Channel: Fatima Barkatulla
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Girls with a fearful of getting married, marriage is seen as well if I get married, I'm going to lose my freedom. That's where now then the feminism comes into it that somehow we are being told that you don't even need a man. Now what we need to stop and think as muslimeen is, is it is that is that what Allah says? Islam gives us
answers where was I find capitalism just seems to create more problems because it says to you that you need to have this much material wealth to be happy. I don't need all these things to be happily married. Bismillah Alhamdulillah wa Salatu was Salam ala rasulillah dear brothers and sisters As salam or aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato. And welcome to this Lv podcast episode.
I'm your host Fatima Baraka Tila, and today I have a lovely guest with me. I'm going to introduce her in a moment, she is Farhat Amin. She's an author and host of the podcast smart Muslim. She shares life advice via her website, smart muslima.com which in sha Allah is there to help women achieve confidence in their faith. Her aim is to equip women with practical Islamic solutions to the challenges they face. And she says that many single Muslims are finding it difficult to get married. And so in her new book, smart, single Muslim, she explores the ideas that are creating this problem in Muslim communities. And here's her book, I'm going to say Salaam to
sister Farhat. Now some really cool stuff. I'm at my salon Fatima How are you? Alhamdulillah Alhamdulillah I've got your book here. I've been reading it hamdulillah
before we start talking about it, I just wanted to thank you because I just realized that you were the lady behind Muslim stickers.
That's the rustoleum sticker company. I I had that about I started that about 10 years ago. And I must Yeah, and I was a customer I was an avid customer, especially when all my kids were like, they're all teenagers now. But most of them, but when they were especially like primary school age, you know, indispensable. Oh,
that's good. So it was so yeah, it was a it was an idea. I came up with them. While I was doing my teaching. I just thought you know, I'm missing a trick here as far as that stickers, surprised by the power stickers, to be honest.
Anything to get a sticker and a shot, if we can, yeah, if we can have some kind of Islamic encouraging to learn Quran through stickers, you know, good behavior.
And yeah, and because at that time, there wasn't a lot out there, you know, maybe 10 years ago. And I think also then, like the decorations of Ramadan decorations. I never, the intention was never to emulate non Muslims, but to make it more fun and like memorable inshallah. Yeah, definitely. I mean, I remember our Aedes when we were younger, were very, they were lovely. They were blessing, you know,
but then Christmas, Christmas would come around, and then, you know, you'd be like, Okay, so this is how you have a party.
And I think we've, our generation has kept that with us. And we,
we want to sort of create that kind of same buzz or a buzz around eat, which is a good thing. That's why and it's, you know, our children, I think, for when we're raising our kids in in the West, I think there's a slightly more pressure on us as parents to do more to to really encourage them and motivate them to want to follow Islam because the society that they're living in is kind of telling them to No, you don't need to be so Muslim and, and maybe some religion slightly more backward. Whereas, you know, what we're doing is so much more fun and exciting. So we have that challenge and we really want to help our kids to just have confidence in their in their Deen and feel. Yeah, I'm
proud to be Muslim inshallah. Yeah, and have Hello fun, right. Hello, fun. Yes, that's what it's all about. So, sister, for your book, smart, single Muslim app. Very important topic. I mean, you're not a single Muslim, right.
But what So, I was gonna ask you, like in the in the introduction, which I absolutely loved.
You said, You've very accurately identified capitalism, liberalism and feminism as key ideologies if you like that are affecting the
way women see themselves today. Right? And and womanhood today affecting womanhood today. And people might might think, well, capitalism or liberalism, like, how is that affecting womanhood in a negative way? Right.
But could you just like, first of all, could you tell us? Who did you have in mind when you wrote this book? What was like the catalyst? And then could we go into like, how is capitalism affecting how women, Muslim women, especially as well see themselves? How is liberalism affecting and how is feminism affecting us? Well, I think the, the, the person I was thinking of when I wrote the book was, really, I spoken to a number of sisters through my podcast, and a lot of women have filled in a questionnaire that's on my website, smart Muslim. And it was relating to relationships, that how they view the idea of getting married, of Eve, you know, how they, how are they planning on finding
a husband? And what's very interesting for all these discussions, and I think, from examples that I've seen, through family through friends, and just, and we're just meeting a lot of Muslim women, to be honest, because we, we did some courses in London. And
it's funny how I noticed they have a lot of women who are not married in there. They're 20 and over, and Muslim women, right, yeah, Muslim women, who are not getting married. And now and I was interested to find out why is that happening? now. So then, I have always been interested in reading books relating to women and society,
books by Muslims and non Muslims, and what was up, like, if you see generally amongst non Muslim women, they are not getting married, that the married marriage is getting delayed, or the whole concept of marriage is seen that marriage is unnecessary, it is going completely out of fashion, it's redundant. And a woman can quite happily, if you want to, as far as where you view love and relationships, you can find your partner, whether it's the same gender or the opposite gender, and you should use that as your white to gain pleasure, fulfill your desires, and do what makes you happy. That's the main thing that we are being told, do what makes you happy. And, you know, and
then if you want to get married, that's fine. But even the way that marriage is viewed, as far as the gender roles in a marriage, I like we we will decide it will be a very progressive, equality based marriage. And so now inevitably, for Muslim women, we are living
in the western were being affected by those ideas, and that you see out you know, young Muslim women are delaying marriage, they, even the idea of marriage is seen as well, if I get married, I'm going to lose my freedom, you know, I'm going to what am I going to gain? What is marriage going to give me, it's just going to be a bunch of responsibilities. I'm going to kind of be under the control of a man now or his family. Even the whole Muslim marriage is has got really bad press now. And girls are thinking I don't I'm, it was really weird. Girls were fearful of getting married in a fearful of this of a sudden act. And now these were all the things that kind of led I wanted to know Well,
okay, what advice are, you know, first, what advice would you get from your average marriage guidance or so I was reading a lot of marriage guidance books, or even advice single women, like there's books like get the guy or surrended single, and the in there, there will be the linear news, your normal kind of glossy magazines. It's all about
you know, it was strange. If one of us was flirting with every man you see. And you know, or you know, big
or how to date, but do not make sure you're you don't get basically, a guy doesn't spike your drink and you end up with a you know, going home with a guy who who then attacks you. The advice I found was, I thought this is so what would a Muslim girl do with this advice? This has been it's like, it's just telling you how to safely sleep around and but then, you know, the whole idea of in how to like,
trick a man into get marrying you. I found that one really weird. Yeah. Because I think ironically, I should actually I was reading this thing that in the upper classes,
excuse me, in the upper classes and middle classes. Marriage is still a very popular thing like it's it's the women do dream of marriage.
You know, like, and they see the benefit of it and the utility of, you know,
being in a proper bound contract, right with it with with a man right with the man who they're going to live with for the rest of their lives.
I thought it seems
Sorry, it's my theory.
But it seems that
this idea has become popular in society that, you know,
marriage, either there's this notion of marriage is just a piece of paper, right?
If it's just a piece of paper, why don't you sign it? That's my, my question. You know, if people know that it's not just a piece of paper, it means something, it means something profound, you know, you're going to stand in front of your family, your loved ones, and you're going to make a declaration, write a commitment
in public, to your society, and you're going to be bound to somebody
in a beautiful way. And it and it's kind of its It forces men, okay to take responsibility, but forces both of them but but I'm talking about men in particular, because I feel like the current messaging in society is telling men, you can have casual relationships, and it doesn't have any impact on you. And it doesn't matter. And why would you settle down? No, why should you settle down just have loads and loads of sexual partners, and have the freedom
so called freedom, but what they're not telling men is that there's an emotional toll, of course, there's often a health toll, right? a psychological toll, and also a real toll on their life because, you know, you only get a certain number of chances to really find somebody to settle down with right
lifetime and I think a lot of women and men are missing that you know, in the wider society I mean, yeah.
You're you really hit the nail on the head that this is the it's like, this is the liberal lie that is told to young people that and it's pushed in popular culture. And
the thing is that for many people, that's the only world view they have when it comes to love relationships because I think that's this is the only way you have to go on dates you have to sleep around you have to get that guy or you have to look very sexualized that and but then you have it's interesting no one is criticized amongst against definitely liberal progressives no one will criticize that view Okay, cuz you've got the kind of people people have slightly more conservative views, they will say they have you know, criticized a bit However, when it comes to liberal conservatives and let people on exactly the same, they often that somehow you have to try it out
before, test it, test a person out before you marry them. And that decide even the idea of not sleeping on being keeping yourself modest or keeping your
you know, virginity that has now got its that completely out of the window. But then as for most of the problem we have in our communities is Muslim. Now, the reason why I'm not I don't think it's such a big problem for men, is that as we know, age isn't men can get maybe later they don't have to think you know about children and childbearing. And so that's why also I don't know enough about men, I haven't read enough, study that subject enough to, to mention them. But if we look at from a female experience, well, she's been given the same messaging as far as you know, you should study you should get your career you know, marriage is something way off in the horizon because you need
to be financially independent. You know, you should a man shouldn't be telling you what to do with your life. You know, you you have total agency, that that's where now then the feminism comes into it that somehow we are being told that you don't even need a man, you know, and if you do choose a man he has to be
you know, it's like I've heard that statement that you should marry the man that you should become the man you want to marry. First visual, oh strong and independent. And then if you want to, and, and a very interesting book called all the single ladies it's by Rebecca TriStar. And I read that and that is exactly that is a message given to she's given to she's American lady. And she said you have never had it with single women have never had it better. You've got the world is your oyster. You can do whatever you want. And now, men and husbands have become redundant in powerful
using her, and so you should take all of that. So now what we need to stop and think as mazoon is, is is that the that that view that paradigm that we're being given? Is? Is that? Is that what Allah says? Is that what we should you? You notice? People do like mental gem gymnastics to try to fit Islam or feminism together? And that, yeah, that farm allows women to get an education. Yes it does Islam allows women to earn money. Yes, it does. And you can keep your money that's that it does as well. But then
Allah has given us marriages, that's the way that we fulfill the love that we need. And that's a way a Hello, way to have a relationship with the opposite gender.
And so we don't, I think my book is really, it's not a criticism of any Muslim woman who has started to believe that it's, it's, it's a, it's encouragement to think like to stop and pause and say, you know, what, if you're finding it difficult to get married, Could these alien ideas? Could they be one reason? You know, have a think about that you're not? I'll tell you what I don't like. And I don't know whether you've come across this that when Muslim women can't get married, the blame is put on them. That there must be something wrong with you, you have become a feminist, or you're too picky or whatever. There's so many different things accusation sown. And I think that that's not
helpful. What does that achieve? It just makes some of the like, oh, okay, fine, you're calling me feminist, I'm gonna be a feminist, then you're fine, I'm going to go down that road even further, you know, you can't handle confident women, it just turns into an argument between men and women. And I think at this point, it's pointless. islamically gives us solutions. It's a way of life, as we all like to say. So let's actually stop and find out what does the law was tell us? how can how can we? How should we view marriage, and even the pre marriage in particular? Because that's my focus.
I find that the idea that you just said that the author, what is it the single, what was the name of the book, all the single ladies All the single lists, I find that just, it's just a lie. You know, that whole idea being sold to women, is just a lie. All of us as human beings, especially us as women, first of all we have, we have the desire to connect, we have the desire to be wanted and to be desired ourselves, right to be seen, by the opposite sex, right? We like that's like in a inbuilt thing. We want intimacy, we have sexual desires, we have all of those things and the desire to have children, even if we don't have a desire to have children right now, you know, I don't know anyone
who's over the age of 30, for example, who isn't at least thinking about kids, you know, and wishing that they had kids if they don't, right? Because as you get older, like, you have to take care not only of yourself, as you are when you're young and uni, right, you've got to think about yourself, when you're 40, when you're 50, when you're 60. Right? And what kind of a life you want. And I think people don't realize that there's very little in life that gives you as much comfort and support and joy as a family, you know, having a family around you your own children and then grandchildren. And people don't think that far ahead. I think
you will, you're so right. And I think, you know, capitalism, it's interesting that I thought why capitalism? Yeah. If we observe just the, it's, it's so interesting how they are placing so much emphasis on gaining wealth,
earning wealth, and that some and that having that wealth, you know, thinking on a personal level, it tells you that when you have wealth, you will be happy, and that generating wealth and creating wealth will increase your happiness. So now, right, if you're being told that, that like so, you know, that is your goal in life, you know, greed or your economic worth is basically the only worth worth thinking about. Right? Yeah. economic value. Yeah, that you should, you should definitely your focus, and that when looking at things, you take that into account. So again, for for any adult, we're living in a capitalist economic system.
So you're gaining an education, gaining work, you don't want anything to kind of interfere in that too much. So for some people will now think and it's interesting I was on the radio, they're saying how
the cost of marriages
puts people off getting married. So again, working class people will think the cost puts them off, they think living together, it works fine. We don't need to, we can't afford to get married. So maybe that is one factor they think about. But then it's interesting in that book called The single lady, she mentioned how once women get married, and then have children,
you know, so when you're single and you're working, you can work really long hours, there's, you just can think of yourself, and it's fine. But once you have a partner now, now you now to think need to think about them that spending time, you can't work as hard. So that affects your what kind of jobs you will take, that will affect your wage, you know, if you can do extra hours, or even if you want to get a promotion, you're now thinking of your husband at home. And so then out so that's like a problem that you're now not being able to think of your financial future, you have to think of this husband, then when the kids come along again, okay, the My wife has the woman has the kid,
she's pregnant for nine months, then it's so that has a knock on effect on her wage. Now should she? So it's all about the wage, basically, it's your money. It's all about individualism, right? The individual, kind of, and what's interesting, while you're encouraged to put your children into daycare, that is what that's the solution they give you. So it's so you can carry on working so hand your kids over to strangers, and Okay, maybe 100 people can find good daycare, that's fine. But studies have been done. There's a really interesting book called
21st century girls by Sue Parma, which is brilliant book, which, again, that talks about the effect on women on your own mothers, when they have to hand over their children have the guilt they feel, and no one can. Your boss and whole capitalist system, they don't care about the guilt that you feel. There's to hand it over. So you can be a productive worker. And then the cost of childcare is ridiculous. And then what about how the baby feels, you know, it, these are all things that capitalism say, No, just go and do it, do it. So you can work. And then and then once the kids get older, you're juggling, like, I did that when my kids were I was in high school, when I was teaching
high school, and my kids weren't so young. But I'm, I remember thinking, as soon as I can stop working full time, I'm gonna do it. Because I don't like that. I, I feel that I'm not taking care of my family. But, um, and so but the thing is, it's not just a guilt, because people think, well, that sense of guilt comes from society. But actually, it's, it's a deep instinct, you know, it's this deep instinct, to, I mean, you just nurtured this child, you know, in your body, right, and you've given birth, your body is ready to feed the child now, right? It's just absolutely natural for you to want to stay connected to that child, and the Islamic system or the Islamic
method of marriage, etc, and the role etc. ensures for women, that, okay, and it recognizes that motherhood is difficult, you know, like when you first become a mum, you are going to be devoted to this and you're going to it's an immense role. And therefore, it seeks to lift the financial burden off mothers by placing that on the shoulders of a husband, right, like very explicitly in terms of like, in the marriage contract. Right. And it does that in a way to honor motherhood. Right, you could look at it like that. Whereas I think what you're pointing out and you have pointed out in the book is that capitalism
undervalues motherhood, right? Yes, absolutely. And then what you have on top of that, now, just very quickly, that I know that it's quite difficult for to live on one wage. Now. That's what I've been to I see and what sister said,
when I spent about this, that there is, I think, especially when you're living in, in this city, and, and I think that that's something that as
when you're looking for a spouse, that's a discussion speaking about finances, having been very honest about what a guy can afford the lifestyle, he can give a woman, he should be very honest about that and evil. Now, what's lovely is if a woman wants to contribute, she gets the reward of South Africa. And so, therefore, you know, that's a discussion that we should you know, put in a marital discussion should be should be had that how are we going to get married if and, and if it means we have to reduce our living standards so we don't have a house we live in a flat but I think these are the nuanced mature discussions we need to have because things are expensive. I you know,
we cut in especially in London, as you know, but you're why Islam gives us
answers robos I find capitalism just seems to create more problems.
Because it makes sense to you that you need to have this much material wealth to be happy when she thinks she know, I can be quite content. And yeah, and grateful for what I don't need all these things to be happily married, you know, it's like the whole idea of a big flashy wedding to start off your marriage, you don't need to go, you don't have to go on holiday every year, for example, yeah, you can change your idea of what a holiday is, you know, it doesn't have to be. I think the pandemic is kind of done that people anyway, right? Yes. Right. But I think, apart from having that discussion,
I think it's upon all of us to actually sit down and ask, what is actually important in life, you know, what actually has value in my life? And is it what society or like, what the movies or whatever are trying to portray to us as being a successful life? Or, well, I have to maybe choose a different path and prioritize what is really important, you know, so, like, for example, in what you just described earlier,
you know, the way that lady, she, the author, she characterized, basically getting married and having children as basically empower him, kind of impinging on a woman's
autonomy, right, her individual success or whatever, right?
It completely erases the value of raising another human being, the value of family, the, the need that women have for that, you know, and one of the things that I find quite funny, actually, sometimes is, you would have thought that feminism, since it's trying to celebrate, or
it claims to want to elevate women, right? You would have thought that feminists would be championing motherhood, would be praising motherhood, and helping to make motherhood more valued in society. But since motherhood is something that only a woman can do, do you know what I mean? is like one of the, one of the one of the roles that only women can fulfill, right?
And yet, you see, the opposite happening. Like, I think you described in the book, like how, you know, in the 60s and 70s, there was a concerted effort to kind of devalue family life and motherhood and see them see these things that actually are, you know, things that women have invested in for centuries as just trashing them basically, right? Yeah, that's it. Well, I know calling the Homer a comfortable concentration camp, I think that was Betty for down.
I'd love to know how happy these women will in their own lives. You know, I think I did quite a bit of research on that. And, and the thing is that it is very interesting. Like, for example, if you're done, she was
an American, she was she was a,
she was quite a she was an intellectual. And it was a very a lot what you notice it was from a very white middle class perspective, you know, that a lot of these women, but they, they had a particular, you know, like, even me, Wilson cough, it's interesting, she went through, she's seen as like the mother of feminism. And her father did, he saw her inheritance, and she was mistreated. And so, you see, so inexperienced, we went through and, and to be completely honest, like, for women living in, you know, the 19th century in the 21st century, a former, you know, even if we look at the experience of Christianity, they were mistreated, they weren't given rights, they weren't
allowed you, the listeners will know. So really about as far as education as far as you're able to inherit, being able to vote, you know, they had to fight for these things, and
giving credit where it's due, if it hadn't been for the feminist movement, the rights that women have now, living less, they wouldn't have got that whether it's, you know, working stands out, I'm sure you've seen that movie, nine to five, which shows how
sexist the boss were and how women could only be typed in a secretary some very limited as far as in all areas of their lives. So they had to fight and struggle to get these things. And the thing is that then what you can see is, the net result when you make equality is like put on a pedestal that everything has to be equal between men and women. So we have it then turns into the the monster that we see into now where you think, okay, unless I have everything that a man has, so if men can be equally promiscuous,
I want to be that as well. If you can have men looking at pornography, then we're gonna have male pornography as well. If we can have, you know, Tinder for, you know, men want to use women. Like Wendy Charlotte said it actually that women and are treated like prostitutes Wendy shall it won't book returned to modesty, where she critiqued the way women are treated, especially when it comes to love and relationships and the expectation. And she said, women are expected to behave like prostitute prostitutes, but they're not actually given the payment. Because that's what it's turned into is basically it's worse than prostitution. Yeah, and you know,
whereas it's interesting, Mary Wilson, Carr said, marriage is a form of legal prostitution. You just think it's, it really does depend on what perspective come from, but what was some, if we just look at the the the, the the situation that we're in today, is that so you said you were saying that motherhood is not valued. I see capitalism and feminism have both created that environment. And as Muslim women and Muslim Muslims, we need to rise above that, and not just accept everything we are told as women. So just because we're feminism says we are we are the standard base for women's rights. So we should question that, yeah, we don't let's just absorb this and think, and, and not
critically analyze what they are telling us as far as the light. Yeah.
And the thing is, it's not just us who's saying this, that I've actually read articles by women who grew up who were, you know, young women in their 60s and 70s. And they actually say, we were sold the light, we were sold the lighting, we were told that we were part of the sexual revolution. But actually, we we were just used and discarded, you know. And there was one lady who I was reading her article, she's saying that, you know, the whole sexual revolution was a disaster for women, you know, and she said that later on in life that, you know, she ended up not getting married, not having children. And, you know, she really regrets it. And she, and I think you have an example of
that in your book of a Muslim lady who,
obviously, she wasn't promiscuous. But yeah, she seems Muslim women are becoming affected by some of this. I don't know if it's the messaging? Or if it's the social situation, what would you put it down to? Because one of the chapters is
life without a family, right.
And it's a very powerful story in your book about
where a lady is telling her story about how she feels that she ended up missing certain opportunities to get married and settle down.
Because of the her own mindset at the time, right? Yeah. Alhamdulillah, I think it was really, she wrote this anonymously, so and i because I think it's just something that people will
admit openly, because you don't want to come across as like, you're some kind of sad case, or some lonely woman who regret putting career in front of family. And the thing is that it's, you know, I think I've heard this many times from a number of women, young women, who I think it's, they and I genuinely don't think it's their fault. It's when you're from high school, to college to university. It's just, that is what we are taught, I'm thinking, I was exactly like that My dream is to become a dentist. Because the pay would be amazing that and you have this idea that, Okay, I'm going to I'm going to study, I'm going to work and then I'm going to earn money. And then some like magically,
like in I'm going to find this husband, and he will accept me or, you know, he's going to let me carry be completely okay with me carrying on working. And it's, it's like a romantic fantasy. Very, I think, very popular cultures push that so much. I'm thinking of Bollywood, in particular. And the thing is that we are not know, I no point was I
encouraged him to question that until I started to attend some Islamic events and started reading now, what the counter narrative was to that, that lifestyle, and that's the thing that changed my views. And it's an but the problem I think we have as a Muslim community. So these are we've spoken about IDs that are, you know, our alien teshome affecting our thinking, but now in the Muslim community. Not everyone, I'm not going to generalize everyone but we see many examples of Islamic marriages and Muslim matches being done wrong, as in they're not following the Quran and Sunnah. And so
When young Muslim women are looking at, well, here's this freedom model. Yeah, this is the path where I get to choose my husband, I can fall in love with him, I can carry on working, you know, very, it just seems amazing. And then I look at what the Muslim version is. And I don't like it, I'm going to have to marry someone, I don't get these going to be arranged in that. I don't even get to talk to him, or my parents just they'll they're looking at his occupation, his bank balance his car, his house, as if that is all just they know the family. And that's good enough. They're just thinking, I don't know if I want that, because
it doesn't seem like I'm going to be I'm looking at my parents marriage, and they that they don't seem to be that happy to just stay together because divorce was taboo. Or I'm having bad examples of,
you know, Islamic, Lee minded guys who are very strict and very controlling. And so they think I'm not good. No, thank you. I don't think I want that.
And so it's, you know, even like things like, for example, they, let's say a girl, a woman finds a suitable compatible guy. But he's the one race, he's African, or he's Bengali, or he's, you know, Arab. And I Pakistani, so therefore parents will say, No, you're not marrying him. And you think these and that's another issue you raised in the book, right? Like racism. And colorism
and those kinds of issues, um, you know, I find it quite hard to identify with the, the kind of what you described in terms of definitely, like, I went to a girl school as well, and they would completely trying to get us to be career women, right.
I've always wanted to get married, you know, from a young age, I didn't, I think I was just too much of a romantic, you know, and I knew that that was the way to get romance. And
yeah, so I, I was always thinking, Well, I'd like to get married really young. And somehow I'll carry on studying as well. And, and so what I did was I actually, I got married when I was 19. Oh, Mashallah. And in our marriage meetings, and I was encouraged us to do this, we actually discussed all these things, you know, like, the fact that I wanted to continue studying some of the things that I would like to continue doing, just so that, you know, you've got your cards on the table, the person who your prospective husband is, you know, he can actually, first of all, internalize it and realize, okay, this is going to be part of the package, you know,
and that you can have a really honest conversation. So I remember my husband asking me, you know, okay, but that he really would support my Islamic Studies, you know, because that's what I wanted to continue doing. And he said, but what if, what if studies come in the way of certain family considerations, you know? And then we had that conversation, you know, and I say, well, I'll always put family first for me, my kids, many future kids and our people don't talk about those kinds of nitty gritty things sometimes right before marriage. They, I mean, I saw this website where people were listing like, what kind of questions you should ask. And they were asking, like, what's your
favorite color and stuff? Like? They're like, completely irrelevant?
bits of information. Yeah.
And yet, people are shy to talk about
these things, right? Yeah. Yeah. And the thing is that, you know, they're superficial things like, what's your favorite movie? What's your favorite food? Okay, they're not going to tell you whether someone is compatible with you. That's the way I tend to think I say two sisters. Okay. But um, there's certain Okay, he should he has to be Muslim. Like the sound basics, there has to be has to be Muslim. And you have to find him attractive. Okay, from there on, then you need to find out are you compatible? So you know, that can you do your, you know, life, your values, your principles, do they? They're the big, they're the deeper issues. It's like your foundation, do they align? Do you
want the same things as far as family and children? Because these things it's interesting. It's so sad. I know someone who they recently got divorced, because the husband now said, I don't want to have children. And she was like, Yeah, no, he doesn't want her children at all and, and things like these, you know, Mashallah. They're both Islamic they, you know, as far as they've got, you know, the practicing, you know, it's not like these are bad Muslims here, but he did. They never had that concern because I just assumed he would want children or in the same way, things like, you know,
The idea that you know, do you Are you okay with it? Can Can men and women be friends? For example, you know people, because now it's all cool, isn't it? like everyone's friends at college? You have mixed friend groups at uni at work. Okay, what if, but you're now getting married is the people of what avoid? I've noticed the difficult question discussions because they think, oh, then you're not gonna like me, you won't want to get married. But you think okay, so you're going to leave those difficult conversations once you are married? And then you're gonna have a big round, and we're gonna come out, yeah, okay. So please save yourself. And this is the problem that we as Muslims
divorce in the divorce rate is getting nearly equal to the divorce rate amongst all Muslims. And that is really one troubling in that, and their divorces are happening in two years, two years, and then divorces going on, that seems to be the sub, it's like, the honeymoon period goes up finishes. And then people really start to realize, okay, so this is who you are, this is who I'm married to. But these pre marriage questions, that is what you're trying to gauge? Who is this person? Can I tolerate them? Can I live with them? Can I can I will and it's not about? Will they make me happy as in? It's not the job of the husband to continuously keep you happy and happy all the time? No,
that's only another human being can't do that all the time. And it's funny, you know, when I was writing the book, as I was writing, I kind of realized that I think I need to do a course as well on this where, you know, a book, it would have ended up being 1000 pages if I'd wrote everything I wanted to be. And I thought, there's a further things that I then want to add to the book in areas such as
issues relating to Okay, intimacy, polygamy, pornography, because these are all issues. It's how the number of women who've asked me about that, how do you ask about these things? How did you and I thought, okay, I, I can't include everything in the books. So I have created a pre marriage course, which you can, you know, it's for sisters to really, it will help them to hone in on Okay, these are the, like red flags, I need to know about this, by the end of it, you'll have this idea, this is what I'm looking for. And now go and look for that guy that because you're you're clear about what is important to you as a Muslim. And then
because I just find the advice that Muslim women are getting at the moment, I just, I think it's really bad, it is really coming. And it's and to the point that this is why people leave, they think this is just too complicated. Or this is too difficult. I'm just gonna, I'm just gonna focus on my work. That's what women a lot of women end up doing. It's just, I don't want to deal with it. And then it gets, you know, leave a bit too late.
Well, another thing that I think very few people do, which I've been talking to young women about this
is getting character references. You know, it's such a simple thing that, like, if you were going to hire somebody, you you would do right, when you went to uni, they do it right, they asked you for character references or for references.
And yet for marriage, we don't think to do it, but I think it shows you that even parents are not very savvy sometimes, you know, like, because I, my dad, he, he made sure that he for each of his daughters, like
he would literally ask for character references from from the prospective spouse and
and that meant, for example, him going and sitting down with a friend of
the person, you know, or somebody who'd worked with them or traveled with them, you know, somebody who had business transactions with them, etc, you know, somebody who really got to know them.
Or in writing, you know, getting
and we know that as Muslims, when it comes to if somebody asks you for a character reference, you're you have to tell the truth, even if it's negative, you know, you're supposed to it's one of the times when you're allowed to back by if you like, right? Because you have to be honest. So, and believe me, so many things come out in that, you know, so I remember one sister, she found out that the prospective spouse smoked, right, that might sound like a little thing, but that wouldn't come out in a meeting, you know, he might try to hide that or, you know, avoid talking about it, but through the character references, she found out that he smokes and that was like a big no for her,
you know, so
it's better to find these things out.
before. I think what it is, is people think you're supposed to fall in love and or you're supposed to have these very like sort of romantic
Take meetings, you know, and keep it all fluffy. Keep it all fluffy, and not talk about the Yeah, it's like don't do things hard to choose rather than engaging your brain. And
it's the Sunnah to get the profit center assylum told us to get references, and you're right. So, but I think this This is one reason why Hello dating, and trying to do this solo is such a bad idea. And it's so alien to us on because, as we know, when people go on dates, they just present the best version of themselves, you know, best and they want best behavior they're trying to impress. Now of course, you're gonna like this pretend one dimensional version of a person on a date. Where was when you you're getting on humbler? Your dad mushy stuff? Excellent. Here's an example of a good Wally, when you when a guy has to meet the dad and the brothers and the uncles. Yeah, now let him try to
fake it. Now let him pretend he's someone he's not. Right. Well, they will see through him so quickly, you know, and they can ask questions that women will not ask, and that's why that protection is there. And you should definitely say I give a whole list of the different things women should do. Because in the book, because that alerts put that there for our protection, not to restrict us, not to oppress us, but to help us. And when we follow those, and therefore, you know, having emotional attachment to someone, just because you fancy them and thinking No, I, I have to marry him, you know, without my family's permission, or without getting my family involved. Because
this is what unfortunately, a lot of not a lot, but some women will think, Okay, let me just kind of go down the side Who all are find a guy or go online, or all guys online, approach them, and they start chatting, and they and they, they form an attachment. And then they will end up you know, meeting and you know, and then that's it straightaway, the door is shut up, the doors have been open to shut down to totally mess you up. And then they bring this to the family and say, I want to marry him. But you don't want one. If your parents they notice and realize there's actually things wrong with him. You've given your heart away to this guy, you're irrational, because your hormones have
just gone crazy. And the dopamine is, you know, like,
not letting you your brain function properly. And, and this and then you're like, No, I have to marry the sky. But that's the that's not the Islamic way to do it. When you get other objective people looking at and judging a man, they will tell you the truth of him that if he's good, then they'll tell you and if the bad things about him that you're overlooking, because you're slightly infatuated, they will point them out. And that's 100. That's where you have to have your family involved in the whole process of getting married. Right? Because eventually those characteristics are going to matter to you, you know, like, they might not they might not seem like they matter
right now. You know, when you're like really excited or you're like you said your home hormones are going wild, or you're infatuated or you're attached. Yeah. Well, that's why like, although it's seen as kind of maybe a little bit on romantic. Again, our views of romance have come from Disney and Hollywood and Bollywood. Right. So, like, we don't realize that there's a beauty in forming an emotional attachment after marriage, you know, like, there's actually a real beauty in the fact that the climax of your romance occurs within marriage or after marriage, you know, whereas in wider society, I don't know if you've heard of this concept of post nuptial depression, which is, I have
this article about post nuptial depression. This lady, she said,
the article was about the phenomenon of post nuptial depression where, because in wider society, not in the Muslim community in wider society, because women and men, they've already had relations, they've had intimacy, they've lived together, they've done each other's laundry, whatever, right?
When they get married, it's like, the next day is such a anticlimax, you know, because everything's already been done outside of marriage. Right? So, now it's like, oh, okay, you know, back to normal back to mundanity, the mundane life, you know, everyday life. So, so apparently people feel quite depressed. But what I was saying to a group of teenage girls the other day is, isn't it amazing that we actually have the best part of the romance after the wedding
You know, the best part of your romantic story is after the wedding, whereas in wider society, the best has already gone. You know, the high point has already gone. So I think we need to reframe marriage and start talking to young people about marriage in a different way. And sometimes we haven't been good at presenting it, you know, in the right way. Because a lot of the girls, when I presented this, for example, they said to me, wow, I never really thought of it like that, you know, and they were actually
feeling really positive about marriage. Other other young women have contacted me after hearing some of my talks about marriage and motherhood, etc. And they said, you know, like, We're so glad that we could hear somebody giving us that message. Because, deep down, I really wanted to just be a mom. Like, ever since I was little, I just wanted to be married and have kids and but I felt like I wasn't allowed to say that, you know. So, I do think sometimes we might be feeling like, a lot of young young women have an anti marriage attitude or are feeling negative about marriage, but
I think sometimes they feel they have to say certain things. Yeah, yeah, who wants to admit that they want to be a mom and stay at home, that's what that's not a career. That's not how, you know, you're, you're just a stay at home mum. And, and that's it. And because well, and to be clear, like, you know, stay at home doesn't just mean, like, sleeping all day. It means building a home, right, like building a family home making.
So that's what I mean, like, if we could if we can reframe some of these things. But it's, you know, one of the reasons though, like I've, I know of, and I've heard, like, women who are my mother's age, and generally what some mothers will say to their daughters, you make sure you go and get a job, make sure you have a crib just in case you get divorced there, this is just in case I did. And that if he leaves you what your you need to have, you know, you need to have your money. Now,
the thing is, I don't, and it's because of experience that they'll say that either, you know, the men in the husband's will, you know, they'll restrict you, they will take your money, they will. And then he will put in laws into that, that you have to put this confident, independent font up, so no one will mess around you. Because I was messed around with or, you know, my wife took advantage of me. And the thing is, now, this is a real problem that like the women wouldn't say this, unless they had gone through this experience that you know, our mothers and the women of the old, you know, the older generation, they aren't anti marriage either. But it's where it's those bad experience. And so
for example, experiences of domestic violence, and no one helping them experiences of abuse, different Telecom, I know women have been abused. And it was really hard to get out of those marriages. So the thing is that I think the Muslim community needs to if girls are fearful of marriage, or if Muslim marriages have bad reputation, that we cannot blame on non Muslims at all. And I'm not that naive. I know, Islam is perfect. And I know the beauty of all the laws that Allah gives relating to marriage. But when we see in practice, I know and you know, of the bad examples, and the Muslim community needs to address that. And I think one starts by talking about it. And I'm
sure there's a very good, a wonderful role that must, most jets and scholars and people have knowledge, they could really address this. That's the way to then take away those fears that Muslim women, young Muslim women have, because I think this is the thing that I really didn't like that when in the conversations about this problem. All the blame was being put on women. A lot of blame has been put on some of that it's just your own fault and deal with it. And I thought, I don't like it. No, I just didn't like that conversation. And then as a reaction, women would just say, well, men of all church then Muslim men, they just they're narcissistic. They've got narcissistic traits.
They are toxic. I'm not going to go near them. Because you now have the phenomena of Muslim women quite happily marrying non Muslim men. When other people are doing that, oh, you can forget my mean them. They're just living with them. They've got them as boyfriends because they, they would rather do that because that guy will let them do whatever they want. And I think at least I can I don't have someone trying to micromanage me and judge me and control.
That is becoming very normal. And it's not an exam so not not convert but no Muslim girls, dating non Muslim boys at uni or college, even at high school because
Because they see they they're not impressed with the Muslim men that they're seeing. And the fingers and the families are not I don't exaggerate this, and the parents can do absolutely nothing.
Okay, they can kick him out of the house. Well, it seems to me that that's that's a deeper issue than just marriage. You know, that's a therapy issue, like a childhood from first principles from connection with God issue, you know, it's not, I feel like I stopped there. Right. But can you see that that I did that? The liberal idea of a loved one, because I figure once love, doesn't she, she wants companionship. And so it's thinking, I'm gonna take it that way? Because I don't like what I'm seeing at the Muslim way. Yeah, but then I do meet the girls who then regret it. Yeah.
Absolutely. But the problem we've gotten as a must. The thing is, what I'm saying is, and this is one reason why I wrote the book is as a community, we need to address it, just like right address the racism and the colorism in our community. Yes, ageism, even you know, that women get to a certain age, and they're off the market. woman's divorced. Again, it's not happening. She's single mother, don't you, you know, just just at home says, you know, it's all okay. So we'll address it. Yeah, we do have to address it. You're right, with the colorism and racism, like, I can't, but I do get girls actually, sometimes contacting me, and they say, you know, my, I want to marry somebody
who's from a different culture, and my parents won't let me right. And, okay, I'm going to tell you, like, I tried to have a balanced approach to this. Okay. Because previously, before I studied Islamic Studies, I would have said,
Ah, oh, that's just racist, you know, it's racist. And, you know, parents need to open their minds, and they just need to just accept this, and there's absolutely no
it's not about color, I mean, cultural background, you know, like, obviously, color that's just completely shallow, you know, like, Yeah, but when it comes to, like, cultural background, you know, or country of origin and that sort of stuff, I would have dismissed that in the past, right. Um, but having studied filk, one of the things you do realize in fifth of marriage is that
there's something called Khufu. Right? Or Kapha. And it's basically the, the idea of compatibility. Right. And
in, in fact, there is this consideration, I would say, yeah, that scholars have allowed families to have when it comes to marriage, of compatibility, and that could be in various things, right? So for example, I think you did mention some of those areas that, you know, like language,
social status, well, that's a bit controversial, right? social status, we could say, in our times, maybe social status could be equated to education, maybe I don't know, because sometimes that
that affects compatibility, or it can affect compatibility and culture.
And stuff like that right now. So now I tried to have like a bit of more of a nuanced approach to it. And that is that of course, you know, racism is a parent. And so as colorism that's just, I think those are just like colonialist kind of baggage, right? That we still have as Muslims, that we do need to eradicate. However, if a family, for example, is asking their daughter, we would like somebody who speaks our language, right? Or we want
obviously, like to the parent, I would say, you need to be more open minded now. Because like you've traveled 1000s of miles away from your country, right? You're living in a new society. Now, the chances of finding somebody who is exactly from your village, right is like, really, really low. So any wake up, right, you know, you need to embrace that actually, your child's grown up in this country. And this is like a new culture. It's a new identity in a way, right. And their compatibility is not based on back home anymore. Right. So to the parents, I would say that, but to the girls, I tend to say
your parents probably do have your best interests in mind, right? So you need to think carefully and not be dismissive of the things that they're mentioning. Okay? Because
I also meet the people on the other side. So once they've gotten married
So say for example, somebody has gotten married to, I don't know,
somebody who's from a Western non Muslim, who's a convert, right? Yeah, um,
I'm not saying that there's anything negative about that at all, you know, if you've gone in there with your eyes open, fine. But you do have to realize that
people from different backgrounds will come with certain things that you have to be willing to embrace. You know, if you do that open with with an open mind and an open with your eyes open, then obviously, you're going to be able to deal with it. But if you go into it in a kind of naive way, I noticed this, for example, who then end up missing the fact that they don't really have Muslim extended family, you know, for example, right? or sisters who can't really connect with their in laws, because the language or, you know, they just have different cultural expectations.
And I'm not just talking about convert, I mean, in different different mixes of people, you know, obviously, in so many cases, it works perfectly and what's fine and people adjust, right? Because even, even if you marry someone from your own culture, you still have to adjust.
