Wifehood and Motherhood are Not the Only Ways to Paradise

“Why are you majoring in that field?” I asked a sister in college. She sighed, “To be honest, I just want to get married. I don’t really care about what I’m studying right now. I’m just waiting to get hitched so I can be a wife and a mother.”

“It’s awesome that she wants to be a wife and a mother, but why would she put her life on hold?” I wondered. Why would a skilled, passionate young woman create barriers to striving for self-improvement and her ability to be socially transformative when she doesn’t yet have the responsibilities of wifehood or motherhood? Being a wife and a mom are great blessings, but before it actually happens, why exchange tangible opportunities, just waiting for marriage to simply come along—if it came along? I didn’t have to look far to find out.

“I’m already twenty-six,” another sister lamented. “I’m expired. My parents are going crazy. They think I’m never going to get married and they pressure me about it daily. My mom’s friends keep calling her and telling her I’m not getting any younger. She keeps crying over it and says she’ll never be a grandma. It’s not like I don’t want to get married; I’ve been ready since college! I just can’t find the right guy,” she cried.

Why, as a general community, are we not putting the same pressure on women to encourage them to continue to seek Islamic knowledge? Higher education? To make objectives in their lives which will carry over and aid them in their future familial lives, if such is what is meant for them? Perhaps it’s because we’re obsessed with the idea that women need to get married and become mothers and that if they don’t, they have not reached true success.

We all know the honorable and weighty status of wifehood and motherhood in Islam. We all know that marriage completes half your deen1 and that the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) has told us about the mother, “[…] Paradise is at her feet.”2

But getting married and becoming a mother is not the only way to get into Paradise. And not every grown woman is a wife and/or mother, nor will ever be. Some women will eventually become wives and/or mothers, if Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) blesses them with such, but for others, Allah (swt) has blessed them with other opportunities.

Allah (swt) did not create women for the sake of wifehood or motherhood. This is not our first goal, nor our end goal. Our creation was to fulfill our first and most important role—to be His SLAVE. As He tells us in Surah Dhaariyat (Chapter of the Winnowing Winds), “And I did not create the jinn and humankind except to worship Me.”3

Worship comes in such a variety of forms. Being a housewife (a.k.a. domestic engineer!) can be a form of worship. Being a stay-at-home-mom can be a form of worship. Being a working wife and mother can be a form of worship. Being an unmarried female student can be a form of worship. Being a divorced female doctor, a female journalist, Islamic scholar, film director, pastry chef, teacher, veterinarian, engineer, personal trainer, lawyer, artist, nurse, Qur’an teacher, psychologist, pharmacist or salon artist can each be a form of worship. Just being an awesome daughter or house-fixer upper can be forms of worship. We can worship Allah (swt) in a variety of ways, as long as we have a sincere intention, and what we do is done within the guidelines He has set for us.

Unfortunately, however, that is not the message our community is sending to single sisters – both those who have never been married, and those who are now divorced. When I speak to many women and ask them about the ways they want to contribute to society and the ways they want to use their time and abilities, a number of them will tell me that they have no idea and that they’re only going through the motions of school or work while they’re waiting for Prince Muslim to come along and with whom they can establish parenthood.

However, Prince Muslim is not coming along quickly or easily for many awesome, eligible Muslim women. And for some, he has come along, and he or the institution of their relationship turned out to be more villainous than harmonious. Single and never married or divorced — very capable and intelligent Muslim women constantly have to deal with the pressure of being asked, “So…when are you getting married? You aren’t getting any younger. It’s harder to have kids when you’re older.”

The amount of tears, pain, stress, anger and frustration which these awesome women are constantly dealing with because of a social pressure to get married (especially when many already want to, but are just not finding the right person!) and have children is not from our religion.

Islam gave women scholarship. Our history is filled with women who have dedicated their lives to teaching Islamic sciences. Have you ever heard of Fatimah Sa`d al Khayr? She was a scholar who was born around the year 522. Her father, Sa`d al Khayr, was also a scholar. He held several classes and was “most particular about [his daughters] attending hadith classes, traveling with them extensively and repeatedly to different teachers. He also taught them himself.”4 Fatimah studied the works of the great al-Tabarani with the lead narrator of his works in her time.  You know who that lead narrator was? The lead narrator of Fatimah’s time was not named Abu someone (the father of someone, indicating that he was a male). The leading scholar of her time was a woman. Her name was Fatimah al-Juzadniyyah and she is the scholar who men and women alike would study under because in that era, she was the greatest and most knowledgeable in some of the classical texts.5 Fatimah Sa`d al Khayr eventually married and moved to Damascus and eventually to Cairo and she continued to teach. Many scholars travelled specifically to her city so they could study under her.6

Fatimah was brought up in a family that valued the education and knowledge of a woman to the point that her father was the one who would ensure she studied with scholars from a young age. Before marriage, she was not told to sit around and be inactive in the community out of fear that some men would find an educated woman unattractive or intimidating and would not want to marry her. She was not going through the motions of studying random things in college because she was stalling until she got married. She sought scholarship and Allah (swt) blessed her with a husband who was of her ranking, who understood her qualifications and drive, and who supported her efforts to continue teaching this religion even after marriage. She left a legacy we unfortunately have most likely never heard about because we rarely hear about the over eight thousand female scholars of hadith who are part of our history.7

Why do we never hear about Fatimah Sa`d al Khayr and the thousands of female scholars who were like her? I think that one of the reasons—and it’s just a personal theory—that as a community, we are so focused on grooming our women to be wives and mothers that we lose sight of the fact that this is not even our number one role.

Servitude to Allah (swt) is our number one role. We need to use what He has given us, the means that we have at the moment we have, to worship Him in the best of ways.

Islamic history is filled with examples of women who were wives and mothers, who focused completely on their tasks of being wives and/or mothers, and produced the likes of Imam Ahmed rahimahu allah (may God have mercy on him).8 We take those examples as a community and we reiterate the noble status of such incredible women.

But we also have examples of people who were not only wives and not only mothers, but those who were both of those, one of those, or none of those, and still were able to use the passions, talents and skills Allah (swt) blessed them with to worship Him through serving His creation, through calling His creation back to His Deen and leaving legacies for the generations to come. Some of these women were wives and mothers and dedicated their lives to focusing on their families completely and some of them continued to serve the greater society at large.

Shaykh Mohammad Akram Nadwi mentions in his introduction to his Dictionary of women hadith scholars, Al Muhadithaat, “Not one [of the 8000 female hadith scholars he researched] is reported to have considered the domain of family life inferior, or neglected duties therein, or considered being a woman undesirable or inferior to being a man, or considered that, given aptitude and opportunity, she had no duties to the wider society, outside of the domain of family life.”9

Female scholars in our history were focused on being family women when they had families to whom they held responsibilities, and  when able, they also had goals and objectives in life which extended beyond the roles of wifehood and motherhood. So what about someone who is not yet married? Many single women are using their time to the utmost, focusing on improving their skills and abilities to contribute back to the ummah (community) and society at large. They are loving worshipping Allah (swt) through investing in their abilities and using those for the greater good. Perhaps we can all take from their example.

God, in His Wisdom, has created each one of us differently and in different circumstances. Some recognize this, love any stage they are in, and develop their abilities to the fullest. Let us, too, use the time and abilities God has given us to maximize our worship to Him and work for the betterment of society and humanity as a whole. If wifehood or motherhood comes in the process, then at least we were using all of our ability to worship Him before it came and can continue to use the training and stamina we gained before marriage to worship Him with excellence once it comes along.

If there are parents, families and communities that are pressuring women to get married and have kids: Be grateful Allah (swt) has blessed you with daughters, married or unmarried, mothers or not, as the Prophet ﷺ has said, “Do not be averse to daughters, for they are precious treasures that comfort your heart.”10 We are putting more pressure on our sisters than they can emotionally and psychologically handle. Let us give them space, let them find themselves and establish their relationships with Allah (swt).

Allah (swt) created us to worship Him. That is our number one role. Now, let us do our part and figure out how best we can fulfill the purpose for which we’ve been created.

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  1. Al Bayhaqi []
  2. Al-Nasaa’i []
  3. Qur’an, 51:56 []
  4. Nadwi, Mohammad Akram, Al Muhadithaat, Interface Publications, (2007): pg. 93. Print. []
  5. Ibid []
  6. Nadwi, Mohammad Akram, Al Muhadithaat, Interface Publications, (2007): pg. 95. Print. []
  7. Nadwi, Mohammad Akram, Al Muhadithaat, Interface Publications, (2007). Print. []
  8. The Code of Scholars, Muhammad Alshareef. EmanRush, 2008. CD []
  9. Nadwi, Mohammad Akram, Al Muhadithaat, Interface Publications, (2007): pg. XV. Print. []
  10. Al Haythami, Majma al zawaid, vii. 286, as cited in Al Muhadithaat. []


  1. mw_m says:

    Subhan’Allah, it seems many of the sentiments expressed here show a condescending attitude towards “wifehood” and motherhood. You want to have a career sister, go ahead, but it irks me beyond anything to see sisters in the early stage of their life, literally having accomplished NOTHING meaningful, who so quickly dismiss their aunties and ablas who sacrificed more than you can ever know to get this community to where it is today.

    “Fifty years ago, society told us that men were superior because they left the home to work in factories. We were mothers. And yet, we were told that it was women’s liberation to abandon the raising of another human being in order to work on a machine. We accepted that working in a factory was superior to raising the foundation of society—just because a man did it.

    Then, after working, we were expected to be superhuman—the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect homemaker—and have the perfect career. And while there is nothing wrong, by definition, with a woman having a career, we soon came to realize what we had sacrificed by blindly mimicking men. We watched as our children became strangers and soon recognized the privilege we’d given up.”


    • Yani says:

      With all due respect,the quoted passages that you gave have NOTHING to do with this article.That article is about skewed feminism.

      Shes not saying woman should have a career and abondon the idea of having a family.

  2. Ghyasuddin Mohammed says:

    You all girls are my sister, Insha-allah Allah will help u in this life and hereafter. Ameen


    Alhamdulillahi for this article. May Allah bless and guide the writer. You have really written on an important topic considering the widespread believe that women are just machines to produce children. I think women have all it takes to strive and succeed in all endeavors of life. Marriage is important, but must not be forced at the detriment of the woman’s pursuit for education and other religious endeavors. In Nigeria, especially in Northern Nigeria, there are problems of early girls marriage and other gender based problems. May Allah swt guide us through this turbulent times.

  4. j78 says:

    Ya’ll need to re-read this article. It’s obvious sr.Maryam is not saying anything about women’s roles not being important as wives or mothers. She says that over and over. She’s clearly talking about women who are not married yet doing something with their life until they get married, if that is naseyb. If it is naseyb, then she’s saying whatever women did beforehand then that will HELP them when they are taking care of their families.

    She never said NEthing about being a mom or a wife as not important or inferior. Ya’ll need to calm down and re-read.

    • Cheryfa MacAulay Jamal says:

      “Allah (swt) did not create women for the sake of wifehood or motherhood. This is not our first goal, nor our end goal.”

      THIS is the statement that changes the tone of the entire article. Without this (and the misleading statements about Aisha (leading an army) and Khadijah (being a business woman of today’s standard)), the article would have been very positive and beneficial.

      With these elements, the article becomes a defense argument for reducing the importance of our duty to marry and have children to a cultural anomaly.

      • Sabrina says:

        Sister Cheryfa,

        You are entitled to your opinion and the way you interpret things. It is MERELY YOUR interpretation of the article. I read it and nowhere do I find any level of dismissal of a woman’s role as a wife and mother. I am not sure why you keep on bringing this up over and over in multiple comments. You have expressed your opinion, and perhaps you can take a break about now.

        These days, I simply stay from married Muslim women. They are mean and say extremely hurtful things. The one makes me extremely angry is the insinuation that if you are a single woman, you are going to hell, and this article is precisely to address that concern… there are OTHER ways to go to heaven.

        For whatever your situation is, marriage is NOT a choice. In fact, NOTHING is a choice. As human beings, we are humble enough to know how out of control life is. The point of this article is precisely that. You will NEVER be blessed with everything everyone else has, but you will be blessed with certain things.
        USE YOUR BLESSINGS to serve the world/humanity which results in worshiping Allah. If that means you have the blessings of raising a family, then DO IT and do it with excellence. Be the best wife you can be, be the best mother you can be – God knows this generation needs mothers of excellence. But on the other hand, if you are lacking in that department, and you have the blessings of becoming a multimillionaire and setting up hospitals for the underprivileged, DO THAT. Be the best of the CEO or CFO, or the best surgeon the humanity has ever seen. But be that for the sake of Allah.

        Whatever the path Allah has made easy for you, TAKE it with gratitude and and show your gratitude by serving.

        With all due respect sister, you are reading too much into things, and quite frankly, who really needs it? I know the writer PERSONALLY and it simply hurts to see you misinterpreting her writings.

      • Maryam Amir-Ebrahimi says:

        Sr.Cheryfa, jazaki Allahu khayran for taking the time to comment. I responded to you in earlier comments, so kindly take a moment to go back to the first page of comments and read it, if you have time. I think there is a lot of misunderstanding as to what objectives of this article and I’m afraid a lot of it was misread or things were read into it.

        I had no intention to reduce the importance of marriage or having children. I specifically cited ahadith in the beginning to confirm our Islamic understanding of those roles.

        This article is addressing the issue of sisters who want to get married, want to have children, have been wanting to get married, but for whatever reason are not married and thus, not having children. This article is focused on empowering sisters who communities very often look down upon simply because they are not married. This is not within their control; many want to get married and have been looking for years! So why demonize them for something they have no control of? Why not instead empower them and provide support for their abilities to contribute to the Ummah in other ways? If marriage comes, Alhamdulilah! They can use what they’ve learned to further their marriage inshaAllah and teach their children. If it doesn’t, Alhamdulilah! Allah has decreed that and they can be awesomely beneficial inshaAllah and use their lives to serve Him in other ways.

        Secondly, just to clarify the role of women and why women exist. It was mentioned earlier that Hawa was created to be the companion of Adam and thus, women’s purpose necessitate being the companion to men.

        For this, I would like to leave you with a response from a teacher of mine:

        “Eve was no doubt created as a companion for Adam. This is not really a debate I think. Her purpose is to worship Allah, but her role was as a companion. The question is: Does Eve’s role automatically result in a mandate for all women. Thinking it is a mandate or a purpose of creation is an incorrect assumption.

        The Prophet (saw) makes it clear that his Sunnah is to marry, and that women and men are to be supporters of one another, and that following this Sunnah is better than not following it. At the same time, the examples of Asiyah and Maryam and others, show that although there is an ideal of a Muslim family that we should all try to emulate, we are not defined by that family alone. The root of worship is a relationship with Allah (swt). All other relationships should ideally stem from this one. It may sometimes be the case that a person did not marry for one reason or another. This makes them no less in fulfilling their purpose of creation – to worship Allah.

        Let us look at the example of Adam.

        Adam was created to worship Allah, but his ROLE was to be the father of all mankind.
        Does this result in a MANDATE that all men must be fathers to fulfill their purpose?
        There are numerous examples of great scholars from the history of the Ummah, such as Imam an-Nawawi, al-Zamakshari, Bishr al-Hafi, and even Ibn Taymiyyah – who never married and never had children. Are they less in fulfilling their purpose? No – rather they are cornerstones of the scholarship of the Ummah.
        Similarily, Eve was created to worship Allah, but her ROLE was to be a companion to Adam.
        Does this result in a MANDATE that all women must be wives?
        It is the Sunnah to marry and for this reason it is the best example to strive for. But we should not make it such that unmarried women (or men) are somehow less than any one else. Their reward is with Allah if they fulfill their purpose of worshipping him.

        Aasiyah’s ibaadah (besides her standard worship) was based on protecting her faith in Allah from her husband’s torture. Not about being a good wife.

        Maryam’s maqaam was based on raising her personal piety and raising her son to be what he was meant to be and fulfilling her role in that.

        They reached the peaks of ma’rifah and ibaadah. The first one, despite her husband. The second one, without a husband.”

        I think it is very important to realize that Allah has told us in the verse quoted in Surah Dhariyaat that He created ins- all of humankind- for no other reason than to worship Him. There is no specification that women are a different category created for the purpose of fulfilling a man. That may have been Hawa’s main role, may Allah be pleased with her, but it’s quite an extrapolation to then make that the ultimate role of all women when we have no textual proof to back that claim.

        With regards to Aisha radi Allahu anha, I had learned she was the commander, or at minimum, taken a prominent role in the leadership. I know that scholars have said that she was not on the right side, may Allah be pleased with her, and I did not mean to make any commentary on the incident through mentioning her involvement. It was simply meant to be an example of one of the roles she had taken in her lifetime. I learned, however, it would have been better not to include it because many people misunderstood what was meant by mentioning her example. May Allah forgive me for the bad which may have come out of including it.

        The purpose was to validate single sisters who want to get married and have children [but that’s not happening for whatever reason] and let them know that there are other roles even a Mother of the Believers had played without having the blessing of kids.

        I would like to leave this point by mentioning words from one of my teachers, “Notwithstanding the issue of whether or not `A’isha was on the correct side (the consensus is that she wasn’t), the prominent role she played shows that the earliest of Muslim women —a wife of the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself— thought it conceivable that a woman could take such a leadership role over a group of Muslims. At no time did she strive to be head of state and actually took a role deferring to Talha and al-Zubayr. Yet, to one of the pioneers and masters of Qur’anic exegesis, a woman could take a leading role in the affairs of the Muslims.”

        The point was only to mention that as a woman who did not have children, she took on other roles and as our Mother, we should look to her example of being versed in an array of fields if we do not have the responsibilities of motherhood yet, or if we do, when we are at a point when our children are old enough and we have the ability to focus on other tasks as well. If we are blessed with motherhood, Alhamdulilah! Focus our talents on raising them inshaAllah until a time comes when we can focus on other things as well.

        I never mentioned Khadijah radi Allahu anha, although I would recommend you research her life in depth because I think you may come to very different conclusions.

        May Allah bless you and honor you with a raised status in this life and the next.

        barak Allahu fiki,

        • Fatima says:

          Sister Maryam, may Allah reward, honor and raise your status in this life and inshAllah in the hereafter to jannahtul firdous! As hard as it is to be misunderstood for all the great work that you do may Allah give you the health and opportunity to continue and leave a legacy for the sisters!

        • Noor says:

          First of all, I would like to give my opinions on the article and above comments. I think I could relate with sister Cheryfa a bit. Because when I read the line she quoted(as I read the article), I felt the same as her, but as I interpret the whole article further, I got the message that you are sending. And your comment is very good that I think everyone who’s reading the article should read it too to get better understanding.

