Yes, Another Marriage Topic… Sosueme!

// August 15th, 2008 // Blog

I was just reminded of the issue whilst chatting to a good friend (wink wink). I learnt of it a while ago, but completely forgot to blog about it. Anyway…

For those of you who have had to endure the annoyance that is your typical rishta, this custom may make your life a little easier, inshā’Allāh.

Now, how we do it in my community, is that after some initial discussion between parents and go-betweens over the phone, the guy and his family comes round to visit the girl and her family. After munching on samosas and tea for anywhere between 10 minutes to an hour, the girl and the guy usually get to spend some time with one another to ask questions. Depending on the family and their customs, they may sit alone in an open part of the house, or sit in the corner while their family pretends not to listen in.

After this 'interview' period, the guy goes back to his family, there may be some more samosa munching, but usually the boy's family goes home soon after.

What follows is usually an agonising wait while the guy's family makes their decision. It might be a day. It might be a week. They may never respond (yes, it happens! How rude?). True, it is only agonising if the girl is actually interested… else, who cares, right? Anyway, this whole waiting period usually results in unnecessary stress for the girl's family, which may lead to squabbling and other unpleasantness.

But, there is another way, my friends. I have a Bengali friend whose family seems to totally have this whole rishta thing down. I love their system, and want to propagate it among my own community. But I know they'll never listen to me… but maybe you guys have more influence, so who knows?

It's quite simple really. After the initial rishta meeting has ended, the guy's family leaves something behind to indicate their level of interest:

1) If they're very interested, and want to move forward, they will leave jewellery for the girl, and money for the family.
2) If they're like: “hmm, maybe”, they may leave a token amount of money.
3) If it is a case of “thanks, but no”, they don't leave anything.

Now, tell me: how cool is that? I was so impressed when my friend shared this information with me. Imagine, all that nervous nail biting, stress and annoyance is thrown out the window. This system ROCKS!

So, everyone, start using it… maybe my community will catch on eventually. Maybe I won't benefit personally, but my children might, inshā’Allāh. If I have a son, I am remembering this. Why put another family through something I hated myself?

Does your community have any similar time-saving conventions? Please share! I am determined to save others the stress I have had to endure. Plus, I know I have caused others stress too… so I'd like to make up for it somehow.

22 Responses to “Yes, Another Marriage Topic… Sosueme!”

  1. srtuba says:

    Ha ha ha, this post made me laugh. And sorry, I don’t know any stress-saving customs or traditions, I’m only 15 and not about to get married any time soon (insha’Allah), sorry! :)

  2. Haleem says:

    haha what if the girl doesn’t like you? Does she return the jewellery saying “it doesn’t fit”? lol

    Whenever we did it we would have gone through a 3rd party (mediator or known in Bengali as ‘ghotok’) and after the meeting would have just told her/him (usually a her) on our thoughts. She would then sugar coat it and pass it on vice versa.

  3. iMuslim says:

    srtuba: you can still make difference… pass this blog post on to others… spread the word… start the revolution! hehe

    Haleem: yes, they return the stuff. I don’t think excuses are required. It’s all ‘understood’. Though I bet the more superstitious would take the jewellery not fitting as some kind of bad omen… pfft.

    We do have third parties, but people still take their time… they might not inform the go-between for a while… and what is the girl to do in the mean time (other than pray, of course)? With this method, everyone knows where they stand from the get go.

    I hate all this dancing around. What are we? Swans? We don’t /do/ mating dances. Just tell me if you’re interested or not. I’m a big girl, I can take it! I promise to let you leave before I start crying into my pillow.

    Okay, some underlying issues are bubbling up… haha. I’ll calm down now.

  4. tabman says:

    ummm well first of all I don’t know which community you belong to but I think lets just take this community/cultural baggage aside

    the kind of things that you mentioned this is very catchy stuff. With time it takes the form from being a custom or something of choice to an obligation e.g. I had encountered an incident in Pakistan that it is considered an obligation on the girl’s family part to leave some money with the boy on accepting the Rishta, apparently if they don’t do it this is considered very rude. In urdu they say “haath pe paise rukhnaa” so no I would strongly disagree with any such custom. Also coming from an Indo-Pak background this custom basically puts all the financial burden on the girls family.

    Now coming to the solution, I think both parties can set a deadline and if they don’t hear anything till that deadline it should be considered over. Obviously the party either the boy side or girl side need time to discuss among themselves.

  5. piniyini says:

    What if the guy is in the #2 scenario most of the time? Could end up being out of a fair bit of dough :)

    And what if it’s #1 and the girl doesn’t feel the same (is there a return policy?) … imagine if this happens a few times. The guy’ll be high and dry in no time!

  6. iMuslim says:

    tabman and piniyini… i see your point. Unfortunately people have a habit of taking a perfectly good idea, and ruining it entirely. Maybe we could swap jewellery and money to something inexpensive, like sweets and dates. That would be cool. If I leave you a box of Cadbury Roses… it’s a maybe. If I leave you Belgian, darks, 70% cocoa… it’s love! {laughs}

  7. iMuslim says:

    Btw, yes, of course people need time to make the big decision about spending the rest of their lives with one another – after all, we need to pray Istikarah at some point. My suggestions merely relates to the initial meeting upon which the majority of people make up their minds within five minutes of seeing one another…

    Plus, I must add that prior to the meeting, there needs to be enough background checking to make sure no-one is wasting their time to begin with. Is the guy looking for a hijabi girl? Then no point meeting a non-hijabi. Is the girl looking for a namazi guy? Well what’s the point of seeing a guy who only prays Jumuah…

    So, once the parents and go-betweens have ascertained that there is actual promise in the match, that’s when you set up the meeting, insha’Allah. All that is left is matching personalities, and mutual attraction. Bas.

    And yes, it can be that simple! But if you’re not going through family, then a whole different system is required.

  8. Marahm says:

    Even if you are going through family, the level of interest at the close of the first meeting may not be the level of interest the next day. The family and couple still need time together, so the initial impression can wear off, and all can see what is underneath.

    Granted, this process will actually take years, but the interested parties need to give themselves a chance to observe behavioral patterns that are not evident during the initial screening.

    Initial reactions that are very strong may actually reverse themselves with time and prayer.

  9. iMuslim says:

    I won’t deny that I am an impatient woman, Marahm… {wink}

  10. Marahm says:

    I doubt you are truly impatient. When a woman is in the proper age for marriage, finding a partner is her prime concern. That is as it should be.

  11. Ibn Shahid says:

    Interesting article. May Allah bless you sister with a good husband and make both of you a blessing for each other.

  12. Suhail Debar says:

    Personally I think such a custom is the daftest thing I have ever heard.

    Who says it’s always the girl waiting for the guys response? Sometiems it’s the other way around.

    Also what happens if for some reason they forget the cash / jewellery / sweeties at home and are interested… “Mum jalli, take your bangles off!…” Sorry, bad joke…

    Such decisions are not always made within the first 5 mins. At times, ‘a second meet and greet’ is requested and in some cases the end result is a ‘thankyou, don’t come again’…

    I also know for a fact that at times, some parties although they wish to go ahead with things, will not give an answer straight away due to not wanting to seem too ‘eager’…

    At times both parties are waiting for the other to make the first move…

    What’s next, leaving copies of house keys behind?! :P

    Yes the whole marriage process can be a very gruelling and stressful time. It’s quite apparent that more and more people are itching to get hitched with the numerous blog / forum posts cropping up left right and centre not to mention peoples behaviour at Uni and the like. *cough*

    But why try make things more complicated than they already may seem?

    Dua is the answer to all things.

    Too many sweeties will just rot your teeth / make you fat :P

  13. HFM says:

    I really enjoyed reading this article.
    I agree with the ‘wait’ process, sometimes it can drive you insane and into a spiral of paranoia…

    Suhail: I like youuuu!
    Love your philosophy, duaa is the best!

    I understand a certain amount of waiting, it is a HUGE decision in your life and rushing it is crazy mad, but waiting TOO long is plain torture.

    Moderation is our religion.

