Better doesn’t make your life better

One of the reasons I moved to WordPress, is because it’s easier to do the whole trackback thing when you’ve seen a post and been inspired by it. At Umar Lee’s and Margari’s blogs there have been big discussions on suitable partners for marriage, looking abroad for a spouse and so on.

Should you marry someone from this country? That ethnicity? What about the children? Which leads on to the whole concept of Muslim identity, can there be a British/American/Western Muslim identity.

We cover each other with labels : Arab, Pakistani, British, American, Born Muslim, Converts.

Then we plaster over slogans: Arabic speaker (will help me learn Arabic), Modern, Traditional, From my culture, not from my culture, Educated, blue collar…
So people have all these ideas for marriage, that it is a big magic wand that will change their lives and will surely improve them as a Muslim.

So many issues and it’s easy to get caught up in it all and people forget what marriage is about.

Firstly. Intention. It is such a powerful thing, in this life and the next, so make it a beautiful one, for the sake of Allah swt.

Secondly, You marry a person. A human being with issues and deficiencies, good points and bad points.

I recently read that marriage means you have to face all the problems in your life times two. To me, that is a really good way of describing it.

If you are struggling in your deen, marriage won’t necessarily improve things, even if you are married to a good brother.

Alhamdulilah, I am very happy with Mr Outlines, but when we first got married and I was crazy-in-love-shiny-dress-dance-routine-wanted-to-sing-it-to-the-world*, I found that these feelings were so overwhelming, plus newly married life is very busy, that it really affected my conectedness (not sure if that is a real word) to Allah swt. I really had to evaluate and set myself back on the path and Alhamdulilah, Mr Outlines was a real help with this.

Actually that brings me to another point. So you’ve met the wonderful spouse to be they are pious, you have the same attitudes in Islam, so it’s going to be wonderful, right?

Masha Allah, this is a great start, but you have to take into consideration the differences in each person’s journey to Allah swt. You might like to go to every halaqa ever and they like to read Qur’an by themselves all night. You need to make space for each other. We are all trees in a forest, there is room for us all to grow, insha Allah.

Back to the labelling issue. We need to make less assumptions about what being this or that race/ethnicity/background someone is. None of us were made in a factory, we are all complex. It pains me to read when people write/say ‘x’ are backward. ‘y’ are dominating, ‘z’ make bad wives.

You are not marrying Arabs, Pakistanis, whatever, you are marrying that person, so find out what they are like and their opinions. Look to their deen first and then be realistic and be prepared to accept that person as they are. You are not ‘doing someone a favour’ by marrying them and vice versa. Respect is key, if you do not think they are good enough for you, it won’t work and they deserve better.
Above all, it is already written.

Astagfurallah, I forget the reality of this sometimes. You think about different decsions: what if? There is no what if, no fork in the road, no alternative reality. So alhamdulilah, we have the Qur’an and Sunnah to guide us and help us gain the good in this world and the good in the next, insha Allah.

If I have written anything good it is from Allah swt, if I have written anything bad, it s from me.

*Actually, I do still feel like this, Alhamdulilah


8 Responses

  1. Great post! I hear this type of stuff all the time and you are right on. People always think they can fix someone and that marriage will fix them.

  2. Salaam! I admit, WordPress seems nicer and nicer! And I really like your new format (especially the pretty banner)!

  3. Well, I just found your blog and I can relate to the things you are saying 100%. Actualy, I specified Arabic Speaker in my search for a spouse… And I haven’t learned one word from him!LOL As far as spirituality, you have to go that one on your own most times, but having a spouse who will really press you to pray with them and talks about the deen is helpful in low times. And we all have low times. That goes both ways… Men need us too in this respect. My DH has gone through some tough times since his mom died and it has impacted his prectice of the deen. Anyway, you are right about intention… You never know about the rest.

  4. salam alaikoum
    you are right on with this.

    i had some rules myself-i wanted someone Arabic speaking from north africa or lebanon who was bilingual in French. I needed to keep the French in my life and mistakenly thought i would learn Arabic through marriage.
    Then I married a berber who only speaks French to me under duress because “he speaks english all day at work and its easier”…and the Arabic part? why would he speak his fourth language to me. *sigh*
    Just like you said, at the end, it’s the person you marry and you have to take him or leave him as he is right then and there. marriage is hard. intercultural marriage is the suck, and super hard to make it work.

  5. salaamz: I think that labels like Arab, white, Pakistani etc. may be “just labels” on some level, as social constructs they affect our lot in life just like class, gender, nationality, etc. So I can’t accept the idea of looking beyond labels or seeing everyone as “just human.” The world doesn’t function that way. The key, as you say, is accepting others, fighting our inherent and learned techniques of stereotyping, etc., and seeing and accepting differences, and where possible, celebrating differences.

    My parents and intermarried religiously and to a certain extent culturally as well. I grew up in a setting where differences in my parents backgrounds could create conflict. I *knew* before that being in a racially mixed marriage would present challenges. Even with all this experience, sometimes I still feel overwhelmed. Gotta think about deen above all else and that rescues me sometimes.

  6. Lucky Fatima –

    I’m not saying such labels have no effect on a person, they obviously do. What I was trying to say is, for example, don’t just think ‘an Arab = x ,so I will/will not marry an Arab’, so in other words, make sure you know the person themselves and you are compatible with that person, not the stereotypical view of whatever label applies to them.

  7. aha, gotcha…yes, i agree. I think if we marry someone based on a stereotype of how people like them will be, we will always be disappointed because true, people do not fit into cookie-cutter stereotypes.

  8. “Then we plaster over slogans: Arabic speaker (will help me learn Arabic), Modern, Traditional, From my culture, not from my culture, Educated, blue collar…”

    This is a very good point. And you are so right, it ultimately comes from Allah swt. I spent 2 years of my being Muslim turning down marriage proposals and making my long suffering walee search for a convert who is Latino and speaks Spanish. There’s..mmm.. like 5 of those in the US maybe. Ok probably a lot more but it felt like there were only about 5 in the world at the time. And then I ended up marrying my soulmate not very long after we met, who is not Latino, and who does not speak Spanish (no matter how much he likes to try throwing random phrases at me that he pulls from his spanish-arabic dictionary). And I’m perfectly content. I was worried that I would lose my identity as who I am if I didn’t marry someone who had these certain things. And yes its going to be harder to teach my kids Spanish, but its gonna be a lot easier for them to speak Arabic.
    Either way he doesn’t match, in any way shape or form, what I had been telling myself that I needed to look for in a husband.
    And thats ok, cuz he’s perfect for me in only the ways Allah swt could have created.

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