A Marriage Dilemma
Social Issues
Question asked by .
Answered by Razi Ullah Lone
Question: Could you please advise me on the following matter: A friend of mine is engaged to marry her sunt’s son who is religious. However my friend has her heart set on another individual who is also religious; and wants to marry him. She has discussed the issue with her parents but they are not accepting her wishes. As I understand, Islam allows a woman to marry a person of her choice, who she intends to live with for the rest of her life. However my friend is trapped in a very difficult position and doesn’t know what to do. On the one hand she doesn’t want to upset the family surrounding; but she also wants to marry the person of her own choice with the consent of her family. This young man also wants to marry her and has pleaded my friend to make her parents understand. What should one do in such a matter?


This, unfortunately, is a recurrent problem in many Muslim societies of today: girls are forced into marrying a person they do not like. The stance of Islam is quite clear in this regard and I think the issue has more to do with the arrogated family pride and false and inflated ego of the parties involved. However, it would not be fair to blame only the parents in every case for there are instances when they see what their children cannot (or simply do not). Young minds are more impressionable and prone to emotional rather than rational decision-making.

Having said that let me assert that no one – not even the parents – has  the right to impose their decision upon a boy or a girl at least as far as marriage is concerned. A marriage contract will be considered void without the free consent of the girl. It is admirable that your friend is sensible not to think of any drastic step and wants to marry the person of her choice with her family’s consent. The young man’s approach is also laudable. There are two ways to go about it. Although, as you mention, she has already discussed the issue with her parents but I cannot emphasize enough the importance of discussion. She could try to look for suitable instances for getting her point across. Usually mothers are more receptive to their daughters’ ideas; she can try to engage her mother more effectively in a discussion before making an attempt to convince her father. The next step could be to engage her fiancé. It might be that he is of better understanding; he may help her in persuading her family to allow this marriage. The help of siblings, if any, can also be sought, which can serve as a pressure group in the positive sense of the word. Basically she has to allay her parents’ concerns about this young man and make them realize that she’ll live very happily with him. If this does not work, the only recourse then is to either give in to the parents’ demand or to opt for a court marriage, which obviously is the least desirable. I realize that this is a tough situation and it is easier to give advice than to act it out. She can base her arguments on the free will that Islam has granted her in deciding about her life partner. This can at least convince her fiancé who, as you wrote, is a religious man. I hope and pray that things turn out to be the best for her.


(Razi Allah)




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