Islamic marriage advice and family advice

How do you ensure your fiancee/wife isn’t forced into marriage?

How can I tell if she is truly happy?

I am a young muslim man on the verge of marriage, literally weeks away, it will be an arranged marriage through my parents of course, everything is Islamically halal at least on my side of things. The marriage will be with a girl in Pakistan who I selected from a few girls which were shown to me as potential wives. I selected the one who I felt most attracted to and I felt I would get along with.

However there is one thing which bugs me and bugs me a lot given the number of stories and the number of women who complain soon after marriage of how they dislike their husband. How can I ensure the girl I marry is truly happy in marrying me and hasn't been influenced or almost forced into it by her family. I am a relatively handsome guy with a good educational background and of course I live in the UK which would be sufficient to persuade most families, but given this will be a strict Islamic wedding where I cannot speak to her till my wedding night, how on God's earth can ensure she is happy with the marriage? Even if she isn't I would be more than willing to protect her and call it off myself, so she isn't insulted or her family.

Bare in mind, how extremely difficult it can be for Pakistani girls from a traditional (backward) family to have the courage to say no. Is there any way I can find out if she is truly happy with marrying me or should I have faith and hope for the best?

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24 Responses »

  1. MashaAllah...I had to take a moment and breath a sigh of relief and make dua for you. I see in you, hope for the future of our Ummah inshaAllah

    So many people grow up under the umbrella of a culture that is intertwined with Islam. They get older and realize some things shouldn't be done, some things should be done differently and so on. Most just tend to follow the norm and what those around them have taught or suggest they do. Rarely do our younger generation speak up about such things. I cannot tell you the amount of women that I've come across who were emotionally forced into a marriage. They knew their rights, but how do you go against something that your parents are pushing for? How do you tell them while knowing that the whole family, friends and neighbors are all watching and waiting--ready to pounce on anything in order to gossip and speak ill of the girl and family. Of course it shouldn't be this way, but it is. And this is why I am so incredibly proud of you. You are standing up as a MAN, a MUSLIM MAN, and saying "hey, I will do what it is right." MashaAllah. The world and this Ummah need more men like you. Women of this world need more men like you who will stand up and take the first step, help change some of the ways and things that some women are facing these days all alone.

    As for your question...I am wondering if maybe there is someone that you trust who could speak with her. Perhaps a sister or friend of the family that could speak in confidence with her--alone--and relay to her exactly what you've said that if for some reason, there is some hesitation, or she doesn't want, but is following her family's lead, she will feel comfortable in telling that person.

    I pray that she is going into this on her own accord inshaAllah. Perhaps you can just have faith in Allah swt-- that He has made visible to her the true heart of the man she is about to marry and knows how gracious and merciful Allah swt has been to her. And for you as well.

    I pray that Allah swt will bless you both with a long happy marriage and that He will continue to guide both of you on the straight path Ameen

    • I agree with 'thereishopeafterall'.

      The only difference being, I think that you should ask your fiancee these questions yourself. Ask her if she is happy, ask her what she wants in a spouse, why she wants to marry you, what she is expecting from you as a husband, what her views on raising children, working, education, deen are etc. There are so many important things you need to discuss and know about each other, you have the right to speak and to ask. So use your rights.

      SisterZ Editor

  2. Wow! I'm very impressed that you are thinking of this woman. I agree with the comment above that there should be more men out there just like you, MashaAllah. I was recently in a situation where my parents wanted me to marry a man in Pakistan and they were forcing it upon me. They made a very big deal about it and all of my family back home got involved. Luckily, I do live in North America and it was easier for me to say No. My family is still angry with me, especially my father. But it's better to call things off before they go any further and increase the number of complications.

    I would strongly suggest that you have a very close cousin who lives there talk to this girl. Many of my cousins are very understanding and would try to help me out. All the best for you in your future.

