In a piece in which I discussed the ways we can reform traditional South Asian marriage customs, I touched upon the role of matchmakers. Their role is one I had been pondering long before I conceived those thoughts.
Creativity takes many forms, and one of those is matchmaking. Well-meaning matrons, impersonal dating sites, and well-meaning but presumptive “They are JUST your type” statements aside, matchmaking is something born in the imagination.
I realized this after having recurring thoughts about two people I know—one well, the other not as well. I thought. I thought and thought and thought. It took me several instances of seeing both people, individually, before my mind went into full gear and I proceeded to set them up.
Selfish as it sounds, I think I held off on doing it because the thought of them together, in itself, was nourishing for me. A part of me was apprehensive about being wrong about them, about not having reality measure up to what it was in my mind.
And it didn’t. But something strange happened. Later on, I–yet again–ran into the male in the situation. He leaned in, embarrassedly, for he was the one who had backed off. “Actually,” he said, “I started seeing someone right after you told me about that lady. And I’m still seeing her. It’s going really well. I’m sorry about that, but thank you so much for thinking of me.”
They say that when it rains, it pours. Did my attempt attract something good into his life, so that it started “pouring” for him?
Allah hu alim.
And yet, who knows what is being willed into existence, when two people are paired in loving earnestness?
Part of living in contemporary (or what I like to call “strange”) times is the greater flexibility one has in finding partners. At least in Western settings, marriage isn’t about two people making an alliance or reaffirming past ones, or little more than an economic maneuver. Whether we choose partners ourselves or facilitate others meeting theirs, it comes from within. It is an individual act, imbibed with meaning, and exercising it is a sacred trust.
Ya Allah, make us worthy of this trust. Whether we seek partners or seek to match others together, make our thoughts intentions, and actions, those of beauty. And let their fruition come forth, no matter what form they may take.
Sarah Farrukh is an Editor at Altmuslimah