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Searching for Muslim Love: How to get married without a mahram?

In our new series, Arfa Saira Iqbal from Pure Matrimony addresses your concerns as a Muslim woman seeking marriage in today’s difficult relationship climate.

Question: I’ve been looking for a spouse now for quite a long time and it’s really getting me down. Every time I find someone who I think is the one, things don’t work out and I go through a state of depression.


I don’t really have a mahram as my parents divorced before I was born, so this is a very difficult and lonely process for me. Please can you advise me on how to handle this?




Answer: Bismillah Al Rahman Al Rahim. Unfortunately, this is actually a very common scenario, and we’re seeing more and more brothers and sisters go through this process of meeting people all alone, which just doesn’t work out. Repeated rejections and things falling apart lead to anxiety, depression and feelings of reduced confidence and low self-worth. Fortunately, there are some practical and easy ways you can deal with this in a positive manner which will, insha Allah, make a huge difference to your emotional wellbeing.




First, it’s crucial to get clear on the kind of person you wish to marry. It’s sad to think that people spend more time picking out an outfit for Eid than they do when deciding what kind of person they want to marry – most people don’t have a clue! What exactly are you looking for? What kind of person would you not consider? What are their ideal traits and characteristics? What are your goals and aspirations? This is important because real compatibility is when the person you’re speaking to aligns with three things: your character, personality and plans for the future. When you are clear on who you are looking for, you should only speak to brothers who meet your criteria to reduce the likelihood of rejection.




It’s important that your family is fully aware of the kind of person you want to marry too – this way they can keep a lookout for anyone they know who would be suitable for you. As you’ve mentioned you don’t have a mahram, I would highly recommend you go to your local Imam and ask him to assist you in finding a suitable wali, insha Allah.





In this instance, you have to be aware that any Imam or man who stands in place of your wali will obviously not know enough about you. Therefore, the marriage process must be a consultative one. It’s important to take the time to discuss the kind of person you’re looking for with your wali so he can help you find a suitable brother. Plus, your wali can also ask a potential brother the right questions on your behalf too.





Second, you need to understand that marriage is Qadr. In other words, Allah (SWT) has already paired you with someone – and only if this is what is written for you. For some Muslims, this concept can be difficult to comprehend because of cultural and societal expectations, but also because humans have been created with an innate desire to be with someone. Qadr does not mean you sit around waiting for things to happen! Our deen is beautiful and perfect and so Allah (SWT) commands us to take action in all matters, to try our hardest, make du’a and then leave the rest in Allah’s hands. And they are the best hands to be in!





As a Muslimah, it’s important to understand that even if you have a plan, Allah also has a plan – and Allah (SWT) is the BEST of Planners. Part of our faith is accepting and understanding that we will be tested in what we want – and yes that includes finding a spouse. Be patient, supplicate to the Almighty, but also know you have to do your bit too. This is the very essence of tawakkul which is having reliance on Allah. And remain steadfast in knowing that Allah (SWT) loves those who rely on Him!





Third, it’s very important that while you speak to potential brothers, you don’t become attached to the outcome. While easier said than done, you need to understand that attachment comes from a place of ‘lack.’ In this case, the lack you’re experiencing is because deep down you don’t think you’ll find someone and you fear being alone. This fear is causing you to become attached to any potential brother you speak to and of course when it doesn’t work out, you’re left feeling depressed and anxious and your confidence takes yet another hit. You’re basically allowing yourself to become attached to the thought of becoming their wife and so when it doesn’t work out, you feel less of a person. And of course this affects your overall wellbeing.





To deal with this properly requires a shift in your perspective. Instead of thinking: ‘I’ll never find the right person and will therefore spend my life alone.’ You need to flip this on its head to think: ‘The right person is out there for me. I just haven’t come across him yet.’ The difference in thinking is subtle, but very powerful, because the first thought comes from a place of lack which can lead to desperation. Changing your thoughts to the latter means you’re coming from a place of abundance and therefore you’ll be much more objective when it comes to meeting potential brothers.





Fourth, place your reliance on your Creator and not on the creation. True happiness comes from within, not from other people. What affects us most is our perception that someone can or can’t make us happy. When you place your happiness at the mercy of others, you’ll always be disappointed…Learn to be content with your own company. Yes, it can feel lonely, but you should never allow a man to define you as a person. Get a hobby, take a class and get involved in charity projects, etc. The point is, learn to lead a fulfilling life on your OWN terms and get comfortable with your own company. If you can’t be happy on your own, the reality is that being married won’t make you happy either. Expecting someone else to fill a deep internal void is a huge ask, which is unfair on the brother you will eventually end up marrying. Sisters who expect their husbands to make them happy usually become clingy, desperate and irrational. These feelings stem from low confidence and insecurity – which is why it’s super important to create your own happiness first and not rely on others to give it to you instead.





Lastly (and most importantly), feed your soul by going to study circles, reciting and listening to the Qur’an often, and remembering Allah as much as you can. Make as much du’a as possible, because Allah is always listening and ready to respond to your du’as.





When you strengthen your iman, you’ll naturally find that you’re better able to deal with whatever life throws at you. You’ll feel a deeper sense of contentment because you understand that Allah (SWT) is the one in control of everything.





Imam Al Shafi (RA) said it well when he said: “My heart is at ease knowing that what was meant for me will never miss me, and that what misses me was never meant for me.” If we apply this thinking to every aspect of our lives, we would hurt less and be more at peace because we would be content with whatever Allah has given us.





Remember: Whatever you have is from Allah’s blessings. Whatever you don’t have is from Allah’s Wisdom. Allah only wants good for His servants, and that as His servants, we know we will also be tested according the level of our faith. So when it doesn’t work out with a potential marriage prospect, just remind yourself that it’s because it wasn’t good for you.




May Allah SWT make things easy for you and grant you a righteous spouse, ameen!





Jazak Allah Khairan

Arfa Saira Iqbal




Arfa Saira Iqbal is Head of Pure Matrimony – the world’s largest matrimonial service aimed at helping practising Muslims get together and stay together. Arfa has been featured on Islam Channel numerous times as a relationship expert and is also a published author and editor of The Muslim Marriage Guide blog.



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