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Finding Peace through "The Comforter"

Article reproduced with permission from MentalHealth4Muslims by Hosai Mojaddidi
We all are familiar with the 99 names of God, but many are not aware that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had over a hundred names. The Qur’an actually lists 77 explicitly and 121 in total if you include verbs. The hadith and other ancient literature take the count of names to 333. Imam Jazuli in the Dala’il Khayrat list 201 names. And still there are other sources that suggest anywhere from 1000 to 1400 names!
All of his names are beautiful and give us insight into who he is, which is why it’s important that we familiarize ourselves with them. One of his name’s that has always personally appealed to me is “The Comforter,” or the one who brings comfort. It is not among the more commonly known Arabic names because it is found in the Bible. Some people may be familiar with the Greek translation which is Paraclete or Parakletos.
There is something about the word ‘comfort’ that has universal appeal; we all love the idea of it and we want to be in comfort. Whether we’re home lounging around in our pajamas or driving almost fully reclined on our way to work, we seek comfort at every opportunity we can. Which is why we dress in comfort, we eat for comfort, we travel in comfort, we seek out relationships that make us comfortable, etc. We also need to be comforted, especially in times of hardship. No matter how strong or stoic a person may appear, they need comfort. Even the Prophet (peace be upon him) who endured so many hardships, one after the other, needed to be comforted at times.
So the idea that one of his names is actually, “The Comforter,” the one who brings comfort, just makes so much sense, especially when we look at the narrative of his life.
He has other names which are similar in meaning, like “Rahmat al `Alameen”, a mercy the worlds. God says in the Qur’an: “And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.” (21:107)
There are also, “Rasul al-Rahma” (the Messenger of Mercy) and “Rasul al-Raha” (the Messenger of Relief).
newimage.pngSeeking Comfort in Dark Times
While all these names are beautiful, there’s something specifically about “The Comforter” that I find so beautiful. By the simple fact that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was given this name, it suggests to me that when we are in need of comfort, hope, consolation, solace, etc., to get through the hardships of life, we can turn to him.
We are living in very dark and perilous times. It’s evident by the injustices around the world, the violence, the poverty, the disparity between those who have and those who have not; it’s evident all around us. We’ve gone from a society where people could sleep without locking their doors and the only thing standing between them and danger was a screen door, to a world where double/triple locks, bolts, and chains are not enough to feel secure; people need full security systems like ADT or cameras strewn throughout their property to get a good night’s rest! Moreover, the world we live in now is one where children are taken from their beds while asleep, where people are kidnapped in broad daylight, where innocent women, children, and noncombatants are indiscriminately killed, raped or tortured as a consequence of unjust wars, etc. So, there is no doubt that we’re living in crazy times and that we need some type of comfort to avoid going crazy ourselves. We also need to seek comfort for our souls in order to bear life’s trials & burdens, some of which affect us every single day, like stress, health problems, financial issues, relationship issues, loss of loved ones, etc.
God, in His infinite mercy, gave us a very real and tangible solution; He gave us someone we could identify with, someone we could learn from, someone we could find comfort in. He gave us “The Comforter” (peace be upon him). Which is why in addition to praising the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), loving him more than we love our own souls, and feeling an incredible amount of indebtedness to him, we should also actively seek and find comfort in him, his existence, his creation, his words, his example, etc. Everything about him and his life was made with this intent, to bring us comfort and relief. So when we feel the weight of the world on our shoulders, the burdens of the rat race of life we’re all caught up in, we should literally be able to breathe a sigh of relief just thinking about him and imagining him. Indeed, just reading his biography, and learning from the lessons of his life, there is something that every single soul on earth can find comfort in.
children-hands.jpgHow Can We Seek Comfort in Him?
1) He was an orphan. God, in His infinite wisdom, made him an orphan. Let us think about this for one moment and just imagine the millions of displaced, disenfranchised, impoverished souls throughout history who were either orphaned at birth or separated from their families. There’s no possible way to quantify those numbers throughout history but looking at the most current statistics UNICEF estimates the number of orphans at 210 million in the world today.
