"Why did you reject A, B, and C, ?"
I gave her my version of a MonaLisa smile.
"But.. but.. isn't A suitable, as he's about your age? Isn't B an Islamic scholar, a learned ustaz? Isn't C rich?"
"But that's not what I'm looking for. They may be good men and who knows, make good husbands but they don't fulfill my own requirements. Call me fussy but I have my own set of needs that my husband should be able to attend to. Sorry to say, they just don't fit in."
"You're really impossible, Aliya. Why don't you give them a chance?"
"I'm just being me. My husband should be able to accept me as I am, as a whole package with good sides and negative sides. He should know how to handle me without losing his own temper. He should be able to guide me to be a good wife and Muslimah, with all his knowledge of Islam and support from his family. He should himself be a good role model for I will never be able to respect a husband who doesn't walk his talk. My own experiences with my broken first marriage has made me wiser and more critical of men."
"What you ask for is near to impossible. You are looking for a super husband."
"You're mistaken. Allah SWT gives a woman the freedom to choose her own husband. I don't want any Ali, Abu and Ahmad who are merely interested just because I'm a Chinese Muslim with fair skin and works as a civil servant, and are supposedly naive and easy to guide to be a good, obedient wife. I need a man who can answer all my enquiries about Islam immediately, is well-read, is multilingual and understands my own Chinese roots and gives me the freedom to be myself, not trying to turn me into a Malay woman. I also need a husband who can have an intellectual conversation with me about anything under the sun. In short, he reads a lot."
"Gosh, is it possible to find such a Malay man in this world today?"
"Who says he has to be a Malay? He just has to be a good practising Muslim. I'm not looking for a rich man or a handsome man. I'm not perfect myself. I have my own flaws which I hope my husband can tolerate and help to disperse. I just need a husband who can guide and protect me, and ensure that I continue to be a better Muslimah after I marry him, insyaAllah. I don't want a husband who will neglect me and my Islamic upbringing after our marriage, and Allah forbid, that I know more about Islam than he does.
Don't worry, Allah swt will choose for me, just as He always does. I know there've been enquiries about me by some interested parties but as I've told you, if I don't think I can carry an intellectual conversation about Islam or any topic with him in both Malay and English, then sorry.. it's better not to start anything. Perhaps there's a more suitable lady for them out there somewhere, who knows? As for my choice of husband, it's very important that I should be able look up to him as my leader till the end of our lives."
" Wow! I've never thought of those things myself. Then I wish you all the best, Aliya."
" Actually, I have been given hints by Allah about my future husband. I've been approached and all I need to do now is solat isytikarah and solat hajat to ensure we have His blessings."
"Really? Who's he?"
"Oh, don't worry. You'll know soon enough."
NOTE: Finding a husband is more challenging than shopping for the perfect dress or the perfect house. She enters the marriage with prayers, faith and tawakkal to Allah, for her future growth as a Muslim depends largely on the outcome of her husband and her marriage.