Should I Break Off My Engagement Because I Don’t Want to Live with His Parents?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad


I am 23 years old and from Pakistan. I got engaged to my parents’ satisfaction, to a simple man, financially stable, and didn’t have an issue with my veil. I was very concerned about getting married as I was sexually abused, so I have trust issues.

Living in a joint family is the norm here, but I want to have time and space to continue my studies (online). He cannot live apart as he is the only son, which is frustrating because I would be compromising my privacy.

I agreed because I figured I would not get a better proposal, but I regret it now. My parents are willing to break the engagement,  should I?


May Allah reward you for wanting to study your religion and improve yourself, and may He facilitate that for you. Please pray istikhara about what to do and have an open conversation with your fiance.


It is of the utmost importance that you tell your fiance about your goals and ask him if he is willing to give you the time and space you need. If he is willing, it’s a good sign; if not, it’s a bad sign. You, or your fiance, should tell his parents about your goals, too, so that their expectations can be managed. Once again, if they react well, it’s a good sign. If not, then perhaps not.

Please pray istikhara about moving forward and ask Allah to facilitate what He desires for you to do and what is better for you. You have every right to leave due to the joint family issue, but you must weigh this decision carefully, as good, responsible, pious men are hard to come by.

Consider this advice of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) who said to the guardians of women: “When someone whose religion and character you are pleased with proposes to (the charge) of one of you, then marry to him. If you do not do so, then there will be turmoil (fitna) in the land and abounding corruption (fasad).” [Tirmidhi]

Please see these links and register for our marriage courses as well:
Is It Permissible To Reject a Proposal Based on a Joint-Family Living Arrangement?
Is It Obligatory for a Woman to Look After Her In-Laws?
A Wife’s Right to Housing Separate From Her In-Laws
Miscellaneous Answers related to In-Laws

Check these courses:
Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriage
Keys to Successful Muslim Marriages: Practical lessons that explain the Prophetic Spirit of Marriage
Making Love Last: Prophetic Principles for a Successful Marriage

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 aqida, 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.