Marrying a girl against my parents’ will
In addition to Zawaj.com, I am also the founder and manager of several other Islamic websites, including IslamicAnswers.com, which is a website dedicated to providing common-sense advice on marriage and family issues in Islam.
I’ve been answering questions about Islamic marriage issues for eleven years. In that time, I have seen certain types of questions come up over and over again. In fact, I would say there are about twenty basic questions that come up repeatedly in various forms.
One of the most common questions is from young people who want to get married but cannot because their parents will not allow it. Often the reasons for their parents refusal are un-Islamic or trivial:
- The boy is the wrong nationality
- The girl is from the wrong social class
- The parents of the groom said some words that the bride’s parents did not like
- The groom’s family is not paying enough of a dowry
- The bride is a convert
- The groom is divorced
- etetera, etcetera.
These are all petty reasons that have nothing to do with Islam.
In fact the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) instructed us that if a person of good character comes seeking our daughter’s hand, we should accept him, otherwise the earth will be filled with corruption. He did not mention nationality, tribe, social status, wealth, or other superficial criteria.
So what does a young man do in this situation, when he has found a girl with good character for marriage, but his parents refuse for bad reasons? Can he marry her anyway? Or shall his life and happiness be held hostage to the petty whims of his parents?
Below is an answer to this question from the scholars of IslamOnline.net:
- Wael Abdelgawad, Zawaj.com Editor
Name of Mufti: Ahmad Kutty
Topic: Marrying a girl against my parents’ will
Name of Questioner: Ahmad
Question: Respected scholars, as-salamu `alaykum. I have a problem; I need your guidance in light of Islamic teachings. My parents did an engagement for me to their best friend’s daughter. After the engagement, I started talking with her on the Internet and on the phone. But now, after two years, my parents broke the engagement because of minor things, like “girl’s family didn’t give respect to us as expected in our culture” and “they are not willing to give more things injahaz (gifts for the bride while sending her away).”
They are now telling me not to marry the girl. The girl’s parents asked forgiveness for whatever mistakes they may have made, but my parents are not willing to accept their apology. As I liked this girl and we have agreed to marry, am I doing anything wrong if I am still to go ahead with the marriage, even though my parents do not approve of it? Isn’t it wrong for me to break my engagement? Please guide me.Jazakum Allahu khayran.
Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear brother, we would like to thank you for the confidence you placed in us, and we implore Almighty Allah so that He may help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
First of all, if you truly believe that this girl can be a good Muslim wife, then you have to do your best in convincing your parents that you have a genuine desire to marry her. However, if your parents insist on their refusal without valid reasons, then you have the right to go on and marry this girl.
In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Canada, stated,
If the girl you have been engaged to did not violate any of the Islamic rules or principles, then you are allowed to go ahead with the proposed marriage, even if your parents wish to break it, especially if their reasons for doing so are not based on grounds that are reasonable and valid according to the rules of Shari`ah.
Material considerations cannot be used as an excuse for breaking an engagement. As Muslims, we are bound by our words and promises. Almighty Allah describes true believers as those [Who are keepers of their trusts and their covenant.] (Al-Mu’minun 23:8); and therefore, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) considered breaking one’s promise as one of the signs of a hypocrite, which every Muslim must avoid. So, you need not break the engagement; rather, you can go ahead with it.
But, having said this, however, I must rush to add that you have no right to cut off your relations with your parents on account of this action. You should rather try to exhaust all means at your disposal to make your parents understand your viewpoint and to persuade them to change their mind. You may also try to use the influence of elders or knowledgeable people that your parents respect to convince them of their mistake.
If they still persist in their attitude, then you have the right to go ahead and marry the girl. But I must still point out that you should never spare any effort in pleasing your parents in every possible way. You should also keep on praying to Allah for mercy and guidance for them.
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