Must I Obey My Parents if They Refuse a Suitor From a Different Culture?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

I am Canadian American, and my Muslim parents do not want to marry outside of my culture.

I grew up in Qatar, and I want to marry an Arab so that my children will grow up in a Muslim country, be fluent in Arabic, and have more Islamic opportunities as Muslim children, and frankly, I don’t want my children to grow up in the West, with non-Muslim grandparents or be exposed to the un-Islamic culture there.

Yet, my parents are against this as they say that the culture is too different. How can I convince them that I don’t want to marry a westerner? Do I have to marry whom my parents choose, or should I be able to give my opinion? Is rejecting or not allowing one to marry someone based on their culture permissible?

Answer

Thank you for your question. May Allah reward you for your sincerity and for wanting to improve your life.

Permission

It is not justified to reject a suitor based on culture, and you are not obliged to obey your parents in marrying whom they choose. You must give your consent and never feel forced into your decision. You do need your father’s permission for your nikah, so if you were to find someone of a different culture, you would have to employ dua, wisdom, tact, and open communication to convince him.

Please see these links about marrying outside the culture:
Should I Marry Someone from Outside of My Culture?
Would it Be Wrong To Avoid Interracial Marriages For Cultural Considerations?

Convincing Them

You should not worry about this too much until there is a suitor in your life. You may be wasting your time trying to convince your parents when you don’t even know what kind of man Allah has destined for you. Parents can change their minds overnight when they meet someone they like, so instead, you should pray for a pious husband who is interested in gaining knowledge with you, and devoting himself to religion. If you make this your priority, in sha Allah, you will succeed.

To be frank, you should not be picky about culture over religion, either. You are just doing what they are doing.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), said, “A woman is married for four things: for her wealth, for her lineage, for her beauty or her piety. Select the pious, may you be blessed!” [Bukhari & Muslim]

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.