I got married at the age of 23. I was trying to get married at the age of 19. It took 4 years and it was not easy.
At 23, I had no job (still a student), no clear career path, no house (lived in a basement apartment and my room was the size of a closet) , no car (bus and subway only), no savings. So I wasn’t exactly the most eligible bachelor.
So how could I convince my in-laws to marry their daughter to me?
It wasn’t easy lol, but they saw that I had some basic Islamic knowledge, was practicing, and was trying to learn more, seemed like I had acceptable khuluq (character). In terms of dunya, they also saw that I was a hard worker, had a plan, had hopes and ambitions.
Allah bless them. Not many parents would agree to marry their daughter under those circumstances.
Muslim parents: Have realistic criteria for potential suitors. Don’t look at material possessions if you want a young son-in-law who is close in age to your daughter. Look at other factors, deen and khuluq being most important as said by the Prophet ﷺ. If you are fine with your daughter marrying someone 10 or 15 years older, then fine. Otherwise, it makes absolutely no sense.
Hadith: “When someone with whose religion and character you are satisfied asks your daughter in marriage, accept. If you do not do so there will be temptation in the earth and extensive corruption.”[Tirmidhi]
Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet ﷺ said, “The nobility of a man is in his religion, his manhood is in his intellect, and his honor is in his character.” [Musnad Ahmad]
Muslim women: Have realistic criteria and be smart. Remember the maxim – If you want to be the wife of a general, you have to marry a lieutenant. Don’t wait for your later 20s and 30s to start seriously accepting proposals. Start early, early, early. If you think it is too early to start, it’s probably late.
Muslim bachelors: Work on improving yourself in all respects, starting with deen and khuluq. Rejection is natural. Don’t let it get you down and out. Let it make you stronger and more determined to achieve ihsan (excellence) in all you do.
Overall for both brothers and sisters struggling right now:
If you are trying to get married, do not lose hope. Leave it to Allah. Keep going back to the dua:
O Allah, give me what is best for me!
O Allah, you know and I do not!
O Allah, make it easy for me to get what is best for me!
You want Allah to help you. Are you doing your part to be the best Muslim you can be?