“Why are you majoring in that field?” I asked a sister in college. She sighed, “To be honest, I just want to get married. I don’t really care about what I’m studying right now. I’m just waiting to get hitched so I can be a wife and a mother.”
“It’s awesome that she wants to be a wife and a mother, but why would she put her life on hold?” I wondered. Why would a skilled, passionate young woman create barriers to striving for self-improvement and her ability to be socially transformative when she doesn’t yet have the responsibilities of wifehood or motherhood? Being a wife and a mom are great blessings, but before it actually happens, why exchange tangible opportunities, just waiting for marriage to simply come along—if it came along? I didn’t have to look far to find out.
“I’m already twenty-six,” another sister lamented. “I’m expired. My parents are going crazy. They think I’m never going to get married and they pressure me about it daily. My mom’s friends keep calling her and telling her I’m not getting any younger. She keeps crying over it and says she’ll never be a grandma. It’s not like I don’t want to get married; I’ve been ready since college! I just can’t find the right guy,” she cried.
Why, as a general community, are we not putting the same pressure on women to encourage them to continue to seek Islamic knowledge? Higher education? To make objectives in their lives which will carry over and aid them in their future familial lives, if such is what is meant for them? Perhaps it’s because we’re obsessed with the idea that women need to get married and become mothers and that if they don’t, they have not reached true success.
We all know the honorable and weighty status of wifehood and motherhood in Islam. We all know that marriage completes half your deen1 and that the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) has told us about the mother, “[…] Paradise is at her feet.”2
But getting married and becoming a mother is not the only way to get into Paradise. And not every grown woman is a wife and/or mother, nor will ever be. Some women will eventually become wives and/or mothers, if Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) blesses them with such, but for others, Allah (swt) has blessed them with other opportunities.
Allah (swt) did not create women for the sake of wifehood or motherhood. This is not our first goal, nor our end goal. Our creation was to fulfill our first and most important role—to be His SLAVE. As He tells us in Surah Dhaariyat (Chapter of the Winnowing Winds), “And I did not create the jinn and humankind except to worship Me.”3
Worship comes in such a variety of forms. Being a housewife (a.k.a. domestic engineer!) can be a form of worship. Being a stay-at-home-mom can be a form of worship. Being a working wife and mother can be a form of worship. Being an unmarried female student can be a form of worship. Being a divorced female doctor, a female journalist, Islamic scholar, film director, pastry chef, teacher, veterinarian, engineer, personal trainer, lawyer, artist, nurse, Qur’an teacher, psychologist, pharmacist or salon artist can each be a form of worship. Just being an awesome daughter or house-fixer upper can be forms of worship. We can worship Allah (swt) in a variety of ways, as long as we have a sincere intention, and what we do is done within the guidelines He has set for us.
Unfortunately, however, that is not the message our community is sending to single sisters – both those who have never been married, and those who are now divorced. When I speak to many women and ask them about the ways they want to contribute to society and the ways they want to use their time and abilities, a number of them will tell me that they have no idea and that they’re only going through the motions of school or work while they’re waiting for Prince Muslim to come along and with whom they can establish parenthood.
However, Prince Muslim is not coming along quickly or easily for many awesome, eligible Muslim women. And for some, he has come along, and he or the institution of their relationship turned out to be more villainous than harmonious. Single and never married or divorced — very capable and intelligent Muslim women constantly have to deal with the pressure of being asked, “So…when are you getting married? You aren’t getting any younger. It’s harder to have kids when you’re older.”
The amount of tears, pain, stress, anger and frustration which these awesome women are constantly dealing with because of a social pressure to get married (especially when many already want to, but are just not finding the right person!) and have children is not from our religion.
Islam gave women scholarship. Our history is filled with women who have dedicated their lives to teaching Islamic sciences. Have you ever heard of Fatimah Sa`d al Khayr? She was a scholar who was born around the year 522. Her father, Sa`d al Khayr, was also a scholar. He held several classes and was “most particular about [his daughters] attending hadith classes, traveling with them extensively and repeatedly to different teachers. He also taught them himself.”4 Fatimah studied the works of the great al-Tabarani with the lead narrator of his works in her time. You know who that lead narrator was? The lead narrator of Fatimah’s time was not named Abu someone (the father of someone, indicating that he was a male). The leading scholar of her time was a woman. Her name was Fatimah al-Juzadniyyah and she is the scholar who men and women alike would study under because in that era, she was the greatest and most knowledgeable in some of the classical texts.5 Fatimah Sa`d al Khayr eventually married and moved to Damascus and eventually to Cairo and she continued to teach. Many scholars travelled specifically to her city so they could study under her.6
Fatimah was brought up in a family that valued the education and knowledge of a woman to the point that her father was the one who would ensure she studied with scholars from a young age. Before marriage, she was not told to sit around and be inactive in the community out of fear that some men would find an educated woman unattractive or intimidating and would not want to marry her. She was not going through the motions of studying random things in college because she was stalling until she got married. She sought scholarship and Allah (swt) blessed her with a husband who was of her ranking, who understood her qualifications and drive, and who supported her efforts to continue teaching this religion even after marriage. She left a legacy we unfortunately have most likely never heard about because we rarely hear about the over eight thousand female scholars of hadith who are part of our history.7
Why do we never hear about Fatimah Sa`d al Khayr and the thousands of female scholars who were like her? I think that one of the reasons—and it’s just a personal theory—that as a community, we are so focused on grooming our women to be wives and mothers that we lose sight of the fact that this is not even our number one role.
Servitude to Allah (swt) is our number one role. We need to use what He has given us, the means that we have at the moment we have, to worship Him in the best of ways.
Islamic history is filled with examples of women who were wives and mothers, who focused completely on their tasks of being wives and/or mothers, and produced the likes of Imam Ahmed rahimahu allah (may God have mercy on him).8 We take those examples as a community and we reiterate the noble status of such incredible women.
But we also have examples of people who were not only wives and not only mothers, but those who were both of those, one of those, or none of those, and still were able to use the passions, talents and skills Allah (swt) blessed them with to worship Him through serving His creation, through calling His creation back to His Deen and leaving legacies for the generations to come. Some of these women were wives and mothers and dedicated their lives to focusing on their families completely and some of them continued to serve the greater society at large.
Shaykh Mohammad Akram Nadwi mentions in his introduction to his Dictionary of women hadith scholars, Al Muhadithaat, “Not one [of the 8000 female hadith scholars he researched] is reported to have considered the domain of family life inferior, or neglected duties therein, or considered being a woman undesirable or inferior to being a man, or considered that, given aptitude and opportunity, she had no duties to the wider society, outside of the domain of family life.”9
Female scholars in our history were focused on being family women when they had families to whom they held responsibilities, and when able, they also had goals and objectives in life which extended beyond the roles of wifehood and motherhood. So what about someone who is not yet married? Many single women are using their time to the utmost, focusing on improving their skills and abilities to contribute back to the ummah (community) and society at large. They are loving worshipping Allah (swt) through investing in their abilities and using those for the greater good. Perhaps we can all take from their example.
God, in His Wisdom, has created each one of us differently and in different circumstances. Some recognize this, love any stage they are in, and develop their abilities to the fullest. Let us, too, use the time and abilities God has given us to maximize our worship to Him and work for the betterment of society and humanity as a whole. If wifehood or motherhood comes in the process, then at least we were using all of our ability to worship Him before it came and can continue to use the training and stamina we gained before marriage to worship Him with excellence once it comes along.
If there are parents, families and communities that are pressuring women to get married and have kids: Be grateful Allah (swt) has blessed you with daughters, married or unmarried, mothers or not, as the Prophet ﷺ has said, “Do not be averse to daughters, for they are precious treasures that comfort your heart.”10 We are putting more pressure on our sisters than they can emotionally and psychologically handle. Let us give them space, let them find themselves and establish their relationships with Allah (swt).
Allah (swt) created us to worship Him. That is our number one role. Now, let us do our part and figure out how best we can fulfill the purpose for which we’ve been created.
- Al Bayhaqi [↩]
- Al-Nasaa’i [↩]
- Qur’an, 51:56 [↩]
- Nadwi, Mohammad Akram, Al Muhadithaat, Interface Publications, (2007): pg. 93. Print. [↩]
- Ibid [↩]
- Nadwi, Mohammad Akram, Al Muhadithaat, Interface Publications, (2007): pg. 95. Print. [↩]
- Nadwi, Mohammad Akram, Al Muhadithaat, Interface Publications, (2007). Print. [↩]
- The Code of Scholars, Muhammad Alshareef. EmanRush, 2008. CD [↩]
- Nadwi, Mohammad Akram, Al Muhadithaat, Interface Publications, (2007): pg. XV. Print. [↩]
- Al Haythami, Majma al zawaid, vii. 286, as cited in Al Muhadithaat. [↩]
JazakAllah khayr for the reminder. I actually had thought that the opposite problem was more rampant – sisters and brothers putting off marriage because of education. Now that I think of it, though, I can recall a sister or two that just “wanted to get hitched.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that 🙂 You’re right, we should remember our sole purpose of being is to worship Allah. Everything else is secondary.
May Allah help us all find the middle road!
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I love you Maryam <3 This article is GENIUS. 🙂
Jazakallah khair for this amazing post I can’t thank you enough for writing this because this was just what I needed. I was born with a rare disabillity and now that I’ve turned 20 I have started to worry about whether anyone would want to marry someone like me. This beautiful article has really encouraged me to just focus on my studies and leave the rest to Allah (swt)
May Allah bless you sister! May Allah grant you more blessings than you deserve and reward you for your strong faith and devotion to Allah. Indeed there are more honors in this world than *only* marriage. May Allah bless us, provide us with the best, & give us much success in our respective fields, Ameen!
“Allah (swt) did not create women for the sake of wifehood or motherhood. This is not our first goal, nor our end goal. Our creation was to fulfill our first and most important role—to be His SLAVE.”
JazakumAllahu Khairon for saying it out loud!
YES TOTALLY AWSOME!!!!!!! JAZAKAllah alf alf alf khair i honestly want to send this article to like everyone that i know lol!!!!!!!! The article totally spoke to my heart
seriously awesome quote. mashaAllah. may Allah reward you for bring the truth to the surface 🙂
Yes, the statement is true, but it is true of many other things. This statement is just as true: “Allah did not create women for the sake of higher education.” And this statement: “Allah did not create women for the sake of becoming hadith scholars or to lead armies or to…” Of course, Allah created women (and men) first and foremost to be His slaves and worship Him, but we all know that ‘worship’ in Islam can be anything you do that conforms to the Sharia and is done for the sake of pleasing Allah. So being His slave can mean getting married just as much as becoming a hadith scholar.
I think the point should be that, just because you aren’t or can’t get married, that doesn’t mean you can’t be fulfilled and honored as a servant of Allah. But it certainly shouldn’t be inferred that marriage is something other than being a servant of Allah.
The article was not intended to make that inference in any way, at all. I would recommend re-reading it.
jazak Allahu khayran,
Subhaannah you know this is exactly what lots of girls are going through especially where I’m from in the west .girl have hit 20-27 and lots are still not married but why stress it Allah swt oaths one who controls when and who if you believe that Allah swt knows the best for you then leave it up to him and be the best slave you can to him.I know where she is coming from being 22 and with the culture you should be married by that ,you know alhamdulliha I was thinking about when will it happen though I not once not kept in mind that Allah swt knows what’s best for me and he will give me what’s best. Then he bestowed upon me to seek more knowledge about the deen and live the prophet saw and the Quran so much which led me to becoming a better Muslim where I have submitted my whole life to Allah swt every second and truly my heart found it’s rest filled with happiness and love for Allah swt alhamdulliah ya rab what’s better than that .the rest concerning this dunya I leave upon him swt and I know he’ll always be there .
My apoligize this is off subject I have a question that I would like the complete research on can the website place a article concerning the types of bid’ah in Islam or is there one already . My main question is birthday in Islam Its been brought up alot deep inside I feel it is haram because it’s following what the kafireen do which the prophet saw warned us about that being one of the signs of the last day. Is it a bid’ah because I heard that it is though I also heard that the prophet saw fast on Monday because he was born on that day so is it really a bid’ah . As well as he fasts on Monday and Thursday’s because allah swt opens the heaven doors on those days. I then heard a lecture saying it may be ok to get together a week after or so. Is this one on the 30 Percent that the ulamah didn’t agree upon that’s what I figure whats your thought
it’s unfortunate that an article like this has to be published. marriage is not the end-all be-all for anyone, not even for muslims. but what can realistically be done with our parents’ generation? perhaps a storyline that depicts this terrible scenario should be inserted in some of the more popular soap operas? or maybe we just have to wait for it to die off.
at the end, know that every trial and tribulation is unique to a person no matter how difficult it may seem and in the end God is not oblivious of these trials.
this article is good and really helps remind women out there especially for love marrriages.And ,im only 16 but i donr know whether itll be best to gain education and knowledge higher or just sit and try to get marriages and children as i want both lol
maashaa`alaah, thank u so much.
my community is 100% needs this article, the girls are nothing if they are not married, i always new our goal of life is not only to get married and wait before that just sit but its hard if the people around you will never understand, i hope, i hope we understand our deen more inshaa`alaah.
LOVE it! Subhan Allah not only is it ridiculous to have these aims as our sole purpose in life, it will not give you fulfillment if it is without the purpose of attaining the love of Allah, which is attainable in hundreds of other ways.
However, one key point I think that was overlooked is that sisters (and brothers) obviously want to get married themselves, not only because of pressures.. but because this is the nature Allah swt created them with! This is not to say that they should marry and forget all else.. I think sisters who do this forget that end goal. But the other extreme is also rampant these days… why get married and stuck with kids and responsibilities? Worship Allah in other ways. Obviously both extremes pose a problem.. the key is the balance.. and like the author stated.. the variety of people, circumstances and personalities! Even if every person was to marry at say 18.. there would be a percentage who would never have children… a percentage who would divorce, or become widowed etc. And Allah is the best of planners!
This. Best comment on the article so far.
Brilliant MashaAllah! Love it! Just wish EVERYONE wud understand this!! jazakaAllah khair so much for writing this, inshaAllah it makes a difference!
*Jazaakllahu Khayrun* sister for sharing your thoughts and article.
It certainly made a difference in my life, even though many still may not share our opinions. 😉
~26 y.o. Muslimah, berated by society for not “entrapping an eligible husband”; to-be-doctor for the Muslim Women community, insh’llah!!
(and yes, making duaa for Allah to grant me my future spouse, whenever it is the will of Allah subhaanahu’wa’taala 🙂 )
🙂 x luv it! May Allah give you and those like you Taufiq!
Jaz for this article! Wallahi it was just what I needed, I was feeling really down about being unmarried and over 25. May Allah guide me to a great purpose in life, marriage or otherwise.
This was a brilliant article, as the only way to improve the condition of a nation is through the improvement of it’s women. The day that we will start to regain the strength that we have lost as a nation will be the day that we understand that women are not baby machines but intelligent beings who deserve our respect and support to pursue careers especially in the Islamic Sciences that will benefit all muslims! Go on sisters, go on, Allah will be your guide!
Lol to baby machines, let us not forget 1000s of kids already exist and just need a home.
I take exception to labeling stay at home mothers as “baby machines” and placing this in opposition with “intelligent beings.” Mothers are actually some of the smartest, most capable people in the world– we are diplomats, educators, and counselors all rolled into one 🙂
That some women choose to work for various reasons is a different issue, but do not detract from a woman because she chooses to stay at home and have children, and raise them to be good Muslims under her watchful eye. No one can raise a child like its mother 🙂
thank you for this wonderful comment. i’m in medical school and love it, but the mothers are the true warriors out there that really don’t get much credit espcially in this career-oriented society.
Wonderful post, thank you for explaining that a woman’s role is not solely to be a wife or mother, although those are both great positions to have in life. Education and work are equally important and necessary and shouldn’t hinder the intelligent and driven Muslimahs to achieve their dreams, contribute to the world and better humanity!
MashAllah great article. However it should be noted, many times many brothers are intimidated by very educated women, especially those who are much more educated than they are, because they fear that their wife will not listen to them and since she has a masters, phd, doctorate, etc she will be more career-oriented and have family and having kids as a distant 2nd priority. Of course this is not always true but many times brothers can feel this way, and many of us who are more conservative want a wife who will have her marriage, her kids and the household as her first priority and then her career but the highly advanced degree implies otherwise.
Thanks for being honest brother…I would just like to make a comment…household chores are taking alot less time now-a-days because alot of our domesticated duties are taken over by technology we have washing machines,dryers, dishwashers, rice cookers, pressure cookers ect. What i have noticed ALOT with the idealised ‘stay at home mothers’ that i know is that they have too much free time and they use it watching TV, that isnt going to benefit the children is it? So whilst the kids are at school and with the help of grandparents women CAN work and still make excellent wives, and role models of hard workers for the kids too! Ya Allah please bless our muslim men with some insight and allow them to see the excellence in highly educated women!
I think that such brothers are missing out on a great sister…if they encourage their wife and is a factor to the great amount of success she achieves wouldn’t he also share that success in the sight of Allah? We have sisters who are always supportive of the dreams and aspirations of their husbands but not the other way around and this is so unfortunate because this is what is causing the number of women scholars to decrease. When the value of the sister is no longer in what she can contribute to society but rather superficial and rigid standards of a woman needing to be beautiful and devoted to the family only. Sister’s are the most dedicated and hardworking in so many dawah projects…brothers instead of feeling intimidated encourage the sisters please! We are not such selfish and blind human beings who don’t understand that our priorities are our family members. Even though I work, go to school full time, and volunteer…the majority of my time goes to worrying and being in servitude of my family members. Allah knows our hearts…empowering the sisters means empowering the ummah! Marry for the sake of Allah with the one who will benefit you the most and raise you to be more than you thought you would be.
With all due respect brother, if that is the type of bride you require, then by all means find her. I think the tone of this article, however, is to remind sisters to not base their worth solely on the goals of wifehood and motherhood, and also not to waste or put off their intellect in pursuit of a man who has not turned up yet. Fear of intimidating a man by your intellect is not really a promising prospect for marriage. Instead, why don’t our brother’s go out and make sure they are prince enough to marry our princesses? Islam needs highly educated wives and husbands. Aspire to greatness, not mediocrity
Sister, It is my personal opinion, from the men I have seen, that the type of man who is “intimidated” by an educated wife is the type that will never tell his wife where he is, look to her for advice, or be a good example for his sons. That type of man is best avoided. He won’t respect you for who you are. Of course, there are also women who have higher education and forget about fulfilling half of their deen. But those are few and Allah knows best. Maybe the reason single sisters are not married is so they can become doctors who will help people who are sick, or architects who will design houses, or so they can work at their local homeless shelter, providing moral support to people who need it, and volunteering their time. An unmarried women should never fear going to school because a hypothetical potential husband wouldn’t want her educated. She shouldn’t even be looking for a man who wants to limit her potential, and education is highly encouraged in islam. When I studied the rights of a husband and wife, the husband is supposed to choose a wife who is educated so she can teach their children; so who is a man who instead looks for the opposite in a potential spouse than what Allah has prescribed him? Just a thought.
@Abdullah, there are a lot of fallacies in your argument. You claim that an advanced degree “implies” that someone (a woman) would prioritize career over family, but don’t men get advanced degrees? So does that mean all these men prioritize career over family? Your logic is specious. You also claim that educated women “will not listen”; so you are saying that uneducated women are more obedient. Actually, the opposite is true: uneducated women aren’t able to reflect and ponder deeply, so they are less likely to value and respect a wise and good husband. Moreover, how can an uneducated woman teach the children, manage the household finances and advice her husband when he wants support? An uneducated woman doesn’t have the skills to be a good mother or wife. If a man is himself smart and successful, he wants someone compatible with him. It is only a man who has himself achieved very little in life who feels intimidated or threatened by a smart woman– and he doesn’t deserve one anyway.
Love your comment sister! 😉
Masha’Allah Brother Abdullah, you are absolutely right. Men need to be needed, and they need feel that they are stronger, and ‘more’ than their wives are, it’s part of what makes a man a man.
Everyone can see by the responses to your statement that so many women today haven’t even begun to understand how to be a wife, because they don’t even know what a man is, they still think men and women are the same creature.
Part of what makes a wife a good wife is being humble enough to make her husband feel like he’s “more”, even when she IS stronger in some areas.
@Aisha @Maryam B @Nada I completely agree with this article especially since I have a sister who is still unmarried and we are worried about her. But I’d like to point out that i’m sure the intent was not male bashing as some of you here have misunderstood. Brother @Abdullah merely pointed out an insight into what men are like, he did not say that it was his opinion. By arguing with him you are only shutting off the truth. I agree with him too coz being a man we know what men want. And men got that feeling coz majority of educated women gave men a tough time. It got worse when women had jobs where their earnings were more than men. How many times have you heard a divorce because the man is more educated or earns more? Almost None! How many proposals of unmaried men does a 34 year old women get compared to a 24year old? Almost None! Age matters right? Talk all you want but the point @MARYAM AMIR-EBRAHIMI is making is not for male bashing or finding faults in the society but it is to give confidence to women who have not got married yet even though they tried and are worried that they cant make it to Jannah. Let me end this by directing the same question to you women that is “How many women are willing to marry a man who is less educated and earns lesser than her?”. I really appreciate what @Maryooma and @Fathima say and its women like these that can change the stereotype.
