Single Muslims, Get Off The Battlefield !

Stop fighting! This is my simple plea to you today.

As a singles coach I often stalk active forums and discussions about and between single Muslims and all I can say it that it makes for some pretty popcorn-worthy reading!

With all the mudslinging and accusations being fired from all corners you’d be mistaken for thinking you’d walked onto the sets of Game of Thrones.

Phrases beginning “you women” and “you men” are all too common amongst the singles as they battle it out to prove that the reason they are single is because of the opposite sex and their unreal expectations.

On the one side you have the sisters who feel slighted by the the majority of the brothers who seem to be looking for Mary Poppins in a hot body rather than a wife.

The single Muslim woman is subjected to a checklist that covers criteria such as: tall, slim, fair, light-eyed, university-educated, professional yet willing to give up work, never married, hijabi, a domestic goddess, from one specific cultural background, has strong family values, is happy to live with the extended family and is between 21–26 to produce a considerable litter (but have no existing kids herself already).

Then on the other side you have the brothers whose benchmark seems to be Hulk in a James Bond tux.

He has to be tall, athletic, slim, handsome, have a full head of hair, university-educated, a professional , earn a certain amount, be sophisticated , witty, humorous, cultured and worldly yet also homely, have no kids yet family-orientated and traditional, religious (but not too much) and own his own home.

It’s no surprise then that battle ensues as each party feel objectified by this growing list of expectations which they are reminded daily that they fail to meet.

We have a spectacular array of brothers and sisters in our vast ummah from all walks of life, of varying life experiences, in all shapes, sizes and colours as Allah has created them, each with their own unique skills and qualities they have to offer a spouse.

They enter the marriage arena full of hope, desires and dreams to find someone who will see their value, accept them as they are and with whom they will create a lifetime of companionship, understanding and love.

What do they get instead?

Rejection, humiliation and degradation as they are torn to pieces and cast aside for what they don’t have rather than be accepted for what they do have.

And by the way I am not just talking about the fellow singles you meet at events and online. I am also talking about institutionalised discrimination from family, matchmakers and events’ organisers who prioritise and showcase a certain supposedly most desirable type of single over others. Even the films we watch are on a mission to bring together beautiful, able-bodied young singles!

Add to this chaos the timewasters, the sexually predatory and the married Muslims looking for fun and it’s easy to see why the defenses of the average honest single Muslim are permanently up.

These unreal expectations of each party are not just the result of generations of marriage-grooming and ideals of the perfect spouse, passed down like your great grandmother’s gold jewellery.

These expectations have now also become a suit of armour to protect each party from the hurt they have already experienced.

Imagine digging deep inside, nurturing those beautiful qualities that Allah has gifted you with then presenting them with hope and trust to a fellow single only to have them dismissed and rejected because you are not the desired height or earn the desired income.

It’s soul-destroying.

What we seem to have generated therefore is a battlefield full of genuine, gold-hearted Muslim souls who have become disillusioned with the process and indeed the concept of marriage itself.

They declare that they will only marry the sister/brother who meets all of their criteria because concepts like love, acceptance and growth have become unattainable.

They are fed up of putting themselves out there only to be scorned and overlooked for the most superficial of reasons. So the only solution is to put up the defenses, whip out that list of criteria and charge full speed ahead onto the battlefield.

But the saddest part is that deep down these same single Muslim brothers and sisters on that battlefield are also exhausted from keeping up those defenses. All they want is to just get married already to someone one will appreciate them for what they can offer. Someone with whom they can just relax, take down the walls and be themselves.

So take off the gloves brothers and sisters, throw down your swords and just simply come together.

Throw away the checklists. Instead of rejecting those who do not meet the criteria, kick aside those who judge you unfairly and head instead away from the battlefield towards those who will truly love you for who you are.

Understand each other. Appreciate each other. Accept each other.

Stop fighting.

Soraya Soobhany-Chohan

Singles Coach For Muslim Women & Founder of Soraya Singles Coaching