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Feeling Discouraged about Marriage

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil answers concerns about not feeling acceptable as a potential spouse.

I am an American college student trying to finish half my din. I have maintained haya all my life and avoided speaking unnecessarily with men, so I asked my parents to help me search. Unfortunately I’ve been met with rejection before I’ve even been introduced as a prospect.

Men have remarked on how they don’t want a hijabi, they don’t want someone with such dark skin, they are only attracted to Europeans, I am too religious, I am not religious enough, I am too educated, I am not educated enough etc.

I see girls much younger than me marrying remarkable men with ease. I feel like there is something wrong with me. How do I keep my head up? I always dreamed of being a wife and mother in my early twenties but it seems this is no longer possible.

I am not willing to stray from the din or remove my hijab to please a man, nor can I change the way I look and my race. Should I even continue to think of marriage? It seems I am unwanted.

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

Self-doubt Trap

“And whoever submits his self to Allah and is good in deeds, he in fact holds on to the strongest ring. Towards Allah is the ultimate end of all matters.” (Sura Luqman 31:22)

Dear sister, please know that there is nothing wrong with you. You sound intelligent, kind, and most of all, God-fearing. Your future husband will be so blessed to have you as his wife, and the mother of his children.

Please do not allow the comments of ignorant men get you down. You are a believer, and worthy of every good.

Unfortunately, many traumatized Muslim families produce sons who carry deep-seated feelings of post-colonial shame. They feel that lighter-skinned women who are not in hijab make better wife material. This is their baggage speaking, and it is not your burden to bear. This is not the kind of family you want to marry into.

Keep your heart focused on what pleases Allah, and know that He will never let you down.

Breaking Our Attachments

Many of us get attached to different ideas, and when they do not happen, we become heartbroken. I encourage you to let go of your hope to be a mother and a wife in your twenties, and instead, hold onto the fact that Allah will bless you with marriage and children when He deems best.

If this gives you any comfort, please know that I married my husband at 28. I had my first child when I was 31, and my second when I was 34. I would have been a terrible mother in my twenties even though I really wanted kids. Allah needed me to work through my issues before blessing me with my two little daughters. AlhamduliLlah, His Wisdom eclipsed my own short-sightedness.

Of course, this is my story. You have your own. Instead of wondering if there is something wrong with you, perhaps you can ask yourself a different question. What is Allah trying to teach you? What are some character traits you can improve? What are some gaps in your knowledge that you can fill in?

Preparing for Marriage

I encourage you to complete this course, while you have the time and energy. Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages.

Please perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night, every night, for a loving husband who has both din and good character.

Please read Sura al-Waqi‘a as regularly as you can, with the intention of increasing your rizq, namely, husband and children.

Reflections on Seasons in Life

Dear sister, I remember being a single student of knowledge in Amman, ten years ago. I was in my twenties, and really wanted to get married.

A wise older friend told me that life comes in seasons. This season of your life may feel like a winter, when you so want it to be spring. So, make the most of your winter. Buckle down, and nourish yourself with the courses and podcasts on SeekersGuidance. May the good seeds you plant now come to fruition when the time is right.

Use the time and energy that you have now to be of service to your family and wider community. One day, I pray that you will be a wife and a mother. You will exhausted beyond imagination, but you will be content too, insha Allah.

In the meantime, everything you are learning now will help you in those roles. Trust in Allah’s timing, and in His Mercy. He knows exactly what you need, even if it may not be what you want.

I pray that Allah blesses you with the gift of marriage, motherhood, patience, and contentment.

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

Raidah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Reading Romance–Erotica with One’s Spouse

Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan gives the ruling on reading romance–erotica with one’s spouse.

Is it halal or makruh to read romance or erotic stories with one’s wife?

Thank you.

Thank you for your question.

The reading of romantic or erotic novels essentially leads one to draw images of romance or sexual relations to mind. If, when reading such stories, each spouse draws an image of the other to mind, then the reading of such novels will be permissible. If, however, the reading of these erotic encounters causes one or both of the spouses to imagine having relations with other than his or her spouse, then this would not be permissible as it constitutes intentional reflection upon haram. Yes, thoughts that appear unintentionally in ones mind are overlooked, but this is not the case with intentional thoughts.

In his Adhkar, Imam al-Nawawi said, “Thoughts that are established or does not settle in one’s mind are overlooked by the agreement of the scholars. This is so, since he has no control over them and there is no way for one to avoid it completely.” Accordingly, thoughts that are entertained or intentionally brought to mind will not be overlooked and one would be held accountable for that.

And Allah knows best.

Abdurragmaan Khan

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

A Dua to Make Someone My Spouse

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil is asked whether there are specific dua one can recite that makes the desired person become one’s spouse.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I am interested in marrying my friend, but the problem is that he does not want to get married right now. He likes me, but we haven’t talked about marriage. He says he is not ready.

I am praying hard to Allah to make me his wife. when he gets ready. Meanwhile I’ve said no to all proposals.

I’ve become very spiritual. I started tahajjud, reading Qur’an, and making duas. I make istighfar a lot. Sometimes my heart just says he is the one. I don’t know when we will get married. Is there any dua by which we can get married fast?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

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

Being Ready For Marriage

Dear sister, please know that when a good man wants to marry you, he will ask for your hand in marriage, and do everything it takes to make that happen.

It sounds like you are in love with this young man, but he is not reciprocating your affections. You describe him as liking you. If he has not mentioned wanting to marry you, then my advice to you is this: ask him, if he is keen to marry you, and how long that will take.

Supplication To Marry

You may recite the following supplications for a spouse anytime:

رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَاماً

“Our Lord! Grant unto us spouses and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and give us (the grace) to lead the righteous.” (Sura al-Furqan 25:74)

رَبِّ إِنِّي لِمَا أَنزَلْتَ إِلَيَّ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَقِيرٌ

“My lord, I am in absolute need of the good You send me.” (Sura al-Qasas 28:24)

Source: Should I Rely on Allah to Send Me My Marriage Partner?

Current Focus

When you are young and unmarried, it is natural to want to seek out companionship. Allah created us to long for connection and heartfelt relationships. And when you are in love, hearts and eyes become blinded.

You are your own woman. You do not need a man to inspire you to greater heights of worship. Choose to do so, willingly, because you are responsible for your own soul. A loving husband can be a precious and beloved helpmate to Allah, but do not give your heart away to anyone until he is married to you.

Self-worth

Trials of attachment are painful indeed. Longing to marry someone who does not want to marry you back is very heartbreaking. Dear sister, you are beloved to Allah. He honors you with Islam. Please do not waste your time on a man who does not value you enough to marry you. And from this heartbreak, I urge you to choose your husband wisely.

Prepare for marriage by studying and reading about it – love and attraction are insufficient to sustain a successful Islamic marriage. Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages is an excellent starting point.

I pray that Allah guides you to what will benefit you most in this life as well as the next.

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

Wassalam,

Raidah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Contemplating Suicide Because No One Will Marry Me

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil answers a question on how to deal with suicidal thoughts and feeling despair about not being able to find a marriage partner.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray five times a day but feel like my life is coming to an end. Allah has not given me height, good looks, or wealth. I know that those who kill themselves are punished in Hellfire forever, but I am already going to hell because I am not a good Muslim anyway. Why am I suffering like this? I have been rejected so many times for marriage, and have given up on marriage because I am only 5 foot 4. I see only two options: kill myself or cut myself off from everyone I know like my family, and this world. Please help me.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us during your time of crisis.

Dealing with Thoughts of Suicide

Dear questioner, I cannot imagine the amount of pain you must be in right now. The fact that you are contemplating suicide shows me how overwhelmed you feel. It sounds like you have tried everything to make things better, but nothing is working. and you feeling that ending your life is the only way to release you from pain.

Do you have a plan as to how you wish to end your life? If so, I urge you to seek professional help. Please look up a suicide hotline in your locality and call them immediately.

If you do not have a plan, then please, consider the possibility that there is a way for you to feel better. You have listed only two ways forward, but there is a third option. You can only access the problem-solving part of your brain when you move out of your current state of fight or flight.

