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Because Khadijah Asked: An Alternative Path To Meeting Mr. Right

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by Megan Wyatt

Click on this link for a free video training series introducing specific concepts, actions, and exercises for single Muslimahs that goes along with this article: www.FindYourMrRight.com

Khadijah. Just saying her name instantly inspires me to want to be a stronger Muslimah, to sacrifice more, to discover her hidden strength and beauty she gave to her husband.

Khadijah. Who was this amazing, strong, beautiful, brilliant, pious, and noble woman? I don’t mean who was she in the seerah text, but who was she? What was it like to be her friend, what events shaped her life. What would it have been like to sit down with her, over a meal, and talk. What kind of advice could she tell me about marriage, Mr. Right, and living until your last breath is gone, all for the sake of Allah.

It is because of her that our deen begins with a legacy that starts, after Rasulullah, with a woman. After the Mercy of Allah, it is because of her sacrifices that we are Muslims today.  She gave everything she had, all that she owned, from her hands, heart, and soul for Islam.

But, to appreciate this beautiful opportunity she had, we have to back up to a very significant moment in time. That moment, is where she asked her maid servant, to inquire about the young man who was working for her to see if he was available for marriage, and would consider her. A man who had a beautiful character, was honest, hardworking, trustworthy, and produced amazing results for her business.

Khadijah asked.

Khadijah, may Allah’s Mercy be upon her, asked about Prophet Muhammad for marriage.

She initiated the communication.

She sent someone on her behalf to find out if he was available for marriage.

And it was because she asked, that she got that blessed answer.

And with that answer, was the beginning of the of the greatest stories of love for all times, and also one of the greatest examples of a true muhsina and mumina.

A woman older than him, previously married with children, was inquiring about a younger bachelor, from one of the best tribes in town.  The honor of his acceptance wasn’t just hers alone. It was his too. He was going to marry one of the most beautiful hearts in all of Mecca. A woman who’s heart would sacrifice everything she had to support him, and Islam.

Khadijah asked.

Today, you’re probably wondering when and how you will get married. You go to school, maybe then grad school, and after this begin a career. As time passes, the pressure begins to set in to get married.

But out there in the world, you see lots of single and available brothers that you could consider as a Mr. Right potential.

What I want you to realize, is that many Mr. Right potentials, have no idea you’re available for marriage, ready to settle down, have time for a husband, or are willing to accept him for where he’s at in his career and education. (After all, few brothers in their early 20s will have enough income saved up for a luxury wedding, vacation, apartment, and car all at once.) But I meet sisters who tell me that this isn’t the main issue, that they can wait while he builds his career and financial situation up.

How is he ever going to know that you don’t mind letting him build things up over time? After all, he is living under the impression of the same cultural status quo that you are.

I recently surveyed the brothers on our Practimate list, and told them I was teaching you to be proactive, similiar to Khadijah, in finding a husband, by sending a third party to inquire on their behalf, whether a mahram, or a trusted friend. I asked them if they thought this was weird, desperate, or something they would consider offensive.

Their responses broke the common myth!

One brother said

“It will be more helpful if the word is “out there” in an appropriate manner. I feel like the present times are a bit in transition where old systems are failing (the waiting game) and new systems are coming into play, and we are held up between the two. For my parents’ time the waiting thing worked as it had the right setting from every perspective… “

Another brother said,

“A girl needs to put all the “games” aside and just be real with people. If that means that she tells he family about the brother…so they can talk with him, so be it. In fact, if a sister’s family or someone she knows came to me telling me that a sister is interested in me, I would at the very least check it out; I would take the opportunity seriously. Khadija (R) sent someone to speak with the Prophet (saws) about marriage…she took the initiative, this also shows that a women is strong and willing to take charge when needed. The sister has to be a REAL, genuine person, down to earth (for it to work.)

In general, the idea of you sending someone, respectably speaking, to inquire with tactfulness, and in a good manner – not a “I have a friend who likes you” mentality, but again, with maturity and modesty, is something a mature man, ready for marriage, will appreciate.

Only 1% of the brothers who responded didn’t agree with my recommendation. And it’s not that he disagreed, rather he felt that men should be more pro-active themselves, if they really want to be married.
So why not pursue Mr. Right  like Khadijah?