  3. Assalam O Alaikum brother Johnfisher,
    Masha Allah, very nice thought brother! I think that's a very good start brother, if we as a son, brother and then as a husband take the responsibility of our women as mothers, sisters and as a wife then inshaallah that will change the general condition of women especially in Muslim Countries.
    Educating a man means educating an individual and educating a women means educating the whole family and making her independent from relying on anyone for anything. I think both parents especially mother(because she is a women first) should realise that how important it is for a women to be educated and independent especially when they know what is going to happen in the future.
    Regarding your situation as "thereishopeafterall" said, get someone from your family like your elder sister (if you are lucky) or a cousin sister etc to speak to her personally and take her into confidence before asking if she is happy with the proposal. It is important to take her into confidence because she may not tell you, thinking that you or your family might reject her. Secondly, try to find a way to speak to her, even if it means you guys are being locked in a see-through glass cubicle where everyone can see you but can't hear you. Your personal meeting with her will be way better than sending your elder sister or any other women from the family but this will be very difficult but still possible (there are ways but I don't want to go into detail but those still will involve any women from your family and I advise that never ever meet her alone anywhere without her parents consent without the presence of any or both of chaperon). This could create problem especially for her.
    Another thing brother even if she is being forced and you couldn't find the way to find out then I will recommend go ahead and marry her. Why? because how many guys out there think that way and I am sure you will keep her happy inshaallah as you are a gentleman. In fact by marrying her you might save her from any other freak out there, who might treat her badly and is not as caring, honest, sincere, faithful like you. Even if she likes someone else then after marriage your love, care, attention to her will inshaallah will win her heart. It might take longer then you think but then patience is very important in a relationship if not from both then at least from one partner. Take this opportunity and go ahead. May Allah bless you both or whoever will be lucky enough to be your spouse (Amin).
    Wasalam Mks 1982:)-

  4. As Salaam U Alaikum,

    Thanks for the responses guys, I am engaged and will be marrying the girl soon. I have not spoken to the girl directly, everything has been through my mum, as is most scenarios in our part of the world, the women plan everything, in this case my mum and aunties and the girl's mum and aunties.

    I don't have sisters and I'm not very close to my cousins, not close enough to ask them to approach the girl. The girl is outside of the family which makes it all the more difficult to somehow get to speak about it.

    All this means is that I have to pray, pray to the Almighty, that He has bestowed his kindness upon both me and the girl and that even though I will not know until I marry the girl now, that she is happy with me and she picked or agreed to marry me off her own accord.

    I will not speak to her until we are married, my mother believes in modesty, so do most involved in the marriage, so that means no contact with the girl, in fact all communication from both parties is through both mothers.

    Thanks for the advice, but it's come to a point where I have no choice but to have faith that Allah SWT has decided to join us and surely He knows what's best for me and the girl. Insha'Allah all will be well.

    As Salaam U Alaikum.

    • John Fisher,

      I understand that in some parts of the world, culture prevails over religion and it is deemed immodest for the prospective couple to talk to one another before they decide to get married, but this is jaahiliya and not from Islam. Choosing a marriage partner is such a big life changing step to take and to leave the choice completely on someone else is in my view extremely foolish.

      I have seen cases exactly the same as yours. In one specific case a brother trusted the women of his family to choose his wife from Pakistan. For the same reasons as yourself he never spoke to her and on the wedding night he had a shock when he realised that they were worlds apart intellectually. They were on completely different wave lengths. He tried, but it ended up in a nasty divorce.

      Of course it is your choice to accept and take part in your family traditions but you are taking a big risk for such an important matter. Perhaps you could explain this to your family and arrange a few phone calls, it could very easily make things clearer for you. Your religion gives you common sense rights and freedom, so why choose to take such a big risk for the sake of your culture.

      Marriage can be act of worship when done for the sake of Allah, so my advice to you is to do what you can to satisfy yourself that whoever you marry will be happy to walk along the path of deen with you and that you share your views on raising children, working, education etc. Life with the wrong partner will be very difficult. Further, if you are the first to break this cultural tradition in your family, you will make the path much easier for your other family members who look to get married in the future. Make the change for the sake of preserving Allah's deen, not your culture.


      SisterZ Editor

      • Assalamu'alaikum John Fisher,

        I agree with SisterZ. Marriage is one of the biggest steps in life that you will ever take. Because it is so important you should never allow someone else to decide for you who you will marry. As Muslims we should never allow culture to take precedence over Islam.

        Prophet Muhammad, (PBUH) would ask any man who was considering a particular woman for marriage if he had seen the woman. If the answer was no, Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) would tell him to look at her to see if she meets his requirements.

        Muslim reported Abu Hurairah as saying that a man came to the Prophet (peace be on him) and told him that he had contracted to marry a woman of the Ansar.

        “Did you look at her?” the Prophet (peace be on him) asked.
        "No," he said,
        "Then go and look at her," said the Prophet (peace be on him),

        The Prophet (peace be on him) said, “When one of you asks for woman in marriage, if he is able to look at what will induce him to marry her, he should do so.” (Reported by Abu Daoud).

        In addition to seeing her it is very important for the two of you to find out if you are compatible. No one can do that for you. The only way for you to determine if the two of you are right for each is to have a conversation.

        You should ask about her feelings concerning religion. Is she a practicing Muslim or does she just follow culture. What are her feelings concerning marriage? What does she consider to be a successful marriage? What are her views on raising children? How much will both of you allow your in laws to play a role in your family decision making process?

        There are so many questions that should be asked before marriage. If you want a successful marriage then you must ask the necessary questions up front.

        So many Muslims go into marriage without the tools to make it work. We blindly follow tradition while pushing Islam to the side. Because most of us have not taken steps to ensure that our marriages will last, our divorce rate is just as high as the non-Muslims. We must be better than that.

        It's not too late to do your homework. Tell your family that you require a conversation over the phone with this woman. It's the only way that you will know if she really wants to marry you or what she expects in a marriage. Do your homework!!!!!!!!!!

        Insha'Allah what we have said will help.

        If you have more questions then please write again.

        Your Brother in Islam

        Abdul Wali Editor

  5. Hi, can I just say how wonderful it is to hear of ANY man, not just a muslim man, having so much respect for the welfare of young women. I have a lot of respect for you coming on here and expressing your concerns.
    In the UK we only ever hear the bad side of arranged marriages through the media and therefore have a very negative opinion of this tradition. We are left afraid of this and concerned for the welfare of young muslim women around the world. We never really hear of the success it has. We also never hear of young men like yourself challenging the tradition with the modern attitude of equal rights. You deserve applause for voicing your concerns.
    I totally agree with the above suggestions of having a female relative talk with her in confidence. As I understand it, you can not talk to her direct about it, so having a cousin/sister talk with her would be the best course of action. Of course you can never be 100% sure that what you are told is the absoloute truth, but at least you can rest happy that you have done everything you can to ensure her happiness.
    I wish you all the best for your future and hope that your future wife is happy and loves you as you really deserve this. All the best and congratulations in advance!

  6. Assalamu alaikum brother,

    I agree with others in the fact that EVERY man should be like you,
    caring about the welfare of the future wife, especially living in uk.
    i also live in uk and i know the effect it can have on you, but alhamtillah, my parents
    are some what strict so i've been shown the straight path.

    Brother, you have every right to speak to the girl, since you're engaged.
    I'm not saying speak to her day and night but if it means finding out whether
    she likes to marry you or not.
    I also got engaged to a very religious brother back in my country.
    I also didnt know whether he agreed because of his parents
    or because he wanted. I spoke to him once after asking my parents,
    and we started mailing each other for awhile. But now, our proposal
    is falling apart, because i found out that he only accepted to marry
    me because of my parents, not for him and now he's wondering
    whether i will be suitable for him or not.

    Anyway, since you dont have any sisters to ask her feeling
    and the fact that your mother is strict..but i suggest
    you ask her yourself because any forced marriage will not be
    valid in the eyes of Allah (swt).

    Hope this helps brother.

  7. As Salaam U Alaikum Brothers and Sisters,

    I have read the comments from SisterZ, Abdul, Ruby and LovingU and all of you can understand how difficult it is to overcome culture, I promise you I am fighting with every ounce of energy in my body to make sure everything is Islamically correct ie. Halal.

    I know there are families out their who care more about themselves than their children, but my family is not like that, my mother has already put her relationship with her sisters down the drain by declining their daughters, why? She felt they were not suitable for me, she wanted a girl who was my level in looks (which is just above average), my level in intellect, which is above average and from practising family, my cousins are not practising as much as my family.

    I have 100% faith in my mum's choice, hence why I had no reservation in saying yes. My mother is like an Angel, there are absolutely no issues from me. As for speaking to the girl, I am too scared, they say a man should initiate the conversation, but I'm too scared to even start a dialogue with the girl, I have always looked away from females and avoided unneccessary chat, now I am expected to speak directly to a girl? I can't no matter how hard I try I won't be able to, so in a sense it's a blessing in disguise my mother says "if you want to say or ask anything to the girl or family, tell me, I will speak to them".

    I have spoken to my Uncle, who is a friend of the girl's dad, it is how we were introduced, he has said the girl is like me, she trusts her parents influence and the parents suggested me, so she agreed. No further details were given.

    Also a part of me says, I have lived a fairly moderate and decent life to now, surely Allah has rewarded me for this.

