Oh wow, fourteen posts. Too few or too many? Anyway…
My community group is organising a panel discussion on Marriage and what plagues the Muslim population in my local community regarding this issue.
So lately I’ve been running through all my past reasonings and justifications for what I deem the “Marriageability Void”. I’m referring here to the chasm of eligible single men that meet my criteria for eligibility. My criteria is, believe it or not, quite simple. I’d like to be around people who discuss ideas. Who aren’t afraid to challenge a widely held notion so long as they can back it up with fact or a good argument. People who can be held accountable, who can say they’re sorry and who can move on from a conversation without holding a grudge. The fact that the Muslim male population is made up of wahabi wannabes, supposedly spiritual salafis and the many in betweens who haven’t quite reconciled with their own identity leaves me with a less than desirable pool of options.
But slim pickings may not always translate to Single Ever After because I definitely don’t believe in the concept of hedging your bets. I have sat down and really analysed my response to the marriage problem and ended up doing what Analysts do best. I thought OUTSIDE the square. A lot of the discourse around marriage in Muslim communities is centred on our “Muslimness”. Root cause is found when we investigate the evolution of the Immigrant in a foreign land. There are financial pressures as well as those born by an intrinsically ethnocentric community with major double standards.
I started thinking about this “problem” as a Human problem, instead of a Muslim problem. What is the main reason PEOPLE aren’t getting married these days? Firstly – let’s investigate this notion. Is it true? Are there very FEW marriages taking place in a calendar year? I think you’ll find this to be Untrue. Secondly, what is our comparison point? Are we still in 2013 comparing marriage rates to those in the 1950s? Has the yard stick evolved? Shouldn’t it?
But let’s for argument sake support the stance that people are waiting for ever to get married and discuss why. I *think* I’ve figured it out. I think we’re waiting to get married because we’re just growing up a lot later in life. Modernity has literally retarded our ability to grow up and enter the adult world of serious conversations, of facing inconvenient truths about each other and the difficulty of staying with the SAME guy/girl. Where previously marriage used to be a conduit to other opportunities in life, it’s now seen as a step back from the Oyster we call our world.
The side effect of all this wordly goodness is an inability to really know yourself. We’re so distracted by our FB notifications and so consumed by the pursuit of a natural but perfect selfie that we barely get a chance to look inwards, to face the elements of ourselves that could be improved, to struggle against ourselves and thereby define ourselves. Nader Khan mentions investing in yourself as a tip to single people looking to get married. He poses this deeply thought provoking question, “when you think of the perfect person for you, ask yourself why would that perfect person want to be with you?”. One I think requires a lot of maturity to be able to really tackle.
I’ve now realised that it’s not my family’s position in the community, or my Dad’s refusal to entertain other cultures that’s getting in the way of my matrimony. I don’t even think it’s the faith(lessness) of my fellow Muslimeen. I just think that I haven’t met anyone who really knows what they want in life. I don’t believe I’ve met anyone who has a strong sense of purpose in their days. Something that comes from really knowing yourself. I don’t think we stop to ask the question, Who am I? or What am I doing here? or Where to next?
During this write up I checked my phone 10 times, read 3 different articles, listened to some youtube clips and started and ended a new discussion topic on Whatsapp.
The chasm widens.