Sadly, we have ignored this example (and others)  from Islam of women sending a “messenger” to inquire on their behalf about marriage.  That they were proactively involved in the marriage process.

Sisters accuse others of being desperate when they let others know they are looking to get married.

Families believe that a daughter must be sought after and it is shameful for a daughter and her family to approach a man for marriage.

And so, many beautiful, smart, educated, talented women are waiting and waiting for Mr. Right to knock on their father’s door. And in the silence of a new beautiful day, when no one is looking you may feel sad and despair. Of course, you know all things are in the hands of Allah. Of course, you know that there is reward in sabr, but you are like everyone else on the planet. A desire to marry, and one day to begin a new family.

So rather than judgment, and a discussion on the ideal bubble we all “should,” be living in:

It’s time to re-examine our value system, and not forbid or look down upon something approved of and practiced by the best man on the face of the earth, and our Mother for all believers, one of the best women in human history.

The re-examination process, begins with you.

If you are ready to consider an alternative option for seeking out Mr. Right, then first, I want to mention that there are rules to this pro-active approach.

Here are some guidelines to follow anytime you are considering being the pro-active person in initiating marriage dialogue.

1) Never initiate something without having a wali or mahram having complete knowledge of what is going on. This protects you and the potential Mr. Right from ending up in a situation not pleasing to Allah. You want to go through this process in a halal and dignified manner.

2) Send someone you trust to ask on your behalf, without initially revealing your identity. This way, you know if the brother is even available before revealing your personal information. One brother mentioned in the survey responses, that it’s great to give a brother a heads up that someone is interested, because if he is talking to another sister already, then he can let the messenger know, and if it doesn’t work out, he can come back and also let her know.

If he is interested, then have your “go between” share who you are, and ask the brother how you and your wali can contact him – but communication should always go back to your wali or mahram.

3) Pray istikharah. We ask Allah to guide us daily every time we say “Ihdina Siratul-Mustaqeem” in salah, but we are also blessed to have a special du’a just for making decisions.


The reality is that many brothers out there desperately want to get married, but feel there are so many hurdles to overcome to get there.

The first hurdle, is fearing rejection. Women tend to think men always have their act all put together, but they have their own batch of insecurities, and fears. It may make things easier for a man to consider you when he already knows you are interested. And if he isn’t, he will be more confident in pursueing the right person for him in the future.

And what about you? Doesn’t this put you on the line to face rejection. Of course it does, but you have two choices. Do nothing, and wait, and handle the challenges of just waiting, which is fine if this is the path you want to take. Or do something, be pro-active, and possibly meet your Mr. Right, and handle the challenges of asking.

In every other area of ‘ibadah, we don’t sit down and wait for it to come to us. For Hajj we save, for money we work, for knowledge we seek it out. Marriage doesn’t have to be an exception.

Because Khadijah asked, so can you.

Megan is a Life Coach who is working with FindYourMrRight.com

55 Comments

55 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous

    August 2, 2010 at 10:46 AM

    I was once approached by a sister. I never found it awkward, nor did my family, nor her family.

    Ma sha Allah, great article!

  2. Avatar

    Saladin

    August 2, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    Men are sometimes woefully ill-equipped to understand women. Sometimes we just need to be told something straight out. As long as communication is proper, I encourage sisters to speak their heart. Salaam!

  3. Avatar

    Umm

    August 2, 2010 at 11:09 AM

    Very well put, May Allah reward you abundantly.
    I think Istikharah prayer should come before going to wali or mahram.
    Allah knows best

  4. Avatar

    a sister

    August 2, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    I might be wrong but it was my understanding that Khadijah had her maidservant enquire in such a way that marrying Khadijah was posed as a suggestion….Prophet Muhammad salalahu alayahi wasalam wasn’t told that she was interested and then it was confirmed that he was interested but he wasn’t sure if such a noble woman would want to marry him so then the maidservant said she would ask but of course Khadijah was already interested. In this manner the woman doesn’t get hurt because she is not exposed and the guy doesn’t get hurt because the girl already is interested but he has no idea so he won’t get rejected at least not from the start.

    Jazakallah khair…this was a really nice article and reminder.

  5. Avatar

    Sh

    August 2, 2010 at 1:47 PM

    good article. I also asked through a friend and alhamdullilah I did because the “no” from that side freed me to say yes to start the marriage process with another brother who’s family had asked. And alhamdullilah this prospect became my husband.

