Wa ‘Alaykum As-Salam Sister,
I truly feel the frustration, fear, and sadness you must be feeling. You urgently need to be true to your own soul whilst your culture is demanding from you a choice that is not congruent with how you feel your life is supposed to be lived. This is no doubt a very difficult choice for you to make.
Remember that conditions are never “fixed”; they are always changing. This includes the condition of the mind and even shared cultural customs. With that said, every village is slightly different. I am not familiar with the social constructs of Bangladesh, but I do wonder what would happen if your parents communicated with the family members that you are most concerned about the idea that Allah has a destiny for you for that you must remain free to fulfill? On a similar note, are you content to remain unmarried for the rest of your life? These are very important decisions for you to make in your heart as well.
Many women are being tricked by contemporary “myth” that there is actually a person to fall in love with as in the romance movies. Yet, the divorce rate in such societies is almost more than 50%. In other words, more than half of marriages in western cultures fail and the family is being torn apart.
Waiting for the “perfect” man is not always the wisest choice. Love develops as history develops, and a shared life is experienced with another person over time. Love is not what you see in the movies or read in romance novels. I just wanted to mention this because I pray you do not make a decision to turn away these offers based on a misguided belief that there might be “something or someone better “out there than what you have right now. What you might be letting go of by marrying is a false belief that you have control over your own destiny. Yes, when we are co-creating with Allah from the inside of our soul; when we are aligning our own will with the will of Allah, then we are participating in the creation of our destiny. But this is a very different experience than ego taking control of our lives and trying to create something on its own.
Considering the above now is time for quiet introspection. You may not know what is truly in your own best interest, but Allah does. Allah’s will for our lives is not only designed to position us to do His will for a higher purpose, but when we are aligned with His higher purpose, our own best interests are actually met through our service to Allah. Right now, in your confusion, you may not know what His guidance is, because your mind may be noisy.
Take some time out and pray, but this time instead of praying Istikharah, tune into the center of your heart. Ask Allah to reveal His purpose for you, to guide you on your next step in your service to Him, and to make the way easy for you. When we are on the path Allah has set for us, Allah provides the means to accomplish His work through us as His instruments.
I cannot tell you which man to choose. I cannot tell you to move abroad and choose neither. I cannot advise you to request your family to consider these spiritual truths about our path with Allah and to try once again gaining their support in proceeding in a manner that is not congruent with cultural customs. You must get this guidance from Allah.
However, woman to woman, I can urge you not to choose a man who is an extremist. If you are following the international news, you will know that the world has gone mad and is far away from genuine spiritual principles. Extremists in all religions are creating a very dark and destructive age for human being, bringing us very close to the complete demise of humanity. If you marry, marry a man who has a gentle heart and a strong character, who values human life. Such a man will be kind to you. Don’t marry for “hormonal” reason, and don’t allow a man from another culture to charm you. Learn how to know the difference.
I have a strong personal belief that our current circumstances and state of global affairs is dire and that the solution is what I call “little circles.” When I say “little circles”, I mean developing non-political circles of trust, beginning with your immediate family if possible, and strengthening the relationship with family and community even if you have to go abroad. Always have a way back and always be in contact at least weekly via Skype. When things get really bad, this is how human beings survive. Keeping our relations strong and developing healthy, interdependent circles in these changing times is how we can preserve humanity during these days of covert WWIII and future catastrophes.
I simply felt compelled to mention this concept to you, and it is yours to do what you will with these ideas. I do not know if this means to marry the kind and gentle suitor or to leave and go abroad. Allah will set before you the most appropriate path if you pray in the manner I suggested. After this prayer and feeling settled in your heart that you have a sense of the energy you were created to bring to this Earth in this time, then you will sense a direction. Then, you can pray Istikharah again and be aware of your dreams. And, yes, I will pray for you specifically tonight.
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