by Mozzified Contributor Jabran Chaudhry
“So, when are you getting married?”
Yet again. I now get asked this question on such a regular basis that I’ve become somewhat immune. Like a common infection you’ve built up such a strong tolerance to that now it doesn’t even phase you.
Of course, the fact that I was at a wedding was not helping much. So, my answer was quite straightforward and simple: “Aunty, just pick one.”
This drew a whole lot of laughter, with which I gracefully made my exit.
But we all know it’s not as easy as that. We’ve all heard the stories. Stories about a son not allowed to marry a girl from another country. Stories about a daughter shunned for even mentioning she may be interested in a guy. Stories that tear families apart and drive young Muslims out of the deen. Because why bother following a religion that puts all these restrictions on who you can or cannot love and marry?
The Quranic verses, hadith and wisdom of the Prophet’s (pbuh) companions is endless in this domain and frankly, dear reader, I shouldn’t need to pick and choose quotes. Because that’s not really the point of all this. What I want us (and especially the parents out there) to do is question what practices actually are Islamic and which ones are not.
Though that’s much easier said than done. The line between culture and religion has become so blurred that now we use Islam to justify our cultural practices, when we should be aligning our traditions with those of Islam. We refuse to use logic and let emotions and societal pressures drive our actions. And worst of all, we blame others for our mistakes.
Take the example of a lady who must stay with her abusive husband to save face. Just for the sake of her child and family. Does that not make you mad? I’m fuming just thinking about it. But it gets swept under the rug. Because how could a man from a good family do that? No no, it must be black magic. Ummm…seriously?
The cornerstone of the Ummah is a strong family unit. That’s where the future generations begin their education of, amongst other things, the deen and it’s values. But how strong can the core be when they’re forced to be together? When their hearts are not in it?
And when did one’s family name become the sole judge of their character? Come to think of it, what does skin colour, weight, income, caste or any number of ridiculous reasons stated against a proposed partner have anything to do with being a good Muslim and decent human being? Rather than focusing on what potential partners are not, I’d say it’s high time the focus be on what they are.
Allah (swt) mentions in the Qur’an: “O mankind, We have created you from a male and a female and have made you into nations and tribes for you to know one another. Truly, the noblest of you with God is the most pious. Truly, God is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” (49:13) In fact in his last sermon, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) declared: “O people! Your God is one and your forefather (Adam) is one. An Arab is not better than a non-Arab and a non-Arab is not better than an Arab, and a red (i.e. white tinged with red) person is not better than a black person and a black person is not better than a red person, except in piety.”
Yet, many Muslims refuse to associate with those outside their own culture, country or caste and forbid marriages to the same. In the multicultural societies of the West, even if you, dear parents, don’t mingle with those different to you, your children definitely will. Hence, there’s a much greater chance they might be attracted to someone who is “different”. Now, I’m not giving the go ahead to every crush under the sun, but if the potential couple do istikhara and all goes well, who are you, dear parent, to say no?
Alas, my rant here will do very little to change what appears to be the norm. But I do hope that we start questioning why we as an Ummah have clearly fallen off the track for this area of our deen. When did we forget that marriage is worth half it?
Now excuse me while I go enquire about that lady over there.
Jabran is from Sydney, Australia, where he’s currently pursuing a JD degree and works as a pharmacist. He may or may not own a kangaroo.