Its been over a month since I came back from Nigeria and I still have nightmares about the whole experience, sigh! I cant seem to get rid of all the ‘hurry up and marry pressure that snuck into my luggage from Nigeria, but I thank God that work is busy right now so that is providing some distraction and surprising calm emotionally. Its not as if I dont want to marry now or that I dont want to marry a Muslim after all its what Allah has enjoined but the Muslim men here are just not it at all, well at least the ones I have been meeting. Believe me, I have had my fair share of encounters and its not been pretty. Take Remi for instance, that is the man Nike introduced to me last year: he claims to observe his Salat and fast during Ramadan but when I asked him if he drinks alcohol, his response was Not really, I am a social drinker, what does that even mean? Dude, there is no room for social drinking in Islam. Of course I crossed his name off the list immediately. I am too old for this type of men, I already went through the alcohol is not too bad phase with Hakeem and the likes in my early twenties and none of those worked out because a man who does not care that Allah is watching him whenever he is drinking alcohol will not be conscious of the same Allah when he is treating me poorly. Been there, done that, no more thanks! Then there was Yusuf, the one I met at Sister Maryams Eid party last summer: perfect Ustaz but has no job and no university degree. Within one hour of talking to me about all my magazine articles he has read and really likes, he was ready to talk about marriage. He said: ‘Sister, do you mind if I propose to you? You need a man to help you complete half of your faith. Dude, are you for real? What is wrong with these brothers? I felt like telling him to either put his energy into getting a degree and finding a job or simply looking for someone who doesnt mind a husband with zero worldly ambition because thats just not me. I just politely declined and avoided him till I took my leave. I am not saying I have never talked to someone I liked in the past. I really have, but sadly some of them ended with so much heart ache that I thought I would never recover. There was Boye, the first guy I ever dated, that was back when I still believed in dating, may Allah forgive me. Nice guy and I really liked him, he treated me nicely and we were both on the same page with school and future aspirations but he was not a Muslim. I honestly did not mind at first because I met him when I was just 17 and obviously not thinking about marriage. We mistakenly ‘jammed in a lecture hall while waiting for a class to start in Unilag and we got talking, and we barely stopped talking for the next 8 years. Letting go of him when I became more conscious of the deen was one of the hardest things I ever did in my life, but I had to because there was no way I would marry a non Muslim. It took more than two years to get over the pain in my heart after I broke up with Boye, but I did it for Allahs sake so its okay. There was Kunle that simply stopped calling for no reason in 2009. But apart after these guys, its been the funny ones showing up, sigh! I mean honestly, am I asking for too much by wanting to marry someone who is a good Muslim, who will treat me nicely simply because he wants to earn the rahma of Allah? And while we are at it, can he be able to speak good English, have a job and at least a Bachelors degree, dress neatly, and not already have seven children from three women? Is this really too much to ask? I dont think so. Anyway for now, I am going to keep making the dua in Quran 2:201, that is, asking Allah for the best in this life and the hereafter, and I know he listens, and I will try to learn more about what it really means to look for a good Muslim spouse. Next week is the Courtship in Islam Seminar at the Saudi Mosque in downtown DC and I am excited about attending and learning what Islamic courtship is really about. May Allah spare our lives till and beyond then, Amin. Yours Truly, Niyah [email protected]

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