Seeing that his mother was in a good mood, Ahmad sat near her and
said, ‘Mother, I have an idea which should bring you much joy.” His mother
answered eagerly, “My son, all that you give me makes me happy. What is on
your mind?”

“You know,” he told her,
“I have finished my studies and can afford to begin a family. I have
decided to marry.”

His mother’s face brightened with
a smile. “This is very good news! I have long awaited such a day,” she
told him. “How often I have wished you would marry one of your cousins.
Praise be to Allah that you have made this decision before it is too
late!.” Ahmad exclaimed, “Before it’s too late? What do you
mean?” “Your cousin Maryam is now old enough to marry. Every day
there is someone visiting her home, seeking her hand.”

Ahmad sat silently for a moment
and said, “Then why should we bother her suitors?”

“What do you mean, Ahmad?,”
asked his mother, dismayed.

“My cousin Maryam is not fit
for me.”

“Why not? No, my son, you’re
mistaken. I shall go and see about your engagement tomorrow,” his mother
told him.

Ahmad frowned and said, “No,
mother. Please do not do such a thing. I will not agree to this.” “When
she becomes your fiancé, you will feel love for her. Put aside your fears.
Maryam is beautiful, and she has a respectable job.”

Ahmad disagreed, “No. This matter
only concerns me.”

Ahmad’s mother thought for a
moment and said, “If you dislike Maryam, then there’s my brother’s daughter.
She is as beautiful as Maryam, and she has inherited a large sum of money from
my brother.

“Mother, please think about
this matter from my point of view. I need someone to share my life, not a
business partner.”

His mother became angry and
sharply asked, “What’s wrong with my niece? Why isn’t she good enough to be your

Ahmad replied, “She is not a
practicing Muslim. I want a Muslim wife.”

Ahmad’s mother laughed
sarcastically and said, “You speak as if you were an angel who could only
marry another angel. Why don’t you stop saying such nonsense, my son? You are
an educated young man, you should give up your impossible ideals.”

“I am neither an angel, nor do I
seek a saint for a wife. I am a Muslim believer looking for a girl who also
believes in Islam.” replied Ahmad.

Ahmad’s mother told him, “I don’t
know any girls who share your ideals.”

He said, “I know someone who
measures up to my expectations. ”

Startled by this admission,
Ahmad’s mother asked, “You know someone? Who is she? Since when do you begin
friendship with girls?”

Ahmad answered quickly, “I didn’t
mean that I know a girl personally, but I know of her.” ” I
see,” she said. “You have already chosen your wife. Who is this lucky
girl?” “Mother, please be more understanding. I hope you will take my side
and persuade father to agree with my choice.”

This appeal to Ahmad’s mother
softened her, and she said, “I swear that I think only of your welfare. I’ll
help you. Tell me, what are this girl ‘s qualifications?”

Ahmad told her, “Nothing matters
except the religious aspect. She is Muslim, and wears complete hijab.”
“Oh, then she is uneducated!” “No, she has a high school
education and her religious knowledge is extensive.”

Then his mother asked, “What
family is she from? Do I know them?”

“She is from a good family
known for their piety”, Ahmad told her. “Of what use is a well-known
family if a girl has no Islamic morals?” He silently beseeched Allah to
give him the patience to overcome his mother’s resistance. “A happy
marriage doesn’t depend on fame or wealth. Happiness stems from spiritual
nearness and mutual understanding.” Then, in a different tone of voice his
mother asked,

“What does her father do for
a living?” “He is a grocer,” Ahmad replied.

“A grocer?!”, she
exclaimed. “Yes. He is a grocer and a very righteous man. He is the head of a
happy and virtuous family.”

Ahmad’s mother interrupted him,
“You are the son of a wealthy man; with your college degree you wish to marry a
grocer’s daughter? What a shame! Yet you ask me to assist you! If I had chosen
the daughter of a jeweler, how would you feel?”

His mother replied, “There is
a big difference between a jeweler and a grocer.”

“The only difference is with
regard to the substance. The former sells rings and the latter sells sugar.
Both work in order to earn money,” Ahmad answered.

His mother lamented, “Imagine
your father’s reaction to this news! ”

Ahmad said firmly, ” This is
my desire, either you help me or I’ll do it myself.”

He spoke so seriously that his
mother laughed mockingly, saying, “Does the matter require a great effort?
The least move you make, they will give their daughter to you gladly.”

Ahmad shook his head in doubt and
said, “Wait and see!”

“What an odd situation this is! Am
I to present my son to a grocer’s daughter? What special beauty does this girl
possess to make you blind to every other consideration?

“I have not yet seen her,” Ahmad said.

“Then how do you know she’s not ugly?” asked his mother.

“I know she is not. As far as
good conduct is concerned, physical beauty is of little importance.”

“Oh Ahmad, my amazement never ceases.”

The next morning, Ahmad told his
father of his intentions. His father became angry, but Ahmad remained
determined to marry the woman of his choice. Finally his father agreed and
Ahmad asked his mother to visit the girl’s home to make the proposal and
overcome any obstacles.

The following afternoon Ahmad’s
mother, accompanied by his oldest sister, went to the girl’s house. On the way
there, Ahmad’s sister asked her mother what the girl’s name was. Her mother
replied, ” I forgot to ask him! “When they knocked on the family’s
door, they were surprised to see a beautiful young girl open it. The girl was
surprised to see the two unfamiliar women, but she showed them into the living
room and went to tell her mother that they had visitors. Her mother welcomed
the guests and waited for them to explain the reason for their visit. After
exchanging greetings, Ahmad’s mother asked who the young girl was who had
opened the door. “It was my daughter, Zaynab,” she replied. “Do you
have any other daughter?” asked Ahmad’s mother. “No, she’s my only
daughter”, replied her mother. Ahmad’s mother and sister were delighted to
learn that the beautiful girl was Zaynab. Just then, Zaynab entered with coffee
for their visitors. She sat next to Ahmad’s sister and they soon found much to
discuss. Then she collected the empty coffee cups and left the room.

Ahmad’s mother began, “We
have come with a blessed aim. We would be happy to have your daughter Zaynab as
a wife for my son.” She praised her son for his intelligence, his good
looks and his wealth, but she neglected to mention his firm Islamic beliefs,
which was very important to Zaynab’s mother. Therefore, Ahmad’s mother was
stunned when Zaynab’s mother shook her head slowly and said, “I’m very sorry.
It is difficult for me to agree to this proposal; in fact, it’s
impossible.” With much surprise, Ahmad’s mother asked, “What is

“My daughter is still young. I’m
sure your son can find a girl who suits him.” Ahmad’s mother protested,
“But Zaynab suits him well! Would you be kind enough to justify your

“I only have one daughter, and I
should be sure of her future married life.”

“But Ahmad is well-off financially,”
said his mother. “He is an engineer!”

Zaynab’s mother replied, “Zaynab
would not marry someone because he is wealthy or has a college degree.”

Ahmad’s mother was at a loss for
words. “Then what will ensure your daughter’s happiness and consent?”

“When a mother looks for a wife
for her son, she should mention her son’s conduct.” said the mother of Zaynab.
“My daughter is a committed Muslim. She wants a Muslim husband, and
remember, my daughter wears hijab, and your son may want a modern wife, who dresses
like his mother and sister.”

Ahmad’s mother laughed with relief
and told her, “You’re correct. I haven’t mentioned his conduct. I thought that
other aspects of his character were of more importance. My son is a faithful
Muslim. He is, in fact, looking for a wife who observes hijab. Be sure that my
appearance (un-Islamic clothing) is not to Ahmad’s taste.”

Zaynab’s mother also smiled and
said, “You should have told me earlier! Please give us your address so we
can visit you and learn more about your son.”

“We hope you can come early
next week,” said Ahmad’s mother.

Ahmad was waiting anxiously for
his mother’s return.

As soon as she and her daughter
returned home he asked “Well, mother? How was your visit?”

“It was very strange,”
she replied.

“What was strange?”, he
asked. “Has anything bad happened?”

“Oh no, Ahmad. But I never
expected such a thing,” she answered. “Then they have refused?”
Ahmad’s father said, “How could a grocer’s daughter refuse a wealthy young

Ahmad’s mother turned to her
husband and said, ” They did, in fact, refuse…”

“What! they refused?” asked
the father. “I spoke about Ahmad’s good qualities, but I didn’t mention
his Islamic morals. My appearance also caused her to decline my proposal
because her daughter is a very faithful Muslim. When I realized their
objections, I told them that you are a true Muslim as well. I have come to
respect them very much. They don’t care about status or wealth.”

“Have you seen the girl?”, asked
Ahmad’s father.

“Yes, she is lovely and
polite. Ahmad is a lucky man to have made such a choice.”

The following week, Zaynab’s
family paid a visit to Ahmad’s home and plans were made for the upcoming
wedding. They were soon married and there was much rejoicing.


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