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An Open Letter to Moms with Daughters Looking to Get Married


Dear Aunty,

The biggest mistake I have seen mothers make when it comes to their daughters who are looking to get married is that mothers unreasonably pressure their daughters to change essential parts of their identities just for the sake of a “husband,” who is entirely abstract and imaginary at this point.  One of the big changes that I am always seeing in my friends is their mothers telling them to take their hijabs off to appear “less religious,” or “more attractive,” or God knows what.

Firstly, your daughter is an individual and has a mind, body, and soul of her own.  She is ultimately the caretaker of her life and her hereafter.  I know you want to support her and see her happy, and it is only out of your love for her that you want to help her find the right man to marry.  But along this unquestionably frustrating, difficult, and confusing path towards finding her spouse, it is possible that you’ll lose sight of what’s really important–your daughter.  Her getting married isn’t the end-all-be-all of her life, it’s just a step along the way that many young women hope to take.  Some of us will never get married, as horrible as that sounds for those of us who are dying to get married, but that’s the simple truth.  Being married will not make your daughter happy, being married to the right man at the right time will.

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Secondly, there’s an elephant in the room that we are really ignoring here.  How many times have we, as women, been told to do or avoid certain things for society’s perception of us?  And how many times have we, as women looking to get married, been told that there is something wrong with us?  If your daughter is not getting married, it’s more likely than not that she has not encountered the right guy for her yet and Allah is testing your patience.  Yes, I totally understand and admit that there are plenty of daughters out there who are completely unreasonable and reject proposals for no legitimate reason–that is another issue.  The issue I am addressing here is that after trying for a while unsuccessfully, asking your daughter to change something so essential to her, to her identity, to her faith, such as wearing the hijab, will not help her be successful in her marriage.  

Sure, perhaps after taking the hijab off she’ll get a lot more proposals, and maybe she’ll even get married.  But the message you have instilled in your daughter with your repeated insistence is that, “You are not good enough the way you are.  You are not good enough to be a wife.  You are not adequate and you need to change yourself.”  I am not talking about small things, like asking her to get a new pair of glasses because her glasses look like a train wreck on her face, or that she reconsiders how tall a potential suitor needs to be.  I am talking about big things, things that make your daughter who she is–like the fact that she wants to work full time in a particular field or that she would rather not have kids.  I am not saying that being in a marriage does not require compromise–of course it does, it’s an active two-way street where two individuals work together as a team to support their family as a whole and each other as individuals.


But when you’re asking her to change something major in her life or personality before she gets married, just for the sake of catching a man’s or his family’s attention, then you are depriving her of the self-confidence she needs to be an advocate for her own self in her marriage.  If she is not “good enough” the way she is and she has made so many changes to her essential being just to get married to a man, imagine how difficult it will be for her to be happy.  How can she be truly vulnerable with her spouse and how can they develop a deep and meaningful relationship if she is holding herself back constantly?  How can she be in a working relationship when you have convinced her that she is not worthy of being in one?  How will she navigate life’s and marriage’s challenges?  You are asking her to throw herself away to simply get married,  but you’re not allowing her the space to actually be successful once she is married.


At the end of the day, your daughter becoming a totally different person just for the sake of marriage will not make her happy.  Your daughter being married to someone who wants someone other than who she actually is will not make either of them happy.  Your daughter never getting married does not mean a life of misery is in store for her.  Your daughter getting married does not guarantee her happiness or success in this life or the hereafter.  What you really want for your darling daughter, the little girl who you cradled in your arms and watched grow up, is success in this life and the hereafter.  Equip her with the self-confidence she needs to be the best person and inshaAllah the best wife, and support her in reaching her highest potential with your powerful motherly love.  She needs you now more than ever as her biggest cheerleader, especially if things are getting difficult on her journey towards marriage.    

When I was looking to get married, people kept telling me I needed to change things about myself that were really important to me.  My mother never asked me to change a single thing.  When the world was telling me “you’re not good enough” and “you’ll never get married,” her quiet approval assured me that I was good enough, that I am good enough.  And now that I am married, I realize that if I had pretended to be anyone else just to catch my husband’s eye, I would have killed my chance at being truly happy and successful in my marriage, for both me and my husband.


