Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Having dark thoughts since forced engagement

forced marriageIn fact, it’s been almost a year now that I'm having these dark thoughts. I don't know how to get over this situation.

It started when my mother agreed to a proposal on my behalf without my consent. I wasn’t raised to expect such things: to expect that my wishes could be overlooked. We come from a somewhat liberal home. I felt safe from any kind of compulsion.

My family are good people who have been suffering for a couple years financially, and so they needed a “win” of some sort—something positive, like my wedding. I am getting older, so I guess they felt the urgency too and no longer wanted me to refuse proposals. There was emotional blackmail involved, a lot of shame and guilt at the idea of turning another person down.

I asked for a month so I could pray on the decision so God would possibly turn my heart towards it if it was His will, but my parents said something that really broke me at that time. They said I wasn’t a prophet that the angel Gabriel would come down with a revelation for me. They didn’t want to keep the other family waiting.

The people they accepted for me also come from a good family, maybe even better than ours. But even though after months of fighting, I have surrendered to all of this, I am often overcome with anger and depression. I feel little or no closeness with my mother who used to be my best friend. I know what it is: in my head, it is a breach of personal freedom and trust that I somehow can’t look past. Every time I try to address it, it causes more pain both to me and my family.

My parents have suffered, so immediately they launch into how they how nothing seems to be working out for them, how they have sacrificed so much, made so many mistakes they are paying for, and the conversation ends me feeling not really heard and overcome with guilt.

I don’t talk about it out loud anymore, but sometimes I feel I might burst. There is really no one who shares my view in my family.

I have done whatever I thought I could do from my side. I have even done my best to try to get to know and form connection with my fiancé. We get along fine, like I’d get along with a colleague I interact with daily, but not like we should. We both have to try much harder than we should need to. Our mindsets are different. I think he thinks I might be too out-there and individualistic, and I on the other hand think he might be restrictive, and slightly judgmental.

I have surrendered to God’s will because if there was a way out, I feel it would have appeared, but almost every day I’m in pain.

Sometimes, my thoughts are so dark, it scares me. I writhe in emotional pain, and I have developed chronic physical pains and blood pressure problems I didn’t have before. The thing is, more than anything it's the breach of personal choice, trust and closeness that keeps coming back.

I am afraid of being ungrateful, and I am constantly afraid of displeasing God. I love my parents, my family, but I feel numb towards them on my normal days, and resentful on my bad ones. I don't want to feel this way: I know what parents and family mean, both to me and in Islam.

I'm considering a counseling session for me and my mother, just so we can hear each other over the sound of our emotions and fears.

I know this is an outpouring, and people are suffering way more out in the world, and although the future I have before me is not one I have chosen, it is not an unsafe one.

I pray every day, I read Al Baqarah every day, I do dhikr. I have done istikharah. My heart remains as it was, turbulent.

I don’t want to think God may turned away from me, because in many moments, I feel him here.

I just want relief. And peace.

I'm seeking prayers and advice, validation or reality-check...anything that could help with kindness. Thank you.

- af.ano

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13 Responses »

  1. Asalamualaykum SIster,

    The reason you're feeling terrible is that you were violated. Your person, your boundaries, your freedom was all violated in one go, and by someone (mother) who was previously a best friend.

    I would say that you should just keep turning down the proposal and say a definitive "No," but I'm going to go out on a limb here...I know how brute such parental force can be, and how it may seem impossible to go against your mother's wishes because you are living with her and have to deal with her every mood every day.

    Is there any chance at all that you may like the brother if your mom hadn't forced you into it? Sometimes, we dislike things merely by virtue of their having been forced. If you like the brother at all, I would give him some time and a fair chance.

    Your Islamic right is to have this choice. Sometimes, however, when we are coerced into something that is seemingly beyond our control, we get blessings in it, because we relinquish our will and desires to Allah and He then gives us the best and many blessings in it.

    This has happened to me personally. I was emotionally blackmailed into something by my father and didn't genuinely have a "choice" because of it, but chose it only because with all the factors including parental pressure, it was the easier choice (the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) always chose the easier of two choices). In the end, I am very happy with the decision Alhamdullilah and Allah indeed gave me the best in a situation where I relinquished control and left it in Allah's hands.

    I tell you this only because in your position, and you know your parents best, making an effort to learn about the brother some more might be the easier choice. Maybe your parents would even see that you made an effort and still didn't like him, if the answer is still "no."



    • Evidently the problem here is youre entertaining this idea instead of actually shutting it down in its track. Did you consent to your own marriag? And if your answer is no , then tell your family I'm sorry I didn't consent to this marriage and don't find myself compatible with the other person so therefore I'm going to decline . If you go through this wedding against your will you will end up being depressed and despising everyone involved which can lead to mental health problems , and abuse . And it's not even halal if it's against your will . At this point you're a slave

      You come from a good family when your opinion matters and still able to maintain a healthy relationship afterwards. Not being pampered your whole life and then forced to take up their decision especially when it has such a big impact on your life .

      • What happens if you did consent, but it was because you were blackmailed, threatened and manipulated to say yes, that it became a burden. I'm asking because I'm going through the same thing, but the difference Nikkah has been done, but I have not seen him , just spoken to him on the phone twice and seen pictures of him, he's related to me , it's been four years and I've become mentally tired and don't know what to do,I don't want to be in this marriage in the first place , said no three times but they kept coming to me from my parents to my grandad , I'm trapped . Can you advice me, if you can , it will be great help

        • Lara, I understand your situation, but the fact is that you consented. Yes, you were pressured emotionally. But in the end you said yes. No one physically forced you or beat you. Now you are married.

          I don't understand why you have been married for four years without seeing your husband, but in any case, if you are not happy with him, you can ask for khulah (divorce). Since you never consummated the marriage, there is no 'iddah. If he agrees, just return the mahr and that's it, you are divorced.


        • That doesn't sound like consent to me sister Lara.

          Consent is when you have the option to say yes or no to something. If you don't have either of those choices then it's not consent.

          From what you have written it does seem like pressure was used to make you pick an answer. However only you know truly if your marriage was consensual or not . If it was forced upon and had no chance of rejected then it's against your will and everything is invalid about your marriage. However I do believe if you took this to shariah court you would have to prove it .

          If you're in a marriage that you're unhappy about .then simply leave sister . If you have to go through shame to stop all the pain then so be it. At the end of the day nobody will look out for you like yourself. Nobody will truly know what you need or want better than yourself.

          Marriage don't always work and if it makes you extremely unhappy go through a divorce and find a new husband. If you plan on leaving then don't have kids .

        • hello sis, salam,

          i feel the same things: mentally tired, trapped.

          i pray God helps us both make the right decision, and make it easy for us.

    • salam sis,

      this is the route i feel i've been taking, one of surrender.
      my heart is still unsettled, and i am unable to go back to having the kind of relationship with my mother that i used to have because there are daily triggers every where. i know she wants us to be close, but without acknowledging or addressing anything.
      i am praying for peace, and full acceptance. or a beautiful solution. at this point, i don't have the imagination or stamina for anything else.

      • "I don't have the imagination or stamina for anything else."

        I've been there. When there are no worldly means left, Allah wants you to call to Him for the solution. Take it day by day and you will see how things will come together.



  2. salam sister, can you not move out? You dont have to break ties of kinship of course but just so you dont have to comply - i am sure it will blow over after a while. what they have done is totally haram. I cannot being to imagine how this must feel and I think one of the commenters used the perfect word to describe this, you have been violated. Allah SWT would never want you to be unhappy, you should think about this carefully before fully committing to this marriage. I am not sure which country you are in but if you live in the west there are a lot of resources available. Please pray Tahahjjud as well.

    • salam sis,

      i have considered moving out, but it feels like i'd be abandoning my family as they depend on me financially. i'm in the middle east, so the cultural taboo is also quite large. my problem is an over-active guilt-reflex and chronic guilt in the face of asking for what i know to be my rights but that others disagree with, and i know all the things that would help me if i were able to do them right, including being vocal and expressing myself, but i genuinely don't feel like i've got it in me to act any more, after a year of arguments and decisions that caused so much pain and made us pretty fragile.

      seeking duas, and hoping God blesses us all, and grants us ease in all our trials.

      • Ameen Sister. Try not to worry too much (easier said than done I know!). Things always happen for the best.


  3. Thanks everyone for your answers and for the validation & support.

    I've been praying and asking God for guidance continuously.

    Please pray that I am able to make a decision that I can live with in peace.

    • Sister you are quite welcome. I have made dua for you. Inshallah things will ease up 🙂


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