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Navigating the Muslim Marriage Crisis – Culture and Family Preferences

Part 2

Why are we still single?

Are we going through a marriage crisis?

Is love an essential ingredient before marriage?

Please note this is part two of the post. If you haven’t had the chance to read part one, I recommend you do so to be able to understand the whole message.

Culture and Family “Preferences” (Obligations):

One of the blessings of living in the West is the ability to meet and connect with other Muslims from all around the world with different races, nationalities, cultures, backgrounds, and cuisines (yesss, I love food!!) – and only one thing that unites us all, our religion, Islam. Though, when it comes to marriage, this blessing somehow turns into a taboo by our families based on their culture “preferences” as our families like to call them, but in reality they become obligations on us.

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Most of our families have a strong ‘preference’ obligation for their children to marry someone from their own tribe, city, country, or region; someone who is language and culture compatible; someone who we can connect and communicate with based on our similarities not our differences; someone who meets their standards of what a good spouse should look and be like; and someone they consider to be an insider.

Now, let’s take a moment to digest all of this information. How important it is in Islam for a marriage to have all of the above? Not important at all. Though we should still consider what we believe is important for us based on our own personal preferences, not our parents’, while also considering the preferences of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). As I believe these preferences go for both males and females.

Abu Hurairah reports: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“A many will choose to marry a woman for four different reasons: for her wealth, for her lineage, for her beauty or for her piety. Choose to marry the pious, so that you may you be blessed!”. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

If we are to look at Islam as our ultimate guide, we see how the Quran actually encourages us to know each other regardless of our tribe, race, and nationality.

“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted” -Quran 49:13

There are pros and cons to everything in life, including marrying someone from within our culture or someone from a different culture. Personally, I believe the mindset we hold (and the mindset our parents hold) on this has to do a lot with how we view it, as we can either view these differences as an opportunity for growth to empower us as individuals while empowering our marriage relationship or as a disadvantage that will hold our marriage relationship back.

The reality and the truth of this hurts, seeing how many marriages fail to happen simply due to family pressure and obligations to reasons not relevant to the basic teachings of Islam. It’s our responsibility as individuals and the responsibility of our Muslim leaders to educate the young and the elderly to help them see this from a different better perspective and help them make that mindset shift in hopes we can break these non-supportive patterns.

How Truly are we Prepared for Marriage?

With divorce higher than ever, especially in the West, this brings many questions for us to reflect on. Why can’t we seem to hold marriage long-term? What are we doing wrong? Are we choosing and settling for the wrong partners? Is it our circumstances that are holding our marriages back? Is it our financial obligations that make it harder to sustain marriage? Is it our lifestyle? Our different values? Our trust and trust issues? Or the lack of loyalty?


How can we truly be prepared for marriage if we’ve never been in one yet? For my single audience, since we haven’t had the chance to experience marriage yet, there are still many things we can do ourselves to enhance our chances of securing a marriage and maintaining it for the long term. Knowledge cannot replace experience, though it’s still an essential ingredient for a successful marriage. It’s our own responsibility to study and learn not only from the successful marriages around us but also from the ones that had failed.

Becoming prepared for marriage isn’t an easy journey, though it’s worth the time, effort, and energy. It’s a journey to build and develop ourselves to become better and more responsible individuals. Let’s take a step back and look within ourselves to see and understand the purpose of marriage and the personal reasons we have for it. Many people believe that marriage is all butterflies and rainbows, but the reality is the complete opposite.

Marriage requires hard work. It requires dedication and commitment. Marriage is not a destination where all of our problems and life worries disappear. It’s a journey to fulfill and complete half of our deen (faith) while enhancing the quality of our lives by bringing more comfort to our hearts.


In part 3, the author will answer a very important question: Is love an essential ingredient before marriage?

Stay tuned..

Republished upon author’s kind permission. First published on

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