Islamic marriage advice and family advice

He married his brother’s wife out of pressure from the family, because she was widowed

The Successful Marriage


My brother passed away 11 months ago in uk and left a widow who he was married to for 1 year with no children in pakistan.

On his passing, elder members of both familys agreed that they would keep the widow in the family and marry her to 1 of two brothers of the deceased.

The older of the 2 brothers was first approached and refused. The younger brother was then pressured over a month period could not decide and eventually had mental life-threatening breakdown and was hospitilised for a few months.

His older brother then suddenly thought he could try to take the responsibility and marry her to keep everyone happy and to please Allah. He then quickly booked a ticket  to fly 3 days later and his family in Pakistan had been informed. After booking the ticket he had a sleepless night and realised he would not be able to give her rights and treat her as a wife. He then contacted the family in Pakistan apologised continuously and explained in a senstive manner that it was not something he could do and did not want to destroy to lives.

They were understandably not happy but seemed to accept his reasons. He then continued to fly to Pakistan as the ticket was booked, but on arriving was emotionally pressured as other relatives were accused of involvement, the girl was also in a distessed state and his family in the U K was being pressured.. He eventually came to the conclusion that this was all happening due to him. He then decided to have the nikah and said to himself that if he could not make it work he would atleast give her security and take care of her as a sister. He know realises this is very wrong, unislamic and she deserves a husband and family life.

He is now in a depressed state  is finding it difficult to work, eat, sleep and come to terms with marrying his brother's widow. He also has a major problem with the stigma involved. The immediate family has seen changes and are very concerned and are willing to now fully support the seperation if that is what he wishes.

He feels very guilty and uncomfortable when she calls and texts from Pakistan. The girl is pious but when he sometimes thinks of her he sometimes thinks of his deceased brother. He also has a major problem with visiting Pakistan and being connected to the people as the majority of them have ulterior motives and with being married to her will have to make occasional visits.

He feels extremley guity as he agreed to the marriage even thought he was emotionally sensitive and she is the innocent party. He has doubt whether he will be able to give her her right and it will cause more problems if he continues and it does not work out. The immdiate family is supportive but it will cause major problems amongst other family members.

He is scared that if he brings her to the UK and is not able to make things work, she will be stranded and put up with whatever is dealt to her which in turn will stop them both having happiness. He has told her of his concerns and she said that she cannot get divorced and she will be stained for life and will not be able to console her parents.

She is a pious women, hafiz quran and says to recite Quran and put his faith in Allah. He is confident she will be able to remarry and does not want to destroy 2 lives. Is this valid enough reason to divorce? Will he be sinned? The family is currently suffering, especially his poor mother as she can see his despair.. This situation really needs to be resolved one way or another before something tragic happens,

may Allah forbid it.

Please reply asap.


- Imaran

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20 Responses »

  1. Salaams,

    I think what is going on is tragic and somewhat nauseating. This poor widow has been treated by a piece of property by both her in laws and her own family. At no point in the entire post does it sound like her wishes or desires were factored in. She is her own woman, and in the unfortunate event of her husband's passing she is free to choose whomever she wills to marry. She was not under any obligation to marry from her husband's family, unless that's what she really wanted. The way she was treated during this very sensitive time is sickening.

    The brother in law, now husband, was also dealt with unjustly. He should have never been approached (none of the brothers, for that matter) during the time they were grieving the loss of their own flesh and blood to serve as a supplement husband. The entire idea was ridiculous to begin with. Although this man seems to have a sense of conscious as far as his intentions to take care of a sister in need, that was never his (or his family's) problem to begin with. In the event a lady is widowed, her biological family is to take care of her until she remarries. Deciding she should marry her brother in law is not the way that is supposed to be carried out.

    So now this poor man and young lady are in this dilemma. I personally think the grounds for divorce are solid, because this is not the way a marriage is to be contracted to begin with. Her feelings of being unmarriageable are not based on reason if she is indeed pious and young. I think this man needs to save himself from continuing trauma (which are exactly what the symptoms described are indicative of) and let her go in peace. She will likely, with the passing of time and setting better boundaries with her own family, find another man to share her life with; as will this brother. In addition, he should certainly NOT bring her to UK for the precise reasons you outlined.

    In summary, since this marriage was one that came out of coercion, there will be no sin if he divorces her in my opinion. Divorcing someone is not a sin unless it is done frivolously, and in my view the only thing done with caprice in this instance was forcing a grieving widow to marry her grieving brother in law. How insensitive and selfish of the families who created this "solution".

    -Amy Editor

  2. I agree with the post above, I feel so bad for both of them is so sad for this young man he isn't happy and he is in so much pain, I just can not believe people are like that forcing marriage is just sad marriage isn't a day or two is a life time. Insallah Allah both of them.

  3. I repeat what Amy said above and would also like to add that this sister, as you mentioned who is hafid quran etc should know better and trust in Allah. she need not pressure the brother in law telling him that she will have a stigma and never remarry. She is making him guilty and making excuse not acceptable to Islam (stigma, will never remarry etc). Only Allah knows the future and he alone can take any situation and make it how he wants. The brother in law should live his life how he wants to live it, the sister's responsibility is her father and brother and Allah will provide for her. If its meant for her to remarry she will under Allah's power regardless of whatever stigma she fears. A religious muslim man or woman should understand the meaning of naseeb/destiny and put their trust in Allah.

    marriage should not be taken into lightly and to ruin this man's life is not fair at all.

    May Allah guide them to the right path. amen.

  4. Salaam.
    Thankyou soo much for your responses. He feels a little more hopeful of his situation.

    He still feels extremely guilty never the less as he said even thought he agrees he was some what emtionaly coerced.,he was in a sane frame of mind when he agreed to marry. He was also asked if he was sure a number of times and still proceeded with the marriage.

    He is soo concerned of his situation as he has said a number of times that he fears meeting ALLAH swt after his death as he may be asked by his lord why did he not try harder with the marriage and will then be thrown into the hell fire. He has also said may be this is sadaka and or his jihad, regardless if he remains unhappy.

    He went to Pakistan alone without his immediate family as the ticket was already booked and he had a few unrelated matters to attend to. He was also intending to speak to the widow with a murrham present to explain that he could not marry due to her being his brothers widow so she would not think it was due to other reasons and feel in adequate.His sister pleaded to go Pakistan with him as she was concerned he would change his mind due to the pressures and mind games in Pakistan. He did not allow the sister to go and was adament he would not marry.

    His family have made it clear to him that he was coerced through various factors but he sometimes tries to convince himself otherwise. The guilt seems to be eating away at him. He has alway made constructive decsions and is not one to break his word. He feels his pride and family honour are at stake. His family will also face a major backlash and it may create sworn enemies for life. His immediate family are supportive and say that they will deal with whatever comes if he wishes to dissolve the marriage.

    May ALLAH bless all involved and make their jouirney easy.. Ameen. Pls respond.. Imaran.

  5. Salaam. Just another point,
    He has been upfront and expalined the situation to the now wife a number of times within a week or so after the marriage and after returning to the UK. He has asked for forgiveness a number of times and said he has made a grave mistake. He intended to please everyone and is now causing upset to everyone. She refuses to accept what he is saying, or says your a man be strong, be postive, has cried, put your faith in ALLAH swt etc. She has even hinted at hurting herself. He has said how can i be with you if i am not happy and becoming ill. She has even said for him to call her to the UK as she cannot stay in Pakistan and he can take a secound wife. He has said that his family will become suspicious if she does not conceive, she has replied by saying she will say i am not able to concieve hence the second marriage. He says he will not be able to live a lie and only ever intends to have 1 wife. He will also be in despair knowing that she will be in the house going through the motions and not getting love an affection which is the rigths of a wife. He is concerned his dear mum will also be affected. Pls reply

  6. Salaams,

    I wouldn't change what I previously advised based on any of these additional details. As a matter of fact, what you've shared only convinced me more that he needs to divorce her kindly, especially since she is making threats to self harm.

    Like I said before, divorce is neither a sin nor haraam. There's have been many couples who have divorced over less, with nothing held against them. In Bukhari there is a Hadith that says:

     Narrated Ibn 'Abbas: The wife of Thabit bin Qais bin Shammas came to the Prophet and said, "O Allah's Apostle! I do not blame Thabit for any defects in his character or his religion, but I am afraid that I (being a Muslim) may become unthankful for Allah's Blessings." On that, Allah's Apostle said (to her), 'Will you return his garden to him?" She said, "Yes." So she returned his garden to him and the Prophet told him to divorce her.  

    You can see here that prophet Muhammad SAWS granted a lady khula even though he had not done her wrong, just because she was unhappy in her marriage and didn't feel it could be remedied.

    What this brother needs to understand is that we don't marry someone just out of pity or for sadaqa purposes. All forms of sadaqa are to be given cheerfully and willingly anyway, but marriage is meant to be so much more than that. He shouldn't let himself be trapped into a life of misery, and keep her from finding someone who might truly love her, just because she and her family won't stop trying to emotionally blackmail him.

    -Amy Editor

  7. Subhan'Allah this is a very hard situation, if only he stuck to his guns and refused point blank to marry her now she will be stigmatized and her life made difficult, maybe he should go back to Pakistan with his mother and explain his feeling to all involved face to face and put all the blame solely on himself with the mother praising the girl and showing that it was all their doing and meant in the best way but in reality to much to ask him to go through, i think in this case you have to be a little cruel to be kind in the long run that would be better for all involved insha'Allah khair for all of them,

  8. Salaam

    He has beaten himself over the head and said many times to himself only if he would have stuck to his guns, He feels he is responsible for everything, and the hurt caused.

    He seems to think going to Pakistan would only cause more problems, as some peope may not take NO for an answer and may become very disrespectful.The girl has also said a number of times that we should not live for ourselves and sometimes make sacrifices, we should never upset our family especially our mothers. We should only ever make them happy and not cause them sadness. Please reply back.

    Please keep all involved in your duas.
    Wasalaam imaran

  9. Brother he cant hide away from this the longer he takes the harder it will be, staying here and not facing the problem is not helping anyone, tell him to go their face to face he has to go back and explain that it does not feel right, also brother tell him to pray and make dua and not get lost in emotion having a breakdown is the last thing his mother needs to see after losing one son he needs to be strong about this and i believe that the sister involved would feel terrible living with a man that does not want her, its better to be upset for a year than living a lifetime of misery and what ifs.Allahu yalam,

  10. Salaam.
    His family/ mother is very simple and not one for getting involved in arguements hence why he cant see going to Pakistan being a good idea. He feels they will be overwhelmed with the politics and pressure. He is contemplating talking to elder members via phone and explaining all in a respectful sensitive manner, expecting a backlash and blackmail and then remaiming firm and sending the divorce paper?.

    • Salaams,

      To be honest, this aspect deals more with the local legal aspects of the divorce. If they married in pakistan, he would have to follow whatever protocol to file a legal divorce per their laws, since that's where she is still living. He may or may not need to physically go there to take care of that. Either way, I don't see why he would need to inform any of her extended family what he is doing. He should kindly and succinctly give his wife notice that he will be divorcing her, and then file. After that, no contact with her or any of her family. This will help reduce any efforts on their part to change his mind.

      -Amy Editor

  11. If that is the only way then he should do what he thinks is right, insha'Allah khary,

  12. It is all about respect and in the East our elders represent us, she is not a girl on her own with no back up she comes from a family and that family need's to be approached in a way that does not take them lightly its so easy to start life long feuds and resentment that is why i think face to face would be better but if the brother cant then it will be less stressful for sure,

    • Salaams,
      I understand what you are saying, but what I've noticed is that some eastern cultures tend to take the idea of familial respect and consideration to an extreme, creating unislamic situations like this one. Continuing to feed into that sick cycle after important boundaries have already been violated only perpetuated a dysfunctional system that works against individuals generation after generation. When things get out of control "for the sake of family", that's when it's time to put self respect and ones Islamic rights ahead of culture. Since this brother has clearly outlined that approaching family would be counterproductive and potentially detrimental, it's best (in my opinion) he avoid doing so.

      -Amy Editor

  13. Salaam,
    Yes for sure, generally familys in Pakistan take these situations way out of context and to another level. They tend to somtimes put traditions and culture in front of the deen. The brother is willing to fly to Pakistan and do whatever it takes to lessen the blow but it was partly due to going there in the first place which is why he has ended up in this situation.

    The brother is at a point where he feels he can now justify inshALLAH infront of ALLAHswt the reasons for divorce, and is deciding to move forward with it.

    May ALLAHswt bless you all for your time and comments, especially sister Amy, may you all have goodness in this life and the next. Ameen! Please keep the brother and all involved in your duas, May ALLAHswt make it easy for themto move forward with this and bless them with something better. Ameen.

  14. I agree sister Amy culture before deen has ruined so many lives, insha'Allah we wont carry it on with our children,

  15. Salaam, