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Having to Wait for Nikah

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat gives advice on marriage and the consent of parents.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa baraktuh.

I have met a practicing man I wish to marry. We have been trying to get his parents to agree for almost nine months now and, alhamduliLlah, by the grace of Allah Most High, they have finally started to come to terms with it and his mother has called my mom. Their only concern is that nothing should happen until we both graduate, which is what my parents want as well.

The issue is that he graduates in three years, and keeping ourselves free of sin is really tough. We were wondering if it was possible to sign a nikah without telling our parents, just to free ourselves from further haram as the desires we have are very great. We would not let anyone else know (aside from the ones performing the nikah) and we would let our parents take their time in getting to know one another while we finish school, while secretly married.

Please advise us on what to do. We were hoping to follow Hanafi fiqh in this regard due to the lack of wali needed in some cases.

Jazak Allah khayr.

I pray you are well.

Turn to Allah

It is a huge blessing from Allah that the parents from both sides have agreed to the marriage. You should thank Allah profusely for this blessing. Thanking Allah is a means to an increase, because He Himself swore an oath saying, “[I swear], if you show thanks I will certainly give you an increase.” (Sura Ibrahim 14:7) Thank Him for this blessing and all others and you will certainly see more of what you like coming your way.

You should also turn to Allah with dua, and ask Him to facilitate matters in the best way for you. Allah answers all prayers – but according to His schedule, not ours, and in the way He deems best, not what we plan (Ibn ʿAtaʾillah, al-Hikam).

The Sunna of Marriages

In Islam, the sunna is that once a suitable match has been found, the nikah should take place as soon as possible. All the necessary discussions should take place first, and then when both parties are happy to proceed the nikah should be conducted.

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “O Ali, three [particular] things do not delay: the [obligatory] prayer when its [time] comes; the [funeral prayer over] the deceased when [the body comes]; and [the marriage of] a lady when you have found her a suitable match.” (Tirmidhi).

You should try yourselves, or ask someone of authority in the community to convey this point to the parents on both sides.  Perhaps they can be persuaded.

A nikah does not mean that you have to move in together. It finalizes the contract and shuts the door for the devil to play any games with anyone. The rest of the marriage plans can follow the schedule agreed upon by both sides.

Prolonged engagements go against this sunna.

No Secret Marriages

Secret marriages are not something which should even be considered. Marriage is more than the union of two individuals. Both families are bound to each other through it, which is a blessing from Allah.

Also, many parents would feel extremely hurt and betrayed if they found out that their child had secretly entered into a marriage – even if it was with someone they had already approved of. In many cultures parents see the marriage of their child as a responsibility, which makes this a serious matter. Do not go down this route.

In some cases, the agreement can be called off, and if the prospective couple have secretly married, they find themselves in a very difficult position: neither family approves of the marriage – yet they are married. Revealing the matter means risking family ties being severed, and keeping it a secret can only go on for so long.

I once came across a case where a couple performed a secret marriage whilst waiting for the wedding date the families had agreed on to come, and in the meantime the husband divorced his wife three times. Imagine explaining that one to the parents.

May Allah facilitate what is best for you. Amin.

Abdul-Rahim

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.


Can I marry without my parents consent and knowledge?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Assalam aleykum

I fell in love with a non Muslim girl. She converted to Islam. But I kept telling her that I wouldn’t be able to marry her as my parents wouldn’t agree. But I suffered from insomnia for about 4 years and eventually depression. I tried telling my family but they just don’t want to listen.

Can I marry her without my parents consent and knowledge?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

I do not think the situation you describe findingyourself in is a particularly healthy one. To believe that a secret marriage will solve these issues might simply be a fantasy.

The general rule is that while a secret marriage is valid if the basic conditions of a marriage contract are fulfilled, it would likely be sinful to engage in such a marriage behind one’s parents back for a number of reasons, which include:

(a) it entailing clear disrespect for parents, which is a major sin.
(b) such marriages being contrary to the sunna, which stresses that a marriage be known and public.

Yes, it is true that there are cases where parents can be unreasonable or base their opposition to a marriage on troubling grounds that go contrary to our religious values. Nonetheless, this does not mean that one can merely go ahead and marry in secret behind their backs. This is only permitted in exceptional cases. Otherwise, individuals need to learn to communicate with their parents in an open and clear manner, be firm if required, and with respect.

Given the nature of your question and the health issues/depression you describe, I would recommend that you also consult a reliable local scholar on this matter – someone who is more aware of your family situation.

Wassalam,
[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.

Can I Marry Without My Parents’ Consent?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I was engaged to a guy and my family later found out that that he has a past. My parents have refused to let him marry me, but I am already emotionally attached to him. I tried to convince them but it’s not working. Can I still marry him without my parents’ consent?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. Dear sister, this is a difficult situation to be in. I pray that Allah facilitates a way out for you.

Consent

The most favourable situation would be for you to marry this man with your family’s consent. In Islam, marriage is about two families coming together as well as a husband and wife. Women who marry without their family’s blessings are often in vulnerable situations because they lack family support. The first year of marriage is challenging for everyone, especially when they no longer have the bedrock of their family to lean on in times of hardship.

Although the exception to the rule is marriage without your parents’ consent, it would be a very, very difficult path to tread.

Solution

1) Pray Salatul Hajat and ask Allah for ease; Pray Salatul Istikhara and be open to taking the path which Allah opens up for you. This will be difficult because you are already emotionally attached to this man. The truth of the matter is that whatever Allah has written will come to pass, and this may or may not mean marriage to this man.

2) Consult with a trusted community elder, family member or family friend, and ask him/her to advocate for the man you wish to marry. Choose someone who is kind and fair, and who will help reason with your parents. It helps to pick someone whom your parents already trust and respect.

3) Take the time and effort to exhaust all means to win your family over. At the end of the day, they love you dearly and want what is best for you. Perhaps because of his past, they are reluctant and afraid to entrust you to him.

4) Remember to always treat your parents with respect and compassion, no matter how they treat you or the man you want to marry.

Consequence

If you do decide to marry him against your parents’ wishes, then be prepared to cope with the fallout. If they disown you, ban you from visiting etc, then be steadfast and continue to reach out to them with respect and kindness. Your responsibility is still to keep ties with them even if they do not wish to keep ties with you. In most cases, the passage of time will smooth things over. If not, then the arrival of grandchildren will, inshaAllah. If you do not have the support of your immediate family, then ensure you have support from close friends, extended family etc. Adjusting to marriage is challenging, even in the most ideal circumstances.

May Allah guide you to whatever is best in both worlds.

Wassalam,
Raidah

Please refer to the following links:

What to Do When My Parents Reject My Choice of Spouse Because of Cultural Reasons?
Are There Any Legal Leeways to Get Over the Refusal of a Guardian Regarding an Interracial Marriage?
Obeying Parents In Matters of Marriage

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani