Diatribes

Married to Getting Married

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I’ve been trying to get married for twelve years. That’s usually how much time people my age have spent being married.

I’ll take a rain check on the pity, because I want your rage instead.

I’m aware that I’m not all perfect (as the racists, nationalists, and ageists point out), but I’m wondering if me and other Muslims got the same memo. I mean, didn’t God say, in Surah Hujurat’s thirteenth verse, “O humanity! Indeed, We created you from a male and a female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you may ˹get to˺ know one another. Surely the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous among you. Allah is truly All-Knowing, All-Aware.”

At this point, I figure, why not marry into a company instead? At least most of them are looking to diversify who they bring into their “families.” I guess 30 is too old for men who act like children, too.

Don’t get me started on the small talk. I put so much work into my profiles for a too-expensive membership and the best conversation starter is, “How are you?” Sir, I’m frustrated. Next.

Or they get too casual too quickly. One man even told me he was “literally salivating” when I told him I was making bubble tea. They ask if my cat “comes with the package.” They rarely, if ever, inquire about what I have done with my life before they entered it. Why even open up that conversation?

It’s a little concerning when there’s no reason at all as to why a Muslim bachelor might be unmarried. A Muslim bachelorette, though—everyone’s got an explanation. She’s pickier than a toddler told to eat their vegetables. (Or a man who wants a wife who’s okay with polygny—without having ever been married to one wife). 

She’s too fat, or too skinny, too ugly, too loud, too quiet, too educated or not educated enough, too pale, too dark, too independent, too co-dependent, but he’s just right. 

Or so his mother says (are we sure he hasn’t married her already?)

Those explanations come from the same people who all got married at different times and through different circumstances, who should believe that marriage, like any blessing, is divinely ordained, not humanly attained.

Where is the God-consciousnesses in this, anyway? Finding it is as hard as finding a spouse. So instead, I found terms that I like to use in my “Thanks But No Thanks” Dictionary.

“Family-oriented”: Before you get too excited, this goes for my family. Your mother couldn’t move in with us, but I’d love it if you were a maid for mine. I mean, yeah, you’d be family too, but… oh no, what’s that? You’ve got boundaries? So uncalled for. I told you, we’re all family-oriented here! Aren’t you?*

Have hopes and dreams of your own”: I see you as an equal financial partner. My whole life, I’ve been looking for a “Khadeejah.” This way, I can have the authority of the provider without the true responsibility of it. By the way, are you still okay with doing all of the chores? Cool.

“Hijra”: I want to move to a “Muslim” country. Never mind that I don’t speak the language of that country, or that I’ve never lived there for an extended amount of time, I just feel that it’s really the best for me and my future. Sure, they have Christmas decorations there now, but come on, that’s everywhere. We’ll get holidays off for Eid. And we’ll be totally safe from the “fitna” of the West. Because fitna immediately takes two steps back when the population is majority Muslim. I’m certain about this.*

*He has no credentials whatsoever.

Knows her deen”: I want a religious woman, and a real religious woman would never dream of breathing outside of the house. Also, don’t you dare pull in a qualified scholar to fact-check my fatwa-cherry-picking. 

“I love kids”: I want a soccer team. I’ve never changed a diaper, but that’s okay, because I love my nieces and nephews.* I also love kids so much that I’ve never volunteered at Saturday or Sunday school, because I want to save all that love for my kids. Sharing isn’t always caring. Oh, you want to foster? It might be sunnah to foster, but it’s also sunnah to father!

*He only spends a few hours with them before handing them back to his sister or sister-in-law

Sufi”: You should probably just run.

Traditional marriage”: You’ve probably heard of me. My other alias is Sole Provider. I assume my children (see the soccer team above) will run wild, while my wife frolicks away with as many non-mahram men as she can find in her workplace, or at the grocery store. I can’t even handle the idea of her interacting with other male contractors coming to repair the house I confine her to, so I also think I’ll be present for all of those interactions. Yes, I’ll be working full-time. Non-remote. Why are you laughing?

… And so it goes.

Birds of paradise have it so lucky. Their males dance, sing, and build a nest for their spouses. I wish human bachelors would do the same. In fact, it is they-the so-called, chest-thumping providers-asking me what I bring to the table. Why is it only that male animals know to set the table for a female to take refuge in?

How has it come to this?

How have we come to accept “zombie matrimony”—where well-intended mothers, sisters, and aunts simply look for warm bodies to hand off to their male relatives who want to suck the soul out of you.  

I’m so tired.

I’m so tired of so many things. 

I’m tired of telling my friends “it’s over” every single time I think I was safe to have a fresh start.

I’m tired of messaging them to ask for advice, when I wanted to message them with an announcement of my henna, my nikkah, my walimah.

I’m tired of being patient while everyone else is a love doctor, with so much experience and advice to share that isn’t relevant to me.

I’m tired of being strong. Because I shouldn’t have to be. I want to be weak. Really! I dream of being swept away by Ameer Charming (okay, maybe he can just buy me nice jewelry instead), and I can call him the qawwam. The guardian of women that the Qur’an calls men to be. Like I said. I got the memo.

But being inspiring is the most tiring part of this process. After all this, the one thing I’m not is ready.

Hannah Alkadi is a lawful good social media master, cat mom, and total nerd. She began writing in the pixels of online threads among friends since she was 13 and continues now in the pages of her first novel idea. Her work has been featured in Amaliah.

3 Comments

  1. “I’ve been trying to get married for twelve years. That’s usually how much time people my age have spent being married.”
    That is SUCH a strong opening!

    “Or so his mother says (are we sure he hasn’t married her already?)”
    I always say mommy’s boys should marry their mothers. I’m glad to see this sentiment echoed here 😂

    This was amazing to read. Well done 👏

  2. Jazakallahu Khair. Reading this, I feel a deep sense of empathy and solidarity with your struggle. It’s heartbreaking to witness the weight of expectations and societal pressures compounding the search for companionship and understanding.

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