Islamic marriage advice and family advice

His parents are refusing to consent to our marriage

Daisies, flowers, sky and clouds

Dear Brother/Sister,
Assalamu-alaikum, I have a dilemna and desperately need advice on what to do.  My situation is as follows:

I met a man in August 2009 and we started talking on the phone as he had seen me with a friend and he was interested to get to know me better.  We talked on the phone for about a month and then decided to meet face to face and have dinner at a restaurant.  This became a weekly thing as well as numerous daily phone calls to each other as well.  After 3 months of the same routine, I decided to tell my parents about him.

My mother wished to meet him and so he was invited to the house.  He came but was extremely shy and quiet.  I put this down to the fact that he has never approached a girl's family alone before and he has no family here in the UK as he is originally from Pakistan and has been in the UK only for the last 4 years.

My mother was not very impressed with this and said that a man should be more bold. She then invited him a second time around with a chance to redeem himself in her eyes and he did.  He spoke to her very well, came looking very presentable and came bearing gifts for the family.  My mother was impressed and slowly he became a part of the family.  He would regularly almost twice a week come round my house for dinner and the family became very close to him.

In August 2010 (one year after our initial meeting), my parents went to Pakistan to meet with his parents and discuss the marriage.  His parents welcomed my parents but neither party explicitly discussed the marriage proposal.  My parents went with the intention of seeing what his family are like and to see what kind of background he comes from.  They found his family to be nice and mashallah quite well off in Pakistan as well.

His parents then started asking him for a picture of me but me and him both did not want to show his parents a picture as I am overweight and am trying to lose the weight at the moment.  He likes me the way I am but his parents would look at me from a different perspective. In February 2011 his parents came to England as he graduated from University in the UK.  At this time they came to my house for the first time and saw me for the first time also.  They did not pass any comments or discuss anything whilst they were at my house.  It was only later that night when I spoke to him on the phone that he told me they are not prepared to agree to the marriage as I am overweight.  This upset me a lot as they know nothing about me and did not even speak to me once.  They simply based their judgement on my physical appearance.

His parents remained in the UK for 3 weeks in total but after their initial visit to my house, they did not call or have any contact with my parents at all.  This made my parents angry as well as they felt very disrespected.  When I next spoke to my prospective partner on the phone I told him that it was rude of his parents to not even speak to my parents again and we decided that he would bring them to the house once more.  I informed my parents that they would be visiting and my mum prepared dinner.  They came that night and did not even have the decency to take their shoes off before entering our living room where we make prayer.  The prepared meal had been set out on the dining table but they insisted they were not hungry and did not eat anything.  My father then steered the topic of conversation towards the two of us and marriage but his approach was not right.  He suffers from ill mental health and unfortunately managed to anger my prospective partner's father.  My father said that it is not right to stop two people who are in love from getting married.  His father then replied saying that marriage was never even in the question as in their family they only wed within the family.  During this conversation between both sets of parents I was in the kitchen not present but whilst my prospective partner was present he did not say anything in mine or his defence.

After his parents hastily left, my parents got very very angry indeed.  I was also upset and very angry and when I spoke to him on the phone I made it very clear to him that I thought he had acted in a very cowardly manner.  He insisted that being brought up in the UK in a different culture has allowed me the ability to speak openly to my parents about these things but in his upbringing he has never been able to speak to his parents regarding these sorts of matters.

For a few weeks after his parents left for Pakistan, my mother argued with me and shouted at me every day to stop all contact with him all together.  I told her this was not possible as I have very strong feelings towards him and don't want to marry anyone else.

About 3 weeks ago, he came to my house un-anounced to speak to my mother about the situation.  He told her that he would be visiting his family in Pakistan within the next couple of months and that he would try to make them understand that he only wants to marry me and he would try and get their approval.  My mother was very unhappy to see him but allowed him the time he needs to speak to his parents about the matter.  She still does not want me to speak to him on the phone or see him at all.

