Afia R Fitriati shares a few first-hand lessons in finding a soulmate.
It is a classic conundrum faced by many single Muslim women today: How to best find a good, practising Muslim husband who treasures women the way Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did.
This problem, compounded by pressure from family, relatives and other cultural complexities, makes the quest of finding a lifelong partner seem daunting – so much so that the mere topic of marriage is a sensitive subject for many single Muslimahs.
I understand, because I was once in the same shoes myself, not so long ago. In fact, there was one point in my life where I said to myself, ‘That’s it! I will be single all my life.’
After we got married, my husband and I admitted that we weren’t each other’s type
And yet, only one year later, I found myself signing the nikah certificate with my husband. Isn’t life full of mysteries?
The funny thing is, after we got married, my husband and I admitted that we weren’t each other’s type. He wasn’t exactly the ‘fatherly’ type that I thought was my ideal. On the other hand, rather than getting the full-figured, soft-spoken wife that was his ideal, my husband got me: a skinny and opinionated piece of work.
But guess what? We thought – and still think – that we got ourselves a better deal. I enjoy being entertained by my husband’s child-like, self-deprecating sense of humour and, as it turns out, my no-nonsense way of thinking is exactly what he needs in a wife.
A few months after our wedding, I received an email from my best friend from college, who happily announced that she was getting married. Her lucky candidate (now her lucky husband) was an old friend she had known since elementary school, who she had never considered as a potential husband. Why? Because she wasn’t particularly fond of some of his physical features. But one day, it just dawned on her that this guy possessed the personality and characteristics that she admired in a man, so she learnt to open her heart to more possibilities. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Both my friend’s and my own experience taught me a few precious lessons that I’d like to share with those single sisters who are on their quest for love.
Number one: It is sometimes necessary to question and revisit our assumptions every now and then about what constitutes a good husband. Every so often, the picture of the ideal spouse that is etched in our minds is re-shaped – by our upbringing, culture, or even the media.
However, we should keep in mind that a marriage requires the compatibility of two individuals who are equally willing to love each other and work together through the ups and downs of life. While God has assigned a partner for each one of us, irrational assumptions and unrealistic expectations can over-complicate the journey in finding our so-called ‘soulmate’.
I’m not suggesting that you lower your standards, though. The key here is to prioritise. Identify the desirable personality traits in a husband – those that you really, absolutely can’t live without, as well as traits you can’t tolerate – and stick with it. You deserve the very best, but it’s up to you to define what exactly is best for you.
As we improve ourselves and become better, stronger individuals, we can increase the chance of meeting a better potential husband, or speed up the approach of the fortuitous moment when we will meet him
Number two: timing is everything, as shown by a story from my best friend. For all you know, you may have passed by your future husband’s house a thousand times, sat next to him on the bus, or will be meeting him very soon. But if the timing is not right, then you will not see him as ‘the one’ just yet. The arrangement of this moment is God’s little secret, being The Best Planner of all things.
But although we have no control over this matter, we can control what we do while we await this moment. The Qur’an clearly states:
Evil words are for evil men, and evil men are [subjected] to evil words. And good words are for good men, and good men are [an object] of good words… (An-Nur 24:26)
Alternatively, as quoted from a friend’s email signature: ‘If you want a Muhammad, you have to become a Khadijah’ (and vice versa). No one is perfect, of course. But as we improve ourselves and become better, stronger individuals, we can increase the chance of meeting a better potential husband, or speed up the approach of the fortuitous moment when we will meet him. As stated in the Qur’an:
‘Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.’ (Q.S. Ar-Ra’d: 11)
Brazilian author Paulo Coelho writes in his famous book The Alchemist: ‘When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.’
I don’t believe that. But I do believe that when what we want coincides with what God wants, then the universe will conspire in helping us to achieve it. And I believe this goes for anything in life, including finding the Prince Charming of our lives.
The trick, then, is to examine whether our prayers (ie, what we want), are aligned with what God wants (ie, what we need and what’s best for us).
If not, then let’s dedicate our energy and efforts to make our own selves deserving of those prayers. And then, let God take care of the rest.
I truly hope that every single sister who is looking for her Muslim Prince Charming finds him very, very soon, insha’Allah. When that happy moment comes, please let me know. And, as the fairy tales go, may you live happily ever after.
Have you got a story you’d like to share about finding your prince charming? Share it in the comments box below.