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The Muslim Marriage Crisis


A major part of creating a beloved community is the creation of a family but a Muslim marriage crisis is at our doorstep.

Men and women who really want to get married often face a myriad of issues in finding a good match. The issues are as diverse as the American Muslim community scattered all over the country.  Meeting venues and forums are few and this seems to be one major deterrent to suitable marriages.

Adherence to cultural norms and expectations, generational disparity and the neglect of the Islamic standard for the choice of partners are also hurdles single American Muslims face.

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An Epidemic: Unmarried and over 30

Henna handsThere is an extraordinary number of very educated women in their thirties and above who have not found a spouse. As intelligent, educated, single women venture to find men to set the cornerstone for a family, they cannot find suitable matches. Women in their late 20s and early 30s, urged to be educated all their lives, settle into their careers or studies, suddenly become less desirable mates to some men.

Another phenomenon faced by several ethnic communities is that many educated men marry outside of their community, race and religion. They are not as bound by the ticking biological clock factor and can usually (not always) find a wife when they get serious about marriage.

Nawaz Khan*, in his 70s, has coffee with his wife in the lobby of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. He is in tears, worried about his very well-educated daughter’s prospects of finding a husband. They are here to attend the matrimonial banquet. He is amongst the many worried parents at the ISNA convention.

At any Muslim marriage event, there are more females attendees than males. The ISNA marriage banquet sold out for the women’s section weeks in advance, while men strolled in at the last minute. Al Rahmah Marriage Bureau in Baltimore has two women for every man in its database. At a local marriage brunch, many of the women attending were born and raised in the US, educated and articulate, while most of the men were first generation immigrants, without large local networks.

Muslim community leaders are taking notice and some are calling it an epidemic. Shuyookh with large social media following often bring up the topic on their timelines.

“We are modeling for our community the lack of marriages, single families and broken homes, that good practicing sisters may never get married. So, if you are a young girl looking at the life of a mu’min versus the life of the dominant culture, the dominant culture may seem more alluring and look to have more opportunities than the mu’min life. We should not be surprised if we continue on this path that in another generation we end up with a community who is either not getting married or having more sisters marrying outside their faith and children who become adults who think that having children on their own is the ideal instead of in a two-parent home,” writes Heather-Laird Jackson.

“I know sisters who have started dating because they cannot take being single anymore,” said Sr. Denise*, a divorced mother of two boys from College Park, MD, attending the ISWA matrimonial brunch.

Another troubling point brought up by Muslims across the diaspora was the desperation angle. If a single Muslim woman of any age expresses interest in getting married she has to deal with the stigma of appearing desperate. This is very damaging to the psyche of the sisters in the community.

“‘Oh my God, she wants to be married, she is so desperate –  astagfirullah…’ this popular statement comes mostly from married females when a single Muslimah shares with her that she wants to be married!! Even [those] who were once in the same situation… it’s like, as a community, we don’t have each other’s back anymore,” laments Naeema*.

“Now, it became a taboo for a Muslimah to say ‘I want to get married’,” says Denise*. “[There is] way too much emphasis on sex. Women are being told that they are desperate, weak, and can’t control themselves.”



Emerging Adulthood

The delaying of the American adolescence experience or the new emerging adulthood stage has also contributed to the delay in marriage, especially, with the high school experience extended by local community colleges. According to the New York Times, in 1960, 77 percent of women and 65 percent of men had, by the time they reached 30, passed all five [what sociologists term as] milestones of adulthood: completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child. Among 30-year-olds in 2000, according to data from the United States Census Bureau, fewer than half of the women and one-third of the men had done so.

Culturally, American society as a whole is seeing this trend of delayed marriages. “Young adults have increasingly come to see marriage as a ‘capstone’ rather than a ‘cornerstone,'” say the researchers at the Brookings Institute. “That is, something they do after they have all their other ducks in a row, rather than a foundation for launching into adulthood and parenthood.”

Surveys conducted by AlMaghrib Institute of its student body found that the main reasons that its students were delaying marriage were parents, finances, education, fear of rejection and commitment for men and fear of control and intimidation for women.

“A lot of men fear rejection and get intimidated. In the meanwhile, women wait for proposals and decide to pursue further education while they are waiting. This, in turn, intimidates men more and they think the women are too overqualified or will not make good ‘Muslim’ wives for them and eventually get married to someone from overseas,” says Shaykh Yaser Birjas of AlMaghrib. Or someone much younger since they can without issues.

“For myself, being financially ready [is important] because it is such a big responsibility, starting a new family,” says Farhan, 33, of Philadelphia, PA. His career goals are the major reason for the delay in his marriage.


Some Immigrant Families Issues

Many immigrant parents tend to disregard the fact that their children are raised in the West, and will, ultimately have some elements of their personality influenced by the West. The evolving identity of Muslims in this country further contributes to the marriage crisis. “My parents seem to have the idea – similar to some other Muslims in Western countries – that a spouse from their country would be better. Better for whom? Better for me or better for them? Is this preference due to the fact that they feel culture, ethnicity, and religion would be better preserved this way?” questions a single Muslimah.

Cultural baggage from immigrant parents is a constant problem in many of the communities, but many are optimistic that the tide is changing. Hayat, an Eritrean-American mother from Washington, D.C., says that she and her friends have moved away from this line of thinking. “Many families who come from war ravaged areas think that the only way they can hold on to their culture is by marrying their children to someone from the same background, but now we face [the] reality that as long as the spouse is Muslim, it is acceptable.”

Elitism plays a big part too in many cases, according to matchmakers I spoke to. A lot of focus is on being financially ready, instead of stability. “I just wish that parents would first look at the character and decency of another human being and their families and then look at their background-culture, language, likes, class, and career,” an attendee at the ISNA banquet gives his feedback.

Dowry is an issue faced by many immigrant families although the context differs from ethnicity to ethnicity. South Asian families with daughters are expected to gift the groom a hefty dowry, whereas in Arab and African communities, the demand for a large mahr deters men from proposing and an offer of too little mahr deters women from accepting. “The most hated sentence [to] Muslim sisters is when men say ‘We don’t marry because you ask for too much dowry (mahr)’. Just because a few females are greedy, doesn’t mean we are all like that,” says Naeema.

In cultures where arranged marriages are prevalent, men and women complain about the interference of the parents; in cultures where it isn’t, practicing Muslim men and women are finding it extremely hard to meet someone on their own.

A sister from the Somali community in Fairfax, VA, where there are a substantial number of unmarried women in the late thirties, vents her frustration. “The issue in [my] community is the expectation of the girl to find a man for herself: unfortunately, in our culture, “arranged” marriages are practiced by few and it is widely expected for the woman to take it upon her shoulders to bring the guy to her parents when she is ready to be married… only few, perhaps a handful of families do arranged marriages… I am a devout Muslimah and my religion tells me to never ever [sic] date a guy, but again, my community and the “social norms” are completely against that… I, along with many Somali females are now in their 30’s and single… The older generation needs to change this disgusting norm,” she says.


A few points specific to African-American Muslims

Black Muslim Americans write about constructs of the perfect Muslim woman  and increasingly black men tend to think they will find this ‘Muslim’ bride in the immigrant communities.

When asked in an African American only Facebook forum, created to promote growth with-in the community, what barriers the participants face to getting married, both men and women blame the opposite gender, some playfully, others in all seriousness. Questions posed about marriage dissolved into hostility between the sexes, as women blame the lack of ‘good Muslim men’ and men have idealistic notions of a ‘good Muslim women’.

Some think that media gloom and doom which portrays myths about Black marriages in general may also contribute to the image that singles from this community have of each other.

Colorism and racism are very common experiences faced by a large number of people trying to get married.

Wanting to marrying Young

Aniq Tanwir, a South Asian American, was attending the session on pre-marriage counseling at the ISNA convention. It is a constant struggle with temptations for this outspoken 22-year-old electrical engineer. He lives at home and supports his parents. ‘How do you get to know someone? What if they are really dirty? You can pray for the best but the constraints are a big struggle,” he says. He mentions the trend of ‘halal’ dating where practicing men and women talk and meet, but do not get married.

He is frustrated because he is emotionally and financially ready for marriage but has three older sisters who are in different stages of their academics and medical careers. He will have to wait until his sisters are all married, otherwise it will ‘look weird’, and people from his parent’s social circle will wonder what is ‘wrong’ with his sisters. “I would never want to be the reason for my sisters not to have a wonderful match.” He is okay with marrying someone older and is okay with his sisters marrying someone younger. “It’s not about age, it is about maturity and compatibility.”

Should Muslims marry young to protect themselves or wait until they are emotionally ready for marriage is a popular question asked by the youth. “Don’t rush your marriage until you can do justice,” says Imam Mohammad Magid of ADAMS Center, in Virginia. Other local scholars urge younger marriages with room for the couple to struggle, navigating studies, careers and life together.

Instant Islam- Instant Marriage

Converts have their own set of issues. “What works for families from overseas doesn’t work for us. We have so much baggage as reverts,” say R. Kerns, a community activist. Many converts are often urged to get married as soon as they accept Islam. New converts are still learning about the religion and the pressure to get married is very high.

As many do not know their rights and understand differences in opinion, they think the only route to marriage is what is being presented to them. “I don’t recommend this to anyone. You are just learning the religion and getting married just makes the equation harder to solve,” says Kerns. Often with no family or support system, many turn to the imam to act as their wali but, in reality, a majority of the time, the imam does not know them. “I have had people call me late at night to perform a nikkah and act as a wali,” says Imam Magid.

Many are influenced into decisions that are culturally unsuitable for them. When women and men are introduced by the imam, they often don’t share their legal or financial history. “That’s what we don’t see in the imam’s office – the two sides of a brother,” says Kerns. “The lives we live as Muslims have to be inclusive of who we are, where we came from. Many of us have dealt with prison, abuse, and need to be deprogrammed.”

Common Villains

Tribalism, even more than racism, is prevalent all round. “We get requests that the candidate must be Indian and not Pakistani, Durrani not Mazari, must be African-American, not African, so we counsel them so they can enlarge their vision,” says Muhammad Jameel, a matchmaker in the Baltimore area for the past 24 years.

There is also an unrealistic focus on physicality all around. Outside the ISNA Marriage banquet, Dr. Parveen Qureshi, a volunteer who has attended enough of them to comment, says that people are too picky; they want someone who looks like a model. People want their ideal spouse who looks a certain way, has a certain job etc. and will not settle for anything else. Why should we compromise before the marriage. “With so many expectations and not many people lowering their expectations, it makes it much harder to find the right person,” says Malik Shabazz.

A woman at a forum at the Islamic Heritage Museum in DC complained of Muslim men pursuing women who were not Muslims, and how her hijab made it hard for her to find a spouse as she didn’t look as ‘sexy’ and could not compete.

Dr. Qureshi also thinks that the marriage banquets arranged by ISNA and others  should be the culmination of careful matchmaking prior to the event, not 400 people thrown together in a room. The ISNA convention has provided marriage banquets set up speed dating style for many years, with mixed results . “People can confused when they  have so many choices at one time.” Her nephew met a girl he liked but after meeting so many candidates all he remembered about her was her red scarf.

Social media has made it more difficult because there is little accountability involved, and it is easy to cross boundaries. “Once you get bored with talking to someone, it is easy to just drop that whole prospect. Also unrealistic expectations, on both sides, further complicates the issue. I think eligible guys and girls need a more natural and less induced forum to meet, with sincere facilitators who want the best for the single people in our communities,” says Dania*, a single dental student from Arizona.

Increased physical mobility is a hurdle too. Tolo O. is an eligible, eloquent Nigerian man with ties in Maryland. He doesn’t have a wide Muslim social circle or family in NYC, where he lives, to help him find a match. “You can’t just walk up to a woman and ask [do] you want to get married. I have walked up to someone before and was asked ‘Why are you talking to me?’” he says. He wants to find someone like him and doesn’t have much time to go on websites. He is open to being introduced to any race or ethnicity and is currently using the Islamic Center at NYU as a resource.

Divorced or Widowed Men and Women

Divorced and widowed men and women face an even harder road to marriage. “They are divorced, and then they are divorced from the community,” says N.J., a wedding planner in the DC Metro area. She has a recently divorced sister. “The stigma is so huge. She was physically abused by her ex-husband, and now is being emotionally abused by our community.”, endorsed by 45 scholars, is a new website that caters to previously married men and women. “I had such a hard time getting remarried after my mutual divorce,” said Reza ul Hasan, the founder of Eternal Garment. Some masajid have started matchmaking services such as Salaam Nikah, a local service offered for divorced and widowed Muslims by the Islamic Center of Northern Virginia.

Shortage of Resources

The shortage of resources in local communities is staggering as every person interviewed complained about the lack of resources. “Imams don’t get back to you, and by the third call you feel so worthless,” expresses Denise*.

Imams say that they are overwhelmed with other duties. Some do not have any expertise or interest. Others do not want to take on the responsibility of making a bad match and say that this is a communal responsibility. “This is a community wide issue and all parts of the community need to come together to work on it,” says Imam Tahir Anwar. Others are confined to their own masajid and circles.

Many religious leaders do take an active role in arranging events and suggesting matches to their community members. Imam Magid holds more intimate singles gatherings, participants gather in groups and talk about the Quran and characteristics of husband and wives. Imam Faizul Khan of the Islamic Society of Washington Area conducts the bi-yearly Matrimonial Brunch. Khan has had many success stories, about 20 couples every year for the past decade.

Imams, Islamic Centers, Muslim Student Associations, online marriage sites, local professional matchmakers, volunteer matchmakers (khalas and aunties), active men and women in the community and Facebook groups are some of the options for resources.

In one city a ladies-only tea is hosted by Rukhsana Ameen, where females are invited to meet potential candidates for males they know. This unique solution caters to conservative women who do not want to meet men on their own.

Annual matrimonial events are also arranged by Islamic Centers where singles meet and greet in a pre-arranged setting. Islamic Circles is a London-based non-profit that holds specialized matrimonial events in DC, when requested by locals. They held 3 separate events in 2012 for practicing, converts, and professional Muslims.

ISWA caters to all ages. Talib* is attending as a wali for his widowed mother. Muhammad Mustaqeem, a single software engineer from Frederick, MD, is impressed with the event. He feels that the event was held according to Islamic guidance. “It is organized, and we know that everyone here is looking to get married. You get the information; it is just like a job hunt and you go for what you want, you have to be willing to put in your time to look,” he says, “If you are expecting to walk in and find somebody, [that] is silly. Just have patience.” ISWA has close to 400 individuals in its database.

“I treated it like a job hunt looking through pages and pages of profiles to find the right match,” says Reza ul Hasan, founder of There are many other options online:,,, and even those that cater to particular backgrounds, such as, and

Muhammad, a man in his late 20’s attending the ISWA brunch, did have issues with the lax nature of sites like and appreciated the Islamic background and personal touch that the brunch provided.

Many American singles express their frustration with the many hours they spend online searching for the perfect person. Al Rahmah Marriage Bureau uses the Muslim Volunteer Matchmakers team, matchmakers that spend these hours on your behalf. Their goal is to help their clients find that perfect person. All MVM Team matchmakers have doctorates from the United States.

“We have many impersonal institutions opening up but those of us whose families come from traditional cultures are not used to this idea. We need another layer of institutions to normalize expectations for our parents,” says Farhan, a recent immigrant. The stigma attached to the use of these institutions has collectively waned in the second and third generations, but individually more singles need to stop waiting and proactively start looking for spouses.

“It is a shame that we see so many beautiful females out there who are waiting to be married, but yet, we as a community have failed them. Everyone says we have a problem in our Muslim community when it comes to marriage, but no one is willing to fix it. I say to anyone who wants to fix this problem to start with their single friends,” says Naeema.

The Muslims in US need more local matrimonial events, regional cooperative databases that shares resources amongst all the masajid and organizations, as well as pastoral care individualized to suit the needs of these diverse communities.

This is an urgent need and a collective responsibility.

*some names changed for privacy

A version of this feature was published in The Muslim Link newspaper.

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Hena Zuberi is the Editor in Chief of She leads the DC office of the human rights organization, Justice For All, focusing on stopping the genocide of the Rohingya under Burma Task Force, advocacy for the Uighur people with the Save Uighur Campaign and Free Kashmir Action. She was a Staff Reporter at the Muslim Link newspaper which serves the DC Metro. Hena has worked as a television news reporter and producer for CNBC Asia and World Television News. Active in her SoCal community, Hena served as the Youth Director for the Unity Center. Using her experience with Youth, she conducts Growing Up With God workshops. Follow her on Twitter @henazuberi.



  1. Waleed Ahmed

    September 27, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    well researched and written Hena. You heard of ‘center for Muslim’ life in NJ? they’ve got some innovative initiatives relating to this…(might be worth linking it in the post)

    • Hena Zuberi

      September 27, 2013 at 4:56 PM

      JazakAllah Kahyr Waleed. I am grateful to the Muslim Link for providing me with the resources to do the research and the interviews. Just wanted to let the readers to know that this post is not based on my ‘opinion’ as most of my blog are. This was what I saw, heard and was told; I tried my best not to editorialize the story and relay what the various people I interviewed said to me. I tried to collect the resources that were in my vicinity but will add any resources that are tackling the issue. This is why I shared this story so if there are other issues in our communities that I make not have touched on we can discuss them in comments. ie A sister brought up the point about differently abled (disabled) men and women and the challenges they face in getting married.

      I met Suzy recently and didn’t realize that she was behind the center that you linked to. Will definitely update the post.

      • Waqar Khan

        July 30, 2016 at 7:12 AM

        American-Muslim women has their ego…they wouldn’t want to live like a decent wife…they would curse at you, and your parents….they would call you names and disrespect you….I mean how could men in their logical mind married such women…

    • John

      July 14, 2014 at 7:18 PM

      There is another important thing that is perhaps being overlooked by everyone. Just do all the research, background, etc .. and marry someone who loves the Deen.

      If there is any disagreement or conflict, let the Deen settle it. Don’t call something Haram if it’s Halal, just because you dislike it. Don’t call it halal if it’s actually Haram, just because you prefer it.

      For example, one interviewee in the article said, “what if she is dirty”? Well, what does Islam teach us about cleanliness? Find someone who follows the Deen, or is willing to be corrected by the Qur’an/Sunnah.

      Let the Deen settle everything. We don’t have the same problems with ambiguity and confusion suffered by other religious groups. We don’t actually need to “date” to see if we “share viewpoints”, we just need to put our Deen first.

      Not only will Allah bless that kind of relationship, but conflict, stress, and resentment will evaporate.

      • Amatullah

        March 5, 2016 at 3:20 AM

        Perfect mashaAllah , May Allah keep u guided and bless u amin
        Also may Allah allow us to make the Deen our benchmark and settle our affairs with it, and let our parents accept this… Amin

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    • Josh

      November 9, 2016 at 7:51 AM

      Do not listen to this, this is evil, stay away. This could take you out of Islam

  2. AML

    September 27, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    a lot of girls and a lot of their parents have major expectations that the man should be *able* to be the sole provider – even when the girl has a good paying job. I believe this is a HUGE obstacle for brothers as there are many immigrant men who are not as financialy well established, but would still make good husbands, but they are being rejected. these men are often the ones who then marry outside the faith because they are lonely, desparate, and their families are not around to stop them from doing so. We need to be less demanding in what we want of a man:The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
    “If one whose religion and character pleases you proposes to you, you should marry him. If you do not do so, them will be tribulations in the land and great evil.”
    I do believe that this “crisis” you mention is the tribulation and evil that has come as a result of so many muslim girls and their parents rejecting a man not based on his deen or character but on other matters that should not be that important – no one is pefect, after all. this is why so many women are now unmarried. also, so many women and their parents put education and finishing it before marriage. another unnatural thing to do adn a cause of not gettting married in the end.

    “And marry those among you who are single and the pious of your slaves and maid-servants. If they be poor, Allah will enrich them out of His grace. Allah is of ample means, Aware.” [ Sûrah al-Nûr : 32]
    to avoid these issues, we should marry a man for his deen and his character, not for how much money he can make or whether he can support us/pay for the wedding/apartment, furnititure, etc.
    and we should not put education or ther goals before marriage; we should marry young.

    • Rezwana

      May 21, 2015 at 12:51 PM

      Asak, The major reason the women’s want the men to be sole provider even though women’s are earning is due to pregnancy ,childbirth and they may not go back to work after child birth.

      • ut

        September 22, 2016 at 5:39 AM

        Stop living in a fantasy. Man or Woman can take a year off for parenting from work after the birth of a child. Then she should go to work. Nobody going to keep a girl sitting at home for ever doing nothing. Either start contributing or get out of the way if you are not mature enough for marriage and responsibility.