“many times many brothers are intimidated by very educated women”
Really? Does anyone else find this true? As an unmarried Muslim brother, I can say for myself and most of the other brothers in my peer group that we would have a major problem marrying an UNeducated woman. I’m not looking to get married yet, but when I do insha’Allah, at the MINIMUM, I’d be looking for someone with postgraduate education, at least a masters if not a professional degree or doctorate.
Then again, maybe it depends on what your family situation is? Myself and my friends come from families where our mothers are highly educated to begin with (physicians, engineers, etc.) and those who stay at home did so AFTER finishing a fairly high level of education.
I’m happy to see that there are some brothers who think like that!
I would argue there are more than some brothers who think like that. In my experience (limited though it is) the majority of brothers would echo my sentiments.
Jazakallahu for what an inspiring piece of writing! I would certainly recommend all fathers to read this. Even though my parents never have pressured me to get hitched, but I feel sorry for my friends who are being pressured by their parents and society and my friends who pressure themselves to wait for the right man so things will start to fall into pieces.
Salam, Unfortunately, pretty sure our community is not ready to accept a message like this. They’re still living with the traditional view that being a wife and mother is the pinnacle of being a good Muslimah. To the detriment of our Ummah.
While this is a good article, I do think it leaves out major, major reasons why “Marriage” is a big concern in our communities and why young people are pressured as such. So many young Muslim men and women are falling in to emotional relationships with non-mahrams, sometimes even with people from other faiths or no faith at all. A lot of these same people are taking a step further in to the haram. Fornication has become a great problem for the youth today, and yes, I am referring to Muslims.
The causes for the emotional/physical relationships are many, but the major ones are in my opinion:
1. The amount of sexuality the youth are exposed to in today’s society is just unbelievable. Even from a young age, kids 3 and 4 see Disney cartoons about a prince or princess falling in love, kissing, hugging, and why that is the greatest thing to happen for the cartoon characters. As these little kids grow up, this sweet ‘Platonic’ love which they see in TV is changed to something more physical as they begin to watch PG-13 shows.
2. When young people have been exposed to so much of brainwashing with regards to “love and sex”, and when they have no halal means (i.e. they are still not married), they may fall in to haram relationships, and indeed the pressures are great. This outlet is easy, especially when a young man and a young women are both looking for love and attention.
It really makes me upset, but it is like almost every month I hear the story of some sister or brother who got in to some relationship, and things became public through Facebook or whatever. My point is these things are very very common today in our society of Muslims in the west.
Obviously there are good brothers and sisters who are far removed from these sins, but there is an equal number who are not.
So parents, and the community fear that if their daughter or their son is not married off and in a halal relationship, they may fall in to a haram relationship; worse yet, this may become public. And in the age of Facebook where people do not have the common sense of what to post and what not to post, unfortunately, lot of these things are becoming public. Although this may not be that big of a problem for guys (for whatever reason, society lets men go easily), but this may ruin the reputation of sisters making it difficult for them to get married afterwards.
Hence, for such reasons, the family may exert great pressure for marriage, as a barrier against the common unfortunate happenings around us.
In a Hadith, Prophet (peace be upon him) has said,
“O youthful people, if any of you have the means to, he should get married, as it lowers the eyesight and protects the private parts. Those who have not the ability to do so should fast, as it will be a shield for him.”
This was recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Meaning, even according to the Rasul, marriage should be done at young age (if possible) as it is a shield against societal evils (“get married, as it lowers the eyesight and protects the private parts”).
Please, I hope no one is offended by my long comments; but I just wanted to add something to the article which I think was missing.
Masha’Allah Tanim, this is exactly why we should marry as soon as we are mature. I’ve known 13 yr olds on their second baby (non-muslim of course). Marriage is our protection in a society and age of fitan.
(Of course I am referring to her a girl who had never been married yet)
Thank you for posting this as I too felt this was a missing element for this topic.
You made some very good points that need consdieration.
wa alaykum as salam warahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
May Allah reward you for providing an integral analysis to the issue! The article is focused on sisters who want to get married but can’t, so perhaps it doesn’t necessarily apply to the conversation here? Marriage is one of the greatest blessings on earth, AlhamdulilLahi Rabil`alameen and we know we should get married young, if that’s possible and works out for the person.
At the same time, that doesn’t work for everyone for whatever reason. So what do we say when addressing that real concern we have as a community?
Thank you very much for this great article. I like it very much.It has remind me to the great purpose in life and not only married will make us muslimah solehah. Thank you again and may Allah bless all muslimah.
A very relevant article that exactly echos my thoughts on this issue!
Mothers should raise their daughters to contribute to the ummah whether they marry/have children or not. Marriage and children are a coveted blessing, but as you said, they are not the primary reason for which women were created.
The first and foremost purpose of life is worship and servitude to Allah, no matter what stage of life a person is in, or what their gender is. Also, gaining Islamic knowledge is an obligation!
JazakAllah Khayr for this article sister! I’m going to print it out… make my mum read this… and then coerce her to share around with others at her school who brain wash her, in order to spread the word in hopes that maybe one life may be changed from reading this. Sadly, in our society, culture takes precedence over religion – and religion is mostly followed in a monkey see monkey do manner as opposed to picking up the book and figuring some things out for yourself… inshaAllah, may we all find out trials made easier – and find peace and contentment in this life and the hereafter – Ameen.
As for some people who have voiced their concerns over wives who may be well qualified… perhaps we need to remember how our Prophet pbuh dealt with his 1st wife, (may she be blessed), and try to emulate his (pbuh) ways… It would surely be a beautiful world of muslims, if we were to follow our Rusool’s (pbuh) way’s – men learning from him and women from his wives, inshaAllah. In that balance, life would find a blessed balance too, or so I believe… Allah swt Knows Best.
I have heard this over and over again that a married woman cannot work if her husband doesnt give her permission. Is this true ?
Yes, this is true. But you should ask a scholar why.
Farah, from Dr.Jamal Badawi’s book, “Gender Equity in Islam”:
“With regard to the woman’s right to seek employment, it should be stated first that Islam regards her role in society as a mother and a wife as her most sacred and essential one. Neither maids nor baby sitters can possibly take the mother’s place as the educator of an upright, complex-free and carefully-reared child. Such a noble and vital role, which largely shapes the future of nations, cannot be regarded as “idleness.” This may explain why a married woman must secure her husband’s consent if she wishes to work, unless her right to work was mutually agreed to as a condition at the time of marriage.”
This is an issue you should openly speak about with a potential suitor to ensure you’re both on the same page, whatever that page may be, once you’re married, before kids and after kids.
I’d also recommend researching this topic further and as Sr.Cheryfa mentioned, speaking to local scholarship, Muslim marriage counselors and people of knowledge who can inshaAllah give you a greater understanding of the issue.
wa Allahu `alam
And mashallah , wonderful piece 🙂
Brilliant article Jazakiallahu khair.
The Ummah are not going to rise again unless the society understand that women’s role is not solely to be a wife or mother, although those are both great positions to have, education and contribute in society are important and necessary.
You being conservative has nothing to do with your wife. Don’t confuse religion with culture and tradition. As this article clearly notes, one can be conservative and support higher achievements.
This article isn’t written by a scholar, so using it as proof against Brother Abdullah is moot. I didn’t find anything ‘cultural’ about what he said, he was merely making a valid point about the nature of men; their fitra. His statement about conservativeness DOES come from an islamically correct position. These things ARE a woman’s primary concern, they are what Allah will ask her about, not about her career or her degrees.
Sister I’m a bit confused with your idea of being conservative. A sister who wears niqab and comes from a family of really conservative people who do not like intermixing between the brothers and sisters and are pretty rigid in their fiqh, is in school to finish her degree with the support of her mother-in-law and husband who drops her off and picks her up everyday while still being the mother to two young children and with one on the way. Her husband by the way would be less then her in education when she finishes her degree. But they don’t see anything wrong with the women being more educated. Getting secular education does not diminish her in being conservative. At the end of the day shouldn’t everything be for the sake of Allah? Shouldn’t you be getting your education to do something good for His sake and try to please your husband and take care of your children for His sake alone? Any way I think the brothers can look to the example of Rasulullah(SAW) and even Omar(RA)…they took it easy when their wives didn’t obey them or argued with them. Don’t make choices in your life in fear of someone disobeying you but live it with Ihsan as if Allah(AWJ) is watching you and you are fearful of His displeasure. If your wife argues with you or doesn’t obey you then still act in the manner that Allah wants you to. If a husband is really good to his wife then I don’t understand how a wife in her right mind would deny him of anything! And lets not forget Rasulullah’s hadith of the “best of you are those who are the best to your wives”(Tirmidhi). I think this article is clear our primary focus is worship to our Guardian Lord alone. And worship to Him is to be a good mother if we are one, a good wife if we are one, and to devote our life into doing things that really benefit society. I think if sisters are going for higher degrees they should make their intention to benefit others for the sake of Allah. And once they are married and have kids that should be their priority. Can you not have a family and still be involved in groundbreaking work on the side? I don’t see why not! And Allah knows best!
Much needed article, jazaakAllahu khairun. Inshaa’Allah the many women and men seeking marriage and the ones who are already married renew their intention to please Allah and seek His reward, because there are some who view marriage as a fairy tale and not as a means of worship.
Marriage is a companionship to enjoin good and forbid evil. What has happened is quite the contrary, for example, some married couples stay up at night watching films instead of helping one another to pray qiyumul layl. In the Quran we are told to save ourselves and family from Hell-fire. What a great means by praying nawaafil. Marriage is also for those who have children to raise them up in a way that pleases Allah.
One can only please Allah if he/she has knowledge on the haram, halal and so forth. This journey of ours to marriage or beyond requires sincerity, knoweledge, patience and complete trust on Al-Khaaliq.
Allahu Akbar, This Article is a masterpeice!
JazakAllah khair Sister Maryam for bringing up these important points. I would like to add that a lot of times, for both men and for women, it is very difficult to find a halal profession, especially in America. That is why many women, like myself, left the working world and choose wife and motherhood because, out of fear of Allah, we want to avoid potentially questionable or outright haram sources of rizq, or force ourselves to work in environments that could be damaging to our iman, and consequently our families.
I love this article! Mashallah! I am one of these women! Converted too! Who endures pressure, not from my birth family who alhamdoulileh, value my progress and development as a happy woman before being a married one, lol, but from islamic family who also make me feel like I am getting old and need to marry just anyone who comes along! :O I have been told to not study too much, because it will discourage men, as if I am living for some pre-concieved notion of a man? Why would I want to marry this pre-conceived man who wants me to have nothing in my life but him? Allah ordained for us to follow what our lord wants for us! Not what sexist patriarchal cultures have! I do want to get married, inchallah, and love my future husband and future children inchallah, but I also feel I deserve to love my life and cultivate my dreams and not just busy myself in the meantime. I feel that by us women negating ourselves, and waiting and waiting for that man to sweep us off our feet makes us vulnerable and prey to the wrong man. Why would I want to marry a man who wants a woman with no passion who feels down on herself all the time and like her life has no purpose with out him? Does that not set our sisters up to be prey to potentially abusive men? Should we not encourage our sisters to grow to love themselves as they are, to develop their dreams and feel good and strong and stand tall and firm on their feet, so they are a serious, independant no-@%$$% kind of woman? Who will attract a mature intelligent no-#$%% kind of man? Did our Prophet (pbuh) not marry Khadija, who was a strong older entrepreneurial independant and working woman? Was she not the love of his life? Why does the islamic community teach women that the centre of your life is marriage, and you must do everything in your power to change and shape yourself to be the woman “that” elusive man wants? Be thin, be quiet, be beautiful, don’t speak too much, don’t be too opinionated, this is not islam, this is male chauvinism rearing its ugly head trying to disguise itself as being in line with islamic values.
Amazing piece and every fragment of it so well thought and articulated. Makes me grateful to have parents whose actually pushed me towards achieving great instead of thinking of marriage as the only way. Guess you don’t know what you have till it’s brought to your attention. Cheers sis
To begin, Jazakum Allahu Khyran for the beautiful history of our female scholars, but I have to object to your base assumption. Your entire premise is wrong. Woman WAS created to be a wife and a mother. This was the reason for Allah creating her from Adam, to be a comfort to him because he was lonely. She wasn’t created as he was, she is a part of him, and therefore IS fulfilling her primary purpose through marriage. Whether or not she becomes a mother is from Allah. The two are not equated. One is a choice, the other is a blessing. You have some valuable observations in your article, but they are used as proofs against women rather then complimentary. No one gets a perfect life, and no woman gets a perfect marriage, but it is our duty to try our best to choose the best husband and father for our children, and to work within that environment to find fulfillment. If anything outside that role as his wife and mother of their children distracts from these roles, it is a detriment to the Ummah, not a blessing, irregardless of whether she has the ability or not. There are lots of times in a woman’s life when she can pursue scholarship or career which does not interfere with her primary role. It just takes patience and wisdom to discern the difference.
This sentence: “If wifehood or motherhood comes in the process, then at least we were using all of our ability to worship Him before it came and can continue to use the training and stamina we gained before marriage to worship Him with excellence once it comes along.”, is actually a backwards assumption. The main goal of a woman being marriage (and sequentially, motherhood), if opportunity to worship Allah by incorporating scholarship and service to the Ummah should present itself, then this is the bonus, not the other way around.
This is a subtle poison in our Ummah today, emulating the kufaar in pulling our women out of their homes and protections by convincing them that their primary roles are not good enough, not fulfilling enough, not using our full potential. Well, let me tell you, with a husband and several children to mother (yes, we mother our husbands!), everything outside takes so much of my time and energy that it makes my role of wife and mother more difficult. When I share myself outside my home, my family is strained, my house is not maintained at the same level and I am not balanced. It ALWAYS costs me and my family when my energies are spread out like that. I don’t understand why so many women don’t see how difficult it is to try to be good at both at the same time.
“JUST BECAUSE WE CAN DOESN’T MEAN WE SHOULD.”
I totally agree with sister Cheryfa – but I wouldn’t have agreed with her before having kids (and I believe the authors and most of the posters don’t have kids yet :). As an American convert, I was raised in a totally different way than most Muslim-raised Americans, raised to pursue a life in which marriage and motherhood were “distant possibilities” along the path of seeking a career (the opposite of the author’s observation that “as a [Muslim] community, we are so focused on grooming our women to be wives and mothers that we lose sight of the fact that this is not even our number one role”). After my conversion, marriage and motherhood of 2 young kids, I wish that I had been more groomed and prepared for marriage and household management – the most important source of stability and happiness in the world! The excessive pressure on sisters to marry IS bad, especially if the options are few or undesirable, but from my perspective, you should thank Allah that you have been raised in a traditional society that values the family, and the woman’s primary role as wife and mother, sees it as something that is valuable and good for you. I didn’t get that sort of fitrah-based upraising, but alhamdolillah, that’s one of the main reasons why I accepted Islam – because I saw that Islam encourages and values the role of the mother and wife. I agree with the article’s main premise that a woman should always be engaged in genuinely valuable knowledge and deeds throughout her life, especially when she is single and has more time, as opposed to just waiting for marriage. Of course, she should be building herself up spiritually for that new frontier of life. But when kids come, unless one has a ton of extended family around, having the mother at home is such a blessing. There are errands to be run, children to be shuttled, meals to be prepared… and for those who have mentioned only working “when the kids are in school,” remember that each kid takes about 4-5 years at home before going to school – that’s a lot of years off of work, just to be realistic. I’m not trying to be a downer, but for many women, trying to juggle work and family is just too much stress and strain on the body, mind, kids, family dynamic, and home life. There’s nothing more calming and beautiful for kids and a husband than knowing that someone is making a home for them – believe me, I know, because it’s something I didn’t have as a kid and always wished for.
Assalamu Alaikum Sister Asma,
I completely understand where you’re coming from. I have the same upbringing as you, as a convert from Scottish/Canadian background, I was without a mother in my house for most of the day. As a product of divorce, I was a product of single parenting no matter which home I lived in.
I used to be so lost when my friends would leave our playing and go home for dinner. I was hungry and lonely, and my home was not clean nor loving. I used to beg my friends to invite me to dinner so I didn’t have to go home or stay outside with no one to talk to.
I felt so inadequate because I didn’t excell in my education, I couldn’t pay my rent or keep a job for long to be self sufficient. At 17 I had to join the Army so that I wouldn’t be homeless and without a future.
My mother accomplished great things! She worked as a lab technician all day and studied university courses at night to get her degree. She eventually became the supervisor in the Histology Department at the largest Pathology Institute in the eastern half of the country.
Was it worth it? My brothers and I don’t even speak to each other anymore. Everyone is angry with each other. They don’t even accept my apologies and invitation to re-establish a relationship. My children don’t know their children.
This is the price of taxing women outside of their homes. It is all well and good to be educated before your children come, and it is essential for women today to understand the world they are raising their children in, but ultimately, if the mothers are distraced, their childen suffer beyond imagination.
wa alaykum as salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh Sr.Cheryfa,
I am so sorry to hear about the familial difficulties you had while growing up and the ways that impacted your adult life. I work with children in the inner city, who also experience similar situations, and I know that what they wish for is just to be with their parents and in a stable, comforting environment.
I have read through your responses and with complete respect, I think the article was mis-read or perhaps things were read into the article that were not intended to be there. Perhaps this is completely my fault because I assumed that individuals would understand who the target audience of this article was and I tried very hard to make it unambiguous to ensure that no one one misunderstood. I actually had 10 different people read through the article before publishing it to make sure it was clear, but AlhamdulilLah ala kuli haal, it seems that there was still quite a bit of misunderstanding.
This article is aimed towards sisters who have been searching for marriage, who want to get married, but are not yet finding marriage come along. This is not something in the hands of the individual; this is something Allah has decreed at the time and place that is right and for some, it’s not decreed at all.
It’s also geared towards families/communities that make those particular sisters seem like they have some type of problem for not being married yet. The bigger problem is that this is something not within the control of the sisters in the first place. In many communities I have interacted with, when a sister is up to 25 years old, it’s a familial shame that they are not yet married…but these sisters have been waiting and looking from years before…it just isn’t happening. These sisters come from backgrounds where they may have gone to college or may not have. They may have continued onto graduate studies or started working, or may have stayed home and helped with the house. Some are very engaged in worshiping Allah externally and internally, some do not feel that connected. They do not come from one specific background; there is nothing we can point at specifically and say, “THIS” is their problem.
What we can say is that this is a reality that many of our communities are facing and we can figure out the steps we need to take so that we can inshaAllah help our sisters feel validated that their struggles are not in vain and are not unheard, and to feel empowered that they are truly worth so much and have so many abilities to worship Allah through so many other routes if marriage is not yet or not at all destined for them.
Many sisters who I have spoken to are just waiting to get married, with no other objectives in life. I understand that you believe that this is the primary objective in a woman’s life, and inshaAllah I’m going to address that in another comment. However, the reality is that if we have a plethora of women just waiting for someone charming to come along, it creates a problem:
What if he doesn’t come along? This is the reality for many sisters, already entering their mid-thirties and older. What benefit would having had no objectives be for their lives? In that time, they could have memorized the entire Quran, or become a trained teacher for an Islamic school, or a doctor for impoverished communities or anything else which could benefit themselves and their societies. My point with the examples mentioned above is that this was a legacy we have had in our past.
If he does come along, Alhamdulilah! She can now use all she has worked on before marriage- the stamina she has gained, the knowledge she has gained, to contribute back to her marriage and inshaAllah teach her own children.
I tried to make those points very clear in the article, but I understand that every person is coming to the article with a different context and those experiences would shape the way they understood the message of this article, even if those messages were actually opposite of what was intended.
I didn’t put more emphasis on the fact that wifehood and motherhood are two of the best and most important roles- for those who are wives and mothers- because, as I mentioned in the beginning, I thought we all knew the weighty status of those roles [as mentioned in the two hadiths cited]. Perhaps it was my mistake to not be more explicit, although I thought I was. InshaAllah next time, I will make sure to be more clear and will ensure to include that this is an issue which concerns some communities, not all, especially not on an international level.
May Allah forgive me for my shortcomings.
Jazaki Allahu khayran for taking the time to read and respond.
