December 20, 2011 2 Comments
When the topic of marriage comes up the overwhelming advice Muslims will give is choose someone with deen. Deen being the Arabic word for religion. This advice stems from the advice of the prophet scw to his companions, a woman is chosen in marriage for many qualities, beauty, wealth, noble linage, and so forth, but the best is the woman with deen or religion. Religion as the prophet scw adviced here in my understanding encompasses much more than religious worship and extends to good character, kindness, humility, compassion, excellent morals, in short human decency.
Thus when people advice others go for someone with deen, I am assuming they mean qualities that are beyond for example someone who observes the 5 pillars of Islam, has a big beard, wears hijab/jilbab, frequents the mosque, or often utters phrases like MashaAllah, Alhamdullah, SubhanAllah, InshaAllah, Barakallahu fi, JazaKaAllah khair (all beautiful phrases by the way says *MashaAllah*)
It’s a tricky one though, because often times religious or a person with deen has become synonymous with personal worship at best, and other times with the outer exterior first and foremost. I’ll use myself as an example. I wear hijab. I have had several men express interest in marrying me, well of course I wondered about their immigration status having anything to do with their proposals, but that is another story. I am a very curious person and I don’t shy away from asking questions. So I asked them, why would you propose to me when you don’t even know me, apart from seeing me around at school. The answer was well I’d like to get to know you better, because you look like a nice religious girl. I thanked them, said I was not ready for marriage, and advised them to check out the local mosque. The moral of the story, religious or deen has become synonymous with the outer exterior or worship alone, and taking a backseat is human decency.
When I was younger I confused being “religious”, or someone that practices Islam with having good character, righteousness, being just, human decency, kindness, integrity, those beautiful qualities. The reason being I believed if someone was a God fearing Muslim then they would have those beautiful qualities that the faith champions. Thus being religious in my understanding was both in worship that is obeying the commandments like prayer, but also having a good heart. Therefore a religious person in my view feared God in how they dealt with others and because of that fear could never be unjust, or unkind, or cheat, manipulate, and so forth.
I no longer hold that belief, but I do see that confusion exists in many. Someone can be a practicing Muslim, and God fearing as in being a great worshiper-always at the mosque, doesn’t miss prayers, or wears a big beard, has hijab, but at the same time lack human decency, be unkind, unjust, in other words not have a good heart let alone be a good spouse.
There is a quote from Khaled Hosseini author of the Kite Runner which says, “And that’s the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does too.” In this case that is the thing with people that practice religion and have human decency, they think everyone that practices religion has human decency too.