    There is nothing wrong with asking through someone. If you do get rejected, it will be for the best inshallah because it will free you to think about other more suited for you prospects.

  6. Avatar

    abez

    August 2, 2010 at 2:08 PM

    Great article, Alhamdulillah. I can totally sympathize with those sisters who are still playing the waiting game. I waited around until I was 25, and when Mr. Right failed to come knocking, I started to take a more active approach. I eventually asked my (now) husband whether he was going to propose or whether I would have to propose to him first, and I did this in the company of my mother. (she smacked me) Though I wouldn’t recommend the blatant approach for all sisters, I strongly support taking a more educated, and more Islamic approach to seeking out a good Muslim husband instead of just hoping one falls from the sky.

  7. Avatar

    Maryam

    August 2, 2010 at 3:53 PM

    SubhanAllah this was a cool read Megan jan.
    jazakAllah khayr for this love.

  8. Avatar

    anonymous

    August 2, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    Assalamu alaikum,
    I’m glad you addressed the issue sister but I’m not sure whether to agree with you or not, because when I used to tell people in general discussions that it is not wrong for a sister to approach a brother, I was once told that this proposal was pre-Islamic and so it is not the right way to go about. Also, very recently I read in Al-Jumu’ah magazine that it is the nature of a woman that “women don’t seek, they are sought after.” I’m not sure if a Shiekh said this or what but I think it makes sense. So I think that instead of women having to go out and approach a brother, brothers are men, therefore, they should take the initiative no matter what their insecurities are. I mean, I know that sisters have put their expectations for potential brothers way up to the sky and that is what causes the brothers to be insecure. So, insha’allah, the sisters should bring their expectations down a little so the brothers can have more confidence to approach them, instead of it being the other way around. And Allah knows best.
    Wassalam

    • Avatar

      Ibn Masood

      August 9, 2010 at 7:20 AM

      There’s a hadeeth of RasulAllah (saw) during his time in Madinah where a woman approached him with a proposal.

  9. Avatar

    islam deen

    August 2, 2010 at 6:29 PM

    Can’t say that I agree with the article..alot more variables at play. Reality isnt simplistic as this article tries to make it be.

    • Avatar

      Ibn Masood

      August 9, 2010 at 7:21 AM

      Maybe you’re just chicken lol

      • Avatar

        Farhana

        April 30, 2011 at 5:28 PM

        lol @ Ibn Masood. It really does take guts to do it.

  10. Avatar

    Awil Jama

    August 2, 2010 at 7:20 PM

    Sallam great article sister Megan. I think that sisters do need to put their exception of brothers down a little bit. Mr. Denz is not out there that much as back in the days. Sisters just please keep it real, marry a brother because it’s the right thing to do. Don’t do it for some other reasons or intentions. Brothers have to demand more from themselves we have to stop being lazy and pathetic fools. If brothers are not improving on their qualities and sisters keep excepting so much from them, there will be madness. I think it’s okay for a sister to ask for a brother’s hand as long as she does it in modest, respectful and proper way.. If the sister knows a good brother in the community and she is interested in him, she should inquire about him through her marbi. The commuciation must be halal and have good intentions. We need to just get our youth married early and in a halal ways with halal means. Thanks for the article sister Magen. Please share your article with more people, so they can benefit from it. May Allah(swt) reward you for your efforts and hard work you did on the article. Samoans

  11. Avatar

    muslim

    August 2, 2010 at 7:42 PM

    i hope i can get married while still in school and broke. The kind of woman that can take me broke is the one I want. Khadijah was willing to marry a broke man – and look what she got, i think it worked out for her!

    • Avatar

      muslim

      August 2, 2010 at 7:46 PM

      and i too hope i can follow the footsteps of muhammad pbuh as best i can by allah’s mercy.

    • Avatar

      sabirah

      August 3, 2010 at 5:37 AM

      nice try. u need to refine that a bit more though, but very nice try indeed…

      • Avatar

        muslim

        August 3, 2010 at 11:10 AM

        how should i refine it? haha -it was a good try wasn’t it? See I’m smart, funny, pray 5 times a day, in my past i committed sins and i repented, virgin, american born muslim, active in the msa, wnat to be the best slave of Allah and i think marriage will help me, seeking knowledge, and …. broke and in college. any takers? or wali contact information?

        but honestly getting married while broke is OK, there’s a diff. between broke and starving and broke and rich. In college, i’m broke not starving… and what if i fear doing haram? I mean sometimes i feel like a ticking time bomb – one glance is haram. We need to change the mindset not only of sisters being engaged in the process but also those who understand the prophets economic state of the vast majority of his life pbuh.

        your right though;

        024.032
        And marry the unmarried among you and the righteous among your male slaves and female slaves. If they should be poor, Allah will enrich them from His bounty, and Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.
        024.033
        But let them who find not [the means for] marriage abstain [from sexual relations] until Allah enriches them from His bounty….

        let’s say i have enough money to eat, then i think being poor shouldnt stop women from marrying a guy.

        • Avatar

          muslim

          August 3, 2010 at 11:13 AM

          i’d like to highlight the diff. between the poor and broke i refered to earlier

          “If they should be poor, Allah will enrich them from His bounty, and Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.”

          difference between being poor and no means:
          “But let them who find not [the means for] marriage abstain [from sexual relations] until Allah enriches them from His bounty”

          comments appreciated for a sinful fearful servant looking to please allah and stay away from haram.

          • Avatar

            muslim

            August 3, 2010 at 11:38 AM

            im 21, entering senior year, and im not like w/o means cuz im the top of the class alhamdulillah in my major at college (science degree- in a really strong industry right now)- and applying to medical school… really focused on islam and knowledge and dawa and family and everything good

            would i make a good car sales man too sabirah?

        • Avatar

          sabirah

          August 4, 2010 at 4:39 AM

          i think i’m too old for you. But I make du’a for you inshaAllah :), you deserve a woman with a good sense of humour.
          Maybe you could apply for a job at BP with ur positive attitude… aim high, lol

          • Avatar

            sabirah

            August 4, 2010 at 4:44 AM

            oh… i just came across this sahi bukhari hadith

            Narrated Abu Huraira: I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I am a young man and I am afraid that I may commit illegal sexual intercourse and I cannot afford to marry.” He kept silent, and then repeated my question once again, but he kept silent. I said the same (for the third time) and he remained silent. Then repeated my question (for the fourth time), and only then the Prophet said, “O Abu Huraira! The pen has dried after writing what you are going to confront. So (it does not matter whether you) get yourself castrated or not.”

            *locks away the kitchen scissors*

          • Avatar

            muslim

            August 4, 2010 at 11:22 AM

            wow jazakum allahu khairun for the hadith, i make dua for you too and all the muslims everywhere and the single muslims that they all get married to excellent spouses tommrow!- Oh Allah I ask you to make it happen surely you are able too. Wouldn’t that be awesome all in one day? I need to read more. I can wait it out for infinity if thats what it takes inshAllah.

          • Avatar

            muslim

            August 4, 2010 at 11:38 AM

            i make dua for me too, and for you and for everyone. :) i dont mind waiting. i can do this iA. I’ll aim as high as my eyes can envision and my mind imagine and then some (al-firdous reference), by allahs grace we all get there. maybe we can laugh about this up there if Allah grants us our wish.

            your not too old, i mean if 15 years worked out for the best, are you less than 36? (21+15), i dont care about a lot details right now…

          • Avatar

            muslim

            August 4, 2010 at 11:42 AM

            may allah protect us.

  12. Avatar

    haiz

    August 3, 2010 at 5:12 AM

    Assalamu ‘alaikum,

    we males also dont know how to approach for marriage. haizzzz

    • Avatar

      sabirah

      August 3, 2010 at 5:42 AM

      how would they know with that kind of “extreme gender segregating” ? Most brothers don’t even know how to address a sister, without either offending her or passing out due to nervousness.
      I’m suspicious of those who don’t, I’m not the only one approached by brothers that are legally married in their home country and just gradually came out with it during the negotiation process.

      • Avatar

        haiz

        August 3, 2010 at 6:24 AM

        i certainly dont know how to aproach for marriage. one thing i make is d’ua.

  13. Avatar

    Ilm

    August 3, 2010 at 6:58 AM

    Great Article! JazakAllahu Khair

  14. Avatar

    igothitched

    August 3, 2010 at 9:03 AM

    Alhumdulillah i got approached by my wife’s younger brother. He is a good friend of mine and he was man enough to approach me even while i was broke, in debt, jobless, and still in university.

    So there are families who don’t mind approaching brothers. great article. Too many sisters still waiting around without being proactively seeking brothers through the proper halal channels.

    • Avatar

      muslim

      August 3, 2010 at 4:28 PM

      subhanallah… i know like the internet is an anomymous place which helps this convo go faster, but can you like take me through your mind a little bit when that was going on and fill in some details, like share what your comfortable with and stuff but do ellorate, maybe i can learn from you iA. How bout after it went down, what then? hows life? advise me… how when why everything ! haha

  15. Avatar

    Awil Jama

    August 3, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    sallam. I am in the same predicament as you screen name user Muslim. I am entering my senior year at a four year university, studying Social Work. I think we just don’t have good networking for Muslim Youth who want to get married. Many of them are prepared and ready to enter into marriage with a respectful sister, they just don’t know where to look, to frankly honest. Many brothers in my community are ready for marriage but no sister around that they are interested in marrying. So we have to figure out a halal way out networking to find suitable “Soul Mates”. Brothers and Sisters just have to lower their expectations for marriage and just be real about marriage. We are losing a lot of Muslims brothers and sisters because we are not making marriage affordable and doable nowadays. That is just my honest opinion. Lets leave all of the racism, prejudice and tribalism alone and try to preserve marriage in North America for the Muslim Youth now and future generation of Muslim Youth.

    • Avatar

      muslim

      August 3, 2010 at 4:08 PM

      its called the MSA for a reason, the matrimonal services association. Don’t get involved just for marriiage, but if you want muslim sisters to marry – you can start here by asking around and then go through the wali – dont be fishy. This is the halal network for everything halal on campus. I think you and I if we are serious know a few sisters we could at least approach. The trouble is we are broke (not starving, just broke) so… do we really want to start this search right now? or should we wait like 3 or 4 or 5 more years? Can we wait that long w/o having a nervous breakdown and going crazy!!! haha. I’ve been close… i think i waiver between insanity and mild insanity but i think i can hold out inshAllah.

      • Avatar

        muslim

        August 3, 2010 at 4:24 PM

        and also the sisters i know aren’t that religious. I know, beggars can’t be choosers, but.. the way i look at it is it is worth the wait to find the diamond i the rough. So i guess i’ll wait until i see a humble and religous one, the several who i know dont have a charcter that i really like, if they did- then i ll find the wali and go for it even if that day comes tommorow.

        • Avatar

          muslim

          August 3, 2010 at 4:41 PM

          yea so your right i guess… i just went in a circle. i said msa, then said the sisters that i met in a halal sphere doing halal things i know arent that religious. so… we do need a network for young people. but really it exists already, its just that young women and most other young people arent that religious, like we all have flaws, inlcuding me. uhm… maybe i am too picky! oh god… sometimes its good to be picky if you can wait it out and be a champ. My uncertainty stems from the fact that I am stressing on this, its tough, im scared to leave my house sometimes cuz of the fitna and filth outside. Let me put it this way if a woman/girl, has good manners, is caring, and wants to be the best worshipper of Allah, and wants what Allah wants in marriage, who also is optimistic and not cynical and isnt depressed 24/7, then I’m in. i’ll sacrifice a lot in the looks department, just not someone who is so skinny they are going to die.

          You and me and the rest of everyone whose 21, we can be champs, we can wait, we can win in the end if Allah chooses us to join us in the compnay of righteous people in the afterlife in al-firdous. but its going to take patience!

          • Avatar

            Sayf

            August 3, 2010 at 6:21 PM

            lol I know exactly how you feel bro (I’m also single), but take a breather. Getting married definitely helps, but it’s not the magical pill solution that brothers our age lead themselves to believe.

            Take advantage of this time that Allah has given you and use it as a learning experience to grow more independent, sort out internal issues, and to create positive habits – you really won’t ever get this time period of your life again once marriage hits.

            Then all the benefits you gain from a life as a bachelor, you can take with you into marriage as a prerequisite for even more growth. Continue to do a lot of reading/listening as you are now and learn from other people’s experiences who have been through what you’re preparing for.

