As-Salamu `Alaikum sister,
It seems as if more and more young women like yourself are having this problem with getting married. In the country where I reside, we hear about this as well, and many women have either accepted a fate of being single. Or they have gone out of their way to marry men who might be less educated than them, younger than them, or who would otherwise maybe not register as a potential candidate for marriage.
In Muslim countries, for the most part, the traditional channels of finding spouses are still intact, i.e. the family, extended family and community as helpers in matching young people with spouses.
In the West, however, it is a totally different story for young Muslims. Not only might they not have those traditional channels, but they are also living in an environment where there are limited choices due to the size of the Muslim communities there.
If I might borrow from another Muslim counselor, Imam Khalid Latif, Chaplain at New York University in the U.S. said this about the situation:
“Religiously speaking, there isn’t a prescribed method for finding a spouse in our tradition. We find a variety of ways in our tradition that people utilized when getting married as well as different types of couples: younger men marrying older women, intercultural marriages, arranged marriages and love marriages; marriages in which the woman proposed to the man, and many more. What this shows us is not that these ways are the only ways to do it, but there are many ways and no set, defined way to go about it. Permissibility does not equate to normativity — meaning just because it’s allowed to be done in a certain way doesn’t mean that’s the only way of doing it. In general, this is something that needs to be understood because too many of us give advice based on our own subjective experiences and understandings, and don’t really think about the reality that the other person is coming from.”
This wise counsel from Imam Khalid helps us to realize that in such situations, we need to try different things and approaches and not limit ourselves solely to what a given culture or normative expectation requires – but, of course, do so within the boundaries set by our sacred law. That being said, try different things, be creative, and make use of your various networks whether they be from family, friends, or colleagues.
The most important thing is to make sure that you focus on your relationship with Allah (swt) above all else. Constantly ask Him to guide you and provide you with a loving and pious spouse. Focus your heart on being content with Allah’s will and don’t give up. He knows what is best for us even though we may not be able to come to grips with it.
That is our challenge every day as Muslims, but the closer we are to Him through our heart and our deeds, the easier we will find it to accept whatever He has in store for us, in sha’ Allah.
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