Islamic marriage advice and family advice

My father don’t agree to my marriage to the guy I like because he is African.

Islam strictly prohibits Racism on any basis

Assalam O Alaikum,

I have a dilemma that I really need some help with.I was previously engaged to a man of the same background as me. we were together for 3 years and family had agreed to us getting married but, things started to break down between us; personal issues as well as family issues on his side ...

We broke up a while back and I have started to grow close to a man who is African. I never thought I would be with an African man before, as being Asian myself its not often the norm. I have on many occassions had this arguement with my dad asking; if I was to marry a black man how he'd feel? I know he wouldn't be happy but, this used to really anger me as my point was that in Islam; it doesn't say anything about race or skin colour; providing he is also Muslim that should be the only thing that matters. But many Asian families are inherently racist and Muslim or not they see it is a wrong or bad thing to be with a black person, which I know mine would.

The question I am asking is; would it be wrong to marry a black man even if he is Muslim; if my family would be against it? I dont agree with my dad; I feel he's judgemental and shallow and he even admits to me in his own words that its all about how people see outside not whats inside. I am complete opposite of that!!! When I first met this man I had no intention of a relationship whatsoever and neither did he but its just that as friends we have started to grow closer and I have realised how much of a nice person he is and how well we get along.

What is better for me; to be with someone who is from the same background but have no connection, or with someone from a different race but seems more compatible??


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21 Responses »

  1. Assalaamu alaikum.

    The short answer to your question is Islam does not discriminate against race - as long as this man is a good Muslim and of good character strictly speaking you can marry him. However you will need a wali which ideally is your father, so this may cause you problems.

    The Prophet SAW said: "All mankind are from Adam & Eve, an Arab has no Superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has superiority over an Arab;ALSO a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety & good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to another Muslim & that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood.Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow muslim unless it was given freely & willingly. Do not therefor, do unjustice to yourselves."

    In general though, it is not recommended to get married without parents blessings, as it causes sadness and problems. If they have unislamic reasons to reject, nicely explain the islamic perspectives and back it up with hadiths and Qur'an. Be respectful, regardless of how they treat you. However, accept that you can try but you cannot force them to accept a black man. We cannot force any person to accept any one. That is in Allahs hands.

    My advice to you is if the relationship with this man crossed any boundaries emotionally or physically, make sincere tawbah and keep it within islamic bounds. If you know that your family are going to make marriage impossible with a black man, it may be better for you to leave to prevent any heartbreak down the road. If your not sure take a step back from this guy, avoid getting emotionally attached just in case and try in speak to your parents - give them time. Don't hassle them all at once, spoon feed them the idea. If they continue to reject seek help from an Imam or another influential religious person. Ask them to speak to your parents.

    Of course dont forget to do istikhaarah (see links at top of page) and check compatability (With a mahram present) between you and this brother. Ask the important questions.

    Please check this post for more advice on racial issues.

    Sister Z also wrote an excellent response which may be useful to you InshaAllah.

    Islam does not allow 'dating' and boyfriend/girlfriend style relationships between and unmarried couple. If you have crossed emotional and physical barriers with each other, then you must do tawbah immediately and ensure that any further contact you have with each other is within Islamic guidelines.

    Unfortunately, some Muslims still discriminate against other cultures and races. It has nothing to do with Islam and is one of the greatest downfalls of our people. The Prophet(saw) made clear in his last sermon that no-one is better than anyone else due to their culture or race and that we can only be better due to our piety, but this should not cause someone to become arrogant. When we are choosing a spouse, we can judge someone's level of piety from what we see through their external behaviour as only Allah can see and judge the ghaib/unseen - the heart, mind and intentions of a person.

    Finally, all I will say to you is to mentally prepare yourself that this proposal may go either way. This man's decision will of course be influenced by how much pressure he gets from his mother and also on how independant he is. Talk to this man openly to see where you stand. In the meantime make dua to Allah to grant you with a spouse who will be good for your deen and your hereafter.

    Sara Editor

    • Assalamu alaikum.

      Amil, I'm not sure what the point of your post was at all. You go out of your way to prove that neither you nor most Asians are 'inherently racist' yet you gave this long lecture on how great people in history only married 'their own'. Seems to me like you're contradicting yourself and making excuses for the appalling and un-Islamic behavior of this woman's family. You were 100% incorrect btw when you said that the Prophet saw did not marry outside of his people. he married three women outside of his tribe: Safiyya and Juwariyya, both Jews and Maria the Copt. Also has it ever occurred to you that Salahuddin discouraged intermarriage between people of different religions? Color should have no bearing for a true Muslim. It's ridiculous for you to even sit and try to reinterpret the hadiths as if you're some kind of scholar and suggest that he meant it to be an exception in terms of marriage. If you don't agree with marrying outside of your culture then that's your right, but to try and make justifications as to why discrimination is right is completely wrong. I suggest that you fear Allah swt.

