Dealing With Cultural Constraints on Marriage

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Question: I’m at an age where I’d really like to get married. However, in my culture the eldest gets married first, so I’ll have to wait for my older sister. To prevent committing further sin, I wanted to know if it is permissible to get the nikaah done and then wait a year or so until the actual send off to my in laws after my sister has married. My wish to get married is not only to make my relationship halal but also because it is something i have been thinking about for a while.So what is the ruling on this matter?

Answer: Dear Sister,

Assalamu alaikum,

Birth order should not have a bearing on when someone is able to get married. Requiring you to wait until your older sibling gets married is a cultural practice that can be oftentimes harmful.

I would appeal to your parents’ sense of fairness by stating that you are ready for your nikah and that delaying it could cause fitna. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said,”If someone comes to you [asking for your daughter in marriage] and you approve of his religion and character, then marry them to each other. If you do not do so, there will be fitna in the earth and widespread corruption.” (Tirmidhi)

Finally, to have barakah going into this, you need to discontinue all contact with this person because, at this point, it will just cause both of you more heartache and is simply not appropriate.

May Allah make things easy,

Zaynab