Monday, April 15, 2013

Keepin' The Sunnah: Marry Young!

Hey gang. Back from another hiatus to bring you more of that PhilAsify you love so much. If you haven't already, please bookmark this page, share these blogs with your friends, like PhilAsify101 on Facebook, follow me on Twitter and do all the other social media hook ups so you can stay in the loop.

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"O young people! Whoever among you can marry, should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty"
--Prophet Muhammad

Recently, I came across an excellent article on the popular news and opinion site Slate.com entitled "Marry Young". What was more interesting than the headline was the sub heading that accompanied it: "I got married at 23. What are you all waiting for?" I was instantly hooked for the next 10 minutes.

Washington, DC writer Julia Shaw started the column by speaking about how marriage--especially in today's society--is held off and procrastinated to the max. Whether it be lack of maturity, social status ($$ dollar dollar bills ya'll), or the perception that marriage is a trap for youngsters, folks just don't want to marry in their blossoming years.

After giving statistics and research findings to support her case, she went on to tell her experience of marrying young while still finishing up law school with neither her or her hubby having a steady income. Preposterous, you say! It really isn't that far fetched if you're asking this PhilAsifer. I highlighted some of the main takeaways from the article below but you can read it in it's entirety here.




I’m a married millennial. I walked down the aisle at 23. My husband, David, was 25. We hadn’t arrived. I had a job; he, a job offer and a year left in law school. But we couldn’t buy a house or even replace the car when it died a few months into our marriage. We lived in a small basement apartment, furnished with secondhand Ikea. We did not have Internet (checking email required a trip to the local coffee shop) or reliable heat.

Marriage wasn’t something we did after we’d grown up—it was how we have grown up and grown together. We’ve endured the hardships of typical millennials: job searches, job losses, family deaths, family conflict, financial fears, and career concerns. The stability, companionship, and intimacy of marriage enabled us to overcome our challenges and develop as individuals and a couple. We learned how to be strong for one another, to comfort, to counsel, and to share our joys and not just our problems.

Sometimes people delay marriage because they are searching for the perfect soul mate. But that view has it backward. Your spouse becomes your soul mate after you've made those vows to each other in front of God and the people who matter to you. You don’t marry someone because he’s your soul mate; he becomes your soul mate because you married him.

Marriage doesn’t require a big bank account, a dazzling resumé, or a televised wedding—it requires maturity, commitment, and a desire to grow up together. My husband and I married young. We don't have a fairytale marriage or a storybook ending because our story continues. Going forward, we anticipate new challenges and joys: children, new jobs, new hobbies, new cities, family weddings, and family funerals. There will be things we can’t predict. But one thing is for certain: We are committed to each other and we will grow through them. We don't have the details of the later chapters, but we know who the two main characters are.

I first want to commend the author on her brilliantly crafted article. It really spoke to me and her narrative actually mirrors my marriage in many ways and echos the beliefs I have on marrying young. In a very practical manner, Julia Shaw demonstrated the practice of the prophet in the modern age. That's right, a non-Muslim woman was pretty much promoting the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad to the mainstream (Peace and Blessings be upon Him)!

Though I'm not one to gloat, I can do Mrs. Shaw one better when it comes to age of marriage: I was married at the tender age of 21 (my wife was 19).  And just like her, both my wife and I were broke like a joke (even moreso I think). We were struggling college students just trying to get by. Why did we bite the bullet? (Pardon the following soliloquy but: Why is "bite the bullet" such a commonly-used phrase for marriage? And the term "ball and chain" in reference to our spouses? I mean how depressing and unappealing can you get to describe such a beautiful sacred part of life? Anyways...) Because it was the right thing to do.

At that point in my life, I was in denial. Here I was, a Muslim trying to go by-the-book, follow the deen correctly and be devout and I was dating a girl. I tried to reason with myself with the intention of marrying her after I graduate, after I get a good job and a place of my own like conventional wisdom says. It was deceptive reasoning and of course this type of reason is usually influenced by that dastardly devil Satan. And this is the same type of thinking that plagues the young generation.