            I’m not advising you to delay getting married, insh’Allah it’s sooner than you think, but you gotta take advantage of the time you have.

            http://muslimbestlife.com/blog/?p=140

          • Avatar

            muslim

            August 4, 2010 at 11:24 AM

            I absolutely agree with you Sayf, I do recognize that I have less responsibilities and I need to take advantage of them, but honestly the sin factory that is my nafs needs to be subdued with iman and taqwa- And the teachings of my religion strongly encourages marriage and the avoidance of indencency and I am scared for my life and would love to expediate the process in hopes of getting reward from Allah and staving off any disobedience towards him.

      • Avatar

        Asiya

        August 4, 2010 at 8:35 PM

        There’s something a shaykh said on this topic of wanting to marry someone better than you or, in your terms, a “diamond.” He basically said something along the lines of for those who want to find someone better than themselves, then know that those who are better than you want someone better than themselves, too.

        I also heard, “Would you marry you?” Think about this. If a person would not want to marry someone like himself then he shouldn’t reasonably expect his wife to be like that either, or vice versa.

        May Allah ‘azzawajal make it easy for brothers and sisters who are looking to get married. Ameen.

      • Avatar

        MrsAladdin

        June 8, 2016 at 6:10 PM

        Are you married now? It’s been 6 years.
        @ Muslim

  16. Avatar

    mystrugglewithin

    August 3, 2010 at 8:46 PM

    I wonder what would be the one best advice for brothers along the same lines ..

  17. Avatar

    Awil Jama

    August 3, 2010 at 10:49 PM

    Sallam. Thanks Sayf for the link it’s very beneficial site you link at the end of your message. Yes, the main things is patience and not rushing into something we might not be ready for yet. Everything has it’s time and place. Allah(swt) knows best and we don’t know, so we just have to ask Allah(swt) for guidance and patience for us to battle our trials and tribulations he is testing us with. I most definitely agree with you Sayf, we need to learn from other people’s mistakes so we don’t make the same one. I like your comment Muslim, “woman/girl, has good manners, is caring, and wants to be the best worshipper of Allah, and wants what Allah wants in marriage, who also is optimistic and not cynical and isnt depressed 24/7, then I’m in. i’ll sacrifice a lot in the looks department, just not someone who is so skinny they are going to die”. Me and you think alike and have the same taste in women. You must be somali or something.

    • Avatar

      muslim

      August 4, 2010 at 11:29 AM

      Haha not somali, afghani – but i guess there analogous in a lot of ways. Great minds think alike. You and me we can be patient, we can be patient. I looking forward to ramadan big time

  18. Avatar

    Siraaj

    August 4, 2010 at 5:55 PM

    While it’s true that sisters are generally sought, I’d advise that if they find someone good, they should make their interest known. Don’t waste your time wondering and waiting, just do it, and if it doesn’t work out, then move on fast instead of wondering and dreaming.

    Believe me, it can work, and work well :D

    Siraaj

    • Avatar

      Olivia

      August 5, 2010 at 10:14 PM

      ego stroked a little bit? ;)

      • Avatar

        Sadaf Farooqi

        August 9, 2010 at 9:14 PM

        You guys are always very entertaining in your comments!
        Come on, tell us your story and how ‘it’ happened.

  19. Avatar

    Awil Jama

    August 4, 2010 at 8:56 PM

    Sallam. Good Advise Siraaj. Well said. Just as long as it’s done in a halal proper it’s all good. What is your thoughts on the new matrimonial website half your deen.com ?(Siraaj)

    • Avatar

      Siraaj

      August 10, 2010 at 11:14 AM

      It’s actually halfourdeen.com, I haven’t used it before, but it looks pretty cool, I have a video of Baba Ali explaining it a bit at Ilm Summit, will post it in a bit, insha’Allah.

      Siraaj

  20. Avatar

    Divorced_Muslim

    August 9, 2010 at 6:59 PM

    Salamalaikum. Nice article. Jazakallah Khair. The brothers who commented about wanting to get married and having it not too easy………have you thought about how tough it is for divorced people? Subhanallah, singles, never-married-before are having issues; the divorced can just pack it up.

  21. Avatar

    Questioner

    August 10, 2010 at 2:22 PM

    as-salaam-u-alaikum

    I would like to know what must a sister do if she likes a particular brother (but hasn’t told anyone yet) but her parents are very much old fashioned (i.e. women-are-not-allowed-to-propose type). Do you have any suggestions for her as to what she might do (she claims that she continually asks duas and has done her istikhara but still doesn’t seem to know what to do).
    Also, her parents limit their islam to the pillars of Islam (arkan al-islam) only. They don’t bother doing anything beyond that, so I personally don’t think this article will make any difference to them.