    • sum other

      April 11, 2016 at 1:15 PM

      If all Musalmaan girls started thinking like u do, the problems of late Muslim marriage would end.

  3. AML

    September 27, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    also, i find it very unrealistic that many religiuos scholars still talk about how it is a man’s sole responsibility to be the breadwinner – they often say things like: your money is your money,and his money is your money.
    Hello, we live in post-industrial North America. Who on earth can support a family with a single income? This is soo unrealistic, and girls who constantly hear this are brainwashed into thinking that a man who can’t be the sole breadwinner is not a good husband. It is a very selfish view and it is not allowing us to move forward given the very real financial difficulty of a man being the sole breadwinner. Besides, since most women are able to work, and even WANT to, why should this continue to be a barrier to a man being welcomed as a good spouse?
    I am sad at how immature our community is about marriage. Including the young people who want the spouse to be perfect; they forget that marriage is an opportunity to grow together, help each other, and grow personally – to learn to be patient, put up with another person’s faults, hold one’s tongue, etc.
    We need to stop condoning the way that people approach marriage these days and really make it clear that our constant rejections of good men have brought this tribulation upon us. we are the authors of our own crisis. Every time a man of good character and deen is rejected for no good reason, we are not only going against the command of Rasul Allah sal Allah alaihi wassalam, but we are also inviting tribulations and authoring evil.

    • Hena Zuberi

      September 28, 2013 at 12:52 AM

      JazakAllah khayr for your comments and sharing your thoughts. I apologize I didn’t read them earlier as I was attending a class. Elitism and the criteria for what makes a good spouse were definitely mentioned by people searching. There is less reliance on Allah and more on the material, dunya stuff.

      Although I did meet sisters who did accept proposals based on what they thought was piety and good character only to end up homeless because their husbands could not provide for them. So in your opinion what would be a good measure of judging character especially when people are meeting for 15 minutes in an imam’s office or at an event?

      • ME123

        March 10, 2014 at 2:52 PM

        Wow, HOMELESS! that terrible! :(
        Money, enough to live decently, is a requirement for marriage, a right of a muslimah, she and her family have a right to inquire about it.
        islam is rational about marriage and not a Justin Beiber song.

        • ME123

          March 10, 2014 at 3:37 PM

          In islam, when a women or her family chose religion/character in a husband rather than financial and culture compatibility (“kafa”) , they are giving up their RIGHT. subhanaAllah, KNOW It! too many people on here asking her to give it up, don’t think they would be as cheery about giving up their right. It’s her choice.

      • moyig

        July 31, 2014 at 7:25 PM

        Every girl is looking for DOCTOR or Lawyers .What about regular guys no chance . Joe blow is going to sitting around all his life.

      • Iman

        September 22, 2014 at 4:59 PM

        but why did they not go out and work. i don’t see their becoming homeless as having anything to do with their marriage choice. This could happen to anyone. both people have to take responsibility and show the proper adab in seeking livelihood, while trusting that Allah will provide. Sayyida Khadeejah alayha assalam worked and supported her family.

      • Adil Khan

        October 14, 2015 at 6:49 PM

        Steady Job of 3 Years and a pay stub would do it

    • Reader

      September 29, 2013 at 5:24 AM

      Muslim Sisters Shouldn’t Work – Yasir Qadhi

      • Hassan

        September 30, 2013 at 11:11 PM

        From length of beard it is clear that this is not recent, so he must have softened up his position now.

    • Khaliq

      October 1, 2013 at 8:27 AM

      I personally know of highly educated sisters who are in their 30s and have been rejected solely because they didn’t plan to work after they got married and I think it is their right to be able to chose if they want a job or not (post marriage)…and they shouldn’t have been rejected because they don’t want to pursue their jobs after marriage…in the cases I’ve seen, the men (and their mothers) were the ones greedy ones!

      • Sodiq

        January 20, 2014 at 3:47 PM

        I can’t marry someone who already have that intention of not working post marriage, in this economy? And when anything might happen any time? It is always good to have options. It is their right, but it is also the right of a man to look for a spouse who will give him support too.


      • Iman

        September 22, 2014 at 5:04 PM

        what is the point of being highly educated (and likely carrying debt due to that) and then not having the kindness and care for your spouse to be willing to help him out by working? unless she feels it will kill her or ruin her faith or harm her, she should consider working. there are many jobs that can be okay for women.

      • Waqar Khan

        July 30, 2016 at 7:19 AM

        wait do such women do exist where they can be great house wives? would they cook for you and take care of the kids? Most of the sisters in America has became so Westernized that they went on to get education, become doctors etc…but they don’t know how to cook….and wait them dress like they want to go out to clubs? seriously, if a Muslim woman want a Muslim husband, they must first become Muslims…not by the name but also by actions….

        I’m going back home and finding me a decent-religious wife because America has woman never want to be a family they all care about themselves….it’s a big deal for them if they made food for her husband, or if the husband would rather want her to stay home and take care of the family….while the husband work….

    • khalisa

      November 13, 2014 at 12:21 PM

      Being the sole bread winner is a Muslim man responsibility. It is the woman’s right. We can not change islam just because you live in UK or USA. IF a woman wants to forgo her right to maintenance because the man who wants to marry her and she wants to marry him can not provide then she can.

  4. Ibrahim

    September 27, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    Sheikh Mustafa Umar gave a lecture on this topic in our local masjid a few months ago… Uncles and aunties thought he was promoting online dating!! The older generation has no clue what Muslims in this country really go through. Glad you touched on it. You covered every major and most minor issues in this article. Jazakallah khaira

  5. Hassan

    September 27, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Also men not being man enough to marry more than one wife, and women refusing to be second wife is a major reason.

    • ahab

      September 29, 2013 at 3:53 PM

      could,’t agree more with you……………….or maybe I don’t agree…….we’ll see

    • Michelle

      April 16, 2014 at 1:48 AM

      It’s illegal to have more than one wife in America.

      • Halima

        January 18, 2016 at 5:12 AM

        Your infringing on my religious freedom….so basically that’s my constitutional right whether I choose that or not.

      • Waqar Khan

        July 30, 2016 at 7:20 AM

        Yes, it’s illegal to have two or more wives in America…you can have two or more but legally one…hope this answered your question…just know the difference between Civil and Religious marriage.

    • Iman

      September 22, 2014 at 5:02 PM

      a man is not less of a man because he doesn’t marry more than one woman. Women do not have to accept their husbands marrying another woman. That is her right. Please don’t ignorantly advocate something that is foreign to our culture. Islam did not mandate it, it limited it from an unlimited number of wives, to just four, not from one wife, telling people to have more than one. There is nothing wrong with a man who doesn’t want to break his wife’s heart in a context in which such a practice is not part of the ‘urf and would be very disruptive to most women to introduce. There are enough men out there. it’s just the way we are going about it all.

      • khalisa

        November 13, 2014 at 12:35 PM

        Yes a Muslim Woman does have to accept polygany because it is in the quran. A Muslim can not reject ANYTHING in the quran. If a man doesn’t want to break his wife’s heart and refrains from polygany because if that, then all is good. BUT whatever Allah wills, will happen and we (Muslims) should accept whatever Allah wills

      • Halima

        January 18, 2016 at 5:15 AM

        She can accept polygamy but she has right to say no to his proposal. She doesn’t want to be in that relationship she doesn’t have to.

    • Nadia

      March 3, 2016 at 3:34 PM

      Good luck with that crisis !!!

      • Nadia

        March 3, 2016 at 3:39 PM

        We aren’t obliged polygamy at all . Y’all got it wrong . I do not k ow where these people got the idea polygamy is forced and we have to stay in that relationship . There is no compulsory in religion .. Polygamy isn’t obligated to anyone hello !!

  6. safiaf

    September 27, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    Jazakallahi khair Hena for this excellent article, and for shedding daylight on this issue that is so important for many Muslims.

  7. Ahmed Shaikh (@bornshaikh)

    September 27, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    Thank you Sr. Hena. I must say though simply doing more of what has already been happening does not appear to be a solution. Holding more matrimonial events are not going to create more eligible men if they do not already exist.

    Descriptions of this so-called “marriage crisis” have them making the rounds on the internet and Masajid for years. Lots of it is just resorts to plain old immigrant bashing, like this gem “Many immigrant parents tend to disregard the fact that their children are raised in the West” (ok, that was funny). So we blame parents, the older generation, strange cultures from strange lands. There is something wrong with the system, with the parents, elders, other people’s attitudes. Something is wrong with everyone except the people hoping to get married, who are merely hapless victims of a cruel, cruel world. Every culture is to blame except American Muslim culture, the purity of which is never ever to be called into question. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying the article contains any inaccuracies, I just don’t think we are getting the whole picture.

    • Hena Zuberi

      September 27, 2013 at 6:26 PM

      Thank you for your commenting Br. Ahmed.

      So first off this article was focused on men and women who want to seriously get married, are looking for sources and the barriers they thought they faced. If someone doesn’t want to get married and or is not serious about getting married then they cannot complain and neither is this a crisis for them.

      Please do elaborate on your comments- you are saying that they is a lack of eligible men period, or women are not looking at eligible men as ‘eligible’. And what makes a man eligible?

      I want to hear your point of view about this as there have to be narratives that I have missed. As you said it isn’t inaccurate- I didn’t make this stuff up, neither is it my opinion; I met and interviewed many single men and women, parents, attended forums, events, asked our community questions. These were their views.

      As for this being already addressed on the internet- perhaps it may have been, but was not in the community that it was written for nor on MM. I have gotten a feedback when it was printed in the paper that this issue was not addressed in detail .

      As for the sanctity of American Muslim culture, we talk about what’s wrong with our culture all the time here on MM. :) No holds barred. I have written about some aspects of this previously as well.

      But your point about the culture causing the crisis or the singles themselves being the issue doesn’t take away from the fact that there is a crisis. I had to see if “the community” or just “commenters” were talking about it, were they a few people, or is the conversation widespread? And I found this conversation widespread.There is no doubt that there are many people looking to get married who can not find a spouse or need help in finding one.

      I can say that some things did strike out to me at some of the events that I observed and did touch on them ie the expectations or pickiness etc.

      I didn’t take that as immigrant bashing, many of the people I interviewed were immigrant elders in the communities who deal with these issues on a daily basis and spend hours counseling parents. There are far too many parent who think that they are raising children in the homeland. I have done my share of matchmaking and would throw my hands in the air at the requirements of the parents. It is like they are placing an order at a factory. made to order brides and grooms.

      But as Sr. Hayat said tides are changing.

      JazakAllah khayr for reading and commenting.

      • Ahmed Shaikh (@bornshaikh)

        September 28, 2013 at 3:09 AM

        Sr. Hena: Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I realize there may be immigrant parents that are delusional and think they live in a time and space different from where they actually live. However I would question how widespread such people are. Non-immigrants and particularly single people can be delusional as well. Parents are often wiser then their children give them credit for, though occasionally they are not. Young people blaming their parents for various misfortunes is not at all shocking.

        I actually don’t want to address everything you said point by point, because there is truth in everything you said. It is only that in the aggregate we are left wanting. The only minor quibble I have is that I don’t think divorced or widowed women generally have a harder time than never married women similarly situated. I am sure you have seen them have difficulties (they undoubtedly do), there are just a whole bunch of reasons why already married women have an easier time than never married women after a certain age. This applies to men as well, though men generally have an easier time than women overall anyway regardless of their prior marital history since there are a lot more women who want to marry than men, as you have observed.

        One thing that may be worth addressing (something I figure has been missed) is what happens when parents are not heavily involved. Frequently, women and men will “talk” to each other for many months, sometimes a year or more at a time without getting married. The guy (or sometimes the woman) will eventually decide it won’t work out, and moves on. They then rinse and repeat. It turns out it does not take very many of these premarital marathon talking relationships for a woman to end up well into her thirties without a husband. There is a lot of time wasting in the process. By this time, all the serious guys already have a spouse, generally marrying someone who did not go through this process.

        What ends up happening is that a lot time is wasted by guys who excel at wasting time and women who take no interest in protecting themselves from these guys. Getting involved in this kind of cycle seems to make the sister toxic for what genuinely serious guys remain, since they will use unfortunate terms such as “passed around” or “passed over” to describe her. The guys who wasted all time time can continue to do so for many more years to come.

        Just to make sure I don’t miss your question. What makes a man eligible is a suitor that a woman finds acceptable to marry who would be actually willing to do so. I suppose I am saying eligible men generally become progressively scarce for never married women as she ages. This is the group for which there is a legitimate “marriage crisis.” Younger women and divorced and widowed women may not have a cake walk (especially single mothers of young children), but it is probably no crisis. Younger men have a hard time at first but it would get easier for them over time.

  8. Abdulaziz

    September 27, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    I am 27 years old software engineer from saudi arabia. I am ready to marry an american muslimah but she should be ready to move with me to saudi arabia. The marriage should be purely islamic and with permission of parents. if interested email me at

    • maliurjmali

      September 28, 2013 at 6:01 PM

      The problem with these kind of cryptic requests of wanting to marry an American Muslim that when an American non-white Muslim woman presents herself, she is promptly rejected. The new ism is tribalism with its ignorance and with what other burdens it presents itself. However melanophobia (the fear of the color black) still reigns as number one. Racism is not the correct term to describe discrimination based on skin color since we are all of the human race.

      • Abdul aziz

        September 30, 2013 at 3:52 AM

        You are absolutely wrong. I am also a non-white muslim. So whats the point of rejecting a non-white muslimah just for color.

  9. Fritz

    September 27, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    Hena I wonder how many of these women already had marriage proposals in their early 20’s but were “holding out” for something better? Interestingly this is a prevalent Western phenomenon.

    • Hena Zuberi

      September 27, 2013 at 6:30 PM

      Assalam ‘alaykum,
      I am sure there were many and you are right that many people do hold out for something better. But I don’t agree that this is a Western phenomenon. I have seen this play out in the other places as well.

      • Hena Zuberi

        September 28, 2013 at 2:00 AM

        One of the women who has other single friends (all in early 30s) said, “We are [all] open minded and if we met someone at 24 (whether thru our parents or friends), who was the right match, we would’ve gotten married to them. They felt that they waited because of compatibility.

        • Fritz

          September 28, 2013 at 10:48 AM

          maybe this is part of the problem. Of course there should be an element of “compatability” but I suspect this potentially descends into “pickiness”.

        • Tanvir

          December 10, 2013 at 5:31 PM

          And “compatibility” is a like a prince or princess who never arrive.. This is one of the most rotten excuse I have heard about most still single girls. Back home most of the marriages are arranged without too much concern for compatibility. Most of them last longer than those in the West. Compatibilty is simply a Western concept for promoting the dating custom and/or extending the dating period until it is time to get married and have a family.

    • naima1217

      September 28, 2013 at 12:45 AM

      So what? what’s your point? Are you suggesting women should marry in their 20’s and abandon their school and everything they’ve worked hard for while men can take their time for their studies and then turn around and marry a much younger women?

      • maliurjmali

        September 28, 2013 at 6:08 PM

        I don’t think they meant that at all sis. I agree that sisters should joyfully pursue their interests and seek marriage when they are ready. No rush sis. Let’s get this straight…marriage is not fard…it is indeed a highly recommended sunnah. Allah SWT has given the prescription for those who do not wish to be married which is to fast. So if any young person do not want to get married…it is not a sin as long as they follow the mandates of Allah SWT.

        • Naima1217

          September 28, 2013 at 6:22 PM

          My apology if I misunderstood. Often times I hear that from men. I agree it’s best for both men and women to marry young but not until they have formed their character and have grown and matured. Plus marriage for women should not hinder them from pursuing their studies, and their husbands should be supportive of them doing so.

          • Khalil

            September 29, 2013 at 1:08 AM

            Is it best for men and women to wait until they have formed their character and have grown and matured? To a certain extent yes, but there is also a lot of value in them growing and maturing together in marriage. Accommodating to a spouse and learning to make the compromises and ‘we-thinking’ that is involved in successful marriages only gets harder the longer one has been independent

      • Iman

        September 22, 2014 at 5:08 PM

        what’s wrong with that? yes, leave your studies if you are not going to even use them for anything but vanity, if you are going to insist that you don’t work. studies are so you can get a job. if you want to be a woman who stays home and your husband slaves away for you at work, then don’t bother getting an education because it will just be selfish.

      • Ediris

        March 4, 2015 at 5:01 AM

        If you choose to pursue your career goals then you should not be disheartened when no one wants to marry you because you spent your entire time life doing a bachelor of science in chemistry, and a masters degree. Not everyone wants to put their child in a childcare service. Us men expect the wife to look after the child.

    • Iman

      September 22, 2014 at 5:06 PM

      this is true. and it is sad. everyone, please read this article: #2 applies to this situation.
      And let us hear the advice in #10 here:

  10. Siraaj

    September 27, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    I think AML hit the nail on the head, though not in a way I’d agree. We’re trying to live these lifestyles that require a lot of credit aka two incomes, hence the delays in marriage.

    • Fritz

      September 28, 2013 at 10:57 AM

      I dont think men are intimdated by intelligent working women but there is a balance between earning/homemaking within a marriage. The idea of marrying a co-breadwinner just to fatten up the bank account isnt really that appealing to anyone. No guy wants to get married and then find they come home after a tough days work and are dumped with the children/housework because the other half has been working aswell.

      Of course if a woman wants to pursue a higher degree and career then fine. But it will probably (unfortunately) come at the expense of other things. Trying to “bag” a MSc/PhD and then use it as a lever to wield more power in a marriage (“you’ll listen to me because I can leave and make it on my own”) seems to have yielded the outcome which women feared in the first place; lonliness and isolation.

      • maliurjmali

        September 28, 2013 at 6:16 PM

        I see your point Fritz. But it is a trifling woman indeed who will work her butt off to get a MSc/Phd just to wield power in a relationship. This is clearly a deficit of understanding on how women think. No woman starts out with this intent. I am not refuting the fact that this has happened but a woman may have been pushed to that edge. If two “matured” people are college professors with children… how on earth can’t a schedule to manage their personal lives be established??? I am forced to say on the contrary that men are the ones who bring that sick syndrome of male chauvinism to the home-front and poison the inhabitants within.

      • Siraaj

        September 29, 2013 at 8:11 AM

        Men and women both pursue higher education for different reasons. Many of us like to focus on one exclusive reason, but I believe each person has a combination of interests in mind, given their own ambitions, experiences, and perhaps social pressure.

        In my own experience, I find social pressure has a disproportionate mind share because much of it are the forced interests of others living vicariously through the individual.

        Home buying is a perfect example – everyone wants to buy a house because they think it’s a great investment. Let’s put aside the discussion of whether it’s truly a great investment and assume it is, and let’s put aside the discussion of whether Islamic financing is halal and assume that it’s legitimate – why is it that people have to max out and buy the “largest” house possible that maxes out the combined credit of two individuals? And then put all the furniture on credit? Plus the two brand new cars that are absolutely essential for that lifestyle?

        Much of this is wasteful and essentially word-of-mouth advertising taken to its worst conclusion – advertisers are out to make you feel as though you have a deficiency in your life without their product, and not only do you feel it, you feel the need to tell others the same as well.

        What I see occurring is that there are generally more religious Muslim sisters to begin with, they are pursuing higher education, waiting until later to marry, and then finding the men who they would be interested in marrying who are also “religious” are opting for younger women. There’s nothing wrong with choosing what you like for yourself, as that’s been a trend since, well, forever.

        However, there are brothers who are willing to marry these women, and it’s from the crowd many women are not interested in – the less religious, leaning more towards secular or Muslim-in-name Muslims. They don’t have these issues and in many cases are more practical about how a marriage should work. The problem is they bring with them their irreligious baggage, and that is a problem for many women. So they have to keep looking because their criteria is deen first. Otherwise they will work, be asked to take off their hijabs, and support a lifestyle that operates on riba.

        As my wife Olivia says below, I think polygamy is one solution (we need more, not just one), but for now it remains one only in theory. In practice, I believe many sisters are not emotionally equipped to deal with it due to social conditioning and would also receive negative family feedback, and I believe most religious men are not mature enough, either financially or emotionally, to handle it. Most religious guys I know struggle to understand how to deal with one wife.

        As this crisis escalates and the pot continues to boil, I suspect some women will eventually turn to polygamy in private.

