your checklist.

We ultimately find the most fulfillment in caring for and taking responsibility for someone we sincerely love. So, look instead for the ingredients that will act as the foundations of love in your marriage. These could include the fact that you: enjoy someone’s company, find them beautiful, admire their character and kindness, respect them, find reciprocity in your interactions, have shared values and compatible temperaments. You are looking for that certitude, that good feeling in your heart; focusing on these factors will hopefully give you that and will get you out of the common mistake of overthinking and worrying.

One of the unique challenges Western Muslims face when looking for a spouse is finding religious compatibility. The diversity of our community, coupled with the individualized nature of faith in the West, has given rise to a plethora of ‘brands’ of Islam. Click To Tweet

5. Work to bridge religious differences

One of the unique challenges Western Muslims face when looking for a spouse is finding religious compatibility. The diversity of our community, coupled with the individualized nature of faith in the West, has given rise to a plethora of ‘brands’ of Islam. Personal levels of observance can vary vastly, even within members of the same family, so it can be challenging to find the right fit.

You will always find differences in religious observance and views between spouses. It is impossible, and foolish, to try to seek out someone at the exact same level. Some people might be more conservative than you, some might be more liberal. Do you really have to turn someone down because they don’t agree with your views on conventional mortgages? What if you like dressing up for Halloween and going trick-or-treating, and they’re opposed to it? What if they don’t eat zabiha halal like you do? What if they don’t pray all the five prayers on time like you were raised to do so?

Given the unique circumstances we live in, we must be flexible and open-minded about resolving such differences. We ought to be careful when making a judgment about someone’s beliefs; we don’t know what’s in someone’s heart. Some of us were taught to honour God through worship and observing His law, some of us were raised with an emphasis on serving His creation with good character. People have their strengths and their weaknesses in faith; sometimes these are apparent, sometimes hidden. Your relationship with God is not perfect and neither will be your partner’s; we are all a work in progress.

If approached with kindness, mutual respect and a willingness to compromise, these differing religious views could be resolved in many cases. While sometimes people really are on extreme ends, most of us fall somewhere in between and can find a comfortable middle ground. It is often our stubbornness, self-righteousness and a parochial understanding of religion that gets in the way. Good people are hard to find, so don’t let suitable matches go because they don’t follow your exact flavor of religious observance. This is certainly a sensitive topic and needs to be dealt with tact and wisdom; it is advisable to seek counsel of more experienced people.

6. Don’t expose your past and don’t pry about someone else’s

If you have a past you are not proud of and it doesn’t concern your future relationships, you should not feel obliged to expose yourself. In fact, if this relates to sins of the past, it is actually prohibited to reveal your sins to someone else – even in the context of marriage. Shaykh Nuh Keller summarizes this pitfall well, “In Islam, to mention a sin is itself a sin. How many a person has been unable to resist telling a friend or a spouse of the wickedness they did in their previous life, and Allah punished them with disgust and contempt in the other’s heart that could never quite be forgotten! There is no barakah in the haram”.

Similarly, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t be prying about someone else’s past and trying to dig up details on their misadventures. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) commanded us to have a good opinion of people; he warned against the destructive nature of suspicion and spying. He told us, “Beware of suspicion for it is the most deceitful of thought. Do not look for the others’ faults and do not spy, and do not be jealous of one another, and do not desert (cut your relation with) one another, and do not hate one another; Rather, be servants of God as brothers”

7. Istikhara is not a solution for indecisiveness

The prayer of seeking guidance, or Istikhara, is oft cited by those considering marriage. The mistake many make, however, is that we are really wishing for someone else to make the decision for us. We are so afraid of making the wrong decision that we find it difficult to make any. We hope for a divine sign or a miracle to happen that tells us that the other person is right for us and that we will live happily ever after with them.

Making big life decisions, emotionally prudent ones, is an important life skill that must be learned. These decisions come with inherent risks, uncertainties, and unknowns; there are no guarantees. If you habitually find yourself having a hard time deciding, it is likely due to external factors. It might have something to do with you, it might have something to do with the person you are considering. It is advisable to seek counsel if you are in this situation.

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

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