This idea that you have wait until you are "ready" to get married has seriously effed up the population. Needing to get your entire life in order as a prerequisite for marriage is a fallacy. People who go by this idea that you have to be "ready" before you can even consider marriage will end up waiting forever! So what do people do in the meantime since being "ready"--which nowadays means big house, cushy high paying job, hot car, fat stacks of cash in a vault somewhere--is this unreachable goal sitting on a pedestal lightyears away? Bang, of course. Dates and booty calls. They "shack up" with their girlfriends/boyfriends which doesn't do them any favors either in this life (no marriage/financial benefits, no tax incentives etc.) or the next life (mountain of sins piling up with every passing day).

As I sought more and more knowledge in the deen, the hadith I quoted above finalized my decision. I couldn't delay marriage any longer. I wanted to make things right and most of all I wanted to do justice to my soul, which I was hurting by keeping things going in a non-halal way. Sure I was college student without a dime to my name but the Prophet okay'd a marriage request of a young man who only had date fruit to offer his bride-to-be (or was it gold the size of a date-stone?). Like the sub heading of Julia Shaw's article screamed, "What was I waiting for?".

Going back to readiness when it comes to marriage, the closest thing I can compare it to is the birth of a child. Some folks hold off having a child for the same reasons that others hold off marriage. In the end, raising a child, like marriage, is something you never are truly ready for no matter how much you prepare. No amount of baby books, Discovery Channel documentaries and classes can prepare you when the friggin' baby finally comes out live in the flesh in front of you pooping, vomiting, crying and wanting booby milk.


But that's the beauty of it. It's on the job training. That's when you really learn and earn your stripes and develop as a parent. You just gotta do it for it to happen. Same goes for marriage. You marry young so you can grow and develop together. You experience the ups and downs of life together, dig yourselves into holes, get yourselves out of holes, fall down and help each other up. Julia Shaw's "soulmate" analogy drives the point home. Stop trying to be a perfectionist and waiting until everything about you is impeccable and established and then look around for someone who's flawless because that's sci-fi. Not gonna happen.

So to those youngsters like myself who got married before even receiving a diploma, I salute you. To the folks sitting on the fence waiting until things are "just right", snap out of it. If you're clinically sane and can tie your own shoes, then tie that knot already!


9 comments:

  1. LOVE It! And you totally nailed it! We're not muslim but this is exactly true...if we were to wait til we were 'ready' we'd still be waiting. We were 21/22 when my husband and I married, now, it's been 22 years of UPS and downs... people give up so easily and do not learn to work together, they don't take marriage serious, like they're still playing the high school dating game... 'it doesn't work out we'll just split up'... why get married if that's how you view it? 'rest of my life' means just that... oh and i stumbled on your site due to the fact that my daughter has been going through a rough time with a muslim boy...i grew up in a household where my mother educated me on several different religions because she worked as a supervisor in a place that had different people from different cultural backgrounds so I kind of was 'iffy' knowing that i didn't think he should be dating not to mention he did tell my daughter that his father didn't permit him to date to which I kept asking 'why not?' to see if he'd actually tell her... after a summer of calling each other and texting, along comes Ramadan... naturally the texting went to almost nothing then, the 'i don't do relationships' text after Ramadan ended(actually more like a few weeks after because he was scared how she'd react) needless to say she was pissed he didn't tell her sooner LOL anyways... she accepted this and understood it and is that type of girl who doesn't find today's teens 'interesting' at all as she calls them 'nasty always looking for a ho' LOL so after a few more days, they talked more like 'friends' as opposed to 'romanticizing' all the time then one day he said that he wishes things would go back... so, i told my daughter, you cannot. She learned alot about Islam(through me and a friend of mine) i explained to her which something that i hadn't thought of until getting into discussions but a view on dating as 'preparing us for divorce not a lifetime together'... keep in mind these two have NOT actually dated, no movies, nothing... just talking and now seeing each other in the hall at school on occasion.. I do feel for this boy BUT I must respect his father's wishes and their religious beliefs, which are not different then our own christian beliefs anyways, cept we seem to be the rare exception regarding our daughter and dating, she has had only one real relationship and the rule has always been we must meet him and his parents before we would allow her to go anywhere...anyways your blogs are very insightful and helpful...