    Please do make duas for her that she finds a good husband (who is strong in his Islam and good in his etiquettes and manners and will help her towards success of both this world and the Hereafter- as asked by the sister) and that her family agrees to her marriage to such a man (for they seem to be searching for a arkan-al-islam-only-man.
    Jazak Allah khair and may Allah help us to be patient and thankful to Him in all circumstances. Ameen!

  22. Avatar

    MSA

    November 11, 2010 at 6:04 PM

    Very cool article. New Perspective too.

  23. Avatar

    Tahira

    April 6, 2011 at 5:07 PM

    I think this article should be directed to muslim parents who insist that their daughters play “the waiting game.” The girls who are not tall, slim, fair, highly educated, cute, etc, will be waiting around forever. Good muslim girls are raised not to challenge their parents’ expectations.

    Trust me, I am none of the above and I’ve been waiting around until I was 39. When I finally had the nerve to tell my parents that it was their Islamic duty to do something proactive, their response was that I was too old.

    So that’s the Islamic culture for you.

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

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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

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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.

Preview:

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?

Marriage

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.

Parenting

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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Emotional Intelligence: A Tool for Change  

Imam Mikaeel Smith

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Why do we consider emotional intelligence to be half of the Prophetic intellect? The answer lies in the word “messenger.” Messengers of Allah are tasked with the divine responsibility of conveying to humanity the keys to their salvation. They are not only tasked with passing on the message but also with being a living example of that message.

When ʿĀʾishah, the wife of the Prophet ﷺ, was asked to explain the character of the blessed Prophet ﷺ, her reply was, “His character was the Qurʾān.[1]” We are giving emotional intelligence a place of primacy in the construct of Prophetic intelligence because it seems implausible that Allah would send a messenger without providing that messenger with the means necessary to exemplify and transmit the message to others. If the Prophets of Allah did not have the necessary knowledge and skills needed to successfully pass on the message to the next generation, the argument would be incomplete. People could easily excuse themselves of all accountability because the message was never conveyed.

We also see clear examples in the Qur’ān that this knowledge was being perpetually perfected in the character of the Prophet ﷺ. Slight slips in his Emotional Intelligence were rare, but when they did occur, Allah gently addressed the mistake by means of revelation. Allah says in the Qurʾān, “If you (O Muḥammad) were harsh and hardhearted, then the people would flee from you.” This verse clearly placed the burden of keeping an audience upon the shoulders of the Prophet ﷺ. What this means is that the Prophet ﷺ had to be aware of what would push people away; he had to know what would create cognitive and emotional barriers to receptivity. When we study the shamāʾil (books about his character), we find that he was beyond exceptional in his ability to make people receptive. He took great care in studying the people around him and deeply understanding them. Only after the Prophet ﷺ had exhausted all the means of removing barriers to receptivity would the responsibility to affirm the message be shifted to those called to it.

Another example of this Prophetic responsibility can be found in the story of Prophet Mūsa when he was commissioned to call Pharaoh and the children of Israel to Allah. When Allah informed him of the task he was chosen for, he immediately attempted to excuse himself because he had a slight speech impediment. He knew that his speech impediment could potentially affect the receptivity of people to the message. He felt that this disqualified him from being a Prophet. He also felt that the act of manslaughter he committed might come between the people and guidance. All of these examples show that Allah’s Prophets understood that many factors can affect a person’s receptivity to learning something new, especially when the implications of that new information call into question almost every aspect of a person’s identity. History tells us that initially, people did not accept the message of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ; they completely rejected him and accused him of being a liar.

One particular incident shows very clearly that he ﷺ understood how necessary it was for him to remove any cognitive or emotional barriers that existed between him and his community. When the people of his hometown of Makkah had almost completely rejected him, he felt that it was time to turn his attention to a neighboring town. The city of Ṭā’if was a major city and the Prophet ﷺ was hopeful that perhaps they would be receptive to the message. Unfortunately, they completely rejected him and refused to even listen to what he had to say. They chased him out of town, throwing stones at him until his injuries left him completely covered in blood. Barely making it outside the city, the Prophet ﷺ collapsed. Too weak to move, he turned his attention to his Lord and made one of the most powerful supplications made by a Prophet of Allah.