Asalaamalaikum Warahamt ALLAH Dear Sister Cheryfa,
With all due respect. The purpose of Allah creating men and women is no other than to worship Him Alone. Not all women are appointed marriage, motherhood and therefore your assumption that we were created to have those roles does not apply for all of humanity, nor is it fair to proclaim that because Allah obviously does not appoint all believing women marriage, nor does Allah appoint all believing women motherhood. Please be reminded of the MANY women in our Islamic History who were NOT married, NOT mothers, divorceded, widowed and the like yet neither Allah nor Rasullilah salAllah alayhee salaat wasallam condemn them to failure as their societies have and sadly still do today. The article is not stating that marriage should be overlooked or avoided. Nor is the article saying that being a mother and wife are unimportant. On the contrary, it validates that, but it recognizes the true teachings of our religion that the most important role for women to play is being a servant of Allah through following of the Quran& Sunnah because this life is about striving. What is truly detrimental to the Ummah is when there are people who judge a woman based on whether she is married or not or how many children she has carried in her womb. It is understood as your perspective stands that certainly IF a woman is married and a mother that distraction from these roles may certainly be a detriment to the Ummah as you say. HAVING said that, women have multiple roles and our rich Islamic History provides database of proofs- married with children- single without and everything in between. This article was not to belittle the importance of marriage, nor was it to take away the value of being a wife. It was provided to demonstrate and validate that being a woman, a strong Muslimah for the sake of Allah- that there is NO other role or duty that is as important as being a female servant of Allah which may very well be attainable through marriage or without. MANY women do not get married. Many women do not have children. Many women live their lives caring for their elder parents or siblings with disabilities. Many women are not appointed by their Creator for a suitable husband who will care for them with respect, this may also be a source of protection from Allah from them. Allah holds our plans & the one thing Allah tells us to do repeatedly in the Holy Quran is to worship, worship, worship Him. Marriage should not be intentionally avoided, but it should not be the most sought out thing in a woman’s life. Allah should be because although Allah created a woman to have several roles- to be a wife, a mother..Allah also created a woman to be a neighbor, a friend, and for many- a professional who can give back to society. Alhamdulilah we are women, and that Allah has entrusted us with such precious roles. None of us can be complete in every whelm but this life is not Jannah, and its not supposed to be. There is beautiful diversity in Islam and so long as we strive in the worship of our Creator according to the correct teachings of our deen..then inshaAllah we’re good and should put our trust in Him as Im sure dear sister you must know. if He wills that we should be mothers, wives or just sisters in Islam in this process of life…so long as we are striving towards whats prescribed in our deen..then just need to throw in the trust factor and do not look down upon anyone who is unmarried..because it can be that those unmarried sisters in the corner of the masjid have a higher place in the hereafter that we married sisters chasing our kids around can only imagine…our long term goal is to worship Allah & Allah chooses the best ways for us to do it, sometimes Allah refrains marriage because its best for ones eman during the stage of life they are in, and sometimes its just the opposite. this is with the wisdom of Allah. may Allah reward you for the best of your intentions and may Allah guide us all to what pleases Him the most- so we never undermine what the true purpose of our lives is as prescribed by Allah and taught by Rasullilah salAllahu alayhee wasallam. Ameen.
well said sister
This is FANTASTIC! thank you SO MUCH for posting this. I’m soo glad I read it! xx
@Abdullah, maybe men should not be so insecure? Especially conservative men. Perhaps they should contribute to their marriage and family in non-financial ways. I’m sure you know that in Islam, women are not *required* to cook, clean, etc.?
The suggestion that women should remain uneducated simply to avoid hurting the delicate egos of men is preposterous. Perhaps it’s the men who need to change. In fact, I’m pretty certain of it. After all, what woman really wants a man who’s so childish and insecure that he wouldn’t marry her simply because she’s educated?
Whoa whoa whoa Sister, let’s not assume Abdullah is representative of “conservative” men. All my friends who are bearded, attend the masjid regularly, and participate in Islamic work, would despair of marrying an uneducated woman because they wouldn’t have an intellectual equal.
Honestly, if you look at the guys who say that they’re “intimidated” by smart women, they’re the ones who are uneducated to begin with, barely getting by in college, if that. So really, it’s just them making more excuses for the failure they are at life. I’d wager (if it was halal, of course) that if you probed their understanding of the deen as well, you’d find it superficial and lacking any intellectual depth as well.
“After all, what woman really wants a man who’s so childish and insecure that he wouldn’t marry her simply because she’s educated?” Nailed that one on the head. Agree 100%.
Jazak-allahkhair for this beautiful post.may allah bless u!
it simply resonated with what i have been telling my sis for long.
kudos to u!
Though its right to say that Allah(swt) has created all of us to worship him and the best way for a women to worship the creator is to fulfill the prime duties that has been assigned to an individual. Women by design have been created to be wife and mother. It does not mean that they can not adopt any profession like being a teacher or scholar or scientist. Just like men who are made to become husbands and father but have to adopt a profession.
Misguiding women to continue education at the expense of their primary role is not advisable.
Excellent Article !
With all due respect, I think you read things into this article that do not exist. Please re-read the article with an open mind and without pre-conceived notions. There is no mention of putting education or a career as an expense to marriage or motherhood. Education and other ambitions should only enhance a woman’s ability in marriage and motherhood IF marriage and motherhood is decreed for them.
this article saved me so much tears and negative feelings. SubhanaAllah. thank you. may Allah bless you. you have no idea how grateful i am for this reminder that Allah loves me as long as i am His worthy slave, not only if i am a wife or mother. some are lucky, some of us, we could only see and share the joy.
I seriously question characterizing our Mother Aisha as a commander with regards to the events surrounding Uthman’s (r) death. The idea that battle hardened warriors like the Arabs of those days, especially people like Abdullah ibn Zubair, Talha, etc., who had knowledge of warfare and combat down to an art, would be “lead to battle” by a woman who rarely emerged from her home is laughable and doesn’t make any sense. Despite the fact that American Ulama are pushing this narrative with regards to her role in these events, i’m convinced her participation in these events was for purposes other than leading an army to fight.
I was taught that Aisha didn’t lead the army, but was rallying Sahaba to Jihad. Whether she was correct or not in this action is for the scholars to debate.
I agree with Umar, this is a very dangerous and slippery slope from which to call women by example.
Aisha wasn’t blessed with children, this was Allah’s decree. It allowed her the time to dedicate to teaching the Ummah. Other wives were knowledgable too, but didn’t teach to the same degree as Aisha did. Does that mean that Aisha was a better woman? No, it means that the other wives had more important responsibilities in taking care of their children, and didn’t allow serving the Ummah to the same degree as ‘Aisha to take precedence over their time while their children were young.
Sorry sis but there is a huge miscalculation in your argument…you forgot or perhaps don’t know that all of the children that Rasulullah(SAW) had were from Khadijah(RA) with the exception of one or two of his sons. Also that the last of his children to pass away was Fatimah(RA) six months after him, he had no offspring that lived long and Allah knows best the wisdom behind that. So what children are you speaking of? Perhaps from previous marriages of theirs? Check up on this before you give it as a reason.
I think this is a valid point worth exploring more, in trying to find the correct balance with our role as women, wives and mothers, All slaves of Allah, we must recognize each element of the lives of Our Mother’s in this Deen……how many of the Sahabiat married at young ages, were there any who put off marriage to pursue an education or career? While they were scholars, where and how did they receive their education, and if they owned businesses or a profession how was it carried out in public? and dont mistake me for having the answers to these questions, but more I am seeking to have these questions answered, and I beleive that we all should be seeking these answers FROM those who have the proper knowledge so that we can be slaves of Allah first and foremost before anything else. Allahu Alim.
This is a wonderful article , MashaAllah
May Allah bless you for writing it 🙂
From all the comments here, it seems a lot of sisters have a perception that brothers are intimidated by their education. Just as a request, can we have a poll for the brothers on this site to see if that’s true? Before we keep on discussing reasons behind that, why don’t we at least try to ascertain if it’s true or just a comment by ONE guy?
If it’s not, then maybe we can see what the real reason behind not marrying the sisters is? Just as a list of things my friends have quoted (I’m not saying I agree or that they’re true, just what the brothers say) are: Being annoying, immature, not willing to sacrifice even when the brother is willing to reciprocate elsewhere, being self-centered, and superficial.
If it is true, then let’s ask the questions, why aren’t the brothers getting advanced education and why are the sisters so worried about getting married to a brother who doesn’t value her for her intellect? Let him stay unmarried and get married to one of the many brothers who will value you for your intellect.
Ok, it’s not letting me repost it correctly. It was meant to be in reply to Br. Abdullah’s statement up above.
From the beginning till the end, I could only cry. Lovely article, one that was very much needed. Jazakillahu Alf Alf Khair.
jazak’allah khair for posting this brilliant article!
i am in a similar situation – going through the motions of life waiting to meet my future husband, insha’allah. many married sisters i know are also very cruel, jealous, and mean to the single sisters too because they are in unhappy marriages, and often fail to help us because they don’t want us to marry a brother better than their husband (sigh, how absurd), as they do not realize they will get reward in helping us too.
may allah (swt) help us all get married to the man we are meant to be with in this world, insha’allah.
I believe it is a good article for bringing home to those individuals who always thinking marriage or parenthood as an ultimate goal of life. One thing that the author ignored, that is regarding men, it is not only happening with women also happening with men. Although degree varies as compare to women and secondly, men are less conscious about their marriage since they are not women like in their attitudes.
Great idea! The “marriage crisis” some have dubbed in many communities is a two-fold problem. Why don’t you write an article focusing on men?
A much needed article for me. Thanks.
Never too late! Ameen!
I like your article, though i realise that i don’t know aisha that well. Was she a commander of an army? Wow..She must be a strong woman.
[…] status of wifehood and motherhood in Islam. We all know that marriage completes half your deen1 and that the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) has told us about the mother, “[…] Paradise is at […]
As an Asian American Muslim who has been immersed in several different ethnic communities, I beg to differ with the premise of the article. In discussing Islamic teaching with regards to women’s education and employment, it is important to differentiate between the normative teachings of Islam and the diverse cultural practices among
Muslims. Over the years certain pre-Islamic customs have reappeared and gained a foothold in the Islamic community . Cultural customs that deny women equality have become entrenched in the Muslim culture to the point where they are often accepted as Islamic rules. Yet, many of the
customs or rules adhered to today cannot be found in any Islamic texts. The push for marriage for women is much more prevalent and prominant among certain ethnic groups who happen to be Muslims. For example, in Pakistani, Indian, and to a lesser degree Yemeni culture there is a push for marriage in lieu of a career for women regardless of their religion. A close graduate school friend who is an Indian American Muslim dreaded visiting India because she, at the time, was 25 and not married nor engaged. She was content and fulfilled with her life and studies. However, her “aunties” were constantly mentioning the fact that she was not married or engaged and that she was getting “old.” This is cultural and not based nor derived from Islam. In my ethnic/religious community, Chinese American Muslims, the opposite is true. The women usually are told and encouraged to delay marriage and motherhood until a graduate degree is obtained and they are well established in their careers.
Subhan Allah! Jazak Allahu khayran for your perspective. I really appreciate you bringing this to the commentary because I realized how off I was in making an international assessment based on just a handful of large communities of which I have been a part. InshaAllah next time, I’ll be much more specific. You’re right, I was definitely gearing this article towards communities which come from Muslim-majority countries and establish in the United States.
Ahhh, as a wife and mother who was extremely active in my community before marriage, I totally agree with the author.
While I did go through the phase of dreaming about Mr. Right (and then he actually came along, masha’Allah), but during that time, I actually cared more about my post-secondary education, my contribution to the community, etc. than about being a wife (I wasn’t too keen on the motherhood thing, lol, although alHamdulillah it happened to me anyway).
And seriously… way too many women, single and married, prevent themselves from fulfilling their true potential. In my case, a lot of factors contributed me to basically just “dying out”… after I moved to another country away from my family and community etc. and had my child, I just did not feel motivated at all to do anything. I’m still struggling to get myself out of this rut, and though I will not say I regret getting married, I do sometimes wish that I had waited just a leeeeeeeeeeeettle bit longer so that I could do things that I am unable to do now (again, due to various factors over which I have no control).
Also, many women think that marriage will give them “freedom”… freedom to do whatever they want, that they were unable to do in their parents’ home… let me tell you again, this is NOT so! Many will find that their parents’ home gave them more freedom to pursue the things THEY wish, and that their husband will request/ demand very different things that take up most of their time and will not always give them the opportunity to do what they want.
Reality check, girls and ladies… marriage and motherhood are all well and good, but they will require pretty much all your free time. Enjoy what you have as a singleton, and count it as a blessing from Allah!
“Enjoy what you have as a singleton, and count it as a blessing from Allah!” Love it!
jazaki Allahu khayran AnonyMouse for your feedback! I think it is also important to note that every marriage is different and the dynamics between the husband-wife relationship vary from couple to couple. It’s important to speak about these issues with a potential suitor in order to make sure that you’re on the same wave length for after marriage.
Thanks for the article, sister Maryam. You raise some excellent points. But I’m afraid the article may have more of a harmful effect than a positive one. One positive effect (as is evidenced by some of the comments) is that the sisters who are sincerely interested in marriage but haven’t had the good fortune of finding a good brother yet can feel better about themselves rather than feel that they are “failures.” Another positive is that sisters who are hoping to get married may be inspired to make the most of their time until that happens.
The negative, however, is that among many Muslims (in the West especially), young women who are already putting off marriage in favor of long professional education paths will be validated, while young women who have been taught that simply being a wife and mother provides plenty of purpose and fulfillment as a Muslim, even though it is not the be all end all per se, will feel inadequate. In the comments above, Tanim, makes the crucial point that marriage is vital in Western societies, especially early marriage, to protect our morality and deen. We need to do everything we can to promote marriage, not work against it by promoting other ideals. The practical approach of parents to encourage their children to marry may not always be the best, but the general principle is commendable and completely necessary.
The other source of confusion here is that the writer of the article is discussing the thousands of women hadith scholars or the mother of the believers Aisha who wasn’t a mother (not by her own choice I’m sure). The work of these women is tremendous, but the analogy doesn’t work when in reality we’re talking about women here who are pursuing careers in corporate law or cosmetic surgery, for example. It’s wishful thinking to equate one’s worldly career ambitions with a plan to “serve the umma.”
So at the end of the day, such an article is heartening to those sisters who have been sincerely hoping to find marriage and can’t, but to the majority of as of yet unmarried Muslim girls and women, it adds to the confusion and conflicting messages we’re putting out, about the relative values of playing a vital role in shaping a Muslim family and the role of a worldly career that can be imagined to “serve the umma” in some way, at the risk of facing the temptations of Western society while single.
Jazak Allahu khayran for taking the time to comment. I had no intention to encourage education/career OVER marriage/motherhood if marriage/motherhood come along for an individual in the right time/way. Unfortunately though, I understand that a number of people took that as the away message, even though I tried to be very explicit in what the overarching message was. I think there were some readers who read things into the article that do not exist, but inshaAllah I will be even more explicit next time.
Also, I humbly disagree with mentioning that the work of women mentioned does not hold weight when compared to contemporary women seeking careers in corporate law or cosmetic surgery. Each of those can be used for the greater societal good; the first, to ensure justice and the second, to help victims of severe fire burns or accidents look “normal” again and continue to live life without harm because of a disfigured appearance, for example. It is not wishful thinking to equate a career with serving the Ummah. It’s called working with knowledge and a strong relationship with Allah, using the talents Allah has blessed you with to give back to others. It just needs to be done within the guidelines Allah has set for us.
We need to broaden our understanding of what is permissible within the Shari`ah and not limit it to what we feel is “dunyawi”. If we can understand the axioms of the shari`ah and the guidelines set before us, I think our understanding of worship in general will broaden exponentially.
I would highly encourage an in-depth study of Usul ulFiqh for every Muslim who is interested in understanding how best we can practice Islam and live the principles of our texts in the west.
wa Allahu `alam
Thank you for this article, I am a college graduate, I hole a great job and i volunteer on weekends at a madressah. There are no short comings in my life, i am content to be a servant of God, alhumdulilah. If marriage happens, it happens. Thank you for reminding me that it is okay to be single and ambitious. We can take the best example from Khadijah (a.s.), the beloved wife of the Prophet, who was successful and ambitious before she was married, and used her wealth for the benefit of the Ummah. It is what I plan on doing, inshAllah.
With all due respect, sister, being “single and ambitious” is a really meaningless phrase. What do you mean by “ambition?” Obviously, in common western parlance, it implies having some sort of career or vocation where people make certain “achievements.” Why should marriage be seen as a lack of ambition and devoid of achievements? I think in your words (though I am admittedly reading a bit into them) there are some unstated assumptions, such as the notion that being a business owner and becoming wealthy is a measure of true success. That is obviously false. The only true success is that which comes from obedience to Allah, and the only worthwhile ambition is trying to obtain Allah’s pleasure, and none of this necessarily has anything to do with having a job or avoiding marriage. And marriage is an active process that a man and woman (and their families) willfully engage it; it’s not likely to just “happen,” especially if someone is perfectly content with being “single and ambitious.”
Also, Khadijah (r.a.) had been married before the Prophet (S) married her. I don’t know the history very well, but perhaps she could have inherited her wealth and business to some degree? I don’t know. But her greatest act (I believe, but Allah knows best) was to GET MARRIED to and actively support Allah’s final messenger, not remain “single and ambitious.”
If I misread your comments, I truly apologize for my response.
Assalamu Alaikum Sameer,
Khadijah WAS a widow who’s husband had left her wealth, which she continued in his business practices of being a merchant who took goods to Syria and brought goods back from Syria.
She didn’t actually take the camel caravan to Syria, she had her (elderly male) servant hire men for the job. In Muhammad’s case, she was aware of him and his reputation and asked her servant to hire him.
Subhan’Allah, it seems many of the sentiments expressed here show a condescending attitude towards “wifehood” and motherhood. You want to have a career sister, go ahead, but it irks me beyond anything to see sisters in the early stage of their life, literally having accomplished NOTHING meaningful, who so quickly dismiss their aunties and ablas who sacrificed more than you can ever know to get this community to where it is today.
“Fifty years ago, society told us that men were superior because they left the home to work in factories. We were mothers. And yet, we were told that it was women’s liberation to abandon the raising of another human being in order to work on a machine. We accepted that working in a factory was superior to raising the foundation of society—just because a man did it.
Then, after working, we were expected to be superhuman—the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect homemaker—and have the perfect career. And while there is nothing wrong, by definition, with a woman having a career, we soon came to realize what we had sacrificed by blindly mimicking men. We watched as our children became strangers and soon recognized the privilege we’d given up.”
With all due respect,the quoted passages that you gave have NOTHING to do with this article.That article is about skewed feminism.
Shes not saying woman should have a career and abondon the idea of having a family.
I meant to say that this article is not saying woman should have a career and abondon the family.
My comment is not addressed towards the article, so it’s little wonder that you find that it has “NOTHING” to do with the article. It’s directed towards the sisters who are commenting on the article.
You all girls are my sister, Insha-allah Allah will help u in this life and hereafter. Ameen
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Alhamdulillahi for this article. May Allah bless and guide the writer. You have really written on an important topic considering the widespread believe that women are just machines to produce children. I think women have all it takes to strive and succeed in all endeavors of life. Marriage is important, but must not be forced at the detriment of the woman’s pursuit for education and other religious endeavors. In Nigeria, especially in Northern Nigeria, there are problems of early girls marriage and other gender based problems. May Allah swt guide us through this turbulent times.
this what exactly this issue is talking about.
Ya’ll need to re-read this article. It’s obvious sr.Maryam is not saying anything about women’s roles not being important as wives or mothers. She says that over and over. She’s clearly talking about women who are not married yet doing something with their life until they get married, if that is naseyb. If it is naseyb, then she’s saying whatever women did beforehand then that will HELP them when they are taking care of their families.
She never said NEthing about being a mom or a wife as not important or inferior. Ya’ll need to calm down and re-read.
“Allah (swt) did not create women for the sake of wifehood or motherhood. This is not our first goal, nor our end goal.”
THIS is the statement that changes the tone of the entire article. Without this (and the misleading statements about Aisha (leading an army) and Khadijah (being a business woman of today’s standard)), the article would have been very positive and beneficial.
With these elements, the article becomes a defense argument for reducing the importance of our duty to marry and have children to a cultural anomaly.
You are entitled to your opinion and the way you interpret things. It is MERELY YOUR interpretation of the article. I read it and nowhere do I find any level of dismissal of a woman’s role as a wife and mother. I am not sure why you keep on bringing this up over and over in multiple comments. You have expressed your opinion, and perhaps you can take a break about now.
These days, I simply stay from married Muslim women. They are mean and say extremely hurtful things. The one makes me extremely angry is the insinuation that if you are a single woman, you are going to hell, and this article is precisely to address that concern… there are OTHER ways to go to heaven.
For whatever your situation is, marriage is NOT a choice. In fact, NOTHING is a choice. As human beings, we are humble enough to know how out of control life is. The point of this article is precisely that. You will NEVER be blessed with everything everyone else has, but you will be blessed with certain things.
USE YOUR BLESSINGS to serve the world/humanity which results in worshiping Allah. If that means you have the blessings of raising a family, then DO IT and do it with excellence. Be the best wife you can be, be the best mother you can be – God knows this generation needs mothers of excellence. But on the other hand, if you are lacking in that department, and you have the blessings of becoming a multimillionaire and setting up hospitals for the underprivileged, DO THAT. Be the best of the CEO or CFO, or the best surgeon the humanity has ever seen. But be that for the sake of Allah.
Whatever the path Allah has made easy for you, TAKE it with gratitude and and show your gratitude by serving.
With all due respect sister, you are reading too much into things, and quite frankly, who really needs it? I know the writer PERSONALLY and it simply hurts to see you misinterpreting her writings.
Sr.Cheryfa, jazaki Allahu khayran for taking the time to comment. I responded to you in earlier comments, so kindly take a moment to go back to the first page of comments and read it, if you have time. I think there is a lot of misunderstanding as to what objectives of this article and I’m afraid a lot of it was misread or things were read into it.
I had no intention to reduce the importance of marriage or having children. I specifically cited ahadith in the beginning to confirm our Islamic understanding of those roles.
This article is addressing the issue of sisters who want to get married, want to have children, have been wanting to get married, but for whatever reason are not married and thus, not having children. This article is focused on empowering sisters who communities very often look down upon simply because they are not married. This is not within their control; many want to get married and have been looking for years! So why demonize them for something they have no control of? Why not instead empower them and provide support for their abilities to contribute to the Ummah in other ways? If marriage comes, Alhamdulilah! They can use what they’ve learned to further their marriage inshaAllah and teach their children. If it doesn’t, Alhamdulilah! Allah has decreed that and they can be awesomely beneficial inshaAllah and use their lives to serve Him in other ways.
Secondly, just to clarify the role of women and why women exist. It was mentioned earlier that Hawa was created to be the companion of Adam and thus, women’s purpose necessitate being the companion to men.
For this, I would like to leave you with a response from a teacher of mine:
“Eve was no doubt created as a companion for Adam. This is not really a debate I think. Her purpose is to worship Allah, but her role was as a companion. The question is: Does Eve’s role automatically result in a mandate for all women. Thinking it is a mandate or a purpose of creation is an incorrect assumption.
The Prophet (saw) makes it clear that his Sunnah is to marry, and that women and men are to be supporters of one another, and that following this Sunnah is better than not following it. At the same time, the examples of Asiyah and Maryam and others, show that although there is an ideal of a Muslim family that we should all try to emulate, we are not defined by that family alone. The root of worship is a relationship with Allah (swt). All other relationships should ideally stem from this one. It may sometimes be the case that a person did not marry for one reason or another. This makes them no less in fulfilling their purpose of creation – to worship Allah.
Let us look at the example of Adam.
Adam was created to worship Allah, but his ROLE was to be the father of all mankind.
Does this result in a MANDATE that all men must be fathers to fulfill their purpose?
There are numerous examples of great scholars from the history of the Ummah, such as Imam an-Nawawi, al-Zamakshari, Bishr al-Hafi, and even Ibn Taymiyyah – who never married and never had children. Are they less in fulfilling their purpose? No – rather they are cornerstones of the scholarship of the Ummah.
Similarily, Eve was created to worship Allah, but her ROLE was to be a companion to Adam.
Does this result in a MANDATE that all women must be wives?
It is the Sunnah to marry and for this reason it is the best example to strive for. But we should not make it such that unmarried women (or men) are somehow less than any one else. Their reward is with Allah if they fulfill their purpose of worshipping him.
Aasiyah’s ibaadah (besides her standard worship) was based on protecting her faith in Allah from her husband’s torture. Not about being a good wife.
Maryam’s maqaam was based on raising her personal piety and raising her son to be what he was meant to be and fulfilling her role in that.
They reached the peaks of ma’rifah and ibaadah. The first one, despite her husband. The second one, without a husband.”
I think it is very important to realize that Allah has told us in the verse quoted in Surah Dhariyaat that He created ins- all of humankind- for no other reason than to worship Him. There is no specification that women are a different category created for the purpose of fulfilling a man. That may have been Hawa’s main role, may Allah be pleased with her, but it’s quite an extrapolation to then make that the ultimate role of all women when we have no textual proof to back that claim.
With regards to Aisha radi Allahu anha, I had learned she was the commander, or at minimum, taken a prominent role in the leadership. I know that scholars have said that she was not on the right side, may Allah be pleased with her, and I did not mean to make any commentary on the incident through mentioning her involvement. It was simply meant to be an example of one of the roles she had taken in her lifetime. I learned, however, it would have been better not to include it because many people misunderstood what was meant by mentioning her example. May Allah forgive me for the bad which may have come out of including it.
The purpose was to validate single sisters who want to get married and have children [but that’s not happening for whatever reason] and let them know that there are other roles even a Mother of the Believers had played without having the blessing of kids.
I would like to leave this point by mentioning words from one of my teachers, “Notwithstanding the issue of whether or not `A’isha was on the correct side (the consensus is that she wasn’t), the prominent role she played shows that the earliest of Muslim women —a wife of the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself— thought it conceivable that a woman could take such a leadership role over a group of Muslims. At no time did she strive to be head of state and actually took a role deferring to Talha and al-Zubayr. Yet, to one of the pioneers and masters of Qur’anic exegesis, a woman could take a leading role in the affairs of the Muslims.”
The point was only to mention that as a woman who did not have children, she took on other roles and as our Mother, we should look to her example of being versed in an array of fields if we do not have the responsibilities of motherhood yet, or if we do, when we are at a point when our children are old enough and we have the ability to focus on other tasks as well. If we are blessed with motherhood, Alhamdulilah! Focus our talents on raising them inshaAllah until a time comes when we can focus on other things as well.
I never mentioned Khadijah radi Allahu anha, although I would recommend you research her life in depth because I think you may come to very different conclusions.
May Allah bless you and honor you with a raised status in this life and the next.
barak Allahu fiki,
Sister Maryam, may Allah reward, honor and raise your status in this life and inshAllah in the hereafter to jannahtul firdous! As hard as it is to be misunderstood for all the great work that you do may Allah give you the health and opportunity to continue and leave a legacy for the sisters!
First of all, I would like to give my opinions on the article and above comments. I think I could relate with sister Cheryfa a bit. Because when I read the line she quoted(as I read the article), I felt the same as her, but as I interpret the whole article further, I got the message that you are sending. And your comment is very good that I think everyone who’s reading the article should read it too to get better understanding.
However, maybe I may add something that you may forgot to put in. it is that for women who Allah with his will, do not find a mate, yes, they also can get to jannah with other means. But, never ever stop inspiring oneself to become a mother of a great muslim. Allah is most merciful, most gracious, He insyaAllah will grant the same deeds that a mother can get to an unmarried women who yet still wishing to be one. and always remember on whatever we do, whatever we wants to become, do it best and make sure it is for the sake of Allah. even a mother and wife also will only get the best rewards if she does it purely because of Allah. Always check our niat and make sure it is Allah.
wallahualam and jazakAllah khair sister maryam for such an amazing writing. 🙂
But what about if a woman wants to get married and have children but is unable to through no fault of her own. Should she then be deemed unimportant in Islamic society? Sometimes people forget that not everyone who is single, is single by choice…. I know it’s hard to accept but it’s a fact. The last thing those women need is to be made to feel like they have nothing to offer. As far as I could see this article was telling them they can still make a contribution whilst not giving up hope of marriage. I can’t see anything negative about that, or is it better that they are left feeling rubbish about themselves?
Absolutely not sister, if a sister is unable to marry or have children, there are many other important things she can do for islamic society. EVerything that happens is a blessing from Allah. If Allah gives a woman a child, this child is a blessing by which she may attain Jannah. If Allah doesnt give a woman children, this too is a blessing by which she can attain Jannah as we need some sisters with enough free time to study the deen in deptha nd be involved full time with dawah affairs as mothers can generally only do dawah part time due to family commitments. So absolutely a sister who cant have children can play a MASSIVE role in the islamic society as she can learn islam and help reform society and bring them back to the right path. And the sisters with children can raise them well as they are the next generation of muslimeen. Absolutely every brother and sister in the ummah is important to islam
She also talked about not making women feel bad for not being married. I see this too much . My friendz wanna get married but no guys wanna get married rite now. So their parents keep telling them there is something wrong with them. The article is saying that’s not islamic. we shouldn’t make people who want 2 get married feel like they are messed up bc they cannot get married. she’s saying do something else with your life if you aren’t married. then if you get married, then you can use that to help ur marriage.
Excellent article. As a Family and Marriage Therapist I have witnessed with sadness and pain what the writer is describing; families pressuring their girls and girls just waiting idly to be married. For many reasons, our communities currently has many wonderful young and old sisters who are not married and who may not get married. This article is addressing those sisters whom Allah may have not chosen for them to be wives and mothers. Sister Maryam is empowering them to seek their mission in life beyond that of marriage and motherhood. As she so eloquently state, our primary mission, all of us males and females, is to to worship Allah to the best of our ability with the given resources we have and the circumstances we live in. And so she challenges us to ask the question: if Allah has ordained that you as a female are not to be married, do you waste your life?
To become the best Ummah we can be, we need to be honest with ourselves and strive to shift those perceptions that hinder our growth. Jazaki Allahu Khair Maryam for opening up the discussion on a critical issue.
Salam Shayak Webb,
If women or men are not married and its not in their fate to be not married? Then is buying sex, masturbation, or one night stands ok?
We are sexual creatures; if you are saying not all us will get a mate; then one of these options, prostitution, masturbation or one night stands has to be ok.
I always thought masturbation was ok because I didn’t commit zina. But I was told by some friends and most scholars that masturbation is not ok and esp. not ok with written or visual porn. It’s been a year since I quit. I’m slowly going insane and marriage is not around the corner for me. I’m unemployed for the last 2 years and it not getting better plus I suck in the looks dept.
So either I pick some drunk bar chick or masturbation are my only two choices.
What you opinion?
Think of these temptations as your test from Allah. If you can turn away from these, at the end of that very difficult tunnel is an immense reward, example: you could end up meeting the most beautiful intelligent woman in the world (in your eyes), you just have to have faith. If you fail in this task, then maybe that beautiful woman who could have been yours will be taken away from you. Why? because maybe she was the reward for you guarding your chastity, and her reward is a patient man who knows not to look around. Every decision we make affects our destiny. Every right decision we make (despite the hardships and temptations) takes us closer to the higher levels of Allahs rewards and plan for us. Conversely, every negative decision we make (falling into temptation) removes us from the higher levels of his plan into the lower levels, i.e. less reward, less happiness, greater difficulty, a woman who is as chaste as you have been, etc.
Stay away from All the things that you have mentioned. As difficult as it may be, in the long run, you will be much better off. If that doesnt deter you, think about what you will say to Allah when he questions you about the day you had a one night stand etc. What will you possibly say when he asks you why you did what he forbade you to do? Think about it, keep death in your mind and faith in your heart. Allah will send you someone.
With all due respect to the writer of this article, I’m going to be a bit critical here…I think the example of Aisha R.A. is a bit out of place here…she was give then title of umm-ul-momineen…i.e. Mother of the believers…she wasn’t Supposed to marry again…and her being a widow never compromised her status…she is and was one of the most well respected Muslim women of all time…So for a regular Muslim woman in our times, it’s simply not comparable…she won’t have the same level of respect anyway and there will always be some sort of stigma associated with being single/divorced/widowed.
I also agree with one of the commentor above who said that it’s also embedded in our nature as humans to look for a companion and settle down and have children…deep down these things are also part of the frustration, not just the society’s expectations and pressures. With prolonged education times and difficult in finding appropriate matches, the natural desires of companionship etc continue to worry us.
Asslam u alaikum wr wb, Having gotten married at the age of 26 which in our society seems a tabboo, I can completely relate to what you are saying. So many girls while away their life “waiting” doing nothing productive or useful. While marriage is an important milestone in ones life, it is not the ONLY one. If it never happens, what then? We don’t know how long we have been given to live, we need to focus ourselves towards the right direction. SubhanALLAH, excellent article. Jazakillah sister
Alhamdullilah, you’re so correct!
This article hits the nail on the head and explains how I feel on the issue.When it comes to the issue of a lady getting marriage people forget that all issues are in Allah’s hands and people go about blaming the sister and her parents not remembering that whatever effort you make if Allah does not wills it,it will not come into being.Few people realize how bad it is, in some communities there are some sisters who develop depression due to this issue and some end up marrying anyone that comes along even if he is not a good Muslim just so that the society can accept them.I am all for getting Married but then if you can’t find a descent brother to marry then engage yourselves in other forms of Ibada and think of ways of contributing positively to Islam.It does’nt mean you are worthless or your life has no meaning or you are going to hell.Then continue to pray to Allah to give you a good Husband and try not to let what people say affect you after all u cannot go out parading the streets looking for a husband.As women married or not we can contribute so much to the Umma,it is a shame that a lot of people cannot see that and only measure your success by your marital status not realizing that your destiny is not in your hands but in the hands of Allah.
Masha Allah. I love this and it is very emotional and inspiring. The most important relationship is between us and Allah. If that is perfected…then inshallah all will be in the right place. Jzk fr the beautiful writing. It speaks fr itself.
Why is everyone giving this article so much heat?! All it’s saying it that Marriage is not an “end”, its ONE of many “means” to an “end” (Jannah). Marriage isn’t easy these days and finding the right person is even harder. All this article is saying is that we should put all of our time and energy during our single days to good use and for the pleasure of Allah.
Everyone has different purpose in life. Allah has appointed to each person a given task, whether small or big, This is our duty in this life.
Marriage is good, but also timely and appointed to certain people in this life, not all. So instead of condemning this article or saying that this article is implying that women should abandon marriage and having children for a career, lets actually become a support system for the sisters. Communities should be encouraging them to use their education to better soceity and also helping them find a good spouse.
Islam is about nurturing and forming strong communities ties, so it is the communities responsibility to fulfill these obligations (encouraging sisters to be educated, networking for marriage, etc) before putting such a burden or expectations on the sisters.
Allah knows best and this is a reminder to me before all.
Jazakum Allahu khairan for article and comments. There are a lot of angles to this situation, and I appreciate the different viewpoints. I agree it is healthy to see yourself as a whole person, who has many different facets and to nurture that whole person rather than put one’s life on hold. That’s true for single men and women. However, I do caution that while singles can get into a funk of just kind of idly hanging around putting their lives on hold waiting for a spouse, the opposite can also happen — they throw themselves into work, career, education with such abandon that that’s what they become all about. Particularly single sisters in the community often, unfortunately, get used as 24/7 workhorses who have – or so it is viewed – nothing better to do with their time with no right to say no. So just a note of caution to keep balanced, and not become – or get subtly pressured into becoming – a workaholic or volunteeraholic.
This is a wonderful article. I too believe that muslim women should make their focus the worship of Allah (SWT). However, my question is, is it not better for women to stay in their homes, as so many scholars say? Is it not better for a woman to have her face veiled and her feet covered? And how difficult is it to be a teacher unless the only other people we are teaching are other muslim sisters? Is it not forbidden to interact with members of the opposite sex unless absolutely necessary? How can a woman then be an engineer or a psychologist? I would appreciate some knowledgeable person’s thoughts and ideas on this as I am quite confused about it.
“Is it not forbidden to interact with members of the opposite sex unless absolutely necessary? How can a woman then be an engineer or a psychologist?”
If it’s forbidden for ALL Muslims to interact with members of the opposite sex (and you *do* know that it’s supposedly forbidden for men as well, right?), then how can ANY Muslim, male or female, have ANY professional job?
I understand that it is forbidden for men too. I did not say that it is forbidden for only the women. And interaction is allowed if it is necessary. However, men are the providers of the family, as is the Islamic custom, therefore it is necessary for them to work.
I have heard some scholars say that women should NOT work unless it is absolutely necessary for them to do so. They say that it is recommended by the Prophet (SAW) and as stated in the Quran that it is better for them to stay in their homes.
This is what I am confused about.
wa alaykum as salam warahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
Jazaki Allahu khayran for your question StudentMuslima! As recommended by my Ustada, please read: “Gender Equity in Islam” by Dr. Jamal Badawi. Google it, it’s online.
From there, I would recommend you speak to people of knowledge who have both studied deen comprehensively and are aware of the norms within your specific society to get an understanding of what the shari`ah permits for both men and women and how that plays out in real life, in the context of the place you live.
May Allah guide you and me and us all to an in-depth understanding of the role of women in Islam!
to be good muslims means we need to be curious a lot and fill ourselves with knowledge of deen and study it comprehensively as sister Maryam said above. so we won’t get stuck to one’s opinion since scholars may have different opinions of an issue.:)
As-salaamu’alaykum Beautiful Article my dearest sister! If you are married or feel joy in sitting around and waiting for mr Right that’s great this article is NOT FOR YOU! This article is for the sisters that feel trapped by their family or community because though they WANT to get married they have not found the right person but it does NOT mean they should sit around and let life and all its opportunities pass them by because they are not married. She did not say DON”T GET MARRIED. She is saying stop putting so much pressure on sisters to get married, that the emotional torment of it is weighing down on their hearts. She is saying don’t sit around and do nothing waiting for a man, there are other things to do IN THE MEAN TIME! If it were not for the mothers, wives, daughters, where would Islaam be. We are the ones that raise the babes that become strong muslim men. We are the ones who instill morals and standards in our daughters. If a man feels insecure with a well educated self sufficient woman that is his problem, if a man is not man enough to accept that a woman has more islaamic knowledge than him because she decided to take the time to do that then that is his problem. Sr Maryam is not saying don’t get married she is saying don’t let life pass you by while you are waiting, do something with your life that will in the long run better yourself and your families when the time comes for you to have one. It’s really quite sad to see that muslim women feel that they are not worthy of the same opportunities as men as far as education, islaamic knowledge and being active in the community. Some of you ladies seem to think the womens place is being barefoot and pregnant slaving over her family. the mothers of islam were warriors, teachers, advisers and business women these were the examples that we were given and instead of taking that example we take the example of this messed up cave man-ish social mentality that women were born to be married and have children and nothing more.
i love you 🙂
i love ur thoughts ^_^
Love yr thought.Continue writing sister Maryam
It is soooo true. Being the woman myself. I hate the way my community treated me as if I’m being invaluable though having a good education and a good career. Thanks for the article. I’ve been trying to convince myself this way too, that getting married is not the only way to serve Allah (SWT). It’s not that we girls do not want to get married, but it’s just not happening for us now, Allah Knows Best. And sure we girls do not want to waste our life for these nonsense our community put us into. 😀 Salam for all the sisters out there!
i’m a single muslimah and i’m a career woman. i dont spend my life by listening what people say or comment about me. im happy with my life and so grateful to Allah. my family alhamdulillah dont push too much on this issue but somehow outsider do. but i don’t care, they can say whatever they want to say. i don’t live for their standard! being single for me means to have Allah wants me to worship in a special way and time for me to focus on some goals i want to achieve. keep happy to all single muslim sisters. keep close yourselves to Allah and everything’s gonna be alright.
I am concerned if people take liberal interpretation of this article to justify more materialist view of life by delaying marriages much like in Western societies. Being so back of pack in eduction it a very delicate path for Muslim Women to change culture and expectations.
With all due respect, I don’t think this article is saying you shouldn’t get married. I think it address the growing number of us who really want to get married but have been unable to find a mate because the men want to marry younger women, date, or they marry non-Muslims.
Frankly, its a huge issue in the Muslim community. Thus what are we suppose to do?
If we sit around and cry that we are not married, I don’t really see how that is productive or a form of worship of our Lord. Yes, some of us (i’m including myself too) might be destined to die alone, without family, in a nursing home BUT before we get there, I think it would be great if we woman contributed somehow to the Ummah and be rewarded for that so that once we finally die we’ll at least get rewarded for that. Not all of us will have the chance to reap rewards from being wives or mothers. So some woman need to find another way to get Allah’s rewards.
So stop complaining people and work on yourselves and help society, trust me there are plenty of issues to choose from…….
you are right. maybe it’s kind of hard but must confess that for some reasons you mentioned above about nowadays muslimans who are right.
i absolutely agree with you my dear 🙂
JazakAllah Khair to you Maryam! I am so happy I have found a way to further my knowledge, Alhamdulillah. Thank you very much. May Allah (SWT) bless you and your family.
i feel i can relate to this article. for few years, i have been trying to find a suitor for myself.
alhamdulillah for me, my parents never being pushy about that. but, somehow.. whenever i thought i already found a man that i am interested with to get married…they turned out to be just interested to ‘have fun for now’.
my friends and i (4 of us) are all professionals in our field. doctors,a lawyer and an engineer. there were times, the moment the man got to know what we do we do for a living, they started backing off.
from my observation, muslim men also prefer dating non muslim women and eventually marry them. thus leaving us the ‘old,un sexy,un pretty, hijabified’ muslim women on our own.
personally, i feel, if the muslim men do not ‘man- up’ then, the number of professional educated and old un married muslim women will be doubled in just few years.
The men I have come across want their spouses to be able to do everything and do it like a pro – best mother, best housewife, best cook, best host and the list never ends. They have all these unrealistic expectations especially when it comes to appearance, thanks to the media. They will gawk at the scantily clad women but they want their women to be good muslimahs and hijabis. It is so easy to want something but one has to know what that want will entail and require from them.
Alhamdulillah, I am a professional myself but I constantly find men feeling intimidated because of what I have been able to accomplish by the Grace of Allah. Maybe, their ego does not handle it well. I do not know what the reasons are.
you wrote what im thinking sister.
[…] about the fact that wifehood and motherhood are not the only ways to paradise. Read it here it’s very interesting. So anyway.. BLA. Really really, I dont care – in terms of the […]
I loved this article and the perspectives it has presented. I agree completely with Sr. Maryam when she says that many young women just while away their days and their talents waiting for prince charming to come along and even if he does come along, there are times when he does not remain prince charming for long.
I was constantly made to feel all the time while I was waiting to get married, that there must be something wrong with me because it was taking so long to find a match. I graduated top of my class, worked in the industry, all the while waiting for marriage to happen, but apparently this was not enough. I had to leave my job and put my career on hold and go back to my home country so that I could be “available” when families wanted to come and “see” me personally. When I finally did get married, unfortunately, it did not really turn out to be the best of experiences either because of the constant lies, deception, infidelity issues and abuse I had to face. I was so broken and all my hopes and dreams of having my own family shattered. So, now I am divorced and back to square one.
Do I still want to get married? Yes, InshaAllah, if it is decreed for me. It does not help that now people will look down upon me even more, and it makes me shy away from gatherings even more. It does not matter if I have been pursuing my education and career in the face of all the adversities, all they see is someone who is divorced and past the prime age of marriage.
So this article gave me hope and motivated me to focus on my studies for now and wait to see what Allah has written for me. JazakAllah khair, Sister Maryam..
