We belong to the 21st century. Fast paced. Love can blossom anywhere,everywhere. Online, offline. We are injected with novels and romantic movies from Hollywood to Bollywood. We are in love with the idea of love. We want to love and be loved. And what seals this love? Marriage of course! Here comes the proposal, the wedding, the bride! We try to outdo the other in the best proposal – the best wedding, the dress, the cakes – basically, the multi-billion dollar industry. Then the honeymoon! Oh the selfies and instaposts! Quotes from Rumi and poets we never heard of before. Googling ‘love quotes’ & selecting the perfect fit to go along with a perfectly filtered picture. #LailandMajnun #forever #truelove
Then life begins. And reality hits. Time allows both of you to get comfortable. So comfortable, the truth starts to seep out. Not that either of you were lying before – but BEING MARRIED changes the game. Like a sly fox, his old habits creep in. Habits you never knew he had. Characters or personalities he never showed before. Temper. Expectations. The bar rises each time. The henna on your hands hasnt even come off and already you’re wondering if this was a mistake. But the posts continue. Oh yes! #1stAnniversary #hubbsandme #imsolucky
Why do we get married? Besides the obvious reason – the most overused being ‘it’s sunnah’. So is Tahajjud love, get over it. When female friends gush over how their husband-to-be are Imam’s of Masjids or a hafidz who has ijazah for all 10 recitations or the-next-celebrity-shaykh, I try not to flinch. In 25 years, i’ve seen my share of imams-turn-domestic-abuser, hafidz who emotionally abuse their wives exploiting versus from the Quran for their own benefit, wannabe shaykhs who claim to do so much ‘community’ work he has no time for his wife and family.
We wonder why our sisters subject themselves to this. Why pray for someone to bring you to Jannah? Arent you capable yourself? Do you think yourself deficient? God has proclaimed we are equals in His Book. What further supporting evidence do you need?
It’s also funny how people always pray for a ‘pious’ husband/wife without ever knowing what that actually means.
The greatest misconception here is YOU CANNOT SEE PIETY. NEVER. EVER. Unless you’re God.
Thankfully, our merciful Lord left clues for us mortals to have a rough idea. Piety can only come from righteousness.
And righteousness is good character. – Muslim (Hadith)
You cannot claim he is pious because he prays all his 5 prayers in the Mosque. Or goes for Zikr every Thursday night. Or hangs out with ‘holy’ people. Perhaps, they may be indications to a certain extent but honey, dont fool yourself.
Neither am i talking about him opening doors for you, showering you with expensive gifts and giving you an elaborate Facebook post about how lucky he is or stuff that makes your friends go ‘Awwwhh he is so sweet- how romantic!’
Know the difference. I’m talking about how he treats the waiters when you’re having dinner. How he sincerely lights up when you talk about something that means a lot to you. How he listens intently when you speak and looks into your eyes giving you due attention because that is just common courtesy. Im talking about how he forgives easily and how he is genuinely impressed when you know more than him. How he respects you because you inspire him. Im talking about how he is not afraid to stand up for justice when faced with injustice. How willing he is to face your parents when the time comes no matter how nervous he is. How he is constantly afraid of crossing the lines with you because he fears God. How he treats his parents and siblings at home. His adab towards the elderly and the young. His humility and nature. His honesty and morality.
The mark of a man is in his character. If his root is good, then you can throw wealth, status and women at him – and he remains good.
If his root is evil – even religion can’t help him.
This is why you hear of religious figures abusing their students. How that oh-so-pious-priest turned pedophile. How the ‘pious’ brother gets jailed for physically abusing his wife and kids.
Mere beards, thobes, turbans and knowledge of Islam does not guarantee good character. An atheist can have better morals and character.
But ultimately, dear sisters, stop trying to short change yourself by thinking you can marry a ticket to heaven. Be like Khadijah, blessings be upon her. A strong, intelligent, formidable, independent and righteous woman even before the advent of a Prophet. Yep, you got it. Even BEFORE the advent of a Prophet. Their alliance then brought both of them to greater heights – together.
So start with yourself. Build your character, your soul. And who knows, you might meet a Muhammad…or John- who probably is looking for a job and only recently practicing & might be struggling to read the Quran, but rooted in him, are admirable morals and values. Ones that will manifest itself in your sons and daughters.