Your Daughter’s Friend          

P.S. — Stop asking your daughter to lose ridiculous amounts of weight to look more attractive.  We need to embrace our bodies for what they are, and there are many things we cannot, and simply should not, change about them for a superficial, “skin-deep” purpose. She is beautiful the way she is, and as long as she is in good health, she needs your encouragement to believe that she is truly beautiful.

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Meena is a writer, podcaster, high school English teacher, wife, and new mom. She loves working with Muslim youth and is interested in literature, arts, and culture. She studied Comparative Literature and Creative Writing at the University of California, Irvine and has a Master’s in Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She briefly dabbled in Classical Arabic studies in the US and is also studying the Asharah Qira'aat/10 Recitations. Check out her podcast and website Brown Teacher Reads: the brown literature circle you always wanted to be in. (



  1. Brother

    April 20, 2016 at 8:18 PM

    It’s amazing to read this because we, guys, sometimes hear it too. The “lose ridiculous amounts of weight” is usually “show off with your wealth, girls like that; get a better car, that’s what they look at; can you please lose the beard? Etc”.

    From one frustrated single person to another: hang in there! All it takes is meeting “one” good person.

    May Allah help us in these trying times, help us improve ourselves and grant us good spouses.

    • Sjawwad

      April 21, 2016 at 8:44 PM

      Rasoolallah (PBUH) in a hadith says *if a man comes for your daughter’s hand and you are satisfied with his Deen and Ikhlaq (good manners and morals) then do not delay to get her married, otherwise there will be fitnah on the face of the earth* (essence of hadith). It seems we are looking for every thing worldly for our daughters except for these two sublime qualities. Please read the duas to get your daughters/sons happily married to pious persons in a truly inspiring online magazine Blossoms.

      • Ali

        June 14, 2016 at 7:11 AM

        lol dude Muslim women these days want you to get paid 6-figures, be 6’5″, ripped, and always be home to cater to their every whim. Last thing they care about is character.

    • Meena Malik

      April 23, 2016 at 12:48 PM

      Ameen. I never considered it from the male’s perspective before, although I did write this after talking to many of my (fellow female) friends.

    • sister

      September 27, 2016 at 1:36 AM

      assalam alaikum brother
      please let me know if you are still looking for someone
      may allah make it easy

  2. Laila

    April 20, 2016 at 9:08 PM

    I am so grateful to you for this letter. I’m a mother and I will never accept anyone to ask my daughters to change themselves for anyone at all. They are beautiful very beautiful the way Allah SWT has created them and I pray that they only get married to men who appreciates their beauty in and out that Allah SWT has gifted them with. I pray that Allah keeps them in his protection away from anyone who may ask them to change themselves for any reason. All daughters deserve decent and loyal men as husbands and inshallah all of them will be gifted by Allah with perfect matches who can appreciate one another insha Allah.

    • arish

      July 4, 2016 at 5:53 PM

      I’m 22 year old . so I want to marriage to any muslim girls.

      • Bilal

        December 5, 2016 at 2:14 PM

        Lol this won’t get you no girl. Don’t be a beta male. Be an Alpha male the sunnah way. Muslim Men this generation are beta and just being a good person don’t get you a wife. You got to approach her with confidence and sway, and lay that alhumdulilah mac down.

  3. Saira Saim

    April 20, 2016 at 9:18 PM

    Awesome!!! I have very accomplished friends who are asked to change careers, beautiful friends told to lose weight and/or told to take off the hijab/put on the hijab and various other ridiculous suggestions and requests for men they don’t know. I did not lose weight (I was a healthy weight but not desi standard skinny) and found the right guy alh, did not take off the hijab and did not sacrifice any of my values. If it’s meant to happen, it happens. I always had the belief that if I do this for Allah SWT, He will do right by me, that’s what I tell my friends as well. The aunties and our society is a different story!

    • Meena Malik

      April 23, 2016 at 4:18 PM

      I think the bigger trouble than differences in aunties and “us” is the lack of an effective networking system that helps like people and like families find each other. After meeting 10 guys that it wouldn’t have worked out with anyways, things might seem too frustrating to ignore. Maybe if she met 4 guys that she might have actually been compatible with, she would have been married already!

