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Marriage, To Wait or Not to Wait....

Marriage, To Wait or Not to Wait....
That is The Question!
Baiyinah Siddeeq

"I don't care if I am 55 when I finish school, I will not get
married until I finish my education."

The above is a quote from a young Muslim woman pursuing what she
calls her "education." Unfortunately, her strong dedication to
finishing the Western undergraduate and graduate
university "education" system reflects the ever growing trend among
young Muslims in this society: to wait until they posses a "degree"
before entertaining the prospect of marriage. What is even more grim
is the fact that these young Muslims' parents reflect the same
diseased ideology.

Somehow, the Western system of "education" has replaced Islam as the
central priority in Muslims' lives. This blind dedication to
obtaining a degree is so ingrained in the Muslim family that if a
daughter herself is interested in marriage, the parents will forbid
the matrimony solely on the grounds that she must finish school.
Thus, marriage has virtually become a bad word in several Muslim
circles if that word "marriage" is at all connected with the
marriage of a "daughter" who has not finished "school,"
i.e. "college." Of course, if she has not finished high school,
marriage is beyond undesirable; it is unthinkable. Such
counterproductive thought processes are contributing to the
breakdown of the Muslim ummah, and they are preventing the true
establishment of Islam in our society and lives.

Every society has a foundation, and that foundation is the family.
If we Muslims value obtaining Western college degrees more than we
value establishing the foundation for an Islamic society, what does
this say for the future of our ummah? Furthermore, what does it say
about our claim that we are indeed Muslims? It goes without saying
that there is benefit to holding a college degree, but when weighed
against the benefit of marriage, which is half of our religion,
marriage heavily outweighs it. Thus, when we see that in the hearts
and minds of Muslims the benefits or "urgency" of a college degree
outweighs marriage, there is something seriously wrong in our ummah
not to mention our thinking.

Although, on the surface, the issue of education versus marriage
seems complex, the explanation for this phenomenon is actually quite
simple: our basic values lie not in the akhira (Hereafter) but in
the dunya (wordly life). Whenever we are presented with an order
from Allah or His Messenger (i.e. marriage), we fulfill that order
only in so much as it does not prevent us from attaining the glitter
of the dunya. For many of us, if the order inconveniences our dunya
too much, we ignore the order all together--hence, the quote above.
For most of us, if something must give ---dunya or akhira---the
choice is simple: akhira goes first. Hence, we have the prioritizing
of school versus marriage.

Another phenomenon prevalent in our ummah that is weakening the
foundation of our Islamic society (family) and serves as a ground to
delay marriage is Muslims' ever growing fascination with a
chronological number attached to each person because that person
happened to be born on a particular day in a particular year,
commonly termed "age." Somehow, we have internalized the Western
definition of "childhood" and "adulthood" so much so that we
frequently refer to our young adult children of marriageable age
as "children" or "too young" to marry. Both the labeling of adults
as "children" and the excuse that adults are "too young" to marry
are phenomena that are not only new to Islam but are inventions of
the modern age in general. [editor's note: dare we forget the ages
of many of the sahaabah? How Usama bin Zaid led an army in his
teens, and how we had "teenage" mujaahideen?]. And just as we follow
the people of the world into the "lizard hole" of "education," we
follow our modern teachers (who have replaced the Prophet (saw) as
our example) into the "lizard hole" of obsession with age. And just
as holding a college degree has become the single most important
accomplishment of the young Muslim and her family, so has age become
the most significant determinant of whether or not a person
is "ready" to marry.

The question is, what do we do about it? First, we must reclaim our
Islamic identity and re-evaluate our purpose on this earth. When we
do this honestly, we will discover that our purpose here is very
straightforward: to establish Islam in our lives and then in the
world at large. Everything else, such as attending a local
university and obtaining a college degree, falls under the category
of "accessories," i.e. "not necessary." Thus, when a Muslim is faced
with the prospect of marriage, which falls under the category
of "establishing Islam," there should be no hesitation, and any
desired "accessory" should be pursued only in so far as Islam is
pursued. As a result, there is the possible scenario of, yes,
a "young married college student," or dare I say, "young married
high school student."

The benefits of marrying are enormous, and those benefits increase
when marriage occurs sooner rather than later. Guarding the chastity
of our youth and encouraging the birth of several children for the
growth of this ummah [not to mention the fact the marriage creates
an ideal scenario for man and woman to increase their chances of
entering Paradise and fulfill half of their religion] are serious
benefits that Muslim parents and youth need to reconsider. Let us
reclaim Islam for ourselves and share it with the world, and let us
start in the home by encouraging young men and young women to marry.
Let us redefine "education" and "adulthood" based upon Qur'an and

And may Allah bless us to please Him while we are on this earth
through establishing Islam in every aspect of our lives without
hesitation, and may we attain Paradise, our goal. Ameen.





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