86 million orphans in India – more than the ENTIRE population of countries like Egypt & Turkey
44 million orphans in Africa by 2010
10 million orphans in Mexico
So, let’s think of these 210 million orphans throughout the world as well as the millions if not billions of people alive today who are in living in destitution, in absolute poverty or under oppressive regimes and let’s think of what it would mean to them to know that the most Beloved of God (peace be upon him) was also an orphan, was also poor and lived in that state up until his last and final breath!
Let’s also think of what it would mean to them to know what he himself said about the orphan:
“If anyone caresses an orphan by moving his fingers in his hair, doing so only for God’s sake, he will have blessings for every hair over which his hand passes and if anyone treats well ail orphan girl or boy under his care, he and I shall be like these two in Paradise,” putting two of his fingers together. (Ahmad)
There are 3 billion people right now, which is roughly 50% of the world population, who live on less than $2.50 a day. Let’s imagine what it would mean to them to know that he lived in extreme poverty, and that he too experienced famine and drought as they do, and that he starved like they do.
Let us imagine how much “comfort” all of these innocent and destitute souls would find in “The Comforter”, if only they knew, if only they knew!
2) He experienced loss in such degrees that most of us would literally lose our minds if we went through the same. There are people alive today who fall apart and go off the rails when their cars get scratched, their Louis Vuitton purse gets a stain on it, or they lose their Chanel glasses. There are thousands of people who are so attached to their possessions they are in therapy right now, some even on medication.
Then we have the Prophet (peace be upon him) who experienced unimaginable loss. He never met his father and lost his beloved mother at just 6 years old; he also lost his grandfather, his beloved uncles, the love of his life, Lady Khadija (may God be pleased with her), and his children! Out of 6 children he had to bury 5 of them himself! That is every parent’s nightmare and he experienced it not once but 5 separate times. His daughter Fatima (may God be pleased with her) is the only child who outlived him.
Let us just imagine for a moment any parent who has ever suffered the loss of a child, whether through war, disease, hunger, accident or otherwise, or any woman who has had a miscarriage, and let us imagine how they would feel if they knew the details of his life. Imagine if they knew that the Beloved of God (peace be upon him) understood their pain multiplied by 5. Think of how much “comfort” they would find in “The Comforter,” if only they knew!
3) He suffered by experiencing self-doubt when he first received the revelation and then by being mocked, tortured, ridiculed, ostracized by his own people. So for anyone who has ever been bullied or suffered through low self-esteem, imagine that the Beloved of God (peace be upon him) even after experiencing and witnessing with his own eye some of the most extraordinary things that have ever happened in this world doubted himself and doubted his abilities to succeed.
mothers_fg1rr_3868Let us think of all the kids out there every day who are ridiculed at school (1 in 7 kids, nearly 200,000, miss school every single day because of fear of being bullied), or people who are constantly mocked by their peers, family members, co-workers, and who suffer deep anxiety as a result, etc. Anxiety disorders are actually the most common mental health issue in this country affecting 40 million adults. So, let us imagine all the people out there who are on medication, including millions of young children! And let us remember that there are people walking around every day amongst us, they work with us, go to school with us, come to the masjid with us who have suicidal thoughts because they suffer this way: they are anxious, they have self-doubt, they’ve been ridiculed, ostracized, etc…for what? For simply being different than the status quo.
Now imagine, how these people would feel if they knew the details of the blessed life of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Imagine if they knew that he experienced the same emotions as they do, that he too went through a period of self-doubt and uncertainty! Think of how much “comfort” they would find in “The Comforter,” if only they knew!
4) In addition to suffering himself, he also removed the suffering of others by showing them compassion and mercy when others condemned them. Think of the man who urinated in the mosque and how the Prophet (peace be upon him) was able to dignify him even though he was doing the most undignified of acts.
We can only imagine what would happen if someone urinated in a mosque today. I’m pretty certain no one would just let him finish the act. That’s exactly how the Prophet (peace be upon him) handled the situation.
After the incident, the man said about the Prophet (peace be upon him): “May my mother and father be sacrificed for him. He did not scold or insult me. He just said, ‘We do not urinate in these mosques-they were built for prayer and remembrance of Allah.’ Then he called for a bucket of water to be poured on the ground.” — (Ibn Majah)
Sadly, we’ve become extremely unforgiving of people when they make mistakes. And that’s the irony, the more distant from God we’ve become as a community, the more intolerant we’ve become of others!
So imagine anyone who has perhaps embarrassed themselves by doing something “undignified” in their lives. And we all know someone, perhaps a relative or friend who has had some very low points and come under fire by others for behaving inappropriately; think of the drunk uncle at the wedding who is stumbling all over himself or offends a guest by speaking out of line. It doesn’t even have to be an extreme situation like that, it can be anyone who’s ever made a mistake in front of others and lived to regret it. Now imagine how when these people have suffered from the scrutiny, judgement, and intolerance of those around them, how they would feel to know that in the presence of the Beloved of God (peace be upon him) they would never be shamed! Imagine how much “comfort” they would find in “The Comforter,” if only they knew!
5) Think of Zahir bin Haram, who was a poor bedouin who often visited the Prophet (peace be upon him) and would bring him gifts. He was known for his poverty and for not being very attractive. One day he came to visit the Prophet (peace be upon him) but he didn’t find him so he went to the marketplace to sell his merchandise. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) heard Zahir was in town he went to find him and saw him disheveled, with tattered clothing and sweat pouring down his face. The Prophet (peace be upon him) came up from behind him and startled, Zahir began to shout, ”Who is this? Let me go! Let me go!” As soon as he realized it was the Prophet (peace be upon him) he instantly calmed down.
Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) teased him and said to the crowd gathered around: “Who will buy this slave?! Who will buy this slave?!” Zahir then looked at himself and thought of his extreme poverty, for he had neither wealth nor good looks and he said: “You will find me unmarketable, O Messenger of God.”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “But you are not unmarketable with God. You are very precious to God!”
Now let’s think of every single person who has ever looked down at themselves for not being attractive enough or for not having enough wealth. Think of the millions of girls & boys out there who are starving themselves (up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder, including anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder in the U.S.). Think of all the people out there fueling the billion dollar cosmetics industry to try to cover up their acne scars, lighten their skin, hide their cellulite, etc., or the guys who are taking steroids, hair loss pills, and who are lying about their salaries or running thousands of dollars in debt to live beyond their means because they’re insecure of how much they have.
Now, imagine how much comfort they would find in Zahir’s story, to know that one can be precious to God even if the rest of the world finds you have little value. Imagine how much “comfort” they would find in “The Comforter,” if only they knew!
6) Imagine all the women out there who are divorced/widowed or think they are too old or too heavy or too tall to be married and think of Sawdah (may God be pleased with her).
She was old, she was a widow, she was tall and heavy set, and she was not very attractive. After Lady Khadija (may God be pleased with her) passed away the Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked about marrying Sawdah. He was also asked about Aisha (may God be pleased with her) who was young and beautiful. He chose to marry Sawdah over Aisha.
So for all the sisters out there who are older and unmarried and feel conscious about their weight or their looks, just imagine how much honor his marriage to Sawdah gives you. After all, if the Best of Creation (peace be upon him) chose someone who looks like you or has a similar circumstance as you, then who is anyone else to demean you or make you feel unworthy?!
7) In many cultures across the world, you are shamed if you do not bear sons and only have daughters. Imagine how much comfort it brings to those men and women who are treated as outcasts or looked down upon to hear that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever raises two girls till they come of age, will be in the next world along with me, like my two fingers joining each other.” (Abu Dawud)
newimage.png8) One billion people in the world are illiterate. We know the Prophet (peace be upon him) was unlettered, but he was also the most brilliant and intelligent man to ever live and who ever will live. So, think of the billions of people who have never read a book in their lives and what it would mean to them to know that one can still be great without having the ability to read or possessing an education or degree.
