Have you ever received unsolicited advice about your marriage hunt? People-- mostly older folks or my married friends-- will try to impart their own wisdom to aid in my search. They’ll say things like “have you asked the imam?” or “have you ever tried dating apps?” They mean well, but they’re clueless. They don't understand the struggle. I usually laugh it off politely and thank them for their novel ideas, but the one bit of “advice” I cannot swallow without retort is, “you’ll find it [love] when you stop looking, when you least expect it.”
Please explain to me how that makes any sense? When you stop trying you’ll find love? Maybe that’s the case for some people, but it’s definitely not a rule. When people insinuate that giving up or not putting effort into the marriage search is somehow going to increase their chances of finding someone, I question their basic reasoning skills.
I promise I’m not trying to be mean. I’m just trying to understand their logic. In what other life scenario do we tell people
“that thing you really want, stop trying so hard--in fact, don’t do anything at all. If it’s meant for you, it’ll fall into your lap.”
Do we tell people that when they are unemployed and in need of work? Do we tell them “hey stop applying to jobs because the right employer will find you out of millions of job seekers on Linkedin, and beg you to come work for them?’’ Is it possible? Sure. But it’s definitely NOT probable.
For anything else in life we have to extend effort. We have to do all we can before we completely give it over to Allah’s control. When we try to get into the best college, look for the perfect job, or shop for an apartment or house, we have to extend effort and strategy to get what we are looking for, in addition to trusting that Allah will choose what’s best for us. So shouldn’t we apply this type of logic to the search for love and marriage?
I believe the healthier motto to adopt when looking for a spouse is tawakul. What is tawakkul? In its simplest explanation it is reliance on Allah. There’s a hadith that best illustrates this reliance.
Anas ibn Malik reported:
A man said, “O Messenger of Allah, should I tie my camel and trust in Allah, or should I leave her untied and trust in Allah?” The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Tie her and trust in Allah.”
This hadith teaches us two things: 1. That we must help ourselves, by taking action in the direction to which we aspire, and 2. At the same time we must put trust in Allah, knowing He will move mountains to answer our prayers. I use tawakkul as my own motivator to get back in the game of finding love. While I know that at the end of the day if marriage is written, Allah will make it happen, I refuse to just sit back and wait for destiny to find me. I will do my best to use dua and my own free will to shape my future.
How can you use tawakkul in your life or in your hunt for love?
Grade: Hasan (Darussalam)
Jami At-Tirmidhi English: Vol. 4, Book 11, Hadith 2517
Arabic reference: Book 37, Hadith 2707