It’s quaint, old-fashioned. Almost like a rite of passage, I suppose, to have this insatiable need for the “fairytale ending,” the classic one where a beautiful girl is riding in a pretty horse-drawn carriage, accompanied by none other than her handsome prince. They’re both smiling – rigidly in that quintessential 50’s fashion – as they ride off into the sunset. Then, from what seems like thin air, two soaring birds trace words into the sky, leaving beautifully scripted letters, which read, “The End.”Sound familiar?
Now, before you admonish and tell me I’ve misconstrued the very notion of “fairytale,” please allow me to explain. As I crash into adulthood, I’ve become increasingly aware that such a fictional backdrop is not simply the fodder of little girls’ dreams. This idea of happily ever after has been the subject of blistering discussions, the fabric of goals, and the narrations of a countless number of novels and films. It’s becoming more and more difficult to maneuver myself through the labyrinth of the lovestruck. Questions buzz monotonously from hopeful lips and streamline through the air, “When will it happen? Why hasn’t it happened yet? Will it ever happen, and with who, when, where?” As I stand there and stare, bewildered, I notice myself being swallowed by questions that I, quite frankly, don’t have the answers to.
It seems that everyone is sprinting towards this abstracted beeline, this pathway of princes and carriages and princesses and happiness. There seems to be this “secret formula” of marriage, of finding “the One,” concocted using only the elements of ambition and age. It’s the classic adage, “If you can think it, you can make it so.” What’s frightening about this beeline to beloveds is hearing our Muslim brothers and sisters speak about themselves in a manner that is not in the least bit kind. They say that they are alone because of their looks or due to other irrelevant characteristics. Even worse, some state that Allah has abandoned and forgotten about them. It is simply heartbreaking to hear individuals utter such things, but what is even more depressing is to finally realize that we’ve lost sight of the power and strength of Allah’s plan. Marriage is much like anything in life; it is planned by Allah in the most meticulous and precise fashion. Why do we constantly submerge ourselves in the cloudiness of doubt?
Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), tells us: “And to Allah belongs the Ghaib (unseen) of the heavens and the earth, and to Him return all affairs (for decision). So worship Him (O Muhammad) and put your trust in Him. And your Lord is not unaware of what you (people) do.” [1. Hud 11:123]
I’ve come to learn that there is a stark difference between being in pursuit of a perfect partner, and searching for the right one. This contrast simply says that no one is perfect, so why are we exhaustibly pooling our efforts chasing mere figments of our imagination ? More often than not, we are sorely mistaken about what it means to be the right one for someone else. We are too inclined to think that love or marriage can somehow solve all of our problems or serve as a solution for our difficulties that we are currently facing. The significance and bearing of marriage in our religion cannot be denied, but Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) created us in such a manner that we are meant to find tranquility and happiness in our spouses, not solely lust or faded dreams. The best fairytale is the one where a couple strives to lead their lives in such a manner that is most pleasing to Allah so that, bi’idhnillah, one day they can ride in beautiful carriages through “gardens beneath which rivers flow,” as princes and princesses of the land. [2. Surah Muhammad 47:12]
For all of us who are still unraveling our understanding of the labyrinth of the lovestruck, let’s take comfort in the words of Jane Austen, who writes – “There are as many forms of love as there are moments in time.” Let’s find contentment in the loved ones that we have in our lives: our parents, our family, our friends, amd most importantly our Lord, Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), who loves us more than any prince or princess can dare to fathom.
May Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) bestow enduring love between the hearts of our Ummah’s couples and may He unite our single brothers and sisters with their rightful and cherishing match. May the birds in the sky soar, weaving in and out of beautiful script on the edge of the horizon. Ameen.