Marriage with a Convert and Parental Consent
Social Issues
Question asked by .
Answered by Tariq Haashmi

I really need some guidance on the matter of my marriage. I met this guy through a friend and became good friends with him. Over the course of time, I started having feelings for him. He is not a born Muslim, so I did not give my feelings much importance. He converted a few months ago. He asked me to marry him, and also added that his conversion has nothing to do with me. He has truly embraced Islam. Now my parents are not agreeing to this arrangement at all. Their major concern is the social pressure a girl’s parents feel in these circumstances. They don’t want to answer anybody’s questions about me marrying someone outside our caste and culture. They have given me the option to leave them and do whatever I want. I really love my parents and cannot bring myself to hurt them. But at the same time I don’t want to leave this guy and wait for them to arrange my marriage with a total stranger. This guy is well read. Has a good job. He is very intelligent and honest. My parents have no interest in knowing him. They told me to stop arguing and don’t ask for any reasons. They said that their unhappiness over this matter should be the reason enough for me leave this idea alone. I am in a very difficult situation. I fully understand my rights in Islam when it comes to choosing my partner. I would really appreciate some guidance on the matter from you. Thanks a lot!


Thank you for writing to us. I will try to respond to your question in the light of Javed Ahmad Ghāmidī’s views. Please note that the Islamic sharī‘ah gives all the right both to male and female adult believers to choose their marriage partner. However, we are obliged to follow the norms of the society. And just as we are obliged to respect the parents and give them due regard they too are expected to be considerate. It is no doubt very important to seek the backing of the parents and family and their open approval, for no marriage is successful without backing and support from the family and friends. When we marry on our own we have no guarantor, in absence of the society, family and friends, to protect the rights of any of the couple. We know that our relationship does not go on smooth forever. There are always hard times when friends and family step in and provide us moral and social support. Since we know that Islam not only promotes the institution of family, it explicitly introduces measures to keep the union intact. Here we can see that the Islamic teachings implicitly stress the importance of the role of the parents, the elders and the society. This is why approval and support of the parents is very necessary and you seem to acknowledge that. I would suggest you try to talk to your parents respectfully and with the help of their friends and other elders among the near relatives. Their help can be of great help in setting the affair. Pray to God to help you put your problem before your family. You should not leave any stone unturned in trying to please them before taking a serious step.

Having said that, I must clarify that parental consent is not a condition of the validity of a marriage. You can, therefore, decide to go for the court marriage if all efforts fail and you realize that your right is unjustly being denied you. In that case, the position of the parents and family will be replaced by the court. This, however, may demand from you the price of losing the love and care of your family and the society and if, God forbid, your husband does not behave well in future you may find yourself helpless.

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