I know it is against Islam (I have only recently started to become more interested in my religion and deen partly due to his influence) but we meet each other twice a week regularly to spend some time together, maybe go out for dinner or make plans to travel to tourist sites neither of us has seen in the UK etc.  We have both become so close to each other that it is impossible for me to even think about anyone else.

As the situation stands right now,  he told me that he is not going back to Pakistan in a couple of months and he will not be able to convince his parents to consent to our marriage.  This is because his parents have already told their community that they are not happy with the marriage and they have said no.  It is now impossible for his father to go back on his word and accept the marriage as he is a pillar of the community and people will look down on him or something along those lines....and his father has also started looking at girls in Pakistan to get him married over there.

I now have to figure out what to do.  My dilemna is that I want to only get married to him and he only wants to get married to me but his parents will not agree to the marriage and without his parents consent, I think it may be almost impossible that my parents will give their consent.  My mother seems to think that even if he gets married to me, he may well go back and marry another girl in Pakistan just to keep his parents happy or he may leave me for another woman in Pakistan alltogether.  She also seems to think that as his parents are from a village in Pakistan where violence is quite common, if I do get married to him they may try to cause me harm after the marriage or even kill me to rid him of me.  I do not believe he will do any of these things and he has insisted that the women of his family are never harmed and after marriage I will be a part of his family automatically anyway so they would never even think about harming me.

He says that in Islam a man does not need parental consent to get married,  only the girl needs a wali at the wedding to give her away.  So he plans to get married without telling his parents.  He said that after the marriage he will tell his parents that he is now married to me and they will come to accept me and my family in time.  However, I don't know how to now approach the situation with my own parents....

Please can you advise me on what to do because it has now been 1 year and 9 months that me and him have been talking and meeting and now i just want to get married and Inshallah start my life together with him.  My mother thinks that because I am overweight I believe that no-one else will love me or marry me and that's why I want to marry him.  This is not the case as Mashallah despite my weight I am very beautiful and am a graduate myself i.e. alhamdullilah I am intelligent as well and I know that by losing a little bit of weight I could get married to whoever I want.  But my mother does not understand that I truly love this man with all my heart and as I am going to be 27 years old in June I just now want to get married and start my life and Inshallah bring my own children into the world.

Please Please help me, I pray to Allah as well to guide me and show me the right path but I need advise on what to do now as I am completely lost.

Your sister, Farah

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2 Responses »

  1. Assalaam sister Farah.

    I am sorry to hear that you are having these problems. His parents behaviour is a true example of the superficial ideology that has developed on marriage. This is not from Islam. It is merely cultural - as is marrying in the family only. Family marriage also can lead to deformities in children so ideally should be avoided. Also we have the right to choose our own spouse, so Islamically it is bad to reject a prospective partner without a valid reason.

    I am afraid that you cannot change any persons behavior. We are only responsible for ourselves. So you both may try but there is no gurantee. The only thing I can suggest you do is to try to get him to involve a pious, well respected elder or an imaan to convince his parents, and make them realise that it is unislamic.

    Your mother is worried for you - I know you love this guy but is there a danger his family could be violent. All I can advise is both of you should try your best, pray to Allah to bring you together if its good for you both, or remove the love in your hearts and take you away from one another if its bad. Remember that Allah swt knows best. Do istikhaarah - keep up with your salat as well.

    **Please note istikhaarah is NOT about dream interpretation - it is asking Allah swt to guide you towards whats good for you and keep you away from whats bad. Please see links at top of page on istikhaarah for more information

    In the meantime try to distance yourself somewhat from this guy. If you need to keep occasional contact - keep it within islamic boundaries and keep in minimal InshaAllah.

    I pray that this superficial, cultural ideology which is not from islam is overcome. I pray that Allah swt gives you whats best for you and makes you pleased with it.

    Sara Editor

  2. Salam alaikum.

    I have a similar problem. My Dad is late, but my mum does not want me to marry a girl, not based on tribal diferrences. She claims she had asked some mallams to o Istikhara for her concerning our issue, and the istikhara turns out bad, But for me, I do not forsee any problem with this girl or her relativess,. Infact we have always been cordial with ourselves . Do I need the consent of my mother for marriage?

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