Salam my dear sister,
i am a professional as well, i am a medical doctor and now working on my specialty program (stil have one year left, inshaallah). This article and all comments i have read are so helpfull. i never knew before that so many sisters out there have faced what i am facing now. i am 32 years old, never married,since last few years i want to get married so bad. i raised my hands every night making duaa to Allah to bless me with a good muslim man to be leader in my future marriage. i want to be a wife and a mother.i feel that my career, education and anything i have achieved in my life are meaningless without a marriage life. and in my deepest hopeless, i accepted a very good muslim brother who offered me to be a second wife. but before the marriage happen, his wife changed her mind (she agreed at the beginning)and turned to threat me so bad. i wish i could tell the details she would do if i marry her husband. yes, in a glimps everything flown away. and i am so broken, don’t know how to start things again. i am loosing my self, i am a doctor but don’t know how to help my self in this situation. i just want to say thanks to sister Maryam, this article is so amazing. Jazakhallah Khair..sister
great article if it read by open minded reader i guess. i m d 4th daughter out of 10 in my family. we all raised to be educated n got career of our own alhamdulillah, it must be really hard to sit idly waiting to get married w/out doing nothing toward it.if parents want their daughter to get married earlier find someone for them but dont force him is the best for her without seeking her opinion. and dont be to choosy when she found someone too. ohhhh no i dont like him, he must be this n that. this is not just for d parents but the married relatives too.but at d same time pressuring her to get married.
by d way this article give me encouragement to look at d better side of our situation.may Allah will make it easy for us.ameen!
this is me n my darling dream of how we’ll raised our children insyaallah, to raised them as an individual muslim equally either son or daughter, encourage them to seek knowledge as much as possible,to have career n be contributor to this ummah, encourage them to marry earlier but dont force it on them n let them live their life as long as it according to islam way of life.may Allah will let us meet again in Jannah together.ameen!
Salaam Alaikum all brothers and sisters,
This is a beautifully written article by sister Maryam, and no doubt enlightens the path beyond marriage and motherhood for our children and ladies of the community.
However, the problem we face is not Islamic, but rather the mindset of the people. A sister who wants to go ahead in her future career, risks getting fewer proposals as she gets older. Alhumdulillah, most of our sisters are still dependent on their parents and proposals for getting married, a far cry, from few of our sisters going out of their way by dating, and getting into a relationsip.
Most girls I know, would love to be the perfect housewives and just relax at home. This is the first right of the woman, to stay at home if she wants. That is why its important for them to get married early too.
Some Muslimah sisters, would want to go ahead and have a career, for personal satisfaction, or even giving back to their parents, and in some tragic cases, they would be unfortunately the only source of income for their family. Now we as a community should tackle this situation. We should get 2 like minded, not prince – like or white knight in shining armour coming on a horse guys, but a working guy who would definitely wants to get married, but not ready to have kids right away, u know, guys who want to work but not ready to take on the full responsibility of married life, get married to our career minded sisters. 🙂 This way, both of them would work and at the same time, have a healthy relationship, no going out of the way for dates, and would especially benefit the girl, as she wouldnt have to worry about getting older and getting fewer proposals.
Anyone with me?? 🙂 Please do speak out.
A word to those who think this is skewed feminism, or modernist or”un-islamic”, please stop being traditional and embrace the true Islamic spirit. This article is about what is there in store beyond motherhood and wifehood. And not mentioned anywhere that a career should replace wifehood and motherhood. We need more working muslimah ladies out there, and if they want to work out of their own choice, who are we to stop them, when Islam itself gives permission. However when there is absolutely no need and the lady wants to relax and sit at home, it is her first and foremost right to be the Head of the Interior minsistry(housewife 🙂 ).
hmmmm….. im absolutely agree with you! more on the 4th and last paragraph.
Sameer, I agree with you in most of what you’ve said. The only thing I must make a comment is about the “be the perfect housewives and relax at home” excerpt. 🙂
I find sad that many brothers think that being a housewife is staying home and “relaxing” without realizing the amount of work involved in cleaning, organizing, cooking, taking care of the husband and the children. It is a full time job, really. 🙂
women relax at home being housewifes? Man do you know what you are talking? Since I’ve been married my husband is staying at home while I work full time, and he doesn’t cook or do much housework yet he says he has no time.
(at the same time he belittles my office work as it’s no proper job)
[…] do read this beautiful article. hopefully the message hits home, inshaAllah. If there are parents, families and […]
I firstly want to congratulate the writer for discussing this topic. I think she has really dealt with it in a sensitive and objective way. I completely appreciate the fact that she’s emphasised, in a number of places in his article that wifehood and motherhood are not dismissed or belittled in Islam. It’s safe to say that marriage and motherhood are crucial, hot topics which Muslim parents will want to discuss with and encourage their daughters to head towards and rightly so!
However, the writer states “Unfortunately that is not the message our community is sending to single sisters” – But which community of Muslims is it taking about- the Arab, Asian African etc. I think it is very important to highlight for this particular discuss because, I think the views on this topic is really embedded in ones culture. The writer also states “When I speak to many women”.. Again who are these Muslim women? The Muslim community is made up of people from diverse backgrounds. I noticed this diversity when I talk to my Muslim sisters who are all from different backgrounds to me. Their opinions on social issues such as marriage, work etc is sometimes different to mine and I think this is influenced by the particular culture we belong to. I am from an east African background and I really don’t see this in my community. When I was growing up my parents and other parents in the Somali community, put an emphasis on education, education, education for both boys and girls. This is not to say marriage is not encouraged in this culture (because it is! ) But it’s not a be all and end all, In Somali culture it’s the women that is the backbone of the community, and so the education of women is very much celebrated and encouraged. Traditionally, Somali women have always been encouraged to get an education (if parents could afford it) and work in various fields or generally to earn her own income. It’s an honor, in this culture when a woman achieves higher education and puts that to use to better her society. However, in more recent times a women’s opportunity to get a decent education, contribute to various fields etc, has been affected by issues such as poverty, war, weak governments and other political issues. This topic is an interesting topic and needed to be address, however, I do think that the article slightly generalises Muslim women and perhaps overlooks other issues that affect some Muslim women’s perception of what her role is.
almost all Muslim cultures are about the same in many regards. They just think they arent 😉
No habibtie, they are not. Maybe you have not been around a range of people from diff muslim cultures. Try to Travel a bit more Widely!!!
i completely understand the pain n hurt which the writer tried to describe in this writing. since such situation also happened to me. the article doesnt mean to abandon about the concept of marriage and have children. dont judge on something too quickly. she meant to say that single women should be taken positively due to situation they have today. they must keep positive n be grateful, i agree that married isnt the absolute standard of life and worship. i think every normal women wish to find their muslim prince. but Allah always has plan for everyone, and every single person has their own. instead of pushing and distressing single muslim women we find in our communities with the concept “why aint you getting marry at this age?” why dont we help them ease their life by being tolerant n understanding. push them with positive thoughts about doing good contributions to life while they are waiting for the prince muslim to come to their life and may Allah be please with us all, in shaa Allah. about you are also giving positive income to deen, ppl, and communities while you’re single. stay positive everyone, Islam isnt that hard nor Allah loves ppl who give difficulty to their own selves. in shaa Allah, God will send every good muslimah a good muslim husband, and if they dont find them in this dunia, Allah will give them in Jannah. see your life positively. i think the issue raised in this article due to ppl’s way of thinking doesnt mean it against what Islam teaches us about the importance of marriage :))
Very well said, sister.. It is so easy to keep asking a sister when she is getting married but how much is that person helping the sister get married? There may be so factors that are hindering a sister from getting married, maybe she is far away from her family or she is too shy to find someone herself or she does not know families in her community. Our communities should be more supportive in this matter as well, I feel. InshaAllah, I hope the amazing unmarried sisters are recognized for their their hard work and patience and able to find a good muslim husband for themselves.
thank you so much for your kind reply my dear. yes, u said the right things and factors that may hinder a sister from getting married. i agree with you. maybe mostly this sisters are kind who are so shy in their communities. They don’t do smtg wrong by being shy actually, a good muslim girl must be her who knows how to behave and act very well due to deen and norms, dats why they seem to be so shy figures. an ustadzah said once that, “never tells to any single woman ‘she hasn’t found a soul mate (husband)yet but say ‘it’s just about the right time and the right guy’, cuz Allah’s faith is always beautiful when it’s time”. and i think also that, to marry sooner or later for a sister is the absolute right of hers. she can decline or accept a marriage proposal. i believe that every single muslimah have right to determine how do they want to live or what they want to do with their life as long as it doesn’t abandon or violate against what the deen teaches, as long as they keep their life positively. 🙂
Why do people make marriage about children and slaving to a man??? There is hadith saying the only ones who put off marriage are either immoral or physically deficiant. I am dying for marriage because me and the HUGE majority of people cannot control our desires. This is the main reason people need to marry in this day and age. Its the ONLY way to protect ourself from haram such as porn and masturbation/adultery. Who cares if children or any servant obligations come with it. Marriage is completely seperate of children. You dont have to have children if you are married. And if you really want a child, dont get married, just take care of an orphan in your house.
I want to get married too, one day, but if Allah thinks its better for me to serve Him as a single woman, then I accept. Marriage is not something you MUST do to gain His favour. If you want to, and found someone, then Alhamdulillah may you have a happy & blessed marriage. Women can control their desires better than men do, hence if they haven’t found someone, they’re likely to be doing alright on their own. I’d rather be single than marry someone just so I can ‘control’ my desires. Alhamdulillah Allah has provided us with other ways of controlling our desires, which is through fasting.
The point of the article is, we are not unfortunate because we are single. We are not less of a Muslim if we have no husbands. We can be respectable, empowered, ambitious women on our own, if its what God has decreed. Ostracizing a lady for something that is beyond her power is unfair.
Let us be real. We as Muslims, do not always think of doing an action solely because we want the reward. For example, we study in school, take vacations, and live life, but we don’t necessarily seek out these activities in order to get rewarded by Allah swt. Getting married is the same way. It is a natural part of life, that comes with rewards along the way.
I realize that many men and women have difficulties finding spouses, and iA with dua’ and patience, this can change. However, to accept that not getting married can be BETTER than living a single life is a mistake that can lead to a dangerous path.
Let us not dilute ourselves into thinking Muslims get married ONLY to serve Allah. People of all religions and creeds get married, not just Muslims, so let’s not make it solely a religious thing.
vote Yes for dua and patience.We cant just keep telling those singles of what they should do.
Let’s do our part also. We can try to help those singles find their partners.
or polygamy… anyone?
well said! however, many married muslimas are selfish of the single sisters and do not wish to help them get married because they fear they will find someone a million times better than their husband – absurd, right. that is another huge problem in our society. let’s help our ummah and help our single sisters of all ages and races get married as there is great reward in helping our ummah too!
@ foxymardy you really think fasting is easy how about for people who cannot? How about ten yrs down the line the woman is not married she’s meant to fast for 10 yrs?
It’s very easy to dismiss the thought of Women having strong desires!
Completely agree with you @Sabine
Muhammad(peace be upon him) said that four women reached perfection: Maryam, Asiya(the wife of pharoh), Khadijah and her daughter Fatima.If you look at these four great individuals, they were either excellent wives or excellent mothers. Maryam raised Eesa(AS) and Asiya raised Musa(AS). Khadijah was a great support and comfort to Muhammad(peace be upon him). Fatima was also a great support to her husband Ali and it is reported that Fatima did so much housework that her hands became coarse and blistered. Even Aisha the greatest woman scholar, didnt reach the level of the previous four women, and she was more knowledgable than them. Sisters, (including myself) need to prioritise, and i disagree with this article because from the narrations of Muhammad(peace be upon him) and from what my teachers have taught me(female teachers too), amongst the best ways that a woman can attain the pleasure of Allah is through being a good mother and wife. The first madrasah is the mother’s lap, and she shouldnt forget this. We should aim to raise pious children that will bring great contributions to the ummah. It doesnt mean we can’t get an education or work as well, but someone needs to raise children and give them the right tarbiya otherwise we will have a new generation of Muslim kids who are far away from the deen. Let us not be decieved by the western feminist ideologies that are actually contrbuting to the destruction of society. We were created to worship Allah, and my sisters, being a good wife and mother IS worship. I’ll leave you with one final hadith inshAllah: Muhammad(peace be upon him) said:
“When a woman observes her five prayers, fasts during Ramadan, preserves her chastity and obeys her husband, she may enter by any of the gates of Paradise she wishes.” (tirmidhi)
May Alllah make us all good wives and mothers. Ameen.
ameen. With all due respect, you completely missed the point of this article.
Perhaps you completely missed the point of her comment?
The article doesn’t disagree with or have any contentions to any of the points she made?
I’m concerned that our community is not willing to address the real problem of sisters wanting so badly to get married, but not finding anyone at all, and then continuing to insist upon these sisters that they have a problem because they will never be whole until they are married or have kids. They want to get married! For the communities who have these issues, we need to calm down.
The above comment addresses the status and importance of being a wife and mother; the article never demeans those integral roles nor says anything should take the place of them.
I’m concerned that if every time we have a conversation about women finding ways to please Allah through other than being a wife and mother, it leads to uproar and disagreement, we are going to lose a very segment of many of our communities who are tired of being told they should be what they cannot be.
Marriage and being a mom is not in their hands; this is a decree from Allah. Why can’t we encourage them to do something which they can, with Allah’s Help, strive for until, if and when, marriage is decreed for them?
Sister Maryam Amir-ebrahimi
I read this article and I completely agree with you. However I’m 25 feel so lost, so upset these days, I have Condition that i was born with thus I look a bit burnt in areas of my body, that’s the best way to describe. Many women who are completely normal cannot get married for whatever reason, but with me I always think it’s because of the way I look that stopping it. I can’t control my emotions at all these days I feel like I’m always crying at the thought of never being married. I hate it when people say to me marriage isn’t everything. I know it’s not, but there are so many many benefits to it too. I just always think people never understand me. And in social gathering if u are a disabled girl, it would never come to Anyones mind that we too have normal thoughts and desires just like all other girls. I just don’t know how to move from my life, I feel I’m stuck in this trap of despair. At times I envy my friends who have found their husbands through dating and other haram means, I think well at least their happy. People always associate marriage with children, yeh I. Would like to have kids one day but not straight away, I just want to be with someone, and one the comment on your article was girls can control their desires easily compared to men. I don’t agree with that it’s more like as girls we would never express our ‘need’ because people would look down upon us! Please help me in anyway you can. Jazak Allah khayr
and to clarify; obviously, we all strive to make an effort to get married, just as we need to strive for everything else. But making that our sole and only purpose in life, when it is not something we can even control, is nothing short of exasperating and painful.
I’d like for someone to address the multitude of messages and emails I received after this article, the sisters in tears, who told me that they always feel like there is something wrong with them because they are not married and they themselves have been searching for years to find the right person. Why is it that we constantly have to condemn them and make them feel as if they are lesser than those who are married with children when it is not even in their control?
I absolutely recognize that this is community-specific (and my sincere apologies for not addressing that in the article, but I did mention it in the comments) and that there are communities who do not have this problem at all- but for those who are facing a growing number of single sisters who have been single and searching for up to two decades, where is our support system for them? Instead of constantly telling them their time is running out- as if they don’t know- perhaps we can work to find ways to engage them for who they are as awesome individuals, regardless of marital status.
May Allah forgive me for anything which was made unclear in this article and led to confusion.
I also ask that individuals read it with an open mind, and not with preconceived notions of what they think the article is saying about the status of wifehood and motherhood. The ahadith were included towards the beginning of this article specifying the status of those two roles for a reason. In general, many communities know that status. The problem is that we hold everyone to the standard of that status and for some, it isn’t and will never be a reality. So what then?
I’m curious as to why exactly so many “have been searching for years to find the right person”? I would have thought the gender balance is roughly equal and so there is not a one sided surplus. Or are maybe more females practising then males? (or is one set maybe more demanding?)
A lot of people are alluding to these unspoken difficulties. If communities are failing to address the issues then it would be useful to start by elaborating on what these difficulties are…
Assalamu alaikum, Fez!
For what I could see amongst the muslimahs I know, they search for practicing brothers to get married with. Some want to be housewives, so their suitors need to have the capability of providing to them in a certain standard – sometimes high, sometimes not as high. Many want the future husbands to be open minded and allow them to study and work if they wish. Most of them want their husbands to have a beard.
Their demands can be indeed quite high and, with all honesty, unrealistic.
Many brothers want their wives to be totally submissive, to clean, cook, be a good mother and sexually available whenever they wish; forgetting their duties as husbands also include helping around the house and with the children, being clean and kind to their wives (on a daily basis and when approaching them for sex) as the Prophet, peace be upon him, did himself.
I think this search for perfection is also helping delay the marriages.
I fully agree with this article, thank you for addressing such an issue sister. Also, I’m amazed at how disjointed our sisters are, this article is not an attack. I think we ourselves are our biggest enemies, can we not give ourselves some understanding.
Women and the larger community hold on deeply to the idea, of women being failures if their not married or mothers. It is a heavy feeling to carry, but we cannot let it posion our present day life. Maintain the life you live today well, and leave the future to Allah (swt). You don’t want to be waiting and have that feeling of where did all the years go…..
Marriage and motherhood is not written in everyones book, but maybe with du’a and patience inshallah. In the meantime, sisters should not let society judge anything as to how your life should look.
The article is not disputing the importance of marriage, but we must not just revolve our minds on just that one goal to achieve. I have goals and aspirations, and marriage is on that list and many other things. There is nothing wrong with personal development before, during or after a marriage, we should encourage it married or not.
We have to become someone in our own right, and have to know and understand ourselves, before we request from Allah (swt) the large responsibilities and duties of being a wife and mother.
Do what you can do today, to improve yourself, and your relationship with Allah (swt). Single brothers and sisters, do have much more time to work on the inner-self, so use that time. We must continue or become active in positive aspects of our life, we cannot psychologically be stood still waiting for a husband. Take this opportunity, Use this time wisely, there are many obligations in life that must be filfuled, and having a family life is a continuation of those not a switch from them.
I agree with you. It’s sad to notice that muslimahs themselves put other muslimahs in this position of being pressured. Subhana Allah!
May Allah guide us all! Ameen!
The article is 100% against the Islamic family spirit, a way to destroy homes in the name of Islam, learning and personal fulfillment.
The Prophet showed one way for women to enter Paradise. He said, “If a woman does her five time prayers, observes fasts, and obeys her husband, she will be asked to enter Paradise by the gate of her choice.” Such a simple formula is not available to the males. Now, they show other paths to women. Do they have Shari`ah backing for it? None. Bur rather, they cite examples of women of the past. But who knows what were the exact circumstances of those successful personalities of the past? Who knows? They were good wives and mothers, first and foremost. A good wife helps create a good husband, and a good husband and wife create a good family. Many such families create a good society. Send the woman out, and husband is angry, and family is lost. Millions and millions of homes have been destroyed in the West.
They call it Self-fulfillment; but for the majority of women it turns out to be Self-gratification.
But rather, the self-fulfillment has to come naturally. Don’t encourage the women to go out. Those who are talented will show their talent, and will find their own ways of self-fulfillment.
Were you not grateful when your mother, wife, daughters were ill and that female doctor was there to save their lives or do you despise her sacrifice because she is a working woman?
I would say more but you have not read the article properly and haven’t been able to comprehend what the author is trying to say which is completely different from what you surmise.
This article is for singles who have yet to find a spouse. Let’s help them to find.Most of them what to get married, but couldnt find one.
This article at least can provide comfort and relief for the singles because of stress done by the other people who thinks singles are losers, per say.
Then, it would be simpler for singles to enter jannah, just do 2 of the 3.
It’s not a wife that make a good husband. It’s the husband himself, through his own efforts and struggles, that makes him a good husband.
A good family is made by the joint efforts of husband and wife, not by a wife pleasing her husband by doing as he wishes, no matter if these wishes are reasonable or not.
The Prophet, peace be upon him, told the husbands to be good to their wives. The Prophet (peace be upon him) himself helped at home with the chores and taking care of the children – something many brothers nowadays don’t seem to think as their duties.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) himself married Khadija, a working woman. He even worked for her!
Saying that millions and millions of homes in the West are destroyed because women went out of their houses to work is inaccurate, to say the least. I have plenty of friends who work and have a happy married life. I’m one of those females myself.
this is the issue facing by every 10th girl in the society i am living in.. there are alot of stories like this around me including me myself..
I personally think if everybody around me thinks that my marriage has been late if im just about to pass my 30’s but if my Lord doesnt thinks so than people are wrong.. and Allah says in Quran that He is the best planner and obviously He has planned this life for me then if soemthing looks out of the normal trends of the society then it doesnt necessarily wrong.. this is also where Allah has asked to seek help with patience n salah..
How come when it comes to anything other than marriage, the will of Allah swt is not addressed. For example, I know sisters who have reapplied to professional schools many times in order to gain admittance. I’ve never heard anyone say, for example, “I keep reapplying because Allah decreed for me to be a dentist.”
But when it comes to marriage, we start to philosophize and debate the will of Allah swt (ie “Perhaps Allah wanted me to be single and serve Him through my singlehood”). How come it is easy for us to accept “perhaps wifehood is not for me” but for everything else, we essentially force ourselves to accomplish that which we set out to do.
Also, it disturbs me that the discussion is about how marriage is not the only way to serve the ummah and Allah swt. Who is saying it is?! Let’s face it: not everything in this world can be defined and valued on whether the ummah benefits or if it pleases Allah swt. We hope all our actions please Allah swt, and NOT trying to get married isn’t one of them.
I would like to marry so that I can live a halal lifestyle according to the Sunnah of the Prophet pbuh. We’re overanalyzing a union between man and woman that goes back before even Islam.