But I think sometimes it is worth saying to the girls that look, you know,
think about it, you know, because you're gonna have to live in that situation, right?
And certain things that might not matter to you right now. Are you sure they don't? I'm not gonna matter to you, you know?
Because we don't realize it, but we all very culturally adapted, you know, to certain things, certain things are normal to us. They're so normal, we don't even realize that they're part of our culture. And then sometimes it's only when you come against a different culture
and expectation that you're like,
Isn't that obvious? Like, do you know what I mean? Like, but it's not obvious. No, you are. The wisdom that our parents have,
is invaluable. And we should never underestimate their experience and knowledge and Alhamdulillah. That is why Allah tells us that the parents and the wildling has to be involved. So that we and we should listen to their advice. And, you know,
I'm just thinking of the advice that my parents gave me and the things that they noticed that I was completely oblivious to Alhamdulillah you know, and thinking, Well, you know, for all the, I'm thinking of all the elders that I know that they now the thing that, that they need. So that's, that's the good part. It's just the thing is, what we need to be shared with our parents is that they grew up in, okay, let's say it was in Pakistan or India, where they grew up with Bangladesh. That's where the and so the thing that what they found acceptable as in in as far as, like, I'm thinking of my, my dad only saw a photo of my mum. And then he comes over the phone, you know, he
was an English mom was in Karachi at the time, you know, it was it was that's how things were done then. And it was just purely My, my, my father was best friends with my harlot, my Auntie's husband, it was like, yeah, connections. Yeah. And so the thing is, that was acceptable, you know, in at that time, and that was fine. And then, you know, so scary for my mom, she came in, she didn't, she hadn't even spoken to my dad. And now she's married. So what they accepted and more willing to do this in their mind. So now then, fast forward 2030 years later, so the parents when they're looking at their kids, and they're thinking, well, I did that. So
Shouldn't you be okay with it? And the thing is, and then this is a bit work as mature women, you need to have sit down and politely have a discussion with the parents, right? Like, okay, and our parents, they were allowed to even get angry with us. And they allowed to say things to us. We have to, you know, as long as
they can expect allow to express their opinion, what it's their home, where their children. And what we have to do is show them respect and listen to what they've got to say. And then give our point of view that Okay, yeah, maybe back then you would only marry someone from Karachi who was speaking and who the families knew each other. But you'd like you just said, we're now in London, and we do need to speak in Karachi. Yeah. And you and you made the decision to travel all this way to this new country? Yes. Me In this situation, right. I can't find someone like that. So is it fair that I now she cannot get married until I find that guy and I can't go back home and marry someone like that
because there's not enough. We don't have enough in common it would be
We get divorced in six months. So there's an in compatibility now, yeah, people back home because you're literally culturally different even though but the main origins, speak to your parents and what you have, right? Well, you have to then get allies as we like to say, a few, you know, people have knowledge, but also like what you essentially what you say about the fic? You we definitely have to gain knowledge about what does Allah say about marriage? And what we don't know. So we that should be the starting point, we do the war, we gain knowledge, we have intelligent, mature dis calm discussions with our parents, don't fly until even if our parents are flying off the handle that
they can, but you shall you have to do stay calm. And the thing is people we don't like go take, you know, go behind their backs and do things. That's the worst thing you can do.
Negotiate basically, right, negotiate. That's it, because you're saying you won't get married? You're mature. Okay, act mature, then. Yeah, you know, negotiate maturely? Exactly. So with them, yeah, if we do that you can then and so then having discussions about race and culture, because then this is your thing, your way, you need to be very honest, if you are cultural, if you need to have curry and roti and even things that you have to have, or if you have you like wearing particular types of clothes, then be honest. And they say, Okay, so then that means that's the kind of person I'd have to marry. And what's wrong with being cultural? When the cultural bits are permitted? In
Islam? There's nothing if you want someone who speaks or do they marry someone who speaks or do you know, what's wrong with that, but be Yeah, but also also remember that you're marrying into a family? You know, I think that's what I mean, like, people don't always think about that aspect. You know, like, there is, I mean, I've got a multicultural family, like some of my siblings married other cultures. And
so I can see, like, different kinds of dynamics. And one of the things that's really nice is for inlaws to be able to speak to their, you know,
their children in law, sons and daughters in law, naturally, you know, like, yeah, you will be surprised at how much how important that feels to you after marriage, you know?
So, those kinds of things, you know,
it's just that don't be dismissive. That's what I'm saying. Yeah, dismissive of that whole pick and say, and label your parents as like, you know, xenophobic, or something. Yeah. And intolerant and things like it's actually that they're thinking about the entire family, usually, you know, the thinking about the whole kind of
parents are not actually ignorant, you know, they
do have certain pair, we are not perfect, and our parents only allow is perfect. And I think the other thing that we have to is, if we can't in the discussion said that, can we refer this back to the Quran can refer back to so never, if we're being if you think I'm being unreasonable as in, I am being a hot headed or
too quick in that I'm just taking an iron Hadeeth that suits me and saying, you know, so Elizabeth allowed? No, her parents cannot force their daughters get married? Yes, that's great. We, you know, but then that can be stretched to say, oh, Kevin, come over my boyfriend, Why can't my boyfriend, you know, you can't stop me from having my boyfriend, let's say, but then your parents know, it's actually this boyfriend. He's actually totally irresponsible. You know, he smells of weed, you know, they you might not smell it, I can, you know, your brother's might notice the smell. So these are the things that you might do not dismiss the concerns that your parents have, but then say, Can we
agree that the arbiter in Sharla? Yeah, and the other home from, you know, sisters who, sometimes they, they do decide, okay, I'm just going to find a chef who will marry me off and without a wedding, right? Or appoint my own well, even though they've got their father but their fathers against this marriage, for example. What one thing I found is, in cases where that has happened, sadly, sometimes when that woman now has children, right, she's got married parents, she's not on talking terms with her parents.
She has children, but now she doesn't have that connection anymore with the family. And also the she's very vulnerable because now you know, one of the things that kind of Islam wants women to have is family on this side, you know, I mean, like, and now that her spouse knows that she's got no one. Right? She is more vulnerable. Do you see because now she doesn't. She doesn't have brothers or far
Others or anyone to have her back. Right. So
unfortunately, I think people realize these things later on, you know, when, when things are gone too far.
Just a hair and just a forehead.
Is there anything you feel has been missed that we could?
I do think that,
you know, people seem to think that online dating is like the panacea. Now, and there's a lot. Basically, there's a lot of harm going on on deck that you can't. I had.
I interviewed Jimmy Bob early. Yeah. Yeah. I he had a site and he Yeah, he still wanted half
the half. Why did I think of data other?
half our Dean, right. Yeah.
Yeah. And it was very, it was interesting that we're just genuinely I'm thinking like, my son and my daughter. They're both over 20.
They tell me, Fatima. I'm sure you know, already. But the thing is, it's like basically all the Hmong stuff is going online. And these dating like, well, we're trying, we're looking to get married. No, you're not. You're This is just become a some people are, but it's just
it's like, What can I say? It's like a license to commit. How about like, you hook up through though it's been made. Coming has become so easy. You can do it all online, and then you can meet up. But these marriage apps, and what they're doing is that they are under the guise of marriage, but they're not. It's just like Tinder, that's what it basically is. Because
Yeah, really, like, when you say, you know, dating, do you mean like,
ending in? How long? Yeah, yeah, you see? What cases? So the stuff like, for example, is it just like hanging out? Well, she's about as well. But yeah, so you messaged each other, and it's not conversation like there's, it's just to find people online. But then you're exchanging photos, even just the conversations. It, it's done under the guise that we are looking to get married, but actually, you're not and, and that's the again, this is the it's like, it's a bit like, you know, modest fashion was never about a job. You know, these were jobs are not about nica. They have about, you know, very few, some do get my butt married. But I just think that's being put because the
problem that women the same Where are these men? How do I find them? Where are they
watching my pills, don't know anyone with all you know, the pet, and then the person you go find him missing?
Like the thing we don't know, anyone you want. We live in England. We don't know anyone anymore.
