By Fatima Adamou
I am thirty-seven, single and childless. The latter two of these three descriptive are taboo within the Muslim community. Whether you live in America, Pakistan or Egypt, if you are not attached to a husband and with a brood of children in tow, you are an outsider. Extended family and friends assume you are too picky, too career-oriented, too liberal or too plain. Simply put, you are at fault. I belong to this hidden category, the one we do not mention.
In my experience, neither “difficult” Muslim women nor a shortage of available Muslim men are to blame. A variety of circumstances, many unexpected and beyond one’s control, are the reason why we—single, childless women–exist. Some of us are widows or divorcees, while others are converts not yet part of a Muslim community where they can meet a potential husband. Others still are the only breadwinners in their family and feel they cannot ride off into the sunset leaving behind those who depend on them.