Love Lies

June 9, 2014

574518_215039005366239_1033683119_nIt took me far too long to realize this but love lies. Love is actually quite worthless when it comes to searching for a suitable marriage companion. As a Muslim American woman I’m caught between many different opinions, some of which I’m sure are completely invalid, others which ones I’m not sure. In the west many Muslims go through a form of “halal dating” we don’t call it dating (some do) but it is. In my own experience I felt this kind of dating was at the very least not something I wanted to participate in but then there he was. For many months I dated, though I wouldn’t call it that because it sounds bad. We Muslim Americans like more vague terms like “talking”. As in brother ‘so and so’ and I are “talking”. Despite looking down on Muslims who did date I eventually fell in to the same habits when I met him. It was hard to resist the romantic nature of it. After all I was raised on the same Disney movies and Fifty First Dates as any other American. I wanted to be special, I wanted to get dressed up and I wanted to feel love. The problem, beside religious concerns, is that I wasn’t interested in just dating and having a good time; I was looking at this man as a potential marriage partner. Had I looked pass the kind gifts, nice dinners out and romantic talk I would have seen that he was an unsuitable mate, not in general, but for me and what I was looking for. I allowed my desire to be “in love” override my desire to be married. Eventually the realism stepped back in and I couldn’t continue, our relationship was effectively over.

I wish I could say that was the breaking point and from then on I stayed clear of romantic endeavors and focused on marriage and suitability, it wasn’t. Soon after I “fell in love” with a man twice my age and far more unsuitable then the last but I “loved him”. He was “perfect” in every way except in anyway that was practical. I gave my parents a speech about how amazing he was and how I could deal with all of the circumstantial inconveniences, I sang my heart out for him, but some factors could not be overlooked. So this was it right? This is the relationship that caused me to finally stop my nonsense and follow the advice of one of my teachers or rather her warning, which I will mention later. Of course, dear reader, we both know it isn’t.

tumblr_lrji88c35d1qehf4jo1_400I joined the social media scene, or rather I rejoined and amplified my presence. Which led to a lot of new people being interested in me (“me”). Again began the romantic words. the jokes, which eventually led to the inevitable marriage interest. But on a practical level I wasn’t interested in what this person was interested in. I wasn’t interested in the life he was offering and so it too fizzled. This I am hoping to be the last straw. What I want now more then anything is an almost arranged marriage. I just want to know the practical things and I want the man to know the practical basic things about me. Yes there should be some attraction there, especially him to me but more then anything we have to know that we want the same things, have the same basic idea about what makes up a good life and about how we’re going to get there. That they have finances to care for a family and a sound knowledge of their religion, that they’re kind –but not romantic-kind, which means little, that they are kind to their parents, their co-workers and their friends.

I thought one of my teachers was being harsh and extremely conservative when I related my first mentioned relationship to them they responded to me, “…Once you decide you would like to marry someone, you may no longer interact with them until you actually get married… the interaction of getting to know someone before marriage is formal; you can’t be friendly with any man unless you have a shariah (permissible by Islamic law) basis to do so, meaning he is either mahram (someone you can’t marry) or your husband, your situation is completely haram (religiously prohibited). May God save you…” I was very hurt when I read this but I am more hurt after the trials I have gone through by continually getting caught up in romantic relationships only to realize that they lead no where and that the person I was “in love” with was not actually someone I wanted to marry.

10339589_306244969533542_958952919717522416_nI write this as a lesson to myself hoping that I have finally learned from it and heeded the advice of this teacher. But I also write it for you dear reader. I saw a meme once with a Muslim woman holding on to her heart it said, “your heart is precious, save it for your husband”. For my fellow Muslims and for everyone, don’t give your heart away to people who you don’t really want to be with and commit to. If you give it here and there by the time you finally meet “the one” you’ll meet them with a wounded heart, and that simply isn’t fair to either of you. There is so much to say on this subject but for now I will leave you with my personal story and pray God saves us from “complicated”, emotionally straining and heartbreaking relationships.

Have you experienced anything similar? Do you have regrets? Or do you have a different opinion on dating in general and “Muslim dating” in particular?

*Note: When I referring to “dating” I am talking about phone calls, texting, going on outings together, etc. I am not referring to a physical relationship of any kind.

10 Comments

  • Zaakir Abdus-Salaam

    Thank you for sharing such personal experiences Nuriddeen. It is not easy to write about our mistakes, or decisions we are not proud of. But like all highly complicated matters, and for sure love, relationships, etc, are all highly complicated, there is a learning curve. It sounds like your experiences has elevated your understanding significantly, which will make you a mature wife, and a great guide to others seeking marriage.

    I remember listening to some older brothers years ago. They were talking about cupid. You know, that naked baby that goes around shooting arrows in the heart of lovers. Well at the time what they said confused me deeply, because they said cupid was really shayton. But as I got older, and seen the amount of pain, fitna, trials, hardship that existed on the flip side of that “love” coin, I realized what they were saying. It is what you said in the title of this post, “love lies”. Marriage on the other hand is serious business. It is not superficial. It is not something to play around with. It requires maturity, commitment, and clarity of intent. Authentic love is born out of an authentic marriage.

    In regards to so called Muslim dating, I’m not sold on that. Because dating, particularly in the western culture context is generally superficial. The Prophet (SAWS) and his companions did not date. They were real men. If they seen a sister they were interested in, they proceeded to marrying them. For me, if I see a sister I like, I’m immediately thinking about marriage, not dating. At the same time, I believe that it is good to be patient. Marriage is a spiritual contract with Allah between two souls, so if it is Allah’s will, it will happen. It will happen the way, and at the time Allah wants it to happen, with whoever Allah wants it to happen with. Cupid plays no role in this type of connection. These relationships are protected, and blessed, unlike that of the “dating lovers”. For truly Allah knows best.

    Great post Nuriddeen. I could probably go on for days because this is something that I think about all the time, but I won’t bore you. Thank you again for getting my wheels turning.
    Masalaam
    Zaakir

    • Nuriddeen Knight

      Alhumduillah, thank you for you comment -very insightful, ma sha Allah! I think the idea that cupid is shaytan is probably spot on, Allahualim. Sometimes of course people are really in love, like the man who would follow his former wife everywhere begging for her return. But a lot of the time love before marriage is mere excitement -excitement over the person’s personality, there looks, their life, etc. but it has no real foundation so of course it crumbles.
      I do wish we’d create a culture in the West where it was easy for Muslims to get married, in a direct but responsible way.
      I know that even many people outside of Islam suffer tremendous heartbreak in the dating scene, but there forced to believe this is simply the way it is…

  • Zaakir Abdus-Salaam

    Yes, I agree. We don’t have anything in place that will allow maritable Muslim men and women to get to know one another without the superficialities associated with dating. A sister asked me recently to build a site where Muslims seeking marriage can connect. I thought it was a good idea, and I still may do it, but for now it is not in the cards, time wise. I’m a BIG advocate for marriage, so I do hope that more voices such as yourself continue to put these issues on the table. Muslims should not fall into the traps of superficial dating. Parents should make it easy for their sons and daughters to marry. Brothers who desire a sister should persue her with the correct intent. Sisters should not get caught up in the charm, and focus on substance.

    We still have a long way to go, but hearing your mature perspective gives me hope. May Allah make it easy on all those seeking marriage and all of the blessings that come along with it.

    Zaakir

  • Fahad Sultan Chaudhry

    This sums up the beauty of marriage 🙂

  • musty87

    Love can’t lie, it is a gift from our Lord. Love has no conscience or reason to make the choice of lying, but people do lie. We do lie to ourselves whether because we don’t want to make sacrifices, or simply because we are not ready or we don’t have the freedom to love. Love is innocent but we are guilty. Clothes or objects can be unsuitable, but to state that any Son of Adam is unsuitable to another, is to debase him. Indeed the most honorable insight of Allah is the one with God fearing. May Allah ta ala forgives our lapsus linguae.

    • Noor

      I think the difficulty when anyone talks about love, including myself, is it’s lack of definition which makes it hard to discuss in the first place. Thanks for reading and commenting -take care!

  • musty87

    You’re welcome. Fair enough -take care! and Bon sejour!

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