Single, married, divorced, polygynous: We created you in pairs Quran 78:8

https://www.instagram.com/sheikhassimalhakeem/

As a woman judged to be past her sell-by date according to a number of people and constantly being reminded of marriage and its significance a younger me has probably asked this question a number of times. The answers were always made to make a single woman appear to be flawed, insignificant and committing the ultimate sin. It’s probably the reason why so many women (and men dare I say) stay in unhealthy and destructive marriages.

In seeing the response in the image above, it was that Ah-Ha moment. It made sense that to question the logic of the almighty and make the assumption that we even knew the answer all along was flawed. Was that response that I and so many others have been told and indoctrinated with not the response that suited the romantic narrative, the idealistic narrative, the simplistic one, the one that does not make allowances for a ‘non-traditional’ relationship or no relationship?

I have often wondered what happened with Aisha RA (and the other wives) of Muhammad (peace be on him) in the next life if Khadijah RA (his first love) was his chosen soulmate. The logic never made sense to me and so it is why the logic of the response above makes perfect sense. Combine it with a multitude of other hadith, laws and relationship requirements, the stories of heaven told and it’s the only logical conclusion for me.

I am reminded further that no matter what marital status one holds, there will always be judgement from someone or everyone.

Single, married, polygynous, divorced- it does not matter. You will be judged by the single, the married, the polygynous, the monogamous, the happily divorced, the unhappily divorced, the one in an unhealthy marriage, the one in a happy marriage, the one with kids, the one without, parents, siblings, neighbours, strangers… everyone feels obliged to have opinions of that which they don't know.

Some beautiful narratives arising from this as discussed with those far more knowledgable than I.

Marriage

Allah can make marriage a blessing or a trial on any given day. Alhamdullilah and Barakallah Fik for those who have their partners, their companions and best friends in this life as well as those who have what they seek in marriage whatever it may be, whether it fits the norm or it doesn’t. Those in marriages that don't meet fit the needs, you are not doomed. You do have that choice to work it, open the doors to build that marriage and if all else fails, if it costs you your deen, your sanity and hope, then divorce is still an option. Seek the help of those who really know, not those who will tell you what you should do without wisdom or understanding of the human condition. All through history even the most pious amongst us had marriages that didn't work out.

The Single women

There are many incredible women (and men) who are single, and who will never be married. This doesn’t make them flawed/difficult or unwanted. If anything we should acknowledge that Allah has not created the special hands that are able to carry their special hearts on this earth. They are human beings with more than their singledom at play, with hopes and dreams, ambitions and loves of other sorts. They deserve to be taken care of and be shown consideration and love and honour by the others around them.

Plural marriages (the most controversial of marital opportunities- a perspective from a sister who has been through it all, rejected it and then embraced it).

There are those men whom Allah has blessed with the extra love in his heart, the mental and spiritual means to take on the duty of Amir to 2–4 women. He has been given this as an Amanah, a trust by the one who created all. He has filled those men's hearts with hope and desire to be their protector, their partner and take responsibility for their well-being as instructed by the creator himself on his behalf. He has made it their nature.

Today reject this as a reality often leading to more heartache, heartbreaks, and rejection of good people. A rejection of oneself as men who wish to pursue this purpose as they are taught they are flawed and threatened with family restrictions. There are far more men that are capable of caring for two families in addition to his other responsibilities and caring for himself. Many are doing it any way in some form, some secretly, some unofficially. Society has convinced them they can’t, they don't have to, that this is not their way. It's not helpful to them or the women, they can just have fun. It's a society that is selfish and failing.

Women internalise it and are convinced by their own insecurity or by others that they are not enough, we simply don't want them to. We have failed to see its purpose, its blessing and its need.

It’s those men and women who have their own challenges to overcome, their own obstacles and yet their path is blessed with uniting additional families, building special bonds within those families. It’s a blessing for those who may never have children to share in the joy of children, it offers women who seek honourable partners the hope to have one as the numbers dwindle with each passing day.

It is the blessing of one who looks after the women of the world with honour, be it the men who marry them or the women who welcome them into their families. A man should treat all wives with love and honour and in doing so earn his honour. Instead, we have claimed the lives and the undying devotion of our children, family and spouses. Not even our own bodies belong to us and neither do the lives of our loved ones. We need to see this as a blessing, an act done for the duty of our creator as is everything we do. We need to stop letting our egos possessiveness and jealousy be the driving force for these discussions. While it is not an act that HAS to be complied with, we need to respect that in forcing our men to adhere when the soul says otherwise (not to fulfil lust), it is a will created by Allah. We need to appreciate and consider the emotional, mental, and spiritual impact on him as well not just on ourselves. If we are brutally honest, most of us reject this for no other reason than pride, a major sin which we will be unanswerable for. We ask for men of God and yet we reject them when they choose to act in the way of God if it does not suit us. Our privilege to be with those honourable men is our blessing.

We are all interconnected, we are all interdependent by the very nature of our faith, rejecting this for the wrong reasons has inevitably led to fitna of all sorts and has damaged our society and relationships already. An act of love for the sake of Allah gives us hope of restoring some semblance of a fully functional society.

“I am more fearful of the result of me not practising it for the sake of the ummah and my husband’s needs than “sharing” my husband. I am not sharing just as I am not owning him. I as a woman will deeply love one man and I accept Allah’s made it possible for him to love deeply more than one.”

It’s made easier for women to engage and open their hearts when a man has a plan, and possible solutions to challenges and discusses them honestly and openly.

We should embrace the Almighty’s will in appreciating its wisdom as it was created for the honour of women and children even more than that of men. That man is to fulfil the honour of each of his households with justice and how can we reject the beauty in that.

For those who seek a more holistic perspective this thread is insightful:

https://twitter.com/aishat_alpha/status/1385955428866134022

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