Imagine one day you come home and see a man sitting with your parents in the living room, your parents then tell you that the man will become your future husband. This is an arranged marriage, it happens around different parts of the world such as India. The novel Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin tells us a story of Ayesha Shamsi and Khalid Mirza, two muslums living in Toronto looking for someone to marry. Khalid comes from a strict family that believes love comes after marriage meaning his family considers that he has an arranged marriage. Both characters coincidentally come together when they help plan a conference at the local mosque to help out young muslums in need of money. Khalid and Ayesha connect with each other on higher levels, their connection eventually overflows with a confusion of Khalid thinking Ayesha is actually Hasfa, Ayesha’s younger cousin. This Confusion causes Khalid’s mother to ask Hasfa to be Khalid’s husband instead of Ayesha. Throughout the novel it demonstrates the significance of marrying a person that makes you feel happy and loved.
First of all, choosing someone you love instead of having to go through an arranged marriage may lead to a happier life. For example, since Khalid’s family believes that love comes after marriage, his mother asked Hasfa to marry Khalid through an arranged marriage. Even though Khalid was engaged to Hasfa, he always secretly had feelings for Ayesha. Khalid would tell Ayesha how he felt after she performed her poem following her to the parking lot where her car was parked. This is evident in the parking lot of the local mosque, Khalid said to Ayesha, “I’ve tried so hard to control my feelings for you, to banish them from my heart, but my struggles have been in vain. I must be allowed to speak freely. Ayesha. I’m in love with you.” (Jalaluddin 246). This quote proves that Khalid would much rather be with Ayesha even though he’s still engaged to Hasfa. After Khalid tells Ayesha how she feels things don’t go smooth for Khalid when Ayesha responds with anger. Khalid sits on a parking lot curb with his friend Amir talking about how he should’ve broken things off with Hasfa before asking Ayesha to marry her. Khalid knows that what he has done can’t be undone so he has no choice but to break up with Hasfa. Through the break up Khalid let’s Hasfa know that he is not the man that could make her happy. “ I have spent a lot of time thinking about our relationship. I’ve prayed about it too, and now I realize we are not compatible, I can’t make you happy.” (Jalaluddin 251).
Next, when two people find interest in each other when they first meet, it usually means that they have found chemistry with each other and developed a new bond. For example, when Khalid comes to the mosque for a conference meeting, Ayesha shows up for the conference meeting as a replacement for Hasfa. The conference was to engage young people, by doing so Ayesha suggested that they would invite a number of male and female speakers to the young people. Another person in the meeting mentioned that there weren’t enough female speakers, Khalid recommends to the iman Ayesha could be a speaker, complimenting her poetry in many ways saying that she could electrify an audience. During the meeting Ayesha and Khalid display a new bond with each other when they continue to talk about poetry and the characters make each other laugh at certain points. “Ayesha laughed out loud, a throaty chuckle. He blushed a deep red and dropped his eyes to the ground.” This quote proves that Khalid makes Ayesha happy when she laughs at something different on Khalid’s face.