Islamic marriage advice and family advice

I’m being forced into a marriage – Please help me!

Forced marriage poster for people in the UK

Forced marriage

I'm a 21 year old female and living in the USA. I have very strict traditional parents and I know I shouldn't say this but they're honestly the worst.

I have struggled from depression for over 7 years now and I thought that by this age it would be getting better, but it just got worse right after Ramadan! A marriage proposal came in from a supposedly really good family and my mother who didn't want to talk to me about it because she'll break down and cry, sent my older sister to talk to me about it. When she told me about it, I didn't instantly say no, I told her that I needed time and she agreed.

After about 3 weeks, I got home only to hear everyone partying in the house and when I asked what was going on, my sister told me that my dad "agreed" to this marriage. I told her that I DID NOT AGREE, but she told me to shut up, they were a good family and it's not an official engagement yet.

I decided to take matters on my own hands and prayed to God, but I still did not feel good or comfortable about this. I expressed my feelings to my sisters and they all told me that I either stick with this guy or I'll end up being sent to my country in the Middle East to get married.

I told my mom how I felt and she was shocked and told me that my older sister had told her that I agreed! I told my mom that I didn't. My mom said it was too late and that I should pray more, it's still not an official engagement.

No one is listening to me, I mean yes, he's a great man, he's educated, he's in America, his personality (from what I hear) is great and he's good looking. It would have helped if I was allowed to talk to him, but I am not even allowed to until a month before the wedding which is next year. That's not even enough!

It's all lust to him at the time probably. I saved myself for 22 years, constantly being threatened to get killed if I did commit Zina, and here I am getting forced into a marriage and getting forced to give my innocence to someone that I don't even know. That's harsh and unfair but I can't explain that to my parents because they're old fashioned and traditional. I have lived such a horrible life, I have gone through every phase, I was planning on running away and I cut a ticket this past May, but when that day came to leave for my flight, I cancelled because I chickened out and decided to give my abusive parents another chance, but look where I ended up.

Although I've been in depression (and have sought professional help behind my parents' back) for a while, it's not as worse as it has been now. The other day I was driving home from school and I stopped at a traffic light and the intersection in front of me was busy! I thought of just driving myself into it. These thoughts keep lingering for too long now.

I am also a college student majoring in Criminal Justice, I so badly want to be a cop, but that's a big no to my parents (if my dad knows this is what I want, he would legit kill me). Fine, I'll let that go. But a marriage? That's different. If I go into that marriage, I'm basically setting myself up for divorce which I never plan to have if I wasn't in this situation.

Knowing myself, I would give in and agree to what my family wants.. BUT, I like someone. I've been friends with someone for 4 years and for the past year, I learned that I really liked him and vise versa. Problem is? He's from a different race than I am. He's Muslim, born Muslim, and we would do anything to get married and we wanted to make it right. My parents however, don't even agree to people out of my village let alone a different race, even more to this Arabs, he's Black. But that shouldn't be the point. When I was agnostic at some point in my life, he picked me up and brought me back to religion. He has bettered me in so many ways. I can't just let him come ask for my hand, my dad will legit murder me.

I just don't know what to do, no one can help me, I can't help myself. Suicide looked better than food while I was fasting two days ago. Life is hard and I'm really REALLY stuck. Please help me.. I don't know what to do anymore and before anyone asks, I mentioned that I have prayed Silat Al-istakhara, and was given no good sign or good feeling.

Sara_al94


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28 Responses »

  1. There isnt really anything anyone here can do , your best bet would be to go to a trusted imam and explain your situation to him so that he can have a talk with your father and notify your father about your rights in islam.

    • Most Imams from Pakistan/India will not support her marrying a Black Muslim. They will not say it directly but will support her parents.

      • OP:I'm a 21 year old female and living in the USA

        • OP also says: I have very strict traditional parents and I know I shouldn't say this but they're honestly the worst.

          Headlines in some major Newspaper covered the following story this week.............

          A Muslim man in Germany has confessed to strangling his 19-year-old daughter to death as her mother watched, because she was caught shoplifting condoms. The man was planning a forced marriage for his daughter and did not approve of the boy she was dating.

          • ok so? there will always be news like that it doesn't mean someone should be discouraged and not try getting help.

            I pointed out that she lives in the usa because you mentioned something about Pakistani/indian imams. Also I doubt every imam is the same or is racist like they are portrayed to be

  2. Muslims should start by saying Aslamailekum , then tell us what they want to. Well, you are a grown adult not a child and there are welfare in your state that will help you with this situation.

    • That is so rude.

      If you really think you know the right way of being Muslim, at least give your suggestions kindly. She might be a better Muslim than you, even if she forgot to say 'Assalamaleikum'. Don't judge.

      Grown adults financially dependent on their parents and also confused about how far religion lets them break from what their parents want also have it pretty bad.

      Everyone needs to keep it positive and encouraging on these forums. There is a gentle way of saying that it is possible for her to seek some welfare support, and encouraging her to look for it.

      Give inspiration and advice, not judgments and contempt. A word from you to someone else can never ever be taken back. Make it worthwhile.

  3. Salam sis
    I think that the above statement given by Jimbo Jabroni is correct and you should get an imam involved.
    Your parents might be strict but will listen to a religious person, who can break down barriers of communication.
    If you give your full view to the imam I'm sure he will respect your wishes,as Islam does not allow forced marriages.
    Once that has been solved then you can work on the next steps to better your life. Whatever you do just think positive and get help soon as by the imam.
    I thought us Asians were strict with strict parents but I guess we are all in the same boat. I just wonder why parents in this day and age are so backwards, narrow minded.
    To me a Muslim is a Muslim as long his educated and support his Mrs and bring her more closer to Islam, that's Al, that matters together with parents approval.
    Guess many parents are only backwards due to the fact of shame which will be brought into ones family, it's sad that is as we live in the 21st century.
    Anyways best of luck duas are for you Allah bless

  4. Assalamu Alaykum Sister,

    Your only option here is not suicide, nor is it just talking to an imaam. Do you have any family apart from your parents that you can console in? What your sister did is awful, and I would recommend you to avoid contact with her. Allah knows best why she would do that, but she seems deceptive. Marriage is not a joke, or a game, but that is what she is making it to be. She is being very selfish. If you have no family, go to an imaam immediately. Tell him of your story, and try to get him to talk to your parents. Forcing a child into marriage is a HUGE sin in Islam. If your parents do not repent, and rectify this behaviour they will be facing a terrible torment on the Day of Judgement.

    I recommend you also to listen to lectures about marriage by Nouman Ali Khan, and find the one that talks about parents forcing their children into marriage and show that to your mother. If you're unable to find it, let me know and I will send you the link. Clearly your mother lacks knowledge of Islam. in terms of this other brother you would like to marry, do his parents know of you? How long have you known him? I hate to say this but, it might just be that Allah is preventing you from marrying him because he may not be the one for you or good for you. Have trust in Allah, and patience. The weapon of a believer is dua. Wake up in the third part of the night for Tahajjud prayer and cry to Allah that he protects you from this marriage and from what is not good for you. Sister, by Allah I promise you that Allah never neglects the prayer of a mu'min. I recommend you watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ahOWWrM3I8

    Remember that He is watching you, as stated in the Noble Qur'an, "And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein is closer to you than your own jugular vein (Surah Qaf Verse 16). I will keep you in my most beloved duas. May Allah ease your difficulties, and may He guide your parents and family to the straight path. Ameen.

    • Asalamu 'alakum. I just wanted to update you and tell you that I broke off that engagment on September of 2016, alhamdulilah. I went through so much to break it, I lost 20 lbs and weighed around 86 lbs. I broke it off and I do not regret it one bit. It was a traumatic experience but it brought me closer to Allah.

      TO ANYONE OUT THERE READING THIS, DONT BE AFRAID TO STAND UP AND SAY NO EVEN IF YOUR FAMILY THREATEN TO DISOWN YOU. THEY WILL GET OVER IT! Please rescue yourself and do not give in. May allah bless us all and may Allah help anyone going through something like this. I love you all.

  5. First, it is evident from your message that you are a special person who has a strong relationship with Allah, who hasn't given up, and who turns to Allah for direction and assistance despite your long battle with depression. This is a great achievement despite the challenges with which Allah has tested you with right now. I urge you to struggle day and night to remember your Lord when you feel any anxiety and depression and for Him to protect you from the whispers of shaython whenever those evil thoughts of suicide creeps in again.

    It is by His grace and decree that you are still here with us today, your focus now should be through your education masha’Allah. All of these are blessings from Allah, and therefore you should make no further mention of thinking for an early death as this is not becoming of a muslim. Focus instead on strengthening your relationship with Allah and keep asking Him to bless you with what is best for your faith!

    Second, I understand that it can be difficult and very confusing as you love your parents and might feel unsure about why you are being forced into marrying this prospect. You might be told that you are bringing shame on your family if you don’t marry him. Your parents might even say that they will disown or harm you. This is emotional abuse. Being forced into marrying someone you don't want to is wrong and it is also against the law and the teachings of Islam. It can feel like you have no control but it’s important to think about your future, your safety and what a forced marriage would be like for you. If you still can't talk to your parents about this, maybe you can think of talking to a local Imam in your city, or another adult who you trust, like a family member, professor or a friend. It’s important to let someone know as quickly as possible so that you can be safe and get the help you need if necessary. I am just gravely concerned how you repeatedly kept stating your father will kill you. May Allah preserve you from any harm insh'Allah.