        • Fritz

          September 30, 2013 at 3:53 PM

          The wisdom in this hadith is amazing;

          “Do not delay in three things; Nikah of a women when her match is found, Salaat at its prescribed time, and Burial when the corpse is ready.” (Tirmidhi)

          I dont know precisely how authentic this hadith is but I am sure a few decades ago people would not have appreciated just how important the first point was. But look at things now. Of course people’s circumstances do vary but an education doesnt necessarily make one “independent”. (if you were truly financially dependent then you wouldnt need a job in the first place etc) We have lost the concept of mutual interdependence within a marriage.

          It would be interesting to see how many of these “older men seeking younger wives” you speak of were previously in the cohort with the “older women” but were not able to marry at that time due to their female peers focusing on education? In some respects you could understand their decision making.

      • muslimah

        April 6, 2014 at 1:51 PM

        so Fritz, men can use their paycheck to control women yet fear women doing the same? goes both ways isnt it?
        If you are that worried abt a woman leaving you because she has a higher degree, then a) get yourself educated, b) try being a good husband so she doesnt leave. do you really want a woman to stay with you because you are her sole $ provider and not because she loves you and wants to be with you?

        • muslimah

          April 6, 2014 at 1:53 PM

          oh and no man want to come home and get dumped with housework and children? well if you didnt want those then you shouldnt marry and have kids. stay single and let the dishes pile while you catch up on the latest episode of breaking bad

  11. Olivia Kompier

    September 27, 2013 at 11:01 PM

    its time to rethink polygamy. its time to deconstruct the current social attitudes both western and islamic, that have made poly defunct and harmful to marriages and families and women.

    • Hena Zuberi

      September 28, 2013 at 1:26 AM

      Just waiting for the green signal, Livvy.

    • maliurjmali

      September 28, 2013 at 6:27 PM

      Personally i believe that polygamy is the solution to the marriage crisis. When you find intelligent, patient, good willing people, this type of marital relationship is a boon to marriage. I am a second wife and my husband is with his first wife and children as we “speak”. Spoke to my hubby several times today. Feeling good and secure because my true Beloved is Allah SWT :D
      The problem is that many women loathe the idea of polygamy because they feel that someone else is having relations with their husband…like a cheating escapade. This is the major problem. These women want to feel as if they own these men. The truth of the matter is that you need to attach yourself to Allah’s infinite love then and only then will you be able to enjoy and appreciate the time spent with your earthly spouse. It is not half a husband here and half a husband over there; he is your husband and the sister’s husband too! What is wrong with that?? Some of us who are reverts used to tolerate the cheating, lies and deception in what we called relationships while we were in jahalia; competing with the other woman. Now Allah SWT has dignified us all we need to appreciate the provisions that are before us. Just take of yourself and your children and your home…while preparing and cultivating that beautiful place within for your husband. Allahu Alim

      • PrinceM

        January 19, 2014 at 1:52 PM

        I wish there were more women who think like you. :-)

      • muslimah

        April 6, 2014 at 2:07 PM

        and men don’t feel like they own women? please. the feeling of territorial is equally if not stronger in men.
        there’s a difference in cheating and marriage. cheating is temporary and many times the man doesnt love the other woman and wont leave his wife for the mistress. whereas marriage is abig deal.

        if guys want to go for polygamy, go for it, marry the divorced and widowed with kids. support them.

      • Lina_M

        May 4, 2014 at 12:28 PM

        This is a reply to maliurjmali.
        Sister, I see where your coming from and I do believe that polygamy is a good thing if practiced correctly but I don’t agree with your belief that muslim women shouldn’t want polygamy for themselves. It’s a women’s right to reject being in a polygamous marriage or accept it just like it is a man’s right to practice it (if he is able) or not. It’s not a muslim women’s duty to accept being a co wife. Women hare different. Most cannot handle being a co wife and that perfectly normal and human and I think acknowedging this is important. Polygamy is not for all couples and not every muslim women has to accept it as part of their own lives. Also polygamy is allowed in islam not encouraged. It’s time we stop measuring a women’s iman based on whether or not she would accept this. Jazakallah Khayr. Oh yeah and this is not me trying to attack anyone, I just want to explain.

      • Iman

        September 22, 2014 at 5:13 PM

        the things you have said here could equally be said about this other option: staying single. there is nothing wrong with a Muslim woman or man staying single and having their only Beloved be Allah. Why have we made it such a bad thing and made people feel they are not whole til they marry? i have seen societies where this is a much healthier solution and the women who stay single are amazing scholars of the religion and give all their time to serving in daawah. they are far from unfulfilled.

    • Shehzad

      September 29, 2013 at 11:39 PM

      I agree completely, but unfortunately in this day and age, it is easier for men to have an extra marital affair than to have another wife. First, he is looked down upon as if he’s some sort of an animal wanting another woman in his life, sisters absolutely hate the idea thinking that the man somehow wants to take advantage of them, and the first wife and her family becomes totally antagonistic towards the man for even thinking about it.

      • Samar

        October 5, 2013 at 8:22 PM

        واٍلی هذا ذهب الامام أحمد ورجحه این تیمیة واین القیم وذهبوا کذ لک إٍلی أن الشرط عٍکن أن یکون لفظیا، وفی بعض الأحوال عٍکن أٌن یکون عرفیأ ، أٍذا جاءت الفتاهٔ من أّسرة یٌعرف عنها أٌنها لاتقبل أٌن یتزومج أٌن علیها زوجها
        انتی کلام

        This is the opinion of Imam Ahmed, founder of the Hanbali school and is further preferred by Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn-Al-Qayyim. They also allowed the condition to be verbal (not necessarily written) or if it is the norm (urf) for the girl’s family, i.e. if the girl’s family is known to oppose having another wife next to their daughter. (Fiqh Al Sunnah, Volume 6, Page 231-232)

        So if you make a condition in the marriage contract to not marry a second wife, then it becomes obligatory on the husband to not marry a second wife. In case he does the first wife can get divorce.

        If monogamy is urf (custom) for the girl’s family, then the monogamy condition exists automatically in the contract even if the condition was not stated or written down by the wife during the contract. Because what is known by custom is the same as what is explicitly stated as a condition. Ibn Qayyim discusses this principle at length in I’lam al Muwaqi’in where he explains why the Prophet did not let Ali take a second wife while Fatima was alive.

        Considering that monogamy is the expected norm in most families, its already obligatory on most men to not marry a second wife unless the first wife withdraws the condition.

        Polygamy is clearly not the solution here.

        • Abdollah ozair

          January 1, 2014 at 8:58 PM

          what is the proof from quran and sunnah which backs this opinion?

        • Midia

          February 28, 2014 at 8:36 PM

          Imam Malik has the same opinion. Malikis do not have to put it as a condition in their nikah contract. if he decides to marry another woman, the first wife is automatically allowed to divorce him – she does not have to live in this situation.

    • ZAI

      September 30, 2013 at 5:12 AM

      No debate that the Qur’an and Sunnah allow polygamy.
      A couple of points though:

      1.) I dislike it when Muslim women are guilted into accepting it in their personal lives.
      Yes it is allowed, but women are human beings just like men and jealousy is natural.
      A man would be incensed at the very thought of sharing a wife, but we’re expecting
      women to be robots or angels? The vast majority of women, aside from some anecdotal experiences, will be jealous. This jealousy existed even in the Prophet’s(S) house. So if it
      is going to be advocated fine, but let’s not guilt women who don’t want it or minimize/denigrate
      the jealousy.

      2.) Related to the above point, women have every right by shari’ah not to want a polygamous
      marriage for THEMSELVES. So if she wants to put that in her marriage contract, it is her right.
      Frankly I think the onus should be on MEN to go find women who are willing to live in a polygynous marriage…not on guilting all women into accepting it by conflating it with their iman,

      3.) This is hardly a normative solution. There is a 51%/49% ratio of women:men in the world. So, a.)Not enough women to make it normative rather than an exception.
      b.) Considering a. too much of it, even say 5% shift, will have the disastrous consquence of leaving MANY brothers single..which together with laws against sex out of marriage or adultery will leave
      them with NO avenue for halal sex. No need to wait to see the social consequences of this: simply observe the current situation in India or China where rampant female fetacide has produced a horrid imbalance of the male:female ratio and an estimated 30-50 million men in each nation
      will not be able to get married……….and they’re only at the TIP of the iceberg of social ills that produces.

      If this will work for some sisters, great.
      The Qur’an and Sunnah allow it.
      Many sisters will not accept it though, and they have a RIGHT not to & it definitely isn’t
      a normative solution unless we want to open up a whole new and even more destructive can of
      social ills consisting of lifelong sexually frustrated males.

      • ZAI

        September 30, 2013 at 5:45 AM


        Oh yeah, I forgot…it’s also ILLEGAL in the Western world and
        there are consequences besides simply breaking the law:

        1.) Non-government recognized wife will have no government protection to expect food, clothing and shelter.
        2.) She will have no government access to maintenance in case of divorce.
        3.) She will have to go through the ordeal of a blook test to prove paternity
        to get any child support in case of divorce.
        4.) Her children will not automatically be considered heirs and the legal heirs
        can fight their claims, making it very expensive to collect inheritance.

        So yeah..aside from the fact that it will make Muslims seem like lawbreakers and dent the awesome public image we already have, it requires 100% absolute trust in the man. Good luck to the ladies that want to consider it in the west!

        • RCHOUDH

          September 30, 2013 at 11:54 AM

          Zai you make some good points, while polygamy should never be denigrated because it is a legal Islamic injunction, we have to look at the state of the world today and see how feasible it is to practice it at this point in time. Right now with much of the world trying to emulate capitalist societies with the rising tide of income inequalities, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for an average man to financially support more than one wife. Also many brothers will use polygamy as an excuse to marry for all the wrong reasons (because they want a younger, more beautiful wife, they want more kids, etc). Until they’re taught what conditions to abide by fully while living in a polygamous relationship, I don’t many brothers would be mentally and emotionally fit to take on this task. While there are always exceptions to the rule, and I realize that there are successful polygamous marriages in this day and age, right now with the world the way it is at least, polygamy may not offer the best solution for the current marriage crisis. Maybe In sha Allah if societies become more Islamically inclined on a holistic level, then we can talk about normalizing polygamy…

          • ZAI

            September 30, 2013 at 5:03 PM

            You have misunderstood the intent of my comment
            I have acknowledged polygamy is allowed in the Qur’an, but I then listed a plethora of reasons why it is far from the ideal solution to this crisis and I’d add all the reasons you gave, which I agree with, to my argument as well.

          • RCHOUDH

            October 1, 2013 at 12:41 AM

            Salaam Zai,

            Sorry for the misunderstanding I didn’t mean to come off sounding like I thought you rejected polygamy. For the record I completely agree with all your points regarding the difficulty of practicing polygamy at this moment in time.

          • ZAI

            October 1, 2013 at 2:55 AM

            No sister, actually MY apologies.
            I misread your comment to infer that I was supporting polygamy as a wide-ranging solution to the crisis, when in fact you were agreeing and adding additional reasons to what I said.
            My mistake!

          • RCHOUDH

            October 2, 2013 at 12:49 AM

            It’s ok no apologies needed, glad to have the misunderstanding cleared up!

      • Hero

        December 24, 2013 at 12:16 AM

        “Zai” you are brainwashed by the society and media. You are trying to justify the violent reaction of muslim women towards polygamy. You need to realize that it’s not a man made law. Polygamy is exclusively discussed in Quran. Most of muslim women’s feelings towards polygamy are in disagreement with Islamic teachings and by doing that she is belittling Allah’s command and giving importance to her own feelings ( hate, jealousy). If you don’t like something about islam you still have to ACCEPT IT. putting your brainwashed ideas aside.

        • ZAI

          February 28, 2014 at 9:39 PM

          Let the men who want it go find a woman who wants it.
          The onus is on them to find a wiling woman, not on every woman to accept it for themselves.

          I find the argument of “Allah’s” command to be specious. Allah did not command every man to polygamy nor every woman to accept it, he simply allowed it…and the verse goes on the say MOST men will not deal with it fairly, so stick with one…I love how proponents always make the first part wajib on women, but excuse men from the second part and leave it simply permitted or suggested as it was meant to be. I also love how women’s feelings are dismissed so easily, but must hear constantly about men’s gheerah.

          Allah allows plenty of things in the Qur’an that aren’t wajib. I’m allowed to eat squash and it was even one of the Prophet’s(s) favorite dishes. But no thanks. I hate the stuff and Borani Kadou is one of my most hated dishes. Let the men go find women who want this arrangement. It is not an entitlement of being born male on this Earth.

          • ME123

            March 10, 2014 at 3:17 PM

            with people like hero, you need islamic reference:
            “It says in Asna’l-Mataalib (3/108): It says in al-Ihya’: just as it is mustahabb to marry a virgin, it is mustahabb not to give one’s daughter in marriage except to a virgin who has never been married, because people usually feel more at ease with the first spouse.”
            lol @ borani kadou! afghan brotehr! mashaAllah :)

      • A Muslim Brother

        January 2, 2014 at 9:36 AM

        Sister I believe the argument you have presented is flawed because the number of educated muslimahs is more than the number of educated muslim men. So within that “social class” the number of women far outnumbers the number of men. The evidence of this is that the number of women attending all the marriage events and registered on marriage websites far outnumber the number of Muslim men. For Muslim men there is always the option of marrying a non-Muslim woman or marrying from back home. Muslim women who are educated and raised in the West find it more difficult to marry from back home. Also, there is anecdotal evidence, and I don’t think anyone seriously contests the fact that there is a number imbalance.

        As far as a long term solution goes, we need to encourage higher education more for males, and teach women to accept the marriage proposals that come in their early 20’s. The long term solution is a long subject so I will leave it here although there is more to be said.

        As far as a solution goes for the women already in their 30’s and without a husband – the answer is polygamy. That, or they marry from back home. Pick one. You have said polygamy is not the answer, but I ask you what’s your alternative for older women unable to find spouses?

        It seems to me that if you had an alternative you would have already posted it in conjunction with the many comments you have made attacking polygamy as a solution, although I will reserve final judgement until you reply to this post.

        • Hena Zuberi

          January 2, 2014 at 6:44 PM


          Please use your real name or a blogger handle to your blog, we do not accept anonymous comments. You comment will be deleted next time you post without a name.
          JazakAllah khayr for understanding.

      • Midia

        February 28, 2014 at 8:33 PM

        re: polygamy thank you for this great discussion. just wanted to add as well that Sh. Abdullah Adhami mentioned that if it is not part of a person’s culture, then one should not expect that person to accept it – Islam does respect cultural norms. and the proof he gave was that the Prophet peace be upon him did not marry from amongst the Ansar women because the Ansar were not a people who practiced polygamy in their society, and the Prophet peace be upon him did not want to ask of them something that was not in their norm or easy for them to be part of….we need to be clear on this as some women live in constant fear that their husband is going to spring this on them…what a way to live!

    • The Salafi Feminist

      October 2, 2013 at 10:24 AM

      I find the argument about “it’s illegal” as being a rather shallow one – there are numerous laws out there that we can consider to be either pointless, or even just ethically wrong… for Americans, the laws that say secret hearings, assassinations, and Guantanamo Bay are okay. Just throwing that out there :)

      In order for polygamy to be a viable, beneficial option for both men *and* women (and I myself am quite pro-poly, in that I searched for a second wife for my ex-husband before my divorce, and am currently open to polygamy now as well), the following needs to be done:

      1) Educating Muslim men and women alike to be healthy, happy, and secure in their FIRST marriages. A man getting a second wife because he has problems with his first is a recipe for disaster, NOT a magic solution. Women who agree to be second/ third/ fourth wives because they think they can convince the man to divorce the first/ others need a wakeup call and realize that this is a seriously flawed and in fact poisonous intention. As Siraaj and Olivia both mentioned, emotional and mental maturity (reflected in their current marriages) should be absolute requirements for anyone even considering polygamy.

      2) Educating Muslims on thinking outside the box – both Western and allegedly ‘Islamic.’ When polygamy is brought up, there immediately comes to mind numerous negative assumptions, which may or may not be true in some (not all) cases. In many ways, some of the arguments mentioned (“men are just sex-hungry,” “women are too jealous”) are based in social constructs (again, both Eastern and Western) which limit our potential as human beings and as Muslims.

      3) Protection of rights, both legal and Islamic. Although legally a second/ third/ fourth wife is at somewhat of a disadvantage in terms of not being a recognized spouse, let’s face it – if non-Muslims can get away with having girlfriends, mistresses, and ‘open marriages’ without worrying about the legal issues, why can’t Muslims find a way to deal with them the same way? More importantly than the secular law, however, is Islamic law. Muslim men MUST be held accountable in treating their second/ third/ fourth wives with scrupulous justice regardless of what the secular law states. Why is it that some Muslim men think that just because they’re doing a nikah instead of registering a civil union, they can get away with dhulm (oppression and injustice)?

      In sum, the secret to making a polygamous marriage successful is the same secret to making *anything* in life successful: following an ihsaan-centric model, where one puts aside their own selfishness, emotional/ cultural baggage, and double standards in order to pursue a relationship that is pleasing to Allah over all else.

      • Olivia Kompier

        October 2, 2013 at 9:49 PM

        zainab how did you get through that (working around legalities) without mentioning polyamory? ;)

        and im so glad youre open to poly in the limited way i know you are…. ;p

        • The Salafi Feminist

          October 2, 2013 at 10:12 PM

          Limited only because I’ve already been reserved ;)

          • Shehzad

            October 3, 2013 at 9:17 PM

            Great reply to the people who are over-zealous in conforming to the secular laws and finding emotional,social and financial reasons to go against the religion and sunnah.

        • ZAI

          October 4, 2013 at 6:07 PM

          Disobeying the laws of a country one is living in is also against
          the sunnah. Muslims must either obey the law or make hijrah.
          Now this must be taken within the context of whether a law is harmful/moreal/ethical or not ofcourse. As far as I see, the ban on polygamy is not harming the practice of the Fardh/Wajib parts of the faith, nor is it harming Muslims. It is an allowance for Muslim men, not a wajib.

          Further, it has zero chance of being overturned in the west.
          Fighting for rights is a matter of priorities and frankly, Muslims
          can better spend time on various other issues affecting us.

      • ZAI

        October 2, 2013 at 10:07 PM

        Salaam Sister,
        I agree with you that many laws that are currently enforced are unethical or immoral, for example slavery being lawful at one time or the NSA transgressions you mentioned. It is a fine balance in distinguishing which laws are worth fighting against or disobeying though. As far as I can see, polygamy being illegal is not hurting most people. Even within Islam it is an allowance, not a fardh. I would find it extremely questionable for anyone to claim they are standing up to an injustice by breaking this law. Some exceptional cases like one where a wife is barren but the couple do not want to separate come to mind, but those are exceptions. In most cases men just want a second wife for various personal reasons. A community must pick it’s battles and I’d rather be fighting against secret hearings, assassinations, and Guantanamo Bay than to be fighting for an allowance allowed to Muslim men. Likelihood of that being overturned is close to zero in the West, nor do I think most Muslims have anything to gain from it since even most Muslims in the East don’t practice it either.

        Further, anyone who does this despite the illegality should consider the consequences. The marriage would not be recognized by the government and they will therefore lack the government protections marriage provides, both within the marriage and in case of divorce. As I see it, part of the importance of marriage in Islam itself is that it protects both men and women, especially women, from possible abandonment, neglect, abuse etc. by a partner. It allows a government to step in and support or procure their rights. Without government recognition though, the individuals are on their own. Anyone considering illegal polygamous marriage should reflect on that.

      • ZAI

        October 2, 2013 at 10:23 PM

        I’d like to answer to things you mentioned in more detail, so isolating them in another comment:

        1.) “women are too jealous”) are based in social constructs

        Sister, you might be speaking for yourself and a minority that agrees with you because you are most definitely wrong that jealousy within polygamy is a social construct. Rather it is a common fitra state. It is simply NATURAL. This is quickly proven by asking women in countries where it is accepted and where they’ve been “trained” from birth to accept it. Even most women in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan or Yemen will tell you they do not want it for themselves if they have a choice.

        Nor is this a recent modern phenomenon. This jealousy existed even among the Prophet’s(S) wives. Very well documented hadith and riwaya from Aisha(R) and other wives of the Prophet and detailed incidents related in Sirah. Further, plenty of evidence of many women, especially rich women who could afford to demand it, stipulating in marriage contracts that their husbands cannot take multiple wives.

        if you and any other women have transcended the jealousy of fitra, I’d congratulate you. It is hardly the norm though, either historically or even in Muslim majority nations. Most women do NOT want it if they can help it and it’s not a social construct, it’s their deepest ingrained feeling.

        2.)”if non-Muslims can get away with having girlfriends, mistresses, and ‘open marriages’ without worrying about the legal issues, why can’t Muslims find a way to deal with them the same way?”

        I would ask Muslim women if they want to GO THROUGH what those gf’s, mistresses and people in so-called open marriages go through to procure their rights if the male partner doesn’t fulfill them. Do they want to stand in front of a judge insisting they had a common-law marriage? Do they want to have to take blood tests for their children? Do they want to have to fight legal heirs sired by the man & his “legal” wife to procure their share of inheritance? The poor ladies on “Maury” and their situations are hardly something I think most Muslim women would aspire to or prefer.

        • The Salafi Feminist

          October 3, 2013 at 12:26 PM

          I didn’t say that jealousy is a social construct, but rather what I mean is – the way we perceive jealousy, and how it affects our behaviours, *is* a social construct.

          While jealousy for women over their spouses (and vice versa) is natural, does it really make sense for us to believe that a woman is unable of overcoming her jealousy, or can be so seized by it that it literally destroys her? Now, granted, some people are more jealous than others (the age-old yet despicable excuse for ‘honor killings’ and husbands killing wives over suspicions), but is that really an excuse to just give into that, instead of considering it a challenge of the nafs? Islam came to us not to eradicate human nature, but to encourage us to strive for ihsaan in all things.

          When we first experience jealousy as children, we are taught to look at the bigger picture and at more important values in overcoming our jealousy – for example, if we’re jealous that a sibling or a friend has something nicer/ better than us, we are taught that what’s most important is being happy for them, learning to share, and appreciating what we do have instead of what others have.
          Why is it that as adults, we’re somehow expected to forget these lessons when we are most in need of them?

          Even the Ummahaat al-Mu’mineen were jealous – some of them incredibly so – but did that prevent them from being good to each other, from treating each other as Muslim sisters, and even becoming good friends with each other?

          The social construct aspect lies in how grown men and women are told that they’re allowed (or not allowed) to behave. Just as the concept of adolescence is a social construct of the West (, so too is the concept of grown men and women being unable to face their emotional conflicts in a responsible, mature manner that allows them to live peaceably without invalidating the reality of their situations.

          As for the injustices that occur if marriages aren’t fully legal, then again we go back to how Muslim men must be held accountable by their communities if not the law itself. And honestly, let’s face it – injustices occur *even* when marriages are legal.
          How many cases of abuse, inheritance issues, and so on all take place even when a couple is legally married? Whether secular law says it’s okay or not, often has very little effect on those men who commit injustice anyway. A pious man will fear Allah, not secular law; an irreligious man won’t care for either the law (unless he’s got proof that he can be sued or legally punished, which again is rare more often than not) or the Shari’ah.
          Men will abuse power, money, and women regardless of whether the secular law says they can or not, so again, it’s a shallow argument to say that the government will necessarily protect those women who are not legally married… because the government can barely protect those women who ARE legally married in the first place.

          • ZAI

            October 3, 2013 at 8:48 PM

            Salaam Sister,
            My point is not that polygamy should be banned. It is allowed by Qur’an and sunnah…no debate there. However I do not feel women should be FORCED to accept it in their own marriages. Overcoming that jealousy is a process, and women must be allowed to go through that process, with many of them never arriving at that point. Therefore I stand by my assertion that the onus should be on men to find women who are willing to live in a polygynous marriage, not on forcing/guilting all women to accept it whether they have eliminated jealousy or not.

            As to practicing polygamy in countries that ban it, we will have to disagree. You say that the government does not do a good job of protecting women in that marriage, nor do their husbands
            necessarily give them their due rights. I agree. But the fact that the ideal falls short at times does not mean one discards it as useless. Imperfection does not negate the ideal, nor do exceptions outweigh norms.

            The fact that a parachute can fail and sometimes does, does not mean I should just take my chances without it. I think an important part or reason for marriage in Islam IS government protections…and if they cannot be fulfulled in any way, I would advise against it in non-Muslim nations…especially because no woman has a way of knowing which brother is “pious” or not.

          • The Salafi Feminist

            October 4, 2013 at 1:28 AM

            I absolutely agree that no one should be forced or guilt-tripped into polygamy! Which is why I believe that the only way a polygamous marriage can be successful is if the husband has an excellent relationship with his first wife, and does not use poly as a way of avoiding or running away from the issues between them.
            And a healthy relationship between the husband and his first wife necessitates, in my mind at least, that he be open, honest, and forthcoming about his desire for another wife, his reasons for doing so, and respecting his first wife’s emotions and attitude towards it.

            I abhor the way that most Muslim men approach polygamy and engage in it, as they appear to disregard Islamic adab and ethics just because they think it’s their “right” to have another wife.

    • Imam Abdul jalal

      March 3, 2016 at 4:12 PM

      Bay the way all you wanting polygamy go get together and be happy in polygamous family .. please do not force upon us okay .. It’s not obligated on us nor it’s forced upon us . Allah have solution for everything . May I suggest worry your obligations that Allah put on you .. If Allah’s will you will find partner if not then say alhamdulllah and have patience . People tent to forget Allah and feel they are in control there life . Please Allah plans all of us . Polygamy is not for everyone and is not obligated to us . If you want do it but do not force upon anyone who can’t deal

  12. ZAI

    September 28, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    I’d agree w/ AML when it comes to a lot of women and their families: There is a spreading and pervasive desire among many of them to guarantee a luxurious/wealthy lifestyle and status, rather than if a man is simply a good provider. That will definitely delay marriage for men, because achieving that kind of financial status takes time excepting those lucky few who are born into it.

    That being said, cannot let the Muslim men off the hook.
    MANY, not all, but MANY of them also have unreasonable expectations: mostly concerning looks.
    A lot of these guys are on the lookout for virgin supermodels. They themselves
    might look like a snaggle-tooth that’d scare the paint off the wall, but they believe it when
    Hollywood or Bollywood tells them Govinda or Doug Heffernan could really land someone
    that out of their league….and when they get hit with the hard reality that those matches are
    exceptions in real life and not norms…”waaaaaah…boo hoo. Muslim women are not following sunnah”..ofcourse never questioning themSELVES for not following sunnah and aiming
    for supermodels. It’s comical really.

    It’s not just about messed up priorities…it’s also about being completely
    unrealistic on both sides. I think a lot of people, not only Muslims by any stretch, have become
    totally deluded about reality. There are simply certain realities in this world that must be accepted:

    1.) Have a REALISTIC assessment of YOURSELF. This does not mean having low self-esteem or being riddled with self-hate. But if you are a legit 5(in looks OR money) aiming for a 10, you are out of your mind and it does NOT necessarily make the 10 superficial or irreligious for rejecting or overlooking you. It means they have OPTIONS. It IS possible for a person to have BOTH deen and looks/money people. It’s not as stark as being one or the other in many, if not most, cases. To think otherwise is somewhat of an envy and unwarranted slander of people God has decided to bless with these things.

    A lot of people misread that hadith to mean it’s either deen or dunya. NO. The prophet(S) made pretty clear, I think, that you should not SACRIFICE deen FOR dunya…but if you can have both, good for you. So yeah…have a solidly realistic view of yourself or you will go down the road of unnecessary rejection that might result in cynicism or bitterness.

    Even Western scientists have done studies on these things, and they’ve found that the VAST majority of people tend to end up with people of equal beauty, financial status or education. It’s something that happens NATURALLY due to a myriad of factors and that includes Muslims. It’s simply a natural part of being human. The Prophet(s) laid out an IDEAL, but very few people reach THAT level of deen. Trying to force it or guilting people will just make matters worse. Lest we forget, Zaid(R) and Zaynab(R) divorced for these very mundane reasons, and they are way above us in every way.

    2.) Have a REALISTIC assessment of the WORLD. Sorry, but there are a LIMITED # of people
    in the world who have looks/money/status AND deen. If you are looking for something that doesn’t exist, blame yourself. All 1000 people in any community cannot want to marry the same 10 people. Broaden your narrow standards or you will make it just as hard on yourself as #1. No one has EVERYTHING…not even the 10 people who might seem to outwardly. Not making a realistic assessment in this case MIGHT tempt one to sacrifice the deen, by marrying a Muslim who doesn’t have much of it or even going outside the faith.

    I know the things I’m saying sound really blunt or lack the lofty language of the deens ideals…or even destroy some of the Hollywood/Bollywood/romance fantasies both men and women have. But man, it really needs to be said. These delusions are really harming the social fabric. I really think a lot of these problems would tend to sort themselves out if these two delusions would be eliminated. We cannot even appreciate the Prophet’s(S) sayings until we eliminate these delusions first, because an obsession with these delusions gives one a false hope that THEY will be the exception…which modern media, etc. massively feed.

    A lot of these things are SELF made problems. They really are.
    Frankly the only people I felt sorry for in the article were people who have a hard
    time due to racism, recent converts who lack community/networks and divorcees/widowers…because those are things not totally in their control. But the people who are too picky, have delusionally absurd standards, delusions about themselves, asking for too much dowry, asking for too much mahr, rejecting a wife because she’s too educated, putting off education until they’re FULLY educated in a professional field, etc. etc. etc. Man, they need to get over themselves. They are mostly creating their OWN roadblocks.

    • Abdu

      September 29, 2013 at 4:07 PM

      Well said,ZAI Can’t agree more.


      September 30, 2013 at 8:02 AM

      Assalamu alaikum Zai,

      You are absolutely right about people needing to have realistic expectations in terms of looks. But besides informing average-to-less attractive sisters and brothers to be more realistic about what to expect regarding looks, we also have to inform our more attractive members of society to not get too nitpicky about looks just because they more choices in the matter. I’m talking about a beautiful person rejecting another one because while they may be attractive too, they may not look “perfect” (too short/tall, nose a bit too big, hair a bit too thin, etc). I guess I”m saying it goes both ways for everybody.

      • ZAI

        September 30, 2013 at 9:27 PM

        Salaam sister,
        You are ofcourse right. People who ARE blessed in dunyawi things also need to be realistic, which I touched on to some degree in my 2nd point saying there are a limited number of people with any or all of those blessings in the world and that must be recognized. Discarding both delusions are necessary because as you said it’s a two way street.

        When I was speaking, crudely and in approximation, about “5’s” going for “10’s” I was being hyperbolic to get the point across. Naturally one should not be so picky as to desire someone exactly at their level. There is SOME leeway. A “10” can/should seriously consider an 8 or 9 ofcourse and a “5” should not shy away from a “4” or a “6”. That still falls within the range or realistic or reasonable.

        But when the disparity is TOO great, it is not realistic and NOT necessarily because a 10 or 9 is “not following sunnah” or is irreligious, but because they have options from amongst other 10s,9s, or even 8s and 7s…many of them who ALSO have deen…so why would they consider a 5? This is simply the nature of the world. Human beings leverage what they have, against what they want and try to get the best “deal” between the two.

        The problem is with people who are totally deluded and think the hyperbolic example I gave is actually possible….which is too many people, both Muslim and Non-. It is an absolute exception in the real world, not the norm…and too many people waste a lot of years vainly trying to be the exception. It just doesn’t happen all that often and ends up not only wasting time, but instilling undesirable traits like cynicism, bitterness or even resentment of Allah’s qadr or resentful/jealous denigration of those blessings themselves.

        Way too many go down this path, and it’s painful to watch really. You feel for them, but you also know they could’ve avoided all that pain of rejection if they’d been realistic to begin with and also had their priorities straight. I’ve seen so many cases personally.

        One example: I had an Indian-Muslim friend in undergrad who was totally infatuated w/ a certain Afghan girl. I myself am Afghan and I know the girl and her family pretty well, and man..there was NO CHANCE she was gonna say yes to him. I knew for a fact she had a veritable LINE of suitors knockin’ on her door. Not only was she beyond attractive, her father is also filthy rich AND they’re religious. She was a walking Royal Flush man. EVEN I never considered her despite being Afghan and my father being very close friends with her father, giving me a modest advantage. But he insisted on trying and wasted freakin’ three years of his life pining for her only to get the totally predictable “No thank you”….then he spent years depressed and blaming Muslims, Islam and everything under the sun, and even slandering the girl as not being religious, which I KNEW was false. She’s a good person in every way…She just had OPTIONS and had the luxury to choose from them.

        The whole ordeal was totally unnecessary and could’ve been avoided if the dude
        was the least bit realistic. There were plenty of great Muslim girls at our school who would’ve been a good match for him…but he insisted on going after something totally out of his reach and causing himself unnecessary pain. It was like me wanting to fly like Superman, then getting bitter and angry when I jump off a building and hit the sidewalk.

        • RCHOUDH

          October 2, 2013 at 12:28 AM

          Wa alaikum salaam Zai,

          Oh man I feel bad for your friend! I pray he’s learned since then not to let his emotions get the better of him…this reminds me of something similar happening back while I was in college, where this Pakistani brother kept doggedly pursuing a Lebanese sister until she graduated and got engaged to someone else just to show that she was serious about not wanting him…these sorts of incidents make me wonder what factors could be behind proliferating them. I believe you correctly mentioned earlier that mainstream pop culture media is to blame for this in one sense ( movies where an everyday schlub manages to land a hot girl for example). I also think parents are to blame for this mess. Some parents may shy away from making their kids realistically assess themselves, which is understandable in one sense. I mean how do you let your kid know not to think they’re all that without exacerbating their insecurities (especially in a society that places such undue emphasis upon judging a person’s self-worth based on their physical beauty or lack thereof?) Maybe MM could do a post on this because I’m interested in understanding this issue myself. I think there are also alot of other parents who also pump up their kids’ inflated egos, by telling them not to settle for anything less…so many things to look at examine in light of this one issue!

          • ZAI

            October 2, 2013 at 6:17 PM

            Salaam Sister,
            You’re right about needing to balance teaching kids certain realities while upholding their self-esteem and pride. It is a delicate balance insuring one doesn’t harm them. I think the best way to do it, would be to wait until they are older and actually ready for marriage. At that point their self-esteem has formed to a certain degree and they should also be mature enough to hear rational arguments without taking them personally. That in ADDITION to limiting their exposure to destructive media and instilling proper values when they are younger will make them ready for mature discussions when they reach the age of marriage.

            There is another side to this ofcourse, in that it’s not only the parents who need to do certain things. Our Muslim kids also need to start listening to and respecting their parents as well. I’m not talking about parents who are unreasonably controlling, strict, weighed down with cultural baggage, racist, etc. That’s a whole other discussion in and of itself. But they DO need to listen to their parents in terms of life experience and wisdom…which unfortunately a lot of kids don’t do anymore.. A lot of our youth is caught up in the same dismissive or combative attitude towards parents as non-Muslim youth nowadays.

            Parents have a lot to offer man. They have LIVED and they KNOW the way the world works and what realities are. They know that the world will kick your face into the floor and keep a boot on your neck if you aren’t realistic and know how to navigate it. They are at an age where they have observed and lived these realities. In our youth, many of us are deluded or even too idealistic, whereas parents know the realities…including the realities of marriage or looking for a spouse. Whether we look for a spouse ourselves or empower them to, it’s good to ATLEAST ask their opinion about any prospective spouse. Hear what they have to say.

            Again, I’m not talking about parents who indulge in racism, negative cultural baggage, controlling behavior, greed, etc. Those things can be left safely on the cutting room floor along with hollywood/bollywood fantasies.

          • RCHOUDH

            October 5, 2013 at 9:47 AM

            Wa alaikum salaam brother,

            You make alot of great points brother re: the importance of parents. May Allah make us all to be like the parents that our kids will always respect and come to for advice throughout their lives Ameen!

  13. Karima

    September 28, 2013 at 1:29 AM

    In response to AML:
    Men are also very picky. I have seen how young Muslim men date western women and have pre-marital sex and go out to nightclubs but then when it comes to getting married they want a virgin, beautiful and professional woman with a good career. Parents are to blame as they impose different standards on boys than girls. They allow the sons to go out and stay late but impose stricter rules on their daughters.
    So please stop putting the blame on girls and their parents. If you are a practicing Muslim you have to accept that you should be the sole bread-winner, and not expect your wife to provide for you.
    You cannot take what suits you in Islam and reject the rest.
    It is possible to raise a family on a single income. It is called living within your means. I am a professional married with two grown children. I have never used my entire salary and always made sure I saved most of it while we used my husband’s salary. I never cared for jewelry or expensive items and/or fancy clothes. I made sure the priority was education, sports and music for my children. Travel was important whenever we could afford it as it teaches children a lot about other cultures and history.
    When I got married 27 years ago I didn’t ask for a dowry. Even though it is practiced in my country of origin my parents have never burden the groom by demanding a dowry. My husband gave me a $1000 as a symbolic dowry even though I could have asked for much more.
    Having said that is it an Islamic tradition so if the girl wants a dowry and the man can afford I don’t see anything wrong with that.
    I have two children: a boy and a girl both in university. We do not plan on asking for a dowry and will leave it up to her to decide on it. However I would expect that a prospective young Muslim who would want to marry her will be financially able to support her and support a family.
    Immigrants who come here should work hard and not rely on a woman to look after them.
    As for putting education before marriage I disagree with you. It is very important for girls to get a n education: first to be financially independent, second so they can have the tools to raise children and teach them to be part of and participate in the community where they live, third if they lose their husband or go through a divorce they can support themselves and their children.
    These are my thoughts.

    • Usman

      February 12, 2014 at 12:19 AM

      Salam, Sister in Islam, I agree with you that Muslim men are greatly responsible for this mess. I also did those things in my past. I thank Allah for saving me. I believe it’s due to the lack of understanding of Islam. As an Indian i do not know Arabic. Only when i read Quran, translated in my regional language, i came to know about what Allah wants to tell me in His Book. Now i realized that purpose of my life is to live and die for Allah. So my marriage should also be for Allah, i,e. to create and build an Islamic family. If we have love for Allah, If we believe in Him wholeheartedly, we can surely free ourselves from these worldly desires.If Muslim men continue to fall prey to their evil temptations, and become a bad example for our Muslim women to follow, then this crisis has the potential to destroy the very structure of Islam.Let Allah save all our Muslim brothers and sisters from hell. Let our Imaan grow just like this ever- expanding universe by the grace of Almighty Allah. That will solve this issue. Ameen.

    • Candy

      February 28, 2014 at 9:03 PM

      i don’t understand how we can say that it’s a man’s “islamic” responsibilty to support the woman financially, when we live in a country that does not enable the man to be able to fulfil this aspect of the sharia. we know sharia can only be applied and expectations placed upon people when the society itself – including government – make it possible n easy for people to do so. this is why the hudood for stealing was not applied by a Muslim ruler when he deemed it to have been his government’s fault that people started stealing, because people were not supported by his government to be able to make an income so as not to have to steal to eat. in this case, he suspended the application of the sharia ruling on stealing….
      what about here and now, in the economy we have here where living expenses are based on a two-income family unit? how can you pick part of the sharia and apply it totally out of context??? most young men have debt to repay from having tried to get an education! and the ones who didn’t go that route, you probably would not accept becuase “they don’t have an education”

      • ME123

        March 11, 2014 at 3:21 AM

        a lot of the ppl who complain about debt or have finiancial issue have coffee ourside every day and own a brand name purses and watchs. Live the simple life with kijiji and wlamart and or get married, you cant have both :)

  14. Pingback: This post is about…. Hmmm… Marriage | Thoughts In My 20s

  15. A B

    September 28, 2013 at 3:41 AM

    very insightful and informative and unfortunately

  16. ahsan arshad

    September 28, 2013 at 4:56 AM

    Questoin for Sr. Hena: how do you think practicing young muslims should find a spouse where they are not willing to date? How should the two get to know each other once they are deciding to marry each other.

    • maliurjmali

      September 28, 2013 at 6:32 PM

      Ahsan the parents should provide that venue. If the parents are unable to do so, then any other trusted matured individuals like an imam and his wife etc.

  17. Rafiq A. Tschannen

    September 28, 2013 at 6:55 AM

    An advice to the younger generation from a ‘wise old man’: When embarking to get married, first of all look into the mirror. Do you really think that you are ‘oh so perfect’ that you can choose only the ‘oh so perfect partner’? Realize your short-comings and accept the ‘not-quite-perfect’ match. Inshallah you will both suit to each other and be happy…

    • ahsan arshad

      September 29, 2013 at 7:39 AM

      hmm the old man is surely wise. Thats quite a good advice with a good line. i will use it : “look at yourself in the mirror-so you are oh so perfect that you demand perfections

  18. JAJ

    September 28, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    There is nothing wrong with Muslim women getting education and working. Sisters, seriously, you can get married young and still study and have a career. Yeah it would be hard to take care of a man and study/work, but at you can have a halal Islamically legal, acceptable relationship according Allah. If non-muslims in high school and university can date, have pre-marital relations and also juggle work/school, I’m sure Allah would make things easy for Muslims who do things the halal way.

    You can do this. Get married early 20s. Work for 3-5 years. Have some kids. Your opportunity for work and career will always be there. Marriage and biological ability won’t – or at least it will become very difficult. Look, by the time your kids are well into school, say 10 years old+, you can go back to work in you’re mid-30s, early 40’s or whatever. You’ll still have like 20 years or more dedicated to getting more education and career! Even for sisters who are late 20s/early 30s, inshaaAllah when you get married, please focus on family and kids. You can always go back to career inshaaAllah.

    Parents and the sisters need to rethink priorities. Yes there are many Muslim men out their who probably don’t want their wife to work, and men who are intimidated by a successful woman. But I’m sure there are other religious Muslim men, young and older, who are flexible and will allow you to work/study. Seriously, if we don’t get married, the temptation and ease of zina is out there for both men and women. Parents, help your daughters get married, save them from zina! It’s not enough to say fear Allah. Make it easier for your daughters and sons to fear Allah by helping them get married. I live in Toronto, Canada, and it’s absolutely heart-breaking to see so many sisters in university dating non-muslim guys. Obviously that case is different, those girls have no connection to Islam at all, but it’s almost a given these non-muslim guys are committing zina with our Muslim sisters – a’oothubillah! And you can’t forget those sisters who wear headscarf and have their Muslim boyfriend.

    Women have biological clock. Best chance (not the only chance) of having at the very least one child or maybe two is before 40. Remember, say a woman marries in early 30s, or any age in fact, obviously you want to get to know your spouse and spend time with them a year or two before kids. And if the woman is in early 30s and waits those few years it gets even harder to have kids.

    For the Muslim men, as much as some of us may not like the idea of the wife working, we’re gonna have to be flexible. Honestly, if the sister fears Allah, dresses appropriately according to Islam, and has good character/personality, just go for her. Eventually when you have kids she’ll take time off work. You’ll just have to convince her to put the kids before the career – but don’t totally say you can’t work, just ask her to spend less hours on it.

    We’re never going to find that best combination of religious sister with amazing body. And sisters, you’re not going to get that prince charming beard who also prays and reads Quran. Brothers, marry her for her deen, and if there is even one small thing that makes you attracted to her, marry her. I know we want a wife at home to take care of the kids and house. Honestly she can stay home a few years until the kids go to school, then she can go back to work. Cleaning the house and doing chores isn’t difficult. If we really can’t cook, ask the wife to take care of cooking in the marriage, and the men take care of cleaning and laundry. Yes, if some women stop pursuing career/education and put marriage first it can make things easier, but we probably won’t have that situation for another 10-20 years when we can do things our way. Right now, there’s lots of people who want to get married, and I say, to both women and men, slightly change your expectations and standards (don’t change Islamic values obviously).

    My response may seem like I’m saying these things as a justification to get married – like I’m not actually pro-career women. It’s not that lol, people have different goals in life. I haven’t said Muslim girls/women are wrong for pursuing education and this is what we need to do. Some people like school/work, others don’t – just be flexible without compromising your Islam.

    May Allah make marriage easy for Muslim men and women looking to get married. InshaaAllah, our generation of Muslims in the west won’t make marriage difficult for our future generations.

    • JAJ

      September 29, 2013 at 12:02 PM

      Just to follow up. When I say parents need to help their children get married, I mean they need to be reasonable. I know parents are trying to help who have daughters in their 30s get married.

      But they have to allow their sons/daughters marry even if the guy/or both of them are not financially super well off. Being stable, ability to take care of oneself with a decent income is good enough. Stop making finances a barrier. Forget the stupid, lavish and expensive wedding, and focus on MARRIAGE.

      Racism. We gotta stop being racist. This is why Iblis has been forever misguided, because he said he’s better than Aadam ‘alayhi as salaam. Let your son/daughter marry a MUSLIM, a practicing, well-mannered, good in religion Muslim. Especially if the son/daughter is older, it’s gonna make it even harder if we keep rejecting good proposals just becuase of different language, city, nationality, etc. Light skinned pakistani shouldn’t turn down dark skin pakistani just because of dark skin. Arab should marry somali, black should marry chinese – who cares about race, Islam is the standard. obviously, culture does matter sometimes, and it’s easier for families – same culture is better and easier, I’m just saying dont make those restrictions and be more open-minded.

      Why is light skin the standard? That’s the media’s standard, making us think white people are the best and most beautiful people on the earth. (Nothing against white people). A dark skin person can be attractive too, and at the end of the day, a Muslim’s standard of beauty is a person who fears Allah. The woman who fears Allah is beautiful, the woman who covers herself and is modest is beautiful. I’m a fair skinned person (doesn’t mean I’m good-looking), and I prefer darker skinned girls. So don’t worry sisters, there are some men out there who will marry you for who you are inshaAllah! Keep making dua to Allah.

    • Iman

      September 22, 2014 at 5:26 PM

      gotta say: I work with non Muslim women and they work full time and do all the housework. and they are decent people. why do Muslims have to make everything so complicated and about rights and all that. just do what needs to be done to have a decent relationship and life and stop trying to hide behind your “rights” as an excuse for not being nice.

  19. Dr. W

    September 28, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    JAK for bringing up this important matter.

    A few points:

    Certainly when looking for a partner we should compromise on somethings but its not ideal to compromise on several things at once for this need to be married because you want to make sure the marriage lasts for a lifetime. You as a person know what you can and can’t deal with and you have to be honest with yourself.

    1. Deen: I’d personally want to marry someone of equal or better deen so we could grow together or I could learn from them. At the end of the day its the focus on deen that will become a source of barakah in your relationship so one should never compromise on this.

    2. Financial status: education does not always translate into being of wealthy financial status. Most of the people who have pursued higher education also come out with higher loans so we should keep this in mind but they also have job security. Financial difficulty is one of the major reasons couples are getting divorced. We should not have unrealistic expectations of fancy cars, fancy homes, etc etc at the start of our marriage. This is something that you may or may not get but it takes years to get there for a typical person (even a doctor who has to pay off 6 figures in loans before getting there). About the male being the sole breadwinner–this is important because this IS the role of the man, the woman can help but shouldn’t have to BUT the woman also should have realistic expectations and play an equally important part with her role as the mother and the person in-charge of the home. This being said, Khadijah (r) was much higher than our beloved Prophet (s) in finances but remember he was also a man with motivation, a hard working man. This is what woman should be looking for a motivated man who CAN be the sole breadwinner (provide the basics-food, shelter, support for the wife and kids) even if his spouse is a doctor/engineer etc. Sadly there is a flip side to the financial status in the world we live in today its not just about the financial status of the man its become the financial status of the families. People will specifically ask about the education level and profession of the parents–WHY this matters for a successful marriage is beyond me…but why its being asked is for reasons such as bragging rights in the society, grandeur of the wedding party, etc etc. It is very disheartening that Muslims who as one Ummah does Hajj together and makes sujood as slaves to the only ONE on the inside we have become so shallow. May Allah guide us.

    3. Education: people of similar educational backgrounds usually have similar life experiences and perspectives hence they are better compatible than people of markedly different education levels. This avoids ego issues and feelings of inferiority in a marriage. This is especially true for highly educated women (who by the way are having the hardest time finding a spouse). On a side note, it is easy to criticize these women who pursued higher education ie medicine but when your wife or your mother gets sick or you are having a baby as a Muslim you would prefer a woman doctor to take care of your woman relative [double standards much? it’s the same female doctor that sacrificed her youth and her family to take care of your family now and she may or may not be married] So should these women who waited to get married or couldn’t find a good spouse earlier while pursuing higher education be punished/targeted etc? Is it really their fault? We do not know what these women had going on in their lives and we simply cannot judge, let Allah swt be the judge here.

    4. Appearance/looks: attraction is important in a marriage but you simply cannot look for someone who is the most beautiful/most handsome. I am not saying marry a person who is not appealing to you, but if you can compromise in this matter it is definitely the best one to compromise in bc the appearance will quickly fade (every one gets wrinkles, many men will bald, many women will become out of shape, etc etc)

    Lastly, many people have said parents help your children find a spouse. We live in one of the largest cities in the United States, a huge Muslim population but I know so many people here that have a hard time finding a spouse (people who are going through the old fashioned arranged marriage). The parents are trying but WHERE are they going to find these people. The marriage crisis has come to a point where rishta aunties are even giving up. This will lead to two things (both of which are already happening): 1-many people will not get married 2-people will start normalizing dating a take it upon themselves to find a spouse and may start looking into other religions.

    We definitely need a solution, I don’t know what it is. But as a community it is OUR responsibility to avert a huge disaster that’s not too far away.

    Of course, for those who are reading this and looking to get married remember this: when it is all said and done it is ONLY Allah swt who takes care of us. He is Ar-Rahman, He will find a way to get us out of this crisis and to avert the disaster.

    I apologize if I have offended anyone with anything I have said, this is just my perspective on this issue.


  20. JT

    September 28, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    And then there are Gay muslims….

    • maliurj

      September 28, 2013 at 7:07 PM

      JT don’t even delve into that abyss right now…that indeed is a deep dark hole of mass confusion. BUT…Allah SWT is the Pardoner of sins. There is no sin too great that cannot be forgiven or pardoned as long as the one committing the sin repents to his/her Lord. Allahu Akbar!

    • Hyde

      October 7, 2013 at 11:09 PM

      Yeah…let’s see how long that elephant stays quiet in the room. More so since homosexual have so many resources in the modern culture (i.e. zina, or whatever they may call it, hardly exists for them) that practicing muslims do not have the luxury of having. However Muslims with SSA, who are practicing and chaste in so many ways need to find ISLAMIC NOT WESTERN sources to help them (i.e. impotency, asexual ? )

  21. Margari Aziza Hill

    September 28, 2013 at 7:28 PM

    Masha’Allah, well thought out piece. My husband and I sat on a panel at UPenn talking about how Muslims find suitable partners. I advocated new modes of courtship (matrimonials and speed dating don’t work for a lot of people). There should be more ways that Muslims can get to know one another for the purpose of marriage. We may have to really think outside the box to make marriage more attractive. The other issue I brought up, is that for some of our Muslim brothers and sisters from immigrant backgrounds have a conversation with their parents about a potential spouse from another background BEFORE initiating contact with someone. A lot of American Muslims have been sourly disappointed when they are rejected because of their race or ethnicity or get wrapped up in some serious fitnah hiding behind parents’ backs.

    Also, even before we get married a lot of us need relationship and interpersonal skills. Stability isn’t just about finances, but the ability to face challenges and negotiate our differences. If more of us were equipped with relationship skills even before diving into marriage, perhaps we would have more realistic expectations also.

  22. Ayesha

    September 29, 2013 at 1:37 AM

    I am a proponent of young marriages, and that includes having BOTH men and women marry young, not just the women. A lot of people just expect the woman to get married in her early 20s, but to whom? to a man to is 10-15 years older than her? Honestly, if men wait until their thirties to get married, it usually doesn’t fare well for the marriage. I’ve seen it happen myself several times. Usually the young woman is naive, while the man, by virtue of being older, is more experienced and can easily take advantage of her (as in, being deceitful and lying to her, and she will innocently believe him).

    Also, many women delay marriage for their education because they fear that men won’t allow them to study, or the won’t be able to study. Muslim men need to learn that they need to help out with housework too. It’s not just the woman’s responsibility. How can a woman work for her MSc/MD/PhD/whatever when she’s stuck at home washing dishes and slaving away in a kitchen all day?

    And honestly, people just need to learn to let go of gender stereotypes a bit – the man shouldn’t be expected to be some sort of walking wallet for the woman; its a two-way street here. I am just so sick of this nonsense, it breaks many marriages (both Muslim and non-Muslim) apart. Indeed, studies in the west have found that the biggest determinant of happiness in the marriage is how often the man helps out in the housework. When men help, they have more time to spend with their wife and children, which both wife/children appreciate.

    Studies have also found that delaying marriage beyond the age of 25 provides no tangible or emotional benefits (and this is for Westerners).

    Muslim women also need to stop being deluded by a man’s financial status. I just don’t get it – why does all that money matter when his character/deen is questionable? These women need to detach themselves from the dunya, and become closer to Allah.

  23. Jessica (@JessicaSCline)

    September 29, 2013 at 3:21 AM

    I comment you made about divorced sisters was spot on. I had the quadruple whammy. I’m a convert, divorced from an abusive marriage (My ex was before I converted, he’s non-Muslim), kids, and a health condition. I left a bad physically abusive marriage only to be emotionally abused by the community. While I’ll never stop believing in Allah the whole ordeal left me pretty cynical and scarred. I finally left the local community entirely and study alone.

    I finally remarried a non-Muslim. I know I’m looked down upon for my decision. Either way I was/am looked down upon by the Muslim community. At least now I know I have 1 person (My husband) in my corner when I’m shunned and I don’t feel so alone.

    • JAJ

      September 30, 2013 at 12:28 AM

      Sister you need to find a better community, and may Allah make it easy for you. Easy for me to say, I know. Reach out to people like Suhaib Webb, Omar Suleiman, people at Al maghrib institute. I also appologize on behalf of regular muslim communities for not helping you :(. However sister, there are clear Islamic reasons and rules why it’s impermissible for a muslim woman to marry a non-musliam man. Please speak to a knowledgeable and open-minded imam.

      • gratefully yours.

        January 15, 2014 at 5:39 PM

        I understand how she feels. Even though i live back home and dont meet people from other religions. But what is she suppose to do. Even my parents treat me different. now that i am divorced they encourage me to get into affairs. Its diffcult to stay pious and constantly feel like prey. I want more children . I want to feel protected. And muslim men single or married dont want to get married to a divorced women. EVen divorced men want virgins. Im not beautiful but I look young and this younger man came with a proposal. BUt his mother hated me and his family disapproved . he was also worried he did not earn enough . (doesnt Allah provide) But they were all excuse. Most Muslim men ( not all ) are MORE afraid of society , their mothers and their wives and what everyone will say. Or its just not important to pick a fight with traditions and norms . It would be ok if they were pious. But they are perfectly willing to have affairs. They might not be running away from responsibility but with the pressure on them they will justify to have an affair or even a secret marriage . They have offered to give me property for my security but will not marry because what will mama say and what will sister say. But marriage is what decent women want. We want people to know we are married . It gets us protection and respect and what if we have children. How do we keep it secret then So I said no to all these absurd offers but if non -muslim men are the ones who see our goodness and value u for our chastity while muslim men do this show of praying but show no real courage. I am only left with the option to raise my son to be a better musim. Now there are few MUSLIM men around. just being born muslim does not make them muslim. so what choice do women have. endure. wait alone and kill our natural desires to have a family life and wait for akhirah when Allah rewards us. But dont you think that if i give in and marry a christian friend who practices his faith , wont some blame be assigned to all these so called muslim men who try to play with my time and become a test for me on a daily basis. Its easy to say but to say NO every day to these muslim men dangling promises and excuses to wait for the right time and for my mother to approve and for my sister to get to know you . Its a test . Its very difficult to choose to be alone.

        • Usman

          February 12, 2014 at 2:03 AM

          Salam. You agree that it’s a test. Please remember what Allah says in Quran about the day of Sabbath.Allah asked them not to catch fish on the day of Sabbath.But Allah says He tested them by bringing more fish to the shores on the day of Sabbath. They eventually failed in their test. Now you decide, do you want to fail this test
          ? If you consider yourself as a modern and progressive woman, and have disregard for Allah’s orders, i have nothing to tell you. But if you believe in Allah and Akhirah, then you know there are ways around. you can either wait for a Muslim man or become a co-wife for a Muslim man.If you decide to marry a non-Muslim it is up to you. But remember happiness or sadness, victory or defeat in this world is temporary because life itself is temporary here. Real happiness and victory are in Jannah where life is eternal. Now you decide whether or not you want Jannah. If you love Allah, you will accept whatever He wants you to do. Remember, a Muslim is the one who submits to the will of Allah.

  24. Zammer

    September 29, 2013 at 8:19 AM

    Lets be realistic!!

    Millions of Muslims (Arabs and Non-Arabs) immigrated with or without their kids to Europe and North America expecting a better life. They became so called “educated” and “wealthy”. However, millions of them are living in a place that is in total contradiction to their way of life as Muslims and above this they have ripped themselves away from their original homes, relatives, Islamic communities and mosques.

    What do you expect when you separate yourselves from these important pillars of society and leave to a land that is totally alien to Islam???

    Do you expect that you will not pay an important price for leaving these important pillars in order to become more “wealthy” and “educated”?? ……This is the price you have paid!

    By removing yourselves from the land of Islam and moving to the land of Non-Muslims a big burden and disadvantage has become upon you….You basically have to start all over again and the numbers show that you are all failing miserably.

    What happens is you live in a state of confusion….trying to combine a Non-Islamic Western life with Islamic values.

    Only a rare few (minority) will struggle and be able to preserve their faith in Allah…For those few Allah will help them get jobs and find pious spouses…even if they don’t get what they want, they will have patients in their hearts and minds.

    Unfortunately, the numbers clearly indicate that for the majority of the Muslims living in the West:
    1. Either they are leaving their religion in parts or all together to join the life style of the Western society they are living in (start dating, drinking…etc).
    2. Or they are in a state of depression and dysfunction….having no positive role to play in their Islamic Community in the West (Assuming they are even part of any kind of community to start with).

    • a1b2

      November 20, 2013 at 12:18 AM

      Your comment is the best of all! You are presenting the core of the problem! Will you marry me? :)

  25. Mohammad

    September 30, 2013 at 1:52 AM

    Zammer, your post assumes a stark difference between western countries and “Muslim” countries, which would have been true 30 years back but not any more.
    Muslim majority countries have every ill that the West has; be it alcohol, drugs, prostitution, homosexuality and so on; in fact in some aspects, some Muslim countries are more western than the West, capitalism on steroids and racism being two of them.
    If you talk about cities like Toronto, London or New York, there is hardly any way in which a Muslim is unable to practice his religion when compared to “Muslim” cities like Dubai, Karachi or Cairo.

    I understand some Muslims are disillusioned in the West, but Muslim countries, in most cases, do not provide much difference except in Halal food. There are more mosques, but mosques in Muslim countries tend to be very inactive and muted compared to mosques in the West

    As for the topic, I know countless Muslims who have trouble finding a spouse in Muslim countries, even though everyone next to them is Muslim

    • ZAI

      September 30, 2013 at 4:52 AM

      Great response Br. Mohammad.
      You said it all. I have literally nothing to add.

    • a1b2

      November 20, 2013 at 12:31 AM

      You are going against Allah swt who says that muslim countries will ALWAYS be better than kaafir countries even if it doesn’t seem so.
      Also remember where all the western stuff in the muslim countries come from – the west!

      • Candy

        February 28, 2014 at 8:54 PM

        note to parents: raise your kids to be ready and willing to take on the challenge of maintaining a relationship, so they can be married between ages 15 and 20. best time. still young enough to enjoy things, flexible in expectations, can grow together, height of physical strength, and will protect them from temptations….bonus: they will be young enough to be around for part of their grandkids and even great grandkids lives! education? smeducation…you can go to school and still be married, duh!

  26. Mahmoud

    September 30, 2013 at 1:59 AM

    Great post

    The following link in the post doesnt work:

    If you guys you think you have it tough, then try being an Iranian ex shia converted to Sunni…Like Baba Ali

    Families are always wary of us that we are hiding our shiasm and that we are lying that we are Sunni

    But in the end….Allah will help everyone to meet their match….


    September 30, 2013 at 5:47 AM

    Assalamu alaikum,

    Mash’Allah this was an excellent article that touched upon this issue with depth and sensitivity. And the comments below are also excellent Mash’Allah. In terms of parents with young children now, here’s what I think we should be doing to prepare our kids for marriage (I am currently a mother of an 11-year old and 7-year old and marriage is an issue that comes into my mind once in awhile):

    1). Be sure to start making du’a NOW for your kids to find and keep righteous spouses, no matter how young they are. There’s a hadith that states that one should make du’a for something even before it happens or before you are faced with an important matter such as this. So it’s never too early (or too late) to want Allah to provide for what’s best for our kids in this life and in the Hereafter, and that includes a good, happy marriage.

    2). Form a strong social network with like-minded practicing Muslims of many backgrounds, in order to ask for their assistance when it comes time for you to search for a spouse for your child. Sometimes it could be that you might find a compatible spouse for your child from amongst your friends’ kids!

    3). Once your child is old enough for you to discuss about the issue of marriage with them, be sure to go over together what criteria you both decide is important to look at. Always make sure your child is aware of Deen being the first and most important criterion for judgment. That should never be compromised. After that, be sure to ask your kids what they prefer in other matters, in terms of looks, wealth, educational background, culture, etc. Usually it’s understandable for someone to want a spouse with a similar background as them and that’s ok. But I agree with the commenter who mentioned up top that we should also learn to be blunt and teach kids how to be realistic in these matters. Like they can’t expect to marry a supermodel if they themselves are only average in looks, and they can’t expect a doctor to marry them if they hold a vocational career.

    4). About marrying outside of one’s culture, it’s important for us to find out whether the kids would prefer to marry someone of the same culture or not. Usually kids born and raised in the West are open to marrying someone from a different culture, but it’s still good to make sure of that. Also if they’re willing to marry someone of a different culture does that mean someone who was also born and raised in the West, but just comes from a different ethnic background (like Pakistani-American marrying an African-American) or would they be fine with marrying someone of a different background who immigrated to the West (like a Pakistani immigrant marrying an African-American).

    5). In relation to marrying someone of a different background, we should find out also if the kids have been conditioned into “preferring” certain races/ethnicities over other based on pervasively gross stereotypes perpetuated by the media and society in general. If so, we should learn to combat this and teach our kids to always be self-consciously aware of not stereotyping individuals based on their backgrounds.

    6). Finally, we have to also realize that in this day and age there’s always a possibility of the kids finding someone on their own (hopefully not through dating but in other ways nonetheless, like through their friends or the MSA). As long as they have found someone who is practicing of the Deen, we must pray to Allah to help make us accept our kids’ choices in the matter (because let’s face it we may hold our own prejudices or expectations over whom we wanted our kids to wind up with).

    Finally I know this is not really related to the topic at hand, but I was wondering if you could possibly do an article about the problematic reality of forced marriages in our community, and how to help someone going through it to deal with it. This is also a part of the Muslim Marriage Crisis, both in the West and East.

    • ZAI

      September 30, 2013 at 5:15 PM

      Great comment sister.
      Very detailed and relevant.
      I agree with it all.

      • RCHOUDH

        October 1, 2013 at 12:26 AM

        Jazakallah ul khair brother and may Allah keep us all upon the Righteous Path Ameen.

  28. Tanim Taher

    September 30, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    I just wanted to say this was so well researched, and such a well thought out article. Thanks for covering the issue from so many different angles, and for trying to cover the issue wholly.
    Jazakallah Kheir to the author!

    • Hena Zuberi

      October 1, 2013 at 12:59 AM

      JazakAllah khayr for reading and leaving a uplifting comment. I need to go through and read them. One thing that we are going to do is carry this conversation forward on MM. We will be doing a series and I the issues brought up in comments will be addressed and I am hoping we can start crowd-sourcing ideas to effect positive change.

  29. Zammer

    September 30, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    Marriage Or Degree – Which Comes First?
    By Sheikh Yusuf Estes

    I think most of us parents tend to teach our children self-restraint and patience until actually they are able to afford to get married, usually one year or two after they graduate from a university.

    Who told you this is what you’re supposed to do to your children? Teach them restraint; restraint from what?

    If you had a horse, and you want this horse to be a good runner, he’s a year old and you say “No, not yet.” Then he’s two years old and you say “No, not yet”. He’s three years old and you say, “OK now I’m ready to take my three years old horse on a race track, and let him run.” I got news for you; this horse won’t make it all the way around because he never ran. It’s finished before he even get started, because he has nothing to build on and he’s too old.

    Who created the human being, You? And not only that, but you know that’s wrong because that is not what we were taught, that is not what’s Islam.

    But you say “I want them to restrain themselves.”

    From what? Because it’s what you want!

    “Yeah, but they need education!”

    Who said so?

    “Well, if they don’t get education they won’t get a big house.”

    That’s right!

    “They won’t be rich.”

    That’s true!

    “But they will be poor!”

    And I will go back and ask you what I asked you before, do you want to follow the Rasul (Peace and blessings be upon him)?

    “Oh, yeah!”


    “You bet.”

    How many chairs did he own?

    “Oh this is modern times.”

    No it’s beyond it. When he was given a herd of camels, a herd of sheep, a herd of goats, how many did he keep for himself? None. When he was receiving gold and silver and jewels when they were conquering so many lands, and all this money coming to Baytul-Mal, how much did he keep for himself?

    Now I’m going to go easy on you, I was pretty tough: But, we are not prophets!

    And you go “yeah right thanks, let us off the hook.”

    And as a matter of fact, the companions were allowed to divide the booty and they were allowed to have things and some of them were wealthy.

    “Okay I was scared you were going to send us all to Salvation Army tonight to go to sleep.”

    No I’m not. I just want to put your mind for at least for a couple of minutes thinking about what it’s like to do without, just couple of minutes. come on, think about it.

    Children have rights and one of their rights is to get married when they are old enough, and not everybody is the same. You don’t teach somebody how to restrain themselves when it comes to this need because not everybody is the same. And I’m going to be real candid with you, don’t get mad at me. But you said something so I need to be candid so you won’t misunderstand the answer, and I don’t really care if you get mad at me anyway. If you need to go to the bathroom, and I tell you “No, I don’t need to go so why do you need to go”, is that fair? No, we both drink this bottle of water, 16.9 ounces, you drink one and I drink one, then I’ll drink another and you’ll drink another, and then all of a sudden you say “I need to go to the bathroom” and I say “No, I don’t need to go so you don’t need to go either.” Have you ever ridden in the car with somebody like that? You say, “Could you pull over?” , he says “I don’t need to stop, why do you need to stop?”.

    Now, how would you like that when somebody tells you about something that you can’t help, this is something for you. He says “I need to go, can I please..” and you say “No, you can’t”, he says “why?” and you say, “Because I don’t think you need to, I think you can restrain yourself! Can’t you restrain yourself?”

    What if somebody has to throw up? And you told them “Well, I don’t see why you have to throw up, just hold it. You know, we’re going to come up to a roadside park in about half an hour or so, just put your feet in your mouth and don’t do it!” Now what will happen?

    I used these because I want you to have something to equate this to, some people want very much to get married so that they can legally do what their body is telling them they need to do, and if you don’t, then it’s your fault if they get in trouble. It is your responsibility, you cannot allow them their right to get married, you have to let them have their rights.

    You can do it and we did it in our family, I wanted my daughter to get married, and I knew a boy who needed to get married. They were not ready financially? No. They were not ready according to what we call our standards for education, so we talked to both of them and we worked it out. They could get married, still live with their parents. But when they can be together, they can be together and they can take this pressure off.

    There is also emotional stress that comes from not knowing, “will I ever get married!, will I ever meet anybody? Will anybody ever care about me?”

    This is normal for a boy or a girl, so this solves the problem. They get married, you chose who you think is a good candidate for the girl or the boy, then you go to them and you say “listen, what about and think about this girl or this boy,” and then let them meet and let them decide. But no hanky panky, no being alone together, no writing emails back and forth, no phone conversations unless you are monitoring right there listening until they get married or want to get married, that’s not your business any way. They can talk and do what they want to do. That’s why they get married.

    If they do not have intercourse but they are married, they do whatever they want to do, they decide after six weeks, a year or whatever that they don’t want to be married to each other any more, but they don’t have intercourse, and decide after six weeks, a year, or whatever, that they don’t want to be with each other anymore, they don’t need to be divorced. That can just be cancelled, because they did not consummate the marriage.

    Islam has something very nice, that is better than engagement by the way. Because during this time, if they have intercourse and have a baby, then it’s a legal baby, they can still be divorced of course, if they needed to. But at least the baby has a proper name and proper respect from both parties. But if the girl remains a virgin and they don’t have intercourse and they would like to not be married after they find out about each other that they don’t get along or something like that, then it is cancelled and she is still considered as a virgin girl because she is, but she has to give back the Mahr, it’s not fair for her to keep the forty thousand dollars.

    This is a problem, people want too much money. The parents, the families are turning this into a money making deal, and it’s wrong. Stop trying to live their lives for them, let them have their rights.

    Sheikh Yusuf Estes

  30. Hamza

    September 30, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    As someone who has struggled with the issue of marriage for at least 10 years, from the age of 20 until 30, when Allah finally blessed me with his mercy (basically my life completely changed after reaching a phase of total surrendering to the All mighty after an extremely difficult time psychologically speaking), I have to say that now I have a total different outlook on this issue then my parents had. My parents that I love and respect very much, were basically ignorant on how to approach this problem of being Muslim in the West and how to help you children get married.

    When I say “how to help your children get married” I do not mean how to find the right spouse!

    I mean how to instill in the mind of the child the Islamic fundamental concept and importance of Marriage and mentally prepare him/her for that Marriage!!

    I now know what I together with my wife must do to prepare my daughter (expected to arrive Inshallah in a few weeks on this Earth) and any future kids (if Allah wills me to have anymore).

    I will do my best to:
    – let her know why it is important to get married!!!
    – let her know how marriage is an important pillar in any Islamic society!!!
    – let her know how marriage has transformed my life and brought me joy, happiness, sexual satisfaction, learn to cope with responsibility, taught me how to be a team player, taught me how to rely on Allah more, how to live modestly and still be happy with a supportive wonderful wife…and how it has brought me a beautiful daughter to my life!!!!
    – let her know that Allah has actually increased my salary after getting married!!
    – help her get married at an early age, before or even while she is studying for college (if she chooses to continue studying)
    – help her find a like minded Muslim family that want their son to marry early.
    – help them live together either with us or his family until they can find or afford a place of their own.

    This is one of the biggest responsibilities that is awaiting me…..I learned from my mistakes, my past and my struggles….I have read and read and am still acquiring knowledge everyday, so that my daughter will have a better and easier transition to a healthy, wonderful married life, If Allah wills it!

  31. Nur

    October 1, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    @ Hena z.. Jazakallah khair ,thankyou for starting a discussion that was a long needed one,,and one that needs to continue. Over and over again!

  32. Mahmud

    October 1, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    Assalamuallaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    Well, what to do? I am desperate to follow the sunnah, marry a virgin Muslimah who does her five pillars, is loving, has a pleasant personality/character. But there is all this scary talk about not being able to find a virgin Muslimah here. I don’t like to spread slander and gossip. I have been told actually most Muslim girls are virgin pious and I say that. But then people keepsaying these slandering things about American Muslimahs and that makes me want to run to some place in India or Afghanistan and swoop some young girl off her feet like prince charming and take her back here to America.


      October 2, 2013 at 12:46 AM

      Wa alaikum salaam wr wb,

      Don’t let yourself get discouraged brother, the best thing to do at this point is to make du’a because only Allah can help you get what you want, especially since your intentions to marry someone based on Deen are good. And since there are no valid statistics upon the matter, it’s really hard to tell what the reality is (whether more Muslim girls engage in premarital relations or not here in the West). Since I am an optimist my feeling is that while there are an unfortunate number of cases of girls falling into this trap, there are also a great number of cases of girls staying away from haraam here. May Allah help you find someone that’s best for you in this life and in the Hereafter.

    • The Salafi Feminist

      October 2, 2013 at 10:03 AM

      Mahmud, or you could be desperate to follow the sunnah of marrying a non-virgin Muslimah… meaning, a divorcee, a widow, or heck, even just a pious woman who has repented of her past. Or a woman older than you. The only virgin woman RasulAllah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) married was A’ishah (radhiAllahu anha), while all his other wives – including Khadijah – were either older than him, widowed, or divorced.
      By limiting yourself to the category of “young virgin woman” you are deliberately missing out on the hundreds and hundreds of amazing, righteous Muslim women who just happen to NOT be young, virgins, or both.

      • Mahmud

        October 2, 2013 at 8:55 PM

        It’s explicitly recommended to marry a virgin Muslimah though. And I don’t have any problem with divorcee or widow or a woman who is older but my mom would.

        However, woman with a past is absolutely out of question. I just couldn’t stand the thought of a woman having illicit sex and then marrying me. The idea is so disgracing I couldn’t do it. I’ve got some self respect as a man. Yes, one who repents of a sin is like one who has no sin however I am only a human being. Only Allah can see and truly appreciate the good in everyone.

        • The Salafi Feminist

          October 2, 2013 at 10:06 PM

          There have already been several excellent discussions on MM about the ‘recommendation to marry a virgin’ hadith, so I won’t rehash it all here, but I will suggest that you read this post:

        • ZAI

          October 2, 2013 at 11:16 PM

          Br. Mahmud,
          I have a mundane and pragmatic question for you:
          How would you know with surety, besides their own word(which can be a lie- that many scholars say is permissible to veil one’s past or sins), which girl has a past and which one doesn’t if both are presently religious? What if you find out something you don’t like AFTER the marriage…maybe even years after the marriage when you have kids?

          I’m in the medical field. and will also provide you some info to hone your answer:

          1.) 60%+ of women lose their hymen through activities like sports, using a tampon, riding a bicycle and other things which have nothing to do with sex.
          2.) Hymen “reconstruction” surgery is a rapidly growing phenomenon in Muslim-majority countries and the West among Muslims and religious Christians and Jews.

          Personally, I think emphasis should be put on the present when looking for a spouse because I think it’s a more accurate gauge and because no one can ever really know the past but Allah. Staying in the present therefore also alleviates worries about the unknown. That is my personal opinion…but you have the right to want what you want Br. I am not criticizing you. I am just curious as to how you will accomplish this with surety. I wish you success in your search.

          I will even give you a good tip: As an Afghan I can tell you that if you make concrete decision to find a girl in Afghanistan and you are not of Afghan descent, I would stick to more open-minded urban areas, especially Kabul, Mazar or Herat. Chances are not good in South or East for non-Afghan men. We are very tribal down there and aside from marriages that are the consequence of debt or settling a vendetta/feud, marriages are very strictly arranged based on tribal pedigree and who your male ancestors were…either that or have lots of money like Arab Sheikhs from the gulf. It is very un-Islamic and I do not like to criticize my own people, but that is reality there. Open-minded and educated urban area like Kabul is your best shot if not Afghan, followed by Herat and Mazar. Good luck!

          • Mahmud

            October 3, 2013 at 1:32 PM

            Don’t know why you are linking me to that article because it’s pretty clear that their is an explicit recommendation to marry virgins in the Sunnah and I already explained I personally don’t have a problem with any woman who is widowed, divorced, or even older(although my mom would, being the Desi that she is, and Islamically we must be good to our parents.) I’ll add to the list raped woman, which is a no brainer because her lack of virginity is no fault of her own.
            Anyways, marrying widowed, divorced women may be sunnah, but marrying a virgin is explicitly recommended in more than one place.

            “How would you know with surety, besides their own word(which can be a lie- that many scholars say is permissible to veil one’s past or sins), which girl has a past and which one doesn’t if both are presently religious? What if you find out something you don’t like AFTER the marriage…maybe even years after the marriage when you have kids?”

            I don’t think that they can lie about their virginity, but they certainly have the right to not answer such a question(and I certainly don’t have the right to ask her whether or not she is a virgin.) The most I can do is kind of hint in the “interview” or when we get together that I’m looking for a nice Muslim girl with a pleasant personality, performs her five pillars well, is loving, etc. etc. and sneak in the word virgin somewhere.

            If I found out after years of marriage and with kids, the old-fashionedness in me would probably flip out, I’d go into a rage and divorce her and then look for another woman who was never unchaste.

            “I’m in the medical field. and will also provide you some info to hone your answer:

            1.) 60%+ of women lose their hymen through activities like sports, using a tampon, riding a bicycle and other things which have nothing to do with sex.
            2.) Hymen “reconstruction” surgery is a rapidly growing phenomenon in Muslim-majority countries and the West among Muslims and religious Christians and Jews.”

            1) Oh……….yeah today isn’t like back in the day.
            2) Yikes!!! That is extremely scary business. I think Islam QA said that’s not ok because it is a type of deceit.

            Again, the most I can do is make dua, kind of hint I want a virgin in the courting process in the most polite and mild way, and hope that she is a virgin at marriage. Allahu’alam if getting married is even written in my qadr.

            “I will even give you a good tip: As an Afghan I can tell you that if you make concrete decision to find a girl in Afghanistan and you are not of Afghan descent, I would stick to more open-minded urban areas, especially Kabul, Mazar or Herat.”
            LOL, I was basically joking and I was using Afghanistan as an example. I thought it was a bit funny because Afghan girls are quite attractive I think(according to Desi standards), have that strong honor culture which Afghanistan is known for, and mostly live in villages which Afghanistan is known for. Hence the “prince charming coming in and swooping her off her feet” thing.

            Yeah, I know it’ll cost a loooottttt of money there.

      • Mahmud

        October 2, 2013 at 9:01 PM

        Besides, it’s not like there aren’t many amazing, young, virgin Muslimahs with a good personality right?

        • The Salafi Feminist

          October 3, 2013 at 12:29 PM

          They’re probably as plentiful as amazing, young, virgin Muslim men with good personalities :)

          • Mahmud

            October 3, 2013 at 2:23 PM

            Awesome!!!! Alhamdulilah!!!!

          • Mahmud

            January 27, 2014 at 11:03 AM

            And inshaa Allah I’m among those men so I can get married to one of those girls.

            Virgin pious Muslimah is the way to go!!!!!!

      • Mahmud

        January 27, 2014 at 11:06 AM

        The Salafi Feminist- are you ACTUALLY SAYING it’s a sunnah to marry a woman with a past? So are you saying an-Nabi(S) married a woman with a past?


        • Usman

          February 12, 2014 at 3:45 AM

          I don’t know about Sunnah. But Quran says that Allah would find a way for an adulterous woman. Allah says in Quran that those who have committed sins must repent and follow Allah before His punishment comes to them. So it is the duty of every Muslim man to save our sisters , who had gone astray but repented, from hell.We can’t just ignore them.

    • a1b2

      November 20, 2013 at 12:58 AM

      What is your problem? Do you believe in Allah or in people (irreligious ones!)?

  33. Mohammad

    October 2, 2013 at 1:15 AM

    Many Muslim girls, and boys, do indulge in premarital stuff, but the good news (not really good, but you know..) is that the rates are roughly equal in both Muslim and Non-Muslim countries.

  34. Mohammad

    October 2, 2013 at 1:25 AM

    I will tell you why so many boys pursue the perfect girl. Because many times, that all so perfect girl ends up marrying someone far below the other guys in terms of looks or money.
    In my city, there was a girl pursued by probably 50+ boys, either directly or through parents.
    She said no, and ended up marrying someone very average at the age of 30, at a time when the best of the boys who had pursued her had all married…

    • ZAI

      October 2, 2013 at 5:59 PM

      Br. Mohammad,
      That is an exceptional case. Yes, it happens and there will be some
      people in the community who fit that profile…but it’s far from the norm.
      Naturally there are highly desirable men/women who delay marriage to an age
      that decreases their desirability, just as men/women in general do.
      Wanting to wait until they finish school, being picky to the point where they turn
      down even relatively equal matches, etc. factors just as it does for any other
      man or woman. It’s not normative though…and looking at these types of exceptions has
      the same weight as looking at Hollywood or Bollywood narratives. It’s just not
      that common man.

      Western sociologists have done study after study after
      study on the phenomenon and they’ve found that no matter the religion, ethnicity,
      culture, nationality or whatever that the vast majority of people end up with people
      they are physically, financially or socially equal to. There are exceptions like you pointed out in, but
      they and the Donald Trumps or Rich Sheikhs of the world are exactly that: exceptions.

  35. emma

    October 6, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    in my stinky culture, women don’t get married until someone comes knocking on their door. this could leave poor single women unmarried for years, because either no one knows them and their family or all the suitors that come are not practicing. what is one to do???? parents of girls refuse to look for spouses for their daughters, as it looks shameful. most people end up marrying their cousins back home who are completely unmatched for them. and if a girl dares to ask her parents to look for a potential spouse for her or suggests someone, her parents will think she has been up to no good… frustrating………..

    • Hamza

      October 7, 2013 at 12:53 PM

      Sister Emma salam,

      I have personally experienced the frustration of not getting or able to get married, and I’m not even a woman…So I can imagine a little with my limited knowledge how hard it is for you and our other sisters in your situation to find the right husband and get married.

      If I was to give you personal advice, as I have given to several other sisters that al-humdullah some of them eventually got married, It would be a combination of 2 things, THIS IS AN ADVICE TO EVERYONE READING MY POST AND IS STRUGGLING TO GET MARRIED:

      1. The frustration (including anger, sadness, a bit of hopelessness..etc) must be replaced by Dua and stronger Iman, basically begging for Allah to help you…including tears, sudjud, thiker, and very very important is istighfar!…….the whole surrendering to Allah package!
      Al-hamdullah most of us who have jobs, studies, family members are not in a constant state of depression when we cannot get married, but many eventually as time passes by…almost reach a constant state of sadness and frustration. For these people….the total surrendering to Allah is even more important!!

