I was sitting in the warm household of a family when the following story was related to me. The father of two young children leaned over from our meal and said, “have children when you are young.” I looked at him, with a look of acceptance mixed with uncertainty – unsure if there was a catch. He said:
“When I was in Egypt, I was about 19 or 20 years old and my father told me to get married. I said no. Instead I’d go to school, get a degree and a job before getting married.”
Coming from a very different background, parents encouraging marriage at 19 is pretty much unheard of, however the idea of getting a degree and job before marriage was something I’d been taught by the culture around me. In fact, the cultural baggage I carry from my upbringing is best described as the “rat race.” And, that race goes something like: at age 18 graduate high school; 22 graduate university; 23 travel; 24 start working; 25 buy car; 27 get married; 30 buy house and have 1st child; 32 have 2nd child; all the while investing in RRSPs; 55 retire. He continues,
“So, I got my degree. Then I did more university. Then I immigrated to the United States and started working. Finally, I decided it is time to get married. By that time I was in my early thirties. Now I am near to forty and my children are young. They have energy and run all day; I work am tired when I get home.”
“Ya akhi, I didn’t take my father’s advice – but, you should. When you are young you have energy to run with the kids, you’ll be more patient and won’t be as tired. Brother, get married and have children when you are young.”
We are all aware of the hadith our beloved Prophet (upon whom be peace) who encouraged people to marry: We were with the Prophet while we were young and had no wealth whatsoever. So Allah's Messenger said, "O young people! Whoever among you can marry, should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty, and whoever is not able to marry, should fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual power. (Al-Bukhari)
May Allah make us among those who are sincere in our intensions and bless us with success in the Akhirah.