Islamic marriage advice and family advice

I want to break off this forced engagement

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Forced marriage

I am a 23 year old girl and the older I get the more pressure I have from my family to get married on a daily basis because in my culture it is frowned upon for a girl not to be engaged or married at my age.

In the past year my mom has gotten extremely pushy and I had 3 different proposals one after the other before accepting the one I am currently engaged to. With every proposal I was under extreme pressure to say yes, although my heart wasn't in it. I figured my current fiance seemed like a pious muslim man and I was tired of fighting with my mom over the topic of marriage. Every time I would reject a proposal she would be angry and her family would convince her I must already love someone else which isn't the case. I just feel like the right person hasn't come for me.

I based my decision strictly on how religious he was and had no sort of physical attraction to him. I figured once we are engaged I can get to know him and maybe I will start to like him. We have been engaged for a month now but it seems the more I get to know him the more I realize I made a bad decision.

We have completely different mentalities. I was born and raised here in america and he was raised in jordan. He has a very jealous and controlling temperament which is something I strongly dislike in a man and I feel like he wants to change me into the kind of wife he wants so I am constantly defensive with him. He does not like when I address his controlling behavior and says "you are making a big deal. This is how I behave either you like it or you dont its up to you".

I have tried to address my concerns with my mom but she wont listen to me and says I have no choice I have to marry him because he is a good guy. She says it will ruin my familys reputation if I called off the engagment and she is constantly threatening and emotionally manipulating me into staying with this man.

My older brother is threatening to kill me if something happens to her because of me.

Whenever I try to talk to her she gets angry and starts wishing my death.

I don't know if I should continue on with the engagement for a couple more months and see if an attraction can grow or just tell my fiance how I feel.

I told my mom it is haram in islam to force marriage but she will not listen to me. When I tell her how I am feeling she gets mad at me and doesnt talk to me then says she feels ill and will have a heart attack. I then give in to her and say i will continue with the engagement.

I have become very unhappy and depressed I feel as though he may not be the right one for me. I don't look forward to seeing him or talking to him I feel as though this whole engagement has become more of an obligation for me and I am starting to resent both him and my mom.

I've spoken to my dad and he understands me but is torn between me and my mom because whenever he sides with me they get into a huge fight they already have a conflict ridden marriage. He thinks I should try to get used to my fiance's habits and he should get used to mine. I haven't done nikah with him yet, I realize now I rushed into something I am not ready for and did it because I did not want to make my mom unhappy with me. She told me soon no more proposals will come for me and I will never get married so I had to choose between those 3 proposals. My self esteem has become so low that I gave into her but now I regret it deeply.

He is a good man but I am just not attracted to him and we have nothing in common. In order to avoid hurting anyones feelings I sacrificed my own happiness to please them. I was wrong to accept the proposal in the first place but I was under a lot of pressure.

I feel very alone and I dont know what the right choice is anymore I have even  thought about suicide when my mother gets angry with me. I have prayed istikhara and asked Allah swt to help me like him but I feel like it is getting worse instead of better.Please help me, what should I do?

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23 Responses »

  1. Maybe you should try to change your tactics. If you feel like you can't dump him, then maybe you can try to make yourself appear very unattractive as wife material to him so he will dump you. Then your family can't really say or force anything upon you.

    If he's controling and likes women to obey him, be the opposite way in front of him. Be very blunt, opinionated and tell him you are the type of woman who would never want to do as her husband says. Tell him you don't know how to cook, and don't intend to ever learn, because a man should be able to cook for himself. Tell him you don't wnat children. Tell him all the things he doesn't want to hear, basically. If he's smart, he'll back out instead of thinking he can change you (let him see you are assertive, confident and for sure unchangeable).