          However, maybe I may add something that you may forgot to put in. it is that for women who Allah with his will, do not find a mate, yes, they also can get to jannah with other means. But, never ever stop inspiring oneself to become a mother of a great muslim. Allah is most merciful, most gracious, He insyaAllah will grant the same deeds that a mother can get to an unmarried women who yet still wishing to be one. and always remember on whatever we do, whatever we wants to become, do it best and make sure it is for the sake of Allah. even a mother and wife also will only get the best rewards if she does it purely because of Allah. Always check our niat and make sure it is Allah.

          wallahualam and jazakAllah khair sister maryam for such an amazing writing. :)

      • Muslima says:

        But what about if a woman wants to get married and have children but is unable to through no fault of her own. Should she then be deemed unimportant in Islamic society? Sometimes people forget that not everyone who is single, is single by choice…. I know it’s hard to accept but it’s a fact. The last thing those women need is to be made to feel like they have nothing to offer. As far as I could see this article was telling them they can still make a contribution whilst not giving up hope of marriage. I can’t see anything negative about that, or is it better that they are left feeling rubbish about themselves?

        • Abu Fatimah says:

          Absolutely not sister, if a sister is unable to marry or have children, there are many other important things she can do for islamic society. EVerything that happens is a blessing from Allah. If Allah gives a woman a child, this child is a blessing by which she may attain Jannah. If Allah doesnt give a woman children, this too is a blessing by which she can attain Jannah as we need some sisters with enough free time to study the deen in deptha nd be involved full time with dawah affairs as mothers can generally only do dawah part time due to family commitments. So absolutely a sister who cant have children can play a MASSIVE role in the islamic society as she can learn islam and help reform society and bring them back to the right path. And the sisters with children can raise them well as they are the next generation of muslimeen. Absolutely every brother and sister in the ummah is important to islam

  5. j78 says:

    She also talked about not making women feel bad for not being married. I see this too much . My friendz wanna get married but no guys wanna get married rite now. So their parents keep telling them there is something wrong with them. The article is saying that’s not islamic. we shouldn’t make people who want 2 get married feel like they are messed up bc they cannot get married. she’s saying do something else with your life if you aren’t married. then if you get married, then you can use that to help ur marriage.

  6. Noha Alshugairi says:

    Excellent article. As a Family and Marriage Therapist I have witnessed with sadness and pain what the writer is describing; families pressuring their girls and girls just waiting idly to be married. For many reasons, our communities currently has many wonderful young and old sisters who are not married and who may not get married. This article is addressing those sisters whom Allah may have not chosen for them to be wives and mothers. Sister Maryam is empowering them to seek their mission in life beyond that of marriage and motherhood. As she so eloquently state, our primary mission, all of us males and females, is to to worship Allah to the best of our ability with the given resources we have and the circumstances we live in. And so she challenges us to ask the question: if Allah has ordained that you as a female are not to be married, do you waste your life?
    To become the best Ummah we can be, we need to be honest with ourselves and strive to shift those perceptions that hinder our growth. Jazaki Allahu Khair Maryam for opening up the discussion on a critical issue.

  7. Mike says:

    Salam Shayak Webb,

    If women or men are not married and its not in their fate to be not married? Then is buying sex, masturbation, or one night stands ok?

    We are sexual creatures; if you are saying not all us will get a mate; then one of these options, prostitution, masturbation or one night stands has to be ok.

    I always thought masturbation was ok because I didn’t commit zina. But I was told by some friends and most scholars that masturbation is not ok and esp. not ok with written or visual porn. It’s been a year since I quit. I’m slowly going insane and marriage is not around the corner for me. I’m unemployed for the last 2 years and it not getting better plus I suck in the looks dept.

    So either I pick some drunk bar chick or masturbation are my only two choices.

    What you opinion?


    • nino says:

      Think of these temptations as your test from Allah. If you can turn away from these, at the end of that very difficult tunnel is an immense reward, example: you could end up meeting the most beautiful intelligent woman in the world (in your eyes), you just have to have faith. If you fail in this task, then maybe that beautiful woman who could have been yours will be taken away from you. Why? because maybe she was the reward for you guarding your chastity, and her reward is a patient man who knows not to look around. Every decision we make affects our destiny. Every right decision we make (despite the hardships and temptations) takes us closer to the higher levels of Allahs rewards and plan for us. Conversely, every negative decision we make (falling into temptation) removes us from the higher levels of his plan into the lower levels, i.e. less reward, less happiness, greater difficulty, a woman who is as chaste as you have been, etc.
      Stay away from All the things that you have mentioned. As difficult as it may be, in the long run, you will be much better off. If that doesnt deter you, think about what you will say to Allah when he questions you about the day you had a one night stand etc. What will you possibly say when he asks you why you did what he forbade you to do? Think about it, keep death in your mind and faith in your heart. Allah will send you someone.

  8. Huma says:


    With all due respect to the writer of this article, I’m going to be a bit critical here…I think the example of Aisha R.A. is a bit out of place here…she was give then title of umm-ul-momineen…i.e. Mother of the believers…she wasn’t Supposed to marry again…and her being a widow never compromised her status…she is and was one of the most well respected Muslim women of all time…So for a regular Muslim woman in our times, it’s simply not comparable…she won’t have the same level of respect anyway and there will always be some sort of stigma associated with being single/divorced/widowed.

    I also agree with one of the commentor above who said that it’s also embedded in our nature as humans to look for a companion and settle down and have children…deep down these things are also part of the frustration, not just the society’s expectations and pressures. With prolonged education times and difficult in finding appropriate matches, the natural desires of companionship etc continue to worry us.

  9. Naveen Malik says:

    Asslam u alaikum wr wb, Having gotten married at the age of 26 which in our society seems a tabboo, I can completely relate to what you are saying. So many girls while away their life “waiting” doing nothing productive or useful. While marriage is an important milestone in ones life, it is not the ONLY one. If it never happens, what then? We don’t know how long we have been given to live, we need to focus ourselves towards the right direction. SubhanALLAH, excellent article. Jazakillah sister

  10. Halima says:

    This article hits the nail on the head and explains how I feel on the issue.When it comes to the issue of a lady getting marriage people forget that all issues are in Allah’s hands and people go about blaming the sister and her parents not remembering that whatever effort you make if Allah does not wills it,it will not come into being.Few people realize how bad it is, in some communities there are some sisters who develop depression due to this issue and some end up marrying anyone that comes along even if he is not a good Muslim just so that the society can accept them.I am all for getting Married but then if you can’t find a descent brother to marry then engage yourselves in other forms of Ibada and think of ways of contributing positively to Islam.It does’nt mean you are worthless or your life has no meaning or you are going to hell.Then continue to pray to Allah to give you a good Husband and try not to let what people say affect you after all u cannot go out parading the streets looking for a husband.As women married or not we can contribute so much to the Umma,it is a shame that a lot of people cannot see that and only measure your success by your marital status not realizing that your destiny is not in your hands but in the hands of Allah.

  11. Nira says:

    Masha Allah. I love this and it is very emotional and inspiring. The most important relationship is between us and Allah. If that is perfected…then inshallah all will be in the right place. Jzk fr the beautiful writing. It speaks fr itself.

  12. Chill says:

    Why is everyone giving this article so much heat?! All it’s saying it that Marriage is not an “end”, its ONE of many “means” to an “end” (Jannah). Marriage isn’t easy these days and finding the right person is even harder. All this article is saying is that we should put all of our time and energy during our single days to good use and for the pleasure of Allah.

    Everyone has different purpose in life. Allah has appointed to each person a given task, whether small or big, This is our duty in this life.

    Marriage is good, but also timely and appointed to certain people in this life, not all. So instead of condemning this article or saying that this article is implying that women should abandon marriage and having children for a career, lets actually become a support system for the sisters. Communities should be encouraging them to use their education to better soceity and also helping them find a good spouse.

    Islam is about nurturing and forming strong communities ties, so it is the communities responsibility to fulfill these obligations (encouraging sisters to be educated, networking for marriage, etc) before putting such a burden or expectations on the sisters.

    Allah knows best and this is a reminder to me before all.

  13. N. says:

    Jazakum Allahu khairan for article and comments. There are a lot of angles to this situation, and I appreciate the different viewpoints. I agree it is healthy to see yourself as a whole person, who has many different facets and to nurture that whole person rather than put one’s life on hold. That’s true for single men and women. However, I do caution that while singles can get into a funk of just kind of idly hanging around putting their lives on hold waiting for a spouse, the opposite can also happen — they throw themselves into work, career, education with such abandon that that’s what they become all about. Particularly single sisters in the community often, unfortunately, get used as 24/7 workhorses who have – or so it is viewed – nothing better to do with their time with no right to say no. So just a note of caution to keep balanced, and not become – or get subtly pressured into becoming – a workaholic or volunteeraholic.

  14. Studentmuslima says:

    Assalam Alaikum.

    This is a wonderful article. I too believe that muslim women should make their focus the worship of Allah (SWT). However, my question is, is it not better for women to stay in their homes, as so many scholars say? Is it not better for a woman to have her face veiled and her feet covered? And how difficult is it to be a teacher unless the only other people we are teaching are other muslim sisters? Is it not forbidden to interact with members of the opposite sex unless absolutely necessary? How can a woman then be an engineer or a psychologist? I would appreciate some knowledgeable person’s thoughts and ideas on this as I am quite confused about it.