    As for the culture we live in, too many of our youngsters, mainly women, but some men are emotionally blackmailed, you are all right, we must set the example, we must make a stand. I have lied to most people about the money I have to ensure that no extravagant expenditure is done on the Nikaah and Walima as the Propher PBUH stated that the best ceremonies are the simplest ones. I hope my wife to be will be able to understand this, in the end money that is not wasted on these fancy ceremonies will go towards a house for her, one which I will be able to buy sooner.

    Once again thanks for all the advice, I am now fairly confident from the murmurs going around and from what my Uncle said, the girl trusts her family enough as I do my family enough to make this a long and successful marriage,

    Oh Allah please help the Muslim Ummah to overturn these shameless cultural traditions and follow the Shariah. Ameen.

  8. These days you can't go by how the parents are. Just because the parents are good that doesn't mean their kids are good. We live in a different time now. It's hard to believe how someone wants to marry a stranger without finding out if they have anything in common. It's is not wrong to talk to the opposite gender about marriage, remember your making a lifetime decision.

  9. wow MasALLAH, Wow..!!! Your a very good man. There should be more men like you..!! I would ask your fiancee, and only her. Her mother or father would maybe say yes shes happy, but they won't really know. But trust me how much of a decent an you are, MasALLAH she'll be happy. Some girls learn to love their husbands and some just can't. So yeah my brother talk to her. The best thing is to Sali ( that prayer you pray before you sleep and your supposed to dream). Sorry don't know how to write it n english.Allah is the best way..!!!

  10. As Salaam U Alaikum Brothers and Sisters,

    I would like to say that things are going very well. The girl I am engaged to is extremely happy and so are her family. She speaks almost like a friend to my mother and everyone on both sides is happy. It seems the girl and her mother think im very handsome and they like my reserved and homebound nature.

    Thanks for the advice. I had faith in Allah SWT as you can see from the original post and he has rewarded me with a beautiful girl who I marry in a couple of months, but most important in all of this both I am happy and I now know the girl is happy.

    All praise be to Allah who gives to us joys which are beyond our human understanding.

    I am really happy, lol. I feel good.

    We don't often get happy stories on this site, but this is a case where there is one.

    May Allah help all those who are suffering and ease their pain. May Allah bless them with the joy and happiness that I feel right now.

    As Salaam U Alaikum.

  11. As Salaam U Alaikum Brother,

    After reading your recent blog, I'm really happy for you! I really think that you are honest guy who would protect the welfare of your future wife. However, dear brother, I know you mentioned that she's happy but I was wondering exactly how you know this or found out, since you don't talk to her.

    It tends to be that people assume automatically that if a girl is not entirely happy with a relationship and yet is has said yes to proposal, it must be that she's forced into marrying. However this is not always the case! I understand that this is an arrange marriage and you guys haven't had the chance to know each other well. Please don't get me wrong, I think it's amazing that you guys have made this relationship halal as possible.

    There are a lot of factors which makes a girl uncertain whether she actually wants to marry a guy, despite knowing that they are genuinely a good person. I think it's a normal reaction, since getting married is a lifelong decision. Please correct me if I'm wrong but here are few factors, that come to my mind, especially in bristish asian girls. (I'm not sure this applies direcly to your fiance, if she's from Pakistan?)

    1. Has she seen you in your environment? Such that your home in UK/pakistan, friends and family. If the communication between the two of you is not possible, your actions/behaviour can speak louder than your words. It's often and common that when guys are at girl's home, they are at their best behaviour and so it's difficult to tell what their actual personality is like. At the same time, it's embarasing or difficult for the girl to observe what the guy does when he is in her home. I know this sounds funny but although parents do trust the girl but all the eyes are probably on both of them, making sure that they don't do anything wrong. Basically I'm trying to say that she may get uncertain about future relationship due to little exposure your "real" world.

    2. Is she studying or busy in her career and how long have you been engaged? She may feel that she's not ready to get married because she's not in that mindset yet or wants to finish her studies. This is very common in british asian society. It's common that girls feel that once they get married, their future career is at risk, especially if both of you have different carreer pathways. She may feel you may not be able to understand the job demands in her career as you don't have the same background/ or know someone from the same background. Therefore she may feel that later down the line, she may have to give up something that she enjoys or worked hard for to accomodate her marriage life.