9) Every day, there are millions of children who are emotionally, verbally, and physically abused. Many of them come from seemingly “normal” families but are spoken down to, neglected & disrespected every day. Their parents have no qualms whatsoever punishing them and humiliating them in private and in public. When they go to gatherings where there are adults, sometimes they are ignored completely. Imagine how these children would feel to know that the Beloved of God (peace be upon him) was known to love children. He would go out of his way to say salam to them, he would sit with them, and play with them.
We all need to ask ourselves, when was the last time we went out of our way to say salam and talk to a child? When was the last time we really spoke with them & gave them a sense of importance without any expectations from them at all? Sure, we can engage them when we need them to run and get us something from the other room or worse we pretend to engage them but we’re just nodding our heads while we’re distracted with our phones, computers, etc. And this doesn’t just apply to our own children, but to our extended families, our nieces, nephews, cousins, the children of our dearest friends and community members, etc. Do we really make an effort to put a smile on a child’s face in the same way the Prophet (peace be upon him) did?
He not only did that but he would play with them as well. He used to line up some kids in a row and say, “I’ll give such and such (i.e gift or so) to the one who comes running back to me first.” So they used to race and fall on his back and chest. (Ahmad)
Sadly, many of us are so busy these days, we don’t have time for our own kids let alone someone else’s. Yet we have to look at the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and wonder, “Is anything I am doing more important than the weight that was placed on his shoulders?” He made time to honor children, so we really have no excuse, do we?
Think of how these beautiful examples gives importance, honor, and dignity to every child in the world. And think of all the forgotten and neglected children and how much comfort they would find in the “The Comforter,” if only they knew!
Conclusion
All of these examples give us great insight into who the Prophet (peace be upon him) was and what he carefully, methodically, and so beautifully tried to teach all of us. We have to marvel at the fact that one man was created and fashioned to such perfection that he literally has universal appeal and that anyone…man, woman, child, can relate to him. We also have to wonder at the irony that while he was among the poor and illiterate, he was simultaneously the greatest leader to ever live! He was never at a disadvantage to anyone and yet he understood the disadvantaged! These are clear signs of the perfection of his creation!
Qasida MuhammadiyaFinally, the degree and amount of comfort that we can find in the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) doesn’t even stop with these beautiful examples from his life. He provides us comfort daily in real time when we reflect on the fact that we have been promised his intercession on the Day of Judgement:
“Allah gave me the option of choosing between the power of intercession or having half of my Ummah admitted to Paradise without any reckoning. I chose the power of intercession because that is more important and will be more useful. Do you assume that my intercession is for the pious Muslims? No, on the contrary, it is for those sinners who are steeped in sins and have committed grave crimes.” [Imam Ahmad in his Musnad from Hadrat Abdullah ibn Umar. Ibn Maja from Hadrat Abu Musa Asha’ari]
But all of the comfort we acquire from the life and example of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is only possible because our Lord is the most-Merciful of the Merciful. He, without any doubt, knows what we need before we even know we need it. He knew that this ummah would suffer, whether we’re in Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Europe, the U.S., or scattered throughout the world, He knew we would need solace to make sense of it all and so He gave us “The Comforter”. He gave us his life and example to learn from, so that we know how to respond to life’s trials and tests.
The challenge before us is, do we really know “The Comforter”? Have we truly studied his example and followed the course he has set forth for us? Do we truly know his value?
If only we knew….
On the Importance of Mental Health Support
As outlined above, the Prophet (peace be upon him) provided us countless examples to guide our life with which promote mental health and wellbeing. In fact, he fulfilled a vital role for his community during his lifetime by fulfilling their needs for mental health support. Many of his companions and community members would seek his guidance and counsel about every day worldly affairs. So, as a community we need to recognize the importance of and promote mental health support in this way; we need to accept that some people may need more support beyond prayer and reflection and encourage them to seek help and guidance from trained mental health professionals.

