Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: I am having a difficult time being a Muslim woman and being a low self-esteemed single. I really feel bad for my parents because I feel like I am also adding to their burden.
Is this singlehood a trial or a punishment? Do all difficulties end? If so, then why are some women still single despite hoping and wanting to get married?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
I pray this finds you well. May Allah ease your sorrow. Longing for a spouse is a natural. What you do in the meantime, however, can either add to your misery, or add to your contentment.
My dear sister in faith, remember that you are already precious to Allah. There is only one of you in all of Creation. Allah Most High, out of His love for you, placed belief in your heart. You do not need a husband to complete you, or make you feel better.
This yearning that you feel is really a reflection of your soul’s longing for Allah. He is the One who will never let you down. All else, by definition, is human, flawed, and limited. Even the kindest and most loving husband will have his bad days, and pinning your happiness on him will only lead to disappointment.
It sounds like you may be depressed. I recommend seeing an understanding counsellor, psychologist, or holistic healer who is able to help you be gentle with yourself.
In addition to that, schedule in daily, weekly, and monthly activities which bring joy to your heart. Strive to exercise regularly, eat well, keep in touch with loved ones, and be involved in charity activities. Build these slowly into your life, and remember to be gentle with yourself.
The Happiness Trap by Dr Russ Harris is a wonderful book which I recommend. It will help you come to peace with things you cannot change.
Hypnosis Downloads is an option for you to improve your emotional well-being. I would recommend tracks like self-love and overcoming depression.
Reach out to your family and friends for support. This will help you feel less isolated and lonely, which may reduce your longing for a husband. You are no burden to your loved ones – they love you! The issues of the world are real and pressing, but your own grief is also real, and worthy of attention. You cannot be of service to anyone else if you are suffering.
Prayer and supplication
“Your striving for what has already been guaranteed to you,
and your remissness in what is demanded of you
are signs of the blurring of your intellect.” [Hikam of Ibn Ata’illah]
Please strive to be consistent in your prayer. This is of the utmost importance, because prayer is what keeps you connected to Allah. Wake up in the last third of the night and pour your heart out to Him.
Do not fret over what is already ordained for you – Allah has already written whether or not you will marry. You are better off orienting yourself to Allah and nourishing your relationship with Him. Beg Him for patience, for His Mercy, and for the gift of a righteous husband. Most of all, ask Him for contentment with His Decree.
A deep, rested sense of peace can only come out of consistent prayer, tahajjud, and sincere supplication. No husband can give that to you.
I’d like you to sit down and ask yourself a few questions. Why do you want to get married? What do you think marriage is like? What do you want in a husband?
I strongly advise that you enrol in the Successful Islamic Marriage course on SeekersGuidance and deepen your understanding of what marriage entails in Islam.
I know many women, including myself, who married in our late twenties or thirties. Since we have gotten married, we have all faced various tests like challenging interaction with in-laws, financial stress, moving countries etc. I realised that our many years of singlehood were preparation for the many tests that came with marriage. Was the wait worth it? Absolutely. I pray that this time of singlehood will be nourishing and healing for you, too.
Although it is common for unmarried people to date in countries like Singapore and elsewhere, this is not the way of the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace). To ensure maximum blessings in your marriage, please observe the limits of Islam, and not culture.
Save your first touch for your husband, not a boyfriend. There are too many instances of long-term boyfriends and girlfriends who do not end up getting married. The ramifications of these illicit relationships can range from unwanted pregnancies to deep and devastating heartbreak. Just because something is culturally condoned, it doesn’t make it right.
Allah has already guaranteed the provision for every soul in creation, including whom we marry.
Allah says, “There is not a single creature on the earth except that Allah takes care of its provision” [Quran 11:6].
If Allah has written for you to marry, then it is only a matter of time til you meet him. Please use this time as a way to know yourself better. Practise compassion with yourself, so that you can be compassionate towards your future husband, in-laws, and children. Tests don’t stop with marriage. Rather, they increase and take on deeper layers. Use this time of singlehood as a way to prepare for that, inshaAllah.
And Allah knows best.
Please refer to the following links:
Is There a Concept of “Soulmates” in Islam?
If I am patient, will I get a good spouse?
Dr Umar Faruq Abdullah – “Marriage as a Cosmic Ideal and Social Reality
Raidah Shah Idil
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.