Question: I am now 29, and have been trying to get married for a long time without any success. I am losing hope and even get thoughts of marrying a non-Muslim man but I know this will be disaster for my relationship to Allah.
Answer: We learn from the guidance of the Beloved of Allah to seek the strongest and most effective means available, while placing one's trust in Allah.
Sayyiduna Umar (Allah be pleased with him) said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) say, “If you relied on Allah as He should be relied on, He would provide for you as He provides for birds. They go out hungry in the early morning, and return full in the evening." [Tirmidhi] The scholars note that birds do not merely place their trust in Allah: they go out early, and take all means to fulfill their goal.
Marriage: Communal Means
In every community, there are people who set up marriages, who know suitable would-be spouses, and who should be sought out if one wants to marry. If it does not work through one's family, try going through other elders in the community (such as one's friends' parents, community leaders, imams of mosques, marriage services, etc.)
Perform the Prayer of Need (Salat al-Haja): make wudu and perform 2 rakats after which you make heart-felt supplication, asking for a suitable spouse.
Be certain that Allah will answer your duas, in the best of ways:
"Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Who provides for you from the sky and the earth, or Who owns hearing and sight; and Who brings forth the living from the dead and bringeth forth the dead from the living; and Who directs the course? They will say: Allah. Then say: Will you not then keep your duty (unto Him) ?" [Qur'an, 10.31]
Allah reminds us:
"And in the heaven is your providence and that which you are promised;
And by the Lord of the heavens and the earth, it is the truth, even as (it is true) that you speak." [51.22-23]
So keep taking the best of means, with complete trust in Allah and certainty that if you do that which He has asked of you, He will most certainly give you all that is best for you, in this life and the next.
Allah tells us:
"The devil promises you destitution and enjoins on you lewdness. But Allah promises you forgiveness from Himself with bounty. Allah is All-Embracing, All-knowing." [Qur'an, 2.268]
"And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends one of another; they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and they establish worship and they pay the poor-due, and they obey Allah and His messenger. As for these, Allah will have mercy on them. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Wise.
Allah promises to the believers, men and women, Gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide - blessed dwellings in Gardens of Eden. And - greater (far)! - acceptance from Allah. That is the supreme triumph." [Qur'an, 9.71]
And be patient. The Beloved of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) reminded us that:
"No tiredness, illness, difficulty, sorrow, harm or sadness afflicts a Muslim, even to a thorn pricking him, without Allah wiping away his errors through it." [Recorded by Bukhari and Muslim, from Abu Sa'id and Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with them)]
And Allah alone gives success.
Answered by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari of the Hanafi fiqh list.