Looking for a spouse these days is quite a challenge for most people, males and females alike, especially those who try their best to live within the dictates of Islam following the Quran and Sunnah as much as they could. The fact that Islam governs their lives, practicing Muslims would stay away from the opposite gender to avoid free mixing and if they must interact with the opposite gender, it is mostly business-like, short and straight to the point without lingering on.
For these practicing Muslims, when it’s time for marriage the family comes handy in looking for a suitable spouse for them. But because we live in a closed society where no one knows their neighbour, it’s even more difficult even with the help of a family. Some don’t even have any family to help for whatever reasons or circumstance they may have to deal with that exclude their family, just imagine how harder it would be for this kind of people.
The basic requirement for a spouse is the Deen. If someone has got the Deen, then they’ve got everything because the Deen is supposed to constitute all known good qualities desirable in an individual. Someone with the Deen, believes and practices the five pillars of Islam according to the Sunnah of our prophet, in addition to good manners and admirable disposition, overall a good person. Unfortunately, not all people with the Deen are good people, and not all good people have the Deen. Since, there is a short supply of people with both Deen and overall goodness; it is even more difficult to find a spouse irrespective of being a male or female.
These difficulties are also compounded with personal preferences which could be in some cases next to impossible to be all combined in one person. Whatever the case may be the issue of finding the right spouse for a practicing Muslim is quite difficult in the days we are living now.
The Mosque being the focal point of our community, we naturally meet there and get to know each other one way of the other. So when looking for a spouse, people automatically think about the mosque or at least ask around in the mosque, if anyone is interested in marriage, a certain person is looking. This could be the individuals looking for themselves, friends or family doing the leg work. Of course Islam mandates that the Wali takes on this responsibility, especially for the Female.
That takes me to the Ramdan twist to this; last Saturday, 11th day of Ramadan, I was having Iftar at the Regent’s Park mosque for the first time this Ramadan, an older lady stood in front of me while I was eating pointing a flier at me. I took it and behold, it was a notice from a certain family looking for a Spouse for their 18 year old Son, who is the youngest qualified Gas Service Engineer in the UK, a practicing Muslim upon Quran and Sunnah who does not indulge in free mixing and is of a pleasant look to people. They own their home with no mortgage on it, what a great catch for the destined one!
Of course, they have their requirements which include the Potential to be practicing, observing the 5 prayers and hijab, a must, in addition to other personal preferences. Reading the flier, I smiled to myself, thinking Ma sha Allah! These Parents are taking great care in looking for a spouse for their son with such creativity. The place, the time and audience is just perfect, how did they think to do this. In the middle of Ramadan, at the mosque, during Iftar, with so many people present, they can’t seem to go wrong. But then, just as you have good practicing Muslim present at this auspicious month, so do we have Ramadan Muslims.
I imagine the family being inundated with calls from people who wants to be the one to get this great catch. How would they weed out the genuine ones, who meet their requirements in reality from those who are just trying their luck. When it comes to marriage, people usually put their best foot forward, you really would not know them until you live together, which can only be after the marriage in our Deen. Even with all the investigations, enquiries and observations, you will only get to know the real person after marriage over a period which varies from person to person, environment and circumstance.
The idea of doing it this way brings certain integrity to the process that really appeals to me. The parents seeking for their son, stating clearly what their son is about and what he wants and then stepping forward in front of the people in an auspicious gathering to spread the notice, you can tell they are genuine and God-fearing family with no pretensions (Allah knows best). Interestingly, they are Pakistani origin but with no cultural inclinations but Islam (Allah knows best). The fact that they state their ethnicity, in a way tells you they are looking for similar even if they did not state it clearly. Let’s assume they are opened to all ethnicity since they did not say it clearly, though they did ask for some particulars that can easily be found in all ethnicity.
We all know that when it comes to marriage, ethnicity features greatly, you only have to look at all the so called Muslim matrimony website to see how ethnicity divides us when it comes to marriage. “Everything is ok with the black sister, of course we are all Muslims and sisters in Islam, but when it comes to marriage, the black sister is not ok. Oh no! The black sister will be ok for that divorced brother with three kids, he wouldn’t mind her, tell her about it.” That’s me being sarcastic, though it’s real.
Once I was with a group of sisters whom I considered as friends, I being the only black sister in the group, one of them mentioned that a brother of certain ethnicity is looking for a wife, she turned to me and went “oh no! He’s actually looking for an Asian sister”. What’s the point of turning to me to say that, to make me feel bad that I am black or what? Yet, on another occasion at the mosque, someone was passing on information about a brother of certain ethnicity looking for a wife, who has to be a White Revert to Islam. So, what is the point of telling someone who isn’t? I wouldn’t know. Not very long ago, two different sisters whom I considered as friends for nearly a decade or more went out of their way to tell me about marriage offers with divorced brothers with kid(s). You only need to read the paragraph above to know where I am coming from.
Back on the family, they seems to be good practicing Muslims according to their description in the notice, looking for what is best for their son, as any parent would. I would like to assume they see all Muslims for their worth as Muslims in exclusion of their ethnicity and I pray that Allah grant this family the right Spouse for their son and reward them for their effort in seeking what is hallal for their son.