Allah’s Love For You

It was narrated from Mus’ab ibn Sa’d that his father, Sa’d ibn Abu Waqqas, said: “I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah , peace and blessings be upon him, which people are most severely tested?’ He said: ‘The Prophets, then the next best, and then the next best. A person is tested according to his religious commitment. If he is steadfast in his religious commitment, he will be tested more severely, and if he is frail in his religious commitment, his test will be according to his commitment. Trials will continue to afflict a person until they leave him on the earth with no sin on him.’” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

Dear questioner, please know that Allah tests those whom He loves, and the depth of your trials indicate to me how much Allah loves you. You probably do not believe me, but please know this to be true.

Love, especially Divine Love, does not mean getting everything you want. Sometimes, it is often an act of love to withhold. It is easy to forget sometimes, but we were not created to marry. We were created to worship Allah, and submit to His Decree even if – especially if — what He wants for us does not align with what we want for us.

Know that Shaytan is the one who despaired, and he wants you to despair too. Do not fall for his lies. None of us know whether we are destined for Hellfire or Paradise. That is why we strive, and have a good opinion of Allah.

Source Of Your Pain

Please know that the true source of your pain is disconnection from yourself, and disconnection from Allah. When you remedy these disconnections, then only then can you find lasting relief.

Self-soothe First, Counsel Next

When you are physiologically flooded, nothing I say to you will calm you down. You need to work on soothing yourself first.

What helps you relax? Does listening to Qur’an help? Nature sounds? Going for a walk? I recommend guided meditations from apps such as Calm and Headspace. Find your breath, and be connected to it. Imagine breathing in relaxation, and breathing out your pain. Being in nature is also very calming, so I recommend that too.

The deepest healing lies with dhikr and dua. I recommend that you consult with Aafiyah Healing as soon as you can. In the meantime, pour your sorrow out in dua: Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long.

Perspective

Perfectionism is a lie the world teaches us. So many of us believe that if we were only more attractive, more successful, more charming – anything – then we would finally get what we long for.

It sounds like you believe that the reason you are not married is because you are not tall and handsome. I invite you to consider this possibility: perhaps you are not married yet because Allah, All-Knowing, knows that you are not ready.

Marriage, and then child-rearing, is both blissful and difficult. I encourage you to learn better self-soothing and emotional regulation skills before you become a husband and a father. Too many men around the world unleash their unhappiness and anger upon their wives and children, causing them great trauma.

The greatest gift you can present your future wife and children is this – good character. Work on acceptance, contentment, gratitude, forgiveness, and other Prophetic qualities.

Born without Arms or Legs

In the modern day context, I encourage you to reflect upon the life of Nick Vujicic, who was born with no arms and no legs. His story is a deeply moving one. After a failed suicide attempt at 10, he drew meaning from his great hardship, and now touches the lives of millions of people around the world. He is also married, and has four children.

If he had succeeded in ending his own life, he would have missed out on marrying his loving wife, and fathering his children. He is not Muslim, and Allah blesses Him with blessing upon blessing. What wonders lie in store for you?

Please, dear questioner, choose life. Choose to have a good opinion of Allah. Trust in His plan for you.

I pray that one day, you will be playing with your children, smiling at your wife, and that your terrible pain will be a long forgotten memory.

Please see A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah and Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered.

Wassalam,

Raidah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Is It Valid to Marry in Secret?

Ustadh Salman Younas answers a question about the validity and rightness of wanting to marry someone without the parents’ knowledge and consent.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I love someone and I want that relationship becomes halal. Right now I want to marry her without telling anyone just to make it halal, and it is not possible right now to take permission from my parents neither from her parents.

If we marry each other will it be legitimate? And if we do not get involve in any physical relation before the marriage with the permission of our parents will it be legitimate?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

According to the Shafi‘i school, in order for a marriage contract to be valid the following must be present:

    1. 1. The bride’s guardian (wali)

2. Two upright Muslim witnesses

3. The groom

4. The offer and acceptance.

Without these being present, the marriage contract would not be valid. As you can see, “secret” marriages executed without the knowledge and consent of the bride’s legal guardian are not valid in our school. (Tuhfatul Muhtaj, Nihayatul Muhtaj)

Hanafi School

Although the Hanafi school holds that the bride’s guardian is not a legal integral for the validity of the marriage, when there is no serious need to take this position, marriage without your parent’s knowledge and consent would be highly discouraged.

