Monday, April 10, 2000
Dear Bilqis, As-Salaamu alaykum,
Ok, I live in New York and I'm 15 years old, I will be 16
in November. I met this girl about a year ago, and we talk a
lot, and she just turned 16 in January, making her about 10 months
older than me, and we just sort of developed a liking for each
other, and now it turns out we're in love. Let me say also that
we are both well aware of what is allowed in Islam and what isn't.
The thing is that we're in love deeply, and I know we're young
and everything to be thinking like this, but we both want to
spend the rest of our lives with each other.
My parents have said that I may go out and find my wife for
myself when I am older, but her parents are quite strict, her
parents want a husband for her who's 5-10 years older, who is
set, and has a profession. I know I don't have that now, but
in time I will, and they are thinking about getting her engaged
at age 18. This has us both very upset, and we don't know what
to do. I haven't told my parents about her, and she hasn't told
hers about me. We both are very lost, and don't know what to
do. We want to get married the Islamic way. Is there any help
you can offer us?
-Young and in Love
Dear "Young and In Love",
I believe that the "feelings"
you are experiencing are very real to you both. But you must
stop and seriously consider some real issues involved with getting
married at such a young age.
Marriage is intended to be a life-long
committment. It involves two people living together and helping
one another through the ups and downs of this life; having children
and providing spiritually and materially for them in the best
manner. These things involve maturity, responsibility, patience,
perseverance and committment; they also involves working, paying
bills, buying food, nursing your sick spouse or child, helping
with homework and a host of other things as they may come along.
Marriage is the lifestyle Allah (swt) intended for us, but at
the same time it can be very demanding even for the best and
most mature adult.
Many years ago and still today in some
parts of the world, marrying at fifteen and sixteen would be
okay, but you live in a different kind of world and marrying
so young would be a hardship. Firstly, you need to become knowledgeable
and strong in your Islam before venturing out of your parents'
homes. Many tests and trials await, of which you have no idea.
Evil forces are very busy these days trying to beguile us from
the "straight path". Secondly, you want to get the
best education you can. We live in a rapidly growing technological
society which demands much of its workforce. To live even a simple
decent life requires a good deal of money, hence you need to
be prepared with skills that will grant you a quality of life
which is good for maintaining a family. Thirdly, this is the
time in your lives when you need to be PREPARING yourselves for
the responsibilities of adulthood, and once those responsibilities
start there is usually no turning back. Enjoy your youth, focus
wholly on your studies (both Islamic and secular) and acknowlege
the hard work, discipline and love your parents practice daily
to take care of you.
Haste is a characteristic of youth,
often wanting immediate gratification. Much of the free time
and "carefree life" you have now would abruptly end.
Marriage is something all Muslims should seek, BUT at the right
time in their lives, when they are spiritually, emotionally and
financially prepared. I do not think you are ready for these
serious responsibilities at this time in your lives. Focus on
what is important here and now in your lives (Islam, school,
the love and concern your parents have for you). Please trust
these words I say to you. Allah (swt) gave parents authority
over children for a very good reason: EXPERIENCE in life. And
believe it or not, we (for I am a parent too) make mistakes,
but parents make decisions OUT OF LOVE for their children. So
I say, slow down, back off from these strong emotional feelings
you are experiencing. (The ability to control emotions is a sign
of maturity.) Re-evaluate the reality of getting married so young.
The statistics are against you. Recognise that getting married
before you are truly prepared, would be very unfair to both of
you and any children you might bring into the world. BE SAFE,
NOT SORRY! Time has a way of working things out. Seek Allah's
help and guidance through prayer and reading of Qur'an daily.
When you are both more mature, and able
to provide for yourselves and your future children, and if you
still feel the same way about one another then, you will be free
to marry one another at that time and I am sure that your parents
will be much more amenable Insha'Allah. As for the planned engagement,
no woman can be forced to marry against her will (such a marriage
would not be Islamically valid). So bide your time, guard your
chastity and devote yourselves to your studies, and your time
will come Insha'Allah.
I wish you both the best.