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Are Muslim men scared of professional single Muslim women in their thirties?

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jannah:
I'd say the answer is a big overwhelming YES they are. What do y'all think?

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Are Muslim men scared of professional single Muslim women in their thirties?
   
      
From at.muslimah

A recent article on altmuslimah.com entitled “Searching for Khadijah: A boy’s perspective” by Sajid Hassan garnered quite a bit of attention as evidenced by the long string of passionate comments it received, far more than most other articles on Altmuslimah. The article described the pressure that professional Muslim American women face from their families and their social circles to get married in their early twenties, because it becomes much more difficult to find a partner once they hit their thirties.
The article suggested that Muslim men are more interested in marrying younger women than women in their thirties, and described the author’s own experience with his quest to defy these social norms in the American Muslim community by searching for a bride that was older than him.

It is difficult to obtain objective statistical data on the marriage pool of American Muslims, but based on my own anecdotal experiences, I can confirm that the American Muslim community indeed encourages men to marry younger women, leaving single Muslim women in their thirties who are interested in getting married to choose from a limited selection of potential candidates. Some friends of ours recently chaperoned a “match-making” evening for single Muslims in the Chicago suburbs, and it appeared that the female to male ratio was 3:1 for single Muslims in their thirties seeking a spouse. While these are subjective impressions, it may still be a useful exercise to try to analyze this skewed distribution. A so called “ticking reproductive clock” is one of the conventional arguments most often cited to explain why Muslim American men prefer to settle down with women who are in their early twenties. The term refers to the fact that women experience a gradual drop in their fertility as they age, while the incidence of birth defects increases with the age of the child-bearing mother. However, in modern day society couples have a substantially smaller number of children than they did 50 or 100 years ago. Therefore, women who marry in their thirties are often able to have the desired number of children during their child-bearing years without having to feel the pressure of the “reproductive clock”.

I would like to propose a different reason for why Muslim men may be more interested in marrying younger women. While women used to get married at a much younger age in prior centuries, women today often delay their nuptials for the purpose of obtaining graduate education and embarking on a professional career. In the United States, many of the single, professional Muslim women in their thirties have graduate degrees under their belts and are earning an above-average income. The majority of Muslim American men are either immigrants or children of immigrants from the Arab World or South Asia. Often, such immigrant culture is characterized by a strong patriarchal structure. Even second-generation Muslim Americans, who are born and raised in this country, may retain key elements of patriarchal behavior—one being the need to control the finances in the marriage, and thereby sit in the driver’s seat of the relationship. However, if the wives earn as much as or even more than their spouses, it is quite natural for them to also want to have an equal role in making financial decisions. This in turn, makes it very difficult for the men to justify their dominant role in the relationship.

In addition to economic empowerment, graduate education can also transform the mind-set of students. Most good graduate programs in the sciences or humanities require their students to analyze texts, challenge existing theories, and argue their hypotheses and findings in front of an audience, all the while honing their critical thinking skills. It is only natural for graduate students to carry this training into their personal lives, applying it to their faith, friendships and relationships. To take it one step further, higher education furnishes a person with the intellectual confidence and critical thinking skills to clearly distinguish between cultural norms and Islamic philosophy. In his book “Speaking in God's Name: Islamic Law, Authority and Women,” Khaled Abou El-Fadl posited that some Muslim scholars may selectively read religious texts in a manner that justifies the imposition of patriarchal thought. Unlike a young woman in her early twenties, a Muslim American female in her thirties, armed with a graduate degree/s, possesses the ability to question this conflation of culture and religion, and threaten her husband’s patriarchal authority in the marriage.

While there may be many reasons behind Muslim men’s disinterest in considering Muslim women in their thirties as viable marriage candidates, the threat this particular segment of women poses to patriarchal structures remains a key reason. There is a need for introspection amongst Muslim communities which encourage women to marry at a younger age while dissuading men from settling down with older women. Such reflection will likely allow the members of Muslim communities to recognize that these traditional age norms regarding marriage are not really grounded in religious prescriptions or biological reasons, but, instead, are remnants of patriarchal cultures that have limited application today. American Muslim men may have to come to terms with the fact that male-dominated relationships are steadily becoming obsolete, and that they may have to adapt to marital relationships that are based on true partnerships.

Al-Qamar:
I'd agree with that article. I myself am not interested in a woman that spent her youth building up a career, because (from my own personal perspective) it's a recipe for disaster. I want to marry a woman for her femininity, for the role that Allah (swt) created her for. As soon as she starts stepping and encroaching on the domain of the men, problems are going to happen. We can already see these problems in the so-called civilised and advanced western world where men and women wear both the skirts and the trousers, and it's the gender-lines being broken down that are having knock-on consequences with broken homes, etc.

From my perspective, I'm the guy, I'm the one that works. My wife is the one that raises the family. I don't want my wife to be thinking about her career when my kids need guidance, love and attention that only their mother can give.

jannah:
wsalam,

I don't think you quite read the article. As for your opinions, I have to say they are sadly outdated. The dichotomy between a "career woman" and a "feminine woman who wears skirts and guides her kids" doesn't exist anymore. This image of a "career woman" went out with the 90s. Women are today are extremely diverse and have many roles.

Al-Qamar:
With all due respect, I disagree. You can argue as much as you like about women having diversity and different roles, but everything boils down to the simple fact that Allah (swt) created women with a specific function and role in mind, and created men with a specific function and role in mind. As soon as cross-over begins to happen, things start breaking down. Yes, I know there are specific instances that disprove this general rule, but you can't use specifics to create a general rule! You go from the general to the specific.

Also, consider that as a woman, you're in no position to tell me about my views. The fact is I am someone who's in a position to marry one of these women, you're not (and I'm saying this with respect, btw, but I want to make my point clear too). Ultimately, my view does matter because I'm in a position to exercise it. If I don't want a career woman, and there are others like me (and I know there are others like me), it means that these women aren't going to get married (to us).

In fact, I was talking with one of my friends today who told me of this weird phenomenon going on with his friends, who are quite high-powered workers in a major city, and naturally the spouses they attract are equally high-powered. Except once they get married, they want their wives to quit their jobs and stay home, which the women don't want to do because they worked hard for their career, and it starts causing issues.

Who's to say when a particular opinion has become outdated? I raises points that are proven from Islam, and now you want to argue they're out-dated? Do you think Allah (swt) would have created us and prescribed for us a manner of living that would be incompatible with this day and age? That almost suggests that Allah (swt) didn't know about our situation when the shariah was decreed, and we know better. If you want to make that claim, that's up to you. Authubillah, I'm staying far away from that, and going back to my original premise - men were created for a purpose, women were created for a purpose, and the best situation is when each achieves their purpose fully!

jannah:
The major problem here is what you think Allah created us for. Surprise, it's not marriage or having kids. Allah created us to worship Him and be the best Muslims we can be.

Again, you can marry whoever you want. You can marry a 15 year old or a 4th wife, or one who has a 3rd grade education. No one is stopping you. That's your opinion. Don't bring Islam into it. Nowhere does Islam say women can't have a career or work their entire lives or anything else. Your opinion is that women can be only two things: either a career woman or a "good muslim woman who stays at home and takes care of her family". This is the outdated viewpoint I'm talking about. It's not only outdated it's just a fallacy and doesn't have anything to do with Islam. Seriously, ask a shaikh and scholar about it instead of claiming that your opinion is what Islam teaches.

Anyway, You've definitely answers the question this article was asking. YES indeed Muslim men are afraid to marry professional single muslim women.

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