Like pretty much everywhere else, the Muslim community can be a cruel and inhospitable landscape for singles to negotiate. If you’re too overt about wanting to get married, you’re seen as some kind of insecure, hormonally-charged weirdo. If you don’t seem all that interested in getting married, you’re seen as self-centred and are told to ‘grow up’. People are seldom shy about offering their ‘advice’ about what you can do to change or reconcile yourself to your relationship status, but this frequently descends into cute, well-meaning but rather hilarious clichés, as demonstrated below:
1.) It’ll happen when you least expect it.
This is so incredibly clichéd that you can’t help but roll your eyes every time you hear it. What if you’re always expecting it? What if you’re not expecting it, but it just doesn’t happen either? Can you synchronise the moment you stop expecting it with the moment it actually happens?
2.) You’re just too picky.
This translates to ‘just marry the first dude/gal who isn’t certifiably insane’. Or, ‘marry your second cousin, it’s not like it’s your first!’
3.) You gotta put yourself out there more!
To a certain extent, this is true. You’re probably not going to meet someone if you’re sitting at home and twiddling your thumbs, unless someone happens to pass by your front door and think your thumb-twiddling is really cute. But this begs the question: why is it often the most active and ‘visible’ people in the community who remain perennially single?
4.) It’s because you’re too into your career/too opinionated/have a brain
This one is most often thrown at those poor Muslim women who are seen to be ‘intimidating’. Basically, the take-home message is this: alter your personality, lifestyle and values entirely, and then someone will love you for who you are.
5.) One day, someone will come along and you’ll understand why it didn’t work out with all those other people.
This is one of those quotes everyone posts on Instagram in cursive writing against an ocean backdrop. Ah, the mythical Prince/Princess Charming who’ll redeem you and restore your broken trust in humankind…*tumbleweed blows*
6.) Being single is awesome, enjoy it!
Any state you’re in is awesome if you feel it’s one you’ve at least had some say in. But if you feel as though you’ve been relegated there and have no way out, that’s when it tends to feel like you’re a mouse in some really trippy and unethical cosmetics experiment.
7.) Don’t worry, I’m sure it’ll be your turn soon.
Marriage is not a carousel ride with an orderly queuing system, folks. There are no ‘turns’ and no way of knowing where your place in the ‘queue’ is. The simple fact is that some people may never get married at all, and that’s fine if they’re fine with that reality.
8.) You just gotta have tawakkul, man.
Obvious statement is obvious. Besides, would you tell someone not to bother applying for jobs and just have tawakkul that one will shimmy its way over?
9.) Don’t worry, you still have plenty of time!
Time is all you got as a single person, baby. Nothing but time to hug your cat, water your cactus and get into Facebook fights with people you’ve never met.
10.) Maybe you’ve left it a bit late.
Ok, good. Now will you stop talking about it?
Seriously though, duas and love (of the most Halal version) to all the singles. If you’re searching, may Allah swt bless you with the best partner if it’s best for you, and if you’re happily solo, maybe, just maybe, it’ll happen when you least expect it. Now there’s one you haven’t heard before.