Here is an excerpt from Muslimah Voices Book Club’s November book read, Love in a Headscarf: Muslim Woman Seeks the One. Blogger and Writer, Shelina Zahra Janmohamed offers her readers insight into what it means to be on the hunt for love through an arranged marriage.
I really found this excerpt interesting. It brings several thoughts to my mind when I reflect on my own journey of finding a life partner.
On page 116-117, in the chapter ‘Lightning’, Shelina thinks she has finally found her “Ideal Prince Charming”,’ Karim, but is once again faced with disappointment and becomes a bit frustrated and loses some hope in ever finding her “Ideal Prince Charming.” She reasons with herself, trying to find some clarity and answers to why she hasn’t found The One. She reflects:
“… Maybe my father was right – maybe there isn’t any such thing as the perfect man. Should I stop looking for Prince Charming? Will that crackling chemistry never materialise? Perhaps my ideal of Prince Charming was just that – an ideal, a dream, something that could never be real.
Or perhaps the problem was with me. Did I expect too much? Surely I couldn’t really imagine that falling in love would mean living happily ever after? Despite pretending that I was immersed in the depths of my faith, and saw marriage as part of completing that faith, I had to admit to myself that it was Prince Charming from the fairytales that I was looking for . I demanded such a person from the Creator. I failed to reciprocate with the right attitude. If I saw my partner through the right eyes as a companion in life and faith, then he would be perfect indeed.
Perhaps I should have learnt from Karim that there would not be a perfect man. He had shown that despite meeting all my criteria on paper, and apart from the huge fact that he had evoked ‘that feeling,’ he lacked both the character to treat me well and the desire to be with me.
My rejection should have pushed me to assess honestly what I wanted in a partner and what the reality of choosing my companion should be. I should make a choice based on who would treat me well, and then trust in God to put the mercy, compassion and love between us, as promised. My experience in meeting Karim should have reinforced how important integrity and manner were-more important than the elusive spark.
Instead, I still prioritised ‘that feeling’ above all else. I was still waiting for my romantic dreams to be fulfilled and believing that they would bring me a sense of completion and happiness. But that love, the love that we describe through ‘that feeling, ‘ is not an understanding of the eternal and universal truth of love. That superficial feeling of attraction is about as far from the Divine Love as it could be. Despite knowing the words to explain that, and regurgitating what I had learnt as a Muslim about my faith and the extraordinary universality of love and it’s connection to the divine, I didn’t really know it. It is easy to say you know something, but a completely different matter to live it with your being. I would have to fall harder still before I would be able to pick myself up and look directly into the face of love.”
Do you believe in the idea of ‘Prince Charming ?’And Like the Author, do you have an Ideal Prince Charming criteria? And how has your IPC criteria influenced your choices in choosing a life partner?
Excerpt provided by Zainab John, Founder and Club Leader of Muslimah Voices Book Club (MVBC) – new book club for Muslim women.
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