>> Monday, July 26, 2010
I really don’t want to marry a stranger….and I don’t want to marry my cousin, either! I know dating isn’t allowed, but I just can’t imagine spending my life with someone I don’t even love yet alone know. I’m only 17, so there’s still time before I get married, but I can’t help thinking about this.
Dear Hopeless Romantic,
How about you marry my cousin and I marry yours? LOL! I’m just kidding! Seriously, though, marriage in Islam is a beautiful and sacred partnership. Husband and wife are described as garments for one another and Allah calls their relationship ‘a sign’:
And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect. (30:21)
You’re not alone in your fears though. Many of us harbor the fear that our parents are going to shove us at a random stranger who we’ll only meet a few weeks before the wedding night….and who twenty years later, we’ll be wishing we never met.
Fears aside, let’s try to look at the marriage process a little more realistically.
How does the marriage process really work? Usually, it’s a community effort. No joke. What basically happens is that when you feel ready for marriage or sometimes when your mother (or real aunty) feel like you are ready for marriage (but you just don’t know it yet-LOL-), operation “Get her married” begins. Yup, the word starts spreading throughout the community. Other mothers pass the word. Neighbors join. Mothers of neighbors join. Neighbors of mothers of neighbors join…LOL! Somehow or another the entire community discovers that Helpless Romantic, X, Y, and Z are all eligible bachelorettes. Next, the community rolls up its sleeves and starts looking for Mr. Charming for each one. Essentially (and ideally), they look for someone with the same status, an appropriate age gap, similar education, similar level of religiosity, etc.
The next step is a little more interesting. Once they find someone who appears suitable, they give him your wali’s number. When he finally gets the nerve, Mr. Potentially Right calls up your wali. If your wali decides he’s worthy enough to meet you, you two get to meet. (Insert: dramatic music. Just kidding!) Before he comes, though, you should pray istikhara and make lots of dua.
Of course, while Daddy or Big Brother ( literally! or whoever your wali is) is present, you two start talking. You ask him all kinds of questions- about his child hood, his family, his views on: religion, money, parenting, etc. And of course you ask him about himself: what kind of traits he admires in himself, what he wants to improve, his pet peeves in general, his hobbies, etc. (Check out the The Big List of Questions! for a comprehensive list of questions- be careful though that you don’t bark these questions at him but that you work your way around them)