Check out my piece for the budding Muslim matchmaking site Ishqr (formerly known as Hipster Shaadi):
“This past Ramadan I attended a weekend-long Muslim social bonanza in New York City. I was away from my family for the summer, so it was wonderful to find a spirit of community in such a big city. But by the time the weekend was over, I felt like I had a major hangover. Being around Muslims for such a concentrated time can be both contagiously exciting and claustrophobic all at once— it was like another ISNA convention (and yes, that is the real reason why Tariq Ramadan boycotted #ClubISNA). I was not alone on this sentiment. Running on fumes from a sleepless night and an undigested suhoor/sehri pancake baby growing in our bellies, my friend— the one driving us all home— shut off the old Kanye West Graduation album blasting from her stereo, looked out at the road, and asked, “Why is it that all Muslims know how to do is b*tch about marriage and relationships… ALL THE TIME?”
But really though— why?
As Muslims we are conditioned to understand the fulfillment of marriage as encompassing of half of our faith. And if the analogy of the car works here, with regard to issues of love and companionship, it often feels like both as individuals in the car and as a collective community— the vehicle itself (much like this sentence)— we don’t really know where we’re going. Or, rather, we might have an idea of the promised destination, but no clue as to how or when we’ll get there.
We end up taking various detours and U-turns; we sometimes run into potholes and dead- ends; some of us take the highway/freeway/fast-lane for the conventional A-Z engagement and marriage, while others drive slow or prefer local roads, taking the time to figure it all out. You might spend too much time driving down one road and then realize, “Sh*t I should have taken the left turn on that fork instead of right, screw you Apple Maps!” Others are on Tinder while driving, swiping left like they are God’s gift to womankind. Yeah. You. You piece of sh*t. You should watch where you’re driving. Someone could get hurt.”