How can I study and be married?

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By Pure Matrimony -

By Fatima BarkatullahiERA Speaker & Instructor

I have a suggestion that might help sisters who are committed to seeking knowledge. First I’ll mention some background info:

Since I was a young girl I wanted to be an ‘Aalimah, a woman who had true knowledge of Islam and fiqh. My dad is a Deobandi ‘Aalim and UK Shari’ah Council Judge and he had brought us up to know that seeking knowledge of the Deen was Number One. The highest you could reach. So at age 16 after doing well in my GCSEs (Alhamdulillah) he took me to Cairo and left me there.

Yes, I used to get lost every day, chatted up by unsavoury characters (anyone unmarried, whose been to Egypt will know what I mean ), and slowly but surely, I learned Arabic, travelled, met Al Azhar students from around the world with their many varying talents, widened my horizons, studied in Al-Azhar, became street-wise. I was adamant that I would study Shari’ah in Al Azhar, and studied there for two years and passed my exams, when due to unforeseen circumstances I had to return to the UK. Here, Allah blessed me to get engaged at age 18 and married at 19 and go on to have 3 kids (so far). I wasn’t really looking to get married and really wanted to go back to Al-Azhar.

I wondered how I could seek knowledge and be married. So my dad suggested I make it a part of my dowry. One thing that I did, and that I would encourage sisters who are serious about seeking knowledge to do is to mention it when they meet prospective spouses and then put it in their marriage contracts.

My dowry for example, was a sum of money and “provision to study the Shari’ah (or Islamic Studies) up to degree level.” ( I was an expensive wife! )

This has a profound impact on the way your husband and you yourself perceive your seeking knowledge. No matter what happens later, he will honour your efforts to seek knowledge because it was mentioned from day one. Many sisters complain that their husbands don’t see the value in them seeking knowledge or don’t help them to be able to seek knowledge (by looking after the kids etc). But I assure you, if it is a part of your dowry, then he will insha Allah value it more. Many husbands of course do help their wives even if it isn’t mentioned in the marriage contract. But this way, you can be sure.

My husband (may Allah bless him) actually took me to Makkah (Ummul Qura) and applied for me and Sharjah University, but due to his job issues, we couldn’t take the places there. Plan B was to study through distance learning – The American Open University was an alternative. Then practically speaking, you have to realise that there will be times when you can’t study and times when you can. And then maximise your time usage, even when you have kids, after their needs are met. Dedicate some time every day. Commitment is what is needed-never giving up.

Steve Coveys book: The Seven Habits has really helped me too. I’d recommend it to sisters who are struggling to achieve their goals: have a mission statement, begin with the end in mind etc Are great habits we can adopt. You can get a summarised version of the 7 habits on audio which is really useful because you can internalise the 7 habits in a shorter length of time.

As Sheikh Tawfique Chowdhury always says: “Reach for the stars!”

By Fatima BarkatullahiERA Speaker & Instructor

Sisters – You can see Sr.Fatima Barkatullah at the upcoming conferences:

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7 Comments to How can I study and be married?

  1. Amina Ijaz

    Asalaam u alaikum sister,

    Jizaakillah khair for your article. Most of us find it very hard to juggle married life and our studies. I have been married for twelve years now alhumdulillah and have done 16 courses with LOC and AOU and am still continuing my studies. When I look back at those years, I can still vividly remember the day my husband and I filled out my registration form. How thrilled I was when my first study pack arrived! And how I used to have butterflies in my stomach before the oral exams, especially when it was sheikh Daud Abdullah whose only response to my answer would be a looonnggg pause followed by a sudden “Hun”! May Allah taala Bless all our teachers. Amin. But in all honesty after the taufeeq of Allah taala if there was anything that got me going during all those years, it was the support from my husband. How can I ever thank him for the time he used to take out from his busy schedule, he was studying to become an orthopaedics surgeon, to help me revise for my exams. Trips to Islamic book stores where he would buy me dozens of books, even though he didn’t have a lot of spare money. How he wouldn’t mind if he had to eat the same food for days because I was too busy doing my assignments and exams and couldn’t find time to cook. But most of all, when I had children, and couldn’t study here, he would let me go to Pakistan and stay there for three months to prepare for my exams. And I could just go on and on!

    From my experience i feel that for a girl to pursue her studies after marriage it is essential that she gets the support from those around her. Both moral and physical. Without that support it becomes quite a tough ask.

    Amina Ijaz

    • Abdul Basit

      Masha Allah, sister. I was on the dream while reading your post. If I get a wife like you, a true knowledge seeker… I would put my all effort to help her on study. But unfortunately the bride I find, they are not really interested to study seriously, though for the sake of discussion most of the muslims are saying “yes, I need to learn more… I want to study…” But really they do fail.

  2. Sister, i dont get one thing. U mentioned, ‘dowry’. Do you mean the ‘dowry’ you gave your husband?? Or are you talking about Mahr?? Which one is it?

    Whether you mention it in the marriage contract of not, the same rules dont apply outside the US/UK/Canada, i mean MOST cases. A woman need to struggle to find her way through her studies. Yes, some husbands maybe very encouraging, most arent!

    As long as you’ve got the family together,a husband will always be ok,not otherwise,n most of the time its difficult to juggle house work and studies.

    Lucky are those who get them all..

    Jazakallah for the article.

  3. Awais Qadeer

    My dear sister,,,,in the above suggestion you only address the female(sisters) .i mean to say that males also need to gain the knowledge…i got myself so much motivated about attaining the islamic knowledge…So We(the Brothers) are also here to gain such a beautiful advices and suggestions..Thanks for the post

  4. One negative thing which I dint like about the blog is the mention of the word dowry. It is not supposed to be a part of any marriage whether in any religion.

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