Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil answers concerns about not feeling acceptable as a potential spouse.
I am an American college student trying to finish half my din. I have maintained haya all my life and avoided speaking unnecessarily with men, so I asked my parents to help me search. Unfortunately I’ve been met with rejection before I’ve even been introduced as a prospect.
Men have remarked on how they don’t want a hijabi, they don’t want someone with such dark skin, they are only attracted to Europeans, I am too religious, I am not religious enough, I am too educated, I am not educated enough etc.
I see girls much younger than me marrying remarkable men with ease. I feel like there is something wrong with me. How do I keep my head up? I always dreamed of being a wife and mother in my early twenties but it seems this is no longer possible.
I am not willing to stray from the din or remove my hijab to please a man, nor can I change the way I look and my race. Should I even continue to think of marriage? It seems I am unwanted.
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.
“And whoever submits his self to Allah and is good in deeds, he in fact holds on to the strongest ring. Towards Allah is the ultimate end of all matters.” (Sura Luqman 31:22)
Dear sister, please know that there is nothing wrong with you. You sound intelligent, kind, and most of all, God-fearing. Your future husband will be so blessed to have you as his wife, and the mother of his children.
Please do not allow the comments of ignorant men get you down. You are a believer, and worthy of every good.
Unfortunately, many traumatized Muslim families produce sons who carry deep-seated feelings of post-colonial shame. They feel that lighter-skinned women who are not in hijab make better wife material. This is their baggage speaking, and it is not your burden to bear. This is not the kind of family you want to marry into.
Keep your heart focused on what pleases Allah, and know that He will never let you down.
Breaking Our Attachments
Many of us get attached to different ideas, and when they do not happen, we become heartbroken. I encourage you to let go of your hope to be a mother and a wife in your twenties, and instead, hold onto the fact that Allah will bless you with marriage and children when He deems best.
If this gives you any comfort, please know that I married my husband at 28. I had my first child when I was 31, and my second when I was 34. I would have been a terrible mother in my twenties even though I really wanted kids. Allah needed me to work through my issues before blessing me with my two little daughters. AlhamduliLlah, His Wisdom eclipsed my own short-sightedness.
Of course, this is my story. You have your own. Instead of wondering if there is something wrong with you, perhaps you can ask yourself a different question. What is Allah trying to teach you? What are some character traits you can improve? What are some gaps in your knowledge that you can fill in?
Preparing for Marriage
I encourage you to complete this course, while you have the time and energy. Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages.
Please perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night, every night, for a loving husband who has both din and good character.
Please read Sura al-Waqi‘a as regularly as you can, with the intention of increasing your rizq, namely, husband and children.
Reflections on Seasons in Life
Dear sister, I remember being a single student of knowledge in Amman, ten years ago. I was in my twenties, and really wanted to get married.
A wise older friend told me that life comes in seasons. This season of your life may feel like a winter, when you so want it to be spring. So, make the most of your winter. Buckle down, and nourish yourself with the courses and podcasts on SeekersHub. May the good seeds you plant now come to fruition when the time is right.
Use the time and energy that you have now to be of service to your family and wider community. One day, I pray that you will be a wife and a mother. You will exhausted beyond imagination, but you will be content too, insha Allah.
In the meantime, everything you are learning now will help you in those roles. Trust in Allah’s timing, and in His Mercy. He knows exactly what you need, even if it may not be what you want.
I pray that Allah blesses you with the gift of marriage, motherhood, patience, and contentment.