اللهم إليك أشكو ضعف قوتي، وقلة حيلتي، وهواني على الناس، يا أرحم الراحمين، أنت أنت رب المستضعفين وأنت ربي، إلى من تكلني؟ إلى عدو يتجهمني؟ أو إلى قريب ملكته أمري؟ إن لم يكن بك علي غضب فلا أبالي، غير أن عافيتك أوسع لي، أعوذ بنور وجهك الذي أشرقت له الظلمات، وصلح عليه أمر الدنيا والآخرة، من أن ينزل بي غضبك، أو يحل علي سخطك، لك العتبى حتى ترضى، ولا حول ولا قوة إلا بك”

“Oh Allah, only to You do I complain about my lack of strength, my insufficient strategies, and lowliness in the sight of the people. You are my Lord. To whom do you turn me over? Someone distant from me who will forsake me? Or have you placed my affair in the hands of my enemy? [2]

The Prophet ﷺ felt that he was the reason why the people were not accepting the message. His concern that “my low status in the eyes of the people,” informs us that he understood that people naturally judge the seriousness of a message based on the stature of the message bearer. The people of Ṭā’if were extremely ignorant, so much that they adamantly refused to enter into any dialogue. In reality, this was not due to any shortcoming of the Prophet ﷺ; he demonstrated the best of character and displayed extreme patience in the face of such ignorance. But the beginning of the supplication teaches us what he was focused on: making sure that he was not the reason why someone did not accept the message.

Because his message was not geographically restricted like that of other Prophets, those who inherited the message would have the extra burden of transferring the message to a people with whom they were unfamiliar. The intelligence needed to pass the message of the Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ around the world included an understanding of the cultural differences that occur between people. Without this understanding effective communication and passing on of his message would be impossible.

A sharp Emotional Intelligence is built upon the development of both intra- and interpersonal intelligence. These intelligences are the backbone of EQ and they provide a person with emotional awareness and understanding of his or her own self, an empathic understanding of others, and the ability needed to communicate effectively and cause change. Emotional Intelligence by itself is not sufficient for individual reform or societal reform; instead, it is only one part of the puzzle. The ʿaql or intellect that is referenced repeatedly in the Qurʾān is a more comprehensive tool that not only recognizes how to understand the psychological and emotional aspects of people but recognizes morally upright and sound behavior. After that this intellect, if healthy and mature, forces a person to conform to that standard. Therefore, we understand the ʿaql to be a comprehensive collection of intelligences analogous to Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences theory.

Taking into consideration the extreme diversity found within Western Muslim communities, we see how both Moral Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence are needed. Fostering and nurturing healthy communities requires that we understand how people receive our messages. This is the interpersonal intelligence aspect of EQ. Without grounding the moral component of our community, diversity can lead to what some contemporary moral theorists call moral plasticity, a phenomenon where concrete understandings of good and evil, right and wrong, are lost. Moral Education (Moral Education, which will be discussed throughout the book, is the process of building a Morally Intelligent heart) focuses on correcting the message that we are communicating to the world; in other words, Moral Intelligence helps us maintain our ideals and live by them, while Emotional Intelligence ensures that the message is effectively communicated to others.

My father would often tell me, “It’s not what you say, son; it’s what they hear.”

Interpersonal understanding is the core of emotional intelligence. My father would often tell me, “It’s not what you say, son; it’s what they hear.” From the perspective of Emotional Intelligence, this statement is very accurate. The way we interpret words, body language, verbal inflections, and facial expressions is based on many different factors. The subtle power of this book lies in the simple fact that your emotional intelligence is the primary agent of change and thus the most powerful force you have. You must understand how people perceive what you are communicating to them. What is missing from my father’s statement is the primacy of Moral Intelligence. Throughout this book, I attempt to show how the Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ demonstrated a level of perfection of both of these intelligences.

*With the Heart in Mind is available for pre-order at https://www.qalam.foundation/qalambooks/with-the-heart-in-mind

[1]Bayhaqī, Shuʿb al-ʾĪmān, vol. 3, p. 23.

[2] Ibn Kathir, al-Bidāyah wa al-Nihāyah, vol. 3, p. 136.

 

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