Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Mother will not let me become a commerical pilot because I am a girl!

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I want to become a commercial pilot, but my mother says it is "stupid" because I am a girl - no Islamic reason, only based on her own thoughts and beliefs such as that I need to "care for my husband, kids, house" etc.  But I am only 17, and I do not plan to get married at all for now, not even when I am older. My mother refuses to believe that I do NOT want a husband and kids; she keeps saying I will change my mind. She also says that I will be forced out of my job when I am older and married so they can hire younger, more beautiful women in revealing clothing, not like me in a hijab and modest clothes. However, in the aviation field, more flight hours are better, and older pilots are sought-after.

She also keeps saying that if I want to excuse myself from work to care for a sick child, mother, anything, they won't let me, but this is the same as any job. Each job has a specific amount of days off you can take, and this is out of my control regardless of what I work as. My mum herself who worked in a hospital had to quit her job because of her child, nothing to do with being a pilot. This really angers both me and her. She does not want to understand I hate men and marriage. I am uncomfortable around kids and do not want to care for a whiny crying baby. This is who I am, I am certainly not the first Muslim women who wants to be a pilot and not get married.

She will not let me go to college to become a pilot and keeps bringing up excuses like "What if your child has surgery or is sick? Who will care for the house, or what if you get pregnant?" I mean, these problems are present in all jobs! What if I am a surgeon with a surgery scheduled tomorrow and my child is sick with a fever? The child has a dad who can care for him while I am in surgery, same thing if I was in another country and working as a pilot. Most jobs will let you continue working up until the birth of your child, same thing with being a pilot, I can opt-in to work until 14 weeks before the baby is born, and recently some airlines let a women choose if she wants to continue working until the baby is born. But my mum keeps saying that if I request days off or get pregnant, or get older, they will fire me. But again, all jobs have this, they prefer single ladies with no obligations over married women.

Honestly, I believe she is just prejudiced against me working as a pilot from the perspective of "what will people say if your child gets sick and you are in another country? They will say "Look at this careless mother throwing her children away!" And if your house is not clean? "She is too tired from working, she should quit and care for the house." If your husband is caring for the house? "No no, how can she let a man do housework?" etc, These are their problems, not mine. The child has two parents, not only a mother. I do not care what the culture says, only Islam, Islam is my culture and way of living, but my mother wants to confine me to the misogynistic culture. Like what if the dad was the pilot? "Wow look at his income!" If his child gets sick, they feel bad he could not get to be there and wish him a fast return, if his wife gets pregnant, he leaves her alone. This is misogyny, but this word does not exist for my mother.

And as I said, I am 100% against marriage as most men these days are not very Islamic, beating their wives, withholding money for expenses yet still requesting sex, not helping with housework yet expect the wife to bring in money from a day-job and do house work, wanting more wives when there is no reason or fault with the first wife, they just want to flaunt their "manliness" and crush the soul of the first wife. I have seen many marriages like this among my relatives and friends--men controlling women and women afraid to speak up because of stupid misogynistic cultures that only recognize the Islamic rights of men and not women and twist all women's rights against them.

What can I do with my mum? I tried many times to explain, but she just gets angry and tells me to "shut up." If it was for an Islamic reason, I would try to understand, but her only reason is because I am a girl, and culturally, I should be ready to give up my job for my kids and husband when I do not even want to get married in the first place! Also, if I married a righteous Muslim man, he would not mind me being a pilot and he would take care of the house and kids when I am gone because they are OUR house and OUR kids, not mine only, not ask me to give up my dream to serve him like a maid. Please help me and guide me. What can I do to help my mother understand me, my dreams, thoughts, and life choices? I gave her other options like an architect or interior design, but she compares me to other kids and family members like cousins who chose medical fields and says that my bachelor's in art or aviation are worthless next to theirs. This is really hurtful to me, I still love and appreciate her and know that she wants the best for me and because of the culture, and she also loves me. All this back and forth fighting did not affect our relationship, it brought us closer.


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5 Responses »

  1. Asalamualaykum Tala,

    You are not wrong, and you've laid out your reasoning beautifully. The only thing I disagree with is that you "hate men" and that they're all the same, but this is your youth talking 🙂 There are good, reasonable men out there, and Allah decides and plans marriage for you if He wants it for you.

    Your mother is hindering you based on her own dreams for you, and her own fears that you will not have a comfortable life. This is common among parents, believe it or not. Just remember those things and it should soften your heart towards her without succumbing to the cultural expectation you abhor.

    Honestly, this is not going to be easy for you. You will have to stand up for yourself every step of the way. You will have to "respectfully disagree" or "agree to disagree" as they say, while recognizing that this is your mother and you need to remain kind and civil to her. You'll have to remind yourself frequently that respecting your parents doesn't always mean you have to agree with them, and you are not being "bad" in any way for having your own independent nature.

    The best advice I can give you is to keep following Islam and stay on Allah's path. It can never lead your wrong. And don't give up at least trying to make your mother understand so long as you have the energy for it, while setting your own boundaries (what you will and will not do). Make ample dua, pray Tahajjud, and live within the rules of religion rather than society. That will allow you to "bypass" all the extraneous baggage that this world throws at you.



  2. Dear Tala,

    My goodness, reading your question just made me feel very protective of you. I very much concur with the above reply by sister Nor and if you like you are more than welcome to contact me and talk to me. I have so so much to say on all of this. Islam is a very beautiful religion. It gives you so many rights. Don't throw them away for society or out of familial pressure. Culture and religion are two different things.

    As for marriage and kids, that is something you will undoubtedly be blessed with when the time is right. Insha'Allah. Don't worry about that. You're only 17. When the right muslim man comes along, you will know and he won't make his happiness at the godt of your happiness. You will share a mutual understanding, trust, respect, gratitude and love.

    As for aviation. Your mother is presumably very influenced by her culture and immediate society because most of what she claims is neither fact based or realistic. She also must remember there is a generational shift between you and her. She didn't have these options, but you do. All her claims can be disproven because she doesn't speak from knowledge but her own imagination. Aviation is no about being young and pretty. The employment law in most places has maternity leave and flexible working schedules.

    I think you should pursue your dreams and keep talking to her. Possibly include somebody she respects and looks up to who will be able to convey your views to her. I can't remember the name, but a Syrian teenage refugee made it to the UK and she successfully not only completed her schooling but also became an aviator and now works as a commercial pilot with head cover and modest attire. I don't see, why you can't be in her position, if you have the opportunity and ambition. You can look up Malaysian airlines, Air Asias, female pilots who also cover their heads, UAEs first female pilot Huda Al-Musallemi, UAEs first female fighter pilot, Mariam al-Mansouri, Saudi Hanadi Zakariyah al-Hindi and also show your mother these examples.

    Don't give up your dreams and ambitions. Keep talking to your mother. Be kind. Seek admission and use solid arguments (which you already have) to counter her concerns as unsubstantiated as they may be. Show her successful muslim sisters ok all walks of life. Show her the many roles a muslim woman can undertake yet be a mother and a wife. I pray it will work out for you.

    May Allah make things easier for you and help you achieve your dreams.

  3. Salam

    TLDR: Your mom is right and you are wrong. You just don't know enough yet.

    Long version: Islamically the responsibility of money is on guys. So most guys are going to want someone who is not forced to get money, but will instead take on kids as a primary responsibility. There are guys that are willing to be stay at home dads, and guys that don't want kids. They are a lot fewer so your mate selection goes down. if you're going to be happy with a fat stay at home dad then go for it. Heck there are divorced men that can't get a job and they'd happily let you fly around the world and let you pay for things. You might not find them attractive but hey, you're not going to be in love with them or your kids anyway so who cares.

    I don't think you know your career that well. Flying a commercial plane is fun but it gets old. Having to fly a predetermined route is going to make it old. And worse is having to stay in a city you don't live in. They not only own your work time but your free time is spent staying at hotels with no friends and no family. You can't even run a relationship because you're not even there. You're in a different city than whomever you're with. That's why I said you wouldn't love your kids, you just won't be in their life. For that matter, you won't really be in yours either. You fly, sleep, get up and fly the same route again. it's like being a truck driver.

