Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her boisterous Muslim family, and numerous (interfering) aunties, are professional naggers. And her flighty young cousin, about to reject her one hundredth marriage proposal, is a constant reminder that Ayesha is still single.
Ayesha might be a little lonely, but the one thing she doesn’t want is an arranged marriage.
Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin sheds some light on arranged marriage in the Muslim community. Read on to find out if Ayesha should give arranged marriage a chance…
Love is a part of the equation but not before marriage
“Love comes after marriage, not before. These Western ideas of romantic love are utter nonsense. Just look at the American divorce rate.”
The guest list requires a lot more thought than expected
“The wedding will be in July. Everyone will want an invitation, but I will limit the guest list to six hundred people. Any more is showing off.”
Mothers can get a little carried away during the process
“Because while it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single Muslim man must be in want of a wife, there’s an even greater truth: To his Indian mother, his own inclinations are of secondary importance.”
Sometimes it is the only way some people can find a partner
“He had been raised to believe that non-related men and women should never get too close- socially, emotionally and especially physically. “ When an unmarried man and woman are alone together, a third person is present: Satan,” Ammi often told him.”
Religion is not part of the process but is an integral part of the individual’s identity
“His white robes and beard were a comfortable security blanket, his way of communicating without saying a word. Even though he knew there were other, easier ways to be, Khalid had chosen the one that felt most authentic to him, and he had no plans to waver.”
First impressions are very important
“Well, I hope you aren’t comparing your situation to our little Hafsa’s many rishta proposals. Even if you are seven years older and only received a handful of offers. Only consider Sulaiman’s status in the community and Hafsa’s great beauty, her bubbly personality.”
Everyone who participates doesn’t believe in the ‘Happily Ever After’
“A woman should always have a backup plan, for when things fall apart. You must know how to support yourself when they leave.”
Ayesha at Last is a big-hearted, captivating, modern-day Muslim Pride and Prejudice, with hijabs instead of top hats and kurtas instead of corsets. .