Islamic marriage advice and family advice

He’s pious and of good character, but from a different culture…

age difference

Asalaamu Alaikum,

I'm seeking some guidance on mixed culture marriages. My personal issue is further complicated with my past and family problems. To cut the story short, I am divorced with a 2 year old son. I was pressured into marriage by my family because we had lost our father and my family's reasons were that it would be easier for them if they got me and my younger sister married as soon as possible.   However, my family now deny that they did anything wrong and claim that I was happy (even though I never directly blamed them nor asked why they put me through the marriage). My family has been really selfish when it came to supporting me and helping me. Its usually me whose running after them and always helping them with big and small errands. I went through my divorce alone because my family were too busy to help me, even though I was practically begging them to help me. I felt really alone and disregarded. I never asked for much from them because I learnt to live independently. Not to be too ungrateful, they did give alot of advice, and did help me loads with my son, but they always spoke both ways so they wont get blamed for anything. My family is a total mess, everyone is so glued with what society thinks and claim that they are practising muslims even though they don't pray 5 times and use their own version of islam. I have made some pretty big mistakes in my life and they loved criticising me for it.

Its been a year since I got divorced, my family as usual have been too busy to look for someone for me and I get lots of unsuitable proposals.   So I decided to join an online marriage site. I joined purely to test the waters a bit and wasn't really serious about meeting someone but was open too. Within 3 weeks, I had some good responses and 1 in particular was a complete match to me in terms of everything, he is very religious, very well educated, really good characteristics, great sense of humour and when I first spoke to him, within the first half an hour, we both felt as though we knew each other forever. I never expected to find someone more that 75% like me (I am really weird in my own way and far from your typical Asian girl) but i was really surprised to find out that he was just like me on every level. I've known him for 4 months now and we know each other inside out and we want to get married. We've both been open with family's and they know about us, his family is happy to accept me though i'm Bengali and have a son. But my family is against me  marrying someone that's not Bengali purely because it would tarnish our family reputation and apparently jeopardise  marriage proposals for other members of our family. They have made really horrible comments about him being different and have asked me to step back in line otherwise they would cut all ties with me (and they would as they are selfish and stubborn). However for the first time in my life, I am thinking whether I should listen to them, since they've not been there for me much. Ive got loads of questions in my head like should I risk losing my family over this perfectly compatible person.

I would really like my family to come round, i have quoted hadiths on mixed cultures and marriage including the one which our prophet (pbuh) mentions  '' When someone proposes marriage to one of you whose religion and character please you, then you should marry him, If you don't there will be tribulations in the earth and the proliferation of corruption'' But my family simply doesn't care. His culture is pretty much the same as ours, They eat the same food, wear the same clothes, traditions are the same, he is also the same type of muslim that we are, alls the same except that he isnt Bengali. Is there anything else I can say or do to help my family understand?

I'm so confused and am thinking whether it is stupid to leave my family and friends to be with someone who I may or may not be happy with (Got no doubts about him, but only Allah knows the future). We have both done Istikaara, and he has seen good signs. I have done mines too, on the first day, I really missed him and on the 2nd day for no apparent reason, I had developed some sort of hatred for him. So I did it again and saw a dream with my parents and him sharing a cool meal together. I tried to do them with a cool head with no distraction or interaction with him or anyone. But was more confused than ever. So I asked my local imam whether he could do an Istikaara for me, he did and came back saying that this guy was a really good guy and that wed be happy together but also that we'd face problems with people and i'd lose my family.   We are both prepared for the problems which is expected and think we are really good at dealing with problems and differences from experience with each other.   I cant stress enough that he is more than perfect for me and he thinks the same about me, we get along on every level, have the same interests, same aims for the future like adopting an orphan which is so rare.   We are both understanding and are happy to compromise to make sure we are both happy with everything we do.

But if this is a mistake, it really would be catastrophic for me as I would truly be alone in my life to the extent that i'd find no end no matter how much I cried.

Please help me see what i need to compromise on, what I should be prepared to give up and what I the best thing for me to do?

Jazak Allah


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9 Responses »

  1. Good thing is he is 75% weird like you. I hope you don't focus on the other 25%. How old is he? What is his history of marriage and/or g/f's.

    Does he have a job, good education?

    Is there any sponsorship involved?

  2. Assalaamualaikam

    Firstly, I'd like to reassure you that there's nothing wrong with being different from "the norm". If everyone were all the same, the world would be really boring. Allah made us as we are, and the things that make us unique are special and should be appreciated.

    Islam teaches that we should not discriminate on the basis of culture or ethnicity, and that if we are satisfied with a potential spouse's deen and character, then we should give the proposal serious consideration. Unfortunately, this sometimes doesn't get put into practice the way it should, and people can end up being discriminated against because of un-Islamic reasons. If you have tried to convince your parents yourself, it might be worth asking an imam from your mosque to speak with them? InshaAllah he may be able to convince them to at least meet with this man and give him a chance. If your family still refuse, you could ask the imam to act as your wali and consider the proposal. It might also help for your parents to meet his, if they are prepared to do so - that way they can inshaAllah realise how similar the families are, and start to form connections with each other.

    How does your son feel about the man you are interested in marrying? As a young child, he needs to have a stable and loving home, where he can feel safe and grow up with Islamic values. So, it would be really important that he has a positive relationship with whoever you marry.

    Be aware that people may not be all they seem online, and so this man might not be as compatible in reality as he may seem on the internet. This isn't necessarily due to a conscious effort to deceive - there is only so much of ourselves that we can convey over the internet. If you have only spoken with him online, I would be wary of committing too much to a relationship without first meeting in person and establishing whether the two of you are as good a match as you think you will be - within Islamic limits, of course! Also speak with his family and other people who know him, to confirm if he is of good character.

    Marriage is a huge decision, and in this case will have consequences not just for you and the man, but also for your son. So, take your time, and when you make decisions, do so with a clear head and use Islamic principles to guide you.

    Midnightmoon editor

  3. Why is the Imam doing an Istikhara for you? and how could he predict that you'd face problems with people and loose your family !!!

    I really try to stay away from giving a definitive advice on matters such as these, i find it very unsettling to tell someone yes you should go ahead with a marriage or no you shouldn’t. All I can say is make sure that this guy really IS pious. Make sure his character and deen are on point, analyze his believes and see if they contradict his actions...take your time with this but do it with in Islamic limits.

  4. Dear sister ,

    Forbidden fruit looks exciting .
    Once you get married there is no guaranty that you will feel the same about him .Talking good is EASY but in real life but How much you will be able to do depends on so many factors .
    I have seen many marriages where people meet online and found both are so compatible and like minded but end up in Divorce .

    As per islamic ruling there is no restriction if he is from different culture but my point is if he turns out to be disappointment after marriage then you will be having difficult time as he is from different country .Once you have got dirovced so be carefull this time .Once get married deactivate the matrimonial account as these have became new dating sites for sins ,even people continue this after marriage resulting in confusion,comparison and adultery ..

    Allah hafiz

    • I use that term "forbidden fruit" all the time. My situation is quite different than the others listed here. I am in an a Western (me)/Eastern (him) marriage. Way too many problems to even begin to list here.

      P.s. We met online.

  5. Brother cool. .your awesome. You've hit the nail on the head with forbidden fruit lol but honestly I have never imagined marrying outside my race. I thought he'd be different to me but In turn has turned out to be the most perfect person I have ever met.

    SVS, he is 26 same age as me, he was born and bred in the uk too. His got an awesome job where he gets paid 46k pa, he has a masters degree along with so many other achievements. However that's not why I like him, I like him mainly because he is sooooo knowledgeable in islam. I have learnt so much from him even though Im quite religious too. Both of our main goal in life is to please allah. Coincidently, we both want to adopt an orphan. We both want to bring up disadvantaged kids as our own and do lots of charity work.

    I've met him about 9 times the halal way and have seen his bank statements, payslips, driving licence etc.
    I have run other checks on him too like a crb check, credit history (I have access to these systems through my work) and I couldn't find any dirt on him. His really good with my son too and it's like he knows him already.

    Everything we do, we make sure it's right according to islam. We are both strong in putting our wishes second after our deen. We've both had a bad past which has turned us in Allah's direction, and our goal in life is to ultimately pass Allah's test.

    Im really confused with my istikaarah results. To confuse things further, I had an Imam and an mufti do an istikaarah on my behalf since I'm now In a confused state. They have both come back with different results.

    The Imam says it won't last and that he saw red a signal
    And the mufti says we would get on great.

    I don't think I can do a proper istikaarah anymore because my emotions would get In the way....I can't help it but I think I love him.

    Isn't part of istikaarah meaning allah will guide you regardless of receiving any signs? And would my family opposing be a sign of Allah in a means of an obstacle in my path? Allah knows best and I need guidance

    Oh and er my family thinks I should remain single for the rest of my life for the sake of my daughter which I know is laughable especially me being 26 years old and pretty much full of life.

    I know you might think weird of me but if I let him go, I'm pretty sure no man I meet after will be half as perfect as him and I would live in regret and in disappointment.

    Thanks for your comments

    • AOA,

      '...divorced with a 2 year old son' but later comment above you say 'for the sake of my daughter'. Has this guy has made you forget the gender of your kid already?

      Sometimes some things are too good to be true but then some things are meant to be.

      You met the halal way you say but the more you interact, the more attachment you will develop. Your initial common ground lay in the fact that you both were married to 'back home' spouses and with similar stories to share, you built on that.

      Your families reasoning for refusal is not Islamic as racism is forbidden but it would be a gamble if as you've acknowledged, if it doesn't work out you'd be all alone as you'd lose your family. If they would be accepting then it sounds like there wouldn't be anything stopping you.

      Perhaps the mixed signals indicate that although it seems great, something will not turn out well or that you will gain a great hub & in-laws at the expense of the loss of your family.

  6. OP: I'm now In a confused state......They have both come back with different results......The Imam says it won't last and that he saw red a signal And the mufti says we would get on great.......I'm pretty sure no man I meet after will be half as perfect as him and I would live in regret and in disappointment.

    What are you confused about? Seems like you both had problems in previous relationships? Are you aware about what were problems in his previous relationship? What was the reason for your divorce?

    Are there any cultural conflicts? From what you say it appears you both are a good match. Good luck.

    • We were both married to back home people whom we didn't get along with, his reason for divorce is similar to mine. He knows that I'm in 2 minds because one of the Imam had a negative response. He said that he met so many potential girls but that I am the only one who ticked all his boxes. He said that normally in this situation he'd end the relationship and other move on but he wasn't willing to do that with me. His dad thinks I'm a gem and that he shouldn't let me go. I know everything about him and I can't understand why our marriage would fail, allah knows best. I seriously don't care what people think or whether this would degrade my family's reputation as my family thinks.

      I just want to know how to interpret the istikaarah properly and how to decide. 2 pious persons did separate istikaarahs and were both very different. And the 2 I did were mixed signs too. But from what I know of him and our plans for the future (to please allah in all we do) I do feel it's the right decision. We are both simple and we want simple things in life.

      Jazak allah

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