While your feelings towards each other are strong right now, please do not forget your respective mother and fathers, their feelings, and everything they have done for you both. Marriage is a huge step and one that takes a child away from the family home forever. Do your best not to break their hearts and cause them unnecessary anxiety, for in many cases, couples that do so later regret it and wish they had done things differently.

For more detailed answers to the Hanafi position and related concerns, please refer to these answers, particularly the second answer: What Are the Minimum Steps That Must Be Taken for a Marriage to Be Valid? and Can We Get Married Without Involving Our Parents?

Relationships

Whether one is in a physical relationship or purely an emotionally attached relationship, either way, it would not be permitted to continue. Allah has commanded us:

وَلاَ تَقْرَبُواْ الزِّنَى إِنَّهُ

And do not come near to adultery. (Sura al Isra 17:32)

Coming near zina includes every inclination of the heart, every loving gaze, every touch, every word spoken with intent of affection, with someone one it is not permitted to do so with. These tender emotions are guarded and preserved for after marriage, which makes the marital bond that much sweeter and pure.

There is a saying in Egypt which goes something like, “The one who walks through the door is respected, the one who climbs through the window is not.” In other words, the man who does not go through the proper means of asking for a bride’s hand in marriage, i.e. the father or guardian, deserves no respect, while the one who goes through the correct channels, regardless if his acceptance is accepted or not, is still respected and his dignity and reputation remain intact.

Don’t forget, by marrying this girl, you are essentially taking someone’s daughter away from them. This is hard enough for parents when their child gets married with their consent, let alone behind their backs.

Conversely, from the bride’s point of view, she should not give her affection to anyone easily, rather she should deem herself worthy, and accept only a man who is respectful, dignified and who carries out his affairs with principles and correct conduct. This not only earns the respect of the family, but the woman herself will value and respect him more, and he respect her more.

Though it may be hard to put your relationship on hold until a solution can be found in regards getting married, put it on hold you must. You should take the lead and show strength and resolution.

In this time, I suggest that you both work on your relationship with Allah Most High, for whom your love should be more than anyone else. When you truly love Allah, step by step, you will both desire what is pleasing to Him, and naturally forgo what you want and accept whatever Allah has in store for you both.

Solutions

Marriage is a celebration of two people coming together lawfully, and it is important that it is made public for many reasons.

Try to resolve the issue by following the helpful suggestions mentioned in this answer: Can I Marry Without My Parents’ Consent?

Be patient and true, and you’ll find that Allah will open up things for you in ways you never would have expected.

Warmest salams,

Jamir

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Father-in-Law Kissed Daughter-in-Law

Ustadh Salman Younas gives general advice on a case of a father-in-law kissing the daughter-in-law by mistake and how one should act in such cases.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

A case has arisen in our town that a father in law suddenly and unexpectedly kissed his daughter in law. This all happened in seconds. After that he is shameful and saying that he didn’t do this intentionally and lustfully and there is no erection or ejaculation, and he is ready to swore on the Qur’an that she is like my daughter and I have not done this intentionally.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

My assumption is that you are asking about hurmat al-musahara, which is the non-marriageable kinship (mahramiya) created between a person and the relatives of his spouse as a result of marriage and valid intercourse. Thus, a man who marries a woman and consummates the marriage is not permitted to marry her mother or any daughters she has from a previous marriage. Similarly, a person cannot marry the wife of his father. The Qur’anic verse affirming the basic idea of hurmat al-musahara is, “Do not marry those [women] whom your fathers married.” (Sura al-Nisa 4:22)

