From original blog:http://jannah.org/blog/2009/06/05/advice-for-the-guys
So while writing last week’s blog of advice for the girls, I realized there are a lot of things that I should be telling the guys as well!! Let me start by saying there are ma’shaAllah a lot of good brothers out there who are incredible men, husbands and fathers. They really embody very noble qualities and may Allah bless them.
Now for the rest of you guys
Advice for Muslim Guys
How to Not be a Jerk in 10 Ways
1. Stop liking ‘perfect girl’ and find someone real:
Ok so last week I mentioned to the sisters that there’s always that ONE girl that all the guys like in every community. She seems sweet and quiet and religious and pretty. All the PERFECT qualities in a girl right? So these guys spend all their time thinking about how perfect she is, checking her out every community event, stalking her Facebook profile, chatting her up on AIM etc, etc.
Ok, so first of all, let me just say ‘perfect girl’ is never perfect. There are always things about her that as a GUY you will never know. She seems sweet and quiet? Some girls just have a tendency to be shy around guys and not say anything, so she SEEMS sweet and quiet. But among her own peers and other girls she is quite vocal and tells us quite a lot of things that you might not like. ’Quiet’ could also mean a lack of personality or shallowness. Some girls are raised to know how to act around guys (all cute and innocent) but it covers what they’re really like. Think your parents would know or your Mom would be able to spot a girl’s true character? Hah! Some girl’s know how to play to each audience.
Religious? How do you know? She might wear Hijab but we all know it could be for a million reasons and what she does at home, in school or anywhere else could be quite different. Pretty? Once you get to know a girl, especially for marriage, ‘pretty’ goes down a bit in the scale relative to everything else. Trust me looks alone don’t last. (More on this later
) Some guys even propose to ‘perfect girl’ as legions have before them, but they’ll all get shot down because ‘perfect girl’ is of course going to marry ‘perfect guy’!
In the meantime, every other normal and good sister in the community has a hard time finding anyone and ends up marrying someone less than ideal.
My point here is to stop focusing on that “one perfect girl” based on appearance, assumptions and facade and find someone that is real and genuine in all aspects. There are tons of unmarried sisters in every community that are real jewels. I wish that they could get noticed too. She might be more talkative and active and actually have interests and a life! Horrifying I know, but believe me such a girl is a much better life partner and will come through in the end. (Like LeBron at the buzzer!
) (and without the immaturity & attitude) (Cavs in 4! Orlando in 6! Go Lakers!) (Ok have no idea what I just said there lol.)
Some brothers are “perpetual bachelors” meaning they end up turning down every girl for years and years. Why? Because they are ‘picky’. They have unrealistic ideals and expectations. Sometimes they fell hard for ‘perfect girl’ and now can’t find anyone that matches up to her, cuz of course no one is perfect! (not even ‘perfect girl’ but they were never able to marry her to find this out!) These ‘perpetual bachelors’ end up reaching a certain age (usually 30+) and then one day they just snap and marry the next person that comes along that has ‘nothing wrong with her’. So really, why do this?? Why not reach for happiness now. Stop being so picky and looking for perfection. It just doesn’t exist.
The other extreme we have is brothers who keep proposing to girls but keep getting turned down. Then they get bitter over time and blame all women for being ’superficial, shallow, gold diggers that play games’. Hellooo. I guarantee you these guys have one ‘type of girl’ that they keep asking over and over again, and then for some reason they expect the answer to be different? Why they get turned down lies in themselves and the types of girls they are asking. Re-evaluate the type of girl you’re looking for and ask yourself why you were turned down. Improve yourself and change your ideas on what to look for in a wife. This is the way you can find happiness.
2. Stop being superficial:
One of things you always see in matrimonial ads or even the requirements that guys put on their list of ‘looking for a future spouse’ in the Fiqh of Love class is “attractive” or “good looking” and there’s nothing wrong with being attracted to your future wife and finding her attractive (and you should), but they also write things like “pretty”, “beautiful”, “gorgeous”, “very young”, “light-skinned”, “tall and thin”, “curvacious”, “must be a doctor”, “hyderabadi”, “five-star cook”. I mean?? What relation does that have to being a good wife and mother?? Whatever happened to qualities like being good with kids, kind to elders, loving, intelligent, religious, spiritual, good personality, funny, interesting, active.
