It’s practically an epidemic: young, beautiful, intelligent and unmarried. There is a high number of well-educated, beautiful Muslim women in their 20s and 30s who are struggling to find a suitable spouse. Why is this so? Why are women from all over the Muslim world complaining of the same thing? “There are no more good men around!” is one of the most common statements I hear. So, where are the good Muslim men hiding?
Let us consider some points to understand why this may be so:
More women than men
We have been told that the women will outnumber men and eventually the ratio will be 50:1 (Bukhari, Muslim, & Ahmad). So, maybe this is the beginning of that time, where there are more women than men?
Muslim men marrying women of the People of the Book
Muslim men have a wider pool to choose from, and as few as they are, they chose to marry women that are lawful to them outside of Islam.
“(Lawful to you in marriage) are chaste women from the believers and chaste women from those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) before your time when you have given their due Mahr (bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage), desiring chastity (i.e. taking them in legal wedlock) not committing illegal sexual intercourse, nor taking them as girlfriends” (Al-Maidah :5)
A good Muslim man
Having mentioned the above, there is a small pool of available Muslim men. Don’t forget, that this pool is not just any Muslim man. A good man is the one that has religious commitment, who has knowledge of the Qur’an and Sunnah, for a man that knows Allah’s (SWT) laws will not break them. Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an:
“Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa [i.e. he is one of the Muttaqoon (the pious)].” (Al-Hujurat :13)
A man from a good family and a known lineage, who has sufficient wealth to keep him and his family happy and from having to ask people for anything. A man who is kind and gentle towards women.
Nearing 40, divorced and looking
Now imagine, if a young and single 20 or 30-something-year-old is struggling to find a partner, within this small group, then how would a woman, nearing her 40s, who is divorced and most probably has children feel? What are the odds that a man would choose a divorced woman who is soon going to turn 40 over a younger girl who’s never been married?
The chances for the “wiser” “riper” “more experienced” Muslim women remain slim. Very slim.
Thinking this way would make any nearly 40-year-old divorcee lose hope.
So here’s to giving these wiser sisters hope, that besides their male Hur in Jannah, they can hope for a good match in this dunya. Yes, with being divorced and with having children from a previous marriage and with a dozen single 20-something-year-olds to compete with – there is always hope!
The Prophet (SAW) married divorced women. He married Zaynab bint Jahsh (RA), his cousin, who was divorced and around 35 years old. So this is a Sunnah. When the good Muslim men realize this and want to revive a Sunnah, they will come looking for you.
Khadijah bint Khuwailid
Remember Khadijah bint Khuwailid (RA)? A 40-year-old widow with three children, still the Prophet (SAW), 15 years her junior, loved her to bits! He could have easily married someone much younger. But he chose to marry her as his first wife. This means, the men who follow the Sunnah, should look at the inner beauty first. The Prophet (SAW) married her for her character. And because of her great character, he loved her years after she passed away, making his much younger wife jealous!
So sisters, there is a lot of hope! Work on improving your character and wonders will happen. Make sure you know yourself. Don’t feel sorry for yourself just because you’ve been divorced. You are strong because you went through it. Only a real man with strength would want a woman with a strong character. And you don’t want to settle for anything less! Don’t lower your standards when you want to marry just for the sake of getting married.
We know from Khadijah’s (RA) example, that she was a strong, confident and successful woman. Her self-confidence and positive self-esteem led her to propose to a man 15 years her junior! This was a marriage where a partnership was established. Acceptance and respect were the norm and love was in the air!
What you need to do:
- Firstly and most importantly, Put your faith in Allah (SWT). Trust that He has a plan for He is the best of Planners.
- Pray to Him to help you find someone suitable, someone who understands your situation.
- Pray istikharah, asking Allah (SWT) for that which is good.
- Don’t obsess about marriage. What will be yours is already written. “…The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.” (Tirmidhi)
- Focus on learning and knowing yourself better. This will give you positive self-esteem.
- Do things you enjoy! Be a happy person and not a miserable one!
- Be open to new experiences
- Create opportunities
- Be social. Open all the doors to meet potential suitors! Don’t be scared to tell people to look out for you. Ask family and friends to network.
- Don’t settle for less – don’t succumb to pressure from family or peers. Be picky! You’re not buying some kind of fruit but you’re planning on having a life-partner for a lifetime commitment! Don’t be unreasonable though. Don’t reject a man because his socks didn’t match his tie the day you met him!
- Sign up to some Muslim marriage bureaus – don’t be embarrassed. Look for the reputable ones though.
- Volunteer at Muslim organizations, attend Islamic talks – you may just meet your ‘Mister’ there!
- Keep making du’a to Allah (SWT)!
“Our Lord! give us spouse and children who will be the joy( and the comfort ) of our eyes, and guide us to be models of righteous (Leader of God-conscious people).” (Al-Furqan :74) Ameen.
Soraya Soobhany-Chohan explains why we are marrying so late and what to do in the meantime.
Khurshid Khatib meets sisters who have become step-mothers and finds there is a dire need for better understanding and support.
Nahida Esmail grew up in DaresSalam, Tanzania and has lived in the UK, Egypt and South Africa. She enjoys reading, travelling, keeping fit and photography. She cycled 377km from Mount Kilimanjaro to Ngorongoro Crater to raise fund for access to clean water. Being a published writer for children’s and young adults books, she has won four Burt Awards. Her latest book is, “Living in the Shade: Aiming for the Summit”, which will be launched at the end of this month. She won the Tanzania Women’s Achievement Award for the education category in 2015.