I think I am going to make a few enemies right now when I say that Disney is not my favorite place to find “halalified” entertainment. I have, over the years, grown utterly disgusted by all of the female roles that lead to a love affair turned marriage and the whole happily ever after thing.
My daughter, for example, who just turned seven keeps on asking me why I won’t show her the same cartoons “everyone at school gets to watch.” She was particularly interested in Cinderella. Aside from the pretty blue dress, she really wanted to know what the big deal was all about. She shyly admitted to me that she found a Cinderella book at her Islamic school (produced with Disney images of course) and she looked through the book, seeing the kiss scene and all.
With a sigh, realizing that this was coming sooner than expected, I decided to tell her what happened and why I don’t like this story.
My conversation went something like this:
“Mama, just tell me what the story is about. Why don’t you like it!”
“Alright, here is what happens. A girl named Cinderella gets all dressed up and goes to a dance. She wears this pretty blue dress, and meets a man and dances with him…”
“Oh, that’s not ok. She wasn’t in hijab, and she danced. Is dancing even ok mama? “
“Well its not ok for us in public for sure in front of a bunch of men we don’t know”
“so then what happened?”
“Well, at midnight she has to go home, and on her way out rushing to get to her carriage, she dropped a glass slipper, or shoe with tall heels, on the staircase. The man she danced with, a complete stranger, finds the shoe. He then spend lots and lots of time looking aaaaaaall over the kingdom for the girl who’s foot fits into this special shoe. Finally one day, he comes to where Cinderella lives, and the shoe fits her foot, and then they get married.”
“Now, does she even know anything about this guy? Does he have good character, how will he treat her. She doesn’t know a thing about him, but because of this stupid shoe, she is going to marry him and he is going to marry her and live happily ever after.” I think that a girl should higher standards than that! “
“yes, standards…meaning that you should have certain things you want in a husband, and not just go after any guy because of a dance and a shoe. Don’t you agree?”
“yea, that sounds wrong mama..”
So, my seven year old gets it, and I pray that Allah keeps her heart matched up with her head to see things clearly in her life. Ameen.
But what about you? Maybe it wasn’t a glass slipper, but is there some brother out there you are thinking about marrying, or want to marry, or are arguing with your parents about marrying and truth is, you have no real idea why?
Hold on. Don’t bite my head off with defensive comments. I was simply asking a question J
Truthfully, though, I have found over and over again that when someone is asked why they love someone, the answer is “well, I just do! He is so nice, and kind, and just….I just love him…”
Ok, so we have:
1) He is nice
2) He is kind
3) You love him.
I know it is Sunnah to be concise with words, and wow, that even worked out to be an odd number too, but this list is too short, and too vague.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to mock you. I am simply asking you to see how it looks from the outside.
See, falling in love is much like Cinderella. You meet a brother, interact with him, maybe once, maybe from time to time, maybe often, but in all circumstances one thing is clear – you don’t really know a thing about him,
You know that he makes you feel good.
You know that he makes you smile inside.
You know that you like the conversation you had.
You know you like the idea of him and you.
And you know it’s not because he is “religious.”
Truthfully, all you know is that you like how you feel and the ideas in your head. Not once did you stop to find out if your imagination matched up with a potential reality.
When you fall in love, you are falling in love with a person who is giving you special attention, special treatment, special feelings, special expressions, and special opportunities.
No doubt, it feels amazing.
But things are special right now only because you are special. You are special because you are something rare, new, different, and therefore, well, special.
What will happen when conversations aren’t doled out like a piece of chocolate, only one a day since you will wake up next to him every day?
What will happen when he doesn’t always make you smile because he is stressed about work, the phone bill, and your two year old who is screaming?
What will happen when happily ever after is nothing more than a mirage in your imagination?
Real life doesn’t take place on gchat.
It is easy to fall in love, oh so easy. It is easy to love mystery, secrecy, ideas, and intangible thoughts.
It is easy to feel butterflies, daydream, and feel warm fuzzies when you think of him.
So long as you don’t mind falling and falling and falling, you can spend your life falling in love, hitting the ground, and then finding another edge to fall from again.
If you are searching for real love, then it’s time to recycle the glass slipper, and prepare for the death of the fairytale.