Have you ever been around someone “good looking” over time? How much do their looks affect you, do you even notice it after awhile? Do you think 10 years from now she will look the same? LOOKS FADE & CHANGE. Over a lifetime girl’s change quite a bit, they could become thin, fat, become ill, develop a condition, have multiple children, whatever. Please do yourself a favor and look up ‘celebrities without makeup’ on youtube and start looking at older women closely. This is how normal women look. I once heard a Muslim comedian making fun of guys saying “once you see a baby come out of her” your whole opinion will change!
Some guys will even reject a girl based upon a picture, ONE PICTURE. Seriously, does that make sense? Pictures mean nothing. Meeting the real person, getting to know them can change your entire perspective of how attractive she is to you. There is a balance here, you have to look at the total package. If she is not perfectly “beautiful” she may have other characteristics which are much better. Trust me you do not want to marry someone “outwardly attractive” that has the ugliest character. I am the first to admit there are girls out there that do a disservice to women. They are shallow and manipulative and have ugly insides. Think about what your future marriage will be like. As Muslims we know that the Prophet (s) enjoined us to marry for Deen and good character in order to be “successful”. Why don’t we listen to his advice?
3. Figure out what you’re doing in life:
OK so we girls get these proposals all the time from guys who just have no idea what they’re doing. They kind of studied this or that, weren’t interested in school or in a certain career, want to go overseas, but not really. Want to be active in something and do something, but not really. But one thing for sure, they want to get married, but have no idea what that means exactly!??!
As a guy you should have a certain life path and goals and I hate to break it to you, but if you want to get married this should include ideas on how to support a family practically. Some scholars go so far as to say that if you’re not able to support a family, you’re not allowed to propose to someone! Now I’m not saying that guys should be either doctors, lawyers or engineers or clones on the corporate treadmill or whatever in order to get married. You could be a journalist or a teacher or an activist or a business owner or an Imam or a chaplain, anything, but you should have some goals and some idea of how you want the future to be. This tells us you’re a decent guy that has thought about the future and regards looking after his family as important.
4. Don’t use a girl for her companionship:
I mentioned to the girls that I believe Allah put this need inside of us for companionship of the opposite sex. (Even the Quran mentions it!) So we are always unconsciously seeking to fulfill this, but unfortunately due to school, careers, cultural concerns we can’t get married when we want to. This need then comes out in “platonic friendships”. Unfortunately for girls due to their nature, they tend to develop feelings over time while sometimes a guy has clearly defined her as ‘friend to talk to’ in his mind.
Sh. Abdullah Adhami mentioned on his tape set how many brothers “use girls” nature (unconsciously even) to fulfill this need for companionship because it’s easy and convenient until they can actually go out and find someone to marry. Please, PLEASE don’t do this. Limit your ‘friendships’ with girls, your conversations, and make it clear you’re not interested in her for marriage. (It might hurt a little, but trust me it’s much better for her.) So many girls have lingered in these types of ‘relationships’ for years until they realize the guy is not interested in them in that way.
Sometimes a guy will continue talking to a girl and keep her as a “reserve” in case he doesn’t find anyone else. Would you want the same to be done with your sister or someone close to you? It’s just not right. Don’t do it. Tell a girl up front if you’re already hooked up, if your parents are going to be picking out your wife, if you don’t plan to get married for years yet. Just make your intentions extremely clear. In fact if you’re not interested in her for marriage, don’t talk to her period.
5. Don’t change urself for a girl:
Surprisingly I thought I’d talk about this for the girls but I see this a lot more in guys! We all know girl’s parents want doctors (because they think this will bring security and happiness to their daughter). But we all know that might not be the case! So forcing yourself through med school when you are more interested in social work is not a good idea. Trust me, when you find what you are good at and interested in you are a much better person that girls will flock to.
In talking to rishtas, sometimes guys will tailor what they say according to the girl and how she thinks, wait until she gives her answer first or will give beautiful Islamic politically correct Sh. Birjas answers. Reading Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus is quite helpful too, but when your answers are word for word from the book you are not really getting to know the sister and you are not letting her get to know the real you. Your thoughts and views do not have to be exactly the same, but different viewpoints and interests are important. Not everyone in the world is compatible with each other just because they are Muslim. You’re not doing yourself any favors by making up ‘ideal’ answers or changing your views. You will never be able to determine if you really are compatible and you will have a very difficult time later when real life comes along. Take the time to really talk, debate and discuss all kinds of ideas with your real opinions. Later on if you want to compromise on issues you can, but get to know the real yous first.
6. Be a man:
Learn how to cook and clean, do the laundry, change diapers and do stuff for yourself. Really, if you don’t know how to do these things and want to replace your mommy doing these things with your wife I just don’t know what to say. Ask yourself if that is really the behavior of a real man?
Married guys who don’t do anything around the house while their wife slaves in the kitchen, cleans the whole house, takes care of the kids and even picks up after your messes, has no free time, no hobbies, no friends, no money and no time for her own spiritual development! That’s being a real man? The Prophet (s) used to clean, do things around the house and mend his own shoes even, and this was a messenger of God with multiple wives!
I always can tell a brother who had a good mother. He will hang up his jacket, he will clean up after himself, he is just able to do things with self-sufficiency. Ever see those guys carrying a baby strapped on in front, with a baby bag slung across one shoulder. That’s a real man! That’s attractive. A guy who think he’s too ‘masculine’ to change his own child’s diaper or do anything around the house is not.
7. Stop being ’shady’ (aka a hypocrite):
You know the guys who write ‘u look hot n dat pic’ on your Facebook page yet want to be your ‘friend’. The one’s who talk and flirt with every girl and have tons of (semi)relationships. The one’s who have pictures of their arms around multiple girls at various clubs. The perpetual bachelors who reject everyone who is not the perfect 10, Victoria’s Secret model, hyderabadi-biryani making, doctor-hafiza, white girl. The one’s who do everything they want and then go around looking for a ‘good religious girl from the village’ for marriage…
Yeah so to all the above: Please develop some principles and ethics. Are you a Muslim or aren’t you? If you’re not perfection yourself why keep looking for it? Don’t be a hypocrite. I’ll say this straight up, if you’re not a virgin why are you looking for one? If you drink, look for someone who drinks, if you sleep around do the same. If you are twice divorced and have four kids, look at other divorced women with kids. Why are you looking for never married 17 year olds? Married men who have major marriage problems with their kids on welfare looking for second wives? Seriously?
Some guys try to get to know a girl through the internet using weird and stalkerish ways. Cue Penn Masala’s Facebook stalker song. No we don’t find it endearing. Get to know us, the real person, not our profile. Make your intentions clear and we’d be happy to get to know you for marriage.
8. Don’t be cheap:
My oh my this should be #1 maybe lol. One of the most beautiful characteristics of a man is one who is Kareem, generous. First with money, I mean what are you going to do with it? It’s not going to go with you to the grave. Why not spend it on your family to make them happy now. Give your wife an allowance, give her nice well thought-out gifts. Nice things for her like jewelry and perfume and flowers for no reason at all. Take your kids on vacations. If you’re going to someone’s house for a rishta make sure to bring something nice. [One story I heard was of a guy who brought Dunkin Donuts coffee (the free kind they give out at rest stops!
)] Pay for all things yourself. Pay for friends. Pay for guests. Be generous with your time, volunteer, help out at the Masjid, give to others in different ways. Make time for your wife and romance, for your kids. These are really Islamic characteristics that we should all practice.
9. Don’t propose/look for a girl when your parents aren’t in agreement:
I’ve seen guys look for girls and talk to girls when they KNOW their parents are planning to pick someone out. Arghh..whyyy!? You might THINK they’ll be OK with whoever you choose but they’re usually not. Talk to them and get them on board for you looking for someone with their consent. Do the search together. If they refuse and want to do it, give them your requirements.
Proposing to a girl when you know your parents are against it is the worst possible thing you can do to a girl. It puts her in a very difficult position of waiting until you “convince” them or you “possibly” go against them and marry her, against their consent (which never happens). Both positions are really bad situations. I know guys want to find out if a girl is interested before they get their parents involved, but both need to be there at the beginning. Otherwise life turns into a Bollywood movie WITHOUT the happy ending.
We talked about this more in depth in the comments of last week’s blog and I know many brothers don’t set out with the intention of hurting a sister. They do, in the beginning, in their hearts want to marry a good sister, but they just don’t realize the amount of pressure, emotional blackmail and pain their families can put them through. It is often too much for any guy to bear. In the end, they always end the relationship with the sister before they ever end the relationship with their families. It’s just better for everyone all along if you can “convince” your family first and have at least their ‘acceptance’ before you proceed.
10. Be sensitive, censor your words:
So you know the age-old question wives have asked husbands everywhere: “Do I look fat in this?”
The correct answer is always an immediate and automatic: “NO! Of course not!” and for a bonus point add “You look beautiful!” then that’s it, don’t say anymore, run away! Anything else you say will just ruin it. I don’t know why this is but some guys think that they should be “completely honest” and “forthright” about everything even when it really hurts the girl’s feelings. Maybe you guys say whatever you want to each other and it doesn’t bother you, but to us it does. I mean we’ve already been raised to be extremely conscious about our looks, our weight, how we are etc etc, mostly perpetuated by yourselves! So it’s even worse when a guy can’t control or edit his words.
Things like ‘You look like a raccoon with that mascara’, ‘You would be so pretty if you just lost some weight’, ‘Your mother is so annoying’, how about this from the jerk’s hall of fame: ‘I wasn’t attracted to you at first, so I prayed to Allah to make that go away’, ‘Your friend is so ugly, how’s she going to find a husband?’ or ‘I know our kids won’t be that good looking but I hope their partners will find other good qualities in them’, or ‘I love you!’ (after knowing her a week?!) and of course the Mr. Collins’ all-time classic: ‘You’ll never get a proposal as good as this, you should be thanking me!’. Yes, we do thank you, for letting us know you are a jerk before we would have made the mistake of marrying you! (Maybe I shouldn’t be telling you guys all this as we won’t know how to tell anymore, but I think there are some guys out there who are good but just have no idea what they’re doing!)
So really, be a little sensitive and don’t say stupid things. Wonder why your wife is quiet, upset and hurt? Ask her! And then please learn so you don’t do it again. You don’t have to tell her everything you think. You don’t have to declare every feeling and inclination you have. You don’t have to lie, but you don’t have to be brutally honest either. That doesn’t make you a man, it just makes you a person with no sensitivity at all. So keep it to yourself and edit your words. Have you ever seen a good, positive relationship between two people, even friends? They are always complimenting each other and building each other up. They don’t criticize or pick on each other or make insensitive comments.
Purely a FYI Bonus #11. Don’t be a jerk (yes, it’ll always come back to you):
Back in the 90s we had this running joke in MSAs that there was this worldwide sisters network where we had files on every brother and we would put a blackball on their file if a guy did something wrong and then every other girl would find out about it. Well guess what… the long lost legend is true. We hear about various guys and what they did all the time. And now that we have the “internets” and “social networking” no one’s life is any kind of secret. Reject that girl because you didn’t like her picture? We hear about it and don’t want anything to do with such a ’shallow guy’. Lie to a girl about something, be a player, you think she doesn’t warn other sisters about you?
I know one sister who recommended a brother to her friend, whom she had been talking to, for marriage to herself! Kind of weird, but apparently he was a very decent guy but they just weren’t compatible but she thought he might be compatible with her friend. I immediately thought he must be amazing because through everything she still thought good of his character and behavior, enough to want to set him up with her friend! So, talking to two girls at once? Proposing to girls left and right? Have multiple girlfriends? Have weird requirements? ‘Abusing’ a girl before you leave her. In the end, reputation is just as important for guys as it is for girls.
I always tell my girls when they’re doing research on any guy for marriage to see how he treats the women in his family and then to ask the single girls in his community about him. Why? CUZ they know all the dirt!
Tell a sister you met for marriage that, ‘Sorry your parents are finding someone for you’ and then try giving your biodata to another sister to find someone for you. (This actually happened) [Yeah, don't try to play us, you'll be found out. Thanks.] We’re not being mean, we’re just protecting ourselves. (Just try to be open and honest in all your dealings and you’ll be fine inshaAllah lol)
So I hope these are a few things you guys can think about, for your own benefit and for ours. And yes Alhamdulillah there are a lot of really good things to learn from out there, but I hope this perspective from ‘the other side’ helps a little too
There’s some kind of debate going on among non-Muslim guys over whether girls like jerks or nice guys, hence the phrase ‘nice guys finish last’. Well I’m here to say, no Muslim girl likes a jerk, and nice guys aka good Muslim guys always finish first!
Jazaks for reading.
o *Last week’s blog: http://jannah.org/blog/2009/05/29/advice-for-muslim-girls
o *Lebron at the buzzer:
o *Celebrities w/out makeup:
o *Bollywood version:
o *Penn Masala FB skit:
o *Sami Yusuf Dua: