I’m sitting on my laptop, doing homework and minding my own business when my mom comes up to me and asks, “can I speak to you for a moment about something?” Of course, I put my laptop down and listen to what my mom has to say. She’s starts talking about another potential marriage proposal by some doctor on a residency visa in New York when I kindly tell my mom I’m not interested.
In the last few weeks, the details of the marriage proposal by this doctor start to surface. Of course, nothing stays quiet in our loud and proud community! It has reached the ears of some of our family friends who are shocked that I refused his proposal. Everyone had something to say along the lines of, “Give him a chance, he’s a rich doctor after all. How long are you going to stay like this?”
What many don’t understand is that I can honestly careless about such material things, especially when that’s all a man has to offer. I’d rather “stay like this” vs being rich and miserable.
Here’s the full situation: This guy is on a 5 year residency visa (for medical school) with two years left as of this month. He wants to stay in the country beyond those two years by getting married this year to an American citizen. Of course after learning about me through my extended family in New York, he states that he’d rather be with a girl of his same traditional Muslim and Egyptian cultural values then to just marry anyone.
He let it be known that his family is of wealth and stature in Egypt whom he’s spoken with about his interest in proposing to me. His family then spoke to a family friend in New York to call my mother and help them make the formal proposal assuming the impossibility that my family would refuse their stature and wealth. He then would be willing to take a whole week off (that’s 7 days for those unsure how long a week is) to come to San Francisco so that we’d meet and make the necessary arrangements.
Ummm… is it just me or does this assumption sound ridiculous to anyone else?
Speaking from a Muslim perspective, I can not accept his proposal. Why? It’s because Islam teaches us that when seeking a life partner, there are four things amongst many that one should really consider (This is according to Sahih Bukhari/Muslim).
1. Faith (or “Deen”). For a relationship to grow and blossom, it must start with a good foundation of strong Islamic faith and understanding. It’s also the open-mindedness to learn and empower one’s self as a Muslim.
2. Beauty. We aren’t talking about just physical beauty but inner beauty first. Beauty of one’s personality, intelligence, compassion and understanding. I’m a firm believer that inner beauty is truly shown by how one carries themselves.
3. Rank/Status. This doesn’t necessarily mean their rank in school or status in society but in regards to their contribution to society and involvement in the community. How one is recognized in good light throughout their community.
4. Wealth. It’s not whether they are rich or poor but if they are financially stable and responsible. It’s also how do they utilize this wealth; charity (“zakat”), community building, investments, self growth, etc. However, Prophet Mohamed teaches us that one should take another for their faith over their wealth so that they may be successful.
Aside from the fact that I have no clue of this guy’s faith or beauty but only hearsay of his rank and wealth (as well as their view of such), personally I’m simply not interested. I’m not interested in someone who has not made the effort to get to know me on a personal level. He did not ask our family friend in New York about me, what I do, what I aspire to do, nor if we are in anyway compatible with each other. All he knows is how my name is listed in my American passport. Now he knows that I’m not interested in being anyone’s bridge to American visa extension.
As an old Egyptian saying goes, “خد القرد على ماله، يروح المال، يفضل القرد على حلوه” (take a monkey for his riches; when the riches are gone, the monkey stays as is). Now why would I wait for so long only to end up with a monkey?
…and that’s Why I’m Still Single.
Click here to read the introduction to the series.