Many single Muslims enjoy getting to know potential spouses over dinner and coffee dates. This process can be exciting and invigorating especially if the conversation and chemistry is good.
But it’s extremely easy to get infatuated with a person and ignore red flags. This is why it’s important to seek more information before getting too attached.
Here are some tips from my own search on how to get to know someone better. (Note: I highly recommend using your wali (guardian) or a close friend throughout this entire process. Not only is it required in Islam but it allows you to keep a balanced thought process.)
A few years ago, I was standing with a friend at a wedding when an aunty approached us.
Beti! she addressed my friend, you’ve gained so much weight! What happened?
My friend and I froze before I did the first thing that came to my mind: I pretended like I hadn’t heard the question to save my friend the embarrassment of having to address it with an audience. I picked up my phone (even though it hadn’t rung) and yelled HELLO? as I walked off, deeply engaged in a one-way conversation with the dial tone. But I wasn’t fast enough and heard the rest of the exchange.
I had a baby, my friend answered.
Yes, beti, 2 years ago.
Keep in mind this woman had her last child 25 years ago – what was her excuse? She looked like she’d never seen the inside of a gym. The only running she’d probably ever done was to the buffet line earlier that evening.
This got me thinking about inappropriate questions – why some people think it’s appropriate to ask them and how best to respond. There may be some cultural and age issues at play, but the worst offenders are not always old aunties. These inappropriate questions run the gamut, from personal (how much do you weigh?) to professional (how much do you make?), and neither the old (are you going through menopause?) nor the young (what’s your SAT score?) are spared.
I think we can all agree that there are certain questions that should never be asked (the ones posed above definitely make the list). But there are two questions asked with regular frequency – almost exclusively to women – that should join Olestra, MSG, and transfat on the list of things that should never pass one’s lips:
My roommate and I sat side by side on our couch, hunched over our respective laptops.
“Are you sure about this?” I asked her.
“Yes, I want to go to Cape Town,” she said.
I showed her my three Kayak windows, open in separate tabs before me. “Buenos Aires costs about the same to get to from New York, but everything will be way cheaper when we’re actually there. And look at these flights to Istanbul: they’re half the price, half the length, and nonstop.”
“I want to go to Cape Town,” she insisted. This being 2012, I don’t think I’d ever heard a broken record, but I imagine this was what it might sound like.
My roommate had seen a friend’s Facebook album from Cape Town the year before, and ever since we’d talked about traveling together, she’d been hell bent on getting there. It had always figured on my list of places to get to eventually, probably with a safari tacked on when I had kids someday, but wasn’t something I’d consider a priority destination. Not like Argentina, which I’d been trying to convince friends to accompany me to for years, or Turkey, which I was ashamed to admit I had yet to see. But she was adamant.
“OK then, if you’re sure. Bismillah.”
I clicked Book.
Author and academic Haroon Moghul – a contributor to our forthcoming book Salaam, Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex, and Intimacy - writes a provocative new column for Al Arabiya English on marriage, modernity, and Muslims:
In the Muslim world, we love to say proscribe. But to actually take the risk of addressing the real world?
‘Someone’s out there,’ I promised Tariq. Technically true. But cruelly. The very uncertainty that made our rapidly changing world a lonelier place—and thus us in need of more intimacy—makes it harder to find someone. By upending our remaining certainties. Denying us our traditional practices: If a religion cannot speak to changed circumstances, it’ll be left by the wayside.
Either we jettison our moral norms or change our social conditions so those norms become practical again. Did you catch that? We must cultivate the confidence to breed (pardon the expression) the minds who dare to ask: What would our economies, our education, our policies, even our architecture and our culture, look like if we took this mission to marry seriously? Because modernity is not going away, and the only way through it is through it.
But what works somewhere doesn’t work everywhere.
Read the rest of the column, here.
Salam Love InshAllah,
I will be getting married next month and I will move from the stage of not being allowed to be alone with my future husband to being allowed to be intimate with him and I must say I am feeling nervous. My question is about my wedding night or any night that we choose to be intimate. I grew up in a conservative community and attended a Muslim school so my knowledge about sex and intimacy is limited to that which may pop up in a conversation of inexperienced, virgin girls.
The truth is I am nervous that due to my lack of experience or knowledge I will be either repulsed by any act of intimacy (kissing and sex) or be so put off it that it will be something I dread. How do I prepare myself for taking the step towards being confident? I have low self esteem with regards to my body so the thought of being naked in front of my future husband is not a pleasant thought. Being a bad kisser or generally bad in bed is what scares me the most. I don’t want my nerves and setbacks to affect him or send the wrong signals. I don’t want him to feel like he is trying hard to please me in bed but I am not reciprocating simply because I don’t know or am too embarrassed.
All this is playing havoc with my nerves. I’d like to know how I can prepare myself and perhaps find out what men like so I can please him and perhaps put to bed my worries of my lack of experience effecting performance etc. Any advice and information would be greatly appreciated.
Nervous about Sex
Miss Sunshine replies:
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