Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I am 18 years old, and my parents are forcing me to get married to my cousin from another country. They are saying it’s good for the family and me. I have tried reasoning with them, but they are not listening. I know someone I would love to marry, but they don’t even want to know who he is.
Thank you for your question. I empathize with your pain and struggle as you should not be forced into marrying anyone. You must take the means to do what is right, follow the sunna and have courage. Allah will be on your side if you set your intention right.
First, give your parents the respect and consideration they deserve instead of refusing point-blank. Allah, Most High, said: “And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him and that you be dutiful to your parents. If one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them, but address them in terms of honor. And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say, My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they raised me when I was small. [Qur’an 17:23-24]
Perform istikhara about your cousin and follow it honestly. If it is negative, tell them how you feel. To be completely fair, talk to him and consider it for real. Then make your decision and tell them that it just won’t work and that you honestly weighed it. Be polite, don’t get angry, and maintain respect, but be firm and courageous. Don’t waver.
The Man You Love
Just because you love this other man, it doesn’t mean that he is Mr. Right. Please follow the Prophet’s advice (Allah bless him and give him peace), step back and look at him objectively, not emotionally.
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, and this applies to both genders, “A woman is married for four things: for her wealth, for her lineage, for her beauty or her piety. Select the pious, or your hands will be covered in dust!” [Bukhari & Muslim]
Make sure his religion is your main concern, and pray istikhara about pursuing marriage with him.
The best thing you can do is communicate openly and explain to them that you feel strongly about this match. They might come to accept him if they spend enough time with him. Arrange for them to meet, often if necessary, to get to know him well, and their parental instincts will be enough to see what you see in him. Of course, both of you should employ istikhara all the while.
Turn to Allah
Turn to your Lord in the meanwhile with learning the religion correctly and applying it in the best way possible. Pray on time, read Quran every day, memorize some, pray istikhara and make dua in the last third of the night for clarity and guidance. Take a course on marriage with us to prepare yourself.
Guard your heart, and don’t get emotionally attached to any man until you marry with your parents’ blessing. Be prepared to walk away from this man if necessary. Submit to that which Allah facilitates and leave that which Allah makes difficult, and you will find peace in the decision, in sha Allah.
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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.