The Struggle for Marriage: Analysing the methods

January 3, 2012

Community

marriage

The passing of Yousef Zayni has instilled in us all a deep sense of shock and perhaps will not become real  until we realise and experience the reality that we will no longer see the beautiful face of Yousef. His passing away has sent shockwaves throughout the community and left many in tears, social media has played a great role in sending tributes to dear Yousef where many causes have been set up.  The group dedicated to Yousef has thus far attracted over 1 thousand members and many have left heart warming messages, from this has stemmed other causes including prayers, Quran recitation and donations to orphans all in the name of dear Yousef.

The community has really come together and shown to many the treasures that are hidden within it and yes there are also many lessons to take away from Yousefs death both on an individual level and also at a community level. One such lesson that I feel needs to be looked at and examined thoroughly is that of Marriage and specifically the stages within which one gets married.

Marriage I feel is and will become somewhat of an issue in the upcoming years where many will gather the intentions for marriage but will find that our community has made marriage a challenge like no other.  Our religion has encouraged marriage at an early age and also encouraged that the process of marriage should be an easy one, there are many cases where the Prophet has married off his companions with relative ease and if we were to compare their cases with that of ours in our community we should question what is going wrong?.

And that is exactly what I wish to examine here and in order to do so we need to establish the existing routes by which people of the community are getting married. There have been many couples who have embarked on the journey of Marriage however end up falling short of the all important night. Time and time again we hear of couples whose engagements have broken off and of course in some cases whose marriages have ended in divorce.

The methods within which one gets married are vital and perhaps it is the method that is chosen that paves the way for what is expected.  Through the various discussions I have had with peers and individuals I have identified four methods that are usually undertaken when getting married. The methods are mainly viewed from the male perspective and I will aim to analyse the pros and cons of each method and then conclude with the method that I feel is the best one to take.

Method 1 – The traditional Route

There is little to explain to this method it is perhaps the most straight forward one and has been used for generations the process puts the sole responsibility of finding the spouse on the family (in most cases the mum) and then depending on the decision of the male the marriage process is initiated.

Pros:

  • Marriage is laid down on the table from the very start and this allows for all expectations to be made from the start
  • The mother knows very well the personality of her own son and his likes and dislikes, she has the best interests of her son at hand and will seek to find the most suited for her son
  • There is no pre marital relationship of any sort and both male and female are able to enter the relationship without any ‘baggage’ and focus on that of marriage
  • Communication is key and so hopefully there lies no ambiguity from either party as all initial discussion is carried out through the families

Cons

  • In some cases the potential spouse may be the most suited in the eyes of the mother but in reality not suited to the son and this is why it is paramount that the son meets the girl and discusses all important aspects

Method 1 Summary

Often we find that this method is looked down upon by our generation or it is quickly dismissed, females tell themselves that they would only accept this method as a matter of last resort.  Having grown up in a society where it is the norm to have a girlfriend or boyfriend it somewhat instils within us that the best way to find a spouse is by getting to know them first.  However does this mean that we dismiss this method entirely? do we not forget that we are able to meet the potential first, more than once if required before making our decision?

If like me you easily dismiss this method then the mere fact that I found it a struggle to find cons should suggest that this method isn’t all that bad.

Method 2 – The Non traditional route

This method seems to be the most common one recently and it takes the form of getting to know the potential within the university environment, be it through the Ahlulbayt Societies or at various events organised within the university sphere. This method also aligns quite well with the ideology of the society we have grown up in and what we see on tv through films and soaps.  The method has many risks and dangers and one must bear in mind if he chooses to follow this method

Pros

  • One is able to understand and analyse whether the potential is suitable for himself without the need for searching for potential spouses
  • Both have already established they would like enter marriage and so both are happy that they have found their spouse

