How to Deal with the Rejection of a Marriage Proposal?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

I am a practicing Muslim, alhamdulillah, and have proposed to a practicing Muslima, however, her parents rejected me.

To provide some background, her family mocks her for wearing the niqab. They believe in pirs (spiritual teachers) and do not practice the deen. They have tried to force her to marry a Barelvi man in the past. They do not let her go outside at all, not even to the masjid, they stopped her from going to lessons because she started wearing a niqab and they thought she is becoming extreme.  She’s not allowed to have friends and the only time they let her out is for work which her dad drops her off and picks her up from.

In the past, I had an issue with the police because I am a practicing young Muslim. The police tried to use me and they harassed me for information about Muslims. I told them I don’t know anything so they left me alone. Her parents have rejected me due to this issue with the police and the fact that I am Bengali and not Pakistani. Furthermore, the girl’s uncle, who is practicing, said to reject me as he thought I was an unsafe person after hearing about my encounter with the police.

1) Is it permissible for the parents and uncle to reject me on these grounds?
2) If not is it permissible for her to find another wali so we can get married?

Answer

Firstly, it is not correct for parents to reject you on the grounds of being Bengali or having an encounter with the police. Suitability in marriage concerns lineage, religiousness, profession, and being free of defects that permit annulling the marriage contract. Color is of no consequence in suitability. [Nuh Keller, Reliance of the Traveller]

Secondly, please refer to the links below. They state that it is not permissible for a girl to have another guardian (wali) conduct her marriage if he is living. It would also be violating the respect that he deserves as her father and guardian.

Please see these resources:
The witnesses of my marriage were not there. Is my marriage valid? (Shafi’i)
Can We Get Married Without Involving Our Parents?

SubhanAllah, brother, what you are going through is not easy. It is very praiseworthy that you are practicing and want to complete your religion (deen) by marrying someone who is practicing also.

However, the reality of life, is that one may not always get what one wants. Allah, Most High, says, “[…]But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you, and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.” [Quran, 2:216]

I suggest that you distance yourself for a few weeks from this sister. Pray the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night and beg Allah to facilitate the matter for you or point you to something better. It sounds like emotions are running high on both sides. Usually, when things calm down, both parties can step back and see clearly whether this seems right or wrong.

After a few weeks or a month, or longer, you might try to propose one last time. Sit down with the parents only. Explain to them with great patience and good character, that you believe this person is right for you and that you can provide for her. Explain in a few words that the police encounter would not harm her safety, but rather confirm her safety because the police were satisfied with your answers. Don’t go on a tangent. Display dignity and integrity no matter what they say, and tell them that you will accept whatever they tell you. And mean it.

May Allah give you tawfiq and goodness with whoever you marry.

[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.