Rearrange the Arranged Marriage
Marriage is a topic in the Muslim community that is met with a sigh and a shrug of the shoulder. When I talk to people about it a chore has more excitement. A big problem is the culture of the arranged marriage and it needs at least one change, I will tell you what.
Arranged marriage is a concept alien to me like an alien in my garden mowing the lawn. This is from my perspective as a British born Jamaican revert. In my culture before Islam if you wanted to get married you asked the person and if they said yes, it was a dun deal.
If like me, you came to Islam in an area with a high concentrated community from say, Bangladesh then it’s natural you are going to look for or already know a Bengali person you want to be with. I found someone to marry and when I told her it was met with a roller coaster answer. It went up with ecstasy and then down with reality moments later. What was the Deal?
‘Well, I would want to marry you but me bringing someone is a problem,’ she said. I felt my eye brows dive inward. She looked down and continued ‘And..well thing is…also… you know…because your-‘ I stopped her in her tracks. I already knew what she was going to say. The real problem was… I was too damn tall. Her only five foot and me being six foot two, we looked ridiculous walking around Westifeld with our Zara bags. No chance.
I wouldn’t have a clue about the ins and outs of arranged marriages. I’ve never made it so far as the same road of anyone I wanted to marry without hiding behind a wall. I asked around how people were going to get married. From what I’ve gathered during this research is that when a guy wants to get married he just asks his dad to look for him. And, with the girl the mother and Aunties are always on the look out. Its like a job.
One guy told me about his ordeal. After some dead photos and CV’s have been scrutinised there was a meeting. His family went to the girls house. Everyone dressed up and they all crowded in to the living room. The guy barely talked or even looked at the girl. His grandmother who was a week away from dementia asked the girl ‘How tall are you.’ Afterwards he told his dad he wasn’t feeling her but he said to marry her anyway.
Here are my main problems with arranged marriage given my current perspective.
Options are limited
Arranged marriages are closed to other cultures. These families can have difficulty finding a partner. There is criteria such as the degradation of those with darker skin, or lack of height or education etc. People from other cultures do not necessarily have the same hang ups and expectations as we do. While we have preferences I couldn’t give a shit if someones parents were divorced but that’s a legitimate deal breaker for some families. By excluding other cultures and reverts in the process, our prospective partners diminish. So we are going to hear ‘It’s hard to find someone.’ said everyone. Well if we’re only letting our parents look for people who descended from our ancestors village who are between five foot four and five foot six with a 2:1 in cooking what else can we expect?
It Turns Reverts Away
By cultures having this IN HOUSE exclusivity we not only limit our options, we exclude reverts from the marriage process. Typically a revert does not have a Muslim family to set up any arranged marriage with those who have that as a fundamental part of their culture. If it is easier to marry when not a Muslim, why would a revert want to stay Muslim and be shunned because of appearance and lack of social connection? The rigid structure of the arranged marriage is awkward, intrusive and intimidating. Instead of being an open gate it is a barrier. What is a person to do but revert to what they know, dating. Then we have relationships in the dark. Then we can have pregnancies and then it’s okay to get married because we have to. Quick, get that Nikkah in before the bump shows.
I’ve gone on about arranged marriage for a bit, but what is my proposition. Well, we know that things can’t be overhauled as people like their comforts and dislike them changed. However, I have one small alteration. It’s simple really.
LET ANY MUSLIM TURN UP AT YOUR DOOR TO PROPOSE
When any Muslim (person) wants to get married, regardless of race he or she should be encouraged turn up at the door of whom marriage is sought. He or she should be invited into the house if the person they are there for is accepting of them. If they are of sound mind and character then arrange the marriage. This way we empower Muslims to get married without fear. It becomes easier for those who like each other to marry like the Prophet said (Those who like each other, nothing is better for them than marriage.) Get me!
What do you think? What ideas do you have for making marriage easier? Do you agree or disagree? Let me know what you think in the comments or my social media. I’m on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Peace out. #Letaniggerin