  14. Organica says:

    I am not sure if I would ever want to practice this for myself or my future children. I think that as adults, we should be able to make these decisions in a mature way. Maybe after an initial meeting they could swap emails and start getting to know each other. As others mentioned on her, it’s impossible to make a decision in an hour. This thing might take some time. The Internet would be a great way to speed up the process or working on similar projects for the community. However, I don’t think a person needs months to make a decision. A week or two should be sufficient to decide if the person is right for you or not. Once people delay these matters is when they start losing the barakah (blessing) in the relationship.

    But honestly, if Allah wills, there will be something from the very first moment, inshAllah.

    I do think however, if a person is going through the traditional method for marriage search, I would recommend a go-between to make life easier. It would be nice to speak to this person and let them know what you expect, etc.

    I listened to a sister on Youtube who advised that the couple-to-be engage in a activity where they learn more about their temperament. She said you will learn a lot about a person when you are cooking dinner for a group of people or working on a project for the community. It certainly removes the pressure off the couple.

  15. tabman says:

    @ iMuslim

    sweets and dates seem like a better idea but I’m sure it’ll turn out to take different forms and people in order to be ostentatiousness will take it to another level

    btw are you going through all this these days ?

  16. AnonyMouse says:

    Seeing as how I only went through the traditional rishta-meeting once (alHamdulillah!), I guess I’m not exactly the best person to comment… however, I must say that I think the current system really isn’t that bad. My decision was made in a matter of what was it, 2 weeks? We had the interview, background check, follow-up call, and it was Mr. Mouse who was stressing over the time I was taking, lol!
    But alHamdulillah… there are a few ways of doing it, and it really just depends on those involved about how stressful/ not stressful it is.

  17. Suhail Debar says:

    Organica made a very good point.

    There are 3 things one must know about their spouse for a solid and successful relationship:

    – Their Temperament
    – Their Likes
    – Their Dislikes

    Naturally you can’t figure out all of these things before marriage but yeah.

    Most people tend to swap mobile numbers as opposed to emails…

    But as to stick with the topic, I guess sometimes you just have to wait it out…

  18. Shahrzad says:

    The system your friend said used to be practised many years ago (50 or more) in Iran too. I think it’s good for communities which dont recognise friendship of girls and guys or relationship between the two is restricted.

    Nowadays there is not kinda things to be stressed etc, bcs the girl and guy chose themselves by own and there is not this whole issue of introducing.
    In Iran, when girl and guy are interested, they talk to parents and they come directly for proposing.

    Also when one wants to come to girl’s house, (withput being friend with etc) he is soso sure of his decision and it’s girl who chose to say yes or no.
    I think it’s desrespecting the girl, if she was the second one who has to chose.

  19. […] another marriage topic!” says our own IMuslim. She’s sharing an interesting idea from a friend, to help ease the “Is it a yes? Is it a no?” confusion in the marriage […]

  20. Ijtema says:

    Assalamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah

    I pray that you are in the best of health & imaan.

    This is a short message to notify you that this entry has been selected for publishing on, a venture to highlight the best of the Muslim blogosphere. Please visit the site to find out more about our initiative.

    May Allah bless you for your noble efforts.


    (Submitting editor: Heheh… )

  21. Specs says:

    Oh er, i’m late as usual. But, ah iMuslim, what a wound you’ve poked!

    The Pakistani system works EXACTLY this way. Its upsetting, and like Shahrzad said, its always the guy’s choice first. And yes, ‘no answer’ is a very very common way.

    I think even here, people, if they’re interested the first time around; really like the girl and can see the guy making little gestures of ‘yes’ to his mum, they leave some money for the girl and all.

    Most of the times, 75% of the rishta seekers are MOTHERS looking for their son’s bride while the son already has someone in mind…and they’re humoring their mothers till they give up and say ‘Go find one for yourself, then!!’ and he says, ‘Ah, now that you mention it, Amma, i got a perfect girl in mind.’ etc etc.

  22. iMuslim says:

    I am quite surprised by the level of reaction to this post… considering it was meant to be light-hearted! Just shows the effects of culture, especially when connected to the marriage scene.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: