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Marriage and Severed Ties of Kinship

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil advises on mending relations with estranged parents and marrying with their blessing.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

My parents got divorced when I was 3 and I ended up with my father who raised me. I didn’t see my mother for almost 19 years, until I finally decided I wanted to see her. AlhamduliLlah I saw her and we got very close, but it created a lot of problems for me as well, as my mother and father were at times competing for my loyalty. It felt like I was being dragged from both sides.

My mother has a lot of emotional problems and gets angry very easily, and because I haven’t grown up with her she sometimes expects me to act in certain ways or do certain things that I’m not accustomed to and she gets angry at me for not doing them. This has caused me a lot of psychological problems and at times I would dread talking to my mom because I would be scared of witnessing a bad reaction from her despite trying my best not to say or do anything that might upset her.

My mother right now doesn’t talk to me. She severed ties with me about a year ago and is forbidding my sisters from talking to me as well. This happened because I was getting to know a girl for marriage and my mom insisted that I bring this girl to the country where my mother is living before we do anything, and I explained to my mother in the gentlest manner that I couldn’t do that because neither the girl nor her family would agree to that if we weren’t married. I informed my mother that I was planning on doing a recitation of Fatiha with my father’s side of the family and the girl’s family and my mother was furious that she wouldn’t be present for this, particularly after I explained that neither me or nor my mother would have the means to fly my mother out to the country where we were going to do this.

After this, my mother stopped talking to me, and my sisters too, not because my sisters want to but because my mother is not letting them. I’ve been texting my mother since then and I tried calling her as well but she stopped answering me. I message her frequently to ask about her, make dua for her, and apologize for upsetting her but she doesn’t answer me.

My mother lives in a different country and I don’t have the means to go there at the moment. Things didn’t work out between the girl and I for marriage, and now I’m looking for another suitable marriage partner. So my question is, would it be permissible for me to get married while my mother is not talking to me given my circumstances? I’m nearing 30 years old and it’s very difficult for me to please everyone in my family. Obviously because I grew up with my father, I’m closer to him than my mother and he’s more involved in my life than she was. I’m just thinking that I’m reaching a point in my life where I don’t want to keep delaying marriage, especially for reasons that are beyond my control and capacity to deal with.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Mother’s Anger

It sounds like beneath your mother’s anger are deep feelings of shame, guilt, sadness and so on. When you told her that you would read the Fatiha without her, she probably felt completely cast aside, disrespected, and unloved. Her decision to cut off ties with you remains sinful, but is understandable, given her emotional imbalanced nature.

Even though she did not raise you from the age of three, she is still your mother, and it is still obligatory for you to treat her with kindness and respect.

Because of this, I strongly discourage you from getting married without her knowledge and her blessing. She will be even angrier, and you will be giving your future wife the wrath of a deeply unhappy mother-in-law.

Give yourself a reasonable time limit. I am not saying to wait ten years, but you do need to try harder, and give your mother time to come around.

Please perform the Prayer of Guidance about getting married. Please perform the Prayer of Need and beg Allah to soften your mother’s heart.

Exhaust Every Option

Please try harder to reconnect with your mother. Send her gifts, write her letters, and so on. Give in charity daily, even if it is little, with the intention of earning your mother’s forgiveness.

Ideally, please save up to fly in person to kiss her hand. When she sees you, it is only natural for her heart to soften, and for her to weep healing tears. It sounds like she has 19 years of regret and shame, manifesting in her anger towards you.

Please complete this course so you can better understand the rank of your mother, even though she is challenging: Excellence With Parents: Muhammad Mawlud’s Birr al-Walidayn Explained: Your Parents’ Rights and How to Fulfill Them.

Financial Priorities and Marriage

If you cannot afford to visit your mother, can you afford to support a wife?

Even though you are not close to your mother, she remains your mother, and must be treated with compassion and respect. She has already missed out on so much of your life, and it sounds like she is desperate to connect with you. She is trying to be part of your marital selection process, because she wants to be part of your life.

Gender Interaction

Please know that you need to still observe appropriate gender interaction while looking for a wife.

Do not get too emotionally attached. The woman you marry must be sensitive to your mother’s situation, too. Being kind and patient with your mother is this a pathway to Jannah for you and your future wife, when handled well.

Mother’s Rank

“We commanded man (to be good) in respect of his parents. His mother carried him (in her womb) despite weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. (We said to man,) “Be grateful to Me, and to your parents. To Me is the ultimate return.” (Sura Luqman 31:14)

I pray that when you become a father some day, you will better understand the rank of your own mother.

Even your father raised you when your mother left at the age of three, consider this: your mother kept you safe in her womb, gave birth to you, nursed you, and looked after you for the first three years of your life. Nothing you can do can repay that debt to her.

Please see How Can I Deal With My Difficult Mother in a Respectful Way?

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Parents’ Strong Refusal of Reverts

Shaykh Jamir Meah answers a question about marrying a revert who has been deemed unfit by parents.

I am a 26 year-old born Muslim female who still strives to be a better Muslimah every single day and am currently interested in a revert 33 year-old brother of two-and-a-half years in Islam. We met on a Muslim dating app since we both want to get to know our half of our religion as soon as possible, because we all know that we are on the suitable age.

I am a nurse working in Saudi Arabia and he is a smelter in another region of the Middle East. We haven’t chatted much in the application since he prefers to get to know the potential spouse in personal and of course with the presence of my wali.

We set the date and place, and I had my mother, uncle from my mother’s side, and his wife at the dining table. He came alone all the way from another region to my current place to seek permission from my parents. Unfortunately, my father was in the Philippines and was not amused about meeting a revert.

However, my mom and I persuaded him that there is nothing wrong in trying to get to know the brother. At least he is meeting me with my relatives present and not alone. Mostly, my uncle and mom did the interrogation regarding how he reverted and why, and his family background, and such and such, and he honestly answered that yes, he was from a broken family and Alhamdulillah he had made his mother a Muslim.

He wanted a Muslim-born woman to marry since he wants to build a family that has a strong religious grounding. To be honest, it was also both our first time to gather folks in meeting or getting to know each other for the purpose of marriage to get away from the world’s fitnah.

At the end of the discussion or meeting, he once again thanked Allah and my parents and me for allowing him to be seen and that he wanted to state his purpose which is that he wanted me to be his wife, if permitted by my parents. And that he won’t force anything if it is against some laws of Islam.

Uncle advised us to pray istikhara first before deciding and we did. I usually don’t have signs but my heart is light when I think how inclined he is to Islam than to the Muslim-born men I have known. We were permitted to have a limited chat in messenger but never did. We call to hear each others’ voices or video call to see each other. Both our Facebook accounts are mainly all about Islamic reminders. No pictures of awrah shown too.

I wanted to pursue the marriage with him since what I have been praying for: a righteous man, disregarding the race or status as long as his love for Allah is much stronger than this dunya. The problem is, my father got angry when I told him that i wanted to do nikah with him.

The reasons both parents told me are, he is a revert. We don’t know his purpose. His family is still a Christian. Why can’t he find his own revert wife? He is from a broken family (the reason why he was 33 and never got married was because he was afraid of not being able to be responsible enough to be a father. That’s why he was lead to Islam and knew the importance of marriage). He was just a high school graduate. And my family’s ancestors only allowed revert sisters. Never a revert brother. That maybe he reverted because he wants many wives.

The brother was hurt and all he could do is feel hurt and said “It is only Allah who knows what’s in my heart, and mind and my intention in marrying your daughter is pure and clear. If I have the evil intention or you’re afraid i might go back to my own religion, then may Allah prepare the most severe punishment for me. I fear Allah for that.”

No matter how much I tried to persuade my parents and how the brother did too, never-ending sermons are received from my parents. What will people say, it’s not in our culture. You’re still young, don’t go to haste. All these are so worldly reasons. I was already prepare to get married to the brother and even had enough mahr to give in case they approved but no. My parents say never! Never a revert!

But he is whom I wanted my children to follow. Until the brother gave up and sent a long message to my parents asking for forgiveness for being only a revert and that we will be gladly to raise his hands and surrender me to my parent since he told me he don’t want the woman he wanted to marry to face having to break family-ties with my parents.

I cried but my parents only justify their cruel intentions by saying, “You see he is not for you.” I told them, he only respects you all, since it is not allowed to be judgemental and rude in Islam. We tried getting someone to persuade them but that only made it worse. How could such parents value culture and discrimination more than the teachings of Islam?

Now I don’t want to both lose my family and the righteous man I found but why does my parents told me that they only care for me? They say they don’t want my future children to be at the man’s side but the brother has already broken his ties with his non-believing families, for they are too engrossed in haram and could only send Islamic pamphlets and make dua. He was so in tears for Allah’s mercy to grant him his mother to become a Muslimah and next we want to stay connected with his father to let him embrace as well. Insha Allah. 

I need advice. Can a Muslim-born woman marry a revert even if it is against the rejection of the walis? Can I still pursue the nikah when I reach the age of 40 with the righteous man I have chosen? Since I am also willing to be a second or a third wife as long as I see the religion and religious man that fears and loves Allah.

Can I choose the man to get married with instead of my family, since they say they will disown me and kill us both if we both get married secretly? I was planning to wait until 30 and if he still inquires I would still, insha Allah, like to pursue the nikah with him in a far country and would still try not to cut connections since I fear Allah. Please do give me advice on this.

I am sorry to hear about your situation. It is obviously a very sensitive and difficult one. Normally, in these situations, we would advise that you get a third party involved to see if they can intercede. Perhaps there is a local imam or respected scholar who can speak to your family?  

While your parents may be being prejudiced against converts, I’m sure they are deeply concerned about your happiness and well-being. Older generations see culture differences as much more important than younger generations, and though this can sometimes be misplaced, their concerns should still be considered.  

I would also say that it is important to remember that you have only known this man for a short space of time and communication is limited. I am sure he is a good person, but it is very difficult to ascertain the good character and piety of a person until one has spent more time with them (such as having more arranged meetings) or at least inquired about the person’s character from others who know him well on a personal level. Ideally one would do both.  

Using religious words and speech doesn’t always translate to good character and suitable spouse material in private practice. Even when a person is practicing and comes across as having firm faith, it does not necessarily mean that they are ready to marry, to live with another person with love, compassion, and patience. This applies to men and women.  

Do you feel that you know enough about him to feel he is an ideal match for you? That he will treat you with kindness and make you happy? You may well do, but do consider these matters carefully before you set your heart on only one person and waiting years to marry him.  

Given that your family said that they will disown you and even kill you both, though this is incorrect and deeply concerning, it seems that not pursuing this offer of marriage is best at the moment, at least until you can talk them round.  

Lastly, do not forget that everything is in Allah’s hands. Whatever is meant to be will be, and if this man is meant to be your husband, it will be. Make use of the Prayer of Guidance (istikhara) often and the Prayer of Need (haja).  

Please also refer to these answers for further advice: 

Convert Marriage Archives

I wish you every happiness,

Jamir

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Honesty towards Parents and Future Wife

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil gives advice on being honest to one’s loved ones.

Question:

Should I tell my parents and friends how I met my wife? Let’s say it was through a mutual friend. Do they need to know?

Does my future wife needs to know if have broken my legs three times, or lets say I had three bouts of depression but I’m fully functional and working full time? Does she need to know?

Answer:

Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Parents’ Concern about Future Wife

Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “Avoid suspicion for suspicion is the most lying form of talk. Do not be inquisitive about one another, or spy on one another.” (Sunan Abu Dawud)

Dear questioner, I recommend that you reassure your parents’ and friends by saying that you were introduced to your wife by mutual friends. Any parent would be concerned, because they would like to know the background about the person their child wants to marry.

If you do not tell them the truth, then they may jump to incorrect conclusions that would cast your future wife in a bad light. I encourage you to cut off any suspicion by being honest. You have done nothing wrong by meeting your future wife through mutual friends.

I do not know your background, but are you concerned because your family prefers marriages arranged with cousins? If they do, then prepare yourself for that and stay calm, firm and respectful.

Speaking about the Past

Anas bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Allah has appointed an angel in the womb, and the angel says, ‘O Lord! A drop of discharge [i.e. of semen], O Lord! a clot, O Lord! a piece of flesh.’ And then, if Allah wishes to complete the child’s creation, the angel will say. “O Lord! A male or a female? O Lord! wretched or blessed [in religion]? What will his livelihood be? What will his age be?’ The angel writes all this while the child is in the womb of its mother.” (Bukhari)

I invite you to reflect upon the question you have asked me. What would you like if your future wife were in your position?

I invite you to reflect upon the question you have asked me. What would you like if your future wife were in your position? I do encourage you to be honest with your future wife, and tell her that you have had depression in the past. Mental illness is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s world, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a tendency many of us have, because of past trauma and the complexities of our childhood in today’s fragmented world.

Marriage and then parenthood bring about stressors that may cause you to become depressed again. It is better for your future wife to know this, so you can work together as a team through that possibility. It is better for you to be vulnerable with your future wife, instead of pretending that everything is okay. 

If you do not tell her, marry her, and you become depressed again, then she will most likely feel betrayed. Trust that Allah will reward you for your honesty with her.

What are you afraid of? If you fear that she will not marry you because you have been honest about your past depression, then please know that she is not the right woman for you. The right spouse for you will accept and cherish you for all of your scars, because it is our scars that help to bring us closer to Allah. Trust that Allah has already destined the right wife for you, and your responsibility is to uphold excellent character. 

I pray that Allah grants you the courage, wisdom, and the gift of a loving marriage.

Please see Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered.

Wassalam,

Raidah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Parental Demands Scared Away Potential Spouse

Answered by Dr. Bano Murtuja

Question: Someone asked to marry me, and I was deeply interested in him.  My parents agreed, but they set unreasonable conditions, so he refused.  I got my parents to agree to take away their conditions, but the brother still refused. My problem is I can’t forget about him.  Other people want to marry me, but I only want to marry him because he is a very good man.   Please advise me because I am having problems forgiving my parents for this.

Answer: Walaikum salam,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

Your parent’s actions in setting unreasonable demands in the first instance is problematic, however, the brother’s refusal to marry you despite your parent’s changing their minds is an indication that your marriage was not meant to be.

Whilst the first brother may be a good brother, Allah (Exalted be He), in His infinite Wisdom and Knowledge knows that which is best for us. Regardless of his character, it may have been that a marriage with him was not best for you in this life and the hereafter.

I understand that emotional attachment such as the one you formed with the brother in question can be difficult to break. However, comparing potential marriage partners with him is not begin fair to your self or to the brother’s who ask for your hand in marriage. When proposals come, you should make istikhara and ask Allah (Exalted be He) to make easy for you that which is best for you.

A full guide on how to make istikhara can be found here: The Reality of Istikhara

With regards to forgiving your mother, it is important that you remember our parents actions are often motivated out of love and concern for our welfare.

Allah (Exalted be He) has described the believers in the Qur’an as “those who avoid major sins and acts of indecencies and when they are angry they forgive” (al-Shura 42:37).

He (Exalted be He) also says: “And let not those of virtue among you and wealth swear not to give [aid] to their relatives and the needy and the emigrants for the cause of Allah , and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful” (an-Nas 24:22)

In trying to forgive others one should remember that we are all flawed, and all in need of forgiveness from human beings and by the Creator. In forgiving the wrongs done to us, we pray that we are in turn granted forgiveness for our transgressions.

May Allah (Exalted be He) grant you ease and facilitation in all your affairs.

Ma’salam

Bano

Related Answers:

Obeying Parents in Matters of Marriage

My Parents Won’t Let Me Marry Before My Older Sister

Marriage & Dealing With Parents