The pitfall of segregation

Since I’ve been looking for a husband I’ve met plenty of suitors. Many of them have been married to non-Muslim women at one point or another. I have been trying to come up with a practical reason as to why this is taking place within our communities. Some seem legitimate while others are just nerve racking.

Typically if I am speaking to a brother I will inquire as to why he chose a non-Muslim woman over a Muslim. I usually get one out of two responses:

1. There were no Muslim women around.

2. Ya’ll are too intimidating and expect too much.

Let me break it down for you right here, right now.

At first I would get all “sista girl” on them and start going off. I would stress the point that I knew so many single, beautiful, educated Muslim women. Why go anywhere else? I beat that one into the ground.

Him: “Well, where are they at?”


Then I realized everywhere was actually nowhere. That epiphany made me feel kinda dumb. In what setting are we allowed to freely mix and get to know people with the intention of getting married? Besides awkward matrimonial mixers and friends trying to hook you up Muslim men and women don’t stand a chance.

Only difference is Muslim men can marry non-Muslim women when they’re fed up.

We just remain chronically single.  So, where would I like to meet my future husband?

The mosque…

I think things are far too segregated. It’s not conducive to finding a spouse. The chances of that happening are next to nothing. I have been to some mosques where the segregation is absolutely ridiculous. How in the heck am I supposed to meet anyone if I am behind a curtain with the door closed on the balcony?! If hookups can’t happen in the mosque then what else is a Muslim man or woman to do?

I still do not have the answer to that question.

So, I ask the Muslim man this: If a majority of you are marrying non-Muslim women then who are we supposed to marry?

First off, if Islam is important to you then you would never consider marrying outside of the religion. Any attempt to do that means that Islam ain’t all that important in your life. If that’s what you want to do go ahead Brotha. I’m not passing judgement. Just don’t start crying and threatening a divorce when the kids are running around in Halloween costumes and she’s reminding you that it’s time to mail out Christmas photos. She wasn’t Muslim when you married her. You can’t expect her to give up her customs and traditions. If you really cared all that much you would have married a Muslim woman from the jump. When it’s just you and her it’s fine but once you throw kids into the mix it’s a totally different story. Real talk. Also, give her the rights she deserves. Just because she isn’t Muslim does not mean you can treat her just anyway. Karma baby, karma…

We all know it is hard to be single but you have to think long-term when it comes to marriage. You must view marriage as an enhancement in your life. Sure you are going to have your rough moments but don’t go into a situation blindly. Never expect anyone to change. As Maya Angelou said “The first time someone shows who they are, believe them.” Words of wisdom.

Think wisely. It’s your life.


15 thoughts on “The pitfall of segregation

  1. I really would love to see good actual research on some of these questions because right now we have a lot of discussions where people are just relying on their own experiences and anecdotes. That is better than nothing but still it is impossible to know if these are representative of the larger reality. Having said that, I will throw in my two cents.

    It is clearly true that we have a marriage and family crisis in our community. It is important to recognize that while many sisters claim there are no available men, the men are often claiming the same thing. (One reason why getting actual research would be helpful) Still, if you dig deeper we know that both of these people have actually met or heard of many people, so the actual problem is that there are not men (or women) that meet their criteria. Which is fine, people should definitely have a criteria for whom they will marry, but we need to be accurate in identifying the problem.

    I agree with you that it seems very strange that anyone to whom Islam is very important would marry someone who is not even muslim. But, thinking back on my own life there was a time when I would have considered it. As a recent convert who was getting a lot of messages about how difficult it would be to marry a muslim woman and who had no idea how the process could ever work, it seemed possible. Now actually going through with it would have been a different matter and looking back I can’t believe I would have considered it but that’s just to say that I can understand there are reasons why it could happen.

    Now as to the issue of the masajid and whether they are too segregated. I am going to have to pull the salafi card here and disagree. 🙂

    No, seriously, I think we have to be more specific. I really don’t think it is good idea for men or women to be gazing at each other during jumu’ah the way some people might do in some churches or something like that. I am sure that is not what you have in mind either. If masajid are going to fulfill a social function then it might be okay to have some activities where the segregation is not so strict to allow people to meet each other. Again, I am hesitant to agree with your suggestion not so much because I am totally against decreasing the levels of segregation (that is a complicated issue that will vary from masjid to masjid) but because I think it is a bit of a red herring to the marriage crisis. I don’t think the problem or the solution lies in that. We have plenty of other “third spaces” where muslim men and women can meet each other in an appropriate environment. How to keep these environments comfortable and casual while still maintaining appropriateness is actually a struggle.

    That’s my initial reaction but I will think about what you’ve said…I realize that while I spend a good amount of time in masajid, I spend a much much greater portion of my time in the muslim community events outside of Masajid. Whether it be msa events, classes, fundraisers, service events, etc. etc. etc. I don’t know if that is unusual. Yes, if the only way one could meet or come into contact with muslims of the opposite gender was in the masjid, then the gender segregation would make it difficult to meet people, but that just isn’t the case.

    • muslimnlove says:

      Salam Abdul-Malik! Thanks for taking the time to comment. I like to hear male perspectives, especially when I post a topic specifically concerning the brothas. It allows me to remain balanced in my judgement.

      You’ve shed more light onto why a Muslim man would consider marrying a non-Muslim woman. Having been raised Muslim my entire life I could see how a recent convert would feel a certain way about trying to find a Muslim woman. It’s a lot to learn! Cultural nuances, religious stuff, etc..

      There does need to be some evidence based research on this topic. You’re right I hear both men and women echoing the same statement “I can’t find anybody!” I really think this is the case due to our community not having the right platform for singles to meet. Recently, I went to a mosque (that shall not be named) and asked the Imam if he knew any brothers who were looking. I explained what my criteria was (which is not a lot, PROMISE!). He kindly told me that “we don’t take part in that kind of business.” Keep in mind this is an Imam that I know pretty well. It left me slightly frustrated because where else is a single Muslim supposed to go? There just needs to be an appropriate place.

      I go to a lot of events in Chicago but its very tricky figuring out who’s single, courting or married. I’ve done it on several occasions though! lol. I know many agree that the mosque is not ideal. Perhaps its not. Perhaps it is. Allah knows best. WE just need a place!


      • Salaam sister ! Jazzaki Allahu khayr for the reply. (Nice to see you yesterday by the way)

        Anyways, I see what you’re saying. But you do start off by saying that you have met “plenty of suitors” — so it doesn’t seem that finding possible people is the problem, but finding the right person? Is that true? I know people, especially those who have grown up in this culture, may find the matchmaking kind of events or processes a little artificial or weird, and would rather meet someone a little more “naturally.”

        As for the imam who wasn’t able to help you, I will say this, although help with marriage is definitely a great need and therefore a great thing to do, you have to admit matchmaking is a bit of a tricky business. Some of us are shy to get involved in it or just not sure we have the skills needed to be helpful.

      • I agree with what you’re saying and I can see why it’s so frustrating knowing plenty who are searching, I also know what it’s like to to be in that awkward situation where someone meets or marries through you or whatever and it’s a nightmare leaving us on the line. It’s a bunch of SCAY responsibilty and ppl fake the funk as to who they are but behind closed doors many times ppl are different which makes offering help less than desirable.

        All-in-all putting everyone back at square on unfortunately 😦

    • Asalaaamu alaikum Abdul Malik I agree with what you’re saying, but I’d like to point out that in “third places” people are on their meeting someone behavior. While I disagree with ‘ole bearded brotha man staring the sisters down or vice versa in a communal room it’s also kind of “good” dare I say? to catch them in what would be “off guard” behavior…be it attending Jumuah, a function, lecture or whatever and to see their reaction in the non parking right situations or hurried, rushed, hot, cold etc…just food for thought.

      Anyhow I’m loving the posts and dialogue in the comments on this blog

  2. Great post.

    As a divorced mother of two that is looking to get remarried, you have a valid point. I don’t think the masjid is the place to be spouse hunting. There needs to be another space. Here in MD there are mixed events outside of the masjid where married people created games and activities to help people find spouses. It keeps the image of a ‘meat market’ away. Personally marriage groups and online ‘spouse hunting’ does not work for me.

    I decided when I was ready for another husband that I would let Allah(swt) be my guide. I put my self in certain places (mostly third spaces) to get to see brother’s interacting in their community and then get more information. Spouse hunting is daunting in our community, but I believe intentions are important.

    Love you blog.

    • muslimnlove says:

      Salam hijabiwayfair, welcome to MuslimnLove! I most certainly agree with you. “Spouse hunting” is extremely daunting. It must be done though. I commend you and all single Muslims for being proactive. There has to be a platform for marriages to occur. I live in Chicago and there aren’t many activities for Muslim singles to take part in. It’s good to hear that other communities are doing better in that regard. Please come back! 🙂

    • muslimnlove says:

      Hey Verbalvegetarian! Thank you for taking a peek at MuslimnLove. I am investing my heart into this whole process of looking for a husband. Wish me luck 😛 Do come back and read please! 🙂

  3. I just wanted to quote you real quick “I’m not passing judgement. Just don’t start crying and threatening a divorce when the kids are running around in Halloween costumes and she’s reminding you that it’s time to mail out Christmas photos. She wasn’t Muslim when you married her. You can’t expect her to give up her customs and traditions. If you really cared all that much you would have married a Muslim woman from the jump. When it’s just you and her it’s fine but once you throw kids into the mix it’s a totally different story. Real talk. Also, give her the rights she deserves. Just because she isn’t Muslim does not mean you can treat her just anyway.”

    BAM!!! Right there-love it!

    That said (after standing hoorah ovation) I do agree with the feedback here that it’s by far easier because standards for the bros to meet for marrying muslimahs somehow have turned into demands and unrealistic doweries and expectations. However, this is a double-edged sword as mens dreams of their Perfect muslimah also interfere with finding a match.

    Making an ideal list would be great than lovingly and happily accepting 3 to 5 things only off that list is a lot more realistic

  4. Sudan says:

    Why would a muslim man marry a non muslim woman? It is simple. I am expected to marry a muslim woman but I can’t talk to any of them. However, I live in America, everywhere you look it seems like people are getting into relationships, your friends are moving on, having kids and you can’t even find a sister to talk to in your area.

    I feel if I had not taken my Islam so seriously I would be in a happy loving relationship. However, since marriage is half my religion I try to act in a way my future kids could. I did fall in love once, with a woman. She was not a muslim. I had no intention to change her but, I refused to budge on the idea that my kids would be raised as anything but a muslim. I don’ see jewish men or christian men raising muslim kids so why should I as a muslim man raise a different kind of child than what I am. So that left me heartbroken and searching, and in all my time search I can say. I honestly feel I am no closer to finding a muslim wife now, then I was when I restarted my search or even originally began my search too young to even have a real inkling of what marriage would entail.

    • muslimnlove says:

      First off, I think it’s great that you were able to approach your situation thinking of the relationship as a whole. Many people approach marriage likes it’s only them and their partner. You have to factor in children as well! It baffles me when people forget that part! In most situations the children are not raised Muslim if the mother is of a different faith. I understand this whole situation is hard especially when our communities are not supportive when helping us to find spouses. We need to create a platform where we can meet each other. One of my main motivations for starting this blog was to shed light on this issue as a Muslim woman. I hope it gives you some insight and you don’t feel so alone.

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