    • Amal says:

      “Is it not forbidden to interact with members of the opposite sex unless absolutely necessary? How can a woman then be an engineer or a psychologist?”

      If it’s forbidden for ALL Muslims to interact with members of the opposite sex (and you *do* know that it’s supposedly forbidden for men as well, right?), then how can ANY Muslim, male or female, have ANY professional job?

      • Studentmuslima says:

        I understand that it is forbidden for men too. I did not say that it is forbidden for only the women. And interaction is allowed if it is necessary. However, men are the providers of the family, as is the Islamic custom, therefore it is necessary for them to work.
        I have heard some scholars say that women should NOT work unless it is absolutely necessary for them to do so. They say that it is recommended by the Prophet (SAW) and as stated in the Quran that it is better for them to stay in their homes.
        This is what I am confused about.

        • Maryam Amir-Ebrahimi says:

          wa alaykum as salam warahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

          Jazaki Allahu khayran for your question StudentMuslima! As recommended by my Ustada, please read: “Gender Equity in Islam” by Dr. Jamal Badawi. Google it, it’s online.

          From there, I would recommend you speak to people of knowledge who have both studied deen comprehensively and are aware of the norms within your specific society to get an understanding of what the shari`ah permits for both men and women and how that plays out in real life, in the context of the place you live.

          May Allah guide you and me and us all to an in-depth understanding of the role of women in Islam!


        • nur says:

          to be good muslims means we need to be curious a lot and fill ourselves with knowledge of deen and study it comprehensively as sister Maryam said above. so we won’t get stuck to one’s opinion since scholars may have different opinions of an issue.:)

  15. Chaos says:

    As-salaamu’alaykum Beautiful Article my dearest sister! If you are married or feel joy in sitting around and waiting for mr Right that’s great this article is NOT FOR YOU! This article is for the sisters that feel trapped by their family or community because though they WANT to get married they have not found the right person but it does NOT mean they should sit around and let life and all its opportunities pass them by because they are not married. She did not say DON”T GET MARRIED. She is saying stop putting so much pressure on sisters to get married, that the emotional torment of it is weighing down on their hearts. She is saying don’t sit around and do nothing waiting for a man, there are other things to do IN THE MEAN TIME! If it were not for the mothers, wives, daughters, where would Islaam be. We are the ones that raise the babes that become strong muslim men. We are the ones who instill morals and standards in our daughters. If a man feels insecure with a well educated self sufficient woman that is his problem, if a man is not man enough to accept that a woman has more islaamic knowledge than him because she decided to take the time to do that then that is his problem. Sr Maryam is not saying don’t get married she is saying don’t let life pass you by while you are waiting, do something with your life that will in the long run better yourself and your families when the time comes for you to have one. It’s really quite sad to see that muslim women feel that they are not worthy of the same opportunities as men as far as education, islaamic knowledge and being active in the community. Some of you ladies seem to think the womens place is being barefoot and pregnant slaving over her family. the mothers of islam were warriors, teachers, advisers and business women these were the examples that we were given and instead of taking that example we take the example of this messed up cave man-ish social mentality that women were born to be married and have children and nothing more.

  16. fadhli says:

    It is soooo true. Being the woman myself. I hate the way my community treated me as if I’m being invaluable though having a good education and a good career. Thanks for the article. I’ve been trying to convince myself this way too, that getting married is not the only way to serve Allah (SWT). It’s not that we girls do not want to get married, but it’s just not happening for us now, Allah Knows Best. And sure we girls do not want to waste our life for these nonsense our community put us into. :D Salam for all the sisters out there!

    • nur says:

      i’m a single muslimah and i’m a career woman. i dont spend my life by listening what people say or comment about me. im happy with my life and so grateful to Allah. my family alhamdulillah dont push too much on this issue but somehow outsider do. but i don’t care, they can say whatever they want to say. i don’t live for their standard! being single for me means to have Allah wants me to worship in a special way and time for me to focus on some goals i want to achieve. keep happy to all single muslim sisters. keep close yourselves to Allah and everything’s gonna be alright.

  17. mohammed says:

    I am concerned if people take liberal interpretation of this article to justify more materialist view of life by delaying marriages much like in Western societies. Being so back of pack in eduction it a very delicate path for Muslim Women to change culture and expectations.

  18. Truthisoutthere says:

    With all due respect, I don’t think this article is saying you shouldn’t get married. I think it address the growing number of us who really want to get married but have been unable to find a mate because the men want to marry younger women, date, or they marry non-Muslims.
    Frankly, its a huge issue in the Muslim community. Thus what are we suppose to do?

    If we sit around and cry that we are not married, I don’t really see how that is productive or a form of worship of our Lord. Yes, some of us (i’m including myself too) might be destined to die alone, without family, in a nursing home BUT before we get there, I think it would be great if we woman contributed somehow to the Ummah and be rewarded for that so that once we finally die we’ll at least get rewarded for that. Not all of us will have the chance to reap rewards from being wives or mothers. So some woman need to find another way to get Allah’s rewards.

    So stop complaining people and work on yourselves and help society, trust me there are plenty of issues to choose from…….

    • nur says:

      you are right. maybe it’s kind of hard but must confess that for some reasons you mentioned above about nowadays muslimans who are right.
      i absolutely agree with you my dear :)

  19. Studentmuslima says:

    JazakAllah Khair to you Maryam! I am so happy I have found a way to further my knowledge, Alhamdulillah. Thank you very much. May Allah (SWT) bless you and your family.

  20. GuidingLight says:

    i feel i can relate to this article. for few years, i have been trying to find a suitor for myself.

    alhamdulillah for me, my parents never being pushy about that. but, somehow.. whenever i thought i already found a man that i am interested with to get married…they turned out to be just interested to ‘have fun for now’.

    my friends and i (4 of us) are all professionals in our field. doctors,a lawyer and an engineer. there were times, the moment the man got to know what we do we do for a living, they started backing off.

    from my observation, muslim men also prefer dating non muslim women and eventually marry them. thus leaving us the ‘old,un sexy,un pretty, hijabified’ muslim women on our own.

    personally, i feel, if the muslim men do not ‘man- up’ then, the number of professional educated and old un married muslim women will be doubled in just few years.

    • nmcan says:

      The men I have come across want their spouses to be able to do everything and do it like a pro – best mother, best housewife, best cook, best host and the list never ends. They have all these unrealistic expectations especially when it comes to appearance, thanks to the media. They will gawk at the scantily clad women but they want their women to be good muslimahs and hijabis. It is so easy to want something but one has to know what that want will entail and require from them.

      Alhamdulillah, I am a professional myself but I constantly find men feeling intimidated because of what I have been able to accomplish by the Grace of Allah. Maybe, their ego does not handle it well. I do not know what the reasons are.

  21. nmcan says:

    I loved this article and the perspectives it has presented. I agree completely with Sr. Maryam when she says that many young women just while away their days and their talents waiting for prince charming to come along and even if he does come along, there are times when he does not remain prince charming for long.

    I was constantly made to feel all the time while I was waiting to get married, that there must be something wrong with me because it was taking so long to find a match. I graduated top of my class, worked in the industry, all the while waiting for marriage to happen, but apparently this was not enough. I had to leave my job and put my career on hold and go back to my home country so that I could be “available” when families wanted to come and “see” me personally. When I finally did get married, unfortunately, it did not really turn out to be the best of experiences either because of the constant lies, deception, infidelity issues and abuse I had to face. I was so broken and all my hopes and dreams of having my own family shattered. So, now I am divorced and back to square one.

    Do I still want to get married? Yes, InshaAllah, if it is decreed for me. It does not help that now people will look down upon me even more, and it makes me shy away from gatherings even more. It does not matter if I have been pursuing my education and career in the face of all the adversities, all they see is someone who is divorced and past the prime age of marriage.

    So this article gave me hope and motivated me to focus on my studies for now and wait to see what Allah has written for me. JazakAllah khair, Sister Maryam..

    • strivingsister says:

      Salam my dear sister,

      i am a professional as well, i am a medical doctor and now working on my specialty program (stil have one year left, inshaallah). This article and all comments i have read are so helpfull. i never knew before that so many sisters out there have faced what i am facing now. i am 32 years old, never married,since last few years i want to get married so bad. i raised my hands every night making duaa to Allah to bless me with a good muslim man to be leader in my future marriage. i want to be a wife and a mother.i feel that my career, education and anything i have achieved in my life are meaningless without a marriage life. and in my deepest hopeless, i accepted a very good muslim brother who offered me to be a second wife. but before the marriage happen, his wife changed her mind (she agreed at the beginning)and turned to threat me so bad. i wish i could tell the details she would do if i marry her husband. yes, in a glimps everything flown away. and i am so broken, don’t know how to start things again. i am loosing my self, i am a doctor but don’t know how to help my self in this situation. i just want to say thanks to sister Maryam, this article is so amazing. Jazakhallah Khair..sister

  22. fatihah says:

    great article if it read by open minded reader i guess. i m d 4th daughter out of 10 in my family. we all raised to be educated n got career of our own alhamdulillah, it must be really hard to sit idly waiting to get married w/out doing nothing toward it.if parents want their daughter to get married earlier find someone for them but dont force him is the best for her without seeking her opinion. and dont be to choosy when she found someone too. ohhhh no i dont like him, he must be this n that. this is not just for d parents but the married relatives too.but at d same time pressuring her to get married.
    by d way this article give me encouragement to look at d better side of our situation.may Allah will make it easy for us.ameen!
    this is me n my darling dream of how we’ll raised our children insyaallah, to raised them as an individual muslim equally either son or daughter, encourage them to seek knowledge as much as possible,to have career n be contributor to this ummah, encourage them to marry earlier but dont force it on them n let them live their life as long as it according to islam way of life.may Allah will let us meet again in Jannah together.ameen!

  23. Sameer says:

    Salaam Alaikum all brothers and sisters,

    This is a beautifully written article by sister Maryam, and no doubt enlightens the path beyond marriage and motherhood for our children and ladies of the community.

    However, the problem we face is not Islamic, but rather the mindset of the people. A sister who wants to go ahead in her future career, risks getting fewer proposals as she gets older. Alhumdulillah, most of our sisters are still dependent on their parents and proposals for getting married, a far cry, from few of our sisters going out of their way by dating, and getting into a relationsip.

    Most girls I know, would love to be the perfect housewives and just relax at home. This is the first right of the woman, to stay at home if she wants. That is why its important for them to get married early too.

    Some Muslimah sisters, would want to go ahead and have a career, for personal satisfaction, or even giving back to their parents, and in some tragic cases, they would be unfortunately the only source of income for their family. Now we as a community should tackle this situation. We should get 2 like minded, not prince – like or white knight in shining armour coming on a horse guys, but a working guy who would definitely wants to get married, but not ready to have kids right away, u know, guys who want to work but not ready to take on the full responsibility of married life, get married to our career minded sisters. :) This way, both of them would work and at the same time, have a healthy relationship, no going out of the way for dates, and would especially benefit the girl, as she wouldnt have to worry about getting older and getting fewer proposals.

    Anyone with me?? :) Please do speak out.

    A word to those who think this is skewed feminism, or modernist or”un-islamic”, please stop being traditional and embrace the true Islamic spirit. This article is about what is there in store beyond motherhood and wifehood. And not mentioned anywhere that a career should replace wifehood and motherhood. We need more working muslimah ladies out there, and if they want to work out of their own choice, who are we to stop them, when Islam itself gives permission. However when there is absolutely no need and the lady wants to relax and sit at home, it is her first and foremost right to be the Head of the Interior minsistry(housewife :) ).

    • nur says:

      hmmmm….. im absolutely agree with you! more on the 4th and last paragraph.

    • Brazilian sister says:

      Assalamu alaikum!

      Sameer, I agree with you in most of what you’ve said. The only thing I must make a comment is about the “be the perfect housewives and relax at home” excerpt. :)

      I find sad that many brothers think that being a housewife is staying home and “relaxing” without realizing the amount of work involved in cleaning, organizing, cooking, taking care of the husband and the children. It is a full time job, really. :)

    • sabirah says:

      women relax at home being housewifes? Man do you know what you are talking? Since I’ve been married my husband is staying at home while I work full time, and he doesn’t cook or do much housework yet he says he has no time.
      (at the same time he belittles my office work as it’s no proper job)

  24. Fatima says:

    I firstly want to congratulate the writer for discussing this topic. I think she has really dealt with it in a sensitive and objective way. I completely appreciate the fact that she’s emphasised, in a number of places in his article that wifehood and motherhood are not dismissed or belittled in Islam. It’s safe to say that marriage and motherhood are crucial, hot topics which Muslim parents will want to discuss with and encourage their daughters to head towards and rightly so!
    However, the writer states “Unfortunately that is not the message our community is sending to single sisters” – But which community of Muslims is it taking about- the Arab, Asian African etc. I think it is very important to highlight for this particular discuss because, I think the views on this topic is really embedded in ones culture. The writer also states “When I speak to many women”.. Again who are these Muslim women? The Muslim community is made up of people from diverse backgrounds. I noticed this diversity when I talk to my Muslim sisters who are all from different backgrounds to me. Their opinions on social issues such as marriage, work etc is sometimes different to mine and I think this is influenced by the particular culture we belong to. I am from an east African background and I really don’t see this in my community. When I was growing up my parents and other parents in the Somali community, put an emphasis on education, education, education for both boys and girls. This is not to say marriage is not encouraged in this culture (because it is! ) But it’s not a be all and end all, In Somali culture it’s the women that is the backbone of the community, and so the education of women is very much celebrated and encouraged. Traditionally, Somali women have always been encouraged to get an education (if parents could afford it) and work in various fields or generally to earn her own income. It’s an honor, in this culture when a woman achieves higher education and puts that to use to better her society. However, in more recent times a women’s opportunity to get a decent education, contribute to various fields etc, has been affected by issues such as poverty, war, weak governments and other political issues. This topic is an interesting topic and needed to be address, however, I do think that the article slightly generalises Muslim women and perhaps overlooks other issues that affect some Muslim women’s perception of what her role is.

  25. nur says:

    i completely understand the pain n hurt which the writer tried to describe in this writing. since such situation also happened to me. the article doesnt mean to abandon about the concept of marriage and have children. dont judge on something too quickly. she meant to say that single women should be taken positively due to situation they have today. they must keep positive n be grateful, i agree that married isnt the absolute standard of life and worship. i think every normal women wish to find their muslim prince. but Allah always has plan for everyone, and every single person has their own. instead of pushing and distressing single muslim women we find in our communities with the concept “why aint you getting marry at this age?” why dont we help them ease their life by being tolerant n understanding. push them with positive thoughts about doing good contributions to life while they are waiting for the prince muslim to come to their life and may Allah be please with us all, in shaa Allah. about you are also giving positive income to deen, ppl, and communities while you’re single. stay positive everyone, Islam isnt that hard nor Allah loves ppl who give difficulty to their own selves. in shaa Allah, God will send every good muslimah a good muslim husband, and if they dont find them in this dunia, Allah will give them in Jannah. see your life positively. i think the issue raised in this article due to ppl’s way of thinking doesnt mean it against what Islam teaches us about the importance of marriage :))

    • nmcan says:

      Very well said, sister.. It is so easy to keep asking a sister when she is getting married but how much is that person helping the sister get married? There may be so factors that are hindering a sister from getting married, maybe she is far away from her family or she is too shy to find someone herself or she does not know families in her community. Our communities should be more supportive in this matter as well, I feel. InshaAllah, I hope the amazing unmarried sisters are recognized for their their hard work and patience and able to find a good muslim husband for themselves.

      • nur says:

        thank you so much for your kind reply my dear. yes, u said the right things and factors that may hinder a sister from getting married. i agree with you. maybe mostly this sisters are kind who are so shy in their communities. They don’t do smtg wrong by being shy actually, a good muslim girl must be her who knows how to behave and act very well due to deen and norms, dats why they seem to be so shy figures. an ustadzah said once that, “never tells to any single woman ‘she hasn’t found a soul mate (husband)yet but say ‘it’s just about the right time and the right guy’, cuz Allah’s faith is always beautiful when it’s time”. and i think also that, to marry sooner or later for a sister is the absolute right of hers. she can decline or accept a marriage proposal. i believe that every single muslimah have right to determine how do they want to live or what they want to do with their life as long as it doesn’t abandon or violate against what the deen teaches, as long as they keep their life positively. :)

  26. Sabine says:

    Why do people make marriage about children and slaving to a man??? There is hadith saying the only ones who put off marriage are either immoral or physically deficiant. I am dying for marriage because me and the HUGE majority of people cannot control our desires. This is the main reason people need to marry in this day and age. Its the ONLY way to protect ourself from haram such as porn and masturbation/adultery. Who cares if children or any servant obligations come with it. Marriage is completely seperate of children. You dont have to have children if you are married. And if you really want a child, dont get married, just take care of an orphan in your house.

    • foxymardy says:

      I want to get married too, one day, but if Allah thinks its better for me to serve Him as a single woman, then I accept. Marriage is not something you MUST do to gain His favour. If you want to, and found someone, then Alhamdulillah may you have a happy & blessed marriage. Women can control their desires better than men do, hence if they haven’t found someone, they’re likely to be doing alright on their own. I’d rather be single than marry someone just so I can ‘control’ my desires. Alhamdulillah Allah has provided us with other ways of controlling our desires, which is through fasting.

      The point of the article is, we are not unfortunate because we are single. We are not less of a Muslim if we have no husbands. We can be respectable, empowered, ambitious women on our own, if its what God has decreed. Ostracizing a lady for something that is beyond her power is unfair.

      • Mariam says:


        Let us be real. We as Muslims, do not always think of doing an action solely because we want the reward. For example, we study in school, take vacations, and live life, but we don’t necessarily seek out these activities in order to get rewarded by Allah swt. Getting married is the same way. It is a natural part of life, that comes with rewards along the way.

        I realize that many men and women have difficulties finding spouses, and iA with dua’ and patience, this can change. However, to accept that not getting married can be BETTER than living a single life is a mistake that can lead to a dangerous path.

        Let us not dilute ourselves into thinking Muslims get married ONLY to serve Allah. People of all religions and creeds get married, not just Muslims, so let’s not make it solely a religious thing.

        • musafir says:

          vote Yes for dua and patience.We cant just keep telling those singles of what they should do.
          Let’s do our part also. We can try to help those singles find their partners.
          or polygamy… anyone?

        • lost hope says:

          well said! however, many married muslimas are selfish of the single sisters and do not wish to help them get married because they fear they will find someone a million times better than their husband – absurd, right. that is another huge problem in our society. let’s help our ummah and help our single sisters of all ages and races get married as there is great reward in helping our ummah too!

      • Jemima says:

        @ foxymardy you really think fasting is easy how about for people who cannot? How about ten yrs down the line the woman is not married she’s meant to fast for 10 yrs?

        It’s very easy to dismiss the thought of Women having strong desires!

    • Jemima says:

      Completely agree with you @Sabine

  27. Amatullah says:

    Muhammad(peace be upon him) said that four women reached perfection: Maryam, Asiya(the wife of pharoh), Khadijah and her daughter Fatima.If you look at these four great individuals, they were either excellent wives or excellent mothers. Maryam raised Eesa(AS) and Asiya raised Musa(AS). Khadijah was a great support and comfort to Muhammad(peace be upon him). Fatima was also a great support to her husband Ali and it is reported that Fatima did so much housework that her hands became coarse and blistered. Even Aisha the greatest woman scholar, didnt reach the level of the previous four women, and she was more knowledgable than them. Sisters, (including myself) need to prioritise, and i disagree with this article because from the narrations of Muhammad(peace be upon him) and from what my teachers have taught me(female teachers too), amongst the best ways that a woman can attain the pleasure of Allah is through being a good mother and wife. The first madrasah is the mother’s lap, and she shouldnt forget this. We should aim to raise pious children that will bring great contributions to the ummah. It doesnt mean we can’t get an education or work as well, but someone needs to raise children and give them the right tarbiya otherwise we will have a new generation of Muslim kids who are far away from the deen. Let us not be decieved by the western feminist ideologies that are actually contrbuting to the destruction of society. We were created to worship Allah, and my sisters, being a good wife and mother IS worship. I’ll leave you with one final hadith inshAllah: Muhammad(peace be upon him) said:

    “When a woman observes her five prayers, fasts during Ramadan, preserves her chastity and obeys her husband, she may enter by any of the gates of Paradise she wishes.” (tirmidhi)

    May Alllah make us all good wives and mothers. Ameen.

    • Maryam Amir-Ebrahimi says:

      ameen. With all due respect, you completely missed the point of this article.

      • MW_m says:

        Perhaps you completely missed the point of her comment?

        • Maryam says:

          The article doesn’t disagree with or have any contentions to any of the points she made?

          I’m concerned that our community is not willing to address the real problem of sisters wanting so badly to get married, but not finding anyone at all, and then continuing to insist upon these sisters that they have a problem because they will never be whole until they are married or have kids. They want to get married! For the communities who have these issues, we need to calm down.

          The above comment addresses the status and importance of being a wife and mother; the article never demeans those integral roles nor says anything should take the place of them.

          I’m concerned that if every time we have a conversation about women finding ways to please Allah through other than being a wife and mother, it leads to uproar and disagreement, we are going to lose a very segment of many of our communities who are tired of being told they should be what they cannot be.

          Marriage and being a mom is not in their hands; this is a decree from Allah. Why can’t we encourage them to do something which they can, with Allah’s Help, strive for until, if and when, marriage is decreed for them?

      • Jemima says:

        Sister Maryam Amir-ebrahimi

        I read this article and I completely agree with you. However I’m 25 feel so lost, so upset these days, I have Condition that i was born with thus I look a bit burnt in areas of my body, that’s the best way to describe. Many women who are completely normal cannot get married for whatever reason, but with me I always think it’s because of the way I look that stopping it. I can’t control my emotions at all these days I feel like I’m always crying at the thought of never being married. I hate it when people say to me marriage isn’t everything. I know it’s not, but there are so many many benefits to it too. I just always think people never understand me. And in social gathering if u are a disabled girl, it would never come to Anyones mind that we too have normal thoughts and desires just like all other girls. I just don’t know how to move from my life, I feel I’m stuck in this trap of despair. At times I envy my friends who have found their husbands through dating and other haram means, I think well at least their happy. People always associate marriage with children, yeh I. Would like to have kids one day but not straight away, I just want to be with someone, and one the comment on your article was girls can control their desires easily compared to men. I don’t agree with that it’s more like as girls we would never express our ‘need’ because people would look down upon us! Please help me in anyway you can. Jazak Allah khayr

  28. Maryam says:

    and to clarify; obviously, we all strive to make an effort to get married, just as we need to strive for everything else. But making that our sole and only purpose in life, when it is not something we can even control, is nothing short of exasperating and painful.

    I’d like for someone to address the multitude of messages and emails I received after this article, the sisters in tears, who told me that they always feel like there is something wrong with them because they are not married and they themselves have been searching for years to find the right person. Why is it that we constantly have to condemn them and make them feel as if they are lesser than those who are married with children when it is not even in their control?

    I absolutely recognize that this is community-specific (and my sincere apologies for not addressing that in the article, but I did mention it in the comments) and that there are communities who do not have this problem at all- but for those who are facing a growing number of single sisters who have been single and searching for up to two decades, where is our support system for them? Instead of constantly telling them their time is running out- as if they don’t know- perhaps we can work to find ways to engage them for who they are as awesome individuals, regardless of marital status.

    May Allah forgive me for anything which was made unclear in this article and led to confusion.

    I also ask that individuals read it with an open mind, and not with preconceived notions of what they think the article is saying about the status of wifehood and motherhood. The ahadith were included towards the beginning of this article specifying the status of those two roles for a reason. In general, many communities know that status. The problem is that we hold everyone to the standard of that status and for some, it isn’t and will never be a reality. So what then?

    • fez says:

      I’m curious as to why exactly so many “have been searching for years to find the right person”? I would have thought the gender balance is roughly equal and so there is not a one sided surplus. Or are maybe more females practising then males? (or is one set maybe more demanding?)

      A lot of people are alluding to these unspoken difficulties. If communities are failing to address the issues then it would be useful to start by elaborating on what these difficulties are…

      • Brazilian sister says:

        Assalamu alaikum, Fez!

        For what I could see amongst the muslimahs I know, they search for practicing brothers to get married with. Some want to be housewives, so their suitors need to have the capability of providing to them in a certain standard – sometimes high, sometimes not as high. Many want the future husbands to be open minded and allow them to study and work if they wish. Most of them want their husbands to have a beard.
        Their demands can be indeed quite high and, with all honesty, unrealistic.

        Many brothers want their wives to be totally submissive, to clean, cook, be a good mother and sexually available whenever they wish; forgetting their duties as husbands also include helping around the house and with the children, being clean and kind to their wives (on a daily basis and when approaching them for sex) as the Prophet, peace be upon him, did himself.

        I think this search for perfection is also helping delay the marriages.

    • Warda says:

      I fully agree with this article, thank you for addressing such an issue sister. Also, I’m amazed at how disjointed our sisters are, this article is not an attack. I think we ourselves are our biggest enemies, can we not give ourselves some understanding.

      Women and the larger community hold on deeply to the idea, of women being failures if their not married or mothers. It is a heavy feeling to carry, but we cannot let it posion our present day life. Maintain the life you live today well, and leave the future to Allah (swt). You don’t want to be waiting and have that feeling of where did all the years go…..

      Marriage and motherhood is not written in everyones book, but maybe with du’a and patience inshallah. In the meantime, sisters should not let society judge anything as to how your life should look.

      The article is not disputing the importance of marriage, but we must not just revolve our minds on just that one goal to achieve. I have goals and aspirations, and marriage is on that list and many other things. There is nothing wrong with personal development before, during or after a marriage, we should encourage it married or not.
      We have to become someone in our own right, and have to know and understand ourselves, before we request from Allah (swt) the large responsibilities and duties of being a wife and mother.

      Do what you can do today, to improve yourself, and your relationship with Allah (swt). Single brothers and sisters, do have much more time to work on the inner-self, so use that time. We must continue or become active in positive aspects of our life, we cannot psychologically be stood still waiting for a husband. Take this opportunity, Use this time wisely, there are many obligations in life that must be filfuled, and having a family life is a continuation of those not a switch from them.

      • Brazilian sister says:

        Salaam, Warda!

        I agree with you. It’s sad to notice that muslimahs themselves put other muslimahs in this position of being pressured. Subhana Allah!

        May Allah guide us all! Ameen!

  29. abid says:

    The article is 100% against the Islamic family spirit, a way to destroy homes in the name of Islam, learning and personal fulfillment.
    The Prophet showed one way for women to enter Paradise. He said, “If a woman does her five time prayers, observes fasts, and obeys her husband, she will be asked to enter Paradise by the gate of her choice.” Such a simple formula is not available to the males. Now, they show other paths to women. Do they have Shari`ah backing for it? None. Bur rather, they cite examples of women of the past. But who knows what were the exact circumstances of those successful personalities of the past? Who knows? They were good wives and mothers, first and foremost. A good wife helps create a good husband, and a good husband and wife create a good family. Many such families create a good society. Send the woman out, and husband is angry, and family is lost. Millions and millions of homes have been destroyed in the West.
    They call it Self-fulfillment; but for the majority of women it turns out to be Self-gratification.
    But rather, the self-fulfillment has to come naturally. Don’t encourage the women to go out. Those who are talented will show their talent, and will find their own ways of self-fulfillment.

    • Me says:

      Were you not grateful when your mother, wife, daughters were ill and that female doctor was there to save their lives or do you despise her sacrifice because she is a working woman?

      I would say more but you have not read the article properly and haven’t been able to comprehend what the author is trying to say which is completely different from what you surmise.

    • musafir says:

      This article is for singles who have yet to find a spouse. Let’s help them to find.Most of them what to get married, but couldnt find one.

      This article at least can provide comfort and relief for the singles because of stress done by the other people who thinks singles are losers, per say.

      Then, it would be simpler for singles to enter jannah, just do 2 of the 3.

    • Brazilian sister says:

      Salaam, Abid!

      It’s not a wife that make a good husband. It’s the husband himself, through his own efforts and struggles, that makes him a good husband.
      A good family is made by the joint efforts of husband and wife, not by a wife pleasing her husband by doing as he wishes, no matter if these wishes are reasonable or not.

      The Prophet, peace be upon him, told the husbands to be good to their wives. The Prophet (peace be upon him) himself helped at home with the chores and taking care of the children – something many brothers nowadays don’t seem to think as their duties.
      The Prophet (peace be upon him) himself married Khadija, a working woman. He even worked for her!

      Saying that millions and millions of homes in the West are destroyed because women went out of their houses to work is inaccurate, to say the least. I have plenty of friends who work and have a happy married life. I’m one of those females myself.

  30. saba says:

    this is the issue facing by every 10th girl in the society i am living in.. there are alot of stories like this around me including me myself..
    I personally think if everybody around me thinks that my marriage has been late if im just about to pass my 30’s but if my Lord doesnt thinks so than people are wrong.. and Allah says in Quran that He is the best planner and obviously He has planned this life for me then if soemthing looks out of the normal trends of the society then it doesnt necessarily wrong.. this is also where Allah has asked to seek help with patience n salah..

  31. saniya says:

    How come when it comes to anything other than marriage, the will of Allah swt is not addressed. For example, I know sisters who have reapplied to professional schools many times in order to gain admittance. I’ve never heard anyone say, for example, “I keep reapplying because Allah decreed for me to be a dentist.”

    But when it comes to marriage, we start to philosophize and debate the will of Allah swt (ie “Perhaps Allah wanted me to be single and serve Him through my singlehood”). How come it is easy for us to accept “perhaps wifehood is not for me” but for everything else, we essentially force ourselves to accomplish that which we set out to do.

    Also, it disturbs me that the discussion is about how marriage is not the only way to serve the ummah and Allah swt. Who is saying it is?! Let’s face it: not everything in this world can be defined and valued on whether the ummah benefits or if it pleases Allah swt. We hope all our actions please Allah swt, and NOT trying to get married isn’t one of them.

    I would like to marry so that I can live a halal lifestyle according to the Sunnah of the Prophet pbuh. We’re overanalyzing a union between man and woman that goes back before even Islam.

    • Warda says:

      Asalaamu Alaikum,

      Understanding that it may never happen doesn’t mean that someone is giving up on marriage, a person can keep applying to the same job position and may one day get it, and someone can keep praying to Allah (swt) for a spouse and one day get one. However, someone should not refuse other works, in hopes of that one and only ambition to come true….whether its to become a dentist or to find a husband.

      If a woman, thinks that maybe she will never marry, let her do other things, it may eventually happen for her to her own surprise. What’s worse is a woman who puts everything else aside waiting for prince charming, that may never come.

      Than what……she has spent her time doing….?Nobody is saying give up, or don’t get married.

      Just simply…..Maintain something…..teach or learn something in life. Allah (swt) has given everyone some skill or talent in life. Use it or find it. Halah of course :)

      I wish all my brothers and sisters searching for spouses, guidance and success from Allah (swt).


  32. FT says:

    I’m one of those girls in my late 20s who is waiting for “Prince Muslim”. I truly want to get married but it’s just not happening. I’ve come to realize this is Allah’s will, and He will send me my husband if/when He deems it appropriate. I have also realized this is my test from Him, to see whether I will be patient and guard my chastity and have faith in Him, and hold onto the fact that He knows what’s best for me. In the meantime, as Sister Maryam so beautifully pointed out in this article, I am making an effort to use my time wisely, to learn about Islam, to serve the community, to improve myself as a person and as a Muslim–because if I die tomorrow, I will be questioned on how I used my time in this world. We all have our tests, and others shouldn’t belittle the struggles of others, as I have seen in some of the comments above. Allah tests each of us in different ways. May He make us of the patient, and give our communities the hidayah not to make it harder on each other than it already is.

    • saniya says:


      May Allah swt finds you a suitable partner soon. Your situation is not uncommon. Some sisters in their late 20s are in this situation because no guys came knocking on their door. For women in this situation, trust in Allah and make sincere dua.

      However, there is a growing segment of sisters who see their age of 20-23 “too young” and refuse suitable men for marriage. Meanwhile, they get entrenched in studies and enroll in 4-year post-grad degrees that make getting married almost impossible (i.e. relocating, transferring, etc.) Then after they secure their post-grad degrees, they find themselves aged 27-30 and say “Here I am, I’m ready for marriage.”

      I have heard this before: “I’ll apply to professional school. If I get in, it means that is what Allah would have willed (which means Allah did not want me to get married yet).” This kind of reasoning is helping to create this marriage crisis.

  33. umme kulsum says:

    Exc3ellent article for single sisters and a great advice for those who think that marriage is the goal of every women.jazakaAllhukhair!

  34. mode893 says:

    Who says you can’t have both- education/career and family? My wife graduated, got married to me , got 2 children and while bearing our 2nd child started her post grad studies and is now a specialist doctor. It didn’t come without a price, I had to make sacrifices let alone my wife but it is very possible so we don’t really have to choose. And in between we still backpack together (with the kids!) and go for holidays that would deepen our appreciation for Allah’s magnificence aside from rejuvenating from all the work related stress alhamdulillah. Islam doesn’t set certain rules to stifle our lives but rather lets us be creative with what we can work with the proper and dignified way.

  35. Zainab says:

    Salaamu alaikum wr wb,
    I think one major reason these women may be thinking so much about being good wives and mothers is because in their hearts they simply have the desire to get married. So, some advice to young women in that direction would be helpful.

  36. May says:

    I suppose readers will interpret this article based on their own life. Seems like each commenter has a preconceived notion on marriage, wifehood and singlehood before they even read this article.All I can say is that you will see the world based on who you are.Wives and
    mothers would interpret it differently and single sisters would interpret it differently.

    I believe What this writer is saying is that celebrate life and be the best Muslim you can be possible be no matter who you are – Whether, you’re a wife, a mother, a single sister.

    Ultimately, the purpose of life is to please Allah and the way to do that is to perform as many good deed as possible. Everytime we want to perform a good deed, we do it because of Allah which in turn is an act of worshipping Him.

    Allah values wives, mothers hence, he raises their status in Islam. Everything that they do for their family, is considered as performing good deeds and there’s a special place in heaven for them for their sacrifices and efforts and most importantly, their contribution in ensuring that Islam stays in the world after they’re gone through their children.

    At the same time, Allah also values women who are single and continuously pray to Allah for a husband and children. Each time the single women says her prayer, she is performing a good deed.Each time she remains patient in her prayer, she is also performing a good deed and no good deed goes unrewarded by Allah.

    Hence, no matter what your status is, if you are doing good deeds, Allah will be pleased with you and will have a special place for you in his Heavens. That’s Allah’s promise. If you worship Him and not associate Him with
    any partners, you will be among the righteous that he will place in His Heavens.

    The sad part in our reality today is that a women who is not married at a certain age, will be made to think less of herself no matter who she is, whether she is doing well in whatever it is that she is doing. This is not happening in Muslim society only. I believe this is happening in most of the societies in the world whether Muslims or non-Muslims. Whether, you’re Chinese, Korean, Malay, Indian, Arab, Pakistani, you will face this kind of issue.Whether you’re a man or a woman. But it’s always tougher on the women somehow. This double standard seems to exist in every society.

    You cannot say that is it not valid to pressure the singles to be married. How can a society continue to exist if there is no pressure in anyone to be married and have children? However, the pressure seems to be getting worst these days, especially when more women are highly educated, career oriented and able to have a strong say on who she wants to be married to and when she wants to be married. Now that society realises that it’s possible for a women to choose not to be married because she can make her own living and live independently, everyone is making sure that this will not happen to the single women they

    I would like to believe that the reason Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said that marriage will complete half of your deen because he didn’t want anyone to make the concsious decision not to be married. Hence, it’s important to have the intention to get married and pray to Allah to give you a soulmate that is best for you.

    Society should not make the single women feel bad. Instead they should support the single women emotionally. Instead of asking her when or why isn’t she getting married, congratulate her for the wonderful things that she’s doing, for example if she is studying, congratulate her for making a good deed by gaining knowledge. Allah pleases those who continuously strive to gain knowledge. If a single women is working well to support her parents/children congratulate her for doing something good for her own family. Support her by praying for her. Help her find a husband. If you cannot say something positive or support her towards the direction of getting married and have a family of her own, then just don’t say anything at all. My father always taught me, if you cannot say anything nice to someone, don’t say anything at all.

    For single women, you deserve to live your life to the fullest and be the best Muslim you can be.Since you have more time than wives and mothers, you should utilise this time to do as many ibadah to Allah as possible. Don’t put your life on hold and believe that you will only be happy when Prince Muslim arrives at your doorstep. Be happy now.

    Allah will only help those who help themselves. By feeling sad and frustrated, you’re not helping yourself.Go out, enjoy Allah’s beautiful creations in this world. Get a hobby,learn something new, make new friends, help someone,do something good and meaningful and most importantly, continue to pray for a soulmate and just tawakkal to that Allah will give what’s best for you.

    Just an advise, the next time someone asks you when you’re getting married or why aren’t you married, just answer them “I will get married, InsyaAllah. I have faith in my prayers. In the meantime, please pray for me so that it’ll
    be sooner. Thanks.”

    If your mum’s worried, tell her, instead of worrying, it would be better if you would just pray for me. A mum’s prayer will never be rejected by Allah. Have faith in our dua’.Allah knows best since He is the greatest planner of all.

    The objective in life is to do as many good deeds as possible no matter who you are and what you’re doing.There are many ways to do this. If you’re not yet a wife or a mother, you can still gain as many Jannah points as possible. At the same time,you must have the intention to be a wife and mother one day because that will give you
    even more Jannah points. Ultimately, the One who decides whether you’re worthy to go to heaven would be Allah because he is the only judge for all the deeds that we do.

    So let’s all support one another and take the opportunity to do as many good deeds as possible to gain entry to Jannah no matter who you are, married or not. There is no point arguing who’s right and who’s wrong. It is in human nature to want to belong to someone, have a family. There’s a saying in my community. “Life, death, soulmates are all in the hands of Allah. We can only plan our lives but Allah will ultimately decide for us”.

    • Khajija says:

      Subhanallah!! U’ve hit it spot on. May God bless u….

    • SZ says:

      MashaAllah, wonderfully put! You’ve reminded us to keep this life in perspective, so that we may use it as an opportunity to gain eternal bliss in the next life, InshaAllah. May Allah (swt) reward you, Aameen!

  37. Saira says:

    I find myself becoming increasingly pressured to be highly educated. Unless you’ve been to university, you don’t understand what a huge load of work it is. I enjoy the degree I am studying. However as it is a pure science, I am in uni 5 days a week, 9 to 5, in laboratories, in lectures. I have no time for my family, am constantly stressed, want to do well in academics but have no time for Islam or family. I’m single but may consider marriage after I complete my degree insha’Allah. So I often think academics makes me have no time at all for the real priorities, especially when parents consider academics to be the only important thing.

  38. Binthalal says:

    I am twenty-six and can totally relate to the feelings in this this article. I am not married, but I have finished college and am working alhamdullah! People don’tdirectly say it to me, but they hint and say things like inshallah you will get married soon or you are next, they have been saying it for years. They make me feel like I am so old now and that my time has passed for marriage. I would love to be a wife and a mother, but this is what Allah (SWT) has willed for me. I hope that the right person will come along and that I can get married some day soon because being twenty-six, I do feel a big gap in my life and feel a need to be married and have a connection with a person that I can truly love.

  39. Sister-Girl says:

    Beautiful article, Sister Maryam, and unfortunate how so many commentators missed the point. Some sisters seemed to be so preoccupied with creating a contentious feeling and attempting to read into the article what is not there. Allahu khair for your penning what so many in our community have been voicing. I got married and divorced within a year in my early 20s, and personally feel like I spent most of the rest of my 20s waiting, hoping for marriage and then fearing that I wouldn’t. Though I am thankful that it was all happening internally and externally I was absolutely living a life (insh’Allah) beneficial to me and the world, chock full of wonderful experiences. Now, in my early 30’s I still pray for marriage – if it’s the best thing for me – and I strive to live every day fully, without feeling anxious at nighttime or when I am alone. And when shaytan or my nafs starts sending me on the road to stressing “what if I never get married? what if I don’t have kids?” I remind myself that Allah (swt) has never let me down. He has taken care of me until now and I have a ridiculous amount of khair in my life; such that I need to be filling my thoughts with shukr and gratitude instead of anxiety and fear. Besides, it’s not difficult for us to look at others that are far worse off to see, you could have a test FAR worse, or more difficult.

    And when all else fails, I also remember that marriage is NOT a walk in the park. It doesn’t magically solve your problems and every day is NOT a fairy tale. So to imagine it as a paradisiacal exit off your turnpike of singledom is misleading. It’s why, in Korea for work once, I asked a Buddhist monk why he chose that life – in a remote temple so far removed from everything and everyone – and he responded “even in a marriage, there is lonliness.”

    • Sarah Arshad says:

      Thank you for this. My sentiments exactly.

      When people tell me to get married again for such and such reasons, all I can think is “I’ve been married, and such things, even if true, come along with a whole lot of other problems.”

      I’ve decided that for now, I’m better off being able to handle myself and being single, than being in a less than perfect marriage which I cannot handle.

  40. yas says:

    Great article! I can relate to a lot of it being a single woman

  41. lost hope says:

    great article. more effort definitely needs to be made especially by the married sisters who often neglect to help the single sisters get married, due to their own baggage. let’s help us all get married insha’allah!

  42. Hesham nassar says:

    with u 100%

  43. bia says:

    the article is very nice and true, where iam living people make your life hell specially if you cant get married and even if the girls get married , they all make their suster’s life hell. the majority reason of girls not getting married here in our country is just on the basis of their beauty , if they are not beautiful they will sit home forever

  44. dhiya' says:

    as one of the woman whom not married yet at the age of 27 i have similar thought with sister maryam (may Allah grant u jennah).

    u know, it’s very hard to find a pious man in this current insane world.. my ideals is to marrying a person whose have the same vision+mission with me about worshipping God, about helping our Ummah and raising our deen, and also about this life and hereafter. I believe Allah will fit a pious man with a pious woman, and only Allah knows how deep is our obedience to Him.

    dont worry about marriage or another issue, it was just and medium in praying. just do our best in worshipping Allah, then Allah will provides our needs. Allah knows best.

  45. Shagufta says:

    Have touched on an awesome topic.Any one is taking in wrong meaning should read again. We all aunties could be cruel at times possibly meaning good but blurting at wrong time and place is hurtfuland demeaning. Girls must pursue career with niyah to work or what ever for the sake of Allah and Allah will bring Barakah.
    Any Aunty who ever opens her mouth should try to open matrimonial service to help. It is hard out there.

  46. UK says:

    Asalam alaikum warahmatulahi wabarakatu

    Sister Maryam I completly understand and agree with your point and I also completly understand why people would misunderstand your point. The article is very well written and you mentioned very important points that concern Muslimahs always and especially in the west.

    However dearest sister try to write in a way that you make your points more understandable and clearer as most people will not understand a poit like this and jump to your throat. I am sure with some explanation they too will understand where you are coming from and you are not trying to undermine motherhood or wifehood but your saying as a believing Muslimah one should be constantly productive, your article perhaps more relates to single sisters than married ones which again explains why some are offended. Yet again sis, I know which angle you are speaking from however it is the way you worded it that can make it misleading at times, perhaps you should word it more like this ‘Alhumdulilah what a blessing wifehood and motherhood is, and may Allah grant it to us all and bless us with the best of children and spouses but my dearest sister we must understand that we also have our individual duties towards Allah before we are even married and how else are we be able to bring up good healthy children if we ourselves dont educate ourselfes and do something for the wider commmunity ..” this is an example. may Allah bless you sister, keep up the work, try to also consider what people mean. :) Your sister in Islam -UK :)

  47. Ahmad Fahlan says:

    How many abandoned child we’ve heard nowdays after mothers pursuing their so called”contribution to the society”.Children being brought up by maids,seeking knowledge from everyone else.I’m not saying that woman must locked themselves at home only to raise children.Their disposition as teachers,caretakers will automatically include them as scholars.What they need is knowledge and apply them through educating the community in every field.

  48. student of knowledge says:

    assalaam alaikum warahmatullah, i hope everyone is in the best of imaan and health, i just want to say that if a sister cannot find a husband then why not try polygamy? there are many good brothers out there who would treat you very good and fulfil all your rights and more inshaALLAH.

    • Dahlia says:

      @student of knowledge

      I’m a woman in my mid 20s and I’m dying to get married I’d easily be someones second wife, but am I to ask him? What if his wife says no? If only sisters knew the benefits of polygamy. Even my one family said how could you ever think of being a second wife but i don’t see anything wrong in it. You still have a husband, you have needs fulfilled. If only the married sisters could know how hard it is!

  49. Ayah says:

    Because it’s far better to be single than endure the lifetime of emotional abuse that is polygyny.

  50. Strivingsister says:

    @student of knowledge
    Alaikum salam, it is not that simple. I was very close to marry a married brother last year. Then the wife started threatening me and the brother. Even though
    She cant fulfill the needs of her husband for 3 years now due to her medical condition, she insists on rejecting me. And the brother had no choice other then cancel our marriage, or he will lose his kids in court if divorce took place between them. only Allah knows how much pain left for me now.and it is getting worse because I know this sister is a practising one who fully aware that polygamy is allowed in our deen and also regarding her illness.

    • duaa for marriage says:

      Assalamu alaikum striving sister,

      your comments really made me feel for your situation, may Allah grant you what you desire if it is kheir for you.
      my teacher advises his students to make the following duaa if they wish to marry:

      “Rabbi inni lima anzalta ilayya min khayrin faqir” surah qasas verse 24. recite 100 times daily and inshaAllah you will marry the right man for you

      • strivingsister says:

        Waalaikum salam wr wb,

        JazakAllah khair for your duaa..InshaAllah i will make the duaa every day.

    • Dahlia says:

      It’s interesting what you said about your story. I’m a sister with illness and would consider marrying a married brother. If he felt that compassion for me. I’m so scared to ever say something. Even my sisters they say we’d never accept our husband having a second wife, but they don’t see it from my point that if a girl like me with illness, who isnt regarded as perfect by society polygamy gives some like me a chance to be happy and live a normal life. Polygamy is something that wouldn’t just benefit someone with illness but so many others, divorced women, older,widows this why in Islam it’s allowed to help the more needy sisters.

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