Outside of a marriage context, however, the scholars differ on whether hurmat al-musahara is ever established. In other words, does adultery–fornication or touching–kissing outside of a marriage relationship establish this hurma? The Hanafis say it does (adding specific conditions when it comes to touching/kissing), while the Malikis and Shafi‘is say it does not. In other words, if a father-in-law touched his daughter-in-law directly with lust, the marriage between the former’s son and the daughter-in-law would be broken according to Hanafis but not so according to the Malikis or Shafi‘is. (Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; al-Shirbini, Mughni al-Muhtaj; al-Dasuqi, Hashiya)

Given the sensitivity of the situation you describe and the scarcity of details you offer, I cannot offer a specific ruling for this case but only the following general advice:

1. In the specific scenario you mention, people must avoid rushing to judge someone’s marriage as invalidated on account of this act even if it has been clearly shown to have taken place. This is because (i) there is established difference of opinion on the matter, and (ii) annulling someone’s marriage, in this case the daughter-in-law and her husband (the father’s son), on account of someone else’s independent and unsolicited action seems highly unjust and problematic.

2. People must take care to avoid making insinuations against the father-in-law, the daughter-in-law, and other family members, or spreading gossip, hearsay, and the like.

3. If the father-in-law is known to be an otherwise upright person and there is no reason to suspect that something is amiss, people should leave things be, accept him at his word, and let him and the family manage the issue.

4. If there are reasonable signs and indications to suspect something unsavory and wrong taking place on the part of the father-in-law (e.g. abuse), this should be referred to the proper authorities. However, one should tread carefully before suspecting any such thing.

Because of the sensitivity of this situation, I would advise you to consult local scholars – people who are reliable, pious, have wisdom, and who have an understanding of family and community dynamics.

Salman

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Will Allah Be Displeased With Me?

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil advises a sister whose husband is addicted to porn on how she best can tackle this sensitive issue.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I have been married for 21 years. My husband has been addicted to porn since before we got married. I did not know this until a few years into our marriage. I have tried to talk to him several times but he gets angry and defensive. He tells me he doesn’t want to be controlled and if I continue to try to stop him he will be more determined.

In other aspects of his life he is very religious, masha Allah. Recently his addiction had become too much for me and I no longer want him to touch me. At first I did not refuse him, but tonight I had a long talk with him. I told him I want to help him stop his addiction and only do what pleases Allah.

He had the same reaction as before and again said he will not be controlled. Finally I told him I don’t want to have relations with him if he will not stop. He said in that case Allah will be displeased with me because I am not fulfilling my duties as a wife.

My question is, is that true in this case? Am I still obligated to fulfill my wifely duties even though he continues to watch pornography and I cannot bear to have him touch me?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

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

Witholding Marital Intimacy

Narrated Abu Huraira, may Allah be pleased with him:

Allah’s Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him, said, “If a husband calls his wife to his bed (i.e. to have sexual relation) and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning.” (Bukhari)

Dear sister, I cannot imagine how difficult this situation is for you. I pray that Allah heals your husband and your marriage. 21 years is a very long time to struggle with his refusal to repent.

Although you are at your wit’s end, I do not encourage the use of ultimatums, especially in regards to withholding intimacy. Doing so is a form of controlling your husband’s behavior, and this would naturally cause him to be defensive.

As hard as it might be, try to imagine his pornography addiction as a drug or alcohol addiction. Threatening to withhold marital intimacy from an alcoholic does not make him more likely to stop drinking alcohol. This route could add to his feelings of anger and frustration. However, he is choosing to refuse to get help. He is still responsible for his actions.

In short, for as long as you are married to him, you are still obligated to have marital relations with him. I say this within the context of your husband being gentle with you and being sensitive to your needs and wants in the bedroom. If you are feeling repulsed by him, then you both need to work on solving this issue.

By the same token, these actions are displeasing to Allah:

1) watching pornography

2) masturbating while he watches it

3) disregarding your feelings.

Marriage Counselling

It was narrated from Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, blessing and peace be upon him, said: “The best of you is the one who is best to his wife, and I am the best of you to my wives.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

A successful Islamic marriage is a mutually respectful and loving partnership with the joint intention of pleasing Allah. Within this context, your husband is failing to recognize his role in displeasing Allah through how much he is hurting you.

Is it possible for at least you to attend culturally-sensitive counseling? Ideally, it would be better for both of you to attend counseling, but your husband seems resistant to any form of change. Please know that you can still tremendously benefit from counseling, even if you attend it by yourself. A good counselor can help empower you and help you recognize what is within your sphere of control, and what is not.

Accepting a Wife’s Influence

A wise husband knows how to accept his wife’s influence. Consider these links:

Love Quiz: Do You and Your Partner Accept Each Other’s Influence?
Husbands Can Only Be Influential if They Accept Influence

Prayer of Need

You probably feel extremely powerless. Because of this, I encourage you perform the Prayer of Need to appeal to the One who created your husband.

Pornography Addiction

Purify Your Gaze is an excellent resource for people like your husband. Again, only he can decide to get help.

I encourage you to consult Megan Wyatt from Wives of Jannah to help you navigate your difficult and sensitive marital situation.

Prayer of Guidance

I encourage you to perform the Prayer of Guidance as often as you need to in regards to staying in your marriage. A positive answer could be your husband softening and finally getting the help that he needs to treat his addiction. A negative answer could be your husband persisting in his addiction and refusing to repent.

Oppression

Narrated Anas, may Allah be pleased with him:

Allah’s Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him, said, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one.” People asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him)! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” The Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said, “By preventing him from oppressing others.” (Bukhari)

At the end of the day, if you cannot bear to touch your husband, then it does not seem like a marriage worth staying in. Please exhaust all options and consider divorce a last resort. Divorce may be frowned upon, but it is still permissible. If both of you fail to fulfill your obligations towards each other, and continue to oppress one another, then divorce may even be obligatory. Please remember that Allah has given you the gift of agency. Use it to draw closer to Him.

Please see Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long, A Reader on Pornography and Masturbation, and “Too Embarrassed to Talk About It”: Pornography Addiction and Some of Its Effects on Muslim Marital Life.

I pray that Allah blesses you with wisdom, courage and insight to do whatever is most pleasing to Him.

Wassalam,

Raidah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Must I Marry My Cousin?

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil is asked about being urged to marry a cousin when one is interested in someone outside the family.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I really like a girl from outside my family and I believe that she will be a good partner for me. My family wants me to marry my cousin. Although she is also good, I’m not comfortable with her.

However, there is no suitable match for my cousin if I don’t go for her, and she may suffer if I say no. What do I do? Am I Islamically and morally bound to marry my cousin?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

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

Marriage

You are not Islamically and/or morally bound to marry your cousin. Please do not marry her out of guilt. Marriage is a sacred contract, and you must take responsibility for who you choose to marry. You need to talk honestly with your family about how you are not comfortable with marrying your cousin.

Please know that Allah is Most Merciful, and He will not let your cousin down. I pray that she marries a kind and pious man who will cherish her.

Expectation

You are probably under a lot of pressure to marry your cousin. May Allah make this easier for you. Because of this, be realistic and expect your family to be unhappy about your intention to marry outside of your family.

Please do the groundwork by completing the course Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages and reading the book Before You Tie The Knot.

If you go ahead with this, then the woman you have in mind must be strong enough to withstand the disapproval of her in-laws. That stress could break a marriage.

Prayer

I encourage you to perform the Prayer of Need, and the Prayer of Guidance, in the last third of the night.

Family Ties

Please do everything in your power to maintain family ties if you choose to marry outside of your family. Bring in a respected family elder to advocate for you, if need be.

Baraka

If you can find it in your heart to consider marrying your cousin, then I encourage you to at least give it a shot, to bring happiness to your parents’ hearts.

Please see Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered and Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long.

May Allah bring you the clarity to do what is most pleasing to Him.

Wassalam,

Raidah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Mother and Husband Not on Good Terms

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil is asked about a mother who vehemently dislikes the husband of a sister, and how she can best deal with the threats she faces.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Should I get a divorce because my mother doesn’t like my husband, and says she never will? She said that if I wanted to leave and go and be with him at my home, she’ll take my passport and social away because she knows I can’t survive without it.

Does that mean my marriage won’t be good because she doesn’t support it? Does that make me a bad person? She doesn’t want to make amends and is making me choose between him or her.

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

Dear sister, I am very sorry that your mother is putting you in this impossible situation. When parents are deeply troubled and fearful for their adult children, then they can behave in damaging and controlling ways. What your mother is doing is sinful because she is causing you emotional harm and trying to break up your marriage.

Please do not get a divorce just because of what your mother said. It can be so, so difficult to make your own choices as an adult when you have a controlling and disapproving parent, but it does get easier with practice, and distance.

Please know that you can still make choices to protect yourself and your marriage. Do not cut ties with your mother, but do work on setting stronger boundaries. Speak to a culturally-sensitive counselor if you need to. It is natural to want to please your mother, but not at the cost of your marriage.

Husband

Why does your mother disapprove of your husband? Is he hurting you? Or is he a good man who recognizes the harm your mother is causing you?

Dear sister, please know that you are not a bad person. Your marriage can still be a loving and rewarding one.

Self-soothe

I encourage you to use apps such as Calm and Head-space to help you make space for your feelings of stress, agitation and/or anxiety.

Please read and listen to Qur’an to soothe your pain.

Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Well-being by Chaplain Ibrahim Long

Priorities

If your mother is threatening to keep your passport, then you must keep it safe, because that is your property. Please secure your valuables and keep them locked and away from your mother.

I do not know the logistics behind your situation, but is your mother keeping you away from your husband, against your will? Is there anyone you can call for help?

Please gather your belongings and when you are in a safe position to do so, please return to your husband. Please limit your contact with your mother, until your well-being and the safety of your marriage is restored.

Time

Time is often the best remedy for broken hearts. That being said, if your mother is determined to still have a poor opinion of your husband, then it is better for you to accept that she will not change.

You can still live a good life, have a loving marriage, and raise your children well. It is okay to feel sad that she disapproves of your husband – just don’t let this sadness overtake your entire life, and eclipse all of your other blessings.

Please keep in touch. I pray that Allah heals your heart, your mother’s and reunites you with your husband.

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

Wassalam,

Raidah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


I Want to Marry Someone Willing to Revert

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil is asked for advice from a sister who wants to marry someone with a bad past who is willing to revert to Islam.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I am 20 years old and want to get married to a young man, but he is non-Muslim. He says he is ready to become Muslim, pray 5 times a day, and even go on Hajj. I do not think my parents will agree, as he has a bad past. How do I know if he is meant for me? What should I do?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

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

Islam

“And Allah shall love you and forgive you your sins. Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.” (Sura Aal Imran 3:31)

Please encourage this young man to embrace Islam as soon as possible. I pray that Allah helps him make good on his Islam, whether or not you get married to him. With sincere practice of the din, please know that all of his past sins are forgiven.

Marriage

In short, once he is Muslim, then your marriage contract to him will be valid. However, because you are young and have not been married before, I strongly suggest that you marry him only with the blessings of your parents. Young marriages are often better able to thrive with family support.

Please speak to your parents about how you want to get married to this young man, after he becomes Muslim. You are right – most parents would be unhappy about their daughter wanting to marry someone with a bad past. However, once he becomes Muslim, then Allah forgives all his bad deeds. The question is whether or not your parents can. In fact, it is obligatory for you and for him to hide his past sin, unless there is some kind of outstanding debt which he needs to pay.

Istikhara

Please perform the Prayer of Guidance as many times as you need to, until you get clarity about how to move forward. Your parents softening towards him could be a positive sign, whereas your parents being firm on refusing his proposal could be a negative sign for you.

Preparation

I encourage you to read Before You Tie The Knot and complete the Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages course.

Please know that love is insufficient for a marriage to work. Marriage thrives when it is within a bedrock of shared values and a commitment to treat each other well, for Allah’s sake.

Sensitive topic

Please forgive me for my bluntness, but if this young man has had previous sexual relationships, then I suggest that he get a blood test done to ensure that he does not have any sexually-transmitted diseases.

May Allah facilitate what is best for you and this young man, in this world and the next.

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

Raidah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.