So Enclosed in My Village: How Can I Ever Marry?

08 September, 2020
Q As salamu alaykum. I live in a small town, someone would say conservative town, where religion takes big part of everyday life. I'm in age when I should think about marriage, but things I see around me refuse me to take that step. In my town, people don't marry for love, parents chose and we can agree or not. Parents think about the material side of the groom's family, his job, his position, his religion, but love is never mentioned. I never hear or see a happy couple in my town although all of those marriages are based on Islamic rules. Women usually don't have high education, nor job, they take care about family, and their husbands use that as an opportunity to show their power because they know those women don't have material goods to take care about themselves and children alone. In my town you can see everything: polygamy, hitting wife, giving command to a woman as if she is a sheep. I, of course, don't know what is happening behind closed doors. I look at my parent's marriage sometimes, my father is an Imam, he prays 5 times, fasts, teaches others about Islam, actually he only speaks about Islam and he is very respected in our place. But my mom is so unhappy, she never says it loud, but we all simply know. She needs to listen to him always because Islam says so, he hits her often if she persistently objects because Islam says so, she is only a woman, his field, because Islam says so, etc. We never listen to music, watch a movie which is not about Islam, never smile in the street, never run, do sport because we always wear as we are grandmothers, never feel the sun on our skin, and I lost every hope in happy life and marriage can bring me only worse. So I have 2 options: never marry, or marry a non-Muslim. The other option is not possible, so I need to stay alone. Don't tell me there is a good Muslim husband, because I never see him and it's enough that I look at my father, the Imam, so I know what to expect from a religious husband. I don't want to be someone's sheep and blindly follow my husband. I pray regularly but that can't make my heart happy when I never had any joy in life. Will I burn in hell if I take off a piece of cloth and feel the sun, if I want to find a man whom I will love, if I watch a love movie, if I dance with music or drink one glass of wine? Is it the way to hell? And my father will go to heaven because he made my whole family unhappy with his Islamic rules? I think I'm starting to feel Islam is not for me, it's wrong for me, it doesn't make me satisfied and calm. I'm lost, I want to escape from this place, from these people, I want one time to wear a t-shirt and not to cook myself every day and smell sweaty, to meet a man by myself, to feel my heat jump, to go to the cinema, to put a smile on my face, to look up, not down at the ground, to feel this life.

Answer


Short Answer:

  • Islam is about bringing peace of mind for people and making them happy. Islam does not ruin peoples’ life. It is about building peoples’ life on love and compassion.
  • I am sad that you developed a feeling that Islam is not for you. Allah guides to Islam whom He wants. Islam is a blessing that you should thank Allah for. This blessing is felt most by those who are deprived of it.
  • Let me be clear with you what your father is practicing has nothing to do with the real teachings of Islam. Beating wives is against the teachings of Islam.
  • You are to wear the hijab outdoors. But, you can still enjoy the rays of the sun in your backyard or balcony. You can go to the cinema that presents good art. But avoid drinking wine as it is prohibited in Islam and there is nothing to enjoy in it.

    ………….

Wa Alaykum Assalam Dear Sister,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

We pray to God the Almighty to make a way out for you from your dilemma.

What is Islam?

First let’s agree that Islam is not to be judged by people’s practices. Islam is different from what people do. Islam is about enjoying the lawful things that God allowed. Islam is about love, cooperation, mutual understanding, and respecting women.

Marriage is a sacred bond in Islam. It is about building a sound family based on love and respect. Islam teaches that marriage should be based on acceptance from the two parties.

Matrimony is about mutual responsibility. Men are to provide security for the family. Men also should take care of the financial needs of the family. The wife can help her husband financially out of her free choice without any form of coercion. A wife’s caring for the family is highly rewarded in Islam. Her housework is a kind of struggle which should be appreciated by her husband.

Remember that no one has the right to force you to ever marry someone without your approval and at the same time you do not have the right to get married without your guardian’s permission.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said:

“A previously-married woman should not be married without consulting her and a virgin should not be married without asking her permission.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah, how does she give her permission?” He said, “If she remains silent.”  (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Be sure, sister, that your husband is waiting for you. Make a lot of du`aa’ (supplication) to Allah to help you find the suitable man that deserves you. Be sure that as long as you are keen to establish a good Muslim family, Allah will guide you to the best decision.

Islam is more about Halal than Haraam

You are to wear the hijab outdoors. But, you can still enjoy the rays of the sun in your backyard or balcony. You can go to the cinema that presents good art. But avoid drinking wine as it is prohibited in Islam and there is nothing to enjoy in it.

I wonder why you do not smile. Is it forbidden to smile? Is it against human nature? What would you say about the narration that reads “your smile in the face of your brother is a kind charity” for which you are rewarded as if you did an act of worship?

Let me be clear with you what your father is practicing has nothing to do with the real teachings of Islam. Beating wives is against the teachings of Islam.

However, I am sure if you ask your mother about the positive aspects of your father, she will tell you a lot. Being a model in your community, your father might be asked to behave in a certain manner. But what you mentioned in your question is an extreme attitude.

Try your best to talk to your parents about your marriage problem. Talk to them about the man you are dreaming of.

Your father’s making your family unhappy with the Islamic rules is his mistake and the way he understands Islam is wrong. Islamic rules and regulations are meant to make peoples’ life in conformity with what Allah wanted for them.

Islam is a blessing

I am sad that you developed a feeling that Islam is not for you. Allah guides to Islam whom He wants. Islam is a blessing that you should thank Allah for. This blessing is felt most by those who are deprived of it.

Islam is about bringing peace of mind for people and making them happy.  It does not ruin peoples’ life. On the contrary, it is about building peoples’ life on love and compassion.

Try your best to overcome this feeling by making lots of supplication to Allah. Make a lot of istighfar (seeking Allah’s forgiveness) all the time.

Seek the help of some of your father’s friends or relatives to change his attitude.

We should also distinguish culture from religion concerning marriage. It is reported that a young woman came to the Prophet and told him that her father had given her in marriage to a man without her consent. In reaction, the Prophet gave her the choice either to accept it or reject it.

Love is not a sin in Islam

Love is not a sin in Islam as long as it leads to marriage. In choosing a wife or a husband, love should not be overlooked. A man came to the Prophet and said:

“Oh Prophet of Allah! I am the guardian of an orphan girl. Two men proposed to marry her. One is rich, the other is poor. We like the rich while she likes the poor.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) answered, “For those in love we don’t see any better than marriage.” (Ibn Majah)

This is what Islam offers you in your case and similar cases. But again the problem lies in the way we understand Islam.

So Enclosed in My Village: How Can I Ever Marry?

Islam recognizes your right to choose your husband. Islam allows socializing and interacting with each other provided that piety (taqwa) is maintained. This means private meetings are not allowed. Pre-marital relations are a taboo.

In Islam it is the right of both the husband and wife to see each other before marriage to see what attracts them to each other and to get to know each other. But this should be done in the presence of a family member. The engagement period is a good chance to test each other’s behavior and manners.

To wrap up my answer, I would like to give you glad tidings that Islam has a solution for your problems as long as you put your trust in Allah and ask Him to help you find the man you want.

And Allah knows best.

I hope this helps.

Salam and please keep in touch.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Does Islam Give Us the Freedom to Love?

If Love isn’t Allowed, How Do I Find My Wife?

How Does Islam Affect Our Lives?
About Dr. Mohsen Haredy
Dr. Mohsen Haredy holds a PhD in Hadith literature from Leiden University, the Netherlands. He is the former Executive Manager and Editor-in-Chief of E-Da`wah Committee in Kuwait, and a contributing writer and counselor of Reading Islam. He graduated from Al-Azhar University and earned his MA in Hadith literature from Leiden University.