    If that doesn't work, then you just need to let your mother sulk temporarily. Trust me, most people have experienced mothers who blackmail with their supposed "hurt feelings". Sometimes they do get hurt, other times, they are just being annoying and dramatic to get their way, lol. Just be respectful to your mother and stand firm on not marrying this guy if you don't want to be even more unhappy than you are now - because that will happen. Tell her if she forces you to marry him, you will run away from him. Or use HER tactics: say YOU will kill yourself (of course, don't even think that thought - just use it as an empty threat), like she's threatening you with all sorts of stuff. Your mother is not going to die just because she doesn't get her way. Believe me, I know how it feels to have an extremely pushy mother who wants things to go her way, and I had to suffer a great consequence for standing firm on walking my own path and making my own decisions - but the rewards I'm reaping now are amazing, alhamdulellah. And my relationship with my mother has never been better, by the way 🙂 And I truly did have a horrible relationship with mine! So yeah, please don't loose hope or feel pressured to marry someone who's wrong for you...

    • In addition to what sister Leylani said above, you may also try to convince your brother to be on your side. Talk to him alone (in the best mood) and explain your concerns to him into details. Perhaps if your brother understands your concerns well, he could support you fight against the forced marriage, inshaAllah.

      Also no one can decide that you won't get a marriage proposal again. Allah is the Only One Who plans, and Knows what is best for us, and He is the Best of planners. When we put all our trust on Him, He will surely bless us with His bounty when the right time comes, inshaAllah.

  2. Assalaamualaikam

    Forced marriage has no place in Islam. If you do not wish to marry this man, you have the right to say no. Unfortunately, forced or coerced marriage is still perceived as acceptable in some cultures - which means that sisters such as yourself can be put in these horrible situations.

    It sounds like you and this man have rather different views on how you would want to live. That doesn't mean either of you is a bad person, but sometimes people simply aren't right for each other. If you feel this is the case, it's better not to marry each other than to spend your life struggling in an unhappy marriage. If you and your fiance are in contact, it might be worth explaining to him that you are not going to change into the woman he seems to want.

    If he is a man of good character, you could also explain to him that you do not actually want to marry him, but are being told you have to do so. You could also explain that you have done istikhara and feel strongly that you should not continue the engagement. While he probably wouldn't be thrilled to hear that, a pious brother would not want a sister to face oppression, and would be very upset to be contributing to that oppression - inshaAllah he would support you in exercising your Islamic rights. Only do this if you are certain he is of good character, though!

    You may wish to get in touch with local charities and projects that help women who are trying to escape or prevent forced marriages - one such organisation that is based in the USA is the AHA Foundation (http://theahafoundation.org) - their website might be helpful for you, and the "Get Help" section has contact details for organisations in most states.

    Don't allow shaitan to whisper thoughts of suicide in your ear, and don't allow anyone to threaten you. If you find yourself in a situation where you are afraid for your life or feel you are at risk of imminent harm, call 911.

    Midnightmoon
    IslamicAnswers.com editor

  3. I know you don't wish to hurt your mom, but you don't need her permission to call off the engagement. You are not a child. Call your fiancé and tell him you do not wish to marry him because you are not compatible. What do you think he's going to do? If he has any self-respect he will move on.

    Seriously sister, stand up for yourself. Your mom will be upset for a while but then life will go on. You do not need her permission to end this arrangement. Yes you need your parents' permission to get married, but you don't need their permission to break off an engagement. You are being emotionally blackmailed by your family members.

  4. Assalam alaikum,

    The problem isn't what your mother or brother or your fiancee or your father wants. The main issue at hand is that you want to make everyone happy and you also want to be happy. I am sorry Sister, this isn't possible.

    I don't believe you should try to act unattractive to break this off because another forced marriage will be on the way.

    As Sr. Precious Star said, you are an adult, so simply break off the engagement. What you have to realize is that you aren't wrong in practicing your rights. Yes, you may feel bad, but that is because you actually believe that you don't deserve happiness and that you are an object to be used for other's happiness. Not true.

    Take some time to really think about what is challenging you and what you really deserve. You don't deserve to be married to someone who you are not attracted to--even if it is their personality. Furthermore, your fiancee does sound controlling--a lifetime of living like that is beyond difficult.

    Once you believe in yourself and believe that your happiness, if through halal means and practicing your rights, is yours to have, then you will be able to deal with the consequences with your family--but, so will they. Your family will learn to take you more seriously. I do suggest that stay super calm and don't cry when you do deal with your family regarding the broken engagement. The firmer that you stand, the easier it will be for you, inn shaa Allah.

    May Allah ease your burden, Ameen.

  5. OP: We have completely different mentalities. I was born and raised here in america and he was raised in jordan. He has a very jealous and controlling temperament which is something I strongly dislike in a man

    You have grown up in a free country. A man who grew up in Jordon is likely to have a different mindset about how women should behave and should be treated by her husband. Even honor killing is acceptable to certain level in that society.

    If you leave this guy, there is no guarantee you will find a better man.

    • "If you leave this guy there is no guarantee you will find a better man"

      Yes, that's the kind of subtle fear and brainwashing that families like this girl's family do to their daughters. Are you suggesting she marry this fellow because of a lack of guarantees about finding another spouse? They don't get along but she should marry him anyway so that she does not remain alone? What kind of advice is that to give to a scared young girl????

    • If you leave this guy, there is also no guarantee that you will find someone worse.

      If you stay with this guy, there is also no guarantee that he will be a good person.

      In fact, there are no guarantees in this world! That is why it is best to use our best judgement.

      • Saba & Precious Star: If you read my response again you will see I just shared additional information that can help OP her make the best judgement.
        I did not suggest OP to break off the engagement or marry the guy she has been engaged too.
        Her parents should not have forced her to get engaged.

        OP selected this pious boy based on how religious he was and not any physical attraction to him.

        What percentage of Muslim girls in Southeast Asia, middle east, Jordon, Egypt etc are given "freedom" to choose their husband in real life? Even in US, UK, Canada it is mostly parents decide who their daughter is going to marry and when.

  6. [Editor's note: Please submit your question as a new post for publication rather than as a comment on an existing post. That way it can be published and answered in turn, inshaAllah.]

  7. Salams!

    I know this is a little late, but when I came across your post, I just had to say something.

    Firstly, I just want to say that you are not alone. I'm a 23 your old girl too & believe it or not, I was in the exact situation as you are. I'm Asian; however I grew up in the Middle East. My parents never pushed me to do anything & if they did unintentionally, I always spoke up, so Alhumdulillah I did have the freedom to speak my mind.

    However, 2 months ago, there was a proposal & the guy happened to be a related to a distant relative of ours. His & my family met & he and I spoke. From that initial meeting, I knew he was a good guy. Really nice, well mannered, responsible. But there was absolutely no spark. He had grown up in my home country & so he & I were not on the same wavelength.

    After we met & spoke, that night my parents asked me what I thought of him. I knew in my heart that he wasn't the one (however, I have to add that even though I have not been in a relationship before, I am in love with someone else) So, when my parents asked me what I thought & I just wasn't into it, I pushed my feelings aside thinking that I was just letting my feelings for the other guy get in the way. I told my parents that I needed a few days to think it over, but I knew that they really liked this guy & his family. There was technically nothing wrong with him. It was just a feeling that I had.

    I prayed istikharah & this feeling never went away. I then decided that Allah would do what he thought was fit, so I told my parents to go ahead with the proposal. They were overjoyed. A couple of weeks later we got engaged. His sister then got in touch with me & asked me if it was okay if he communicated with me via text. Even though I knew it was wrong to talk to him, I figured talking to him may put me a little more at ease. So we started texting & from day one, I just knew this was going nowhere. He was extremely nice but he just didn't understand me. I was depressed, & just did not want to think about the wedding. Anytime someone brought it up, I would just laugh off the question & change the subject. I dreaded talking to him & would just stare at my phone willing it to not start buzzing, cause I knew that if it did buzz, it was most likely him.
    I met him a couple more times with family & to be honest, I found myself not liking him even more, each time. I just pretended everything was okay, just so that my parents were happy.

    I could tell the guy really liked me, & after some time, he even started saying romantic things. I am not that kind of girl. I don't share my feelings so openly, so I never told him I liked him back (cause it just wasn't true & i didn't want to lie!) I could tell that this really hurt him, but what was I to do? I spoke to him and told him that I wasn't that ready for marriage & that he and I were so different. I do know that everyone is different, but I'm smart enough to know that the way I was feeling wasn't normal. The last time we met, it was with a whole bunch of cousins & siblings & everything went really well. He and I spoke for a few minutes, everything seemed fine. The next day, he calls me up & says we're not a match & the wedding needs to be called off. To be honest, even though I knew it would destroy my parents, I felt relieved. Like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulder.

    I told my parents about it & they were sad but my dad refused to admit it was over. He spoke to my ex-fiancé’s family & asked them to talk to him. I am now waiting for the verdict. Im hoping that my ex-fiance won't give in because I'm seriously happy.
    My parents did say that finding someone else would be hard after this & that it was all probably my fault, because I am quite strong willed & I do say what's on my mind. I really don't care whose fault they think it is; at this point I’m just happy that it’s over.

    I know that was really long, but I just wanted to tell you that you are NOT alone. I can't give you advice because I am clearly not in the position. I said yes because of my parents, which is what you did too. This maybe our futures but our parents don't see it like that. I really really hope you decide that your happiness is more important. If my ex-fiancé didn't break it off, I don't think I would've had the courage to, so I'd probably go ahead with the wedding. Sigh.
    You just need to keep praying & asking Allah to show your parents that he's not the one. Don't give up. Have faith & never ever ever think that the situation is too much to handle. Suicide will not help you, but dua'a from me & the rest of the people on this thread will. I really hope everything works out for you inshaAllah. Please do keep us updated. I will be praying for you.

    Much Love,
    H

    • I'm crying reading the last response. I'm crying. It's like my forced engagement broke off only .. It hasn't. God bless. Please pray for me. Nobody deserves to be pushed into a loveless marriage. Nobody. Guys I'm requesting you to pray for me. Pray that I come out of this engagement with my dignity and respect intact. Please. Take care.

      • Saira, my heart goes out to you, because I know exactly how you're feeling. In situations like this, you even start to wonder if your parents actually love you and know you.

        My situation has got waayy better alhumdulillah. My parents now totally understand why he & I wouldn't have worked, and they are definitely on my side. I thought that was impossible, before all of this. But SubhanAllah! All of this has made me realize that my parents really do know who i am =)

        I will definitely be praying for you, any chance i get inshaAllah! Stay strong, love.

  8. Salam
    I feel soooo bad seeing n hearing abt girls going throw the same situation as me.. It really breaks my heart. Why do we not the the right to live our life our way. It's not like our parents r the one who's gnna spend their life with the person we r getting married to.we r the who have to spend our life with thm even if we r not happy...um gtting married in like a month..I'm not happy with it at all n I already told my mom tht but she jst don't understand or maybe she jst don't want to understand. She thinks tht the family reputation wll b ruined if the marriage is call off. So basically family reputation is worth more thn my happiness. I jst wish some kinda miracle could happen. I wish no other sisters r brothers goes through the situation tht some of us r going through.

  9. I am in the early stages of an arranged marriage. I am pressured from my single mother who constantly reminds me that she knows what's good for me and that this particular guy is a good Muslim and once this boat sails away only dirt follows... he is 8 years older then me and also raised in a 3rd world country. I have been raised in a western country and am only 19. I just started uni and am happy. however I'm afraid that if I say yes i will sacrifice my happiness and if I say no my mother will hate me and always use this against me. I'm torn between my respect towards my mum and the freedom islam gives to say no. she gets incredibly aggressive when I say I'm not happy or I'm uncomfortable. she makes me feel guilty for being scared or when I cry. she can look at me in the eyes and tell me every girl cries like this, it's normal... my grandfather would never have approved of this however he sadly passed away 4 months ago and so I feel truly alone.

    • Salams Melek,

      I wrote on this thread last year ( you can scroll up to read my post), so when I got a notification regarding yours, I knew I had to reply.
      First off, I just want to say, I know what you're going through!
      Your mother obviously doesn't wish for anything that's bad for you, but unfortunately due to society and the pressure that they put on us, and most likely her, she probably thinks she needs to get you married off asap.
      I know how it must feel to disappoint your mum. Trust me, I do. My parents went through all sorts of emotions when my engagement was called off, but to be honest, now (almost a year later) they understand me SO much more.They even stick up for me, and speak up for me when people ask me when I am getting married. I am 24 now, and in a culture where girls get married at a relatively young age, I feel this sense of pride when they have my back. They tell people that they want me and my brother to be happy, because at the end of the day, who ever we marry will end up determining the rest of our lives.

