Can A Father Demand His Daughter to Date a Suitor Before Marriage?

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


A friend has proposed to a girl he is interested in by talking to her father. However, her father refuses to marry her off ‘Islamically’. He is demanding that she dates ‘the Western way’ (including every element of Haram) for a few years before he can approve.

Is a father allowed to refuse marriage for a haram reason like this? What path is available if my friend and this girl are interested in pursuing this marriage?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to what pleases Him. Amin.

The situation you’ve described is indeed challenging. A father’s refusal to marry off his daughter for reasons that involve engaging in actions contrary to Islamic teachings (haram) raises significant concerns. In Islam, it is not permissible for the father to demand or enforce conditions that lead to haram actions.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “When someone whose religion and character you are pleased with comes to you, then marry (her to) him. If you do not do so, there will be turmoil (fitna) in the land and discord (fasad).”

They said: “O Messenger of Allah! What if there was something about him?” He said: “When someone whose religion and character you are pleased with comes to you, then marry him.” (And he (Allah bless him and give him peace) said this three times. [Tirmidhi, Hasan Gharib]

Islamic scholars have discussed situations where a guardian refuses a suitable match for reasons not valid in Sacred Law. In such cases, some opinions allow for the intervention of a judge (qadi) or another authority figure in the Muslim community who can overrule the guardian’s decision if it’s deemed unjust or harmful to the daughter’s well-being and religious practice. This is based on protecting the faith and welfare of the individuals involved.

Here are steps that could be considered in navigating this situation:

Dialogue and Counselling

The first step should always be to seek a peaceful and understanding dialogue. It might be helpful to involve respected elders, knowledgeable community members, and Islamic scholars who can discuss the situation with the girl’s father, highlighting the importance of adhering to Islamic principles and his daughter’s well-being.

Community Support

If direct dialogue is not fruitful, seeking the intervention of a local imam or a community leader might be beneficial. They can offer counsel and mediation, potentially helping the father understand the importance of facilitating a marriage that aligns with Islamic values.

Self-reflection and Patience

Both the man and the woman should also engage in self-reflection and prayer, seeking guidance and assistance from Allah. Patience is critical in such matters, and it’s important to remember that Allah is the best of planners. Pursuing such matters against the wishes of parents rarely results in prosperous outcomes.

It’s crucial to handle the situation with wisdom, patience, and a focus on maintaining family ties and Islamic ethics. The individuals’ well-being and adherence to Islamic principles should be at the forefront of any decision made.

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.

[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar Shaykh Taha Karaan (Allah have mercy on him), where he taught.

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Shaykh Muhammad Awama, Shaykh Muhammad Hasan Hitu, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has been the Director of the Discover Islam Centre, and for six years, he has been the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has fifteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic podcast, education, and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy Prophetic living and fitness.