    3. Due to lack of communication, she may not be sure whether:
    She will ever have feelings for you, despite being attracted to you?
    May be uncertain whether you guys would have things in common or comaptible
    Have serious fights/issues that may be difficult to resolve after marriage
    How she will get along with your family,
    Will she be able to keep you happy and meet your rights
    [These are list of few that comes to my mind]

    From what I have seen and heard, I feel that when people are uncertain if that's the right person that they are marrying is what makes them unhappy. Not the fact that their parents are forcing them to!- only usually in the minority cases- rest is just the media frenzy. Please think about the above factors that I have mentioned or anything else that may come to your mind while reading this blog. I'm not writing this to break your enagagement. May Allah make it last a lifelong, both in this life and hereafter and keep both of you happy.

    Rather, I just wanted to shed a new light on this matter. Please consider my suggestions if at some point you during these few months before you get married, you feel that you are not entirely sure whether she is happy. Sort out things you may feel that are making her uncertain about the future marriage. Give her some time to realise that she is making the right decision.

    I'm sorry if I have said anything wrong or if any of my comments upset anyone. That's not my intention to do so. I just feel that this is quite a common problem in an arrange marriage- both in UK and pakistan! However it's often mislabelled that if a girl is not happy with a "rishta", it's either being forced to marry or she's in love/likes someonelse. No-one bothers to look into other possiblities.

    As Salaam U Alaikum.

  12. Asalaam alaikum bro,

    One option is to seek guidance from Allah The Almighty, a salat (prayer) called istikhara. Search it up on the internet or ask relatives, family or friends who know how to do it.

    I have just cheked the date you posted this (december) i guess your already married.
    Reality fact: girls form overseas like pakistan/afghanistan really are the type to not have a say and tell their parents "you guys know better, what makes you happy im happy...". its more here in the western country's that girls are more likely to be pushed and persuaded into marriages.

    In my situation i am married now. and going throught a nightmare right now. i am newly married and still waiting for my husbands visa. In my life i have rejected alot of marriage proposals and there was a few ones that mum n dad really wanted me to marry, but one MAJOR guy that they would not stop pushing me to for even a year and half (i think) they would push me and i would just say no NO and no i dont want to.

    i think that it is all that kibr (wich means not accepting what Allah is giving you) that has now lead me to my situation now. i never imagined my self to ever be in this situation in my life, its soo bad i feel like there is no hope but i have got Allah SWT and dont no what to do anymore but leave it to HIM. (id rather not say in detail what is happening in my life and has happened but its pretty bad) and I just ask Allah to help me and all us muslim brohters and sisters in the world with marriage. Inshallah. Amin.

    Also May Allah Bless you and your marriage with all the Goodness ever and forever InshAllah. I think you did the right thing and Inshallah this girl will be 100% right for you.

  13. I am now married Alhamdulilah.

    My wife is beautiful, caring and very well mannered. I cannot thank the Almighty enough. My wife says she kept my picture and would look at it everytime she opened the cupboard. I have been marrioed a few weeks now and it's so wonderful. Please pray that Allah allows her to join me soon and her visa is granted. Please pray that Allah blesses us with children too.

    I guess I was fretting over nothing, my wife says that she could not be happier, so that of course in turn makes me so happy.

    • You are a good man john. May Allah answer your prayers, and may ALLAH bless bachelors (like us) with the potential wives that we have been searching for...

    • Congratulations brother, may Allah (swt) bless you both with the love, mercy and happiness of true marriage iA also, I wish you both to be together in this world and enter Jannah together holding hands and smiling at each other:). Amin.


    • As salamu alaykum, Brother John,

      Congratulations, you share news of joy and love with all of us, thank you very much. May Allah(swt) gives you and your wife all the blessings that a marriage brings with it. Ameen.

      My prayers are with you, insha´Allah.

      All my unconditional Respect,
      María Editor

  14. If anyone is wondering, I thought I'd come back after all this time to let you know.

    We've been happily married for almost 3 years. It turns out my wife was attracted to me and took the advice of her family in that they thought I was a good man with a good job who could raise a family.

    We're happy together and I suppose it was a leap of faith that paid off.

    • good to hear you are doing well alhamdulillah. although i didn't respond on your post due to having sufficient responses. i do barely remember. may Allah continue to bless your wonderful marriage..

    • Maa shaa Allah...May Allah protect the beautiful relationship between yourself and your wife and may the love between the both of you continue to grow more, Ameen, thummmah Ameen.

    • its nice to see things are going well for you. I pray that allah swt continues to shower his blessing on you and your wife. it goes to show, when you have faith in allah, he will provide for you. 🙂

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