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My Mother Rejects Suitors Even Before I Meet Them. What Do I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

If a marriage proposal comes from someone out of state, my mom automatically rejects it. I’ve never even had the opportunity to sit down with a single person that has asked for my hand. I won’t even find out a person has asked until days if not weeks after my mother has already rejected the proposal. I cannot take this anymore. What can I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us. Please forgive me for the delay.

Mother

It sounds like you need to have a calm discussion with your mother about your desire to get married. Many parents struggle to let go of their adult children. Explain to her that you feel ready to get married to the right person, and you want her love, blessings and support. Can you speak to your father about this too? Do you have aunties or any other respected elder in your family or community you can ask for support? Often, mothers respond better when another elder encourages them to listen to their children.

Destiny

Ubadah b. al Samit said to his son: “Son! You will not get the taste of the reality of faith until you know that what has come to you could not miss you, and that what has missed you could not come to you. I heard the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace say: The first thing Allah created was the pen. He said to it: Write. It asked: What should I write, my Lord? He said: Write what was decreed about everything till the Last Hour comes. Son! I heard the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) say: He who dies on something other than this does not belong to me. [Sunan Abi Dawud]

Dear sister, please know that whatever is destined for you will reach you, no matter what your mum does. When Allah wills, you will marry the man Allah has destined for you. Draw comfort from that, especially when you begin to get angry and upset at your mother.

Practice having a heart that smiles with Allah, no matter what is going around you. I encourage you to do breathing exercises when you start to feel angry at your mother. I also strongly encourage you to do this course Excellence with Parents: How to Fulfil the Rights of Your Parents to help you better understand the rank of your mother.

Trials

Narrated `Abdullah: I visited Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) while he was suffering from a high fever. I said, “O Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace)! You have a high fever.” He said, “Yes, I have as much fever as two men of you.” I said, “Is it because you will have a double reward?” He said, “Yes, it is so. No Muslim is afflicted with any harm, even if it were the prick of a thorn, but that Allah expiates his sins because of that, as a tree sheds its leaves.” [Bukhari]

Your challenge is an incredible opportunity for heartfelt dua. Channel all of your strong feelings into the Prayer of Need, in the last third of the night. Allah is listening, and trust that He will answer you when the time is right.

Marriage

I encourage you to do your due diligence before you get married. Do your research by doing the course Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages and reading Before You Tie The Knot.

Read articles like these:

Emotionally Intelligent Husbands Are Key to a Lasting Marriage

I encourage you to learn more about yourself, and what you believe you need in a partner. What is your parents’ marriage like? Know that what you saw growing up, both the good and the bad, will be your default in your own marriage.

Marriage is indeed a gift and a protection, but it also deeply emotional growth work. Think of it this way – your patience and diplomacy with your mother is excellent training for marriage, and for your interactions with your future in-laws.

I pray that Allah blesses you with the gift of a loving and righteous husband.

Please see:
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah
Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered
Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long

Wassalam,
[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 SeekersHub 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.

What Is the Process for Delivering a Proposal For Someone’s Hand In Marriage?

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

What is the process for delivering a proposal to a family?

If the girl is an illegitimate child and estranged from her father, can the proposal be given to someone else?

Answer: Wa alaykum al-Salam

May Allah reward you for your question.

The proposal process is not cast in stone and differs from culture to culture. As long as a given culture does not contradict the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah, then there is no problem in adhering to that culture. The following however are important considerations:

1. When a brother shows interest in a sister, the correct procedure would be for him to approach her wali our guardian, either directly or through the medium of someone. The wali is the father, then the grandfather, then the brother and then the paternal uncle.

Note that in many Arab cultures, the mother would go and meet the potential sister and her mother, and would thereafter decide whether she is a suitable spouse for her son or not. Nonetheless,

2. If the brother has not seen or spoken to the sister before and the wali agrees to consider him as a potential spouse for his daughter, he would arrange a meeting between the two of them for viewing and discussion. This meeting may recur until both parties agree to marriage. These meetings should be strictly in the presence of her mahram and usually does not happen more than thrice unless there’s a need.

3. Once the couple reaches an agreement, they would pray Salah al-Istikharah which sort of acts as a rubber stamp. In other words, once the couple has weighed the pros and cons and reached a decision that they would like to pursue the marriage, they would pray istikharah asking Allah that if the marriage is good for them in this world and the next that He realizes it for them; and if it is not good for them, that he turns them away from it. Thus the couple should believe that when the marriage materializes that it came from Allah; and when it does not, it also came from Allah.

