To the health professional who decided that a fifteen-minute conversation was enough to determine my suitability to be his wife. I am not sorry I didn’t give you my number. I know your intentions were not dishonourable, yet I felt accosted and trapped. Muslims may have been rare in our city, but my appointment with you was professional and your actions inappropriate
To the reluctant traditionalist. I am sorry you were judged by your family’s reputation. I was not prepared to give up my dream of academic success for a family in which women are stifled. My values are firmly from my religion and tradition is no substitute for the Tradition.
To the one whose mother chose me. That was an odd conversation. I have a sense you were coerced into meeting me. You should know, it was not my idea. Perhaps when you’re pushing thirty, communicating your preferences to your parent shouldn’t be a problem.
To the former rebel who had decided to settle down. You had the trappings of faith yet your reputation was called into question by the lack of integrity you displayed. A sensible wife was required to reign you in. Tall, fair and slim preferred. You were intimidated by my education but homeschooling was your preference. I sensed contradiction and my father felt the same. Had I known the criteria was ‘pretty and homely’ I need not have considered you.
To the perfect on paper guy, chemistry is essential. I was reluctant to say no, for your religion was sound. As time went on, I realised that a successful marriage requires more than surface compatibility. I am truly sorry if you felt misled but saying yes would’ve been an affront to us both.
To the one who took me by surprise, our connection was immediate. In many ways you were ideal, yet religiously we did not align. Perhaps you could change. But a maybe is no foundation on which to build an Islamic life. I have far too painstakingly woven tight stitches of faith for a man to unravel them with his wayward ways. You are a good person, of that I am sure. Yet the goodness of your Islam was hazy and that I could not justify.
Do not despair, for what is written for you will reach you. Be mindful of the Islamic guidelines which have guarded your chastity. Trust your loved ones and be grateful for the blessing of parents who perfectly balance trust and guidance. Ignore the mindless chatter of society. The opinions of the masses do not warrant consideration. Marriage is a worthy goal and a blessing that should be prayed for. Yet submission to Allah is the primary priority. The pens have been lifted, and the pages have dried.
This piece was written by a member of the Amaliah community. If you would like to contribute anonymously, drop us an email us on email@example.com
By Sania Rahman