Assalamwalikum (peace be upon you). Today someone had asked me “should a woman approach a man for marriage? and if yes or no, what were my thoughts in regards to this?” A lot of women have become accustomed to the traditional way of being approached for marriage, a man should be a man and out right ask her if he is interested in her. Now, if we were to think what tradition this is a lot of us would say, its been the norm since probably the beginning of time.
Lets go back into Islamic history shall we? For those that know about Islam will know that The Prophet Muhammad (Peace & Blessings Be Upon Him) was asked by Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) for marriage. Not exactly in a direct, blunt way but she had sent Nafisa, her servant, her worker to ask The Prophet Muhammad (Peace & Blessings Be Upon Him) if he was married and if not, why not? Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) had hired the Prophet Muhammad (Peace & Blessings Be Upon Him) as a worker and she was extremely impressed with his character and how he worked. She had trusted him with the caravan of goods going back to several places for deliveries. Eventually, she had saw a lot of good characteristics in him and had sent Nafisa to ask if he would want to marry Khadija. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace & Blessings Be Upon Him) was thrown off by the approach because a woman, that is in the status of Khadija, wealthy, owned her own business, had turned down several wealthy and noble men, asking me for marriage? He was as confused as any man would be. He did accept and they got married. She is the first woman to accept Islam and one of the mothers of the believers.
Today when women see a good a man or a good practicing muslim and they are like “WOW! Masha’Allah! That is the type of man I want! He is the type of man I want that will help raise a family.” But, of course there is a but. What did you expect? That women just run up to the men and say, “Oh brother, will you marry me?” Of course not. That is the first thing you do not want to do because firstly, it will throw the man completely off. In his mind he is thinking, “who is this crazy woman, just approaching me out of the blue and asking me to marry her? What type of drugs is she on?” Then you’ll realize, “well I just got rejected and now he thinks I am crazy and I’ll NEVER get a chance anymore!” Then you will start crying, tell all your friends how horrible you feel and you’ll probably update your Facebook or Tweet about it in a discrete way, where only people you told know what happened.
Your approach is always going to be everything. When you go to a job interview, do you go to the interviewer and say “GIVE ME THE JOB! I AM QUALIFIED! GIVE ME! GIVE ME! GIVE ME! I BEG YOU! HIRE ME!” No, you don’t because this sounds extremely desperate and again, crazy! You don’t do any of that nor do you even think that way. You dress up nicely, look at yourself in the mirror, think to yourself how are you going to impress the interviewer and how are you going to convince them to hire you. You have all these scenarios in your head playing and telling you say this and smile like this and Insha’Allah (If Allah Wishes), you will get the job.
Your approach will either give you that opportunity for the job that is in place or it won’t, just as your approach to the husband to be, will either give you an opportunity for him to hear you out or not. Women expect the man to do the approaching, to do the talking, to be romantic in marriage, while she won’t possibly do any of it. Im not saying, there aren’t ANY women that aren’t romantic or approach men, I am sure there are but … yeah but means, you probably haven’t heard of any either and if you have, it is quite rare these days. Women need to think outside of the box and not fear rejection, just as men don’t need to fear rejection. In the approach of Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) she did what she had intended to and approached the situation in a respectable manner. She had sent Nafisa out to ask questions to the Messenger Of Allah which had broken the ice. The approach wasn’t direct “Will you marry Khadija?” No, she had asked him several questions. “Why aren’t you married?” and asked him “If there was a woman who was noble, had beauty and wealth, would you be interested?” This entered his mind and he thought about it, confused at first because he didn’t have anything but he accepted. He was her employee, she knew about him and he knew about her.
If your approach is direct, blunt, more than likely, you will scare the man away. You want to spark the curiosity of the man. “Why is she interested in me? What does she want, that I have?” You want him to think about all this and make him curious, spark a bit of interest in you. “Will you marry me!” out right, will scare him but getting someone to say “you know what, I know this sister who is interested in you, her name is Salma, might want to give her a chance if you are looking to get married.” Now if the man is seriously looking to get married, he will consider her and may even ask the person who had introduced Salma about her and what her goals are, ambitions, can she cook and many other things which he wants in a woman. If the man had never seen her, he will obviously want to see if there is a sense of attraction because no man or woman, wants to marry someone whom they are not physically attracted to and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Im not saying, it will work but I am saying, there is room for rejection and you have to handle it, just as you have handled not being hired for jobs you’ve applied for or interviewed for.
You can’t sit there all your life and expect a man to approach you, while you probably stare at this man every single day or whatever it is you do, hopefully, it is not stalking him. You want to set the right tone and at least approach him through someone who may know him. This way, it opens the door of trust and it opens the door for curiosity. Some men have the belief that if a woman approaches him directly, she is desperate and he will probably reject her because he didn’t get to do it first even though she is attractive and he may have been interested in her. It’s an ego thing with men. Not all men but some. There are lessons in Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) approach and how the comfort level between Khadija & The Messenger Of Allah was already set. Allah SWT had already planned this. If the person feels there is no comfort in what is going on, it won’t go anywhere. Remember, your approach is EVERYTHING. Break the ice through someone that knows him, get to know him in a halal way, I did say halal, so you can’t say, this brother said, I can do whatever I want. You may be rejected or you two may end up getting married but remember, you can’t sit there all your life. That man you are interested in probably doesn’t even know you are interested in him because you are too much of a scardy cat, sitting there basing all your assumptions on something you’ve never experienced.
Be like Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her), courageous, brave, comforting, strong and willing to take the first step and control the situation, instead of assuming or fearing rejection. Allah knows best what will happen. Pray ishtikhara (guidance prayer) and Insha’Allah, it’ll happen.