      Basically what I'm trying to say is, your mum is not a bad person, she does care for you, I'm sure. She's just being pressured, and doesn't know what to do but force you to say yes. If you've prayer isthikarah, and you're really not feeling this whole thing, I urge you to not accept. Your mum may not be happy for a few days or weeks, but dealing with that will be much better than dealing with a miserable marriage for the rest of your life.
      Stay strong, love. Please let us know what happens. You will be in my prayers, inshaAllah.

      H

  10. Asa sister I just wanted to tell you my story because im 22 years old and currently in your position. And most of it is my fault. I know this is pretty late but I was in a haram relationship at a young age with a guy who loved another girl. Eventually this guy left me (at a very young age) for that girl. He continued being in a relationship with her and I kept messaging him telling him I miss him. Eventually he got mad and would write me off. It came to the point that after 5 years of depression I couldn't let him go. I turned to my religion. I sat and prayed day and night that he be given the same pain. And then, one day I came across the phrase and concept of forgiveness in the Quran, Alhamdullilah. What forgiveness was? Why we should forgive others and how Allah SWT forgives us so who are we to not forgive another creation? So I wrote to him (be mindful that I prayed istikhara before I messaged him) and my istikhara showed me that I should continue with the message.

    I messaged him and stated "for everything you have done for me, I forgive you and may Allah SWT forgive you." Right after, it's as if his heart changed and he wouldn't stop messaging me. For 2 years, he kept chasing me coming by my job, coming near my house, and trying to confess his so called "love" for me. But I knew, that a haram relationship would never be permitted in Islam. So therefore I did not continue with a haram relationship the second time. He simply stated, "what can i do to obtain you?" And i stated back, "come for my hand in marriage because that is what a real man would do." He delayed it. He would change the topic. I even accused him of talking to the girl of his past and he simply stated, "think what you want." I wouldn't reply to his messages it was meaningless to me. I prayed for sabr and I got it, until one day...

    He confessed to me he was still, (even though he screamed, "I love you" to me everyday,) that he was still talking to the girl of his past. I felt betrayed and I couldn't get the grudge out of my heart. I walked away from him. I blocked him from everything and thanked Allah SWT for dodging me from a bullet. (Btw my family was aware of all of this so they always kept an eye out for me.) After I blocked him, my mother saw how happy I was and honestly at that time she supported me until one day, his sister called my phone a month later.

    She claimed he couldn't eat or sleep and he cries for me every night. I told her everything that happened that I told him I don't date and that all of that was haram. His sister then presented the idea of coming for my hand in marriage. I informed her it was something normal but little did I know my family was going to do a 360 on me.

    After his parents came for the first time, (and mind you I tried clearing the air with this guy by asking him about that girl and if he loves her, he should go to her and not me. Yet, he still denied it.) My family pressured me into marrying him. They verbally abused him and wallahi I will not lie my heart was and still IS NOT in it. Something in me said don't do it. I tried everything, telling my mom he has feelings for someone else, that I don't love him. That I know I made a mistake with him prior but I asked Allah SWT for forgiveness and this was the only mistake I made in my life. My mom, the woman who gave birth to me looked at me in my eyes and said, "you did this to yourself. You made a stupid mistake when you were young, now own up to it." Her words crushed my heart. I couldn't believe she could say that. My brother said its ok that he would change. My sister said that he doesn't deserve to be with a wretched person like me. That I'm bad. They pressured me so much, every night was another heavy lecture, every night was me crying myself to sleep, and every night was me being tormented with comments right and left.

    I'm not saying I was perfect when I was younger. Everyone makes mistakes and I poured my heart out to Allah trying to stop this proposal. But in the end I got engaged to him and when I tell you my heart is not in it, I'm telling you my heart IS NOT in it. I gave this guy a fifth chance to own up and treat me right. To only love me but unfortunately that didn't happen. It came to a point where he had mood swings, and started getting impatient with me until he made me cry on my birthday.