      Let me tell you from experience…that I have rarely met anyone including myself who has totally submitted him/herself in this way to Allah, if Allah has not open the doors to what they wanted. Basically what this surrendering does is it gives you a path which leads you to what you are looking for… a husband does not literally fall from the sky into your parents living room, but it guides you in a more smooth and easier manner to a husband you have been looking for.

      The total submission to Allah further:
      – makes you modest……you can find someone more easily when you are modest, because you don’t have unrealistic expectations.
      – makes you more forgiving and easy going…….if someone makes a mistake, forgets to say the right thing or act the way you expected, you can forgive them.
      – puts things into context………you realize it is not the end of the world, and their are many people going through your same problem, you don’t feel alone always.
      – puts some useful ideas in your head to plan a way out of your problem…things and methods you might not have even thought about because you were too frustrated and feeling hopeless……your head can be like in a dark cloud.
      – makes you change bad habits that you always wanted to change but never could (lazy, too difficult)
      – makes you look at yourself and analyze if you have any faults, that you can change
      – Have mercy on yourself and others…..if your so frustrated and sad you sometimes reach a stage of not caring about other peoples problems or worries.
      – and many many other things that hasn’t come to my mind now.

      The total submission to Allah is a WIN WIN situation…if you get what you want or not it is only good for you. Everyone reading this post knows deep down inside if they have completely surrendered (or have at least experienced this surrender) their Will to Allah or if they are still fighting with Allah or struggling with their Faith.

      2. As I have mentioned in the first point (1), the total submission to Allah can give you energy, courage and thoughts of doing things you never expected were possible or never imagined imagined would occur…this is guidance of Allah that manifests in a physical way.

      The second point often comes naturally after the first point or at the same time with the first point and is that you need to leave your comfort zone and start talking to your family, parents, friends, imams and eve people on the internet going through same issues as you, or have experienced what you have gone through (like what some of you are doing now on this forum/website).

      You have to make your voice heard !!!!

      This is how I basically got married (super short story):
      After I surrendered to Allah…somehow I graduated after many many years of depression as a Single Muslim (For more information on what is being “depressed as a Single Muslim”, Google it) with crazy high grades (with honors) I was immediately offered a job….I went from a 28 year old complete loser, depressed and thought I was never going to be anything, to someone people actually respected and needed, within a time frame of 18 months.

      Somehow I got the courage to just ask everyone I knew that I wanted and needed to get married as soon as possible (obviously I didn’t say I was going to explode, but I felt some of my friends/family members had kind of noticed that I had that feeling). Someone heard my calling and said here is an email and a photo….and Subhanallah the rest is history.

      I’m not saying you have to finish studies and have a job to get married…..I personally believe it is easily possible to get married while you are still studying, not only possible but it should be the NEW WAY MUSLIMS SOLVE ONE OF THIS PROBLEM !! to mentally prepare your child from an early age to get married and help them arrange this marriage (financially, house and living arrangements, whatever)………my point is and I repeat….MAKE YOURSELF HEARD, take the all and any steps necessary to get married.

      If your not married make Dua for everyone like you.
      If you are happily married make Dua for everyone that wants to get married like you.
      If you are not happily married make Dua that Allah makes you happy, and does not let other people not married yet become in your position.

      May Allah bless Umat Mohammed (peace be upon him) to the right path and to a place in Heaven inshallah

  36. as

    October 7, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    Do you have a website for converts, that you would like to share.

  37. as

    October 7, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    Where you can meet single convert brothers

  38. Hyde

    October 7, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    Woop dee do. Yet another article showing the imbecility of the muslims trying to get married. There is nothing in this article that is really new or should be new. It is what it is. Women and men are both to blame, but because of the stupid rule of boys will be boys, I think the larger part of the blame goes on the men.

    Marriage is half the deen ? What about the other half ? Isn’t it better to be single and reasonable than married to a monster ? There are girls in their 20’s who have been divorced…tsk, tsk…oh well sooner this too shall pass…I guess…

    • Ediris

      March 4, 2015 at 5:29 AM

      they say its better to marry someone who fears Allah. if he loves her he will treat her with dignity and if he divorces her he will not dishonour her.

  39. Ayeshaah

    October 9, 2013 at 8:04 AM

    Alhamdulillah am a regular silent reader of this site and love reading different articles on this site.I think i have become mature ,wiser and patient.The comments from people with different experience on this article are quite amazingand the best feature of this article..we know what the problem is but we dont know the “how to do it ” part plus the inner fears that we are constantly struggling with.I know megan wyatts,Dr yaser birjas are doing a great job with practimate,half our deen sites.but the problem is certain/many families find it costlier to register on such sites with no productive result.If people on muslimmatter site really want to help each other and solve the issue, ,then lets be proactive,make a forum/email just for members of the muslimmatters website, introduce ourselves on a forum to moderators-one male and a female,guys family can send their details to male moderators and ladies family can give it to the female moderator..but the question is who can take such a responsibility with honesty and integrity…now many will back out and whole viscious circle is repeated of the marriage crisis.
    My parents are struggling since one and half yrs searching for a right family and may Allah make it easy on my parents to find a honest ,religious and well qualified family Ameen.

    • Hena Zuberi

      November 6, 2013 at 10:19 AM

      Just read this comment,sister. Ameen to your duas.
      I have made a Facebook group for singles that we personally know- that was easy to do as there is accountability, but again many women but few men.

      Let me take this suggestion to shurah and hopefully we can find the resources to do this – we are a volunteer based org.

      • Ayeshaah

        November 8, 2013 at 10:01 AM

        Jazakallah khair Sister Hena for considering my views and taking the initative for creating such a group.Can I find that group for singles linked to muslimmatter page on facebook?Please lemme know
        Again May Allah reward you immensely….I hope I can be of some help and we can generate new ideas of how to help together..

        • Amatullah Ayuob

          November 8, 2013 at 9:55 PM

          MashaAllah! A friend of mine was discussing a couple of months ago to set up a Muslim Single Sisters’ Support Group of sorts on FB. In the group we could share articles and maybe tips. Basically a resource centre. But we have not gotten around in doing it. So, it’s good to know that there is such a group already created. :)

    • rezzhuz

      May 29, 2014 at 10:04 PM

      There are many realible islamic marriage sites such as the ones you have in mind.

      There is a whole segment of business related with marriages, and a preety good one.
      There are marriage beuro also. Please inform your parents about it, some of them are very active.

      Challange again comes as most would want to get hitched but will not pay 10 cents for a year membership for the sites or commission to the beuro cause we want to be financially smart.

      Well, you did save 10 cents and also yourself from maybe what could have been a succesful marriage.

      Dont buy the hand bag this month, and get the membership. Pay the beuro. Get serious sister. Lol.
      If the site works, please tell us miskeen folks as well.

      May Allah guide us all.
      Salam walekum.

  40. Fatima

    October 9, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    This just makes me more hopeless.

    • Hyde

      October 10, 2013 at 11:16 AM

      Welcome to the club. Marriage has become a norm for disaster. Better just stay single do your best to stay away from zina then get married have your life over with.

      • Iman

        September 22, 2014 at 5:32 PM

        WHY IS BEING SINGLE SO BAD? you don’t need to be married to be loved by God or to enter Jannah. come on people.

    • Ayeshaah

      October 13, 2013 at 10:32 AM

      do not be hopeless sisters…Be optimistic and think of ways how to support Allahs nation and you will feel happy:)

  41. Amatullah Ayuob

    October 10, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    Assalamualaikum Sis Hena,

    Jazakillahukhayraa for writing this article.

    Coming from a tiny island in Southeast Asia, I could relate to all of the points you’ve raised (well, except the immigrants/tribalism/marry-the-girl-from-back-home part). It just goes to show that this isn’t just a problem in the West, rather a problem for educated practicing Muslimahs in a ‘westernised’ society. I know too many degree-holder sisters who are single*.

    I couldn’t agree more to this, “In cultures where arranged marriages are prevalent, men and women complain about the interference of the parents; in cultures where it isn’t, practicing Muslim men and women are finding it extremely hard to meet someone on their own.”

    In my culture (i.e. Singapore Malay culture) too, parents expect their children to be out and about dating and bringing back home their future life partners. Thinking that they (the parents) are giving some sort of ‘freedom’ to their children and not wanting to ‘oppress’ them by arranging marriage for their children. The ones I know who are married are those who have had courted during their school days or those who are open to dating or those who are lucky enough to be match made by their family members. The rest of us who refuse to date are left clueless on what to do next. We want to hold firmly to the deen but at the same time there is a risk that we may not get married at all. ( Yes, I am fully aware that Allah-will-provide-for-us-in-His-perfect-timing-and-that-marriage-is-not-everything talk)

    So, yeah, that’s my rant.


    * some background: there are more Muslim women with degrees than Muslim men in my country. And most Muslim men here do not want to marry up. I think this issue is quite international.

    • Hamza

      October 12, 2013 at 7:58 PM

      Amatullah Ayuob salam,

      You say that dating/courting is haram, and you dont want to date……which I obviously agree with.
      You also say “those who are lucky enough to be match made by their family members” have gotten married.

      My questions then to you is:
      – Is it not possible for you to be matched via family, relatives or friends (since you are living in your own country, society, culture and community?
      – Have you spoken to your family and relatives and people you know about the problems you are having getting married?
      – If you can not get matched via family, relatives, friends… you have any strategies how to approach getting married (websites, advertisements, imams, mosques?)
      – You mention that mainly the educated women are not getting married, is this only because men are not marrying women who are more educated then them or are there other reasons that educated women are not marrying?
      – Finally what is in your opinion more important for a women “getting married and having kids” or getting “a good education/degree”?

  42. Jaanu

    October 13, 2013 at 12:20 AM

    I have been searching for the bride to be in US for a long time. What I found was the superficial, extremely bloated ideals, high self esteemed females and their parents who wanted nothing less than a Medical Doctor or a highly salaried Engineer, even if they themselves were just high school passed. I took the natural path and went back to my country of origin and got married then in couple of months. A route which most males take after years of frustration and battling with unrealistic demands of the parents/females here. No wonder there is such a high ratio of unmarried females to males, it is mainly a self created issue of hyper inflated egos and demands, more then anything else.

  43. Hassan

    November 3, 2013 at 5:14 AM

    I stumbled across this blog today and it resonated. I am not an American Muslim as most commentators tend to be here; I was born in the UK and I am of South Asian descent.

    I am not uneducated. I am now 30 years old. I am now more financially stable than I have ever been in my life.I was was searching over the last 4 years. I will be getting married next year.

    When I began searching 4 years ago I wanted someone beautiful and educated. I didn’t think it was the most unreasonable request in the world – I am reasonably good looking and most describe me as a 7 – and I had just finished my professional qualifications.

    Searching was difficult. Expectations of girls is wildly unrealistic.

    I am educated but I was not financially secure until quite recently, I noticed that women use Islam to land a man who is loaded. They use the ‘everything a man earns is mine’ line. 4 years ago I was 26 and saddled with debt. I could not afford everything of mine let alone everything of yours. They wanted a guy who is good looking, which is fine, if you are also good looking. I can compromise on looks for intelligence to a degree because I am a sucker for intelligent women but compromise is not the same as do a way with.

    After searching for a long time and focusing on developing my career at the same time I have noticed that many of the women who rejected me when I was younger are still searching probably because of their unrealistic expectations. I have no sympathy for such women.

    Also, when I was 25/26 year old I would marry a 25/26 year who would be willing to struggle with me. But given that I am now 30 and secure financially I refuse to marry someone who is 30 or over. If the women took an interest in me when I was insecure it would make a difference. Now I want somebody who is younger and you call me narrow-minded if you like.

    Why should men compromise on a woman’s age when women cannot compromise when men are in the process of making a name for themselves? Most of us are second generation immigrants in the UK, even if you are highly educated compromises will have to be made. If you are unable to compromise when you are younger do not expect educated men to compromise when you are older.

    It is sad that it has come to this really. But I am quite happy with my choice because she is educated and young. Coming from a 3rd world country her expectations are not wild and as an added bonus she can also do the stuff my parents want.

    My advice to the brothers is to give it until you are 28-30. If you cannot find anything go abroad, iA you will find women who have not had the luxuries of the women of the west so their entire outlook on life isn’t seen through how many holidays will this brother take her on.

  44. Hena Zuberi

    November 6, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Asslamalaykum Sr. Fatima, please dont feel hopless. Please be proactive- check this video out
    on how this woman turned a hopeless situation and went after what she wanted using the brains Allah gave her. I am not promoting online dating but there are many online marriage sites.
    May Allah may it easy for everyone searching.
    Men and women seeking really need to get over this the stigma of seeking a person- use all halal venues that Allah has provided you.

  45. Afsana

    November 6, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    If this is the state that 30 something single women go through then what chance do the 30 something divorcee/single moms have?

    • Abu Musab

      December 9, 2013 at 9:58 AM

      Dont give up the hope.. keep praying and lots of dua.

  46. Salar khan

    November 11, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    whats wrong with Pakistani boys ???????????????

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  48. a1b2

    November 20, 2013 at 9:02 AM

    As a convert muslim woman chances are really super slim to find a religious muslim man. The only prospects are all those muslim by name or hypocrite men who want to marry for all the wrong reasons. I’m not looking for money or looks or anything just a good religious man, but he is nowhere to be found. Now THAT is depressing!

    • Abu Musab

      December 9, 2013 at 9:33 AM

      As’salamu Alaykum Sister and All:

      We are a s small group of students at IOU and trying to help people with matchmaking (online). Our facebook group is called talibul ilm matrimonial buts its closed group, only available for IOU students. Please contact our sisters wing @ .

      For brothers, contact:

      -jazakallahu khairan
      Abu Musab

  49. Pingback: Must Wedding Bells Go Ka-Ching? -A Muslim Perspective On The Wedding Industry | The Kaftan Writer

  50. Mo

    November 23, 2013 at 8:55 AM

    Salam Brother & Sisters

    Next Muslim Marriage Event is being held on Sunday 12th January 2014 in Birmingham, UK.

    The event is being catered for brother & sisters who are 28 & over.

    For more info please



  51. vkramjeetpal

    November 29, 2013 at 3:51 AM

    Hello Mo, I read your Information about Nest Muslim marriage event is being held on Sunday 12th January 2014 in Birmingham, UK. Thanks for Provide us this type of information.Actually I am gathering information about any religion’s marriage !

  52. Student129

    December 10, 2013 at 3:44 AM

    Patience is key in finding a good spouse. If a young man or woman wishes to wait until a good prospect comes around, I find it a better idea then rushing into a marriage because ones “age”. I encourage women and men to have patience, make dhikr, and ask for Allah’s help, eventually a suitable partner will come.

    But, just because one is a good Muslim does not warrant him or her the fairytale marriage. Our beloved Prophet Lut was married to a sinful woman. Our beloved saint Assia was married to Pharaoh. If those beloved’s of Allah subhanawataalah had marriages with not so “great” people, it does not mean we are entitled to have fairytale endings, but nor does this mean that we should just give up on our spouses either.
    If all hope is lost, divorce is not discouraged in Islam, especially if one is in a horrible marriage. There are numerous ayats in the Quran about divorce for this reason.

    Let us all reflect on this ayat for a moment. Allah subhanawatalla’s word…

    “O you who believe! surely from among your wives and your children there is an enemy to you; therefore beware of them; and if you pardon and forbear and forgive, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” 64:14

    Marriage and children are not the end all to be all. It is both a blessing and test from Al Rahman Al Raheem. If one feels they are going to become sexually promiscuous then marry as soon as possible, but if one has control over those desires, then by all means be patient and wait for the seemingly perfect Mumin to come around.

    • Usman

      February 12, 2014 at 4:07 AM

      Salam, Assiya was not a Muslim when she married Pharoah. She herself was an idol-worshipper like her husband when they got married. She became Muslim late in her life , well after her marriage. She was blessed by Allah only when she became a Muslim. She did not marry Pharoah after becoming Muslim.

  53. Riz Khan

    December 14, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    Mashallah! Such an enlightening post !
    I live in a muslim country and we do not have such problem. But as a muslim I feel the pain of those muslim whether women or men, who have such problem. It is heartening that people are aware of it and there is work here and there but rather individually. There is a need for tackling the problem on collective basis.
    I must say we have to look in our religion for the solution. Allah has commanded us to enter the deen wholly but today we are far from our religion therefore we have many such problems.
    Islam permits polygamy. unfortunately the practice of polygamy has been practically discarded. it can be helpful in solving the marriage crisis especially for women. There are sisters who are old, deformed, not considered worldly beautiful but having deen and golden heart (i hate to use such words but unfortunately it is truth), widowed and divorced etc. Well reviving the practice may lead to a solution at least partially.
    A campaign especially on the part of clerics, Imams and other influential muslims to encnourage muslims marrying muslims especially men. Men should know a muslim wife would be a better mother and women should know that a muslim husband would be a better father.
    Muslim women should know that they have to lower their criteria if they find a good muslim men.

    as one ummah each and every muslim should feel the pain of other muslim. thnx

  54. Ree

    December 17, 2013 at 3:38 AM

    Interesting article, much of it does ring true for Muslim women in western countries. I myself am an unmarried professional man in my early 30s in a western country. It is difficult to find a partner especially when you do not have a community or many family friends who are Muslim. It is even harder if you chose to find a partner in an Islamic manner. From my experience the longer the woman waits to get married the more she expects and the higher her standards. I have met several potential partners, all have failed. The failure has come after several months along the process of preparing for marriage. Most of the reasons seem silly including comparing me with non-Muslim classmates, not being “Colin Firth” enough, wanting to be able to talk/date other guys or not wanting to relocate.

    What I have noticed with unmarried women approaching 30 is the following:

    1) There are a considerable number of Muslim girls who date non Muslims and excuse themselves saying there aren’t enough Muslim guys. Ironically some of my non-Muslim friends have dated these Muslims girls yet they are not interested in me. Most of these girls lie to their parents about what they are doing. I find this is increasing amongst the younger generation. Parents should be vigilant.

    2) Educated and professional women who delay marriage tend to be more demanding and make ridiculous requests. One girl said to me if she relocated to marry me then she would decide on the house to buy, the furniture and down to the colour of the walls. My opinions would be superfluous. It is also though they are doing me a favour getting married or as if I have to suffer because she has to relocate.

    3) Women who keep company of men. Some situations interactions between men and women cannot be avoided such as the work environment. However when a women keeps male friends outside of work it does raise concerns. Some Muslim women do not realise that non-believers are after illicit relationships in many cases. If a women keeps company of men, then the risk of marrying her increases. This works the other way too with guys keeping female company.

    4) Women as they get older have more to compare men with. I have found women are heavily influenced by movies, tv, social media and what they friends do. They form the idea of the right guy from these sources which is unrealistic. If a man does not hold these ideal characteristics they lose interest. Women need to recalibrate and look past peoples faults and embrace their positives.

    5) Women are attracted to money and if you do not have it your value marriage is significantly diminished. Unfortunately it seems to me that women overlook men with solid deens who have average income over wealthy men with no deen. For guys with online matrimonial profiles if you add you have money, the number of interest from women increases substantially. Women need to remember this life is temporary, we will all return to our creator with no earthly possessions.

    6) Women tend to be more selective when it comes to race (call it racism). I have seen online profiles which only want Caucasian men or Arabs. Seriously if you are restricting yourself to only Caucasian Muslim men you are just making it difficult for yourself. The beauty of Islam is it is all inclusive and looks past race, you are not better than Islam so don’t prejudice people based on race/colour.

    7) Women who expect Muslim men to act like their non-Muslim male friends/colleagues. I have experience women who expect me to show affection/dating/friendships like they have with non-believers. When not accepting such requests until after marriage they leave.

    8) Double standards. Women expect men to hold the traditional roles of being the bread winner, head of the house and being a gentleman (chivalry e.g. holding the door open) however when it comes to traditional female roles such house work, cooking etc they expect the man to do that as well. Yes with women working these duties can be compromised, however when women demand it from men rather than negotiate, it scares men away.

    I could continue further with this list however most of it comes down to having western expectations (including those of non-believers) but marriage in an Islamic culture. If we have to choose between compromising on elements of a western lifestyle and Islam, we should never compromise on Islam.

    I hope no one takes offense to my post, I do not mean to cause offence. These are just my opinions and my personal experience on the matter.

    • Riz Khan

      December 17, 2013 at 9:52 AM

      I do not disagree. But putting all the blame on women is not right. According to my knowledge one of the biggest reason is the marriages of muslim men to non muslim women in high proportions. To clarify suppose there are 50 muslim males and 50 muslim women. if 20 muslim brothers would marry out; there would be excess of women over men. Where would they go. Therefore as one ummah it is almost the religious duty of muslim men and women to marry within faith and stop the resultant dilution of faith.

      I am of the view that dating islamically i.e. approaching a woman with the idea of marriage in mind is allowed in Islam.

      • Ree

        December 17, 2013 at 9:45 PM

        Personally I do not see a “high proportion” of Muslim men marrying non-Muslim women. If you have statistics which would support the premise I would be interested in seeing it.

        This certainly isn’t a blame game; guys also have to take responsibility for their failures too. Men cannot expect a wife acting as a western women but still a traditional housewife. Men should not expect hollywood/bollywood stunning looks in women or expect their wives to replace their mothers. What men should expect is what is prescribed in our religion. Likewise women to can expect men to follow their duties as required in Islam.

        If Muslim men marry outside and assuming the sex ratio is equal then yes there will be Muslim women who will be left unmarried. That is where polygomony (assuming it is lawful in your country) can accommodate for these women. I agree though, marrying within Islam should strongly be practiced. The question to ask is why are these Muslim men marrying outside instead of Muslim women?

        Unfortunately approaching any person of the opposite sex even with marriage in mind without a wali present is not permitted. When you are alone, your good intentions may be tested by shaytan. I am of the mind, if you do find someone that may be marriage material it is best to get your parents involved. This makes it difficult especially in western countries as the majority of people date which can influence how Muslims think about marriage. It is best not to fall into these western practices as it goes against Islam.

        With portions of the Muslim community following traditional marriage practices and others following westernised practices, there becomes an artificial disconnect/incompatibility. Someone looking for marriage through Islamic means is unlikely to want to marry someone who is looking for marriage through western means and vice versa. This essentially narrows down the pool of acceptable marriage candidates.

        • Riz Khan

          December 18, 2013 at 11:55 AM

          Traditionally muslim men are allowed to marry chaste and modest women from the people of the book. So the practice is found through out the world whether it is Islamic countries or otherwise. Muslim men marry christian and jew women everywhere but there are other marriages (technically such marriages are not recognized by Islam) i.e. with hindu women, sikh women etc. muslim women are not allowed to marry outside the faith so there are negligible number of muslim women married with non muslims (again such marriages are allowed in islam) So when compared men marrying out are in high proportions compared with muslim women of likewise case. Also women are converting to Islam in much greater number than men so this is also a
          factor.The practice of polygamy has been practically discarded thanks
          to the muslim brothers abusing it to the extent and also due to the
          westernization factor.

          I agree that the concept of western dating is not in conformity with teachings
          of Islam. But again you have to take in account the particular culture
          you are living in. Many brothers who go to mosques regularly often make friendships and relationships with other people who come to mosques and they meet no difficulties in finding a match through these relationships.But there are also those people who want to meet and know the person before entering into a marriage contract and that is natural.That can be done by meeting in the presence of the relatives or some other place. It is not allowed for man and woman to meet in a place where they are alone but they need not to meet in such place. They can also chat through internet and phone. I firmly believe that a man and woman should meet, talk and know each other before entering into a marriage contract and there are many ways to do so completely in conformity with the principles of Islam. I think the best case is a traditional wedding with chance given to both the future wife and husband to know each other before the marriage.

          • Usman

            February 12, 2014 at 4:59 AM

            Though it is permissible for Muslim men to marry Christian or Jewish women it is not necessary. Verse 2:221 in Al-Quran states that we must marry only Muslims. Why would we go for others when we have enough Muslimahs on this planet? Muslim women marrying non-Muslims is not permissible in Islam. The verse i stated above clearly states that non-believers lead us to hell.

      • Iman

        September 22, 2014 at 5:35 PM

        if I were a Muslim man, I would want to marry a nonMuslim woman, and have her convert, becuase most non Muslim women are just so thankful to have a ring on their finger, and they don’t ask for enormous dowries; they know that marriage is a 50-50 thing where they need to help out to make it work out and they don’t have a huge sense of entitlement. in short, they are not princesses. they don’t make a huge fuss about doing the housework. they do what it takes to keep the marriage alive.
        what’s not to like? compared to the diva muslim girls out there…

  55. ggj

    January 1, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    One of the biggest issues facing both the Muslim community, as well as my Druze community, is the scewed cultural norm. Boys are encouraged and almost expected to have premarital relationships with non-religious, out-group girls before settling down – but this is detrimental for a young girl or even an educated woman approaching her 30s and 40s. Girls have all of their actions watched, checked, judged, while our males go unscathed. As long as our treatment of boys/girls is unfair, then our respective societies will suffer.
    I am still young but will not be young for long. I am also, a spinster at 23, embittered, and I am starting to believe that rules written for us a thousand years ago can no longer be applied to our life now, much less in North America, much less as women are more frequently taking on the ‘breadwinner’ role. Just my thoughts.
    Thank you for this well-researched article – it was as thorough as it was disheartening. Hoping for change.
    – ghinwa

  56. Javed Mohammed

    January 3, 2014 at 1:04 AM

    Excellent post sis Hena, and with all the comments there isn’t much original I can add. Only thing I would say is once you get past the barriers and a wedding is in sight, check out, We have made this a resource for the Muslim community to provide ideas and vendors along with blog, pics, videos , planning tools and more. These are challenging times, and the more we help each other as a community the better.

    • Bint Mohamed

      January 27, 2014 at 7:31 AM

      Dear Brother,
      There are pictures of women without hijab on your website. Kindly look into this as it doesn’t give a ‘perfect muslim’ impression. I apologise if i have offended you. Jazakallahukhayr

    • Iman

      September 22, 2014 at 5:37 PM

      ugh! one of the biggest obstacles to a happy marriage is the extravagent weddings women want!! please, no more of this craziness

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  58. Umm Ali

    January 14, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    Most Muslim men are not even capable of effectively handling their marriage to one women, how will they carry on with more than 1 under their umbrella. Is polygamy really a solution? I am a staunch advocate of this concept but the ground realities are scary. I am on the verge of divorce from an abusive husband. This is not isolated. Ask them (women) and they will tell you all that goes on behind the doors.

    Islam does not prohibit marrying 2nd wife for lust or for the want of more children. That is fine as long as justice is there. But usually when men start having problems in there 1st marriage, instead of solving that crises they start looking for a 2nd wife to put the existing wife in place. When the problems start in the 2nd, they are like “pehli wali hi achhi thi” (the 1st one was better).

    • Umm ZAKAriyya

      January 19, 2014 at 5:01 PM

      pehli wali achchi

      When a pious , wise , responsible man takes a second wife , it’s good for everybody . I feel such a man would think several times over before proceeding with the marriage , as the consequences of not doing justice to your wives is unimaginably scary .

      This makes me think the percentage of such men in polygynous marriage may be less than the other kind.

    • Midia

      February 28, 2014 at 8:44 PM

      hmmm i don’t recall anywhere in any Hadith or in any example of the marriages of the Sahabah that lust is a legitimate reason to marry another woman. i don’t either recall that it is ever really becuase the man is in love with another woman other than his wife. to even GET to that point, he’d have already had to have crossed a lot of haram lines – from LOOKING at a non-mahram woman (the haram look is a poisoned arrow of shaytan), to thinking about her, and so on….
      Rasul Allah peace be upon him specifically said: if a you are attracted to a non mahram woman, go home to your own wife for your wife has the same as what that woman has. THAT is a solution for lust or attraction to someone other than your wife. He peace be upon him did not say: go propose to that woman..! so, i think we have to know that polygamy was never a solution to lusting – it was a social custom and it was a normal part of their society. it is not the case for most societies now. we should be careful about our reasons for doing it and not make up new reasons that justify poor behavior.

    • Iman

      September 22, 2014 at 5:40 PM

      actually, Islam does not permit lust. what would that entail. think about what a crazy image you are suggesting. a muslim man, who is married, but lusts after other women, scoping them out as his 2nd wife. that is just so contrary to everything that we know is right. seriously if men have a sex addiction or lust issue, that is a disease of the heart and they need to seek Allah’s guidance out of that. the way to deal with it is not to just grab another female body. this is so sad.

  59. Abdullah

    January 15, 2014 at 3:51 AM

    Assalamu Alaikum

    Excellent article. Having been going through a separation for the last 5-6 months with an anticipated talaaq shortly I notice a new trend in women in my country. There is no “till death do us part” attitude. What contributes to this terrible state of affairs is the alarming wealth and prosperity that now seems to have entered Muslim households here.

    The mentality is almost like saying to the daughter “get married dear but if you are not happy then you can always come home”. It’s absolutely ridiculous as a wife should make her home with her husband and look to spending a life of happiness with him and not constantly be monitored and weighed down by her selfish parents.

    Any which way I am 31 without kids and would gladly pursue a relationship with a woman from any part of the world or in my country. All I want now is peace and happiness in life.

    Thanks again for the article this is just a note to say that there are problems beyond your borders as well. Unfortunately like in all aspects of our lives seems like we are taking the lead from the West and it’s cultural norms and traditions. And Allah knows best.

    *This comment was edited by the MM Comments Team in order to comply with our Comments Policy*

  60. Umm ZAKAriyya

    January 19, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    No.1 on everyone’s mind ( even before finances) is education . In our times , youth feel compelled to cross certain educational milestone before getting married.

    Solution: We should come up with muslim-school-college plans to finish the basic school/college degree in the shortest time possible . Have career guidance courses for our youth so they can be mentally prepared years in advance .

    Making several options available so our children can accelerate through their school years .

    Eg: how to skip 1-2 grades by homeschooling .

    Thereby lessening the age of graduation from school/college.

    2) muslims countrywide must set new age standards for marriage. Like get their children married between ~18-24 ( esp girls ) and boys by about 20-26 or whenever they mature emotionally.

    Medically speaking 18-25 is a good age to have children . ( early-onset pregancy has it’s own benefits )

    3) parents of these early-married couples must help them financially . And whatever help they would need with their university education and having children at the same time. This might seem impossible but the best example I have so far is of a lady-surgeon whose story still amazes me. She married at the age of about 16! ( arranged marriage!) had no break in her education or delay in pregnancy . Thanks to her mum-in-law! ( or mother. Can’t remember well)

    Its a lot of work for the parents I know. But in the end , everyone’s happy and no time wasted!

    • Umm ZAKAriyya

      January 19, 2014 at 4:47 PM

      Oh and start a trend of masjid marriages . Simple, easy ,quick, inexpensive , and full of Barakah ! :)

      Alhamdulillah we have many rich within our communities. If the rich too make this the norm , it would become so much easier for the rest to follow suit.

    • Bint Mohamed

      January 27, 2014 at 7:25 AM

      Assalamualaikum sister
      Spot on, I must say. I know of a brother who was ninteen when he got married (so was the girl), both studying and working part-time. the parents supported their education and the couple even have a baby!! Mashallah. All at the age of 21.
      We need more path changers, norm-breakers like this couple.

  61. Sodiq

    January 20, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    Interesting article. Well written, shukran!

  62. Bint Mohamed

    January 27, 2014 at 6:45 AM

    This is a good, well written article.
    I am from East Africa and can identify with most of what is written in the article. Single muslim women who are in their late 20’s or early 30’s, are educated and hold a respectable job find it extremely difficult to get married.
    I think this is a global phenomenon and the Islamic community at large needs to do something about it. Men and women should be open to relocating and adjusting to lifestyle of their spouse (to a certain extent and so long as it does not violate principles of shariah).
    I must also point out that a lot of men are scared to commit due to the level of responsibility they are already dealing with, such as taking care of the house, aged parents, unmarried sisters. However, if they find a suitable girl who has no qualms about assisting her husband financially and to take up some of his responsibilities (bearing in mind that such Sabr, understanding and to some extent sacrifice may well be her ticket to Jannah), such brothers need to take a decision, and fast!
    May Allah make it easy for the singles to find spouses that can be the coolness of their eyes and hearts.

  63. Avni

    January 29, 2014 at 1:00 AM

    Amazing post. keep posting.The British Muslim woman in this day and age, tends to want to work hard and get a career. They go to university, get a degree and settle into well paid jobs which is fine.

  64. Usman

    February 12, 2014 at 1:40 AM

    Salam, You agree that it’s a test. Please remember what Allah says in Quran while talking about those Jews who ignored Allah’s order. On the day of Sabbath, Allah asked them not to catch fish.But Allah says He tested them by bringing more fish to the shores on the day of Sabbath to test them. They eventually failed in their test. Now you decide, do you want to fail this test? I also agree that many Muslim men and Muslim society as a whole ignore Quran and Sunnah while choosing their partners. Women are not lagging behind as well in this regard. If you consider yourself as a modern and progressive woman and have disregard for Allah’s orders, i can say nothing to you. But if you believe in Allah and Akhirah then you surely know that there are ways to get out of this. You can wait for a Muslim man or you can become a co-wife for a Muslim man. If you choose to marry a non-Muslim, it’s up to you. But remember happiness or sadness, victory or defeat in this world is temporary because life itself is temporary here. Happiness and victory is everlasting in Jannah. It is up to you now to make a decision whether or not you want Jannah. If you love Allah, you will accept whatever He asks you to do. Remember, a Muslim is the one who submits to the will of Allah.

    • fatima karbary

      April 13, 2014 at 2:16 PM

      Polygyny is the solution to the muslim marriage crisis.

  65. Usman

    February 12, 2014 at 3:15 AM

    Excellent! This is undeniable fact. Better life attracted few Muslims and still is attracting towards non-Muslim nations. Now almost all the western countries are against Muslims living among them. Though it pains me that my Muslim brothers and sisters are considered unwanted where they live in, i feel may be it’s Allah’s wish so that at least in future Muslims migrating to non-Muslim nations will come to a halt. It is my opinion. Allah knows best. It is better not to go to these countries. But those who are there already have to fight for their rights and struggle to keep their identity or make Hijrah. But, tell me, if Muslims living in other parts of the world are oppressed and if they want to migrate to Muslim countries, how many Muslim countries do you think are willing to accept them? Sad, but true, we Muslims have no love for fellow Muslims.

  66. Usman

    February 12, 2014 at 4:53 AM

    Though it’s permissible for Muslim men to marry Christian or jewish women it is not necessary. Verse 2:221 clearly states that we must marry only Muslims. Why would we go for others when we have enough Muslimahs on this planet? Muslim women marrying non-Muslims is not allowed in Islam. The verse i stated above clearly states that non-believers lead us to hell.

  67. Abo Laith Uzair Zubairi

    February 23, 2014 at 9:52 PM

    The reason for the marriage crisis for the muslims living in the west is the same as the reason for all other problems being faced by muslims all over the world, bo3d 3n aldeen. Being far away from Islam!

    If all muslim men followed the hadeeth “Oh young men, get married, if you cant then fast, as it diminishes sexual desire.” then the situation will be better.

    If all women (and their walis) followed the hadeeth “when a person proposes to you who is good in his religios commitment and manner, then marry him, or their will be trials and tribulation and corruption.” situation would be SO MUCH BETTER, specially for women.

    Alot of women turn down marriage proposals because they wanna “finish their education before getting married”, and by the time they have finished their med school or have good job, they are into their late 20s or erly 30s, and then not many guys are interested in them (and understandably so).

    And then add in the problems caused by cultural garbage, which alot of not-very-knowledgeable muslims follow as if these were the commands of Quran and Sunnah, which makes the situation worse.

    As for some people, including the article itself which said that nonmuslims are also getting married late, then you have to keep in mind that in western countries, most of the nonmuslims dont worry about getting maried, they just care about getting a girlfriend and satisfying their sexual desires through her. Moreover, about 5-10% of the population is homosexual in america.

  68. Abu Uqaab

    March 1, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    May one of you find me a wife. I am having a hard time finding a compatible wife

    • Iman

      September 22, 2014 at 5:43 PM

      the single repeating theme that clearly indicates the real root of the issue: education. what is all this higher education – is it really all it’s cracked up to be? or is it what is destroying the fitrah of our young men and women.

  69. raadiyawahhab

    March 20, 2014 at 11:37 PM

    As Salaamu Alaikum,

    I sometimes feel that Islam though its a beautiful Lifestyle… it really gears to Husband and wife.. SO the Muslims within make it seem as if a Muslim isn’t complete unless they are married. I am divorced mid 30 African-American woman and I already know that its a stigma in the Muslim world. So, though I have tried the whole Islamic online marriage that… the truth of the matter is I may never get married again.. And instead of being depressed about it or sad… I WISH I really WISH a Shcolar or one of the Great speakers talk about how to live an Islamic life as a single person…How to prepare oneself for inshallah meeting their spouse in Jennah. And not stress about not having someone in this life.

    • rezzhuz

      May 29, 2014 at 8:22 PM

      Walekum salam ……. =)

      Please never loose hope sister, as amazing things happen from where and when its never expected.

      Its really not a big deal for Allah to find us righteous spouses. Should be easy as pie. Be and it is……simple as that..

      Stay healthy, always happy, keep praying and keep looking in the right places, leave the rest to Allah. Inshallah, you will find a great guy soon.

      Im as well in the same unmarried boat as you. Late 20’s male from Saudi arabia, managed to keep myself gf free in my youth, and now im marriage free, Masallah !!! Lol.

      I do pray we all find righteous spouses who would be the source of ease to our lives and souls.

      Peace be with you raadiya…..

  70. Hyde

    June 7, 2014 at 10:43 PM

    Why does Jerry Anderson have a husband ?

    • Mahmud

      June 8, 2014 at 3:19 AM

      Shirk and sihr(which is kufr) combined in one. How horrific.

    • Aly Balagamwala

      June 9, 2014 at 8:08 AM

      Sorry I had to remove that SPAM comment but your rejoinder was really amusing. :)

  71. fed up

    July 13, 2014 at 11:33 PM


    I believe that there is a Muslim Marriage crisis in the US, especially for American Muslim females over a certain age. I have not read ALL of the responses but it is extremely difficult to find a good Muslim man that understands the West. I used to meet men all the time that immigrated from other countries and they don’t realize that you need 2 people to work to live comfortably in the US. The men I met have this idea that people in the US are partying and have all this fun and are going to the mall to pick up people which is not accurate at all. I would explain to them that I get up between 4:30 to 5:00 AM to get to work by a certain time and then stay way past 5:30 because it is expected and then go to school to try to get a better job and guess what, that is what my fellow American coworkers were doing as well. This is what most Americans do, work, work, work and more work and if a Muslim guy comes to the west and they don’t get that then they won’t survive. It is difficult enough for just one person but then add someone who is delusional and it is impossible. The men I met that wanted me to work would list in detail how they wanted dinner served to them at a certain time and the house to be clean and a myriad of other things. In America, a couple has to be a team. You just never know what could happen, you could lose your job tomorrow and if you have kids then you need a spouse that can help you. Muslim women don’t get educated just for fun, it is out of necessity!!! America is a land of work and where most people work scared that they will lose their jobs and everything else. You won’t be told that because you have to be “positive and smile.” Why do you think we are so great economically and so innovative?

    • TX_Brother

      October 8, 2014 at 4:32 PM

      I think if you are over 30, things are difficult not just in America but anywhere in the world & for people of every faith, be it for muslims, christians, hindus…

  72. fed up

    July 14, 2014 at 7:27 AM

    I need to add one more thing. Dating in the US is for the sole purpose of finding a spouse!! That is why people date. People in the West want to get married as well. Don’t fool yourselves, weddings are a billion dollar plus industry here. Muslim American women get it from all sides when you are not married. Once you are over 30 people(american coworkers, friends) ask you why you are not married and give you the look of pity and then muslims ask the same question however muslims won’t help the muslim girl over 30 in the west to meet anyone(in between our partying and having fun, hahaha). Muslim men want to be with someone that wears a hijab and that is a whole other story. Hijab is meant for the sole purpose of being modest so you don’t draw attention. Well here is a newsflash, muslim women in the west are not sought after by any stretch of the imagination unless you are a drop dead gorgeous. I don’t know ANY Christian, Jewish, Hindu or any other religion man that says, Oh I really want to marry a muslim chic. Sorry to tell you all but muslim women are not considered attractive!!! Women in the west have to work really hard to get a good mans attention otherwise they would not wear the revealing clothes, the makeup, and anything else. As a matter of fact, most men of other religion told me that they would NOT want to be with a muslim woman from any country and most are surprised when they see an attractive arab woman!!! It doesn’t say much for Muslim men that you can’t control yourself and yes there are elements of american society that is bad but that is not the norm. In general, Muslim women are not highly sought after so get over yourselves!!!