Or anyone. But we don't have this massive, really. And so you just go and find the guy or the girl. And they're going online. And so for example, you know, I don't know if you read the chapter about desire to be deciders experience. Yeah. Yeah. And the thing is that okay, her she she was saying that it's because she wasn't stereotypically captive. But even it was the whole. Can you explain the situation for read for viewers who haven't heard about the lady? Oh, so so yeah. So this chapter, where sister describes it's called the chapter is called the desire to be desirable. And so a situation where she's over 25 now, and like many Muslim women, she's was thinking, Okay, her
parents, they don't know, anyone think this is awesome. Can you find someone that said, No, we can't, they don't have a big circle of friends or, you know, to go to lots of family gatherings. And then add that on top of that the whole COVID situation. So you're not so going to any social gatherings. So then she went on life, or I'm going to try these so called Muslim manage apps that are there to help you find a spouse. Now, her experience was very, that she basically felt like a product by the end of it in that you have to take certain selfies, you have to present yourself in a certain way. You scription about yourself, so you're selling yourself, yourself. Yeah. And then you
put yourself out there in front of all of the world to see. And you are now getting likes people that you know, they're judging you based on your locks in your description. But what they're doing, you know, they're just swiping and swiping. And what and she stayed on there for a good while. And this was a very famous, well known Muslim app. And she basically said the whole experience made her feel so
unwanted undesirable because, you know, it was you're being judged that someone can't even be bothered to message you. You know, they're just or they literally superficial
Right, like so. And it was an hour, I had never gone through that experience, but reading that it just made me feel safe, so dehumanizing. I thought that men and women, but women in particular, they're going on there, and they're trying to like, please, you know, pick me, please someone show me some attention, please. And then, and then this is the public, if someone does show you tension, then they're messaging you. And then this is it didn't have this experience, but others have told me and when I've looked at reviews of Muslim marriage apps, now say that you get,
it can turn very, the competition can be very sleazy, can be very sexual. Men are not on there. They're not, they can get away with not wanting to marry you, or having these conversations and then trying to say to you, let's go on to a different platform, let's WhatsApp each other, or let's telegram each other. And then the requests for selfies where you're not in a job or even revealing selfies. And they're saying, Now, it's like this game you have to play and how are you supposed to sift through? Who is genuine? And who wants to get married? And who doesn't? And if you don't play that game, then just forget it. So again, people think that these Muslim marriage apps, promote
themselves and advertise themselves as a solution to the marriage crisis that women men and women are facing that how, the other question that where do you find a decent guy? You know, where do you find? aren't there more Islamic ones, like more, I don't know, vetted ones. And the only website that I would recommend is half our Dean, which is
run by Bob early in in us. And because they have their privacy is really important. They have lots of questions and questionnaires you have to fill in, you can no picture shown on there. It just was it's more the it's got an Islamic ethos, and it's very marriage minded. Whereas these ones, I really do just see them as copies of Tinder, their Muslim versions of Tinder. And again, real like circumventing
ideals through using an app right, just like the veneer of Islamic nisour Muslim anesthetic, and you just see from the type of pictures, they'll have very pretty fair, Muslim women who fit this the beauty ideal, and it's like they want to attract men to get onto there. And, and whereas the compatibility, it's all based on pictures, and a very short description. And the thing is that this is a reflection of the Muslim community that we should be creative. I think Alhamdulillah we have the potential, for example, through our mosques, I know many mosques do this. But through mosques, we could organize marriage events, you know, in a halal environment, you know, doing education on
pre marriage, wanting pre managed courses for the youth. And then even as far as our entrepreneurs, and these are just ideas that are creating Islamic Islamic marriage apps rather than, you know, just copies of kind of Tinder that because the need is there. We should cater for it inshallah, but so that these may be good old fashioned nosy Auntie's, you know,
maybe we need some. We need to, to reinvigorate the lazy Auntie population. Or maybe we need to become nosy auntie.
Oh, gosh, yeah, that's because that's the thing. That's the thing, right? Like, although we, we like, think, like, we roll our eyes at the idea of, you know, the ante is like, Oh, he's still single sort of thing. Right? You know, like, really cringy sort of scenarios that used to take place. Right. Um,
but then thought there is a reason for that. Yeah, like those Auntie's. But isn't this interesting? You know,
being concerned is now about your the young women that you know, is seen as interfering. Now, you know, that this is a genuine love for your, for the young women in your family. And that, you know, okay, maybe the way it was put was one but it's seen as No, this is my life. Don't interfere. Don't you know? Why? Tell me I need to get married. I'm fine. I don't need a man, either. You know, it's, I hear why don't we have a lot what do we share? I was thinking, why don't we share like, just because I feel like a lot of young people, they get a lot out of hearing other people like how did you find your spouse? You know, Oh, goodness, man. No, because we need to share those stories
because I think people otherwise just don't. Don't have ideas, you know.
So Fatima, you'll get you're gonna go first. Okay. Yeah. So for me, I was
At and, and I was in Egypt or 17, when I was in Egypt, and I actually met somebody who I wanted to marry.
Who was just the wrong person, like completely the wrong person.
But I'm sharing this because I kind of want to show people that, you know, one of the great things about good parents is that they don't have an unrealistic view of you, you know, they realize that you're a human being, and that you have feelings, and that you might get attracted to somebody, or you might want to marry someone, or you might come to them. If you have a good relationship and say, I want to get married, you know.
And I had met somebody, and
I was quite lonely in Egypt, you know,
without any family for the first time as a teenager, and
the person had proposed to me, and I was just like, flattered, right, as anything, I wasn't really thinking straight. Um, so my parents caught wind of this. Okay. And my parents are telepathic. Yes. And my mum was over there in the on the first flight, you know, sort of thing. And but I'm sharing this because of the way my mum reacted. She was so understanding, you know, and she realized that I'd been really lonely while I was in Egypt. And I, I needed family and I needed connection with her. And so she showed me a lot of love a lot. And she, I remember her telling me Look, you know,
we're willing to meet this person, let's go and meet him, let's go meet his family. And so the fact that she was willing to even consider, meant that I felt really good about that, that my parents respect me, even though I was 16 or 17. Right. Which I don't think I would have been as understanding that my kids to be honest, you know,
but my mom was like, really understanding about it. And she said, Look, your future is bright, we, we care about you, we want, we're going to help you find somebody who's just going to be perfect for you, you know, so that I felt really good about that. And when I met him with my mom,
I realized he was the wrong person, you know, like, it almost reminded me of what my identity really was. And, you know, he wasn't really practicing the way that that my family is, you know, and just having my mom there kind of
took the rose tinted glasses away, you know? So, and I sometimes share that with my parents and say, Look, my mom, she never allowed that incident, or that kind of, to hang over me. Do you know, I mean, like, she didn't allow it to be like a negative thing. In fact, if anything, she just said she just left it. And then it kind of I just myself realized this wasn't right, you know, this, this wasn't the right person. And then when I got back to UK, after studying there, my parents just realized she should get married, you know, because she wants to and we should be helping her. So there was a very nice lady. She's an author, actually, she passed away in May Allah
have mercy on her name is Jamal Anissa. She wrote some Tafseer books, Mashallah. she happened to know my husband's family and my family, and she just arranged for our families to meet one day. And my mom tricked me. She didn't tell me that they were coming to see me for marriage. And she said, we're going to, we're going to read a spot mosque. So we went to instapot Mosque. And I saw this brother, okay, and his lady, and they're like, looking at me from that spot. And I'm just like, I really want to attend this lecture by Roger Hodge. You know, he's in town. Yeah, I was just 18 at the time and,
and, but they were looking at me a bit too intensely. So, and my mom was like, Fatima, come and meet this auntie.
So we're standing there in Regent's Park mosque before, you know, the massive bullying.
And then I started thinking, why is my mom want getting me to meet these people? Right. And that is a brother as well, right? My mom doesn't usually do that. So
but I was just I was a bit rude as well. I was like, No, I have to go. Slowly. Come on. T Yeah, you know, sort of thing. And then I just went down to the talk. And while I was sitting there listening to Sir Roger Hodge. I was like, that was pretty weird. Oh, my God, my mom.
I'm sure I've just been viewed You know, I've just by somebody. But my that's how my mom used to do it like she actually liked having like an external meeting, where the families just kind of meet in person.
