Why can’t I get married?

My friend told me I should email you. She believes I need you. Below is a summary of my current state of mind. What do I do next? Where can I find answers?

Welcome to the blog. Thanks for posting your question. I’ll sure try to be of some help.

I’ve been trying to get married, and it hasn’t happened. In fact, my mother told me there is no one she knows who can help me get married, including imams (she asked), friends, relatives, etc. I actually told my mother to ask more learned people in the community and she said no, there is no point.

You’ve been trying to do the right thing. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Marriage is my way (Sunna). Whoever desires other than my way does not belong to me!” Narrated by Anas ibn Maalik and reported by Al-Bukhaari who rated it authentic.

Do not despair, nor should your mother. Recall the story of Jacob, after he lost his dearest son, Joseph, peace be upon them. His other children kept telling him to give up his hope of ever seeing Joseph alive again, even as they knew he was alive! And what was the old man reply? He said,

“He said, ‘I only bemoan my anguish and grief to God, and I know from God what you do not know.‘ ” (12:86)

That is the essence of faith in God. The certain knowledge that He has your best interest at heart, so to speak. You don’t know what God knows. You could have been saved from some horrible husbands. You may have been spared some ingrate children. Your very faith may have been protected from coming apart.

I find myself questioning Allah SWT. I have prayed a great deal for marriage but it never happened. My parents did not help, either. I live in a non-muslim country; in fact, I was born here. I wonder, if there is no leeway for a muslim girl to marry a non-muslim man.

While your dismay is natural, it is not healthy for your faith. The name of our religion means the willing surrender to God’s will. Our ambition is to please God, not to have God please us. The irony is that when we do please God, we become so pleased ourselves, nothing else seems important!

Why does Islam prohibit Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men? This is based on the influence Islam assumes that the man has in the family. If he is not Muslim, the odds are high that the children won’t be either, and there’s a good chance the wife may leave Islam too, if her husband pressures her to.

The flip-side can also be true! A Muslim man who is highly influenced by his non-Muslim wife, may leave Islam for her sake. That is why many of the Salaf have opined that Muslim men, though allowed to, should not marry non-Muslim women. I personally agree with them.

Why did my parents immigrate to this country and have children, only to tell me that getting married is not possible? I don’t think that is fair.

I’m sure your parents did not do that on purpose! I’m sure there are parents like them whose daughter is now married. Find out about those and learn how they did it!

I read a lot of dua, but lately when I am speaking to God during my dua, I feel like in my heart it will not come true. After all, I’ve been reading the dua for over 15 years. In my dua, I ask Allah to please make 2011 more joyous than 2010 (I was briefly happy in 2010 because of someone I met, and had some hope then but it fell sharply). It is now July 2011, and I am still so sad. When I make this dua, I feel like I am “testing” God, because I know that He has not answered that prayer for me. When I ask my elders about getting married, they say to do dua because there is no other way. Am I being sinful for questioning my dua? Its been so many years that I have been praying, and I also do Istikhara and Salaat ul Hajaat. To me, it appears that God has given me His answer for now. Is it sinful to think that way?

Thoughts do not become sins until they are translated into words or action, so don’t worry.

How about thinking instead, “What wonderful things God has in store for me, if He has not written for me marriage?”, “Have I been missing the forest for the trees?”, “Did I meet the right man, but didn’t even notice him?”

Try to escape the box you’re in. Think outside it and inspiration will dawn on you.

I have also been experiencing “resentment” towards Islam lately. I had to question myself – if I want to get married, but the muslim community does not help me nor do my parents, will God nevertheless send me to Hell because I had no other options?

As much as marriage is an emphasized Sunna, it’s not a sin to fail to get married. There will be a few bachelors in Paradise 🙂

Will God punish the muslim community for failing to create marriage opportunities for muslim women like myself?

That may be true only if they stand in the way of a good marriage opportunity. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “If a man comes to you [asking for your daughter’s hand in marriage], and you approve of his religion and character, then accept his marriage proposal.” He then recited, “If you do not, tumult will be in the land and much mischief.” (8:73)

That hadeeth, narrated by Abu-Hurayra and reported by Al-Albaani who rated it Hasan (sound), makes clear what the primary criteria are for a good Muslim marriage: commitment to Islam and good conduct. Other factors, which most families hold higher in importance, are less important and should not stop the marriage from taking place. Things like wealth, social status, family name, career, looks, etc.

The same principle was emphasized by the Prophet (PBUH) for the suiter’s side. He said, “Women are married for four reasons: their beauty, their wealth, their lineage and their religion. Win the one with the religion, or else you will be miserable!” Narrated by Abu-Hurayra and reported by Abu-Daawood who rated it acceptable.

I just feel so guilty for harboring these thoughts. To be honest, I feel a bit like I want to “take a break” from all this dua and begging God, as it has left me emotionally and spiritually exhausted. Is that sinful?

No, but it’s not healthy. Your attitude toward dua (supplication) can use some refinement. A Muslim calls upon God for something, because God is the source of all things. But a Muslim also accepts what God grants him or her. A Muslim lets God answer his or her dua the way He sees best. Your dua may have already been answered, but you’re wearing blinders, so you can’t see it.

Will God have mercy on me because I am undergoing a test in life,

Certainly. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “No harm that hits a believer, even a pin on the road that stings him, but God will expiate by it of his sins!” Narrated by Abu-Hurayra and reported by Al-Bukhaari who rated it authentic.

I have prayed for a family of my own but those prayers have not come true and I now have to face a life alone? I must be honest that I am angry about that…angry because I did everythign right, I was obedient to my parents, relied on them for everything, and they did not take this aspect of my life seriously. Will God punish me for being angry?

Not unless the anger translates into words or actions that displease Him.

When we work hard for a goal and it never happens, it could be because we didn’t go about it correctly, even if we thought we did. It could be because it was not meant for us, for a wisdom that only God knows. It could be that the goal was achieved in another format and we are yet to recognize it.

I’ll end with these poems by Rumi,

“How could we know what an open field of sunlight is? Don’t insist on going where you think you want to go.”

“Give up to grace. The ocean takes care of each wave till it gets to shore.”

“You miss the garden, because you want a small fig from a random tree.”

5 Responses to “Why can’t I get married?”

  1. jnd962@gmail.com says:

    Why must muslim women accept that they will never marry?
    This is so unfair when we see Muslims who behave inappropriately getting everything they want. There has to be a way for muslim women to marry, if their parents cannot do it, a muslim woman must find a husband herself. I do not believe for one minute that anyone should have to accept living like this. This is just so wrong. Living a lifetime on your own is dreadful. Is the person giving advice here married? If they are then how can they possibly understand the pain and heartache faced by so many well educated, beautiful, decent muslim women trying to find a decent husband. A lot of muslim men, especially in the South Asian community are full of themselves.

    • jannmane@hotmail.co.uk says:

      Hi. It is not only women that find it difficult to get married but it is also men. I think having an open mind and being more accepting of all races and color and disability can make a really big difference. Sometimes we have to look outside the box as we do not know what Allah wants or has written for us. I stumbled across this site when I was trying to find out why someone cannot get married. I am speaking on behalf of my brother. Mashallah, he’s good looking, has a business, is caring, open-minded, loves family and friends. He is amazing! He will treat his wife like a queen and spoil her rotten! But why is it hard for him only Allah knows. I and my family long for him to get married. I just do not understand. He still feels the right women will come along. Mashallah, that is faith coming from a man. If you do not ask you will not get. So, if there is anyone interested please contact me.

  2. noclash says:

    “Why must Muslim women accept that they will never marry?”

    They must not! It’s not true either. Millions of Muslims marry everyday. If a woman has been unsuccessful in finding a husband, through no fault of her own, then accepting that unpleasant outcome is part of the contentment with God’s will that is part of verified faith.

    “This is so unfair when we see Muslims who behave inappropriately getting everything they want. ”

    Getting what one wants is not necessarily a good thing! God made that abundantly clear when He said in the holy Quran, “It may be that you dislike something while it is good for you, and it may be that you love something while it is an evil for you. God knows and you do not.” (2:216).

    That’s because a pleasant thing may be a reward for goodness, but it can also be a trap! A sinner getting what most people would consider is a reward is in fact a curse, because it makes him or her think that what they did was not a sin and thus will not attempt to repent from it. God will do that to someone with whom He is angry.

    On the flip side, an unpleasant thing may be punishment for sin, but it may also be a test of faith. If unpleasantness is always a punishment, then why is the life of prophets of God filled with unpleasantness?

    “There has to be a way for Muslim women to marry, if their parents cannot do it, a Muslim woman must find a husband herself.”

    Absolutely. You probably know that the Prophet’s first wife, Khadeeja, may God have been pleased with her, was the one who proposed marriage to him! There is nothing in Islam that discourages a woman from pursuing a man, in a lawful, dignified way, for the purpose of marriage. The stigma of that in Muslim societies is cultural, not religious.

    “Living a lifetime on your own is dreadful. Is the person giving advice here married? If they are then how can they possibly understand the pain and heartache faced by so many well educated, beautiful, decent Muslim women trying to find a decent husband.”

    You may find this hard to believe, but the same goes for Muslim men too. Those of them who have been unsuccessful in finding a good wife, they too live a deprived life. It is not because there are no suitable women. There are millions of them! It’s not because the men are lacking in integrity. Millions are quite decent people. The problem is societal and sometimes familial and sometimes personal.

    “A lot of Muslim men, especially in the South Asian community are full of themselves.”

    I can understand your frustration, which may be what made you make that generalization. But generalizations are wrong. Besides, why would any woman want to marry a man who’s full of himself?

    Sister, free yourself from the bondage of tradition. You are only bonded to God. Pursue your goals and take control of your life, within the guidelines of propriety that God and His messenger have outlined for Muslims.

  3. jnd962@gmail.com says:

    Sorry, noclash, but I cannot agree with you.

    South Asian men do have an issue with the way they have been taught that they can choose what they want, they have fun if they want to. Please do not tell me that this does not happen as I have witnessed it myself. I am a healthcare professional and have witnessed things done by Muslims that you cannot imagine.

    I believe you are married yourself and cannot understand the frustration of those who are not through no fault of their own, but due to the interference of others. It is very easy to say accept it, but if you are not in this situation yourself, you cannot possibly know how it feels.

    • noclash says:

      I think you misunderstood my replies. I apologize if my replies left you with the wrong impression.

      The point I was trying to make is that a woman, if at all possible, should take charge of her life and not be dependent on others. She must not allow invalid interference from others into her legitimate efforts. This is not an invitation for disobedience or disrespect of elders, but an affirmation of a woman’s free will and grown-up status. She must think, properly, outside the box of culture and tradition in order to achieve her legitimate goals. This is not an invitation to let loose of religious constraints, but to filter out which constraints are traditions and not actually a part of the religion.

      No woman should settle for a bad man for a spouse. There are good men out there. Don’t give up. Don’t limit your choices. Widen your horizon and perspective.

      And when I said accept, I was referring to a situation where the woman has done everything possible and proper and failed. Not before that.

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