assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh
The upside of not having been all about the blog this month is that I've been living. Downside? I miss all the goings-on, all the fun stuff. It's Thanksgiving Day here, and while giving thanks liberally I also had the time to peruse various blogs. Yay!
I stopped over at DP's spot, which led me to Safiya at Outlines, which led me to Umar Lee, and all of them talked in some way about spouses and husbands and interracial relationships etc. So now, my turn to think a lil bit about all of this. And I've been avoiding the topic for such a time as would lend itself to my being open and vulnerable about it.
Y'all know I'm not married. Most of the people who've read this blog came to notice it because of a post that was basically whining about options for young unmarried Muslimas. Or making valid points on the options for unmarried muslimahs, depending on your paradigm. I'm not actively searching; rather making a lot of dua'a after fruitless searches. My eyes are out there but not much else.
In reading the responses to Umar Lee's posts on the topic I've seen a lot of hateration going around, especially when it comes to American Black Women being marriageable. I've seen it so much that I've had to catch myself; at one point I had absorbed the viewpoint that my being Black made me less desireable to Muslims of other races and cultures. I actively have had to reject that inside my own head. Now, you all know that I am intensely glad that Allah saw fit to make me Black, and thankful that I am an educated professional in this country. wa Astaghfirullah. It was abhor-ably easy for me to detect that 'don't bring one of Them home' attitude through the computer screen as well as through my everyday encounters, the chance remarks, the sideways looks and the non-looks. Audhu biIllah. Shaitan is really sneaky on this one.
As for the looking- I've just stopped looking and started making dua'a instead. It's funny that when I mention that I want to get married to some of the sisters who ask about my marital status in this city (I'm new to a lot of people here), they inevitably ask what kind of brother I'm looking for. To which I reply: A good, educated man. Aisha looked at me askance when I gave her my off-the-cuff answer that I didn't care as long as he was educated and spoke Spanish. "Spanish? " she cocked her head at me, really puzzled. "When I stub my toe or yell that's the language I tend to work in," I answered half seriously.
The truth is that I... almost... I want to say 'I don't care', in that peculiarly American way that I have of using that phrase, but that's not specific enough. I don't care- about the small stuff. Or rather, I don't have a picture all prettily painted in my mind, waiting for Allah to *poof* make Optimal Husband appear and ride me into the sunset. I guess somewhere in here I've grown up, because even the idea doesn't appeal any more. Reality sneaks into my dreams daily.
No picture in my mind, hence, I can no longer reel off a gigundo list of qualities, attributes, characteristics, and assets that my future husband MUST have in order to even have a chance at my hand. Used to be ol' boy would be oh, 6'5 1/2" tall (exactly), have a Ph.D or an M.D. in his field of choice, and have impeccable manners, and love his mama to distraction. Now, though, my criteria have been way simplified after I've lived a while and done some praying and contemplating and had some of those loonnnng discussions with people I trust over cups of na'na' late at night. He has to be able to answer these questions:
1) What is your understanding of God, the Qur'an, Salat, the prophets, and the hereafter?
2) How do you feel about children?
3) Describe your relationship with your family, especially your brothers, sisters, and mother.
4) What are your goals?
5) What do you see as your and my responsibilities as Muslims, spouses, and citizens?
6) How do you handle your financial responsibilities?
And before everyone and their wali jumps all over my case, should a brother actually be serious about his suit, I'm prepared to answer those questions as well as other similar ones.
What infuriates and disturbs me is that this whole practice and permissiveness of turning down potential mates based on their skin hue and nationality and other cultural stereotypes is on a real jahiliyah tip, one that Allah and his Prophet alayi salatu wa salaam warned us about... some people need to go read surat al Asr, for real! One of our halaqa leaders always (always) ends dua'a with that- and the reasons are evident. I guess because I've done my share of crushing on various people (and that's all I need to say about that, ain't it?) I know that men of all hues can be mentally and physically attractive. How dare ANYONE lump all of that spark potential into the thin little layers of epidermis and throw away what Allah has given us? It's just taking the easy way out to separate and categorize and stigmatize on skin and culture. It's a lot harder to say, hey, this brother has good adab, appears to all who know him to be trying to get some taqwa, let's look at him a little more, oh, and he's of a brighter/darker hue. No, that's getting too deep into this selection thing. Audhu billah.
Also, it annoys me that the colorstruck members of the American Black ummah, especially brothers, are the ones who are being pointed out in all of this. What is that supposed to mean? Is it supposed to bother me that men of my own hue will search outside of their native country for women with features unlike mine? Or perhaps I'm meant to feel (even more) inferior based on the choices of those who assign no value to me? I love Black men. I was raised by and with Black men. I am thus beloved of Black men. And that's all that means. It takes little away from me to have a Black man love a non-Black woman unless I make it so. I get to choose whether or not to drink the cup of haterade. If Allah has willed an African wife for an African American man, then great for him, and if He hasn't, then great, too. Our trials are assigned, designed, and tailored just for the individual. Don't let me stand in your way.
And too, it annoys me that people automatically assume that I will only accept a Black man for a husband. Sisters come back with, "Well, I don't know of any African American brothers who are single...", I guess immediately discounting other brothers. Why would that be? Anyone who knows even a little about me realizes that I'm very open-minded in my preferences. I am positively Black for myself, that's something that radiates in the air around me, but I can't say that it means everything around me must be Black! Come on, now. It comes back to being put into boxes again on a scale so grand it boggles the mind. If Allah has decided that the best mate for me is not of my hue, then I'd be an outlandishly crazy fool to turn Him down and hunt for what my dunyawi mind and nafs tells me I ought to want. Beyond that, I've been GIVEN criteria to search for what I SHOULD want, so why not let Him lead me to what will make everyone involved happy? Plus be pleasing to Allah? I don't understand how people don't get this.
Or, to put it into a simpler metaphor: I wanted a car. I Asked (made istikara) for a car (and a computer and a husband but let's stick to the car...). And then when people asked, I said I wanted a foreign, youngish, manual trans, dark colored car with just enough leg room. And as I was about to buy that style of car (using riba'a no less, may Allah forgive me) with about 110K miles on it, the deal fell through. And I was led instead to a light colored, domestic, 20 year old, huge car that I paid for cash.
It is impossible for me to be any happier with what I have. I am exstatic. I have a car! It's distinctive and it runs well and I avoided something I KNOW causes the displeasure of the One who loves me most. Good thing I wasn't blinded by all the hues of trouble I could've gotten into.