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    1. Thanks for reading, Miss Anonymous. I appreciate the kind words. And also congratulations on 22 years of marriage. Big thumbs up and I pray for many more happy years for you. :)

      Interesting story you gave their regarding your daughter's experiences with this young Muslim boy. It really pleases me to see how involved you are with your daughter and her love life and that's how it should be.

      The boy seems to be in a sort of struggle and honestly if I could speak to him, I'd tell him to do a bit of soul searching and get your head together. The only time he should be lollygagging around with the opposite sex is if he's ready to settle down and get married and for that, his mind needs to mature and he needs to understand his religion and the reasons why dating is not allowed in Islam.

      Back in the day, people used to go "courting", chaperoned dates and the like, wish things would return to that mode. Only way that can happen is if the parents stay involved and place emphasis on it and magnify the flaws that modern dating has.

      Anyway, again thanks for reading and feel free to share this blog with your friends and family and anyone who would benefit. And god willing, your daughter will find herself a decent man one day that Mommy dearest can be proud of.

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    2. Thank you for your response. When my daughter freaked and called him some choice names for not telling her sooner, I had a discussion with her about how this is a huge struggle for him. Seeing all these kids dating and sharing intimate moments in front of other kids, not an easy thing to deal with on a daily basis. I said almost exactly what you said and she did understand. If I knew him better I'd tell him that he needs to discuss what he's going through with his father, I am sure his father would understand. Perhaps then he'd want to meet us and we could discuss these things, guide these two to a healthy relationship instead of what teens are doing these days. I can honestly say that most girls in the school are too open and have no clue what being modest means. I know his father would approve of my daughter, she's one of those 'goody goody' REAL lady types that is almost unheard of today. So, they're supposed to be just 'friends' right now but they're pushing boundaries that I will have to lay down some rules. (the joys of parenthood huh? wait to you have to deal with it from a parent's point of view LOL) So, anyways, currently his parents are abroad and his older brother is in charge but they both are actually pretty responsible kids, similiar to my own older boys BUT they ARE boys and you know what you'd do if your parents left you alone in the house for a period of time, well, naturally she told me and asked her if she could come over LOL.. AS IF! She told him 'no, she cannot' and told him that she already told me about his parents...he accepted it and realized it'd be wrong and dropped it(for now anyways)...I am hoping when his parents return he will have the courage and strength to talk with them and they'd get a chance to meet my daughter and learn just what type of girl she is and then decide what they think and how they view this 'relationship' my oldest daughter dated only one boy in high school and now is married and has my first grandchild with this same boy. This boy was a total mess when she first met him, he's learning and has grown a bit since they met...my husband, naturally has his view of muslim men and not as open as me but his view is if he treats her well and with respect and she's happy, that's what he wants for her. Sorry this is so long but it's been a new experience in our lives and not many people understand these things, we live in an area that doesn't have a large muslim population, she has already dealt with a little bit of ignorance towards his religion and ethnic background which she doesn't care about any of that, at all. All my children were raised that people are indiviuals and you cannot make opinions based on anything other than how they treat you.

      oh and love the 'lollygagging' phrase there, haven't heard that in a long time.

      I will tell him about your blog in the future so that he can get some sort of guidance if he's not ready to talk to his father, in the meantime I will be standing guard so that these two stay on the right path. Last thing I want for these two is to be sneaking around behind his father's back, that's just so wrong for so many reasons. Sometimes I swear that we are the only parents who actually have these types of rules regarding 'dating' LOL all her friends know how I am and it seems to keep them in line, I'm strict but I am also understanding.

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    3. Sounds like a plan! You're doing a great job. And yeah my first boy is not even 2 months old and I'm already thinking about the teen years and how to talk to him about these same issues so he doesn't fall into the wacky trends of today.

      Big thumbs up, thanks for sharing and reading PhilAsify 101. :)

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    4. oh please do talk to your son when he's older, this poor kid is so confused and conflicted and I'm at a point that I may need to sit these two down and go over ground rules. So, apparently he feels that hanging out isn't a form of dating(I know how it is, trying to justify it by calling it something else) they were planning on hanging out after school one day this week but I've already told my daughter that he needs to speak with me prior to any plans getting put in motion, basically I need to tell him directly what my daughter apparently is unwilling to say because they're both on this emotionally charged high. Oh the joys of parenthood! Any suggestions on what should be said?

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    5. I suggest not only you both the two of them, especially the Muslim boy watch this video that was posted up on Youtube regarding gender relations. It's a very good resource as a Muslim man is speaking with teenagers on the realities of gender mixing in High School and how to handle it: Joshua Salaam-Dealing with the Opposite Gender . I'd take it upon myself to speak to his father about this relationship they are having so it can be approached in the correct manner. But I highly recommend you watch the video I linked first.

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    6. thank you...very helpful! I appreciate it.

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  2. "This idea that you have wait until you are "ready" to get married has seriously effed up the population." lol, really cool story. But here's the thing, you had someone in your life already at 21, whereas a lot of Muslim students don't interact much with the other gender(or maybe it's just me and the group of friends I hang with), so then what do you do? I know guys from my classes, but I wouldn't say I know them well enough or they know me well enough to ask me to marry them(without coming off as creepy). You know what I'm saying? It's a lot easier to ask someone to tie the knot when you know them. And then there are things like student loans and wedding expenses that nowadays NO ONE wants to pay for the other. This really sucks because love is all about compromising and sacrificing. I'm sure your parents were fully supportive of your marriage(and I mean financially and emotionally) because it only works when the rents support it with $$$. Again, this sucks, especially for the kids whose parents aren't as well off lol and they want the kids to support them(which there is absolutely nothing wrong with). You continue to preach though, and preach it to the parents too!(they need it more!). And, I hope you and your wife realize how insanely lucky you are to have someone by your side since a young age. It is a blessing =) The struggle is real for the rest of us haha #twentytwo #single

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    1. Thanks for reading the article and also for commenting, Sis. I think we can safely say that everyone's situation is different and unique. My struggle to get married definitely has speed bumps and wasn't without its challenges. We didn't have an extravagant wedding, heck our wedding was as plain and straight forward as possibly can be, the Muslim equivalent of two Westerners heading to the Justice of The Peace. My parents weren't even there and neither were my wifes. It wasn't an ideal situation but it was the best choice we could've made given our circumstances.

      My parents weren't too supportive at first, both financially (they are low income) or emotionally (they thought we were too young). So I have to disagree with you on the necessity of needing financial backing from the parents. You don't need an extravagant wedding. Why start your wedding off with debt?

      I do agree with you on its easier to tie the knot with people you know and that's why the traditional practice of "courting" needs to be reintroduced to the Muslim youth. Chaperoned dates with either family member or friends so there's no hanky panky or 3rd party Shayateen coming into play. This allows the opportunity for sitting down and getting to know a potential spouse top to bottom before agreeing to go ahead and get hitched.

      Of course this is for those youngsters to get serious with their mindset and having the intention to get married, "I'm looking for a wife/husband". No playing games, no half-hearted attempts.

      And I know about the Student loans and debts and stuff. My wife and I aren't immune to those things. But that's a whole different can of worms and in the end it's something that responsible folks can comfortably talk about if they want to get married and handle it the best they can. Finances are important but shouldn't be such a huge roadblock when it comes to trying to find a mate.

      And its funny how with Immigrant Muslim parents (Which I also have) theres almost an expectation for the children (us) when we get old to financially take care of them. I mean it is our Muslim duty to take care of our parents but that doesn't mean they just sit back and have us be their personal bank when we're also trying to start our own family. It's a flaw in the community and should be addressed.

      But yeah I'll keep doing what I can and I make dua that you are able to find a spouse to complete your deen soon. Just keep maturing and Allah will find a way for you, definitely. :)

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