Understanding singlehood from the experiences of never-married Malay Muslim women in Malaysia: Some preliminary findings

Rozita Ibrahim, Zaharah Hassan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The experience of singlehood can be similar across diverse culture while at the same time varies due to religious and cultural multiplicity. Also, the word 'single' can refer to various categories that comprise of the ever-married (widows, divorced and separated women) and the never-married (older and younger, with or without children, cohabiting, living with parents, siblings, strangers or living alone). In this paper, 'single' refers to never-married women over the age of 30. What we present here is based on preliminary findings from an ongoing research focussing on the experiences of singlehood amongst Malay Muslim women in Malaysia based on in-depth interviews with three single women. The interviews were done separately and each women share their experiences and reflections on being single, within the context of familial society where womanhood is defined by being heterosexual, married and having children. Drawing upon their experiences and reflections, we conclude that (1) the notion of 'jodoh' (soul-mate as fated by God at the perfect timing) is central in explaining their reasons for being single, (2) single women are aware of their stigmatised status and acknowledge feelings of inadequacy, (3) family members and friends are important as their social support system, and finally (4) singleness is also seen in positive light as opportunity towards self-enhancement. We hope that this paper will contribute to the existing literature on cross-cultural understanding of singlehood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-405
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Sciences
Volume8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2009

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Malaysia
Muslim
experience
widow
interview
family member
god
social support
wife
parents

Keywords

  • Malay Muslim
  • Malaysia
  • Never-married women
  • Singlehood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

Understanding singlehood from the experiences of never-married Malay Muslim women in Malaysia : Some preliminary findings. / Ibrahim, Rozita; Hassan, Zaharah.

In: European Journal of Social Sciences, Vol. 8, No. 3, 05.2009, p. 395-405.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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