Rafed English

Finding a Muslim Husband

+I met my husband playing Bingo. I was sitting by a family friend and it so happened he knew her too. He had a nice smile and was easy to talk to. I had come from a disastrous relationship with an abusive man nine years my senior but many years my junior in maturity. When I met this next man I was in such a bad frame of mind about men it is a wonder I considered marriage again. He didn't mention sex or make remarks or grab my body parts or call me his ol' lady in public. It was refreshing to be treated in such a way. He would never take me anywhere without a chaperon as a witness that he was a gentleman. I felt respect and I liked it.

+I met my husband at college. He was very polite (I noticed that right way) and very good looking. I really wasn't looking for anyone when we met but the first thing I noticed in him, which was always on the top of my list, was his importance of family (loyalty, respect) toward mother and father. He answered questions so patiently. +I met my husband at the community college I was attending. He was the grill cook. Something just clicked between us. He was kind and nice to talk to. He had a religious feeling about him and was mature in his ideas. Of course, I thought he was handsome too. I liked the lifestyle he offered of a family-based society. I especially thought he was my friend and we agreed easily on many matters including religious. He was a catalyst for my own personal exploration.

+I tutored him in English. He helped me study Islam, but when I converted I could no longer see him-he fully respected my decision to stop seeing him once I became Muslim. Later, several people noticed a "perfect match" for me in the mosque and it turned out to be the same man I had tutored and who had brought me to Islam. I found him to be sincere, gentle, generous, and patient. If ever there would be a "soul mate" for me, he's the one. He has filled the "holes" of loneliness and need for unconditional love that had not been filled before. My family accepted him completely from the day they met him. They love him dearly, and he is a friend to all of them.

+My husband and I met when we worked in the same restaurant. I was a waitress and he was a dishwasher. He was new in the country and didn't speak English. He seemed honest, uncomplicated, hard-working, and generous. +I met my husband while in college. We worked at the same Mexican food restaurant. I was attracted to him because he was very hard-working, smart, and conducted himself politely. I was in need of a person to think I was wonderful. He put me on a pedestal and treated me like a queen (even though we were dirt poor) with respect and dignity.

Some of the women had already converted to Islam while still single and met their husbands in other ways. One common way of finding a husband or wife is through advertising in an Islamic magazine or at a matrimonial booth at a Muslim conference. It is not unusual for one who is ready to get married to let Muslim friends know so they can help in looking for a suitable mate. The following excerpts from the questionnaires provide a good overview of the Muslim/Muslim relationship and marriage. +I met my husband through the imam of the mosque. I accepted him because he was religious. Nothing else really mattered. He had no part in my conversion for I was already a Muslim. My marriage ceremony was all Islamic_ I talked to him for two weeks and then decided to marry him two days before Ramadan 1991.

+My marriage was arranged by my request in order to have support (religiously) to help me learn about my deen (my obligations). I asked my wali (the one who arranged the marriage) that the man be a good practicing Muslim which was the only characteristic he needed. I wanted a husband that would teach me about Islam in depth and to remind me always of Allah (SWT). I was already Muslim. My family didn't know him before the marriage. They met him two days before the ceremony, and he asked my parents' permission to marry me the day before. They didn't like him. Now they tolerate him only.

My husband-to-be first came to see me on a Friday night and we were married on the following Sunday afternoon. At our ceremony we invited friends and family. Our wedding was an Islamic wedding. I wore an Islamic dress, not a white gown. We were in separate rooms. The imam came and asked me if I accept [the man] and what I wanted for my mahar [dowry]. I heard him give a speech about the importance of marriage. At that point my mom walked out saying what a big farce the wedding was. Of course, I cried and was hurt, but we continued the wedding but at a faster pace.

+I met my husband through a marriage ad in an Islamic magazine. A friend of his had put the ad in. [I was too late in responding to the ad for that man, but the] friend gave my letter to [another man] the one who is now my husband because he was also wanting to get married. We talked on the phone ten to twelve hours a week for six weeks; then he flew to Kansas. We were about 90 percent sure about marriage even before we met, but had to meet to know for sure. We got engaged that day, and did the Islamic marriage (nikkah) two days later. I was looking for someone who was a strong Muslim, both in theory and practice-one who lived his life Islamically, regardless of how others around him lived. I wanted someone who would be a good provider, because in a marriage it is the man who provides the family with everything, even if the woman has money. I had heard many stories about men who didn't work, or wanted the wife to support them, so I wanted to make sure my husband would work hard for us. The more I got to know about him, the more he seemed to fit this. I had been straight-forward in my letter about wanting a strong Muslim, that I was divorced with a child, (in case it was someone wanting a young virgin), and enclosed my photo. Even though I didn't ask for his photo right away, he sent one to me. Looks are not important. He and I got to know each other very well on the phone, talking about many things about our lives-Islam, current events (including some that involved Muslims), etc. I made sure his family would accept an American wife [he was from a Muslim country], even one who has divorced with one child from that marriage. But he assured me that wouldn't make a bit of difference to them, that they all chose their mates, and some chose mates from other countries.

We became very close through our phone conversation, and I always looked forward to him calling. If I had a bad day, I wanted to tell him about it so I would feel better. It was like an old-fashioned courtship. Our passions didn't get in the way of getting to know each other. When we met, we realized we were right for each other, and the friendship and affection we felt for each other turned to love. Islam does not allow dating, pre-marital sex, etc. This is a great way to get to know someone, and see if you get along with each other. That is the most important [step], getting to know if someone else is on your level, Islamically and personally. If they are, you will love them and be attracted to them.

I wanted someone who was gentle and loving, and I found someone like that. He does not yell at me or hit me, as is the stereotype of Arab men. I have to admit, I thought that all Arab men were controlling and violent, but they are not. He tells me he loves me, and makes sure I know that he does. He is very caring and concerned.

Adapted from: "Daughters Of Another Path (Experience of American Women Choosing Islam)" by: "Carol L. Anway"

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