I aint sayin’ I’m a gold digger…

Recently, I was having a conversation with a group of my friends and were talking about what constitutes a gold digger. Are you a gold digger if you expect a man to have enough money to support your future family? Are you a gold digger if you want a man who is well-established and financially sound? Are you a gold digger if you expect a man to be the leader, the head of the household? What is Islam’s position on the subject?

Typically, when the term comes up, people are speaking about a woman whose sole focus is how much money a man makes. She doesn’t care about his heart, his relationship with God, his family, his intelligence or anything else. She wants to know how much money he has and how much she can get from him. If she’s in it for the long run (as in marriage) she may want to know what kind of career he has and whether that career can financially sustain them. She wouldn’t even look in the direction of a man who doesn’t have a lot of money but is intelligent, spiritually grounded and ambitious. More than likely, she will not help the man strive for better, for more. This is my definition of a gold digger. (Though I don’t really like the term because it’s applied exclusively to women. Whereas a man who does the same thing is called what?) I know women like this. I have been friends with women like this. I could give you a 1001 reasons why they are the way they are but that is not my focus today.

What I want to know is why a sister who expects her husband to be financially sound is suddenly considered a gold digger by some. I’ve heard Muslim men complain about sisters expecting “too much” from them. When I ask what is considered “too much” you find out it’s the basics; have a stable job, a decent place to live, money to maintain a wife (and a future family), and some ambition, some goals. Maybe an education. A decent mahr. There are sisters who have expectations a little higher than that. They may want him to own a house, have money saved in the bank, and a job that is at a certain level. Is she wrong? (Especially if she comes from a family that has all of those things or can provide those things for herself). Men are the protectors and maintainers of women. Is it a sin to want a man who can adequately maintain and protect her?

Some brothers barely have a job, barely have a place to stay (or none at all), no car, little money, no ambition and expect a sister to be content with that. They quote Ahadith about women accepting little for a mahr and living on next to nothing. They use Ahadith to chastise sisters for expecting more from them. But I have a couple questions: Where will you live? How do you expect to pay the bills? How will you support a wife and kids? Do you have a career? Do you have REALISTIC goals and dreams? What are your plans for the future? Do you possess a deep, profound understanding of this deen? Are you able to translate your deep, profound understanding of the deen into practice? Or are you doing the five daily, reciting a little Quran but otherwise behaving like any other dude out here in the dunya? Does your little practice of Islam make you so exceptional that a sister should overlook your financial situation? (Because you have so much to offer her deen wise). Most importantly, why would a woman accept a man who can’t even financially maintain her in the way she is accustomed to?

Sorry ahki! My goal is to move UP not DOWN…forward not backwards. Some brothers can’t face the truth. Some sisters settle for less. They allow brothers to escape their responsibilities. All the while these brothers are convincing sisters they’re sacrificing in the name of Allah, Islam or following the Sunnah when the brother is actually half steppin’, using Islam as an excuse for his irresponsibility. *kiss teeth* Sisters, don’t fall for the “halal game” ’cause that’s actually what some brothers are running.

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43 responses to “I aint sayin’ I’m a gold digger…

  1. assalaamualaikum:

    What a post! I wrote a little something about this on my blog but it really focused on how we deal with these issues when a man is disabled or b/c of illness unable to bear the sole burden.

    One thing I have to second is the fact that nobody talks about money in a realistic way. I remember when I was getting counseled for marriage the imam had no problem asking me if I was fertile (I really had no clue being that I never had sex before) but no body looked at my future husband’s financial management skills. Of course this is the job of the wali but not everyone has one.

    I have to be frank do you think this is a bigger problem among BAMS? I look through Muslim marriage ads in the paper and I frequently see things like “Pakistani family seeks doctor for their dentist daughter. Must be this and this…” Whereas in our history black women (of course depending class) negotiated the public sphere for work and supported the family too. At least this is the history in my family.

    You know what Jamerican, just recently a younger sister I know was being accused of being a gold digger. But guess who did it? The possible intended’s sisters, aunts and mothers. This sister is college educated but wanted the option to stay home. The dude already had a house but he was like if you want to move in you’ve got to share the bills. Needless to say they accused her of being a golddigger and that was the end of that. What about the working sisters who feel jealous of the sisters who don’t do it?

  2. Walaikum salaam muslimahnotes,

    I think disability and illness is another matter. Of course you should try to work with a brother when it comes to that. In my post I was referring to brothers in perfect health.

    I agree with you. There are too few conversation about finances prior to marriage. Sometimes when you ask about it brothers take offense. They accuse sisters of being out for the money if you inquire. That’s something I feel I have a right to know. Also, brothers are too busy acting like they have it all together when they really don’t. The crazy part is that she’s gonna find out. HELLO, GENIUS. LOL. Maybe sisters should make a bro show proof of his financial standing. Perhaps that’s where the wali can come in handy. He can ask about it and it won’t feel so personal.

    I do think this is an issue in the BAM community. My Arab, Pakstani, West and East African friends’ family have no problem making sure their daughter is going to be provided for. If anything, their issue is that they turn away a brother with potential because he hasn’t achieved his goals yet. But that’s another issue and another day…I know of African-American brothers who marry immigrant sisters and they’re doing for them exactly what they wouldn’t do for us- maintaining them. Yet, when a BAM sister asks for it we’re gold diggers? *kiss teeth*

    As you know with sisters/women we sometimes are our own worst enemies. Imagine this bro trying to approach the daughter of immigrant parents and his family saying she HAS to pay half of the bills. They’ll laugh him out of their lives. And where in Islam does it say as sister HAS to do that? It’s sad the women in that brother’s family didn’t support her. I wonder if they’d say the same thing when it comes to themselves.

    As for working sisters feeling jealous of stay at home sisters…I think that’s also another issue. I have my own personal philosophy on working so I’ll leave the issue alone for now.

  3. asa. as you know the bam community is not monolithic. i think the expectations that brothers and sisters bring to the marriage discussion vary based on various factors like socioeconomic status, education/professional, family status and one’s understanding of the deen. my husband and i discssed and shared finanical statements during our “negotiations”. i advise sisters to do the same and to be very clear about their expectations. i did not have a wali so i asked @ finances and other important matters myself. although i understand the importance of a wali and wish that i had had one (a good one), i would be concerned about marrying someone that i felt scared to ask if he could pay his rent next month or was he living on “insha Allah”, literally.

  4. WS. muslimahlocs, you know what? You’re right. I take back what I said. If a sister is afraid to ask a brother about his financial situation or the brother gets all in a huff when she asks him then something’s wrong.

  5. I agree with you completely muslimahlocs. Sisters do have to speak up although it seems like some of else take being silent and submissive as being pious. In fact a lot of sisters are being fed submission to men rather than knowledge of the deen.

  6. Nothing wrong with having standards. We deserve no less than any other sister. If we all started acting like it, it would be a great day.

  7. ASSALAMU ALLAIKUM yall,

    I agree with you sisters. Yall aren’t gold diggers. Heck, I wanna be financially stable too and be able to provide for my woman when I get married. I know some men who are married and aren’t financially stable though, but thy’re kinda young and Im sure they’ll be financially secure. Inshallah. But, I hate when them brothers dont set career goals. There’s nothing nothing with earning a good living and all. We should top things and etc.

  8. Assalamu alaikum Samah,

    I was having this very conversation with friends the other day, and I was asked questions such as if I would accept a high-school drop out? The situation here is that most of the sisters are educated at least to degree level, and some with masters degrees. Most of the single brothers are not college educated, and some as I discovered are high school dropouts. Now on a whole the brothers here say the ‘Sisters want too much”, ‘are only interested in money’, ‘only want a brother with a vehicle’ etc etc. The facts however are that they are not striving to progress themselves as the sisters are, and I dont see why if a sister can get herself through college, why cant the brother do the same? Why should we move to the ghetto, when we are living comfortably where we are?, why should we support a man, when that is not our role and responsibility? Then when we decline they call us gold-diggers and what not, if I cant even have an intellectual conversation with a brother then there is no point. Oh and to top it off these complaining brothers are not even advancing themselves deen-wise, yes we should look for piety, but when they fall short on piety plus on ability to maintain a family, they need to evaluate themselves and improve before they come around asking sisters to marry them.

  9. Salaam Alaikum,

    Definitely not a Gold Digger. I think work ethic is key. You want a brother who works hard, seeks to better himself, but at the same time doesn’t consider any halal work as beneath him, as first and foremost Akhi needs to work. I have no time for the “I just want to be a student of knowledge/I’m waiting for a job that really inspires me” type.

  10. Salam!
    This is a great post; may we feature it on MMW? I think the construction of BAM women as gold diggers is a very interesting one.

  11. Thank you all for the comments. I was bracing myself for some brothers to come in here to attack me. So far, so good, LOL.

    Fatemeh, feel free to link me. Funny thing about that stereotype, it was Arab sisters who were telling me to accept nothing less than $10k for a mahr.

  12. Samah, the gold digger accusation is most definitely not restricted to BAMS, at least in my experience of some of the 2nd/3rd generation Muslims here in the UK. I’ll give you an example:

    I was having a conversation a while ago with a group of girls and guys about engagements/marriage whilst studying. Now at first I thought the guys were being sarcastic, but in all honesty, they thought it was their ‘right’ to marry whilst living off meagre student loans and have their wife come and live with them in their parents’ houses. So basically treated like a girlfriend, not a wife. I asked how exactly they expected to pay for maintaining a wife, the dominant reactions seemed to be either “huh? that’s what our parent’s are for….” or “well that’s why we’ll marry rich girls” (!)

    When I dared open my mouth to mention the fact that actually, Islam requires the husband to be financially secure as to maintain the wife, the holier-than-thou types instantly accused me of ‘not caring about anything other than money’ LOL.

    This is just one example but the attitude amongst a lot of guys here is similar. That their parents or the wife is expected to “help” foot the household bills. It’s strange because it certainly is not the case with our parents’ generation, but my own. In their generation, it’s a matter of a man’s pride and diginity that he be able to provide for his family.

  13. Definitely not a gold digger- a woman has every right to secure her and her children’s future- why does this mean to some men that we are money hungry? Aren’t they thinking that along came baby doesn’t include a silver or golden spoon in baby’s mouth…someone must provide and men are suppose to fill that bill-

    And what of other unforseeables- like a death of the spouse; illness; the kids (hopefully very forseeable) going to collegen etc?

    If a man can’t put his shop in order- he shouldn’t open it up for business…

    Women shouldn’t have to apologize for having some forebearance and common sense…

  14. Read posts then sings to himself ‘Si boops dey’………………..Samah ah yam ‘im out gyal……Si boops dey’.

  15. A man that is in a relationship only for money is often called a “Gigolo” – and is a sorry individual. But I digress. It is natural for a woman to want to be taken care of. It is insane – in my opinion – for a woman to marry a man that can not take care of a family.

    A “gold digger” is a woman that does not care about the man AT ALL – even if the man dies. All she cares about is his money. Gold Diggers do things like marry rich old men with the hope that he will die soon and she can inherit his fortune. (Ditto a Gigolo)

    Women – particular Arab women – have started asking for large mahrs to protect themselves in the event of a divorce.

    I could say a lot more about why many BAM men think of a woman that wants her potential mate to be financially stable as being a “gold digger”, but I will save it.

  16. Jana, those boys are living in a fantasy.

    inal, I like that quote “If a man can’t put his shop in order- he shouldn’t open it up for business…”

    LOL@Trini. Mi prefer Cecile’s “Worth It.” *sings* “Spend dat money bwoy, spent dat money…cyaan hook me up somethin’ yuh cyaan manage me”

    Tariq, Does the term Gigolo really have the same connotation as gold digger? I don’t really think so. I would love to hear more of your thoughts on why some BAM men think women are gold diggers…

  17. Does the term Gigolo really have the same connotation as gold digger? I don’t really think so.

    I suppose it is perspective because being called a gigolo is a terrible thing. A sorry, worthless mooching man. No one respects a man that lives off a woman.

    As for my thoughts on BAM men, I’m not in the mood to get into trouble over the issue. Let’s just say that I think that many of them have to define a gold digger as a woman that EXPECTS the things you mentioned above (then dress it in pious language) in order to qualify to get married. This is a loooooong post (perhaps even a book) but there are so many brothers that do not understand this issue that it is depressing

  18. In Islam a man is supposed to take care of the family but there is nothing against marrying before one is financially ¨sound” ( which in todayś economic climate is near impossible) like while in school and whatnot.

    Another point: Men are expected to provide for their wives, however, if a woman is making six figures and is living a particular lifestyle, she cannot expect to find too many brothers who will be able to maintain her in that lifestyle.

    One more thing, I think part of the issue is feeling like his financial status is all that he is being desired for; his ability to provide for her and whatnot, which for some brothers is the equivalent of a women being sought mainly for her beauty.

  19. Jamerican,

    Good post. I would like to weigh in on this and I hope I don’t stray too far off the topic, but I think what I’m going to say here is at least somewhat relevent.

    In answer to your question; no, it is not gold digging at all to expect what you have outlined in your post. If anything, especially among Muslims, the bar has fallen so low that women are marrying men they would never give the time of day to in the “dunya”, as you say.

    However, let me share some thoughts from the male perspective. Men who are doing well, educated, and at least attempting to be God-fearing (or even not God-fearing for that matter) are scared to death of loosing everything they have built by marrying an undercover gold digger.

    All it takes is one baby from the wrong women and your life is a living hell for 18 years! Men who are doing reasonably well are walking around with a mark on their back. These women in DC start talking to you like a car salesman qualifying a customer to determine if they can buy. It is downright frightening when you first meet a women and not ten minutes into the conversation she’s asking you do you own a home and what kind of car do you drive! Or how about this one; “do you have health insurance?” Damn, can we at least have a FEW conversations before going for the jugular?

    Its just a terrible turn off when women start looking at you like a meal ticket. I’m being totally serious here. The court system is so weighted in favor of the woman that a man can loose everything he owns with the simplest lie on her part. I’ve seen it happen so many times and its posivetively scary.

    So yes, I’m in full agreement that women must be maintained and treated well. I would even say very well. However money issues are always very sensitive and I believe interested parties should have some time to warm up to discussing those issues.

  20. I think everything is upside down. We need to realize that as Muslims we are NOT like everybody else, the fact is that the man is the maintainer and protector. And Abdur-Rahman is right when he says ‘the bar has fallen so low that women are marrying men they would never give the time of day to in the “dunya” ‘ Whats wrong with us, we think that to be pious we must accept any and everything and have no standards. We didnt do it before in the dunya, why should we do it now when we are in the BEST deen. Everybody needs to step up and get themselves in order, brothers and sisters, ALL of us.

    Because a woman wants security…why should she be labeled a gold-digger??? And sisters you cant be like the women of the Dunya who are looking for some unsuspecting male to empty his pockets for you. Brothers you need to have a plan of action as to how you plan to take care of your future wives and kids, money does not fall from trees ,and sisters you need to work with the man that has a feasible plan, he may not be where he wants to be right now, but if he is genuinely working on it, we can meet him somewhere in the middle. Bottom line , we dont want any LAZY men ! We want good practicing brothers who are focused on being good Muslims and that includes taking care of your family.

  21. I was going to launch into a long speech but Jamaican Hijabi took the words right out of my mouth. I concur.

  22. Assalaamualaikum-

    Not a gold digger. Over the last few days I’ve been thinking about this and this was my thoughts:

    Not everyone has money. That is a reality of life. Just like some of us began our childhoods in a 4 bedroom colonial with a college tuition saved others of us were born in the projects and have had to do a lot to work to just get out.

    Not everyone comes into their money at the same time. Both my husband and I are graduate students and it is a struggle. But I have numerous stories of people (now professors) who were getting food stamps for their families while they worked on their degrees. Like your post alludes to the main point is the attitude of the man.

    I tend to think about potential rather than gimme this or you better have a and b at jump. Not just for BAMs , but for any person whose class and education background means that they have to climb up a steep heel, sometimes delaying that instant gratification pays off.

    There is a difference between a trifling brother and a trying brother…

  23. correction: These were my thoughts…

  24. Excellent post. This is a recurring conversation that I have from time to time with one of my BAM friends. She argues that in this day it is unreasonable to expect a husband maintain his wife completely, unless the woman is prepared to live in the hood. If a brother wants to marry, he will step up and provide for his wife (reasonably). In our parents’ and grandparents’ generations men (and women) commonly worked two or three jobs if necessary to provide for their families. She insists that brother’s won’t work that hard and her previous husband could not afford more. Although he could not support her 100% he found the money for a dowry and maintenance for a second wife.

    Far from gold diggers, most of my BAM friends can best be described as suga mamas. Whether professional women with six figure incomes or women on welfare, most are holding some man down. Others require only a token mahr and maintenance. Maybe since some sisters have no expectations, any expectations become “too much.”

  25. Jamerican Hijabi,

    Your comments are very well put, fair and extremely balenced. I agree with you 100%. I deeply appreciate your understanding the totality of the dilemma.

  26. Pingback: I ain’t sayin’ I’m a gold digger… « Muslimah Media Watch

  27. A wonderful read, as always =)

    I personally find it pathetic how some people will resort to labeling others to defend their own shortcomings.

  28. salaam,

    I can’t speak much to the BAM experience but I know for many white converts, the less trophy (older, divorced, whatever) variety are often taught to go for a guy with few resources and the audacity in asking for a decent mahr is totally unIslamic. Often these brothers expect them to work and kick down on the finances. Why not? It is the western culture right? Many women end up in the supporting role – Help your spouse who is struggling with whatever – can’t find the perfect job or ‘the man’ keeping him down. Off topic I am sure – but I don’t know of any Muslim Brothers that relinquish any of THEIR rights like nookie on demand, a clean home, food on the table, obedience, etc and still provide total undivided support for such a wife without complaint. But I know of plenty of sisters paying for their man on top of keep their end of the bargain all the while thinking they are fulfilling their religious duties in doing so.

  29. I want to say that it is nothing short of expected that a man should be able to be there financially, physically, and emotionally for the woman he decides to marry. Too many times I have had to shake my head at these brothers who have next to nothing and want the finest diamond in the community. No, demand what you want and deserve.
    I remember being at an Eid festival with some friends in Atlanta and a random guy tries to run that Halal game on a friend through me…no man, NO. Go somewhere.

    Reject them. If the community is all up in arms, reject them too, you have a choice and a duty to be secure financially and get what you need to provide for your children and home and all of it that goes with it.

  30. As salaamu alaykum,

    The main problem we see contributing to bad marriages is “slick in the religion niggas”; and ignorant “I don’t wanna read nothing or study the Deen women”. This lethal combination is the source of all the fitan. If sisters had more knowledge of the Deen, they would be able spot these slick talkers a mile away, and would flee from them.

    The men are supposed to take care of the women-period!!! The scholars of Islaam recommend that women marry righteous men who are from similar socio-economic backgrounds. Basically what they advise is that the women should marry into a situation where they are making a “lateral move” socio-economic ally; or a make what we Americans call a “come-up”! The brothers have to come correct–it’s just that simple.

    Sisters, don’t fall for the “student of knowledge” game. “Student of knowledge” is the most abused term in the west. There are people who describe themselves with this term, and will use it to claim they are so busy studying and calling to Allaah, that they are exempt from fulfilling the Amaanah (trusts) they made with Allaah in marrying one of his female slaves. A sister asked shaykh Ahmad Bazmool about this, in summary he said:

    “It is upon the men to provide for his family, and brothers, do not deny yourselves the act of Ibaadah (worship) of providing for your families. Someone will take your husband’s place in giving da’wah; he should take care of his family.”

    Dawud Adib gave a really good khutbah entitled “Role Reversal”; where he talks about how nowadays the men act like women and the women act like men; so much so that now you see that men are pleased with being kept by women. Get the CD if you can. Also, get the khutbahs of Taalib Abdullaah because he speaks about this topic frequently, from many different angles.

    My question is, if you provide a sister with the life-style she’s accustomed to, or even better; what does the brother get in return?

  31. I forgot to talk about the wakil/wali…

    The wakil/wali is an Amaanah that must be fulfilled correctly, and the brothers should fear Allaah in this regard. Shaykh Khaalid Raddadi said that it is an obligation for the wakil/wali to marry the woman to a righteous men. If he knowingly marries her to a sinner, than the sins he does to her fall on him i.e. the wakil/wali. The shaykh cited the example if a man makes his wife have sex with him during the daytime fast of Ramadhan, the sin is charged to that wakil/wali,too!

    Sisters, make sure the your wakil/wali is a righteous brother!

  32. Daud, Please don’t talk to me about Dawud Adib. He is the last person I’d reference when it comes to marriage.

  33. I could not agree more. No women should settle for a bust down brother. What gets me is when these men use hadith to their advantage. Its annoying and they are exploiting the deen!
    -Ihssan 🙂

  34. Daud,

    Man you just lost all credibility with me! Daud Adib! Are you serious? That sorry negro invented most of the sleezy, womenizing schemes we’ve been condemining here! The guy is “marriage” crimminal #1, and the fact that you can’t see it tells me that perhaps you need a wali/wakil.

    I’m sorry but this is the damn problem. When are you sisters going to stop falling for this crap and put these criminals out of business? They continually do this mess because THEY KNOW YOU’LL FALL FOR IT. Then after BOTH OF YOU achieve some sexual gratification, he rolls out and you want somebody to “expose” the man.

    I could post the names right now of the worst “marriage” criminals in the country – really I could – AND IT WOULD’T MATTER ONE IOTA, THEY WOULD STILL FIND SOME MUSLIM WOMEN TO “MARRY” THEM!!! So what is the point ?

    Yes I am frustrated, but enough is enough. The very fact that Daud could even bring up the name Daud Adib is an outrage and a scandal. Daud Adib told me himself the summer before last, in defending his “good name” against what he claimed were scurrilous charges of his being married 30 to 40 times, THAT HE’S ONLY BEEN MARRIED NINE TIMES!!! And even that is a lie. Only, and I repeat, only in the Muslim community could someone cite being married nine times AS A DEFENSE OF ONE’S CHARACTER. Daud Adib then went on to tell me that compared to the Prophet’s (as) grandson Hasan, who was reportedly married EIGHTY TIMES, his nine marriages don’t even come close. This is the mentality we are dealing with!

    When are the Muslims going to stop being so retarded. Daud, I notice you have the same name as Daud Adib. Are you Daud Adib, trying to sell your tired CDs or some other such garbage?

  35. I can’t believe that someone used Dawud Adib as a model for marriage

  36. Loved this article!!

  37. The reality is clear. What is very difficult is when a brother has been UNABLE to get a job or steady streams even when they are ample qualified.

    THAT is discouraging. because if you are no already married then:

    NO JOB = NO WOMAN

    sigh…

  38. Brooklyn Bedouin,

    You’re right. As much as I’d love to say different, I recognize the fact that the #1 thing couples fight about is finances.

    Some people say: NO MONEY= NO HONEY

  39. Never said he was a model for marriage. What he did in his previous marriages is on him, Allaah is not unmindful of what he did, nor is he unmindful of what all of us do. Check out the statements he brought from the Shaykh–that’s what I’m calling to.

  40. Lol @ NO MONEY=NO HONEY. Soo true girl!

  41. Salam sister. Again, you are pointing fingers at people outside of you (even if they are your current or past life-partners). When two people meet, they become ONE and nobody is a burden onto each other, rather they complement each other. Rasulullah (saw) was Himself (saw) working for a woman Khadija (ra) before He (saw) got married to her. Rich or poor should NEVER ever be a standard of one’s ability, potential or desire to be married. It is the inner beauty that you should always seek and strive for. If you don’t have those eyes which can see that inner beauty, then obviously you are signing up for a divorce before marriage.

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