Being a woman is a blessing from Allah, along with everything that has been bestowed upon us, whatever we have within our grasp is a gift and one should always accept gifts with graciousness and content focusing on what one has, not what is missing.
I understand that there is no clear way that leads to happiness; we are all different with unique needs, living in various surroundings, that’s why I sought the views of friends, relatives and co-workers from across the globe on what they thought to be ideal tips on how to enjoy life as a single Muslim woman.
1. Your Duty to Live:
Whether we like it or not we have to live our current life so why spend it longing for things and thinking about what it is out of reach? Trust the plan of God and appreciate that He is the Best of Planners.
2. Contentment and Acceptance:
Always concentrate on what you have and make the most of it, enjoy every aspect of your day and utilize your time as a single woman by having fulfilling goals that occupy your time productively. Look around , count your blessings and work on nurturing any positive aspect you find within your life.
For example reconnect and take interest in your friends, build your self-confidence or simply encourage yourself to try new things. Never look at what others have for you will not realize what they are also missing. I once read a quote by Theodore Roosevelt which warned against looking at what others have “Comparison is the thief of joy.” So never judge and just work on yourself.
Focus on what makes you happy and discover yourself. Focus on your career, studies, hobbies or learning new skill or improving an existing one, make connection with others and try to spread happiness everywhere.
Give your time and energy wholeheartedly to anything that provides a source of happiness and personal satisfaction
4. Men and Marriage Are Not the Final And Ultimate Destination:
Marriage is a grace from Allah just like work, health and fortune not suitable or meant for all. So, make sure you don’t get preoccupied with getting married and leave this to God’s plan for you.
It’s important to realize that marriage is not everything; it is not the solution to our problems and not the only way to happiness.
One of the ladies that took part in my research for this article had one piece of sound advice ‘Ignore the marriage police who make you paranoid about being single (everyone has those nagging female relatives and aunties who mean well but make you feel terrible!).
Remember there is nothing you can do about it, as it is up to Allah and the name of your partner (if it’s destined) was written long before your existence…so you cannot rush fate.
5. Love Yourself and Your Own Company:
Love and trust yourself, believe that you can do everything alone easily and always rely on God alone. Unfortunately, the truth is that if you don’t learn to love yourself and love your life while you are on your own and single then it is unlikely that you will be happy in a relationship either. Learn to breath slowly, have time for tiny details and never rush.
6. Understand And Discover Who You Are:
Recognizing your self-worth and understanding who you are (in the absence of everyone else) and who you aspire to be (whether that be in the form of action/career/outlook/behavior) is an important step in finding happiness.
In your journey of self-discovery, you will surprise yourself at being able to do things you never thought you could do. This will not only empower you but will leave a feeling of self-satisfaction and happiness at being able to do anything on your own.
Challenge yourself and try new things, only then will you learn further about your likes and dislikes and what you are comfortable with.
Once you realize what you like and enjoy doing , keep at it to see the results. Consistency is the key. Like most things in life, you need to wait and be patient before you can reap the ‘fruit’. Do a good activity and observe its effect on you after few weeks or months.
Going to dance or yoga classes, music lessons or practicing sports are very good examples.
Participate in some charity groups and organizations makes you feel helpful and useful to the community and gives you more energy and self appreciation.
8. Widening Your Circle:
Islam is both a singular and collectivist religion. As a Muslim, you are essentially never alone. It is vital that you keep your social circle varied. Having a variety of friends with various backgrounds, beliefs, social classes, nationalities …etc will always give richness to your life and help you develop better understanding of life in general as well as increasing your knowledge and experience.
9. Explore Your Surrounding and Seek The Pleasure In Everything:
Muslim women are not less fortune in term of freedom; girls travel and explore every aspect of the world. Some people believe that if you are a hijabi Muslim girl then automatically you are limited, however, that is far from truth.
Few girls that I interviewed went zip lining, snorkeling, hiking and kayaking in Thailand, and two of them wore hijab. Another friend has so far tried sky diving, abseiling, and wall climbing and has never allowed her veil to prevent her from pursuing new and exciting activities.
Seeking pleasure in life is not a negative thing as often claimed by some, there is pleasure in trying new things, in spontaneous outings or even in simple things such as enjoying food or observing sunrise/sunset. As a single person, you have a wider freedom to explore and do things that you might not be able to do as a wife or mother.
10. Stay At Peace with Your Spiritual Side:
Always seek the guidance of God and never ignore your spiritual needs. Attend Islamic talks, surround yourself by positive people and religious friends.
Having religious friends doesn’t always mean talking about Islam but just hanging out and having fun with people that remind you of Allah, encourage you to pray on time, do ‘dthikr’ together or memorize the Qur’an will help you purify your heart and strengthen your relation with Allah.
The Final Result….
There is no quick guide to happiness or a magical method, mainly because happiness is like any emotion – a temporary state that won’t last forever. Therefore, we should strive to be content and at peace with the world.
I recently read a line in Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert that summarizes quite adequately one’s mission in this world,
“You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight.”
First Published: March 2014