by Maya Areem in Relationships on 8th February, 2023
We know that Amaliah is like a Big Sis and sometimes our DMs have been filled with requests for advice on a range of life issues including relationships, friendships or work troubles.
We have started a new segment where we field dilemmas from the community and answer them as frankly as we can with love, truth and honesty.
Need some advice on a dilemma? Send them all here!
Salam Aunt Maya,
My parents are pushing me to get married. I know, they are still arranging marriages these days? Yes apparently they do. Alhamdulillah I’m at an age where marriage is viable for me – 26. But the thing is I’m super scared of marriage. I don’t know what it is. The thought that I may not be marrying the right person and ending up miserable for the rest of my life just haunts me to death. So I just don’t know how to go about the situation. On one hand, I think I’m ready for marriage but at the same time I’m super scared that the person my parents chose for me is not a suitable match for me. How do I know for sure he’s the one? I’ve never dated anyone and don’t have that many guy friends to know what men are like. I’m feeling kind of stuck. Please help. Thank you.
Maya Areem Responds:
Wa alaikum salam,
Thank you for writing in to us about this issue. I’m sorry to hear that the fear of not marrying the right person is something that has left you feeling scared and stuck. Please know that you are not alone in this boat and that this is something that many young Muslim women and men alike struggle with. Marriage, like any new, unfamiliar venture or major commitment that you take in your life, will naturally elicit feelings of anxiety. Sometimes, it can feel like you’re going into this process blindly and while there are no absolute guarantees about how a marriage will end up because people and circumstances change, there are some steps that you can take to help you feel more assured as you embark on this journey.
Firstly, before getting to know someone else, it is very important to get to know yourself and to be very clear and honest with yourself from the beginning about what your expectations are from a marriage and what are the deal breakers for you in a future spouse. This will help you feel more confident going into this process. If you’re not sure where to start, I would highly recommend reading through the following articles:
Our beloved Prophet ﷺ has also provided us with helpful advice on what we should seek in a potential spouse, telling us that we should prioritise good faith and character. He also encouraged us to seek advice from those around us and to look at the company that a potential spouse keeps – are there those in the community that know you that can vouch for him and his character? These are some important points to think about.
Secondly, I was struck by what you said regarding being miserable for the rest of your life if you don’t end up marrying the right person. I would like to remind you that marriage in Islam is not centred around ‘till death do us part’ – this is a Western-centric concept which a lot of our cultures have adopted through colonisation. Though Allah dislikes the act of divorce, He also stipulated that there are times when some marriages cannot be salvaged, and He created avenues for us to nullify a marriage, particularly when the harm it presents is far more than the good. When we reflect on the life of the companions of the Prophet ﷺ we find that divorce was normalised, and being a divorcee was not seen in a negative light or stigmatised. There are so many reasons why marriages do not work out. So, while we may all go into marriage hoping it lasts forever, it might not and it’s important to realise that there’s a way out should you need it and that you can find happiness again with someone else. That said, know that marriage is not a bed of roses, and it requires work from both parties, therefore, go into it with the intention of putting in your best in the union. Approach it with Ihsan like we’re advised to approach all our matters as Muslims.
Thirdly, you mentioned that your parents are pushing you to get married but it’s very important to take your time with such matters. While it is important to seek advice from those around us with more experience and wisdom, it’s also important to be content with your choice. One of the female companions of the Prophet ﷺ, al-Khansa’ bint Khidam, said:
“My father married me to his nephew, and I did not like this match, so I complained to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. He ﷺ said to me: `Accept what your father has arranged.’ I said, `I do not wish to accept what my father has arranged.’ He ﷺ said, `Then this marriage is invalid, go and marry whomever you wish.’ I said, `I have accepted what my father has arranged, but I wanted women to know that fathers have no right in their daughter’s matters (i.e. they have no right to force a marriage on them). [Sahih al-Bukhari 5138]
Based on the above, I invite you to openly communicate with your parents. Share your fears and perhaps bring up other ways of searching for a spouse if you’re not open to an arranged marriage. On the other hand, I would also suggest not completely dismissing your parents’ choice. You’ll never know if he’s not right for you if you don’t actually engage with him [in a halal manner – with your wali involved, praying istikhara etc]. He might not be ‘the one’, but speaking to him might teach you a thing or two about yourself and possibly help you streamline what you’re looking for in a spouse.
Last, but certainly not least, make sincere duaa to Allah that he makes this process easy for you and grants you a spouse that is just right for you, someone who brings you comfort and joy. I will leave you with this beautiful duaa from the Qur’an that you can include in your prayers:
‘Our Lord, give us joy in our spouses and offspring. Make us good examples to those who are aware of You’ [Qur’an 25:74]
Love and duas,
If you would like some wisdom from Aunt Maya, send in your problems here! Please note Aunt Maya may consult the opinion of others from time to time and ask the Amaliah community for their advice too. Aunt Maya is not a licensed therapist or mental health professional.