    • Meena Malik

      April 23, 2016 at 4:20 PM

      I think the bigger trouble than differences in aunties and “us” is the lack of an effective networking system that helps like people and like families find each other. After meeting 10 guys that it wouldn’t have worked out with anyways, think about if she had actually met a couple guys she might have actually been compatible with…maybe she’d already be married!

      • Fatima

        December 3, 2016 at 12:47 PM


        Jazakallah khair for this Sister.

        I could relate to it completely and this brought attention to things we don’t care about many times. I always used to ask my friend who is family oriented and has religious understanding and still unable to find a companion. I always used to think why she doesn’t concentrate on career or other stuff that the women of early 20’s does.
        After reading this article I could understand many things in a better way.

        Jazakallah khair

  4. Sadaf

    April 20, 2016 at 9:41 PM

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! This piece is everything. I’m an educated, independent, fun, warm, outgoing invidiual and all that is completely overshadowed by the fact that I’m not 25 years old and a size 6.
    We all have the right person out there waiting for us. Allah (swt) will bring that person to you when it is time.

    • Bilal

      December 5, 2016 at 2:33 PM

      This not true about having the right person out there. When Allah and his messenger ever say this? They never did they say follow Quran and sunnah (do what is permissible and stay away from what is not permissible). You have to go looking and make your intentions clear with a guy. Most Muslim brothers I see are beta and think a lot about beauty but if you persist and chase after him he might inevitably change his mind and consider you. Guys also don’t like arguing. Just support him and listen as long as it doesn’t exceeds Allah limits. Make sure he doesn’t disrespect you ever ( meaning say anything impolite or treat you impolitely intently).

  5. Omer

    April 20, 2016 at 9:50 PM

    I can’t read this article. It’s 100% but angers me that it’s not obvious. I’m a dad now. I’ll know better for my daughter

    • Bilal

      December 5, 2016 at 2:35 PM

      Muslim girls are dating a lot now. Got to keep a close eye on them. I don’t have daughters but I have a niece.

  6. MalikSaabSays

    April 20, 2016 at 11:10 PM

    This is some serious stuff and not just for the daughters’ moms but for the sons’ moms too. Someone I knowfinally called it quits on the rishta train after being told ‘has to have a good job’ and ‘how much does he earn’ – shallow when it comes to considering ongoing education, potential, and future plans instead of the now (the now which won’t remain forever).

    Anyways. I feel people create problems for themselves by not sticking to the timeless guidelines given by our prophet Muhammad ﷺ . And what’s worse is the justification that comes after going down the wrong road. Is mind boggling.

    • Bilal

      December 5, 2016 at 2:48 PM

      This is valid reason. He can’t afford her so he should of never pursued her. The man should never pursue someone if he can’t keep the girl living lifestyle the same or better. A women wants to be safe a secure so she not just going to give herself up to anyone. Plus it’s smart on her end. If she know she can find someone with more money and just as nice why would she pick him? Someone always willing to pay so if she mentioned that as a requirement he didn’t have enough game to win her heart so she made that a requirement. When the brother got that alhumdulilah mac down right he gets the girl even if he broke that’s why you see some guys married who don’t have a lot of money because there personality replaced the need for that. This is just one factor and the list can go on.

  7. M

    April 20, 2016 at 11:25 PM

    Someone should have written this earlier. In fact there shouldn’t have been a need for this to be written in the first place; isn’t this all obvious?

    Unfortunately it’s not. Some cultures raise their daughters to not have their own opinions and to be obedient to their husbands, wheather they’re asking them to wear or loose the hijab. Because according to them, that is what our religion wants from us; thanks to lack understanding of Islam and patriarchy in our society. These daughters then raise their daughters the same way in return, because they have seen what happens to the girls who don’t follow the rules. Some women are brave enough to break the cycle and stand up for their daughter’s right, most are not.

    So how do we break the cycle?

    • Bilal

      December 5, 2016 at 4:52 PM

      The man and woman need to be educated on these topics. Like there are etiquettes for the masjid books, there has to be etiquettes in finding a spouse and dealing with new modern situations. It goes deeper then this too, some people in Allahs earth swore themselves to iblees and they come to work together to actually destroy the family. This is why men now are very beta ( weak, wimpy, girly, can’t handle tough situations with patience or communicate, disrespectful to woman, and although she supposed to listen to the husband he abuse it. A good example is a man who is complaining his wife don’t cook and clean and he work but meanwhile she work just as many hours as him) . The girl will have to stand up for herself as long as she don’t exceed Allah limits. The girl should look for what she wants because she know what she desires and don’t use wishful thinking as hope of her finding someone. You have to put in the work and don’t also make it to complicated. Some girls also don’t mind there parents looking and the community should help her. Dont count on Imam to help very few will, count on the free will Allah gave us and common sense when looking. To break the cycle you have to stand up for yourself without exceeding Allah limits (Note this is actually really hard to do).

  8. Abd'ullah

    April 21, 2016 at 11:11 AM

    It affects both men, and women. I know of cases where a girl was interested but their moms rejected the guy only because he was an engineer, and not doctor!. I also know of cases where a family asked a girl to take off her hijaab, ironically its the mothers on both sides asking/enforcing these kinds of ideologies.

    I think we all need to introspect a lot more when it comes to our everyday life as “Muslims”, because we are really far away, and living only superficially. Manifestations of this kinds during marriage talks are nothing but reflection of our actual selves that we hide or do not display in regular life.

    It is shocking that I see non muslims do not really care if a lady is older when it comes to marriage, whereas muslims do, also non muslims do not care if the guy earns a 40-50k versus a 100k, and muslims do. Only if we remembered “Fadhfar bi zaatid deen”.

    Wa As Salaam

  9. Kawaii

    April 21, 2016 at 3:55 PM

    Lol those pictures XD, i pray everygirl finds a husband that’ll make her laugh INSHA ALLAH,

    i agree with this article

  10. Abdullah

    April 22, 2016 at 2:30 AM

    While I agree that no one should change fundamental aspects of who they are (unless those are very bad characteristics) and while I agree that no one should ever give up religious duties (like adhering to Islamic dress standards), I feel it has to be said that many parents (albeit not all) often do provide very good advice, however, we often don’t appreciate or realise that it is good advice until we’ve experienced more of life and had a few hard knocks ourselves.

    Priorities change as you age. What is important to you today, may not be all that important in 10, 20, 30, 40 or more years. Sisters, you may think it’s fantastic to want to work full time in your career that you’re so passionate about or be certain that you don’t want children. Don’t be surprised if your priorities change completely after a few years. Don’t be surprised if you suddenly find that your career is somehow not important anymore when you see that beautiful child of yours in your arms. Don’t be surprised if the idea of not having children is suddenly turned on its head when your biological clock shuts down or you realise the joy a child brings to their parents. You know your Mother (may Allah have mercy on our mothers) probably had similar thoughts at your age too

    Yes, you think you know the world and perhaps you do know a bit of it, but realise that those before you thought the same and only now know that they didn’t really know too much.

    You thought you knew what was good for you as a child, and sometimes you were right, but other times you were wrong. Your outlook changed as you grew and experienced more. Similarly, my dear young adult brother/sister, don’t be surprised if your outlook on life changes from what it is today in the years to come.

    I’m not advocating that anyone change who they are or, Allah forbid, give up their religious obligations. However, I am advocating that we don’t shoot down advice immediately ether. The wise person learns from the past. You don’t have to agree with the advice of your parents, however, understand that they have often traversed the path that you are on right now and will provide you with insights that you may not realise are invaluable.

  11. Siraaj

    April 22, 2016 at 10:21 PM

    I think if the target audience is “aunty”, then there should also be some level of appreciation of the cultural lenses they are wearing as well as their religious perspectives. I tend to have higher self-awareness expectations on younger, Western raised Muslims over their Eastern counterparts due to the sometimes extreme focus on individualism (which isn’t always a good thing).