    He said with his own mouth, "I love that girl and everything about her. I can't forget her. She's the love of my life and everything reminds me of her." My heart was crushed I just felt so numb. I couldn't get the words out of my head. When I asked him why he won't break off the engagement he sat there and simply said, "your reputation would be ruined." I begged and pleaded him to break the engagement. He didn't because I'm his rebound, his second option, and the love of his life would never want him. When she rejected him he came running to me. When i said no he turned to not having food and losing weight a so called "depression." He even got defensive about her and stated not to talk about his ex lover like that. He even had her name tattooed on his arm and refused to take it off. I ran home and cried to my parents I was disgusted of the person he was and still is.

    My father immediately wanted to break off the engagement and although my mother said ok in front of my dad, behind his back she taunted me. She said I was a (excuse my language) a whore who would never get married. My older sister sided with my mother and I just couldn't break off the engagement. I sat down with my fiance's parents and told him everything he did and how impulsive he gets with me just because something reminds him of her. They just sided with their son. They told me to forget about his past.

    Now I hear rumors he's still talking to the girl from his past and everyday of mine is in torture. My family doesn't see a smile on my face anymore. I HATE being next to my fiance the thought of my wedding night burns my head and I feel like fainting. I made a mistake yet my family believes I should own up to it, I was in love or merely infatuated by the idea of love when I was young but, I am not in love with this guy anymore. I want nothing to do with him. I hate seeing him now or even replying to his text. When I try to break it off, my parents think I have someone else in my life.

    I have anxiety everyday, I have dreams of him cheating, I can't eat or sleep, I cry everyday, I don't like the idea of him even trying to touch me as my husband. He never claims he's wrong and I feel suffocated. I'm absolutely miserable and I know exactly where this relationship is headed because when your heart is not in it, nothing can be fixed. I have so much pain in me that i feel numb and I feel as if I am losing the real me day by day and it's hurting me. They say Allah SWT knows more and he knows what is right for you when you don't. I hope I'm wrong about all of this, but it's been a month since I am engaged and the thought of my fiance disgusts me.

    • Sister Renaissance, it's extremely obvious that the only right course of action for you is to break off your engagement with this guy. I am surprised that you do not see the pattern here, which is that he only desires you when he thinks he cannot have you. The moment he became engaged to you he lost interest and began fantasizing about someone else. He is a spiritually and emotionally unwell person. Break off your engagement, no matter what anyone says, and completely cut off your contact with him. No emails, texts, nothing. Move on with your life. Never mind what your mother and sister say. They are not the ones who would have to be married to him.

      Forgive yourself for your past and move on.

      Wael
      IslamicAnswers.com Editor

      • Asa,

        I understand where you are coming from and I apologize for the late response. Things have actually gotten worse and my parents still do not want to break this engagement. I have a distance with my fiance and im trying to delay the wedding as much as I can. Unfortunately, nothing is happening. Everyday I'm recording his voice and trying to obtain some type of evidence to break it off. Please keep me in your prayers that I will be able to break this unwanted relationship off.

  11. Renaissance and the questioner...please understand it's your life. Do not be a victim. Please stand up for yourself. You are the only person standing up for yourself please do that. Do not expect it from others. Just move to a new place if you are independent. Best thing would be to share it with the guy himself. Break off with dignity. Be clear and let your family know you matter to yourself. Do not compromise. And make sure you clear the air in the beginning because the more you go into the more it gets you.

    Pray for me as well. The guy who wants to marry me is in a similar situation. 🙁

  12. Salaam, I am 16 years old and I recently went to Pakistan, during my stay my mother and grandmother pressurised me to get enagaged to my third cousin. There is nothing wrong with this guy, he's religious and a good person but I feel attraction whatsoever. I used to beg my mother to never get me engagaed to this guy but when we went to Pakistan everyone in my family started to emotionally blackmail me into accepting, the guy even went around telling my aunty that if he doesn't marry me he will either kill himself or never marry in his life. I tried speaking to this guy for a few weeks but every time I try I get put off. I spoke to my mum and she said I have to marry him whether I like it or not because now I'm engaged and that if I cancel the wedding after 4 years or so then it will ruin her reputation. The guys mentality and my mentality is very different, I have been raised in London while he grew up in Pakistan, the country side area, I tried speaking to my mum several times and even spoke about islam. I pray 5 times and ask Allah for guidance. What should I do?

  13. Hi.. I am 21 old year girl..

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