Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam aleykum,
My friend is in love with a young woman and wants to marry her. Unfortunately, against his wishes, his mother has arranged a marriage to his cousin. His mother said that if he is a good son who wants her duas, then he must obey her. What should he do?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.
This is a very challenging and delicate situation.
Please recommend this book to your friend: Before You Tie the Knot: A Guide for Couples by Salma Elkadi Abugideiri and Imam Mohamed Hag Magid. It has an excellent section which goes into detail about the challenge your friend is facing.
In short, the authors do not recommend getting into a marriage simply because one’s parents are forcing one to. This can lead to great heartbreak and resentment.
The obligation upon your friend is to treat his mother with respect and kindness. It is not obligatory upon him to follow her blindly. However, it is a major sin for him to break her heart. This is why it is so important for him to tread carefully.
I strongly encourage your friend to enrol in this course – Excellence With Parents: How to Fulfill the Rights of Your Parents.
Is there another family member or community elder who can advocate for him? This situations sounds like it needs a delicate hand, and another elder may be the key to persuading his mother.
Your friend needs to communicate these points to his mother, in a way she can accept, most likely through the advocacy of an elder:
1) it is not her right to force her son into marriage.
2) her niece will be unhappy because her future husband is in love with another woman.
3) working together with her son instead of against him will help everyone in the long run.
Please encourage your friend to perform the Prayer of Guidance about how to move forward. He must watch what Allah unfolds for him, as objectively as possible.
For example, a clear sign for him to pursue marriage with the woman he loves is his mother softening her stance. A clear sign for him to let go is his mother refusing to change her mind.
Please encourage your friend to perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night, even if it’s 5-10 minutes before the entry of Fajr. Ask him to beg Allah to make a way out of this situation.
The best case scenario here is your friend winning his mother over and gaining her blessings before he marries the woman of his choice.
Persuading his mother will take some time and a lot of effort and patience. Some short-term discomfort and delay will pay off tremendously in the long run. Even the best of marriages take a lot of adjustment in the beginning, and it is far better for your friend to have his mother’s blessings.
If your friend does not successfully persuade his mother and decides to go ahead with marrying the woman he loves, then it may be an uphill battle. The stress of in-laws who do not accept a new spouse can be too much to bear, and end up causing divorce.
If your friend manages to keep his new marriage afloat, then often the birth of a child helps to smooth things over. Grandchildren have the uncanny ability to soften even the hardest of hearts.
I pray that Allah blesses your friend with the patience and the wisdom to be kind to his mother, while being honest with himself.
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersGuidance Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.