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Feeling Discouraged about Marriage

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil answers concerns about not feeling acceptable as a potential spouse.

I am an American college student trying to finish half my din. I have maintained haya all my life and avoided speaking unnecessarily with men, so I asked my parents to help me search. Unfortunately I’ve been met with rejection before I’ve even been introduced as a prospect.

Men have remarked on how they don’t want a hijabi, they don’t want someone with such dark skin, they are only attracted to Europeans, I am too religious, I am not religious enough, I am too educated, I am not educated enough etc.

I see girls much younger than me marrying remarkable men with ease. I feel like there is something wrong with me. How do I keep my head up? I always dreamed of being a wife and mother in my early twenties but it seems this is no longer possible.

I am not willing to stray from the din or remove my hijab to please a man, nor can I change the way I look and my race. Should I even continue to think of marriage? It seems I am unwanted.

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Self-doubt Trap

“And whoever submits his self to Allah and is good in deeds, he in fact holds on to the strongest ring. Towards Allah is the ultimate end of all matters.” (Sura Luqman 31:22)

Dear sister, please know that there is nothing wrong with you. You sound intelligent, kind, and most of all, God-fearing. Your future husband will be so blessed to have you as his wife, and the mother of his children.

Please do not allow the comments of ignorant men get you down. You are a believer, and worthy of every good.

Unfortunately, many traumatized Muslim families produce sons who carry deep-seated feelings of post-colonial shame. They feel that lighter-skinned women who are not in hijab make better wife material. This is their baggage speaking, and it is not your burden to bear. This is not the kind of family you want to marry into.

Keep your heart focused on what pleases Allah, and know that He will never let you down.

Breaking Our Attachments

Many of us get attached to different ideas, and when they do not happen, we become heartbroken. I encourage you to let go of your hope to be a mother and a wife in your twenties, and instead, hold onto the fact that Allah will bless you with marriage and children when He deems best.

If this gives you any comfort, please know that I married my husband at 28. I had my first child when I was 31, and my second when I was 34. I would have been a terrible mother in my twenties even though I really wanted kids. Allah needed me to work through my issues before blessing me with my two little daughters. AlhamduliLlah, His Wisdom eclipsed my own short-sightedness.

Of course, this is my story. You have your own. Instead of wondering if there is something wrong with you, perhaps you can ask yourself a different question. What is Allah trying to teach you? What are some character traits you can improve? What are some gaps in your knowledge that you can fill in?

Preparing for Marriage

I encourage you to complete this course, while you have the time and energy. Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages.

Please perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night, every night, for a loving husband who has both din and good character.

Please read Sura al-Waqi‘a as regularly as you can, with the intention of increasing your rizq, namely, husband and children.

Reflections on Seasons in Life

Dear sister, I remember being a single student of knowledge in Amman, ten years ago. I was in my twenties, and really wanted to get married.

A wise older friend told me that life comes in seasons. This season of your life may feel like a winter, when you so want it to be spring. So, make the most of your winter. Buckle down, and nourish yourself with the courses and podcasts on SeekersGuidance. May the good seeds you plant now come to fruition when the time is right.

Use the time and energy that you have now to be of service to your family and wider community. One day, I pray that you will be a wife and a mother. You will exhausted beyond imagination, but you will be content too, insha Allah.

In the meantime, everything you are learning now will help you in those roles. Trust in Allah’s timing, and in His Mercy. He knows exactly what you need, even if it may not be what you want.

I pray that Allah blesses you with the gift of marriage, motherhood, patience, and contentment.

Please see Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered.

Raidah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

5 Excellent Resources To Help You Explain Racial Bias To Your Children

Mamanushka, the new parenting blog, has published some stellar content since its launch, including the latest one, 5 Excellent Resources To Help You Explain Racial Bias To Your Children. Worth reading and sharing far and wide.


This past week, with all its happiness and celebrations of Eid, has also been one of great sadness and anger as we once again are forced to remind the world that Black Lives Matter.

It would be easy for me to assume that my children are too young to understand issues of race. That they don’t “see colour” and are immune to racial bias. But when my daughter asks me for a “white doll” because it is “prettier” or questions the colour of her own skin as being dirty, I know that not talking about race is a mistake that will deeply harm her.

 

Resources for seekers

 

#‎Blacklivesmatter Because Our Lord Demands It – Ustadh Salman Younas

‪#‎Blacklivesmatter‬ because our Lord has “ennobled all the children of Adam” (17:70) and commanded us to “stand firmly for justice.” (4:135), writes Ustadh Salman Younas.

‪#‎Blacklivesmatter to me not because it is politically prudent for Muslims to side with African-Americans.
They matter to me not because it’s viewed by some as the new countercultural trend that people should hop on.
They matter to me not because it is a convenient and beneficial alliance for my community.
They matter to me not because of a mere desire to be integrated into mainstream society and its indigenous people.
Why do they matter to me? Because my Lord has “ennobled all the children of Adam” (17:70) and commanded me to “stand firmly for justice.” (4:135)
They matter to me because my Prophet (God bless him) said that when his followers become “afraid to say to the oppressor that you are an oppressor, they will be abandoned by God.” [Ahmad, Musnad with a rigorously authentic chain]
They matter to me because my Prophet (God bless him) spent his entire life serving the weak, underprivileged, and those treated unjustly. His justice and mercy extended to all regardless of their religion or color. His teachings condemned racism as he stressed that virtue lay in doing good and being pious, not through possessing “white skin over black skin.” [Ahmad, Musnad with a sound chain].
They matter to me because oppression, killing, racial injustice and the systematic abuse of a people is a heinous crime in my religion. I dread the day I have to stand in front of my Lord and in front of my Prophet having witnessed police brutality against a black father, the shooting death of an innocent black teenager, the mass and oppressive incarceration of an entire black generation, the racial inequality experienced daily by the black community, and say I did nothing to fight this plague that occurred every day in front of my eyes.

These lives must matter to Muslims because our Lord demands they do, our Prophet (God bless him) demands they do, and our religion demands they do. This is what being a Muslim is about. We will continue to strive for justice and to rid this world of all forms of oppression through whatever noble means we can.

We ask everyone to support such movements in keeping with the directives of God to “cooperate with one another in righteousness” (5:2) and the directive of our beloved Prophet (God bless him) who advised us to “make such alliances in order to return rights to their people, that no oppressor should have power over the oppressed.” [Musnad al-Humaydi]
We ask God to give us the strength and courage to stand up against all forms of injustice in the way our Prophet Muhammad (God bless him) did. May His blessings descend upon us and all those suffering throughout the world.
Follow Ustadh Salman Younas on Facebook.

Resources for seekers

Blackness, Racism And How The Arabic Language Rises Above It All

Shaykh Muhammad Mendes responds to this question during a Lamppost Education Initiative Seminar on Muslim Spirituality From Africa to Americas.

“Why is the colour black – black people and all things black, so foul to humanity?”

Resources for seekers

Cover photo by Andrea Moroni.

Islamophobia is alive and well but are we capable of a compassionate, introspective response? Tanya Muneera Williams

WindrushOn the 22nd of June 1948 the landscape of England changed in the most unprecedented way. The arrival of the empire Windrush from Jamaica to Tilby docks in Essex has been pinpointed as one of the biggest changes in post-war British history.

It can also be said that the 500 or so passengers on board the Windrush, represented a complete rethink of what it meant to be British, and in essence it was the start of what has become known as multiculturalism.

An Era of Social Bias

My father left Jamaica and came to England in 1962 on a Spanish ship called ‘The Big Owner’, the ship docked in Southampton, and in a matter of hours my father was in the back of van on the way to Bristol, where he was met by his two brothers. This was the era of cramped housing and notorious slum landlords, this was before ‘foreigners’ could freely enter public buildings such as banks, pubs, and shops, this was the era where racial bias was an acceptable criteria in the work place, this was the era of Teddy-boys, this was the era where physical assault and verbal abuse was the norm.

Tension between minorities evident on a daily basis

Maybe this is one of the reasons why I was sickened to see the video of a black British woman, who was quite possibly of Caribbean heritage abusing a pregnant Muslim woman on the bus in a multicultural area not so far from me. A few days later, another video emerged of a young man hurling abuse at a disabled Turkish man. I should not be that surprise, because despite living in an ethnically diverse area of London, on a daily basis I see contentious interactions between mainly migrant communities, but more specifically between ‘Black British people’ and people from a Muslim background.

LondonBusRantI am often astonished how the act of sitting on a bus, or waiting in a queue can get so volatile. This was summed up perfectly when one day I was standing in rather long queue at a cash point when an East African Muslim lady who was the first person in line at the cash point, could not find her card and continued searching for it despite the queue growing longer; out of nowhere a young ‘Black British man’ maybe in his mid 20s shouted out “You can’t come to England and be a problem, now you want to take my time.”

At first the lady did not respond, but after some members of the of the queue started showing solidarity towards the man and others huffed and puffed, she swore at him and the slanging match started. Thank goodness she was able to give as good as he got, and in the end she boldly walked away, but that does not disparage the fact that an everyday event escalated in a matter of minutes and by time the incident finished, they offended each other with terms like ‘bloody refugee’ and ‘fatherless child.’ Granted these terms were said in the heat of the moment, but on some level they are indicative of wider cultural perceptions.

A deeply rooted, self-inflamed anger

Back to the bus incident, however, in the first few seconds of seeing the footage, to my shame, I thought what did the pregnant Muslim woman do or say to get the other woman so enraged, but before the first minute was over it was clear to see that the pregnant Muslim woman probably could not even speak English and even if she could, whatever issues the abusive lady had, were deeply rooted within herself, and the anger that she unleashed was self inflamed.

Not that it needs to be said, but for the sake of clarity, what happened was totally wrong, and as the abusive woman has handed herself to the police, she will no doubt see the repercussion of her wrong doings.

The antagonist is our sister in humanity

Someone asked me if it is difficult for me to see the wrongs of the ‘black woman’ being black myself, I was mystified by the logic because the school of thought that I am from is that we have to be self analytical, we have to be able to critique ourselves, our actions and inactions in order to develop and grow in a healthy way. Although it may be shocking to some, I see the antagonist as my sister, my sister in humanity and my sister in ethnicity, so as my sister I want better for her, I want her to learn that her actions are not the type of action that can be tolerated in this society, and want her to know that in short, her attitude stinks.

Descendants of immigrants become aggressors to new immigrants

Being that she is only a little older than me, the likelihood is, like me she is a second generation immigrant to this country; the hardships that my father and many others like him endured during the Windrush era and the lasting consequences of their efforts would absolutely be in vain if 50 years down the line we as their children become the aggressors to immigrants who too are seeking a better life.

Racist, derogatory responses on Muslim social media

Another interesting thing this incident bought up, which sickens me equally if not more, is the sheer amount of racism that is festering deep in the crevice of some believing people’s hearts. This is not a new phenomena, many people have been speaking about it for years, and have been told “it’s dying out”, “it’s not really racism, it’s just cultural differences”, “you have an inferiority complex”, “you are causing divisions in the Ummah” or “oh you are one of those black Muslims.”

Poetic Pilgrimage with Tanya Muneera Williams (right) and Sukina Douglas (left)

Poetic Pilgrimage with Tanya Muneera Williams (right) and Sukina Douglas (left)

But after seeing the comments to the video of the bus incident, no one can deny the sickness that in many cases is not hidden that deep beneath the surface. Some of the comments used terms like “Nigger”, which was justified by someone else saying it was only used for the ‘black women’ in question not anyone else. Another person actually said “had it not been for Islam you would all be slaves,” in reference to those from the African diaspora.

No place for racism

I feel foolish having to point out the obvious, but there is no place for racism in Islam. The conversion experience of Malcolm X attracted many converts from the African Disaspora to the Deen – particularly his experience of men of all colour treating each other equally. For many, part of the conversion process is trying to separate seemingly racist encounters with people of Muslim backgrounds, from the words of God and the practices of the Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him, and it was his practice to rid racism wherever he saw it. So this should be our Sunnah, up there with men wearing beards, or fasting on a Monday and Thursday.

If the words “An Arab has no superiority over a non Arab nor a non Arab has any superiority over an Arab” and “A white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action” is not enough for us, then let us then reflect on the actions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and how he welcomed black people into his family in the case of his adopted son Zaid b Harithah, or how he honoured and respected his Black mother by breast milk, Barakah Bint Tha’labah. We can also reflect on how Allah has honoured Bilal by allowing our Rasool, peace be upon him, to hear Bilal’s footsteps and call to prayer ahead of him in the heavens.

Allah has said in Quran 49:13 “O Mankind, We created you from a single pair of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other. Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is he who is the most righteous of you.”

Racism is not befitting to a believer, and as the reality of Islamophobia has dawned on us and we are now making strategies to tackle it, so should the reality of racism dawn on us so we can make strategies to tackle it and fulfil a sunnah.

The community’s lack of acknowledgement

These are comments and attitudes that don’t belong in Islam, and are not befitting for those who believe in the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him). It is not so much the racism that bothers me, it is our community’s lack of acknowledgement of it, which will naturally lead to inactivity toward changing it, which leaves me thinking how are we as a Muslim community in Britain going to develop and grow in a healthy way?

A polarised public discourse

Every day, “Muslim terrorist”, “sex grooming gangs”, “refugees”, “halal meat”, “Shariah law”, “Islamic State”, and whatever other negative connotations that can be conjured up are fed to us through the media. We are in the era of political parties increasingly leaning towards the right, the era of comments like “multiculturalism has failed” and “Muslims are not integrating”. Coupled with tensions between communities means that unfortunately, appalling incidents like the one we witnessed on the bus are liable to be on the increase before they decrease. A perfect example of this is another clip which recently came out, which shows a mix heritage young man acting aggressively towards an older Turkish man, again on a London bus. After his tirade, the perpetrator threw the elderly man’s zimmerframe off the bus. The direct physical threat was made clear and explicit. What was sad to see is in both this clip and the one involving the pregnant Muslim woman is that no one on either bus intervened.

Injustice to ourselves

As Muslims we keep faith, point out injustices and continue to showcase the beauty of our path, but what maybe a greater task is looking at our own short comings, pointing out when we have done an injustice to ourselves, for the sake of preserving this beautiful path.

My prayers are with the pregnant sister who was the victim of the attack, may you give birth to an awliya. My prayers are with us all.

By Tanya Muneera Williams

Tanya Muneera Williams or Muneera Pilgrim, is a Bristol born, London based, rapper, poet and cultural commentator. She is one half of the hip-hop and spoken word duo Poetic Pilgrimage. She facilitates workshops, gives seminars and performs around England and Europe and has toured South Africa, Morocco and The United States. Muneera has facilitated a series of participant led, poetry performance courses in Sudan where she lived as a teacher and performer, she conducts engagement workshops in schools and performs and hosts around England. She is currently studying for her MA in Islamic studies where she is focusing on the Caribbean contribution to Islam, migration, gender and race. Using her talent, skills and passion Muneera colourfully etches a space of dialogue that can be accessed regardless of cultural, religious or gender boundaries. Rooted in spirituality, she uses communication for edification and change.

 

Resources for Seekers:

Our Condition Today: the Disease and the Remedy
Advice from Habib ‘Umar: How to defend the Prophet
Hadiths on the “Bad Traits” of Black People
Letter to the West: we just have to learn to live together
Race To The Top
Would it Be Wrong To Avoid Interracial Marriages For Cultural Considerations?
Dealing With Those Who Harass Muslims
“Sound societies come from sound hearts”
Allah’s Mercy and the Mercy Showed by People

Is It Allowed to Participate in a Contest with a Cash Prize? (Maliki)

Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour

Question: Assalam’aleykum,

Is it allowed to participate in a contest whith a cash prize such as in track and field competition?

Answer: Wa alaykum as salam wa rahmatullah,

The Chapter of Musabaqa (Races) mentions very specific races and competitions that one may include a cash prize on. Foot races are not included according to the Maliki school. Also, the prize has to be put up by people not participating in the race.

Rami Nsour