    Islamically or not, I would not recommend choosing this as your career. Take up hobby flying now and pick something else that will let you support that hobby. I knew a recruiter that had the recruiter job but every evening he would be in a plane flying wherever he wanted to. No predetermined routes, and no forced hotel stays. Plus he comes home to people that love him every night instead of a hotel bedroom where someone else slept the night before.

    If you still want to be a commercial pilot it will cost you about 10 or so years for you to get bored. Marriage pickings will be slimmer and you may decide to do something else anyway. But if having a loving family is not a priority, then enjoy the next 10 years. Good luck.

    • Asalamualaykum M,

      I don't agree with a lot of what you say.

      First off, Tala said clearly that she does not want marriage and kids. If Allah decides that for her, it will happen, but why should she specifically plan her life around having things she doesn't want? She should do her best working towards her dreams, talents, and ambitions, and leave the rest to Allah. You can't have motivation to work hard and sacrifice every day toward something you're not interested in. You would end up depressed and burnt out, and would end up at the bottom of the pack under those who genuinely want those things with all their heart.

      Secondly, there are people for every kind of job and career. What makes you think that someone who is as passionate as Tala about her chosen career won't be a good fit? Aren't there so many commercial pilots out there? Even those who have been flying for many years? What suits one personality does not necessarily suit another. For example, I struggled immensely with working in an office, but many sisters are more than content with office politics and even contribute to them, astagfirullah.

      Also, I know a guy who used to coach figure skating but now drives trucks as you state. He loves his drama-free job. My stepmother is also a driver for a medical company, and although she does the exact same route every single day just as you describe, she describes this as her dream job. Remember, every job is important. Even the trash collectors that repeat the same distance over and over with a smile and a wave to those in their paths.

      Please be careful not to squash young people's dreams. No amount of education, work, and dedication can overcome blatant disinterest.


      • Salam Nor,

        How's your day going? I hope things are going well. Say, do you know whether this question was posted near the time it was asked or is there still a 3+ month wait from when questions are asked and when they are posted? I ask because in the past usually just responders argue amongst themselves and the OP never responds.

        To answer your questions: I, like Tala, also did not want to get married. Granted I was like 10, but when I told my parents that, they said that even if I don't want it now, I will want it in the future. I was still required to work for it. Applying the same logic to Tala, I would say she doesn't want to get married now because she's only 19. It's not time for her to settle down. Some people like the romance and having a partner but for Tala, she sees it as going from the oppression of her parents to the oppression of a husband. He's going to get her pregnant and then she won't be able to do much in life. With that view, flying is great, marriage and parents suck.

        If she could be a professional pilot with a 9-5 job and come home every day, then I would say she should go for it. Because the job requires travel and overnight stays, she has to sacrifice friends and family to keep it. The fun of the job will go down over time, the cost of no family or friends will go up over time. In less than 5 years of being a pilot, I expect her to be stuck in a profession she doesn't really want to sacrifice for. She will have lost her free college ride from her parents and will need to look for another job. Based on that, I recommend fulfilling her passion by taking up hobby flying. That doesn't require overnight stays and doesn't require one to sacrifice their family.

        I also expect her to change her mind about marriage. At 19 friends prioritize each other over family. Once those friends start getting married they don't treat their friends as a priority. Once they have kids they pretty much disappear. As Tala starts losing friends over time she will want to get married too. Once she's near 30, I would expect the urge to be very high. She should pick a career that pays well with fewer sacrifices and let her passion be met by hobby flying, unless she can get that 9-5 pilot job.

        Also congratulations on your mom and your guy friend on getting their dream jobs. Those examples just show you that maybe your first career pick isn't necessarily one that will last. I doubt your mom was passionate about become a driver for a medical company but she's happy. And the figure skating coach that was passionate about figure skating is also happy driving. I hope Tala ends up happy with a job that doesn't require much sacrifice.

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