They tell you that to just focus on yourself. The instructions are to become a good Muslim. You pray and you fast. You do not talk to girls or smoke or hit the clubs. You remain virgins while focusing on your careers and education. First you get the bachelors degree because no parent wants a salary of less than $80,000 a year. Every parent you know insist that it is for the best that you save up money and get ahead in your career development.
You listen because you love your family.
Flash forward and suddenly you are twenty-four years old. You aren’t considered to be one of those “rockstar” boys. The girls in hijab do not like you because you aren’t some badass mipster. They do not like your beards and they say that you are not romantic. You lack swag, and most of all, you are not a doctor. You are considered “too religious” if you pray or attend a few basic lectures. You do not have interest in buying things like soft leather purses but you would really like to to find a spouse – someone you can talk to and share life with.
But the girls say that you are a mullah.
You are patronized in various shaadis by random aunties. The inevitable question comes up,
“When is it your turn?”
-and it looms like a dark cloud over you.
Still, you manage to offer a weak smile and then laugh it off. Every auntie in various corners of the globe is trying to play cupid for you. But the truth is, most of them have no idea about your personality. She is just trying to be a cool CEO playing the game of merger and acquisitions. She uses the standard resume template like every other well-intentioned auntie. In corporate world, these things are call it soft skills. But maybe everyone needs generous aunties with soft skills, because every potential partner will be labeled as good looking, educated, and smart.
Everyone talks about how hard it is for Muslim women to find a spouse; this same issue is consistent with the Muslim brothers. After a while, you get frustrated. You want to change and liberate yourself, so you get out of your comfort zone and actually try to initiate a conversation with a women in hopes of marriage but find out that she is not over her ‘ex.’ She uses your company as a shoulder to lean on. You are quiet; you listen only because you want to see her happy. She continues to talk about him while your shadow quietly flickers in the nightlight. A silent, oh, I see, is written in the conversation. Sooner or later, the interest slowly fades and both of you drift away.
You are now thirty-years old. You are beyond marrying age and most of the women in your community are now acquired by others. Your parents have reached that tender age and are now your responsibility. The idea of marriage again fades and responsibilities compound to keep you focused for the next several years.
You are thirty-five years of age. Midlife crisis. Even if you are wealthy and have a car and a house. You have everything but a wife. It is too late now. You just spent thirty-five years without someone, why even bother? You are over the stage of longing; the river has passed and, frankly, you have moved on. You just want to have a peaceful life. Yes, you missed one of the blissful things, but that Allah’s will. You win some and you lose some.
So, you live your life and your existence will continue to prove that there is more than finding meaning in another person. Instead, you focus on finding meaning within yourself. And then you realize that you are not alone.
Faizan Seedat was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan and moved to to Chicago in 1999. Faizan decided to do pursue his lifelong goal of hifz from Muslim Society Incorporated. After finishing his hifz, Faizan completed his undergraduate and graduate degree from DePaul University. As an undergraduate, Faizan fell in love with writing and he was chosen as university writing tutor. He is an avid weight lifter and loves to play sports, write poetry, upload fitness videos and revise his Quran. Faizan plans to complete his second Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering and publish technical white papers along with his other personal literary work.