Initially, so that there's no kind of pressure, right? And then either family could follow up. Do you see? Right? Yeah. And then that's what happened. Then they came around and we would go around and yeah, so I'm
sorry. That was my long story. No, that was lovely. I love.
I know, it just sounds nice and simple, isn't it? It's?
Yeah. Yeah, it was all through introduction of families. Right. Like, yeah,
I do think it's a shame that, but then this is just the way life is now. But we don't if you, you know, people get like taking the time to get involved, and be willing to, you know, say, oh, consider this better. I do think people are less willing to do that, probably because they don't want to be blamed if it goes wrong. I know. That's sometimes we're not when when my husband first got married, we were constantly humbled that I had the Hadeeth I can't remember the exact words that if you help two people to get married, trees planted for you and Jenna. And I thought, okay, yeah, he's got a lot of friends, I've got friends, let's see if that works out. And so but, and that's why
being friendly, you know, having socializing in a Hello way. For people, it's good, you know, do that if you want to get married, inshallah.
So, what's your marriage story? Not so how would you introduce to you? Yeah.
It's all right. It doesn't have to be. And I think nothing too exciting. My husband saw me at an Islamic talk. You know, it was it was segregated. And then he then if, funnily enough, he knew my brother, because the thing is that we were all going to talk to them that I think that was quite, we gave him lectures. And so then he knew my husband, my, my husband knew my father, he then spoke to him. And then
what was what was interesting was, and I think this is my family in the situation that I think a lot of women are in now living in in UK that we didn't have, we had no other family here. It was just my so. And so there were my parents have twins, but none of them like, what is that? Like? No, it's fine. They didn't want to marry anyone who just there was no one they knew who they could say, yeah, you'll be compatible. 108. Again, like they knew me that I needed to marry someone Islamic. And I couldn't marry someone cultural at all, and going back home wasn't an option at all. So in a way they can't said to my brother that I think you're going to have to help Philip get married, because
we don't know anyone who? Well, she could she would like or would like her because she's got a thing on her head now, and it's not so easy to get her married with that on, because there weren't many jobs back then.
Yes, then and then we did it through there. But interesting. My husband is Gujarati. He's not. And there are
what is your parents culture? Were Pakistani. Okay, whichever.
But the thing that our cultural thing is my husband isn't cultural at all. And I'm not very cultured, I'd say apart from food. That is the main thing like curry
that was that of a curry and roti is very important. But also we had in that like, not being from the same culture wasn't a problem and funnily enough, like my in laws could speak or do they could understand it. And I very quickly I can understand that your email.
It wouldn't be too hard if I you know, for me to have learnt it, but my husband doesn't speak it that much. So the cultural culture wasn't so put. So I think we got on fine. Because I can inshallah continue say, our we can talk our culture from Islam and whatever is allowed, as far as you know, you know, you can adopt from other cultures as long as it doesn't contradict Islam, where that's what's kind of happened. And I think, for what I noticed, and this is what's quite interesting, like, even though like for my parents, or like, or the speaking was very important, but what not no kids no speaker to my husband's kid, my kid was silly thing. Our kids don't speak the joy it that
they just speak English, which is a shame. But I think that's kind of second generation, kids of immigrants.
The second language acquisition, I studied this at uni, that's one so you go on about a bit. It kind of gets lost, and it's nice. Keep your mother tongue. But I think more and more. Our kids are not keeping their the mother tongue and then a culture, especially because we're getting more of a global culture. That seems to be taking precedence. But yeah, yeah, that's things too. You know, when people say culture, like there's a point comes once you like, third generation
Kids living in the West, their cultures getting really is very, very different to what their grandparents culture was. So that's something to just you know, to bear in mind.
Yeah, I think for me, I actually really loved my in laws. In the meetings. I actually really love my father in law, like right from the beginning. He's like, so funny.
And so yeah.
And then my husband just proposed like, Oh, I think he proposed over the phone, through my dad. And yeah, and then the rest was history.
But yeah, that's interesting. Like, with, you know, you and your husband having kind of different backgrounds. I mean, people think Asians are all the same.
the community, there are certain nuances on there. Yeah.
So was that ever an ever an issue? Do you think
People did say, Oh, it's not gonna work out? Because
you're good. You're in. She's Pakistani. And you know, but what's funny, I think my parents were more kid because, you know,
because originally, they were from India, and they, and they moved. So my dad didn't have a problem with him being Indian, because he lived in Delhi himself. But I think so. I'll be honest, that wasn't a big deal. I think it did. down to
my husband's character and personality that if my dad hadn't won, he, he knew I had to marry someone Islamic. So he ticked that box. But if my dad hadn't got on with him, he literally would have kicked him out the door. He was he knows that blunt. But he really liked him. And he thought, yeah, he's nice. And then also because my brother knew him, that was where the reference. And that
we did, the families met. And my husband used to come to see my family. And it's fun, like seeing him playing with my niece, like, not every guy will just pick up a baby and stop playing. And so you have this is, again, the advice I give to sisters in the book that you take your time, and you see them in different environments, different environments. And that is how someone reveals their character. And the way they speak to their own mom, for example, where they, you know, like,
yeah, I'll see who their friends are. All of that. Yeah, that's it. And so that's it. So again, the importance of family and you really just need to gauge
you know, and even going, I would suggest, the families or going out to dinner, see how they treat the waiter. You know, it's different things like that, like, they'll treat you okay, because if they want to marry you, they'll they'll treat you however you they think you like, but when they're in front of other people, and they're being slightly tested, their patience has been tested in there, you know, does it it's just thing, no one can act and pretend for an extended period of time that long. Yeah. So the humbler getting and, again, getting the men in your family? And if for example, let's say you don't have I'm sure you let's say you don't have fathers, but getting your cousin's
maybe you know, that there's always ways to get other people involved, who you trust and whose judgment you trust.
Because that's, you know, again, we can't just go on our own judgment, we can make mistakes and that Southampton I bet that and of course, do the wall and do is the harder they are you have to do those two.
Definitely. Definitely. Does that kill her and sister Farah think that's a good, good place for us to end the discussion. Yeah. I really enjoyed our discussion. I feel like I could talk to you forever.
We should have further discussions in sha Allah about these topics. Zack and I are in for the book. So brothers and sisters or sisters, especially. This is the book smart, single Muslim, and I just love the way I love the tone of the book. You know, it's not patronizing at all is just like, a very savvy older sister just like
filling you in on everything. No, I really, you know, I sincerely when I wrote that book. I thought it was I know this is such a cliche from a place of love, but it was I read, I so feel for my sisters that are in this situation and I thought
we need to help them, you know, not because I've got all the answers, but we need to say we need we need. Allah has the answers. And then when we return to Allah's guidance, it will open doors, those problems will just inshallah fly out the window. And I would just like to say there is a chapter on how to deal with disappointment, because potentially, that we have to be completely on
list, potentially, you could not get married. And that's, and so that, but then a lot also gives us a way to deal with challenges and disappointment. Because I know women who have reached that age where they're thinking, and it's easy to lose hope. So I thought I have to include that because we are not, you know, again, life isn't a rom com, there isn't always going to be that version of happily ever after. There were many versions of happily ever after.
So, I therefore I had to include that as well. Yeah, I think that's important. And I hope that brothers sisters who are listening, they realize that, because, you know, sometimes it's to say, Well, you know, not everyone is going to get married or whatever, right. The point is that, first of all, we don't want that to be the norm. We don't want that to become the norm. Right? And so it's not to say that people who, who end up not getting married have got some kind of blighted life or something. No, I mean, they can. There's so much, you know, so many ways to find meaning and person, family and love, you know, other ways. It's not, you know, looking down on anyone. But the point is
that we also want to tell young women the truth, you know, about certain things that are really like, that allow you to experience the full range of womanhood, right, the full range of experiences of womanhood and being a wife and being a mother are very important parts of that so
I can hire him.
And inshallah I will take that on to you now. So I'm Alico raluca Muslim.
So does that come allow her and brothers and sisters I hope you really enjoyed and benefited from that discussion and our little stories that we shared as well.
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