When Love is Not Enough: Reassessing Marriage in the Muslim Community – Mental Health 4 Muslims Blog

When Love is Not Enough: Reassessing Marriage in the Muslim Community – Mental Health 4 Muslims

*This article is adapted from a presentation Sr. Hosai Mojaddidi prepared for the Grand Mawlid event, held February 5th, 2012 in Santa Clara, California.

According to a Soundvision survey conducted in 2010: “If you attended six Muslim weddings this summer, chances are that two will end up in divorce sooner or later!” That might sound like a shocking statistic, but sadly, right now I can think of two recent marriages that are already on the verge of divorce.

So according to this study, as of the late 1990s, the North American Muslim divorce rate stands at 31.14 percent. Incompatibility was the most cited reason for divorce (16.38%), followed by abuse (13.12%), financial disputes (10.41%), family / in-laws interference (10.20%), sexual infidelity / adultery (8.79%), and others.

When they added the results of “religious incompatibility” to the general “incompatibility” factor, it came out to 25.71%. So, basically 1/3 of our marriages are ending in divorce and 1/4th of those are because of incompatibility, specifically, religious incompatibility.

So what does this mean? Clearly, there is a problem in our marriage selection process when a third of our marriages are falling apart.

In my experience over the past 15 years, talking with Muslim couples from all different backgrounds and ages, I believe there are other, underlying reasons, that further explain why our marriages are falling apart.

For example, there is a major generational disparity between the youth and the elders of our community regarding what defines an “ideal” partner and a happy marriage. The youth have their criteria and the elders have theirs and as the saying goes, “never the twain shall meet!”

Let’s start with the youth. Unfortunately, many of our youth have been affected by what is called “The Love Delusion,” which one article describes as:

“The root of any romance today is love, but it wasn’t always so. In past cultures, people came together because their parents arranged it or they wanted to join lands or kingdoms; love was secondary. Today, love is the only thing that matters. This over-emphasis on love is encouraged by media that tells stories, sings songs and writes books about how true love conquers all, is ultimately fulfilling, brings a never-ending wealth of happiness and is rarely marred by significant conflict. “

People caught up in this are deluded by the characters created by Hollywood & Bollywood, characters like: the “Knight in Shining Armor,” the “Filmi Hero,” the “Bad Boy,” the “Rebel Without a Cause,” the “Girl Next Door,” and the “Girl Who Plays Hard to Get”.

They’re also deluded by the Hollywood notion of what “true love” is and how you’re supposed to feel when you find “The One.” We’ve all seen the dramatic scenes that associate a chemical or visceral reaction with “true love,”…you know the sweaty palms, the heart palpitations, the shortness of breath, and fainting, etc. So basically, the idea that they continue to bombard us with through film, songs, media, etc., is that until or unless you feel these things, you haven’t really found “true love.”

The reality is that the youth of our community are plagued by these destructive and unrealistic thoughts. If you don’t believe me, just look at Facebook, Twitter, or Myspace and see what people are preoccupied with.

I’ve actually heard from sisters, who have said to me, “Sister Hosai, he’s an amazing guy, I know he’ll be a wonderful husband and father, and I have no complaints otherwise…it’s just…it’s just that I don’t feel butterflies when I’m around him!” or “We don’t have any ‘chemistry.’” or …”He’s TOO nice and that turns me off!”

These are girls who are practicing their faith, they’re pious sisters otherwise, but they actually have turned away prospects for “being too nice”! Why? Because “nice guys” finish last in Hollywood, don’t they? They’re often portrayed as the weak, nerdy, geeky types; in other words, the monogamous ones who actually want a relationship! Who wants that when the “Hero” of the film drives up in a leather jacket on a motorcycle and has all the girls swooning over him? Yeah that guy is real marriage material!

Sadly, in many cases, these are the same sisters who are so trapped in the “Love Delusion” they’re willing to wait in line for hours to watch the next film in the Twilight Series or the latest Shahrukh Khan flick at Naz Cinema in Fremont.

And of course, some of our brothers have also been trapped by the “Love Delusion.” They are the ones who are so focused on physicality that if a girl doesn’t have a certain “look” then she isn’t attractive enough; she’s not “his type”. And what is this type? You know, the airbrushed face, the tall and photo-shopped physique, the fake extensions and nails. Basically, the altered and unreal images splattered across magazine covers, billboards, music videos, etc.

In fact I’ve actually had brothers ask me to find them, and I quote, “A Muslim Kim Kardashian”! What on earth does that even mean? She is the epitomy of everything a Muslim woman should NOT be! If you don’t know who she is, then consider yourself very lucky.

Now, in all seriousness, it’s important to mention that of course attraction and compatibility are important. However, when you have unrealistic expectations and wont even consider talking to someone who doesn’t look or act like a figment of your imagination, then clearly there is a problem.

So to summarize, the “Love Delusion” is the first problem. The second problem is with our elders, especially those from immigrant backgrounds, who have an entirely different, and in many cases a much more destructive issue; many of them have very fixed and rigid prejudices, often borrowed from their cultures and customs, that influence the way they select partners for their children.

Sadly, many of these elders are active community members, religiously devoted, and knowledgeable and yet, they may or may not be aware of it, but they hold some of the most distorted views and prejudices imaginable when it comes to marriage, views that have absolutely no basis in Islam.

Why is this so?

Because, if it wasn’t clear before, it should be now, that we have a very serious crisis in our community in our understanding of marriage and how to select the ideal partner. There’s been a major departure from the Islamic standard as people continue to prefer their own individual or cultural standards instead. We cannot allow things to continue as they have been. We need to completely reform our current understanding of what constitutes a good marriage and reassess the criteria with which we select spouses. Because clearly, as the title of this talk states, love alone is not enough, and neither is lust or any other superficial thing for that matter.

So what defines a successful marriage?

Successful marriages are built on solid foundations. In order to learn these things, we need to return to the Prophetic example and see what the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did in his own life and what he taught others about marriage. He is the perfect example in every way and his standards should be our standards.

We must first begin by starting backwards and trying to undo the harm caused by our distorted views. So once we learn what he taught us about how to marry we can then extrapolate what hedidn’t teach us.

Related: 10 Ways to Avoid Marrying the Wrong Person

For example, he didn’t teach us to worry about:

  • The shade or color of someone’s skin…
  • Or whether one speaks Fus-ha or has a Khaleeji, Shammi, or Masri accent.
  • Or whether one is Punjabi vs. Memon, or Kandahari vs. Kabuli…
  • Or whether one has a Bachelor’s degree or a Master’s degree
  • Or whether one is a car salesman’ or a doctor
  • Or whether one has green eyes or brown eyes
  • Or whether one is balding or has straight hair vs. curly
  • Or whether one is 21, 31, or 41…
  • Or whether one has been engaged before or married…

The bottom line is, that no matter how much importance we may give to these things based on our perception of what will make us happy, and it really is just a perception, we will never be happy.

There’s a video of a Professor of Psychology from Harvard, by the name of Dan Gilbert, called,“Why Are We Happy?” In the video he describes the human adaptation of being able to simulate experiences by just simply creating them in our mind. For example, he jokingly describes how Ben & Jerry’s doesn’t have “liver-and-onion” ice cream, not because they whipped some up and said yuck, but because you can simulate the flavor and imagine that it wouldn’t taste very good. This ability that we have, although very useful, comes with a glitch. It’s called the “impact bias” which he describes as, “the tendency for the simulator to work badly. For the simulator to make you believe that different outcomes are more different than in fact they really are.”

So, we do this right? We all simulate happiness and misery, especially when it comes to marriage. Some of us, before we got married or before our children grew up, we already ruled out certain groups of people as potential spouses. Based entirely on our PERCEPTION of what certain unions would be like or what type of a spouse a certain person would be, we discriminate. Without any experience at all and based entirely on our ideas, we presume to know what is good enough for our son or daughters. How many people have come to learn the hard way that none of these things matter? That none of our superficial or material preferences have any importance in determining happiness if we have not first and above all else considered the content of someone’s character.

After all, if education or financial status were among the most important criteria, what do you say about our Beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) who was unlettered and left this earth without even enough oil to light his lamp on his deathbed? Aisha (may God be pleased with her) had to borrow oil for the lamp as he lay passing! If he was unlettered, is a brother to be looked down upon simply because he did not pursue his graduate studies or did not complete his studies in order to pursue a trade or a skill or to study the sacred sciences?

Or if a sister was previously married, what do you say about some of the wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him)? If they were good enough for the Best of Creation (peace be upon him) despite having been married before, who are you? Is such a sister not good enough for you? Do you have the right to caste her aside or dismiss her for your son, brother or grandson, because simply put she’s not a virgin?!

Are we not better than this? Are we not better than who we have become?

Every single day, there are sisters in our community who are suffering, by God they are suffering. I can’t tell you how many emails, phone calls, and meetings I have personally had over the years–stories that would break your heart–from sisters who are LONELY and wondering what defect they have because they cannot seem to get married! I deal with this almost on a weekly basis. And if you don’t believe me, go to any matrimonial gathering at any of these conferences, ISNA, RIS, the MCA, and see the disproportionate number of sisters to brothers. Please brothers and sisters, understand that this is a serious crisis in our community!

Many of these sisters have either been humiliated and marginalized or completely overlooked because they are either too dark, too short, too heavy, too old, married before or engaged, not educated enough or too educated, from a lower “class”, or a culture that is apparently too inferior. Nothing seems to be good enough anymore, so the question we must ask ourselves is: whose standards are we trying to meet?

I’ve also received emails from brothers who feel helpless because they want to marry a girl of their choice, but their parents disapprove of her because again, somehow she doesn’t seem to fit their skewed “criteria.” So what happens? Brothers are either conditioned early on to rule out sisters from certain groups as we mentioned before or they are cornered by guilt, threats, and ultimatums. In both cases they become part of the problem and the cycle continues.

Many of our youth feel helpless, but I have to speak today on behalf of the sisters, because from what I’ve observed they are the ones that are truly suffering. And believe me when I say that for many sisters, because of fear of being alone, their standards have drastically declined. Many of them have reached the end of the rope. I know several sisters who have considered and even married non-Muslims to avoid being alone because they feel the Muslim community has banished them completely when it comes to marriage.

Is this what we’ve come to? How can we stand by and let this happen?

So, dear brothers and sisters, I appeal to all of you and I remind myself first and foremost that we will be asked. In other words, our displays of racism, ageism, classism, whether they are outward or subtle, should not be taken lightly because Allah (swt) is a witness to everything.

Love alone is not enough to sustain a marriage, and neither is material wealth, beauty, lineage, etc. Yes, you can marry for those reasons as the hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) permits us to but we shouldn’t expect that those things are enough to keep us happy. To truly heed his advice, we must look for sincerity of faith above everything else.

The person we should wish to marry or we should wish for our sons and daughters is the one who we are confident isn’t just there to enjoy the ride when the waters are calm but who will not abandon the ship when the storm clouds appear.

Let us learn from the example of the bond between the Mothers of the Believers (may God be pleased with them) and the Prophet (peace be upon him). Let us remember Khadija & Aisha (may God be pleased with them both) and all of his wives. Let us remember that every one of his marriages were purely for the sake of Allah (swt); He was at the center, He was the goal. This was the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him). May we follow in his mubarak footsteps and not be among those who stray and prefer our own path to his.

Muslim Women: Can’t We All Just Get Along? – Sr. Hosai Mojaddidi

Muslim Women: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

By Hosai Mojaddidi

I’ve been wearing hijab for almost 16 years alhamdulillah, but I’ll be the first to say I didn’t always look “modest”. In fact, like most women, hijabi or otherwise, I’ve been through many phases trying to find my own personal style and getting comfortable with my body and self.

Today there is a pervasive misconception that wearing the hijab instantly renders one modest, but I couldn’t disagree more. Hijab is a concerted effort towards modesty but by no means does one wearing hijab automatically become modest. Modesty, after all, is a disposition, an ATTITUDE. You can wear hijab and act completely immodest or you can not wear hijab and exude it from your head to your feet. In fact, some of the most modest women I know do not wear hijab and increasingly I’m beginning to see many girls who wear hijab yet do not dress or act very modestly. So, it’s not so black and white.

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10 Ways to Avoid Marrying the Wrong Person! – MentalHealth4Muslims Blog

10 Ways to Avoid Marrying the Wrong Person!

 

There is a right way and a wrong way to get to know someone for marriage.  The wrong way is to get caught up in the excitement and nuance of a budding relationship and in the process completely forget to ask the critical questions that help determine compatibility.  One of the biggest mistakes that many young Muslims make is rushing into marriage without properly and thoroughly getting to know someone.  A common myth is that the duration of a courtship is an accurate enough measure of how compatible two people are.  The logic follows that the longer you speak with someone, the better you will know them.  The problem with that premise is that no consideration is given to howthat time is spent. Increasingly, young Muslim couples are engaging in “halal dating,” which is basically socializing with each other in the company of friends and/or family. This includes going out to dinner, watching a movie, playing some sport or other leisure activity, etc.  Depending on the family or culture, conversations are either minimal & chaperoned or worse, unrestricted and unsupervised. When you consider these  limitations it makes one wonder when exactly, if ever at all, would the critical conversations take place?  Unfortunately, for many, the answer is never and they live to suffer the consequences.  If you or someone you know is in the “getting to know someone” phase,  the following guide offers advice on exactly what to look for and avoid:

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