“Choose your life’s mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90 percent of all your happiness or misery.”
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Every so often, I receive emails from a certain group informing me of and inviting me to Islamic marriage events that are being held in London. I’m already married and so I’ve never been to one of these events. The latest email I received from this group listed upcoming marriage event sessions like this:
2) DIVORCED & WIDOWED
4) STUDENT & UNDER 25
5) BENGALI PROFESSIONALS
A few people I know think that I’m only really frustrated at the above because I’m already married and therefore do not know how hard it is to find a partner and they argue that these events are helpful. While the above format of marriage event clearly works for some people, I think this method is flawed on so many levels.
For one, look at the division of the community into converts, divorced and widowed, ‘practicing’ (whatever that means), student and under 25 (because young people, who are meant to be focused on pursuing an education, need to find a spouse), and Bengali professionals?
If I wasn’t married, I’d fall into NONE of those categories. I take issue with the ‘practicing’ session most because I looked up what ‘practicing’ is meant to mean on their website and this was the definition they came up with:
The PRACTICING Muslim Marriage Event is especially geared towards those Muslims who actually observe the faith i.e. wear the hijab, have no issues with special needs, race, age, status, wealth, occupation, siblings pecking order and their parents will not be an obstacle to whoever is introduced and else.
What does that even mean? How does this organisation see fit to judge that people that do not wear a hijab aren’t ‘practicing’ or that people that would prefer to marry someone in relatively the same age bracket as them aren’t observing their faith?
The Student and Under 25 category description reads:
Due to the lack of opportunities at university and the loss of contact afterwards, where it may be the last time you see your friends and classmates, to avoid the issue of finding compatible spouses in later years, this event has been arranged. This event is open to all Muslims who are still
in university or and those 25 and under.
To ‘avoid the issue of finding compatible spouses in the later years’ – i.e. to not get to 26 and still be single because God forbid you’re over 25 and still looking.
Women in the Muslim community are struggling to find partners – there’s no doubt about that – but to do it in a way where you almost segregate the community into Bengali professionals marrying each other and converts marrying converts, completely defeats the purpose of finding a spouse that is from a different background and has different experiences. If the ‘practicing’ Muslims are ones that are not concerned with race or occupation and that is observing the faith – then why hold any other marriage events – surely all the rest, like the Bengali professionals session for example, are not observing the faith if they prefer spouses from a specific racial and occupational background (going by the website’s descriptions).
Some of the best and worst marriages that I’ve seen or heard of have been ones where the partners are from very different backgrounds and the same applies to marriages where partners are from the same background or even the same family. It is far better to concentrate on the actual character and the potential that someone has to be ‘the one’ rather than where they come from or what background they’re from. Take Half our Deen for example, who focus on understanding what a person’s personality is like and what the chances of them being a great match for someone else are. THAT’S the kind of ‘Muslim marriage event’ we need if any!
10 years down the line, it’s not going to matter that you hit it off at a ‘Bengali Professionals’ Muslim event. What is going to count is the kind of respect, love, mutual understanding and positive energy that you invest in your relationship, because success in marriage does not come “merely thorough finding the right mate, but through being the right mate.”- Barnett Brickner
*Are you following And then she said. by email? If not, just enter your email address on the top right hand corner of the page and click ‘follow.’ You’ll only receive email updates when something is posted. If nothing is posted, no email – simples!*