Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Being Pressured to Marry my Cousin [emotionally abusive parents]

forced marriage

I am 21 years old pakistani girl (grew up in Canada all my life) and currently working to finish up my last year of study of university inshallah. Ever since I was 17 my parents have been talking nonstop about getting me married and how they needed to find someone for me before I am "too old." My mom asked me if I was OK with her looking for someone and I told her yes, under the conditions that I would not actually get married until I finish my undergraduate degree and that the person she found was OK with me wanting to continue my education and potentially pursue a career. I am very religious, pray 5 times a day, listen to a lot of Islamic lectures for knowledge, and try my best to follow the sunnah by fasting monday/thursday, leaving music, improving my hijab, praying tahajjud as often as I can, etc. I agreed to letting my mom help me find someone because I wanted to do things the halal way and not resort to finding a boyfriend, accidentally committing zina, etc.

However, everything has turned into a complete nightmare. Last year she took me with her to Pakistan for my cousin's wedding. It was the first trip I made back home in over 10 years. We stayed for 2 (horrible) weeks that were filled with nonstop arguments (she kept insisting I wear makeup and "dress up" for the weddings because people will talk while I insisted I didn't want to wear makeup in public, etc.) I thought I was going to Pakistan just for my cousin's wedding but I was wrong. She was "showing me off" to her brother/my uncle and trying to get me to take a liking to his son. Ever since we returned from that trip, she keeps bringing up my first cousin from back home and insisting that he is the best match for me, that he is becoming an engineer and can settle in Canada easily, etc. I told her that I didn't want to marry my cousin and was hoping for her to find a religious boy who grew up in Canada like me, but each time I do that it always escalates into a huge argument.

The arguments are always emotionally abusive, where she tells me I am a horrible daughter and that kids who do not "respect" (unconditionally obey) their parents will burn in hell even if they stand for prayer day & night. She tells me I am ruining the family, creating a bad atmosphere, and that it was a mistake to bring me to Canada to get educated because I have now become "Canadian" and have "Canadian values." She insist that if only I had been raised in Pakistan, I would be a "good girl" and agreed to the marriage without even seeing the boy, citing herself as an example. She also says all her sacrifices that she made for me were wasted and that I was a mistake, that Allah was punishing her (through me) by having such a horrible daughter, and that she wants to just marry me off so I can get lost already and she doesn't need to see my face anymore.

My dad pretty much agrees with my mom and also has a lot of wrong Islamic concepts. For instance, he thinks Allah made people as distinct tribes to only marry within that tribe and that the caste system is somehow Islamically justified. Whenever I tell him this is wrong, the caste system is from hindu culture, Islam came to destroy the caste system, the only Islamic requirement for marriage is for both people to be Muslim, and that the ayah does not mean what he thinks, he becomes angry and tells me I just want to be married to junk & that I am ok with anyone/anything because I have become a Canadian with "no values" and "no culture" (they will also insert racist comments here like "even black? your OK marrying someone black if he is Muslim?" and that people of a "lower caste" have "jahliyah [ignorance/backwards behavior] in their BLOOD" like they are genetically programmed to be lesser humans) He says I should marry my cousin because it will let me stay in the caste and marrying someone else will bring shame to the family. he also says people outside the family cannot be trusted because you don't know how they really are. When I still say that I want to marry someone raised in Canada, he starts threatening me by saying he could force me to drop out of university whenever he wants (even though my parents are not paying for my education at all; I am on a no-interest student loan that I am working hard to pay off on my own), that I have to obey him, and that if I do not listen to what he says, he will disown me and kick me out of the house. He says if I ever marry someone outside the caste or someone he does not approve of, I will be dead to him and prohibited from even going to his funeral.

I always go to my room and cry after we talk.

The more I try to explain my perspective to them, the worst it gets. Even if I am speaking respectfully in a low voice and explaining things logically, it still makes them angry and they start yelling at me. My parents even accused me of secretly being in a relationship as the reason I don't want to marry my cousin, which is totally untrue; I have never had a boyfriend - they are just being paranoid, which is the same reason why they did not let me live on residence and forced me to commute to/from uni every single day from home, which takes ~1.5 hours one way.

The other day I overheard my mom talking to my dad on the phone. She said that no one would want to marry a useless daughter like me who only plays video games all day (which I don't). She said even if I got married, it would be pointless because someone like me would only end up divorced and that "girls from here [Canada] are haraab [bad] and don't deserve a decent, educated boy" in the first place and "educated boys only want pure virgins from back home, not the filth from here." She proceeded to insult me over the phone while I stood hidden behind the wall, overhearing their conversation (the phone was on speaker). I felt very, very hurt by their conversation and ended up crying in the bathroom.

I have never had the best relationship with my parents because of how overprotective/controlling they are of me while my YOUNGER brother is driving the car at 1 AM and goes to the movies with his friends whenever he wants. However, I feel like things are just getting worse after the discussion of my marriage started. I am now always crying and struggling to not relapse into depression, as I did during high school.

I don't know how to fix my relationship with my parents. I feel like I'm suffocating whenever I'm around them and that my only options are to either obey them and be miserable/live a 100% controlled life until the day I die, or try pursuing my own happiness/freedom and lose my relationship with them completely.

I have been making dua to Allah to please send me a good boy to marry who will be good for my deen & actually allow me to be happy for over a year now...I have not lost hope and I know that He is probably just testing me and that He only tests his slaves if He loves them. However, even though I tell myself that everyday, it is still very hard and sometimes I catch myself thinking "maybe I'm really going to hell after all" after sitting through another session of my mother's emotional abuse.

I don't know if things will ever get better, but if anything, my parents are a lesson from Allah and have shown me exactly what type of relationship I DO NOT want to have with my kids. I don't know if I can obtain happiness in this life, or even marry someone that I can genuinely love, but at the very least, I swear I will not let my next generation, especially any daughters I have, be raised this way. I won't let them be shackled by all the haram traditions of my culture, the backwards minded ideology of "what will people say," physical childhood abuse as "discipline," never being allowed to go outside/grow up/have friends/have any freedom whatsoever, or emotional abuse and blackmail to "convince them." I won't let me sons go for joyrides at 1 AM while my daughter can't even grab ice cream by herself at 1 PM, and impose double standards, or tell them they can sit back and do absolutely zero housework because cooking/cleaning is only the role of a woman.

Please, if anyone can advise me on how to get through to my parents, let me know. Also, please let me know how I can meet Muslim men for marriage in a halal way, since it is becoming obviously that I must track down someone without my parents to be free and only relying on them alone will ruin my life. I'm thinking about waiting until I am 23 to graduate/find a job (so I am secure even if they kick me out) and then trying Muslim "dating" and matchmaking, but I heard there is a lot of fraud...I don't know what to do. Please help.


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18 Responses »

  1. Firstly hats off to you, I appreciate your steadfastness on your deen that's Spactacular.
    Muslims only and only rely on Allah swt.
    As you say you are 5 times punctual on you prayers, fasting, tahajuud that's simple no words for me to say you're a marvellous girl.

    Secondly, no matter what happens the ultimate decsion would be only from your side.
    Islam gives you this right , if you say No to a proposal your parents don't have the right to force you.
    This one thing your parents should keep in their mind that they are going against Islam.

    I like the way you said you need some one who will help you in practising Islam.
    Ask Allah alot in every prayer especially make dua that O Allah soften my parents heart towards me, coz at the end of the day you need your parents support and duas.

    Honestly speaking Iam too looking for a girl is religious and help me in my religious duties and takes my hand towards jannah.

    Talk to your parents positively every time and keep patience, don't lose hope, Ask Allah , and that's it.


  2. Assalamu Alaikum Sister,

    You wrote a lot about your situation, and it is obviously not the first time it's happened; unfortunately, it's not the last time, either. First, you seem to be a very righteous and intelligent woman, who has demonstrated that she knows what her parents are pressuring her about is absolutely wrong.

    Your parents' views, and the manner in which they apply and practice them, are completely wrong and definitely not righteous. They are more concerned for themselves than for you. It's no surprise that your parents' practices and beliefs are more cultural and based more on class and racial superiority ideals. This is definitely wrong, and I'm sure their views on those issues won't change. None of them are Quranic, either, and they are quite sinful and more representative of unrighteousness than piety. That said, I don't think you can get through to them with any logic.

    Control is a critical component of your parents' culture. The best things you've done so far are having pursued your education and not giving in to your parents' continual pressure. A suggestion of mine is to never go back to Pakistan with your parents while this marriage pressure is still ongoing. That is often the trap to force young girls and women into forced marriages, which are abusive and unrighteous. Believe me, you WILL REGRET being in a forced marriage.

    Respecting your parents is good and all, but it doesn't mean they get to exercise the type of control you described they want to exercise over you. Their presumption is that their choice of someone is better than your choice. However, it is well known that many parents have chosen some rather awful and unrighteous persons, including family members, of rather poor character to be the spouses of their children. Further, divorce is not uncommon with such marriages. That's not surprising, given the types of people they choose and the unrighteous reasons why and irresponsible way they choose them. Racism and classicsm are wrong, and denigrating whole groups of people using those beliefs or ideals is sinful.

    I hope it works out for you, but it won't if you given in to their sinful pressure. I don't think you are being tested by Allah; rather, based on your parents' sinful and unrighteous beliefs and practices (certain imams can back that up), I think you're being tested more by shaytan because your parents' beliefs and practices are evil. So, keep strong.

    I can't really help you with anything else because my views on certain things you asked for advice on conflict with the views with many who follow this site. Thus, I don't want to get into any debate or argument on the views from which I abstain making any comments.

  3. Assalaamualaykum pandorazchaos,

    I am so sorry to hear of your parents' emotional and psychological abuse towards you, as well as childhood physical abuse. As you know, emotional and psychological abuse are the absolute worst, most detrimental kind of abuse because they affect the brain itself and lead to long-term CPTSD. Furthermore, they leave no visible scars...only one person's words over another's if trying to seek help from an outsider, and still no one either believes you or can really fathom how painful it is, leading one to feeling very lonely in their plight. My heart truly aches for you, as I myself was/am the victim/survivor of abuse from my parents. So you are not alone. We have Allah, who knows and sees all and will give justice by His promise.

    In the meantime and that being said, I have a simple solution for you that I hope you will find solace in.

    As stated in Syed's advice above, you are Islamically entitled to your own decision regarding a marriage partner. I would turn down this cousin no matter the consequences. If your parents get abusive in response, please call the police.

    Then, complete your undergraduate studies and don't even think about marriage during that time. With all that you are dealing with, you do not need anymore stress on you. Once you have graduated, 4-5 years will have passed, time will have intervened, things will have happened, and you will be in an entirely different place. At that point, evaluate what you'd like to do as far as marriage is concerned. At that point, you can research the best matrimonial sites for Muslims, talk to an Iman in your area regarding your plight, and take any other measures necessarly towards finding a life partner.

    You will be a different person by then and the person who you would choose for marriage then would be different from the kind of person you would choose now. It's also true that we sometimes choose someone who is very similar to our abusive parents in a subconscious effort to "heal" the pain, and you want to avoid that trap as much as possible, which I think you will be better equipped to do after your studies. So yeah, in short, please don't even think about marriage right now.

    Stay well sister...please get adequate rest for your mind and body through sleep and drink plenty of water and warm milk to keep yourself replenished and your insides moderated during this stressful time.

    I have made a dua for your sister. As I mentioned, this issue hits very close to home for me and I advise you with your best interests at heart.

    May Allah help you through your studies and give you a loving spouse with whom you can reach Jannah.



  4. Assalamu alaikum warahmatullah. Miss. Lack of deeni practice why parents choose hell foe them by forcing their kids into hell with forceful marriages. You please dont fight wid your parents. Neithr argue .jst pray to Allah wakeup for tahajjud daily spend your time alot in tahajjud .make lods of dua for ur marriage and for your parents. And dont agree eithr for your parents choosed marriage praposal for you. Be patient .in sha allah you will get best . Wastaeenu bissabri wassalaah. Innallaha ma a ssabireeen. Aameen ya rabb.

  5. This will not be a politically correct answer, but a correct answer nonetheless. Dua without action is like a boat without water. Completely useless. YOU, only you can change your situation. No amount of Duas nor prayers will help you or your situation, otherwise everybody would be a billionaire and happy. Tie your camel first, THEN put trust in Allah. You have to do it and take action, and with Duas and prayers, Allah will put barakah in your decision, Inshallah. Find a good boy that you like. Marry him without your parent's knowledge and move out. Forcing marriage is haraam. Your parents cannot and will not change. They brought the Paki filth with them and living in a civilized society hasn't had any positive effects on them nor cleansed them of their pagan views. Unfortunately, this is not exclusive only to Pakistanis. Most of the prophets were sent to Arab lands and they STILL haven't straightened out. Your parents are "Muslim" by name only. They don't know Islam nor have any Islamic or moral values. If your parents despise the west and the western society so much than why don't they just go back to where they came from? Oh's $$$$$$$$$$. They are also hypocrites and sellouts. Selling their values for $$$.

    Save yourself. It is your right, given to you by Islam and Allah. You are educated. You are not a helpless girl living in a Pakistani village. Move very far from them. I bet they believe in honor killings too. Despicable. Remember, you have to be good to your parents, however Allah does NOT allow parents to be cruel to their children either. Go out, get married and start a new life and live your life. Let them come to you later.
    If you are not ready for marriage, move out, get more loans and stay at college and complete your education. Get married later to a boy of your choice. In any case, you need to get away from this toxic environment. Best of luck.

    • Cancer, I agree completely with everything you said, so I'll join you in the political incorrectness. These practices are wrong,and they are not only haram, they reflect some of the most cruel aspects of humanity. Not all resistance is bad.

      • Agree. Islam empowered women and gave them the rights and respect 1400 years ago that women in other societies still do not have. Muslim women should be and CAN become the most powerful of women BUT they have to unfortunately fight for their Islam given rights.

        • Cancer,

          Yes it is unfortunate indeed that women must fight for rights that they inherently have by the instruction of Allah Himself. I often feel like some of us women and girls are just waiting for the Day of Judgement when we can stop fighting and be rewarded by Allah for our patience and perseverance.


  6. Assalamu alaiki sister Noor ! Could you give me your e-mail please if you don't mind ?

  7. I just have two things to say.
    Dont EVER go to Pakistan, specially before getting married InshaAllah.
    And, tell some trusted people of your situation and abuse by your parents. Talk to some student counselor or friends, and tell your parents that people know. If something bad God forbid happens to you, people will know.

  8. Sister hats off to you for your steadfastness.
    Hang in there.
    I am a Pakistani male of your age living in Pakistan and I would like you to re evaluate a bit.
    Why are you hell bent on not marrying among your cousins ? No,not all Pakistanis are backward and cavemen.If your cousins are decent guys attending universities in Pakistan and you have some degree of assurance about their character and deen,then they might turn out to be quite compatible for you.
    If you're sure that they've messed up their deen,then your stance is perfectly valid.
    I think you are 'scared' or atleast completely detest marrying back home and moving to Pakistan.If you feel this way,then no,life is not miserable in Pakistan.You can adjust here pretty well if your guy is decently educated.You'll adapt to the lifestyle and might end up being more happy and content here.
    And your parents are doing madness,no doubt about that,may Allah give you sabr,but try to find a middle ground with them.Perhaps insist them to marry you to a religious guy 'inside' your caste.You give them two of their requirments and in return you try to get one of yours.Their ones are 'back home' and 'inside caste' and your's should be deen.Believe me there are very good practicing,handsome brothers back home.
    So please re evalute about insisting on marrying a born and bread Canadian.
    Lastly,I'm not too sure about some of the advice given in above comments persuading you to seperate or in essense run away from your parents.Always remember that a woman,no matter how much educated and financially sound,is extremely vulnerable without family support at the back.Infact the same applies to males.Don't cut off from ur parents or family.I know it's hard for you but you're strong dear sister and Allah has got your back.Again,hang in there.
    If all your efforts are exhausted and your parents dont budge,even then I will propose that you think a hundred times before running away from them.Dont cut off from them.If they resort to threatning your life or violence then at that point it might become imperative that just move out of the house.
    In no way I claim to have given solutions to ur issues.These were just my two cents.I hope my relpy finds you and remember that I am sending my prayers from back home to you.May Allah ease your affairs sister.May Allah keep your steadfast and may you find an amazing spouse who complements you perfectly.

    • As-salamu alaykum brother. While I appreciate your reasoned tone, there are no castes in Islam. Also, first cousin marriage is unhealthy, especially when it's done across generations.

      Wael Editor

      • Walykumsalam brother.
        I totally understand that caste has no significance in Islam nor am I advocating that she must marry within family.
        But coming from Pakistan,I know that this stance of her's is stepping on her desi parents' toes on multiple levels.
        Desi parents don't approve marying a non Pakistani at all,nor are they comfortable marying outside caste and in a lot cases marying their kids within family is a matter of life and death for them.
        So clearly she cannot get them to agree on all her demands ( all her demands are perfectly valid and her right by the way ) given their stubborn attitude.
        Apparantly they're not ready to agree on even a single demand oc her's.
        So she has to navigate her situation to a give and take position where she can demand deen and agree on marrying within caste in Pakistan.

  9. Well I can you tell you one thing sister. You're very pious.

  10. Assalam Alaikum. If we were allowed to exchange info, I would tell you that I know a beautiful boy, 27 hears old, hafiz, and now completing Aalim's course would be perfect for you. I feel bad for your situation. I was and still am in the same situation, raised abroad, forced to marry someone from back home. I am educated, he can barely sign his name. He behaves like the village idiot in every gathering embarrassing me. I never want to be seen with him or go out with him. He behaves badly to me and my kids. He cannot do the smallest thing for himself except drive which he loves to do and call his family back home where he shows off about how we live in a three story mansion which is really a triplex that belongs half to someone else. Trust me, it is too hard to be married to someone who grew up in another culture even if you are Pakistani. My husband says bad things to me and I don't even understand what he said. If I ask him what he said, he laughs at me. If I ask my parents to tell me what it means, they don't say anything which tells me that what he said is bad or else why would they not translate. Your parents do not have to live your life. You will be the one to suffer and it is even worse if there are children involved. I do not advise you to run away from your parents. Tell them you need more time, you are not ready to get married or even engaged. Tell them that that if it is meant to happen, it will happen, even later. Finish your education and then see if they are willing to come around to your way of seeing things. May Allah help you and guide you. The Madrassa in Cornwall, Ontario has good boys who are looking for religious girls to marry. You might consider contacting Maulana Mazar Alam who runs this Madrassa. There are Syed boys studying there.

  11. Salam,
    I'm going through the same situation as you. I told my parents that I'm not comfortable with cousin marriages- I never said it was haram or not allowed in Islam, I just said that me personally, I'm not comfortable with it. My mom calls me name, and emotionally blackmails me, and calls it "it's haqiqat". I cry everyday begging my parents to say no to my aunt and not continue this conversation, but my mom and my aunt have already planned out my nikkkah outfit, when I'm clearly saying no. I feel betrayed and hurt and they always use Islam and "We are your parents,, we know whats right", and the famous line: " you are just waiting when I want to die". Now I'm petrified to go to Pakistan this summer, and there is no way out.

    • Tell your parents that forced marriages without consent is invalid. Tell your cousin that you don’t want to get married to him or her. If you are terrified to go to Pakistan and feel there is no way out then contact the authorities.

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