      • I deleted Amil's comments about interracial marriages and Ummi's as well, as I found them disgusting. Many racists start out their statements by saying, "I'm not racist, but..."

        All human beings are equal in our deen. We do not judge people on the basis of superficial characteristics such as skin color, nationality or ethnicity. We judge people according to their belief and character.

        Wael Editor

  2. Is it true that women need a wali or guardian to marry in Islam but the men dont? What is the rationale for this?

    • In many societies women do not enjoy full rights under the law, and are not treated as equal citizens. They often do not have equal recourse to the law. This has been true throughout history, in many cultures and nations, some more than others. Islam recognizes this reality and seeks to protect the rights of women. The wali's job is to make sure that the woman is not taken advantage of, manipulated, or forced. That's Islam's intention and that's how it's supposed to work.

      Wael Editor

    • Wael correct me if I am wrong.

      But from what I know, that Yes a woman needs a Wali (also permission from the first person in charge of her) the FIRST TIME she is getting married.
      The second time she is getting married, she does not need the consent of anyone or permission except Allah's and her own. Though she still needs 2 witnesses to attain her wedding to serve as proof.

      Allah forgive me for any mistakes, InshALLAH.

      • Yes, correct. A "matron" or previously married woman does not need a wali.

        Wael Editor

        • Thank you very much for sharing your experience by dear brother and for your quick respond! Now I get the chance to speak to you directly. I want to let you know I appreciate your work on Islamic Sunrays and I got there through Allah soebhaan wataa'Aalah and sister Maria, Alhamdulilah.

          I was and am very inspired by your work please don't stop. I even feel more inclined to it, because I had the same exact same experience as you 🙂 (L)

          Take care of yourself brother, We will meet InshAllah 1 day, may we be granted Allah's Blessings and Forgiveness.

  3. Ok- so the wali is meant to be the protector of the woman's rights, makes sense. But the world has changed and in general women now especially in developing and advanced countries are educated and more aware of themselves and their surroundings also they are financially self sufficient and in some cases even well to do. Im not sure the wali concept applies in these cases - it sounds like this is an age old principle that has been carried over without further introspection.
    Like in the case above, it doesnt sound like the girl needs a guardian to give her away and why does it have to be a man, wny not maybe her mother or some other relative, person with an unbiased rational view?

    Reading your response makes me think this is a cultural phenomenon that has been blindly followed all along without people realizing that maybe it should be modified in changing situations where the woman is capable of making a rational decision for herself. As many others on this site have echoed through problems with their parents, being a guardian does not always make one the best judge of the situation.

    • shinyshine, the world has not changed as much as you seem to think. Read about social problems in most of Asia, Latin America, and parts of Africa, and you will see that women are still marginalized and discriminated against. The requirement for a wali is as important as ever.

      Certainly there are parts of the world, particularly Europe and the USA, where women generally hold the same rights as men. But God does not give one set of laws for one nation, and another set for another nation. He gives one universal law, and all must follow it.

      Does the wali sometimes abuse his position, and fail to represent the woman properly? Of course. It happens all too often. That is a problem that must be addressed through Islamic education.

      shinyshine, this is the second religious debate you have tried to start. It seems like you are here on this website mostly to argue points of religion. I don't know if you are Muslim or not, but this is an Islamic website. We give common-sense advice based on Islamic teachings. If your purpose here is to challenge the Islamic teachings, then you are wasting your time and ours.


      Back to the question at hand, sister Anna:

      One concern I have is that you said you are "growing close" to the African fellow. Growing close in what way? In Islam there should be no relationship or intimacy between a man and woman outside of marriage. Islam does not condone a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship nor does it encourage long engagements. If this man is a good Muslim and is serious about you, let him come to your family and ask for your hand in marriage. If your father refuses on account of race, then you can deal with that issue at that time, maybe by sharing with him the Islamic teachings on equality, or bringing the local Imam to talk to him.

      But if the African fellow is not willing to make a proper proposal, then he is not serious, and you should not be involved with him in any way.

      I also get the sense that you are just trying to push your dad's buttons and start an argument with him. You know that he is prejudiced, and it's unlikely you can change that. Rather than trying to debate him, deal with the issue at hand - your desire to get married - and try to be persuasive in a kind, gentle way. That is more likely to win him over.

      Wael Editor

  4. I like to think of myself as a rational muslim, someone who follows what seems the right thing to do or say in any circumstance. I do respect the teachings but know as well as any other muslim that even islam is not free of interpretation and question what doesnt seem to be applicable in the current scenario.
    I thought your site is to promote a better understanding of Islam , so asked the question here or am I wrong in my interpretation? Oh and by the way, so men dont need a wali then? And is the woman entitled to suffer because her wali doesnt use his position properly or abuses his rights as a guardian ? I find it hard to digest that Allah would cause this upon the women because of the wali's mistakes.

    • shinyshine, again, this website is dedicated to providing advice based on Islamic teachings. We are not here to question Allah, or doubt Islam, or question Islamic principles, or to rationalize un-Islamic behavior. And such debates are not conducive to the mission of our website.

      There are plenty of discussion forums where such ideas can be discussed and debated.

      Wael Editor

    • Assalamu alaykum Shinyshine,

      To think rationally is good. But to debate without proofs is useless.

      Also the point of debate is silly. Even in developed countries rich women are fooled by men who take advantage of them while marrying and fool them with the whole process of marriage? Do you know this?

      A Wali is a just man with good iimaan who just ensures that marriage is not under force and the girl's will is executed under Islamic guidelines.

      Now you tell me, who will decide which "marriage is under force and which one is not" ? Who will decide which girl should not have a Wali and which girl should have one?

      A Wali is for safeguard. If you do not wear a helmet while driving a motorbike, you may return home safely without head injury, but if you wear a helmet, it would be a safeguard against the injury which may be caused without it.

      Try to choose the safer way.

      If parents are not willing to act as a wali for a girl on unIslamic grounds, she may choose someone else who would ensure her "willfull" marriage is carried out.

      I hope this looks rational to you.

      Your brother.

      • Read the woman's explanation again , she specifies that the father admits his bias is as a result of society's perception and cultural opinions and not otherwise. So this is proof of him being a wali who doesn't think of his daughter's best interests.
        I'm all for taking parental opinion into consideration, but to argue that they are right in all circumstances because they are the appointed wali of the woman is irrational. This seems to be what shinyshine is implying too.
        Humans in general have biases of all kinds and for all reasons and this includes the wali's and the children too, so as people offering advice, would it not be better to make it objective and tell the person that they should evaluate compatibility as prescribed by Islam and generally as the main reason to pursue further or not. It seems shortsighted to tell someone your wali has this right and you should toe the line no matter what without looking into the merits vs limitations of each individual case.

        • shattercloud, you are right. The wali is not right in all circumstances, and does not have to be obeyed no matter what. There are cases when the wali is not acting in the woman's best interests, and in those cases I believe she should try to change his way of thinking, and if not then find another wali.

          However it seemed to me that shinyshine was arguing that the wali system itself it obsolete and should be discarded. That is the issue I was addressing. The wali system is a part of Islam. A Muslim should accept it and try to work within its boundaries.


  5. Assalamu alaykum Sister Anna,

    What is not lawful for you is to grow close with a man who is not mahram for you.

    It takes time to realize this. It feels " O ! Old Sheikh advice" not matching modern thought.

    But "Old Sheikhs" said it correctly. The white beard does grow learing much and also, beard or not, the Qur'an is quite clear on this aspect.

    Success lies in obedience to Allah and not transgression.

    Stop being "friends" this guy or any guy who is not mahram and leave the matter to Allah. That would be better for you.

    First be firm on Islam yourself and then we can speak about racism. If we are not firm on Islam, anyone came make us shut up because we don't mind being friends and growing close without marriage, even when Islam says no to it, but we mind racism. So no choose and pick Sister.

    30. Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest. That is purer for them. Lo! Allah is Aware of what they do.
    31. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to their own husbands or fathers or husbands fathers, or their sons or their husbands' sons, or their brothers or their brothers' sons or sisters sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male attendants who lack vigour, or children who know naught of women's nakedness. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn unto Allah together, O believers, in order that ye may succeed.
    - Surah An Nuur.

    That is outer covering and why? So that there is no "lustful" gazing around. nor "love at first sight" nor evil thoughts incited by "shaytaan" to arise desires and before women, Allah mentions men: Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest. That is purer for them. Lo! Allah is Aware of what they do.

    If Allah would take so much concern to reveal a verse about "lowering gaze", would He be pleased if males and females move around together freely being "friends" and spending time together?

    Your brother.

  6. Salaam Sister,

    I will answer ur question in very short and straight. You want to marry an african man ( who is muslim if not then there is no question of u getting married to him its haram ) and u father seems to be against it. According to Islam one can marry against his parents will if their reasons are not reasonable ( theirs is not reasonable I mean not proper according to Islam ) but there is not another very important condition that one must kept in mind which people most ot time doesnt know or consider which is one should not marry to a girl or boy which causes one's parent's to feel inferior in society or causes shame and humiliation, now its upto you what u want 2 do, I m not against someone marrying some other race but I should always consider their parents feeling as they are ur parents they r d 1 who brought u up and who suffered 4 u so u get the best possible upbringing.

    I will like to suggest that u marry someone 4m ur own race ( I m not against inter racial marriage it is allowed in Islam and I respect it and I hv nothing against people having inter racial marriage ) since we r muslims after all look around you will always find 1 eligible partner around, and since u hv not talk 2 ur dad regarding this then wht u could do is hv a small social gathering and invite some of ur friends at ur place including this friend 😉 of yours
    and try indirectly to talk 2 ur dad about some friend of ur marrying African boy and try to get his reaction in this way u will come to know wht ur dad thinks about this situation, but u dont go any further wd this guy in any way I mean it only hurts when u think or plan something and it does not happen that way. I hope u find a very good partner which pleases both u and ur parents, Allah Hafiz..........

    • Assalam O Alaikum Brother Aasif,
      Bro, It is different to work with people of different ethnic/racial background and marrying within them is altogether a different matter and I don't see any base of you suggesting sister to marry in her own race. Though, it is hard as often interracial marriages require extra effort from both sides to make it work but Islam doesn't tell us to marry within own race/culture or society etc etc. Islam tells us that marry outside ones family/race/ethnicity/culture/society to strengthen the bond between the Ummah. The reason there is so much divide in Ummah today is because of our preference of culture over religion. Islam came to remove all kind of racism/nationalism/caste system; not to promote it; am I right here? What are the bases of your claim,
      "One should not marry to a girl or boy which causes one's parent's to feel inferior in society or cause shame and humiliation"
      What makes you think that one race whatever Asian/Arab/black is superior to other or vice versa?
      Then you turn around and say; "I m not against someone marrying some other race but I should always consider their parents feeling as they are ur parents they r d 1 who brought u up and who suffered 4 u so u get the best possible upbringing
      Subhan Allah bro, that is what we call hypocrisy. I suggest you read the Holy Quran and implement it in your life; Islam didn't come to divide people on the bases of their tribe/race/ethnicity/background/colour etc etc but to abolish these division.
      Also, look around yourself and see how many sisters end up divorced from these so called "arranged/forced marriage". They are blackmailed by their parents in the name of obedience especially if they don't know their God given rights and also they are emotionally weak as well. How strange that these sisters make so many sacrifices for their parent's sake but these same parents push them into forced/arranged marriages with men who they don't connect at all emotionally/physically/intellectually or don't find them attractive. Brother, it hurts to see these sisters who are so obedient to their parents; growing up in the west knowing their rights but still give them up to save their parent,s/family pride or face saving etc etc. No wonder their is a lot of fitnah and it's also on the rise.

      @sister anna_a1,
      Sister, I agree with above posters that if you were in any kind of relationship with this brother then you should cut all the ties as it is haram in Islam. Also sister, you must know the challenges in such marriages and have to have your priorities right; for instance ask yourself what are the traits you are looking for in a husband? Does the brother in question have all those and what is his level of religious knowledge? how practising he is and is he willing to learn and improve with you and help you build a family based on the principals of Islam? Also, talk about future children too sister like what are his and yours plans for your children; are you both on the same page?
      If brother in question is a pious/practising man and also has other good qualities that you desire in a husband then sister, try to convince you parents. Don't give up on this but at the same time be patient and respectful toward them; try to convince your mother to have a meeting with this brother and his family to get to know each other. If she likes the brother; then half of your problem is solved as mothers have a way of convincing the fathers if she thinks that something is good for their children:). If this doesn't work then involve a local imam or a scholar who can speak to your parents especially father to convince him. If nothing else works sister, then Allah (swt) has given you your right to marry who you think is suitable for you, you don't need to obey your parents if they are not obeying commandments of Allah (swt). Racism has been there for centuries sister even in the times of our Holy Prophet (PBUH). Please show the following to your father and tell him that he is annoying Allah (swt) and Prophet (PBUH) by going against their teachings.

      The Prophet of Islam encouraged a female in his own family, Zaynab bint Jahsh, to marry a black man, i.e. Zayd ibn Haritha. Zaynab’s brother refused to give her away in marriage on the grounds that Zayd was a freed black slave, whereas she was an aristocratic white-skinned Arab woman of noble lineage. Yet, the Prophet of Islam rejected this attitude of bigotry and insisted that Zaynab marry Zayd based on his piety and good character. The family continually refused until God revealed the following verse of the Quran:

      It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error. (Quran 33:36)

      May Allah (swt) bless you with what is good for you and take away all that is not good for you in this world and hereafter. (Amin)



      • Ameen brother! You said everything that I wanted to say, jakakaAllah khair for this beneficial post! May Allah swt bless you with increased knowledge and iman.

        • Thanks sister and amin to your prayers and may Allah (swt) the Merciful bless you immensely in this world and hereafter as well (Amin).



  7. A lost cause is a lost cause, one should question her love for her parent let it drop and let her get on with her life however she feels Unfortunately us women are driven by our emotions.


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