    If you grow up in an environment where family reputation is king and everyone believes it (including yourself), that aunty is probably asking herself the same question – how can you not see how important my criterion is? They see our individualism as foreign as we see their family reputation imperative. Personal happiness and consent is often not an important consideration in the equation.

    It’s a difficult problem – either you take the eastern choice, or you take the Western choice. The third alternative, however, is to try to find a spouse who meets the major criteria of both parents and the daughter as much as possible. So if ” doctor” is a priority for mom / dad and “practicing Muslim” is a priority for daughter, then try to find a practicing Muslim doctor (or professional or whatever).

    • Meena Malik

      April 23, 2016 at 12:46 PM

      I don’t think these things are at odds with each other, unless one overtakes the other entirely. What if, in your example of a practicing Muslim doctor, the girl is looking for someone who doesn’t buy a house with a conventional interest loan, but her parents like the status a big home can provide. These two would contradict, and honestly, although families play a great role and marrying someone is in fact marrying the whole family, I would argue that the wants and needs of the individual could take precedence over the families’.

      • Siraaj

        April 25, 2016 at 2:07 AM

        From personal experience, when sons and daughters take a my way or the high way approach with parents without making the attempt to find a good intersection of interests, it will eventually negatively impact the marriage itself.

        That’s not to say you won’t find places where interests are completely opposite one another, and that doesn’t mean you don’t go forward with your choices against your parents wishes, but my take is, as the child who is heavily beholden to the parent due to their being the parent, I think our job is to win them over to our side with our manners, our taking care of them, our trying to find other ways to please them that are within our reach, and so on rather than forcing a paradigm on them, something we ourselves find undesirable, ie having to swallow an Eastern conception of marriage.

    • M

      April 25, 2016 at 4:02 PM

      This is a good point and I understand what you are trying to say but bot everyone fits the description of a religious doctor, neither do they have to.
      Not every guy can earn 50k per month be tall dark and handsome. Not every women is a super model who can cook 5 different cuisines. But this is unfortunately what our grown ups desire and they miss the things that are most important; religion and understanding between the spouses. So where do all these other people go? Who and how should they marry?

  12. Ateeb

    April 24, 2016 at 8:45 AM

    Oh! how we need a male version of the letter..

  13. DoveChocolate

    April 24, 2016 at 7:10 PM

    Alhamdulillah that not all parents make such requests of their children. My parents, for example, have never asked me to change any Islamically-acceptable behaviors/acts for the sake of increasing proposals (Choosing a spouse is a bit of a different story though!). I think that has a lot to do with the level of religiosity one’s parents and most relatives find acceptable.

    However, I personally have had to struggle to adopt certain practices and opinions of my own. Although they’re important to me for religious reasons, one of my parents wasn’t happy with it just because they aren’t a part of my family culture and/or aren’t important to that parent. It does help that my other parent supported me, but I think it helps more to just stand up for yourself (in a respectful manner, of course) as long as you’re 100% sure that what you’re doing is Islamically acceptable.

    Sometimes, it just takes the son or daughter to nicely and maturely voice his/her opinion with confidence while addressing parental concerns. This may, perhaps, have to be repeated so the parents realize their child is serious about making certain critical decisions on his/her own.

    • DoveChocolate

      April 24, 2016 at 7:14 PM

      It’s sometimes good to just be silent at times instead of always letting them know what you believe! Listen to what they have to say; understand what their opinions are, why they choose to hold those opinions, what their concerns are, etc. And THEN, when the time is right (and they’re not upset – or too upset – haha), calmly let them know what YOU think.

      • DoveChocolate

        April 24, 2016 at 7:16 PM

        Lastly: try to get the other parent, a relative, or friend to reason with him/her/them.

  14. Silvia

    April 25, 2016 at 11:34 AM

    Alhumdulilllah, Its all a test of patience. We all need to put our 100% into any relationship, let alone marriage which is so sacred. Being able to come fully accepting that you are beautiful because The Creator has molded you is just Subhan Allah. Esp. with the peer pressure not only from mothers but society and billboards in general, any women or even men who can walk out of their homes with a smile on their face with faith in Allah swt is a direct accomplishment.

  15. Haroon Q. Raja

    April 26, 2016 at 8:15 AM

    I agree with everything you’ve said in your post, and am glad it’s being brought up. Though this problem isn’t limited to women only. It can often get worse for a guy, who is expected to have – in addition to his primary income from his occupation – a secondary, passive, backup income, or substantial assets and savings in order to be considered for marriage by many parents, even if their daughters are willing.
    They care little about the stage in life he’s in, or what he might have gone through in the past that makes him the man that he is. It matters little to them what his potential might be, what he might be in a position to achieve. They give little regard to the fact that he is in a position to decently support her, and has the potential to save and build a lot more along the way, especially after having her by the side, since the comfort of having a loving wife and family can go a long way towards helping a man succeed in life. But no, they’d rather not consider someone who doesn’t have it all to begin with.
    And then there are things that are beyond his control entirely, that he’s still supposed to compensate for, somehow. If he doesn’t have an influential family background to boast, and close family members in high social positions, his chances to convince the woman’s family fall further, even if the woman in question is willing to spend her life with him. And it only gets worse if he doesn’t have a family.
    To make matters worse, since he’s a man, he’s expected to ‘man up’ and not even complain about this. He can’t whine about entering his 30s single, because that’d make him a sissy. Such is our society, heh.
    As a 32 years old single man without any immediate family (parents or siblings) who has been rejected for these reasons a few times by families of women he’s been interested in (who have been interested in him too), I’d say we men can have it equally bad when it comes to such expectations, if not worse.
    Here’s to hoping we all start giving a higher value to things that actually deserve being valued, above material things that do matter but not to that extent in the grand scheme of things.

    • Haroon Q. Raja

      April 26, 2016 at 12:57 PM

      Oh and I forgot to mention earlier, it gets yet worse if the man in question is divorced, because our society generally victimizes women in divorces, and demonizes men. Even if a woman puts a man through hell in a marriage and refuses to do the slightest effort to make it work despite all his efforts towards keeping things from falling apart, he’s still labeled a brutal, remorseless, thankless chauvinist who divorced the poor thing and ruined her life. He’s interrogated like a suspect criminal in pretty much all potential future marriage talks, if not avoided and rejected altogether in this regard.
      So yes, not to complain, but men can have it at least as bad, if not worse, than women.

  16. jean santerre

    April 28, 2016 at 3:57 AM

    Really interstink thanks. I’ve also written this paper on the enduring deeds, may be he’ll interst you.

    The Baqiyat Salehat, the Enduring Good Deeds In Hadith and Qur’an: سُبْحَانَ اللّهِ ، والْحَمْدُللّهِ ، وَ لا اِلهَ اِلَّا اللّهُ ، وَ اللّهُ اَكْبَرُ –

    “Remember Me, and I shall remember you” (2:152)

    Hadith: “Those that remember Me in their heart, I remember them in My heart; and those that remember Me in a gathering (i.e. that make mention of Me), I remember them (i.e. make mention of them) in a gathering better than theirs.”

    Hadith: When asked, “O Messenger of Allah, who are the single-hearted?” he replied, “The men and women who remember Allah abundantly.”


  17. Aisha

    May 2, 2016 at 3:15 PM

    Mashallah, sister you mean well and may Allah (azza wa jal) reward you for your intentions. But I think you should soften your language, because you are talking to mothers (under whose feet is Janna), they are frustrated and confused, they need more encouragement to be patient, and the best way is to be patient with them. Inshallah, this letter may shed light on what sisters may feel in their hearts, and again Jazzakum Allah Khairan!

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  19. Sakeenah Begum

    September 24, 2016 at 9:14 PM

    I’m so glad this topic is being brought to light. There is definitely a need for discussion and understanding of both points of view! Rather than be critical of the author, we should make an effort to understand her intention behind the article inshaAllah.

  20. Daugher

    October 6, 2017 at 8:52 AM

    Id never want to attract a guy only through my looks. Sure we all want someone we are attracted to. However, If he chooses his wife solely based on beauty for sure with her aging he’ll get tired of her looks and hell see someone more attractive.

    Nowadays its just so hard to meet someone especially when your family have less relations.

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