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I Can’t Find a Religious Man to Marry

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Mar 20, 2017

Question

Salam. My sister has started getting proposals for marriage at 26. It’s been two years already. She is religious and she expects her future husband to be religious too. But most of the proposals which she got from the families are not religious and they demand dowry. Getting a religious guy is difficult in the place where we live. But somehow she got around 4 to 5 proposals where the guys were religious, but still they demanded dowry and lots of gold. In the meanwhile my sister fell in love with a non-Muslim guy and she had a perception that guy was interested in Islam. She was deeply in love with him, but he rejected her. She is getting proposals and she is 27 now. Generally in the place where we live women get married before 30. Most of the men prefer marrying a women who is around 25. So, my parents are worried now because she wants to marry only religious guy which is a bit difficult. She will turn 28 this June which will make her more difficult to get married. I convinced my sister to get married to a well-mannered Muslim and stop looking for a religious guy as it will be difficult for her to get married if she keeps on rejecting the proposals. But still she wants to marry religious person. She rejected half of the proposals and others rejected because of dowry. Do you think she should only marry a religious guy? How do I convince my sister to marry someone who has good character even if he is not that religious?

Counselor

Answer


I Can't Find a Religious Man to Marry

Answer:

As-Salamu ‘Alaykum sister,

Thank you for writing in. Marriage is very important in Islam, and it is incumbent upon us to marry one who follows Islam and is Islamically acceptable. Sister, while I am not well learned about your culture in India, I do know that it is the man who gives the women dowry concerning marriage. In the Qur’an it states,

“And give the women [upon marriage] their [bridal] gifts graciously. But if they give up willingly to you anything of it, then take it in satisfaction and ease.”  (4:4)  

Sister, as we can see, it is not the woman who gives dowry to the future husband but he who gives to her. The fact that these so called “religious” men and/or their families are requesting or demanding a big dowry and lots of gold causes me to pause and wonder what kind of Muslims they are. Surely they are not following the Islamic rulings for marriage as they are to give the women the dowry for the marriage to be valid. Therefore, how religious are the men who have been seeking your sister’s hand in marriage?

Sister, I would kindly suggest that you sit down with your sister and speak to her about this. Perhaps in your culture it is the man who receives a dowry, but it is not Islamic. You may want to review with her the Qur’an and hadiths in regards to marriage contacts, what needs to be in place for a valid marriage as well as what is her definition of “religious”. Religious men who seek to marry for the love of Allah (swt) do not demand a dowry and do not turn away from a pious Muslimah because there are no “riches” in it for him. Rather, a religious Muslim man will look at a woman’s deen, her love, and obedience to Allah (swt) along with other factors which pertain to her piety and in being a good wife and life partner.

As far as her “falling in love” with a non-Muslim man, this is haram. As she is Muslim, she must marry a Muslim man. Sadly, her bad experiences with the previous men who have courted her in hopes of gold and riches may have tarnished her thoughts of finding a truly righteous Muslim man. Please, keep encouraging your sister to seek a potential husband who is balanced, is striving to please Allah (swt), and is not involved in any major haram acts.  These men may be the ones whom you are describing as “well-mannered” Muslim men.

In my opinion, and I may be wrong as I am not an Islamic scholar, these men may be more suitable for marriage as while they might not “religious” by your sister’s definition, they are well-mannered which may imply that they are more willing to grow towards increasing their religiosity in a true and lasting manner. On the other hand, the men who your sister thought were religious may, indeed, not be that religious as they appear to be concerned with only wealth, gain, gold, and turning down proposals in which they do not benefit materially.

I would kindly suggest, sister, that you encourage your sister to re-examine her definition of “religious”, learn what exactly are the requirements for an Islamic marriage (opposed to a cultural marriage) and to consider the well-mannered men of good character – Muslims who may not appear to be highly “religious”. Appearances can be deceiving, and the one who may be most pious may not show it externally while the one who appears to be most pious, religious and displays it externally may, indeed, have a somewhat hardened heart.

Only Allah (swt) knows, and Allah (swt) knows best.

We wish you both the best. You are in our prayers.

Salam,

***

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About Aisha Mohammad-Swan

Aisha Mohammad-Swan received her PhD in psychology in 2000. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York with a focus on PTSD, OCD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, and Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. She is currently studying for her certification in Islamic Chaplaincy, and takes Islamic courses at SHC. Aisha works at a Women's Daytime Drop in Center, and has her own part-time practice in which she integrates counseling and holistic health. Aisha also received an MA in Public Health/Community Development in 2009 and plans to open a community counseling/resource center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah.

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