Observing the struggles of young girls with pre and post marital life, I was forced to search the reasons of their constant strife.
- Why marriage is such a pain in neck for the parents of girls?
- And why unmarried girls who are in the perfect age to marry, or have crossed the perfect age, those who could not marry at all, or divorced women, have to live their lives in constant agony?
- Does Islam enforce this ruling that a girl be married at a younger age- even if she does not find a suitable match?
- Does Islam call for suppression of women through marriage?
- Is it only the girl who has to be blamed if she is found guilty of hating, or being disobedient to her husband?
Let me explain you one thing before we move on to find answers to these questions; and the duty of the parents regarding this issue is that we should understand that Islam and Muslim culture are very distinct entities.
Islam is our religion, our belief, but Muslim culture is what we practice in our day to day life. We Muslims, often confuse religion with our regional cultures- because somehow Islam is considered to be integrated deep in our lives- which on profound insight can reveal that Muslim culture is very different from Islam.
The core issue is that girls are mostly brought up in a way where their hymens are considered much more precious than they themselves. They are to be married as soon as possible so that parents can be acquitted from this responsibility of presenting the girl with her intact virginity to her true owners. In this quest of parents, most of the girls have to face numerous problems with their individuality, faith and lives which I am daring to address here. I will try to throw light on these problems one by one highlighting the points where parents need to ponder.
Firstly, parents have to remove the generation gap, and try to understand, and accept the challenges of the modern age with a new and fresher perspective. For example- when you are trying your best to protect the virginity of your girl in this generation, the old orthodox method of keeping her locked up (metaphor) at home can yield worst results in this contemporary age.
You cannot prevent them from falling into Fitnah, but you can help them learn how to get out of it. Give them a good (not strict) spiritual environment to grow up in, and then trust them with their choices; if you truly succeeded in bringing them up well, then you will never have to struggle with them at any age.
Secondly, parents have to let their daughters attain good religious education as well as best modern education possible. Most of the girls are deprived of education, or forced in to this by cultural criterion. Hence, a girl is not appreciated by family where you will hear things like: “Why study so much when you know you will end up doing household chores after marriage?” Or “Islam gives more importance to your husband and family than your education” or in worst case, “You are a woman; your sole purpose is to raise children.” This kind of attitude towards your daughters will only cause them to rebel (a gift of modern age).
Islam gives rights to all
Islam gives all rights to women to get education, and marry whenever and whoever she wants to. I know that you are trying your best to convince your daughters; but convincing them that Islam orders you to do so, or our culture demands this, is yielding some serious consequences; where girls- whenever in their life given a chance- try to break free from these shackles of “religio-cultural” prison.
You may find real life examples of Aminah Wadod, Ayaan Ali and many other women like them who are now questioning the genuineness of Islam.
Thirdly, parents usually don’t aim to see the compatibility of both parties before marriage. A girl, if she is crossing the age of twenty, is forced into marriage- as parents fear that no one will accept her after this because our motto of marriage is “the younger the better”. This is very frustrating for young girls as they are married usually against their will. Despite of her difficulty to accept her marriage, she is forced to comply with her husband, and in-laws- no matter what; and again people take support of Islamic rulings, and tell her to bear all what comes because Allah (swt) and His messenger (sa) asked her to be obedient to her husband, and not to go against his will.
The avalanche behind ‘I do’
In this scenario, where she is married without her consent- a marriage for which she has to repress her dreams, or even herself. And, when she finds it difficult to cope with, she is told to be patient- as Islam demands wife to be submissive to her husband. The only refuge Allah (swt) and His messenger (sa) also become cruel and unjust in her eyes.
What do you think it will result in? Only in disobedience or “heresy” for which you can find numerous examples around you- when a married girl would be found guilty of extra marital affairs, hostility towards children, self-loathing and in extreme situation, suicide.
Marriage in Islam
Marriage in Islam is a very blessed act which aims to safeguard modesty, practice intimate love in a legal way, build a strong family, and a generation who would be spiritually, mentally, and physically strong enough to uphold and implement Islam in the entire world etc. But, my question for readers is that: Is today’s Muslim marriage fulfilling its objectives? A girl as a daughter, wife, and a mother is the most important part of a family; and when, this oppression and confusion becomes a part of her life- she can’t find an escape; she just chooses to give up life, which makes a huge impact on the society as a whole. Children brought up by such a mother would be spiritually dead and will just be another blemish on the Muslim Ummah.
My advice to parents is to get out of this mesh of religious teachings, and cultural norms. Learn true principles, and objectives of Islam; and neither be victims nor victimize your children with religion brimmed with cultural beliefs; and “enter Islam completely” to shun such grim culture.