Understanding that it may never happen doesn’t mean that someone is giving up on marriage, a person can keep applying to the same job position and may one day get it, and someone can keep praying to Allah (swt) for a spouse and one day get one. However, someone should not refuse other works, in hopes of that one and only ambition to come true….whether its to become a dentist or to find a husband.
If a woman, thinks that maybe she will never marry, let her do other things, it may eventually happen for her to her own surprise. What’s worse is a woman who puts everything else aside waiting for prince charming, that may never come.
Than what……she has spent her time doing….?Nobody is saying give up, or don’t get married.
Just simply…..Maintain something…..teach or learn something in life. Allah (swt) has given everyone some skill or talent in life. Use it or find it. Halah of course 🙂
I wish all my brothers and sisters searching for spouses, guidance and success from Allah (swt).
I’m one of those girls in my late 20s who is waiting for “Prince Muslim”. I truly want to get married but it’s just not happening. I’ve come to realize this is Allah’s will, and He will send me my husband if/when He deems it appropriate. I have also realized this is my test from Him, to see whether I will be patient and guard my chastity and have faith in Him, and hold onto the fact that He knows what’s best for me. In the meantime, as Sister Maryam so beautifully pointed out in this article, I am making an effort to use my time wisely, to learn about Islam, to serve the community, to improve myself as a person and as a Muslim–because if I die tomorrow, I will be questioned on how I used my time in this world. We all have our tests, and others shouldn’t belittle the struggles of others, as I have seen in some of the comments above. Allah tests each of us in different ways. May He make us of the patient, and give our communities the hidayah not to make it harder on each other than it already is.
May Allah swt finds you a suitable partner soon. Your situation is not uncommon. Some sisters in their late 20s are in this situation because no guys came knocking on their door. For women in this situation, trust in Allah and make sincere dua.
However, there is a growing segment of sisters who see their age of 20-23 “too young” and refuse suitable men for marriage. Meanwhile, they get entrenched in studies and enroll in 4-year post-grad degrees that make getting married almost impossible (i.e. relocating, transferring, etc.) Then after they secure their post-grad degrees, they find themselves aged 27-30 and say “Here I am, I’m ready for marriage.”
I have heard this before: “I’ll apply to professional school. If I get in, it means that is what Allah would have willed (which means Allah did not want me to get married yet).” This kind of reasoning is helping to create this marriage crisis.
Exc3ellent article for single sisters and a great advice for those who think that marriage is the goal of every women.jazakaAllhukhair!
Who says you can’t have both- education/career and family? My wife graduated, got married to me , got 2 children and while bearing our 2nd child started her post grad studies and is now a specialist doctor. It didn’t come without a price, I had to make sacrifices let alone my wife but it is very possible so we don’t really have to choose. And in between we still backpack together (with the kids!) and go for holidays that would deepen our appreciation for Allah’s magnificence aside from rejuvenating from all the work related stress alhamdulillah. Islam doesn’t set certain rules to stifle our lives but rather lets us be creative with what we can work with the proper and dignified way.
Salaamu alaikum wr wb,
I think one major reason these women may be thinking so much about being good wives and mothers is because in their hearts they simply have the desire to get married. So, some advice to young women in that direction would be helpful.
I suppose readers will interpret this article based on their own life. Seems like each commenter has a preconceived notion on marriage, wifehood and singlehood before they even read this article.All I can say is that you will see the world based on who you are.Wives and
mothers would interpret it differently and single sisters would interpret it differently.
I believe What this writer is saying is that celebrate life and be the best Muslim you can be possible be no matter who you are – Whether, you’re a wife, a mother, a single sister.
Ultimately, the purpose of life is to please Allah and the way to do that is to perform as many good deed as possible. Everytime we want to perform a good deed, we do it because of Allah which in turn is an act of worshipping Him.
Allah values wives, mothers hence, he raises their status in Islam. Everything that they do for their family, is considered as performing good deeds and there’s a special place in heaven for them for their sacrifices and efforts and most importantly, their contribution in ensuring that Islam stays in the world after they’re gone through their children.
At the same time, Allah also values women who are single and continuously pray to Allah for a husband and children. Each time the single women says her prayer, she is performing a good deed.Each time she remains patient in her prayer, she is also performing a good deed and no good deed goes unrewarded by Allah.
Hence, no matter what your status is, if you are doing good deeds, Allah will be pleased with you and will have a special place for you in his Heavens. That’s Allah’s promise. If you worship Him and not associate Him with
any partners, you will be among the righteous that he will place in His Heavens.
The sad part in our reality today is that a women who is not married at a certain age, will be made to think less of herself no matter who she is, whether she is doing well in whatever it is that she is doing. This is not happening in Muslim society only. I believe this is happening in most of the societies in the world whether Muslims or non-Muslims. Whether, you’re Chinese, Korean, Malay, Indian, Arab, Pakistani, you will face this kind of issue.Whether you’re a man or a woman. But it’s always tougher on the women somehow. This double standard seems to exist in every society.
You cannot say that is it not valid to pressure the singles to be married. How can a society continue to exist if there is no pressure in anyone to be married and have children? However, the pressure seems to be getting worst these days, especially when more women are highly educated, career oriented and able to have a strong say on who she wants to be married to and when she wants to be married. Now that society realises that it’s possible for a women to choose not to be married because she can make her own living and live independently, everyone is making sure that this will not happen to the single women they
I would like to believe that the reason Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said that marriage will complete half of your deen because he didn’t want anyone to make the concsious decision not to be married. Hence, it’s important to have the intention to get married and pray to Allah to give you a soulmate that is best for you.
Society should not make the single women feel bad. Instead they should support the single women emotionally. Instead of asking her when or why isn’t she getting married, congratulate her for the wonderful things that she’s doing, for example if she is studying, congratulate her for making a good deed by gaining knowledge. Allah pleases those who continuously strive to gain knowledge. If a single women is working well to support her parents/children congratulate her for doing something good for her own family. Support her by praying for her. Help her find a husband. If you cannot say something positive or support her towards the direction of getting married and have a family of her own, then just don’t say anything at all. My father always taught me, if you cannot say anything nice to someone, don’t say anything at all.
For single women, you deserve to live your life to the fullest and be the best Muslim you can be.Since you have more time than wives and mothers, you should utilise this time to do as many ibadah to Allah as possible. Don’t put your life on hold and believe that you will only be happy when Prince Muslim arrives at your doorstep. Be happy now.
Allah will only help those who help themselves. By feeling sad and frustrated, you’re not helping yourself.Go out, enjoy Allah’s beautiful creations in this world. Get a hobby,learn something new, make new friends, help someone,do something good and meaningful and most importantly, continue to pray for a soulmate and just tawakkal to that Allah will give what’s best for you.
Just an advise, the next time someone asks you when you’re getting married or why aren’t you married, just answer them “I will get married, InsyaAllah. I have faith in my prayers. In the meantime, please pray for me so that it’ll
be sooner. Thanks.”
If your mum’s worried, tell her, instead of worrying, it would be better if you would just pray for me. A mum’s prayer will never be rejected by Allah. Have faith in our dua’.Allah knows best since He is the greatest planner of all.
The objective in life is to do as many good deeds as possible no matter who you are and what you’re doing.There are many ways to do this. If you’re not yet a wife or a mother, you can still gain as many Jannah points as possible. At the same time,you must have the intention to be a wife and mother one day because that will give you
even more Jannah points. Ultimately, the One who decides whether you’re worthy to go to heaven would be Allah because he is the only judge for all the deeds that we do.
So let’s all support one another and take the opportunity to do as many good deeds as possible to gain entry to Jannah no matter who you are, married or not. There is no point arguing who’s right and who’s wrong. It is in human nature to want to belong to someone, have a family. There’s a saying in my community. “Life, death, soulmates are all in the hands of Allah. We can only plan our lives but Allah will ultimately decide for us”.
Subhanallah!! U’ve hit it spot on. May God bless u….
MashaAllah, wonderfully put! You’ve reminded us to keep this life in perspective, so that we may use it as an opportunity to gain eternal bliss in the next life, InshaAllah. May Allah (swt) reward you, Aameen!
I find myself becoming increasingly pressured to be highly educated. Unless you’ve been to university, you don’t understand what a huge load of work it is. I enjoy the degree I am studying. However as it is a pure science, I am in uni 5 days a week, 9 to 5, in laboratories, in lectures. I have no time for my family, am constantly stressed, want to do well in academics but have no time for Islam or family. I’m single but may consider marriage after I complete my degree insha’Allah. So I often think academics makes me have no time at all for the real priorities, especially when parents consider academics to be the only important thing.
I am twenty-six and can totally relate to the feelings in this this article. I am not married, but I have finished college and am working alhamdullah! People don’tdirectly say it to me, but they hint and say things like inshallah you will get married soon or you are next, they have been saying it for years. They make me feel like I am so old now and that my time has passed for marriage. I would love to be a wife and a mother, but this is what Allah (SWT) has willed for me. I hope that the right person will come along and that I can get married some day soon because being twenty-six, I do feel a big gap in my life and feel a need to be married and have a connection with a person that I can truly love.
Beautiful article, Sister Maryam, and unfortunate how so many commentators missed the point. Some sisters seemed to be so preoccupied with creating a contentious feeling and attempting to read into the article what is not there. Allahu khair for your penning what so many in our community have been voicing. I got married and divorced within a year in my early 20s, and personally feel like I spent most of the rest of my 20s waiting, hoping for marriage and then fearing that I wouldn’t. Though I am thankful that it was all happening internally and externally I was absolutely living a life (insh’Allah) beneficial to me and the world, chock full of wonderful experiences. Now, in my early 30’s I still pray for marriage – if it’s the best thing for me – and I strive to live every day fully, without feeling anxious at nighttime or when I am alone. And when shaytan or my nafs starts sending me on the road to stressing “what if I never get married? what if I don’t have kids?” I remind myself that Allah (swt) has never let me down. He has taken care of me until now and I have a ridiculous amount of khair in my life; such that I need to be filling my thoughts with shukr and gratitude instead of anxiety and fear. Besides, it’s not difficult for us to look at others that are far worse off to see, you could have a test FAR worse, or more difficult.
And when all else fails, I also remember that marriage is NOT a walk in the park. It doesn’t magically solve your problems and every day is NOT a fairy tale. So to imagine it as a paradisiacal exit off your turnpike of singledom is misleading. It’s why, in Korea for work once, I asked a Buddhist monk why he chose that life – in a remote temple so far removed from everything and everyone – and he responded “even in a marriage, there is lonliness.”
Thank you for this. My sentiments exactly.
When people tell me to get married again for such and such reasons, all I can think is “I’ve been married, and such things, even if true, come along with a whole lot of other problems.”
I’ve decided that for now, I’m better off being able to handle myself and being single, than being in a less than perfect marriage which I cannot handle.
Great article! I can relate to a lot of it being a single woman
[…] Wifehood and motherhood are not the only ways to paradise by Maryam Amir-Ebrahimi A critique of the messages the community sends single sisters, and a powerful reminder that Allah (swt) did NOT create women solely for the sake of wifehood or motherhood. […]
great article. more effort definitely needs to be made especially by the married sisters who often neglect to help the single sisters get married, due to their own baggage. let’s help us all get married insha’allah!
with u 100%
the article is very nice and true, where iam living people make your life hell specially if you cant get married and even if the girls get married , they all make their suster’s life hell. the majority reason of girls not getting married here in our country is just on the basis of their beauty , if they are not beautiful they will sit home forever
as one of the woman whom not married yet at the age of 27 i have similar thought with sister maryam (may Allah grant u jennah).
u know, it’s very hard to find a pious man in this current insane world.. my ideals is to marrying a person whose have the same vision+mission with me about worshipping God, about helping our Ummah and raising our deen, and also about this life and hereafter. I believe Allah will fit a pious man with a pious woman, and only Allah knows how deep is our obedience to Him.
dont worry about marriage or another issue, it was just and medium in praying. just do our best in worshipping Allah, then Allah will provides our needs. Allah knows best.
[…] can also read Maryam Amir-Ebrahimi’s excellent article titled Wifehood and Motherhood are Not the only ways to Paradise, on Shaykh Suhaib Webb’s blog. It talks about modern cultural problems, solutions and […]
Have touched on an awesome topic.Any one is taking in wrong meaning should read again. We all aunties could be cruel at times possibly meaning good but blurting at wrong time and place is hurtfuland demeaning. Girls must pursue career with niyah to work or what ever for the sake of Allah and Allah will bring Barakah.
Any Aunty who ever opens her mouth should try to open matrimonial service to help. It is hard out there.
[…] Please read this ^^, great advice : http://www.virtualmosque.com/relationships/marriage-family/wifehood-and-motherhood-%E2%80%93-not-the-on… […]
Asalam alaikum warahmatulahi wabarakatu
Sister Maryam I completly understand and agree with your point and I also completly understand why people would misunderstand your point. The article is very well written and you mentioned very important points that concern Muslimahs always and especially in the west.
However dearest sister try to write in a way that you make your points more understandable and clearer as most people will not understand a poit like this and jump to your throat. I am sure with some explanation they too will understand where you are coming from and you are not trying to undermine motherhood or wifehood but your saying as a believing Muslimah one should be constantly productive, your article perhaps more relates to single sisters than married ones which again explains why some are offended. Yet again sis, I know which angle you are speaking from however it is the way you worded it that can make it misleading at times, perhaps you should word it more like this ‘Alhumdulilah what a blessing wifehood and motherhood is, and may Allah grant it to us all and bless us with the best of children and spouses but my dearest sister we must understand that we also have our individual duties towards Allah before we are even married and how else are we be able to bring up good healthy children if we ourselves dont educate ourselfes and do something for the wider commmunity ..” this is an example. may Allah bless you sister, keep up the work, try to also consider what people mean. 🙂 Your sister in Islam -UK 🙂
How many abandoned child we’ve heard nowdays after mothers pursuing their so called”contribution to the society”.Children being brought up by maids,seeking knowledge from everyone else.I’m not saying that woman must locked themselves at home only to raise children.Their disposition as teachers,caretakers will automatically include them as scholars.What they need is knowledge and apply them through educating the community in every field.
assalaam alaikum warahmatullah, i hope everyone is in the best of imaan and health, i just want to say that if a sister cannot find a husband then why not try polygamy? there are many good brothers out there who would treat you very good and fulfil all your rights and more inshaALLAH.
@student of knowledge
I’m a woman in my mid 20s and I’m dying to get married I’d easily be someones second wife, but am I to ask him? What if his wife says no? If only sisters knew the benefits of polygamy. Even my one family said how could you ever think of being a second wife but i don’t see anything wrong in it. You still have a husband, you have needs fulfilled. If only the married sisters could know how hard it is!
Because it’s far better to be single than endure the lifetime of emotional abuse that is polygyny.
@student of knowledge
Alaikum salam, it is not that simple. I was very close to marry a married brother last year. Then the wife started threatening me and the brother. Even though
She cant fulfill the needs of her husband for 3 years now due to her medical condition, she insists on rejecting me. And the brother had no choice other then cancel our marriage, or he will lose his kids in court if divorce took place between them. only Allah knows how much pain left for me now.and it is getting worse because I know this sister is a practising one who fully aware that polygamy is allowed in our deen and also regarding her illness.
Assalamu alaikum striving sister,
your comments really made me feel for your situation, may Allah grant you what you desire if it is kheir for you.
my teacher advises his students to make the following duaa if they wish to marry:
“Rabbi inni lima anzalta ilayya min khayrin faqir” surah qasas verse 24. recite 100 times daily and inshaAllah you will marry the right man for you
Waalaikum salam wr wb,
JazakAllah khair for your duaa..InshaAllah i will make the duaa every day.
It’s interesting what you said about your story. I’m a sister with illness and would consider marrying a married brother. If he felt that compassion for me. I’m so scared to ever say something. Even my sisters they say we’d never accept our husband having a second wife, but they don’t see it from my point that if a girl like me with illness, who isnt regarded as perfect by society polygamy gives some like me a chance to be happy and live a normal life. Polygamy is something that wouldn’t just benefit someone with illness but so many others, divorced women, older,widows this why in Islam it’s allowed to help the more needy sisters.
[…] status of wifehood and motherhood in Islam. We all know that marriage completes half your deen1 and that the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) has told us about the mother, “[…] Paradise is at […]
I love this article!!!! Jazakil Allahu Khairan! I read all of your articles sister Maryam and I love you enthusiasm and energy! MASHA ALLAH!
Assalamu Alaikum, thank you for this brilliant article, it’s amazing 🙂 Subhan Allah
sister u r right! as mentioned above, the main problem lies here.. that even among muslims we dont have the required orienatation of “what life is?” i mean what r our obligations being a servant of Allah (swt). every muslim must focus his/her aim of life, i.e. submission to our Creator.
its fine to console our youth.. but u see on the other hand we’ve developed an attitude of not giving the due importance to marriage n the duties of wifehood n motherhood. siters wish to enjoy, be free n not take any pains (even if they r married).. although our Prophet(S.A.W) clearly mentioned that being ungrateful to ur husband may take u towards hellfire, but we see around such disrespecting n ungrateful attitudes.. in our country (pakistan) now a days studies r given more importance thn marriage, by many people. thay say a woman must have the ability to support herself (in financial terms) on the contatry young girls, have developed unhealthy attitudes like being very particular about beauty n dressing,copying west, watching tv (dramas in general-indian soaps also), chatting n sitting for hours on facebook,having fun in watching movies n listening to music, least bothered about household or practical aspects of life, no dawah activities, even the parents r not concerned whether their children know quran, islamic teachings (practising is the next step) or not.our native language urdu, which, by the grace of Allah, contains a vast islamic literature is given no worth. all focus is on learning english n acquiring material gains. same trends r heard to be prevailing in arab countries also.
we muslims r in dare need of motherhood n wifehood training/ orientation according to islamic perspective so that we bring forth Allah-loving n fearing generation, bold enough to face the taaghut. plz do write for the issue.
JazakAllah khayr for this beautiful piece.
Getting it printed and pasting it on our fridge so that my mum reads it too 😀
you are so cute, sis… jazakillah, good idea!
Good article and thoughts indeed
However, I would like to point that life isn’t so easy as we want or even can imagine, some sisters devoted their life to studies, to their families, to their work without ceasing Ibada and worship and at the end they find themselves alone and lonely without no help, everything you want to do go more difficult when you’re a woman (go on and find a plumber, negotiate with administration machos,..)and those same things seem to be so easier and obvious when they are executed by men. We must not and have not to hide some cruel reality when women get older, so here there will be no choice, no deal…
Wa Allah only Knows best
Jazak Allah Khairan for your thoughts, Maryam!
You have spoken for many, many of us.
This is amazing article, I just wish that parents and men understand this.
I ask Allah to protect us from this deviation of all that which pleases Allah. Feminism in the west has reached our religion and started to change it from the Inside. We are to encourage our daughters to read and study this religion, and this religion only. Aside from getting a general education we were not commanded to send them to schools and jobs to mix with males and be in an environment which Allah hates.
With all due respect, it is very important that muslim women get more than just a general education. e.g. if there were no female doctors, we (women) would have no choice but to go to male doctors.
Quran and hadith knowledge along with some level of professional education is a must if muslims are to raise healthy individuals and families that contribute to society in a way that God intended us to.
Yes brother, Feminism is a disease that is slowly rearing it’s ugly head in our ummah, but I do think that you maybe a little too harsh. If we encourage our daughters and sisters to study deen, we most certainly should encourage our brothers and sons as well; it is not okay for boys come entrenched with a secular mindset, while we expect our sisters to hafizas.
A while back, I met this very “girly” sister who was studying to be a civil engineer. Now this sister was completely oblivious to engineering and whatnot; she was more interested in cooking, deen and other, how shall I say, softer subjects… Civil engineering is a very outdoor-male dominated job. One can only imagine a sister standing betwixt a bunch of construction workers… Only if we, as an ummah, had the aqul, to have a separate, fully functioning female college only for sisters ?
Salam! Yes sister Maliha, i totally agree with you.
I wonder why people don’t have a problem with their boys studying with non-muslim girls, but they have a problem with their muslim dauthers studying with guys. If you don’t want your daughter to study with males, so should it be for your sons.
So should we have the uqul to have a separate, fully functioning male college only for brothers.
Exactly so…protect our daughters, but let’s forget about the boys either.
I am civil engineer women for more than 10 years, yet unmarried and age above 30. Being and engineer is really tough but i want to say, it’s not totally outdoor job as you mention. Some work at office as consultant and some at site. And believe or not half of my office full with female engineer.
I do not understand why there some articles discussing the different ways women can avoid shaking hands with non-mahram, then there articles like these…(like the story of the crazy brother who goes to clubs to give dawah)… Alhamdulillah I am happy that being a mother and wife are some of the greatest assets ways for a sister to have!)
The issue depends on your cultural context. In my country, Malaysia, female civil engineers are not unusual, though pregnancy/family limitations means most of them will gravitate into the design portion rather than construction oversight. Not all women are comfortable with engineering as a job, but quite a few can do it well. I agree that you do need to research what the job is about *before* taking the course.
I have experience working in this field. Contractors listen to you if you know what you’re doing, even look after you in a rough sort of chivalry. Workers – usually migrant from neighbouring countries – depending on the culture of the contractor company, see you as a sister or mother depending on age, particularly if your job involves securing their workplace well-being. Our job sites instil a good safety culture in that we bear in mind the families we do the work for, and women remind workers of wives and mothers they have left behind, and who are waiting on the paychecks they will remit for their sustenance. In my culture, women can convey some reminders about safety that the workers wouldn’t have taken from a man, or a man would feel “unmanly” to make the reminder.
Now if you’re in a country that disrespects women generally anyway, and does not see women as surrogate family members, then of course the danger is greater – but it is not the job, it’s your culture. Yes, construction workers do physical and “dirty” jobs. But it does not necessarily mean that they are badly-minded and unmannered, as you are implying when you say “sister standing betwixt construction workers”. In fact they might treat the sister better than white collar men.
Except you are dead wrong. The Prophet Muhammed was in a mixed environment when he worked. And so did his companions.
We are to encourage our daughters to go to school and send them to jobs.
May Allah SWT save us from people like you ameen.
and so did Khadijah r.a., the Prophet’s (pbuh) was in a mixed environment. Her rank as a woman and as a human being, is one of the best of mankind, dealing with men and women on daily basis yet a very pious woman.
That is one of many examples that we women should follow. She was Rasulullah’s first wife, and there are plenty of reasons why Rasulullah was blessed with her as his first wife.
p/s: I read this article every now and then since it was published!
You are DEAD wrong on so many levels. You need to read and study Islam much more, because it is clear shaytan has got to you.
There is NOTHING wrong with mixed environments
There is NOTHING WRONG with going to school or working
Please stop embarrassing the ummah. I hope the female members of your family are not suffering like how you want women to suffer.
Thank you so much for this wonderful article. You helped me discover myself. I was very sad & depressed due to the fact that I am not a mother (yet), after being married for more than 3 years. Family members (especially on the in-law’s side) and friends have been asking the same questions, repetitively whenever they have the chance, “when are you going to have a baby?” or “why are you taking such a long time to have baby?”.
This is driving me crazy, because I do not have the power to control “when” I am going to have a baby. Instead, I can work towards to goal and pray that someday I will be blessed with a baby (with Allah’s will). The pressure is increasing when someone announces their pregnancy. There are times when I cannot take it, and just cry. I am currently studying and working.
Now, I am thankful that I am able to focus on improving myself by gaining as much knowledge as possible before I become a mother, who will be responsible in educating my children.
I feel you. Even if you don’t have people asking, it’s this expectation that society puts on you to be a mother after you’re married. I break down too sometimes because I feel like I’m delaying having kids. But you are right, all is in the hands of Allah SWT.
[…] status of wifehood and motherhood in Islam. We all know that marriage completes half your deen1 and that the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) has told us about the mother, “[…] Paradise is at […]
Subhanallah, very good article indeed. I am single-not yet married women, age 35, working as engineer. For me, what i do to fill my time, to increase my knowledge as much as i can. Because, from my experience, most my married womens friend have no time or no chance to do this. Somemore, i was given chance to care my parent until now. How wonderful Allah has show His wisdom in my life for being a single women until now.
Subhanallah, I have been studying deen for years. I probably have the knowledge of some one with a three year / four years degree in Islam. I started studying deen intensively in 1999. So over past 14 years. The knowledge do add up. But I do realize that the solutions our religion is proposing is considered unrealistic for many of the brothers and sisters and that’s why we have such a hard time finding some one suitable. Many of us are educated but we are not coming together to find solutions to our common problems. Until we apply that education to solve the issues we face as a community we will not progress. The issue of marriage have been here for a long time with in muslim community but really there have not been any concrete steps to solve this issue. Even many of the match making services are totally inadequate to the needs of the community.
May Allah safeguard the women of this Ummah.
I can appreciate this article for its cleverness and the strength of its message.
There are things which I wish to point out however and this is only my point of view and others may agree or disagree. This religion is a din of principles. We have principles which guide us throughout the whole of our existence. The principles are rooted in Al Islam which was sent down by our creator to us and the creator says “This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour unto you, and have chosen for you as religion al-Islam”, what is very important here is that Allah says that Islam is HIS Favor upon us. Working off this principle I argue that since Islam is Gods FAVOR than I think that my life should be guided by the principles of Al Islam. Working off this principle which I have laid out I think that in order to understand the role of women we must go to the Quran, The Sunnah, and maybe lets say 3 to 5 women who are the greatest women of Islam. In the quran the rightous women will be described, in the sunnah they will also be described, and if we look at Asya (wife of pharaoh), Fatima (wife of Ali), Khadija (wife of S.aW), and Aisha (wife of S.a.W). All 5 of these women were wives, All 5 of them had IMAN. Important thing to point out here is that only 1 of them was a scholar, while the other 4 were good mothers. So yes a women may be educated but to give preference to education over being a wife and motherhood is a sign that a women has NOT understood her religion. Second issue is that based on the principle that Allah has Ordained for men to be the provider we also see that the women was not MEANT to provide. Third and final issue is the problem of Halal and Haram… My dear sisters mixing with the opposite sex for 8 to 12 hours a day when Allah has not ordained for you to provide is accumulation of SO MUCH SIN…..
The man who works does so because he has to (And I advise brothers to try to work in places where there are not many women) and may Allah excuse them, yet Allah has not said women are providers so they have no excuse to be out in the field working.
Once again I say….if we will not let Allah guide our thinking and our lifestyle then have we truly submitted ourselves to him? Or are we doing what we want to do under the false claim of Submission to god….
Agreed but the article is very specific for a group of sisters for whom marriage and bearing children may be a distant possibility. Life shouldnt stand still while they wait and clearly they still have obligations and an ability to contribute.
Having said that, we should recognise that “wifehood and motherhood” ARE routes to paradise and are actually MAJOR ROUTES to paradise.
They are not ‘additional lifestyle add-ons’. And there are a limited number of middle class professions for females to enter. We could do with more articles which promote the Islamic equivalent of these perhaps.
Fezz: I agree with “Life shouldnt stand still while they wait, and clearly they still have obligations and an ability to contribute.” A sister will only get married when Allah swt decides that it will happen. It may be soon, but it may take quite a long time. In the meantime,the sister could either choose to reap ajr by helping her parents, younger siblings,or contributing to the wider society through her profession, studies, or voluntary work, for example OR she may choose to feel sorry for herself, which will cripple her and not allow her to use the potential Allah swt gave her to fulfil her duty of ‘Uboodiyyah to Allah swt. Jazak Allah Khair for the article Maryam.
True. I write this as many ‘new age’ individuals want to re-write everything. Particularly hadiths that stress being obedient and serving the husband is often seen as some sort of facile servitude and this is leading to the breakup of families.
Well a great article!.
And i want to add here especially for MEN to comprehend the situations which single girls/women have to go through in this DUNIYA.Our religion is the ideal religion but this world isnt ideal.This fast moving world doesn’t have much time other than oneself,siblings gets married,have kids n starts to have their own lifes, they begin to ignore the single females/males of their families,under such situation a person is bound to get ALONE and with the mindset that women shudn’t work,society forces these women to be totally dependent on others, which is wrong,one cannot live on tids n bits of others,women have self-respect too, once when parents are gone,they are considered as a burden by society!.
Welcome to REAL world! so to live through this world n life this article is a great write up for Single Women!.
Totally disagree with your point of view. Woman can provide for the family as much as man can. In the society now it is becoming the norm as man are not payed enough to support a family on their salary for most occupations. Khadija RA (Wife of prophet Saw)was a employer which is even a rank higher then the worker/ breadwinner. We should look at Quran and Sunnah for the answers but do not forget beside the few main books we have at home. Like Tafseer, Shahai bukhari etc there are millions of books in the libraries of muslim Islamic universities that no one reads. The rule that man has to provide is a general rule it is not a must. Not every single man throughout history provided for the family. In North America it is easier for a woman to get entry level jobs then man. She may be able to provide for the family while the brother establishes him self. When 50% of all jobs are going to the woman in a society. We have to take that into consideration.
Disagree with you.
Women being hhousewives is not in any wa supported by the Quran or Sunnah.
Whats wrong with a mixed environment? The Prophet Muhammed and his companions worke din mixed environments. So if they can do it, so can we.
i am a single woman, in my 30s.. have experienced all those issues mentioned..
this great article really inspires me to be a better muslimah..
It saddens me when people say stuff like REAL world, as If Allah swt did not leave us with guidance for a real world rather guidance for some abstract, foreign, forgotten, alien world. The REAL issue is that we must make the correct intention in order to tread the correct path. I have seen brothers and sisters make the intention to get married for the sake of Allah and his pleasure until they found mates in countries on the other side of the world (europe) to be exact within only a few months. So when we say things like “the reality is this and this” we should stop and think why that is….
I will now stop this because it will become a debate and is not befitting of muslims to debate one another. May Allah protect you
Hi brother, if you are referring to Reality’s post, I think what she means is that the REAL world is the world today, whereby the guidance of Allah is NOT followed, which leads to the situation of single people (especially women) in some places being completely ignored when other people are busy with families and such but neither are the women allowed to make their own way.
Further, we have to admit that for various reasons women who have eccentric personalities, are perhaps too short or have some kind of physical abnormality, who are disabled in some way (even minor), who are in the genius band of intelligence including savants (which makes one’s mental ability and social engagement ability completely different for both men and women, but the effect is less tolerated in a woman), etc. will not be candidates for most men to meet as people to get to know and woo as wives. i’m sure the standard opinion is that muslim men should marry them, but this is usually meant as a ‘pity marriage’ as though the man is sacrificing himself to be a husband to them, rather than knowing them and falling in love with them because they may be outstanding people.
so while for an individual person Allah alone knows if He will cause her match to happen, statistically as a group, women who are “outliers” in any way do find it more difficult to marry simply because today not enough muslim men marry for someone’s heart and character, and even if they do, they prioritise women of character who have ‘nothing wrong’ with them. it’s the lucky eccentric woman who finds a man who actually loves her quirks and eccentricities, seeing them as something of value rather than something ‘wrong’. and odds are this man will not come from the traditionally muslim cultures.
This is a very delayed reply but I just came across this article (new to suhaibwebb) and thought I might respond here.
I just want to point out that what you’re saying goes for males as well.
It’s not like males with physical/mental disabilities or abnormalities, ‘eccentric’ personalities, etc. are the likeliest candidates for women to seek as marriage partners. So I’m not sure why you think this is a unique problem for females, or why it affects females more.
Some qualities are less desirable in a women, yes (e.g. the more beautiful the women the greater her prospects of marriage, no doubt about this). The same is true for men – you mentioned short stature – that is much more of a ‘problem’ for men than women when it comes to marriage and being desirable to the opposite gender.
So while I agree with what you’re saying, I think you’re approaching the topic with ‘victim mentality’ firstly, and secondly that your’re incorrectly restricting these conditions to the females of the ummah, whereas similar issues affect males. We can argue all day about who is ‘worse off’ but I don’t think we can even rightly compare them given the differences between the genders (real or imagined).
shukran for the article took a lot off pressure off my shoulders
jaza kala khairen…its really really beautiful article,we as women should know our real value in every role…role or character should not effect our goal,may Allah keep every one focused and on the right path.
Jazak Allah for this well thought of article. I am a 40 year old unmarried women. Cancer took away my ability to bear children. It encourages me greatly to know it is acceptable for a woman to become a scholar of Hadith and teachings of Deen. Sister you have give me light and direction.
[…] Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) has told us about the mother, “[…] Paradise is at her feet.”2 But getting married and becoming a mother is not the only way to get into Paradise. And not every […]
Please write something about disabled sisters, how hard their lives are! Please do this! Anyone on virtualmosque.com please do this.
I can do that also I should write my life history that it self has many lessons. I was born with speech impediment. Went to the very best university in U.K. passed the exams and cleared the first year with honors. Then realized even with a degree no one will hire me due to my speech impediment. Moved to Canada did one year of college in I.T and did a degree in I.T. putting in five more years. Spent most of last 15 years looking for a job so I can get married. Mean While I started taking a lot of communication courses to improve my self. Got to a point where I was sending 300 resumes with customized cover letters a month. That would generate 200 interviews a month. Net result of that was that employers turned round and said If I apply again they will call the police. So yes they did not hire me due to my Speech Impediment. Alhumdulilah I found an odd job and financially satisfied. I turned to Allah swt and guess what Allah swt cured my speech but there is a lot that i have to still do to improve my self.
Mashallah, amazing article! Very well-written, concise, and provides situations that every young female potentially undergoes everyday. I enjoyed reading this article and truly connected with each word written.
thank you for this article. i think women do not need much – or perhaps any – extra pressure about being a wife and mother. every culture (except some really ultramodern ones) cherishes the role of mother. and the influence of biology is very strong – the biological clock is keenly felt by women, with or without anyone reminding them of it.
i *know* the hadith where the Prophet said that only two things can be envied by a Muslim about another person – neither of them involve being married and having kids, but are (1) wealth and the ability to spend it on good causes (2) knowledge and the ability to teach it to others. i *know* the women in the early and golden age of islam were many things and seemed to marry, divorce, re-married or some didn’t marry at all without this being a particularly central issue in their lives. and yet for me, even with this topic only infrequently mentioned (God blessed me with a lot of sensitive relatives and friends) the likelihood of not having children, of an uncertain marriage and being too late to start over, still eats away at me some.
isn’t it strange that it’s normal to feel such terrible regret over missing out on parenthood, but not on missing out on having wealth and knowledge to benefit others? perhaps it is because the latter feels like you can get them later, but parenthood has a perceived time limit.
I can’t thank you enough, sister, for speaking my mind. I am a 23 year old Muslimah in a country that’s far from my own. Let’s not talk about my views on marriage or how it should be; suddenly after i completed my bachelor’s degree, everyone around me is pushing me like there’s no other topic in the planet. It is so emotionally disturbing that really, i don’t know how to be kind to them anymore. It hurts me to be feeling so angry but that’s how i feel. If there’s any lady interfering in the lives of her daughter or friend’s daughter, please don’t earn sin this way;if you mean well, find her a good man, don’t sit around asking about it. It maybe well-meant but it is hurtful. In most cases, the girl is powerless any way, it’s not like she can order a husband. Parents should be taught to find good husbands for their daughters, instead of good wives for their sons!
Jazak Allahu Khair for posting this article. It truly helped to ease the pain and stress that’s in my heart. I am in my early 20’s and I have been married recently. Although I do not experience any pressure from my family about having kids, I grew up in a society where marriage suddenly means popping babies out. I always feel like I need to hurry up and have kids because I’m young and I’m just wasting my time. Once I put “alhamdullilah” as my status on facebook and this one person chats me up to ask if there is any good news. I didn’t know what they were talking about but I realized they were asking if I got pregnant yet. Although I am sure they meant it in a good way, I still felt pressured by it. Now that I am married, I feel like I’m slowly losing motivation to continue my studies. I feel as though I just need to be a housewife and prepare to be a mom. I feel conflicted going back to school because I feel like I need to make sure my house is in order and if I neglect being a wife or mom, I won’t get jannah. Although I am married alhamdullilah, a part of me always feels like I was rushed into it when I wasn’t really ready. Insha Allah, Allah makes it easier for all of us and blesses us for whatever stage of life we are in.
Jazakallah :'( you have no idea what this means to me :'(
Yet another article pointing at females. The problem and cancer in our ummah are the males, their ignorance they insatiable apatite for the dunya and their perpetual childlike state into adulthood, exceptions do not break the general pattern.
Parenthood, for both men and women, requires great sacrifice, dedication and strength. If one hasn’t developed these characteristics, how will they fare in the face of those tasks?
We do our community a huge disservice, when we perpetuate a culture where women believe that they only exist to be taken care of. We belittle their sense of self and purpose, and then we wonder why so many young mothers are severely depressed.
Great article! My wife brought this to my attention and alhumdulillah it articulates a very valid opinion. However it is an opinion of the author who is ultimately voicing her opinion and basing this on her perceptions and understandings of situations she has lived and/or witnessed. By no means can an opinion be generalised! We do have many great women in our history and women play a very important part of our society as intellects , mothers and daughters. But we have to remember that most likely we have some not-so great women in history too (indeed the same goes for men).Many of the comments written above seem to point the finger at society (or indeed men) when it comes to the subject of stifling females is this correct to generalise? Will society evolve through this us and them attitude? Surely if all happens due to Allahs will then we should had sabr and make dua rather then building a barrier between the genders within our religion?
Yes I believe our sisters have been held back, but we cannot pick and choose what aspects of Islam to follow according to our nafs. We have to strike a balance. It is not healthy in society to have men or women single, it leaves room for shaytan. Why is there a problem putting “pressure” on someone to look for a spouse (by the way that happens to men too!) there is nothing wrong with being married and chasing your dreams too. Is it healthy for a person to be single and work in a mixed environment? Surely if married the temptations are less. Lastly I believe the ayah from the Quran quoted has been very conveniently interpreted, yes Allah has created us to worship him and yes there are many forms of worship, but why is this being used to justify not expediting ones marriage? Furthermore why is this ayah being used and not another ayah which justifies men taking more than one wife?
My intentions were not to offend but to discuss why there is this growing female rights campaign in the community. I am not privy to the writers intentions. Allah knows best, but am fearful of the way this may be interpreted by others. I fear we risk losing the distinction between man and woman,much like the western society. In my opinion there is a distinction between the genders however that does not indicate a disadvantage.
Maybe it’s because I am a women that I always see these articles about women’s issues, and women not selling themselves short. I wish there were also more articles out there saying the same about men. Like, hey men, it’s great you want to succeed in your career, but when you do get married, don’t forget to pitch in at home and not expect your wife to be an extension of your mother when it comes to taking care of the house and kids.
In my community, I don’t see women selling themselves short as much as I see men just not living up to their responsibilities. And in any community, any issue that affects one gender will also have a reflection on the other.
Mashaa Allah Sister Maryam. Thank you so much for your brilliant article. May Allah (SWT) reward you abundantly, and may He increase our love and knowledge for the truth about our noble Islam, ameen. I have had this conversation with many people, many times, especially when they insist the primary function/role of a woman in Islam is to get married and have babies and be a home maker. We weren’t created to have babies, we were created with the primary purpose of worshiping Allah. There’s a reason why Allah (SWT) in His infinite wisdom made marriage a Sunnah (not compulsory, but recommended). Society has turned it upside down. Young women are under so much pressure to get married, they end up making wrong decisions because of this pressure, and sometimes end up in unhappy marriages. Why? We all want to settle down, and have a beautiful family, life just isn’t perfect for all.
Please I hope I’ll have your permission to republish this on my blog, with full credits given to you. Thank you.
That should be fine as long as it adheres to our article reposting policy.
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What a wonderful article! I’m not religious myself but this carries a lot of important messages for both men and non-Muslims as well as Muslim women.
Of course we’re all eager to find our life partners and settle down but there’s so much more to life than that! We owe it to our future partners, our friends, our families and especially to ourselves* to make the most of what we’ve been given.
At the very least it will help us to experience life and grow as people so that we’re better prepared for the relationship if/when it comes.
* I’m only listing mortals here, no offence intended!
Your a source of inspiration..Truly….
Elhamdulillah, this is not an issue I as a husband and father am willing to even slightly entertain. Rasulullah S.A.W told us to marry. Tariq Ramadan mentioned that culture is ok until it clashes with Islamic Principles. We as Americans must be vary that our Life is In line with the Principles of Al Islam. Femenist movements have slowly crept their way into our religion and this is clear when looking at this article. Women in the workplace are much of the reason for the adultery and so forth that takes place because MALE and FEMALE tend not to know how to control themselves when exposure is high like say 40 hours a week with the opposite sex and 13 hours with your husband…..or wife. May Allah protect us from this nonsense.
Brother is one studies the North American economic culture. Having two incomes is a reality/ necessary for many families. This culture is producing the next generation where as much as 40% of the young may not marry. Gone are the days when one can just start high school and get married. Many will not marry even with a PHD. Welcome to the modern education/ cultural / economic realities. The hadith about marriage is talking about a cultural norm where a girl could make bread and milk a goat and a brother that can raise 3 goats and farm 2 acres of land was enough to get married. They may make up an upper middle class family. Total family net-worth of $6,000 to $10,0000 Many people are looking for professionals with a professional job like a doctor, engineer or an accountant. Then they look for what is the name of the employer. How they look like (compare them to TV personalities). The family and their background also comes into play. What we do not have is a global institute that looks in to these issues, i.e. a institute which looks in to the issues of the Muslim families.
Good sensible point.
I remember reading & commenting on this article back in Oct 2011, about accepting my single hood and to not feel like i am less religious than my married sisters just because I don’t have a ring on my finger.
Shortly after that in December, I met a beautiful man much to my amazement, got engaged in February 2012 and was married in April 2012.
I’m days away from my first anniversary as a wife and i am very happy alhamdulillah.
Makes me smile reading my previous comment, written during the final months of my single hood, earnestly believing Allah created me to serve him as a single woman. Forever fasting.
Allah is the Best of All Planners. No matter what situation you’re in just have complete faith in Him and without a doubt He will lead you to what is best for you. Only He knows what it is, how it will happen and when.
Jazakallahkhairan sister maryam for such an empowering article 🙂
Jazak Allah khair Sister for sharing your story, and reminding us to trust Allah swt in all our affairs, and not to always rely on our own means; sends so much hope for single sisters out there!! May allah swt grant you a happy life with your husband, and grant the other sisters a pious husband. Ameen.
This is a great article but i feel one point needs to be clarified. We actually have an opposite problem now. There is so much focus on a woman being educated and working that when she eventually does get married and have kids its hard for her to handle going from being in a professional career dealing with people on a professional level, to changing diapers and cleaning vomit! Many women think (and Western feminism is largely to blame for this) “What am I doing with my life, I am wasting my life cleaning poop and vomit!!”
But our religion teaches us that this a womans greatest struggle and her reward is great and she shouldnt belittle this job Allah has given her, to bring up the next generation of believers. I think muslim women nowadays have been so inundated with feminist teachings for so long that they need support. they need to know that being a housewife is not insignificant, It is at times harder than going out to work!!
Please support moms at home! This is coming from a tertiary educated career woman, turned mom of 4.
A fresh and awesome comment. Like Noam Chomsky said, there seems to be a war against mothers!
I also want to add to this comment. While the scenarios the author mentioned are true in some cases, in many cases it is the very educational and professional pursuits that have created a marriage crisis where youth are having trouble getting married. Many sisters and/or their parents will not even consider marriage until their mid-20s for professional and educational pursuits. Then, when the search gets serious so late, there ends up being even more stress and troubles getting married.
This is so true brother.
You have successfully tackled one of the most stressful issues in the Muslim community and I hope and pray that people will internalize your message with an open heart.
God bless you habibitee,
[…] Original source: http://www.virtualmosque.com/relationships/marriage-family/wifehood-and-motherhood-%e2%80%93-not-the-on… […]
The general movement of feminism I believe is important for the ummah at the very point in time. It gives women a little bit of movement in the Muslim community to actually do something greater in their lives. We are at a time where the number of Muslim women scholars are at an all time low!! Why? There are many reasons, but one of them is the restricting idea of the Muslim woman’s ‘role’ and life goal of housewife and men who believe Muslim women should be hidden from society.
I am a Muslim woman and working electrical engineer. I work 40 hours a week with men. But this does not mean I’m throwing myself onto them or they can’t keep their hands off of me. This is a time where that is considered HARASSMENT in America and you can easily loose your job. Alhamdulillah many American companies do a good job at providing a safe working place for women. So the idea of stopping myself working as a woman engineer and providing for my family when I as an American woman have so many rights that protect me from potential harassment is silly. I am a hijabi, modestly dressed wan, and practicing Muslim at work and outside of work. I love my job and do not find it impeding on my morals or religion, if anything it has given me a stronger connection with Allah SWS. I am currently contributing to society by protecting people for Allah’s sake and InshaAllah I hope to use the money i earn for Allah’s sake, whether to support my family, local masaajid, or deen related education to inshaAllah become a scholar.
A Muslim woman that respects herself and her morals is very unlikely to fall into zinna even if she is around men. And even in today’s American society to pursue a relationship with a co-worker is considered undesired. Work is not a place to flirt, that’s just common knowledge for our time.
Khadija bint khawaylid is a huge role model for me, not only do I want to be a successful and powerful woman like her, I also want to be a wife and mother like her. But inshaAllah that will come in time when Allah SWS decides and gives me that opportunity, otherwise I’m not going to stress about it. I put my trust in Allah SWS, and that is how I find peace
What you’re saying here has some merit but I think you’re forgetting that not all work environments are similar or even close to what you as you describe. I think it’s a bit naive to assume that even the workplace next door yours is similar to yours in the ways you have described, let alone another city, state, country, continent.
You’re also only considering your own perspective. Ma-sha-Allah, you should be commended for holding on to your Islamic principles in an environment of fitna. However not all people are equal, so hence abilities, temperaments, spiritual levels, etc. differ.
The Islamic discouragement (though not prohibition) of women working is meant to be a general rule for the majority of women. Even if we ignore empirical evidence (you mentioned harassment – why is harassment such a recurring problem in the workplace? does the intermingling of male and female have nothing to do with it?), know that Allah knows us inside-out, and he knows that the majority of men and women become over-friendly with each other in uncontrolled social situations.
So Allah has closed off the means of haram – ‘wa la taqrabuz zina..’ (And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse…) [17:32](http://quran.com/17/32)
Lastly, I would add that feminism is a destructive ideology which is aimed at ruining the compatibility of men and women, making women more like men, luring people by disguising itself as a movement to ‘liberate’ and ‘free’ women. It is an off-shoot of liberalism and as such has only the interest of placing the individual’s (the oppressed female in this case) desires before anything else. So, rather than being important for the ummah, it is an avenue of destruction and completely incompatible with Islam.
If you admire Khadijah (r.a.), know that she is a shining example of the complete opposite of feminism, as she recognized the great role Islam had for her, and excelled at it. The fact that she was a business women had very little to do with feministic ideals – and more to do with the necessity of it for her specific situation.
[…] many other sisters’ problem too – worded eloquently in sister Maryam Amirebrahimi’s article Wifehood and Motherhood are Not the Only Ways to Paradise on the SuhaibWebb.com website, in which she asks ‘Why, as a general community, are we not putting […]
WONDERFUL ARTICLE AMAZING SIMPLY WHAT IS NOT THOUGHT ABOUT AND NO ONE , NOT EVEN THE FAMOUS SCHOLARS ON fB R PROMOTING THIS CONCEPT. VERY VERY NICE ARTICLE N SPOKE MY HEART BUT UR WORDS. PLZ KEEP WRITING
[…] many other sisters’ problem too – worded eloquently in sister Maryam Amirebrahimi’s article Wifehood and Motherhood are Not the Only Ways to Paradise on the SuhaibWebb.com website, in which she asks ‘Why, as a general community, are we not […]
Mashallah, I wish more people understood this beloved! We must all return to Allah, ALONE! So let’s begin investing in Akhirah bank account. I answer many “help me” letters from sisters struggling with this same issue, I will be sure to refer them to this post. Jazakhallah!
how one can worship Allah if he/she being a film director, an actor or a bartender ?? may be we are mixing the pepper and salt together.
Thanks for sharing valuable information. it is really great to see Islamic discussions online. There is an Islamic community online as well. Providing online Islamic education is a great way to spread islamic knowledge to greater audience.
I’m a married woman with a baby. I have to work and give my son into the care of other people because my husband is not earning. I always feel belittled in the community and am sick of the sorry looks I get, and even suggestions that I might have less reward than stay at home muslimas. I just can’t help it, I’m forced to.
I love this article. May I ask if you are a convert? I’ve never heard of a sister speaks in this angle. I am a convert and have 3 girls. Alhumduallah, they are all excel in academic study. All of them want to have their career rather than marry early. Our friends in the masjid on the other hand, always mention and already did accepting proposals for their daughters while they are only 16-17. I am not used to this concept and cannot comment about that. However, when my daughter expresses her aspiration of wanting to be a doctor or scientist, they do not praise her at all. Instead, they all praise to those who expresses that they will be getting engaged in 17 and not sure what to do in their university. They got a thump up from the youth group leader. It just puzzles me so much about this predominant pressure and practice in the muslim circle. I am so glad to see the other angle of presenting this issue. Sister, please write more on the topic related to sisters’ and family issues. Thanks a lot.
Imagine if every sister did that – delay marriage until 30 and establishing her career. Imagine the fitnah that will result – when both men and women have physical and emotional needs that cannot be satisfied because the door to marriage has been closed! A guy wanting to marry – will not be able find any Muslim sister to marry!
If someone is in exceptional circumstances where they are unable or unwilling to marry due to special reasons then these are exceptional cases. It may be ok for a few, but we cannot make it the norm to outlaw marriage until one’s 30s…the result will be catastrophic! Not “will be” rather already is!!
The Prophet(saw) encouraged marriage when one is ready, and ready did not mean becoming a scientist or a doctor.
Maybe I did not write clearly of what I mean. I completely agree with study and marry can go hand in hand and are not mutually exclusive. My question is I query for the early age of enagagement for a young woman who is only 16 or 17. For this age, they do not even know well enough about themselves and how they can judge or choose a right match. Why this hurry? Those parents are not even put education in a high priority for their daughter as the most important for their daughter is to get marry to a man. I heard stories and stories about those girls who engage in high school that they do not even care too much about the college as they will become someone’s wife and a mother to be soon. It is completely their choice, but Allah forbids, how about if the husband get sick or don’t earn enough to support or die etc etc. A woman has to stand up to support the family! What I see in the muslim community is all married women are homebound, and this is their mission only. I am not saying they are wrong but I just want to say there are young women would like to pursue their study and career but they receive lots of pressure from the muslim community. They may be labed as non-religious and not fully submit to Allah. I think it is not fair for them.
Brother Omer, you seem to not have understood what the sister was saying. Nobody suggests that women should stop marrying early and instead merely pursue their carriers! The topic is about the women who just can’t get married because they haven’t found the right counterpart yet. It’s about women that seem inattractive merely because they are focused on studying rather than beauty. It’s about women who are outlawed by the ummah because men are afraid of their level of knowledge. It’s time that the men of our ummah change their narrow-minded attitude and stop feeling threatend by an educated women! Men, you should compete with men instead and not shy away from knowledgable, confident women! It’s interesting that whenever the topic of studying comes up, some guys feel threatened. This simply shows their lack of development.
Lastly, dear brother, fitnah does not result from educated women, but rather from the practice of forcing young immature girls into marriages, who are than incapable of growing self-confident kids themselves. Think about it brother! I did not meant to be rude, nor do I want to insult you. Please pray for me and for the ummah as a whole. And please appreciate the effort, educated women are doing at least a little bit. Wa salam. Peace to you brother
I believe you did not what understand what I was saying.
First of all, few men feel ‘intimidated’ by educated women – rather those women are often so proud of their education they go around rejecting dozens of good proposals because they think the men are not ‘qualified’ then they get old and complain more.
Secondly, fitnah results because there is a need for marriage but many obstacles to getting married on-time, with such unIslamic beliefs such as outlawing marriage until mid-to-late 20s due to education pursuits.
Both men and women can also marry while pursuing their other goals. Getting married and studying or working are not mutually exclusive. Rather we may need to adjust our concept of marriage from a notion of only getting married when everything is settled and perfect to having realistic expectations and marrying to preserve the well-being of our children and society.
A married Muslim sister can also become a doctor.
Not everyone has to marry as I said before…but on the other hand if everyone started to prevent marriage until 30+ (which is already happening directly or indirectly) then the result will be catastrophic.
[…] October 20, 2012 imoadmin Leave a comment By Maryam Amirebrahimi “Why are you majoring in that field?” I asked a sister in college. She sighed, “To be honest, I just want to get married. I don’t really care about what I’m studying right now. I’m just waiting to get hitched so I can be a wife and a mother.” “It’s awesome that she wants to be a wife and a mother, but why would she put her life on hold?” I wondered. Why would a skilled, passionate young woman create barriers to striving for self-improvement and her ability to be socially transformative when she doesn’t yet have the responsibilities of wifehood or motherhood? Being a wife and a mom are great blessings, but before it actually happens, why exchange tangible opportunities, just waiting for marriage to simply come along—if it came along? I didn’t have to look far to find out. “I’m already twenty-six,” another sister lamented. “I’m expired. My parents are going crazy. They think I’m never going to get married and they pressure me about it daily. My mom’s friends keep calling her and telling her I’m not getting any younger. She keeps crying over it and says she’ll never be a grandma. It’s not like I don’t want to get married; I’ve been ready since college! I just can’t find the right guy,” she cried. Why, as a general community, are we not putting the same pressure on women to encourage them to continue to seek Islamic knowledge? Higher education? To make objectives in their lives which will carry over and aid them in their future familial lives, if such is what is meant for them? Perhaps it’s because we’re obsessed with the idea that women need to get married and become mothers and that if they don’t, they have not reached true success. We all know the honorable and weighty status of wifehood and motherhood in Islam. We all know that marriage completes half your deen1 and that the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) has told us about the mother, “[…] Paradise is at her feet.” But getting married and becoming a mother is not the only way to get into Paradise. And not every grown woman is a wife and/or mother, nor will ever be. Some women will eventually become wives and/or mothers, if Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) blesses them with such, but for others, Allah (swt) has blessed them with other opportunities. Allah (swt) did not create women for the sake of wifehood or motherhood. This is not our first goal, nor our end goal. Our creation was to fulfill our first and most important role—to be His SLAVE. As He tells us in Surah Dhaariyat (Chapter of the Winnowing Winds), “And I did not create the jinn and humankind except to worship Me.” Worship comes in such a variety of forms. Being a housewife (a.k.a. domestic engineer!) can be a form of worship. Being a stay-at-home-mom can be a form of worship. Being a working wife and mother can be a form of worship. Being an unmarried female student can be a form of worship. Being a divorced female doctor, a female journalist, Islamic scholar, film director, pastry chef, teacher, veterinarian, engineer, personal trainer, lawyer, artist, nurse, Qur’an teacher, psychologist, pharmacist or salon artist can each be a form of worship. Just being an awesome daughter or house-fixer upper can be forms of worship. We can worship Allah (swt) in a variety of ways, as long as we have a sincere intention, and what we do is done within the guidelines He has set for us. Unfortunately, however, that is not the message our community is sending to single sisters – both those who have never been married, and those who are now divorced. When I speak to many women and ask them about the ways they want to contribute to society and the ways they want to use their time and abilities, a number of them will tell me that they have no idea and that they’re only going through the motions of school or work while they’re waiting for Prince Muslim to come along and with whom they can establish parenthood. However, Prince Muslim is not coming along quickly or easily for many awesome, eligible Muslim women. And for some, he has come along, and he or the institution of their relationship turned out to be more villainous than harmonious. Single and never married or divorced — very capable and intelligent Muslim women constantly have to deal with the pressure of being asked, “So…when are you getting married? You aren’t getting any younger. It’s harder to have kids when you’re older.” The amount of tears, pain, stress, anger and frustration which these awesome women are constantly dealing with because of a social pressure to get married (especially when many already want to, but are just not finding the right person!) and have children is not from our religion. Islam gave women scholarship. Our history is filled with women who have dedicated their lives to teaching Islamic sciences. Have you ever heard of Fatimah Sa`d al Khayr? She was a scholar who was born around the year 522. Her father, Sa`d al Khayr, was also a scholar. He held several classes and was “most particular about [his daughters] attending hadith classes, traveling with them extensively and repeatedly to different teachers. He also taught them himself.” Fatimah studied the works of the great al-Tabarani with the lead narrator of his works in her time. You know who that lead narrator was? The lead narrator of Fatimah’s time was not named Abu someone (the father of someone, indicating that he was a male). The leading scholar of her time was a woman. Her name was Fatimah al-Juzadniyyah and she is the scholar who men and women alike would study under because in that era, she was the greatest and most knowledgeable in some of the classical texts. Fatimah Sa`d al Khayr eventually married and moved to Damascus and eventually to Cairo and she continued to teach. Many scholars travelled specifically to her city so they could study under her. Fatimah was brought up in a family that valued the education and knowledge of a woman to the point that her father was the one who would ensure she studied with scholars from a young age. Before marriage, she was not told to sit around and be inactive in the community out of fear that some men would find an educated woman unattractive or intimidating and would not want to marry her. She was not going through the motions of studying random things in college because she was stalling until she got married. She sought scholarship and Allah (swt) blessed her with a husband who was of her ranking, who understood her qualifications and drive, and who supported her efforts to continue teaching this religion even after marriage. She left a legacy we unfortunately have most likely never heard about because we rarely hear about the over eight thousand female scholars of hadith who are part of our history. Why do we never hear about Fatimah Sa`d al Khayr and the thousands of female scholars who were like her? I think that one of the reasons—and it’s just a personal theory—that as a community, we are so focused on grooming our women to be wives and mothers that we lose sight of the fact that this is not even our number one role. Servitude to Allah (swt) is our number one role. We need to use what He has given us, the means that we have at the moment we have, to worship Him in the best of ways. Islamic history is filled with examples of women who were wives and mothers, who focused completely on their tasks of being wives and/or mothers, and produced the likes of Imam Ahmed rahimahu allah (may God have mercy on him). We take those examples as a community and we reiterate the noble status of such incredible women. But we also have examples of people who were not only wives and not only mothers, but those who were both of those, one of those, or none of those, and still were able to use the passions, talents and skills Allah (swt) blessed them with to worship Him through serving His creation, through calling His creation back to His Deen and leaving legacies for the generations to come. Some
of these women were wives and mothers and dedicated their lives to focusing on their families completely and some of them continued to serve the greater society at large. Shaykh Mohammad Akram Nadwi mentions in his introduction to his Dictionary of women hadith scholars, Al Muhadithaat, “Not one [of the 8000 female hadith scholars he researched] is reported to have considered the domain of family life inferior, or neglected duties therein, or considered being a woman undesirable or inferior to being a man, or considered that, given aptitude and opportunity, she had no duties to the wider society, outside of the domain of family life.” Female scholars in our history were focused on being family women when they had families to whom they held responsibilities, and when able, they also had goals and objectives in life which extended beyond the roles of wifehood and motherhood. So what about someone who is not yet married? Many single women are using their time to the utmost, focusing on improving their skills and abilities to contribute back to the ummah (community) and society at large. They are loving worshipping Allah (swt) through investing in their abilities and using those for the greater good. Perhaps we can all take from their example. God, in His Wisdom, has created each one of us differently and in different circumstances. Some recognize this, love any stage they are in, and develop their abilities to the fullest. Let us, too, use the time and abilities God has given us to maximize our worship to Him and work for the betterment of society and humanity as a whole. If wifehood or motherhood comes in the process, then at least we were using all of our ability to worship Him before it came and can continue to use the training and stamina we gained before marriage to worship Him with excellence once it comes along. If there are parents, families and communities that are pressuring women to get married and have kids: Be grateful Allah (swt) has blessed you with daughters, married or unmarried, mothers or not, as the Prophet ﷺ has said, “Do not be averse to daughters, for they are precious treasures that comfort your heart.”10 We are putting more pressure on our sisters than they can emotionally and psychologically handle. Let us give them space, let them find themselves and establish their relationships with Allah (swt). Allah (swt) created us to worship Him. That is our number one role. Now, let us do our part and figure out how best we can fulfill the purpose for which we’ve been created. (Courtesy: SuhaibWebb.com) […]
Assalamu alaikum, I thank the writer for this beautiful perspective on Muslim women’s abilities, and this touches me because I have recently gone through a great disappointment. I am 23, and I graduated from college a year ago. I have been wanting to marry a young Muslim man for 4 years, but my mother asked me to wait until I graduated. When I finally did so, I got officially engaged to Prince Muslim, and I wanted nikkah, but because of some (burdensome) tradition requirements, my future husband has to earn a lot of money so we can have a HUGE wedding that EVERYBODY has to talk about. 🙁
My heart is in pain when I am writing this. So we couldn’t get married because we need an expensive wedding. May Allah makes things easier for us. ameen. In the mean time, what am I supposed to do for 2 whole years?
I have already cried, and this will not make me anymore patient. Now I have to go back to university to get a graduate degree, insha Allah.
When people keep asking me if I am married, it hurts me because I wish I were. But I just can’t. Alhamdulillah, this situation is making me look at my relationship with Allah, on things that I can accomplish, with or without being married.
Alhamdulillah I am learning to worship Allah through other means, and sister Yasmin Mogahed has made me realize that marriage is a MEANS to an end, not an end to itself. So I can smile again and know that ALLAH must be my number one goal, and other adornments of life ( motherhood and wifehood) are MEANS to an end, which means that sisters in my situation can still be useful to this ummah. alhamdulillah 🙂
May Allah bless you sister Maryam for such a heart-warming, thought-provoking reminder/piece. SubhanAllah.
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Wonderful article maryam – I am 28 and at this point my parents, extended family and friends think nothing of nothing educational and professional accomplishments because they feel like none of it is good enough anymore as I am not married. Everything ends with but she’s not married and pitiful glances. I spent a few years sitting around, not taking career opportunities because then I’d be overqualified and chances of finding a suitable match would dwindle further. But I’m glad to know that I am not lacking as a human being because I am not married as I had started to believe that I was – And it is this that will help me stay strong when people ask why I am not married and make references to marriage (it happens up at least twice a day :). Do pray for me to have the emotional and psychological strength to keep rising above people’s negativity regarding my single status and stay strong in my faith…sending prayers for everyone.
To some of the Desi men here – why do you/your parents discriminate based on girl’s complexions while bride hunting? Agreed, men seek out attractive partners. But who said ONLY fair girls are beautiful and all other shades of dark are just plain ugly?
I wouldn’t mind as long as the men themselves are judged by the same yardstick, but majority of the men that are seen are simply your average joe, looking for custom made princesses from Jannah (lol).
And God forbid the men are well qualified and earning well abroad. The specifications request pretty much revolves around – very fair, fair, beautiful, very fair or fair only. Color obsessed much?
dear sister, men are not the only issue here, though the ones you speak about are not worth marrying anyway if they have such a primitive view. the big issue that is ignored is that married sisters are too selfish to help the single sisters get married, over jealousy that the single sister will “score” a better man then themselves. it’s a problem with the ummah to help each other for the reward from allah (swt).
[…] I know that I still can play my part to contribute to the society and ummah. And I stumbled into this great piece by Sheikh Suhaib Webb on ‘Wifehood and Motherhood are Not the Only Ways to […]
Islam says absolutely nothing about women staying, cooking and cleaning, and looking after the kids. This is BIDDAH. This stuff has NO PLACE IN OUR RELIGION.
When the Quran says men are the protectors and maintainers of women, it just means men have no excuse NOT to work and provide for the family, whereas pregnancy and breastfeeding greatly hinders a woman’s capabilities. Otherwise, women SHOULD be in the workforce.
There is also no such thing as a “man’s job”. Women CAN do all the same things as men, weather jahils like it or not!
Inshallah, this ideology of women needing to stay at home (there is a verse in the Quran where it spoke of this, but it was meant for the Prophet’s wives ONLY) will wither away.
[…] Wifehood and Motherhood are Not the Only Ways to Paradise […]