Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Can you ever be too patient?


First, I apologize in advance for the length of my query, but appreciate any feedback or advice that may be returned.

I'm an American woman aged 30 who has lived overseas now for several years, in a majority Muslim country. A year or so after living in this country, I met a Muslim man (he's now 33) through some mutual friends (I'll call him M from here on out). M and I were able to talk for hours and hours about anything and everything and continued talking as friends for several months, later realizing that we had a very strong connection. Early on we both felt that we were meant to be husband and wife, however, coming from such different backgrounds culturally and religiously, we also knew we needed to really discuss things in depth and at length to make sure we understood what being together would mean. For myself, I knew that I needed to start learning more about Islam and so I began studying the Qu'ran, listening/reading to stories of reverts to Islam and reading other Islamic literature.

After a year or so, M decided to bring me home to meet his mother. Everything went wonderfully and his mother approved of me, but urged us to get to know one another more, as again, we came from different backgrounds and religions.

Over the years, M has continued to take me home to spend time with his mom. After each of these meetings, he would talk to his mom about marrying me, and she continued to ask for us to wait a bit longer. M's mom always had positive things to say about me and I ticked off everything on her "list", except for the fact that I was non-Muslim. At the same time, my family has been completely supportive from the beginning and know that I am studying and learning about Islam (and even visited their local mosques to learn more about Islam, too.)

In January of this year, M's mom came to the city we both live in and so, we spent some more time together. After our meeting, M sat down with his mom and asked once again, if we could get married. She finally approved and said yes, but that she wanted me to go to her city so that we could meet in her home and talk about marriage.

Soon after this meeting, M's mom had a second stroke (she had one the year prior). Alhamdulillah, it was only a minor stroke and after a week of being in the hospital, the doctors allowed her to go back home. We had to delay our meeting while she was getting healthier, but finally set the date to visit M's mom in May. M went a day before me so that he could talk to his mom and make sure everything was set for our meeting.

We did end up meeting that weekend, however, what we thought would be a discussion about marriage/wedding arrangements turned into a very general, basic conversation about who I was. In that meeting, it was apparent that M's mom's short term memory had been greatly impacted, so most of the conversation was just about getting to know me once again, something we had spent the past three-ish years already doing. It was a shock to both M and I, and the weekend we thought we could start planning everything turned to the complete opposite.

After the meeting, M told me that his mom had become quite upset when he mentioned that he wanted to marry me and had forgotten about her previous blessing. She told M that while I'm kind, educated, have my own income, etc. that because I was not born a Muslim, and would be a revert to Islam, that she disapproved. M reminded her of the Prophet (PBUH) and of Khadijah and how they were converts to Islam, but all it did was upset the mom to the point of not being able to speak. When she was able to compose herself, she told M that he was a disappointment of a son and that all of this will cause her more sickness and eventually her death. Of course, at this point, M stopped talking about it, as he didn't want to cause his mom anymore stress with her health condition.

For the Eid holiday, M went home to his family and I went home to mine. I wrote a letter for his mother, to explain to her my intentions to be a good Muslim, as well as a good daughter-in-law to her. M promised me that he would speak to his mom every single day to try and convince her, as well as share the letter. Still, by the end of the holiday, his mother was still sticking to her answer of no - the only reason she could give M was that it was because I was not born a Muslim. During this trip, he made it clear to his mom that if he doesn't marry me, he won't be married ever, to which she would cry because she wants him to be married (but she would also cry when he says the person he wants to marry is me.)

Once we both came back to the city, M and I discussed where to go from here. In the past, M said that while he would want his mother's approval in us getting married, he would ultimately do what he wanted, yet with his mom's health condition now, we both agree we really need her to be at least at peace with his decision before moving forward. M's father is okay with us getting married, but he also is worried about his wife's health and state of mind at the moment. M has said that at this point, whether we continue being together or not is up to me, as he feels horrible about the entire situation and feels I've been too patient through all of his family drama. If we stay together, he said will continue talking to his mom and we will continue to meet so that she can get to know me more, however, we don't know if she'll ever agree. We both have hope that at some point she will, but it could be months or years until that happens.

So, I guess what I'm looking for is some advice. If I believe this to be my future husband, do I continue to have sabr? Is there a point where one can have too much sabr? The doctors have told M that his mom should be slowly improving, especially now that she has started therapy, so that gives us hope that she might become more rational in the future.

Thank you for reading my very long post 🙂

Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , ,

10 Responses »

  1. Is your future MIL Pakistani? I can tell from experience Pakistani mom's are very difficult to appease.

  2. This family drama will ruin your life completely.

    Just find a good muslim man and marry him before marrying him do

    Istikhara will immediately show the result.
    You could have done this before(for M).

  3. Assalaamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabrakaatu.

    M and his mother are ignorants in Islam, sister! They've made a joke out of Islam by saying you need to know each other before marriage by being friends and talking and so on. May (saw) Allah forgive you and them. You don't take the knowledge of deen from people like them. This is deen,sister. It's not a joke. You need to learn it from the scholars and you have to be sincere in seeking knowledge.

    Now that you've spent time with him and known him for 3 years, what's the result? His mother lost her short-time memory? See how Allah swt blew it away? Ask for forgiveness from Allah for the haraam relationship you had with M and either marry M without the acceptance of his mother because his mother not accepting you is not a valid reason to reject you in Islam OR move on, seek knowledge with sincerity and inshallah Allah swt will find you a pious husband.

    For a seeker of knowledge like you, I would say Sheikh Abu Bakr Zoud is the best scholar out there and here's a video of him narrating the story of Salmaan Al-Farisi (RA) who embarks on a journey thousands of miles away his home town in search for the truth.

  4. Salam,

    His mom is worried that you will change back out of Islam later and take the kids with you. So in her eyes it's that her son's wife and her grand kids would end up in hell. There is a chance that that would be true if your reason for converting is to get married to him. Either way though she trusts a born muslim over one that converted. And seeing how she is not in love with you, for her it's like getting a daughter in law with risk or without risk. She will always chose the one without risk.

    You need to ask your guy if he can ask his mom if this is the reason or if the reason is the cultural difference. In either case, provided you believe, you two should get married. Ask your guy if he can set a date as to how long you two should wait before marriage. Then take that date and multiply it by 1.5 for the time that you should wait on your own. Good luck, I hope things work out for you Inshallah.

  5. OP: After a year or so, M decided to bring me home to meet his mother. Everything went wonderfully and his mother approved of me, but urged us to get to know one another more, as again, we came from different backgrounds and religions.

    I guess M's mother does not mind M having a girlfriend for fun.

  6. If you and this guy are compatible you should get married.(Sometimes cultural traditions are too oppressive.) Parents should not put their children through such drama. His mother should be thankful he wants to get married. Ultimately he needs to be a man and ask you to be his wife or step aside so you can marry someone else.

  7. Yes, there is such thing as being too patient. Some people will leave you hanging for as long as you allow them to leave you hanging - and if your patience is endless, so will the time you'll be waiting for them be.

  8. Al Salamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullah,

    I am an American who has been living abroad in a Muslim-majority country as well (although, I don't think it's the same one you are living in). Since living here, I've learned quite a bit about traditional Islamic marriage procedures. I will share with you what I know, because I think some of it may be applicable in your situation.

    First of all, let's presume that you had NOT been a westerner or a non-Muslim. If you had been a local girl in that man's culture, and he saw you suitable for marriage, the first thing he would do is ask your father for his permission to marry you. From that point, your father would be handling all the negotiations toward the wedding on your behalf. What that means is, if your man's mother made the same displays of uncertainty or indecision, and essentially stalled the progress toward the marriage being completed, most likely your father would confront her and force her to take a position. If her position was, as you mentioned, not to agree to the marriage, your own father would not leave you hanging like that, and he would dissolve any previous agreements for your marriage to that man. You would not have a choice but to look for a different marriage partner.

    Sometimes there are men who are born and raised in these traditional Islamic cultures, who would never have the gumption to approach a local girl outside of the understood customs. But they will go flexible when it is someone from another culture, because they know that someone like you (or even me) doesn't know enough about their traditions, or is too comfortable with our own, to cause much problems about it. It doesn't mean that man didn't really want to marry you, or didn't care about you sincerely. It just means he saw wiggle room with you, that I'm willing to bet he wouldn't have seen if you were someone in the case I presented above.

    My advice to you and any foreign woman (Muslim or not) in a Muslim-majority country seeking a local spouse: handle your affairs like the local women would. If you don't have a father to manage the engagement and marriage for you, manage it like your father would if you did have one. Don't accept compromises, deferrals, or ambiguity. These cultures DO take marriage very seriously, and won't be put off by someone forcing what's right. As a matter of fact, if one of their women had been too easy to go with those sorts of things, those women would be viewed as having less honor or character. And believe me, that sort of reputation is not something small on the local scale.

    One thing that no one mentioned here is that technically, a man doesn't need permission from either of his parents to marry. But having lived in the Arab culture I have, I realize that if a parent has health issues and knows a potential marriage might exacerbate them, going forward with the marriage would be considered not good caretaking of the parent. So I can see the value in that, but again, a man with real honor from that culture will be honest with you and tell you that you should move on, if he's not willing to go against his folks. In any case, no honorable man or woman from a traditional Islamic society would carry on any sort of close, ongoing relationship with the opposite sex if a wedding wasn't imminently in the works (meaning a specific date set).

  9. Since when did Muhammed (pbuh) converted to Islam??? He was born a messenger sent from Allah to spread the word of Islam.

    • You're right, he did not "convert" in the way we think of it. Before become a Prophet he considered himself one of the hunafaa or pure ones, which was an unaffiliated group of Arabs who followed the religion of Ibrahim (as), worshiping Allah only and nothing else, and dedicating themselves to a moral lifestyle.

      Wael Editor

Leave a Response