Cons

  • The individual proposes to the girl before discussing with his own family and  has cut out the opinions of his family who may see past his own views
  • The individual often allows his emotions to override his intellect and often this method is fuelled by emotion rather than logical thinking based on Islamic ideals and values
  • The individual meets the girls family after having already spoken and agreed with their daughter that they would like to enter marriage, what impression does this leave on the girl’s parents? Who may look down on such a approach leaving the individual to start his marriage process on a negative note.
  • The individual has perhaps convinced his potential spouse but he also requires to convince in own family and then that of  the girls family. He no longer can set out expectations from the start as he has already made the decision of choosing the girl and so in many cases he must accept that he will also need to convince the girls family that he is indeed the right choice.
  • In some cases because the process was initiated by the two in question they dictate the steps and so communication between the two sets of parents is limited. Communication is key in any situation and potentially this can lead to a lack of communication and thus cause problems between the two families.
  • As this method is fuelled by emotion sometimes the important questions are not asked and overlooked and couples may find  that certain expectations in life are not of the same desire. In addition the basic foundations may differ for the potential couple and so it is important to establish what the basic foundations are for both
  • A by product of allowing emotion to dictate the marriage is that the individual may appear to take a soft stance when difficulties are faced and when there are scenarios that the individual requires to make a stance he fails to do so and thus allows the spouse to dictate all aspects of the marriage. Marriage is a balanced process and should cater for the needs and opinions of both involved.

Method 2 Summary

There are cases where this method has worked out fine for couples however in almost all cases that have ended before marriage or those that have ended in divorce I found that they had approached marriage in this method.  The cons section is clearly far more extensive than the pros and should be a warning for the couple that they should take into account ALL involved in marriage. Marriage is not just the bonding of two individuals it is also the bonding of two families and thus harmony must exist at all levels and quite often this approach does not allow for harmony to grow.

Method 3 – The friends Network

This method makes use of the friends that we all have and hold dear as our age grows we find that the number of our friends who are married increases. Our married friends obviously and hopefully are married to wife’s who in turn have friends.  As a guy writing this blog we often forget that women also have the desire and need for marriage and so we must remember that these group of friends may also seek marriage. This is where the role of the friend comes in, he may suggest to his wife the name of the individual and present to her his qualities.  The wife may then suggest a suitable name from her group of friends and in turn that name be presented to the individual in question.

Pro:

  • Many girls get worried as they approach mid twenties that nobody has proposed to them this method could help in directing the individual to propose to those girls that may be worried.
  • In many cases the individual does not know where to start and feels confused as to the best method of finding a girl this method at least gives the individual options that he make embark upon
  • This method cuts out any pre marital relationship whilst giving the individual good background on the potential spouse from the perspective of those from his own generation.  There is a gap between our parents generation and ours and some of us may feel at ease if we were also given the opinions and background from those within our same frame of mind.
  • Many males are worried and scared of rejection this method perhaps ensures that the probability of rejection is reduced as the name of the female would be one that would like to get married
  • As the friend knows the individual well and his wife knows her friends well ,together they may be able toe suggest a name that could potentially be best suited for the individual.

Cons:

  • The family of the individual may not know the family nor the girl and so research is required in getting to know the family this process may take time or be difficult.

Method 3 Summary

This method seems to sit in well as the most preferred one to undertake however it should be noted the importance of ones family. Once the individual has been given the name and informs his family it is important that they are involved. In a sense this is a combination of method 1 and ensures that the family are also happy and content with the potential spouse.

Method 4 – The Match Making group

In recent times we have seen communities face situations where many individuals approach the ages of 30 and are still not married. This has caused them to take action and in communities such as the Khoja you have special match making groups whose responsibility it is to find potential spouses for individuals. This process involves the individual filling out a  form of some kind and eventually been given a name.

This perhaps seems the desperate last resort but we have to remember that there are those who do not have a family to support them or are not from within the community and thus an approach like this best fits there needs. Quite often the Iraqi community neglects the needs of revert Muslims and automatically dismisses them as potential suitors for their daughters. In situations that I have come across it seems families simply have no trust in the reverts faith to Islam. The irony is that these individuals in most if not all cases hold higher levels of faith then us Iraqis who are born into Islam.

Pros

  • Almost guaranteed a name and in some cases the girls family is informed on individual behalf making the process easier for the individual
  • A general picture of the potential spouse is gathered before hand and initial meeting is initiated with a good idea of potential spouse personality

Cons

  • Perhaps not the way most people would prefer and would see this as last resort

Conclusion

The 4 methods are simply possible frameworks by which most marriages may occur today, I may have missed out other means but the purpose here is that we bear in mind these methods. More importantly we need to consider these methods carefully and put ourselves in the shoes of all those that are involved in the process. The shoes of our mother who wishes the best for us,  our father who wants to see us happy and content, our potential mother in law who wants her daughter looked after and happy, our potential father in law who wants to be given assurance that his daughter is in the best and safest hands.

Above all (and this should be the foundations for any marriage and any individual) is ultimate faith and understanding of Allah. Marriage should be based around this and the number 1 reason for any individual should be for the pleasure of Allah.  For the reader that does not understand this then I would advise that he/she seeks to understand Allah and ask themselves how can they understand Allah. Once they have understood Allah will they then realise why Allah needs and has to be the number 1 reason why they would want to get married

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About mohamedridha

A keen IT/Technology enthusiast with passion for media and photography

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14 Comments on “The Struggle for Marriage: Analysing the methods”

  1. Ammar Says:

    A brilliant overview on how marriage works within the community however I would liked to have seen some critique over some of the backwards mentality our community has. For example if the potential spouse is a doctor/other health care professional this is a plus point. Similarly if one come’s from a family that is ‘known’ or comes from a family filled with health care professionals this is also seen as a positive. Not to mention the backward thinking when it comes to the salary the male is earning, his degree, and the dowry offered. All these backwards mentalities need to be addressed we need to get rid of this way of thinking! It may sound like I’m being bitter that’s not the case because I’m on my way to becoming a health care professional, and I have two siblings and a brother in law that are health care professions!

    backwards backwards mentality we need to address these issues.

    Reply

  2. anonymous Says:

    Salams,
    In Islam, we are encouraged to marry without worry of the opinions held by our family, whether we’re male or female. The only time when family opinion matters is if the girl’s father/paternal grandfather is still alive, for he is the one who either accepts or rejects the proposal at the first level, after which the girl either accepts or rejects. The father himself should only take into consideration two aspects of the boy’s character in accordance with our holy Prophet (s):
    1. Deen (level of faith, how well he practices Islam, if he’s known to abstain from sins)
    2. Akhlaq (manners)
    So even the father’s opinion is worthless in essence, if he rejects a boy on any other basis than these two, it is an unislamically based decision.

    (By opinion, I’m reffering to the ideas and minsets held that are not necessarily the most islamically based, and are therefore flawed. I don’t mean that if you’re a boy, ignore everything your mother says because she can’t stop you, and if you’re a girl and your father is dead, ignore everything your mother says because she can’t stop you either).

    Essentially, what I’m trying to say is that the relations of the two families is something stressed upon to an unnecessary extent, sometimes two people may be perfect for each other, but their families aren’t.

    Reply

    • mohamedridha Says:

      Hi

      If the two families are not compatible then the two would need to have extra solid foundations because they would face more problems due to their families. The family I feel needs and has to be stressed upon why would the couple enter a marriage if their families are not on good terms? The only reason I can think of is that they have embarked on method 2 or they may be from a revert background.

      You have to put into the picture the children and their needs they will need to grow up with a stable family around them and if one is about to embark on the path of marriage then they need to ensure they set stable and solid foundations

      Reply

  3. anonymous Says:

    Did the Ahlulbayt place great emphasis on finding a suitable spouse along with a suitable family or just a suitable spouse?

    Reply

    • anonymous Says:

      [both] suitable family also; the story of um al baneen [fatima al-kilabiya] and the choice of her as a spouse for Ali [as], her forefathers were brave [as Abbas was], not just in battle, and had great manners and morals.

      Reply

      • anonymous Says:

        Imam Ali (as) did choose her on account of her forefathers reputation, but what was the purpose behind that? It was so that she would give birth to a son who would show great piety and stand alongside Imam Al-Hussain (as) at Karbala. Our goal as followers of Ahlulbayt (as) in the 21st century is to prepare for the reappearance of our Imam (ajf), therefore what we should aim to do in regards to marriage is find the most pious person that we can (obviously while trying to perfect ourselves).

        The problem with taking the example of Imam Ali (as) marrying Ummul Baneen (as) is that their society was much different to ours, so such an example is not directly applicable to us. A person’s piety is not based on who their family are, Aassiya (as) was the wife of Fir’aun, yet she is recognised as one of the most pious female figures in Islam.

  4. mohamedridha Says:

    وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حُسْنًا ۖ وَإِنْ جَاهَدَاكَ لِتُشْرِكَ بِي مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ فَلَا تُطِعْهُمَا ۚ إِلَيَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَأُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ {8}
    [Shakir 29:8] And We have enjoined on man goodness to his parents, and if they contend with you that you should associate (others) with Me, of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them, to Me is your return, so I will inform you of what you did.

    The pleasure of the Lord lies in the pleasure of the parent. The anger of the Lord lies in the anger of the parent.” – Prophet Muhammad

    Bahz ibn Hakim’s grandfather said, “I asked, ‘Messenger of Allah, to whom should I be dutiful?’ ‘Your mother,’ he replied. I asked, ‘Then whom?’ ‘Your mother,’ he replied. I asked, ‘Then whom?’ ‘Your mother,’ he replied. I asked, ‘Then to whom should I be dutiful?’ ‘Your father,’ he replied, ‘and then the next closest relative and then the next.’”

    Reply

  5. anonymous Says:

    One of the rights of the son over his father is that he is allowed to marry whoever he pleases once he becomes baligh.

    What you’re reffering to is fulfilling duties and showing kindness towards your mother and father. Marrying who they want you to marry and not marrying who they do not want you to marry does not come under that category. A parent’s anger towards their child because of who they marry is not justified in the eyes of Allah.

    Reply

  6. Mohammed Abdullah Says:

    Good summary. Techies love their flow charts.

    I’m currently battling to stave off method 1. I love my mum, but she can’t have everything she wants, even though I know she’s only doing what she thinks is best for me.

    Reply

  7. Life is but a dream Says:

    For once I could ACTUALLY connect with your blogs.No offence.But well said .

    Reply

  8. Im scared to expose my name Says:

    On a personal method brother, have any of these methods worked for you in real life?

    Reply

  9. Ahlulaklaq Says:

    Alhamdhulilah, pretty much explained all halal method. Thanks for that bro!

    Reply

  10. zaynebe Says:

    I would never agree with the first method simply because majority of mothers know nothing about their own sons. How can she be in a position to know what is suitable for him. Also there is this thing that I have realized when the guy has not picked the girl himself there is a tendency that he will marry someone else in the future that he has chosen. Or I just feel like the marriage just isn’t as strong when the girl is picked by the mother. These are my personal thoughts and from what I have observed I hope this does not offend anyone.

    Reply

  11. Anonymous Says:

    it is not about choosing the best method….method varies among cultures/families/individuals …every method can lead to a successful married life and any method can end up in divorce or destruction :D
    i think the more important issue is, we become very idealistic when it comes to marriage… in a age where our all blood relations are lacking that true perfect spirit that it should have possessed, we expect our marriage to be perfect, we should focus more on our ATTITUDE towards our relations, which actually builds all relations!

    Reply

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