    If you love your friend of four years, marry him. If he is a pious man with whom you can strive here on earth to be worthy of a home in paradise than marry him insha’Allah. Make du'ah to Allah to grant you this brother insha'Allah. Make that strategy paramount.

    Finally, do not give yourself the option of marrying because your parents are making you, doing so will only end up making you feel more depressed and give you a false sense of security incase that marriage does not work. If you feel however that your depression is getting worse with regards to this forces marriage, then you should consider seriously the option of seeking counselling again to help you process the feelings you have from anxieties. I wish you the best as you proceed with your college life, and insh'Allah soon I want to hear you being a police officer following soon with a healthy married life with the man YOU want insh'Allah.

    And Allah knows best.

    • Asalamu 'alakum. I just wanted to update you and tell you that I broke off that engagment on September of 2016, alhamdulilah. I went through so much to break it, I lost 20 lbs and weighed around 86 lbs. I broke it off and I do not regret it one bit. It was a traumatic experience but it brought me closer to Allah.

      TO ANYONE OUT THERE READING THIS, DONT BE AFRAID TO STAND UP AND SAY NO EVEN IF YOUR FAMILY THREATEN TO DISOWN YOU. THEY WILL GET OVER IT! Please rescue yourself and do not give in. May allah bless us all and may Allah help anyone going through something like this. I love you all.

  6. Dear Sister,

    First of all I appreciate your strong faith and Imaan in Allah. May Allah bless you in it. Your fight against depression is very much commendable. May Allah grant you a blessed and happy future.

    Under no circumstances you can think of suicide because if you do suicide you will (Allah forbid) enter straight into hell. And trust Allah that Hell will be much worse than what troubles you are facing here.

    I think you should first of all inform your Imam and close friends and relatives that you fear that your father might kill you if you disagree with the marriage.

    I suggest after you have informed people of your situation, have a discussion/meeting with your Parents and Sister. If they think that you are mature enough to get married then you are mature enough to have a discussion with them about your future. Try to make them understand that you don't have the same mindset as them since you were born and brought up in America. And you won't do anything haram but you will do things differently from what they want you to do.

    Explain to them kindly about your plans in life and if you feel it's a good time to tell them , then tell them that you have already found a Muslim guy you want to marry. Don't tell them initially that he is black, that might upset them even more. Ask them to give you time and that you don't want to get married yet.

    If they don't agree still then find a way to contact the fiance through someone you trust and tell him that you are being forced to marry him and you both won't be happy in a forced marriage. Hopefully he will be a decent person to call off the marriage.

    Most Asian parents migrate to the USA for better livelihood and think that they could bring up their children with the values of what they had in their Asian countries. It doesn't work like that. The children grow up their whole life in an American society and their point of thinking would be different from the Asian countries. Parents need to understand that.

    Regarding your relationship with a non mehram it is haram. Ideally you shouldn't have gotten so close to him, I understand that you were Agnostic then but since you have become more pious now I suggest you limit your contact with him until you both get married.

    May Allah Grant you Peace.

    • Read the post properly. ..she did not say that she was from a asian background. She said that she is from a middle east background and an arab.

      • Dear Luha,

        Thanks for pointing that out. I suggest the OP to read the advise without the following advise,

        " Most Asian parents migrate to the USA for better livelihood and think that they could bring up their children with the values of what they had in their Asian countries. It doesn't work like that. The children grow up their whole life in an American society and their point of thinking would be different from the Asian countries. Parents need to understand that."

        Or I could rephrase it as following and it would still be true,

        " Most Religious Middle Eastern parents migrate to the USA for better livelihood and think that they could bring up their children with the values of what they had in their Middle Eastern countries. It doesn't work like that. The children grow up their whole life in an American society and their point of thinking would be different from the Middle Eastern countries. Parents need to understand that. "

  7. Dear, I doesn't matter how strict your parents are. You sit them down, and tell them you will not marry him. you can tell the fiancé and his family you are being forced when you meet. You can always say no. It's your right. Find a way to contact them if your family won't listen. They can't force you to sign anything, or move your things or dress up! You are an adult.

    It's your human right, you are in USA, you have to stand up for yourself love.

    As for the fiancé. Have you met his parents? Tell your parents there is someone else you want yo marry.don't hide him. Tell them he wants to meet them.

    They can blackmail you, emotionally torture you, but sister marriage is a huge commitment...never never get pressured to marry.

    Parents like that threaten a lot, don't be scared. But if you feel genuinely under attack and unsafe at home, do find aunts, uncles or family you can stay with.

    All the best my dear. Make dua and don't be afraid to stand up for injustice. Forced marriage is a huge no no in Islam. This is your test my dear, just keep on the straight path And always ask for Allahs help.

  8. I posted earlier suggesting that it may be a great help to set up a resources comer in this website for those who are facing "forced marriage". Will the editor consider it?

    One of the source someone posted which is based in US is
    http://www.tahirih.org/

    The other source is http://www.theahafoundation.org/forced-marriage/

    http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/emergencies/forced.html

    It seems to me that there are so many posts have touched this topic. The bottom line is you are the one who can stand up and say NO. We should try our best to put a full stop on this ignorance practice. Pass along the resources, report the abuses and educate the muslim in the masjids. Islam is not a religion encouraging forced marriage. There are resources in the US is able to help. I am sorry of what is happening in the community and it is so saddening to see it in this century.

    • Salam,

      Would the editor(s) response to this request, please? Please let everyone knows.

      • Salam Editor(s),

        I understand this is a very busy website but I will appreciate if anyone can answer my request either way. This is my third time to have this request. Jzk. I am going to propagate this message for a few times to catch your attention. I apologize for any inconvenience that may caused.

        • Salam Editor(s),

          I understand this is a very busy website but I will appreciate if anyone can answer my request either way. This is my third time to have this request. Jzk. I am going to propagate this message for a few times to catch your attention. I apologize for any inconvenience that may caused.

          • Salam Editor(s),

            I understand this is a very busy website but I will appreciate if anyone can answer my request either way. This is my third time to have this request. Jzk. I am going to propagate this message for a few times to catch your attention. I apologize for any inconvenience that may caused.

    • If you want to write something up I will publish it as a permanent page, Insha'Allah. Please do not post the same comment over and over.

      Wael
      IslamicAnswers.com Editor

  9. Aslaamu alaikum sister

    Let me just say if you truly fear for your safety or life do not hesitate to call the police. I know you live in the U.S. But in the UK the police have a special unit that deals with forced marriage cases. They help you get in touch with special women's refuges and charities. Many young women have been killed at the hands of their fathers over this so it cannot be taken lightly. If you know refusing will lead to harm at least seek out advice from charities and imams and police to support you. You must prioritise your life.

    If you think he doesn't mean it then still tell others so they are aware just in case. And try to calmly explain to other family members like uncles or aunties to try and intervene.

    Don't be scared to protect yourself. You can always go to a refuge and slowly resolve from there. If you are killed that cannot be undone.

    May Allah protect and guide you dear sister. Ameen

    • Salam Editor(s),

      I understand this is a very busy website but I will appreciate if anyone can answer my request either way. This is my third time to have this request. Jzk. I am going to propagate this message for a few times to catch your attention. I apologize for any inconvenience that may caused.

  10. Assalamu Alaiykum

    It is haraam to force a virgin into marriage, to marry off a virgin without there consent.

    Quran 4:19 “O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness, that ye may Take away part of the dower ye have given them,except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good.

    If you are married off to him,however, you are entitled to divorce.

    Narrated Al- Qasim " A woman from the offspring of Ja'far was afraid lest her guardian marry her against her will. So she sent for two elderly men from Ansar, AbduRahman and Mujammi , the two sons of Jariya, and they said to her " Don't be afraid , for Khansa' bint Khidam was given by her father in marriage against her will, then the Prophet ( S.A.W) cancelled that marriage."

    Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas : " A virgin came to the Prophet and mentioned that her father had married her against her will so the Prophet allowed her to exercAlaiykum
    will."
    Meaning that she could stay in the marriage or divorce.

    So, if they force you into the marriage sister, stay strong, for Allah is with you. What they are doing is against the word of Allah.

    Assalamu Alaiykum

  11. EDIT AND UPDATE TO EVERYONE THAT COMMENTED HERE AND OTHERS GOING THROUGH THIS AND SEEK ADVICE:

    Asalamu 'alakum. I just wanted to update you and tell you that I broke off that engagment on September of 2016, alhamdulilah. I went through so much to break it, I lost 20 lbs and weighed around 86 lbs. I broke it off and I do not regret it one bit. It was a traumatic experience but it brought me closer to Allah. I sometimes try to believe that I have forgiven my parents and other times I think back and I break down and it hurts and I pray that Allah guides my unreasonable parents and forgives them because although I have broken it off, I still think and get anxiety from it and sometimes want to die because it hurts to think back.

    TO ANYONE OUT THERE READING THIS, DONT BE AFRAID TO STAND UP AND SAY NO EVEN IF YOUR FAMILY THREATEN TO DISOWN YOU. THEY WILL GET OVER IT! Please rescue yourself and do not give in. May allah bless us all and may Allah help anyone going through something like this. I love you all. Get closer to Allah, be sincere with prayers. He has the key, Allah does what he wants, Allah is the turner of all hearts.

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