What a Muslim guy looks for in a girl

*Disclaimer: If you hate generalisations, flee now, because I’m going to be generalising until the cows come home. Actually, I’ll probably be generalising way past when they’re safely tucked into their cow pens.

We all know that girl, or those girls. The ones who’ve been proposed to by the good guys, hit on by the not-so-good ones. Although I did put a pretty big disclaimer up there, my legal brain is urging me to say again: people are complex beings. I acknowledge that, and as such I’m only speaking in generalities here. But what I’m trying to do is to compose an ideal. If this girl was a food, she’d be chocolate i.e. appealing to the general populace.

In designing my Muslim dream girl, I’ve taken into account things I’ve both seen and heard in the Muslim community. It’s by no means a scientific study, but I think that my observations (and that’s all they are, observations) aren’t far off the mark. Without further ado, meet the Muslim dream girl:

a.) Religious

Muslim guys love a girl who makes it known that she’s an observant Muslim. Since Muslims don’t often have large amounts of face-to-face contact, people are often forced to draw conclusions about each other based on their social media presence. Our Muslim dream girl will be inclined to post verses from the Quran, status updates from various shaykhs and general thoughts about her love for Allah swt and Islam. She won’t go into overkill with it because guys will find that a bit tiresome, but it’ll nevertheless be very clear that she’s engaged in the deen.

If the guy is from a particular group in the Muslim community, his dream girl will be slightly skewed towards his idea of what constitutes religiosity. But if our Muslim dream girl sticks to non-political topics, she may just be able to attract guys from all ends of the Muslim spectrum.

b.) Good-looking

This one’s a no-brainer and not at all specific to Muslims. But with Muslims, the issue of looks is a little more complex than meets the eye. If a girl is good-looking, it’s a big tick, but if she’s too showy and overt about her looks then it’s a mark against her. Too much make-up, flashy clothing and even too many photos of herself on Facebook seems to be a turn-off to the average Muslim guy, even if she looks really good while doing it. Therefore our Muslim dream girl is careful to only hint at her good looks, not exaggerate them.

The funny thing I’ve noticed is that some girls who might be seen as ‘too much’ in this regard take pains to simultaneously display their religiosity on social media. I’m not suggesting it’s a conscious strategy, but the message it sends to guys is ‘I may be glamorous, but at heart I’m just a good Muslim girl!’ Interesting stuff.

c.) 18-23 years old

Our Muslim girl dream girl is somewhere in this age bracket, which extends from the time she leaves high school to the time she leaves university. As I’ve previously mentioned, youth is closely tied to marriageability in the Muslim community. This age bracket caters to the tastes of most Muslim guys. At the one end, he can choose the bright, perky girl straight out of high school, and on the 0ther end, he can choose the savvy yet youthful university graduate.

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d.) Intelligent, but not necessarily ‘intellectual’

If I didn’t put this one in, I’d be severely underestimating Muslim guys.  Certainly, I don’t believe that Muslim guys are after a bimbo. This is especially true as the average Muslim guy tends to think about what a potential wife will be like as a mother, and no one aspires to raise children with a brain-dead partner. Muslim guys also generally like to be able to discuss politics and community developments with their wife. But from my observations, the cream of the female intellectual crop in the Muslim community often get overlooked as potential wife material.

The unkind explanation is that Muslim guys are intimidated by girls with more degrees and earning potential than them, but I don’t think this is always the case. It’s more to do with the perception that these girls are simply ‘too much’, just as the girls who are overtly glamorous are. Too much noisy intellect, too many vocal opinions. Perhaps it’s less about them being intellectual than it is about them making the perception that the latter is such a defining feature of their persona.

e.) ‘Fluffy’ and earnest

This is one I’ve mentioned before in the context of Facebook. I’ve noticed that girls who appear to be ‘soft’ and ‘cutesy’ seem to get a lot of attention from the average Muslim guy. Our dream girl probably has flowers, the side of her face or some Islamic phrase as her profile picture. She often wears floral hijabs and loooooves cats, baking things and Islam! She makes it known that she also loves her family and her close-knit group of gal pals, thus appealing to the family values of Muslim guys. She speaks in soft tones, favours skirts and dresses over pants and is a giggler, not a cackler.

I have to clarify that the appeal of this characteristic diminishes somewhat as both the average Muslim guy and our dream girl get older. An older Muslim guy isn’t as likely to look for a ‘cutesy’ girl, while the cutesiness that was so appealing in a 20 year old girl isn’t as appealing in a girl in her late 20s.

e.) Modest

Modesty is emphasised in Islam for both males and females, but it appears to be especially attractive in a Muslim girl. In fact, each of the ‘excesses’ in the above categories can be reduced to a perceived lack of modesty. A girl who’s too showy about her looks? Immodest. A girl who’s too noisy about her smarts? Not modest enough. Even youth can be tied to modesty and its close relative, innocence.

The trait of modesty also ties in with not being too ‘visible’. I’ve heard Muslim guys being given the advice to look for a girl who isn’t necessarily that well-known in the community; they’re seen as ‘hidden gems’. Therefore, our dream girl isn’t going to be regularly engaging in fierce Facebook debates, nor will she constantly be updating her profile with photos of herself and her comings and goings. That would be seen as undignified, and our dream girl has plenty of dignity.

So there it is, folks. Guys, do you think this is accurate? Girls, have you noticed these types of girls being snapped up?

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32 responses to “What a Muslim guy looks for in a girl

  1. pretty much nailed it there.

  2. Seems you have it right…though you left out the working / career aspect of it. That’s also another factor that’s important to think about.

    • What exactly do you mean? Feel free to elaborate 🙂

      • I mean whether she wants to be a ‘career woman’ or not. Whether, once kids come, she’ll stay at home with them, or go back to work, etc. Stuff like that.

        Aside from personal preferences that guys (and their families) have, it’s also quite a practical aspect to consider these days, given the financial pressures everyone is under nowadays.

      • Oh, that’s a good point! The current financial climate does add an interesting spin to ‘traditional’ expectations.

  3. Seems like you got it to a T.
    Mind doing the guy version i.e
    “What a Muslim girl looks for in a guy”

  4. this makes it sound like Muslim men are harsh, shallow, judgemental and fickle. And this might be the case but it’s disheartening for Muslim women who do not fit into those categories. Whatever happened to character? And my feminist side worries that young women or even older single women believe that they have to change to fit into this mould. You should never change who you are just so men will like you. I say if he truly that shallow and that fickle you’re better off with someone else. Islam is about character and faith and if this is what Muslim men want in a wife we need re-assess what values we are instilling our young boys

    • I don’t think I was that hard on our brothers! Certainly, I was less harsh than a lot of the popular discourse amongst females that Muslim guys don’t care about intelligence or deen-those were high up on my list.
      Also, I would never imply that females should change themselves to fit a mould. I’m merely describing reality as I see it, not describing what I think is ideal. I agree that character is of the utmost importance and perhaps it is a case of values not being instilled correctly.

  5. So off its not even funny. Clearly written by a female.

    • I’m happy for people to disagree with me, but let’s engage constructively with ideas iA 🙂 What do you disagree with?

  6. Reasonably okay points, assuming the Muslim bros are themselves intelligent and religious. I would be wary of under-20s though, young people seem to change their views on things as they grow up, both male and female.

    This is a judgemental comment, but from what I have seen sufficient outward beauty in combination with other forms of religiosity can lead an otherwise conservative brother to turn a blind eye to sub-sunnah levels of modesty in dress.

    • Interesting point bro..I’ve seen this happen too. I’m glad I didn’t have to raise it though because I’m sure I’d get accused of being hard on our brothers lol.

  7. Interesting article! IMO these points seem more relevant to someone who is looking from afar. Once you get to know someone, the more superficial factors tend to recede into the background while other facets of a person’s personality and behaviour are discovered (or become more obvious). E.g. a man/woman might seem very intellectual or glamorous online, but once you meet the person and spend some time (in whatever capacity), it is very easy to realise that they are just another person with their own set of personality features, flaws and quirks.

    • I agree! I think I mentioned in the first point that because Muslims tend not to have a lot of face-to-face contact with the opposite sex, they often rely disproportionately on someone’s online persona as an indication of what they’re like. Thanks for pointing that out 🙂

    • And I know some people thought I was being slightly harsh on our brothers, but perhaps it’s partly to do with the superficial contact both sexes have with each other.

  8. OK there’s a couple things here! To the person above who viewed this list as portraying men as shallow and judgmental, any tick-box style list of this nature is per se going to sound shallow and judgmental. That doesn’t mean the qualities are bad, or incorrect. Secondly, yes Z you are right – with the modern-day emphasis on social media and glances from afar, men can only have somewhat superficial traits to go by with regards to initial interest.

    So is it correct? I think you’ve described one particular “ideal” very well, but again, as someone mentioned, once you get beyond the “I’m interested, are you interested?” initial barrier, other things start to become more important. Then other things like life plan, life goals, interests, perspectives, etc. come into play (looks like I just showed my hand!). But none of these things you would gauge from a distance – at most you can get hints, eg. if she attends X class, or statuses about Y topic.

    And finally, the weighting to the different categories – those mentioned and those not mentioned – are different for all men. For me, I’d be happy with moderately attractive looks, if she was very religiously ambitious (in the same religious spectrum as myself, that is!). And perhaps a bonus would be a counterweight to balance some of my personality traits. How much of this can be quantified on paper? <– This question is a reference to "Arranged Marriage" and my thoughts on it!

    • Thanks for your thoughts 🙂 I agree, the ‘superficial’ traits I identified are more indicators of what piques initial interest, not what holds two people together. But it obviously helps to possess the ‘superficial’ traits because it makes people want to dig deeper and get to know you better.
      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a list of requirements, as long as it’s not too rigid and not based on unrealistic expectations. Yours sound fine in that regard!

  9. I have to say that I don’t want to be cliche , but what happened to “don’t judge a book by its cover”. If you know that truly this is what a guy looks for in a girl, what makes you think that maybe some of the girls who abide by this “ideal Muslima” characteristics aren’t doing it for the wrong intention, i.e. “to get a guy” knowing that that is what guys are looking for. A Muslima should abide by modesty, and be feminine because that’s what Allah said and that’s how she is. Honestly, you shouldn’t X out a girl who doesn’t “appear” to be that perfect muslima, because you might not know how her heart is like and what she truly is- if anything she is at least being herself and not hypocritical. What is important is the intention. This judgement could be the reason a lot of religious guys might not be finding the right girl. Don’t get me wrong- I’m not saying a girl shouldn’t make sure she has a decent virtual profile , but I’m saying if she doesn’t fit those categories completely on screen- who knows maybe she is different in person. No one should judge anyone. Marriage is about compatibility- both could mold and change to the better inshallah 🙂 also this language comes off sexist: the idea of intellect, the idea of shyness, compared to chocolate…anyways I hope with time and awareness there will be more mature way of assessing the our significant other!!

  10. The real problem with older Muslimah (over 25) is that they often don’t take care of themselves and are overweight. As a man who goes outside and exercises, does pull ups, lifts weights at the fitness club and is educated why do I need to settle for a Muslimah who doesn’t do any of these things and stays home all day? This is why I found a wife from back home… without physical attraction the marriage won’t work and I don’t care how many degrees a western Muslim has, this is not the basis for a relationship.

    • I really don’t think this is accurate whatsoever. But thank you for your comment anyway.

    • This is by far the most odd comment I have ever seen. You’re really saying that over 25’s are often overweight overweight and just sit at home? Where exactly are you seeing these ladies? Because 99.9% of the over 25s I’ve seen are actually the most active people in our community. But it’s also hilarious that over 25 is considered ‘older’.

  11. You should make a “What a Muslim girl looks for in a guy”

  12. Thank you! This is such a wonderful post. And yes i guess this is really like one of the most less strict demands a muslim guy wants from a muslim girl.

  13. Hey! Maybe someone could help me out with my little predicament:
    I’m an Egyptian Muslimah living in NYC. My mother is an Islamic studies teacher at an underprivileged local Islamic school and my father is a very hard worker whose income is disproportional to the labor he puts in. Despite all of this, however, I’ve attended the best private school in the country and will attend an ivy league university in the fall. All of this I attribute to Allah swh helping my family out because of their piety and the endless hours of work I’ve put in. My goal in life is to defend the defenseless and terminate the stereotypes that plague the regions we hail from.
    The guys in my community are 1) not interested in being that religious generally 2) Not interested in their schoolwork 3) Have had some kind of a relationship with girls before 4) Have had alcohol and/or drugs (they either are actively disobedient or just want to fit in [which I don’t think is indicative of an adequately strong character]). What I mean by this is that if he’s smart, he’s probably left religion at the door. If he’s religious, he’s not too interested in his studies. If he’s never had a girlfriend before, he’s not too intelligent- it seems like I can’t win! As we all know, many Islamic communities across the country are underserved and, as a result, the kids aren’t exposed to the academic material I have been so fortunate as to experience. It’s almost like I’m a part of two different worlds. Will I ever find a religious AND smart guy? How can I go about that? Even my mother tells me I’ll never find someone smart enough for me.

    • Are you still in high school? If so, you have plenty of time ahead to find the right guy inshaAllah. I’m sure that there’ll be some wonderful and interesting people in college who manage to combine a love of learning with love of the deen 🙂

    • I can relate to your questions. I am a Muslimah with mathematics & computer science degree who is going to start her PhD next year incha Allah. Since according to this article girls with ‘intellect’ are simply ‘too much’, my circle of friends consist of many non-Muslim guys, some non-Muslim girls and a very few ‘intellectual’ Muslim girls. So, right now I don’t really concern myself about finding a guy. I’d rather focus on what I can give to society with this ‘intellect’ that Allah has entrusted in me.
      I really like what you’re doing and that you have a clear goal in your life. I will be very happy to meet a young and enthusiastic Muslimah like you. You could be an inspiration to other young muslimah all over the world ^^

  14. Some points were utterly stupid! I mean a girl has to be within a specified age bracket?! Seriously?? And the more intellectual a woman is, the sexier! Hate to break your bubble but you sound like an INSECURE male!

  15. but y to take bad points….try good points

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