4. After the couple agreed to marry, a formal proposal would take place. Here cultures tend to differ considerably. I’m also assuming that your question is directed at this formal proposal. It is acceptable for the suitor to send a representative as how it is fine for him to attend in person. Similarly, the “fiancee to be” may or may not be present. The important thing, and this is where our local culture tends to drift off a bit, is that she should be dressed appropriately and modestly. Also, even though engaged, contact between them is still impermissible and thus holding hands or even a peck kiss, is totally unacceptable. Answering your question, the proposal is delivered to the wali or his representative and the wali would accept the proposal after consulting the sister. Note that when the wali is the father or grandfather, they are not obliged to consult their daughter or granddaughter, it is however recommend.

Your final question regarding an illegitimate father. The father is only considered illegitimate, when the child was born out of wedlock or prior to 6 months in wedlock. When it is established that the fiancee is an illegitimate child in a non-Muslim country, she has one of two options, namely, tawliyah or tahkim. Tawliyah is when she appoints a man of integrity to act as her wali. Tahkim is where she appoints, with her fiance, a scholar as an ad hoc judge to marry her off to her fiance.

And Allah knows best

Wassalam
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

Is Withdrawing from an Accepted Proposal Equivalent to Breaking a Promise?

Answered by Shaykh Salim Ahmad Mauladdawila

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I had a proposal.


On the day of the meeting the guy had suddenly gotten sick. Right after they cancelled, he started feeling better. They took this as a sign of istikhara.


Can such things be taken as a sign for istikhara?

Does this count as breaking a promise sinfully?

Answer: Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim

God says in the Quran, “And don’t say of anything, ‘Indeed, I will do that tomorrow’, except [with adding], ‘If God wills’, and remember your Lord when you forget [it] and say, ‘Perhaps my Lord will guide me to what is nearer than this to right conduct'” [18-23-24].

Istikhara is a very private affair, and as such the interpretation of a sign, be it a dream, happening, illness, or anything else, is also a very private matter. It is because of this that one shouldn’t worry too much about an outward ‘sign’ per se, but more how they feel they should act after performing the prayer and dua. Interpreting istikhara is hence a subjective matter and we as a third party can only take someone’s word for it when they say that their istikhara gave them a particular result.

As for promises towards others, we are obliged to fulfil them as best we can, but not fulfilling them is acceptable in certain circumstances. Most commonly, one may make a promise but later find that fulfilling it would create a negative outcome. Also, we may make a promise but a change in our personal circumstances may mean that we cannot fulfil it. Other times, the promise itself could be made on an incorrect presumption, and thus also not require fulfilling. A case of a promise based upon istikhara would be similar to this third example, where the promise is dependent on the reality of the situation becoming known.

Regarding the feeling of darkness and the possibility of it relating to yourself, it would be best not to pay such things too much attention. Scholars often advise that interpretation of dreams and events should be done in the most positive light imaginable to not give any substance to darkness. The mentioned subjectiveness of interpretation of such matters means that, in this case, one would be better off concentrating on their relationship with God, asking Him for that which is better than that which he deferred, and being content with the way things turned out.

[Shaykh] Salim Ahmad Mauladdawila

Is It Arrogant for Me to Decline a Proposal From a Promiscuous Man Who Is Now a Scholar?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I have received a proposal from a young man. I have been advised to accept as he has recently qualified as a scholar.

However, I know that he is flirty and has had relationships with other women. Am I right to refuse him on these grounds? Am I being arrogant by thinking this?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

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

Arrogance

‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “He who has, in his heart, an ant’s weight of arrogance will not enter Jannah.” Someone said: “A man likes to wear beautiful clothes and shoes?” Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “Allah is Beautiful, He loves beauty. Arrogance means ridiculing and rejecting the Truth and despising people.” [Muslim]

The definition of arrogance is looking down on other people. Please reflect on this. It is sinful for you to consider yourself better than him because you are chaste and he was not. Repentance wipes his slate clean. In addition to that, the wheel of life is always turning, and we are all in need of Allah’s Mercy.

When registration reopens, I strongly encourage you to do this course: Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life. Before you get married, it is obligatory for you to learn the fiqh behind it. This course will also help you understand the qualities you need to look for in a husband, and inform you about the qualities you need to cultivate in yourself.

Chastity

Being chaste is from the sunnah of our Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace). I pray that Allah rewards you for living by this beautiful Prophetic virtue. However, Allah Most High is the One who continues to allow you tawfiq (enabling grace) in being chaste.

“A disobedience that bequeaths humiliation and extreme need
is better than an obedience that bequeaths
self-infatuation and pride.” [Aphorism of Ibn Ata’illah]

Remember to make plentiful shukr for this tremendous blessing from Allah. Focus on Him with humility and gratitude, and not on yourself or your good deeds.

Istikhara

I suggest that you perform the Prayer of Guidance up til seven times to get a clear answer on how to proceed. If it is a negative, then you know that he is not for you e.g. your heart continues to be turned away from him and you continue to hear negative reports about him.

If your istikhara is a positive, then that is a sign for you to give him a chance e.g. if your heart softens, or you receive good news about him.

It is extremely important for you to do your research about each prospective suitor, but please be discerning about your sources of information. Are the people who have warned you about him trustworthy? Or are they the kind who incline towards gossiping?

If this young man is still being lax in his behaviour towards women, then their warning you is a good thing. However, if he has made his repentance and is behaving chastely, then these tale-bearers have committed a major sin by spreading false tales about him, and by exposing his past sin. Please refer to this: Slander, Backbiting and Talebearing.

Judgement

Leave all judgement of his character to Allah, who is the All-Seeing and All-Knowing. Your job is to keep an open mind, be honest with yourself, and pray istikhara. As it is extremely important to you to marry someone chaste, then it does not sound like he fits your criteria. Additionally, his character traits already seem to irritate you. People don’t change for the better after marriage unless Allah wills, so generally what you see is what you get.

If your family asks you why you do not want to accept his offer, just tell them that your istikhara is negative. I pray that Allah blesses you with a husband who has both good character and religion.

Please see:
What is the Islamic Understanding of Pride?
Is It Haram to Like One’s Beauty and Appearance?

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: M.G. Kafkas

Do I Need a Divorce to Avoid Marrying the Man I’ve Accepted A Proposal From?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: As salam alaykum,

Do I need a divorce to avoid marrying a man whose proposal I previously accepted?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

No, an accepted proposal or engagement does not need a divorce in order to be broken off as it is considered to be a promise.

As such, the rulings of promises would apply to the situation, namely, that you should only make a promise to do something if (1) you have the firm resolve to fulfil the dictates of the promise, and (2) you are reasonably confident of actual fulfilment.

False Promises

Otherwise, it can be impermissible and sinful to make a promise in light of the words of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), “There are three signs of a hypocrite: whenever he speaks, he lies; whenever he makes a promise, he breaks it; and whenever he is trusted, he betrays his trust.” [Bukhari & Muslim]

Genuine Excuses

However, if this proposal is broken off with a genuine excuse – ideally after consultation with those of wisdom and life experience – and after having prayed the prayer of seeking guidance (istikhara), it would be improper, yet not sinful, as breaking promises is unbecoming of believers.

[Qadri Pasha, al-Ahkam al-Shar`iyya fi al-Ahwal al-Shakhsiyya; Nahlawi, al-Durar al-Mubaha fi al-Hazr wa al-Ibaha]

Please also see: Is It Obligatory to Fulfill My Promises?

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,
Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Jim Purbrick

Can I Look at the Hair of a Woman before Deciding to Marry Her?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalamu alaikum.

When considering a woman for marriage, is the man allowed to see her hair at any stage before actually marrying her? Or must he rely on his sisters’/mothers’ etc. to inform him of what she looks like?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

No, the man is not permitted to look at the hair of a woman he is considering for marriage as her hair is legally deemed to be from her nakedness (`awra), and the permission of looking only extends to her hands and face. [Qadri Pasha, al-Ahwal al-Shakhsiyya: Article 3]

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “When one of you intends proposing marriage to a woman; if he is able to look at that which will induce him to marry her, he should do so.” [Abu Dawud, with a sound chain of narration]

Saffarini comments in his Ghidha al-Albab, after relating the aforementioned tradition (hadith), that the man can only look at the woman’s face and hands. Further, Khattabi in his Ma`alim al-Sunan writes, “The man is only permitted to look at her face and hands. He cannot look at her without her veil (hijab), and similarly cannot see any of her nakedness (`awrah)– whether she permits him to do so or not.”

Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam notes, “The statement ‘if he is able to look at that which will induce him to marry her’ means considering aspects such as wealth, status, beauty and religion, and does not imply a general permissibility of looking at any part of the body that may induce a person into marriage.” [Elucidation of Forty Hadiths on Marriage]

However, he can look at her face and hands as many times as he needs to in order to make up his mind about marrying her, as the scholars mention.

Please consider taking: Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani