Leap Year Day Proposals: Is It Different for Muslim Women?

You bet. For Muslim women, every day is a leap year day—to propose, that is.
I am not proselytizing. Honest! Just relishing my Muslim feminist moment.
Where did the leap year proposal come from? As the story goes, it started in the fifth century with an Irish nun. Through her efforts, a decision was made that on Feb. 29, women could propose marriage. The tradition rippled across the Irish sea, and took America by the wave.
I wasn’t aware of this history. But this morning, on the treadmill (again), it popped up (not the question)—it opened on my tablet.  Why Women Proposing is Still Rare.
I felt a rush of smugness.
Feminists are going to love me.
They are going to love Khadija.
‘Who is Khadija’, are you wondering? Of course you are. Unless of course, you do know.
‘And what has Khadija got to do with woman-proposing-to-man?’
Ask any Muslim. Let me re-state that: Ask any well-informed Muslim (I say not-so-modestly).
The answer is: In 7th century Arabia, Khadija, a wealthy businesswoman, proposed marriage to the Prophet Muhammad. He accepted, and they married.
I had not given much thought to this until one beautiful evening at a family wedding—a Muslim wedding—Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, began the ceremony by asking the bride to propose to the groom; and then asked the groom to accept the proposal (presuming he would). The bride, only used to a narrative that is all familiar, suppressed a giggle as she proceeded to propose. The imam had explained before he started, that he would perform the marriage in accordance with the example of the prophet and his wife Khadija, and would indeed have the bride propose, empowering her. Since that day, would-be-brides have moved mountains to have Imam Feisal perform their wedding ceremony.
So why wait till the wedding to pop the official question? Why wait four years to catch that one day in a leap year? Find a feminine alternative to getting down on the knee, and hold out whatever you want to in lieu of a ring. Or even a ring for that matter. I gave my husband a ring on our engagement. There you go.
And why should women of other faiths be left with only the leap year day option. Come along ladies. Hold hands with your Muslim sisters. This is your moment of empowerment.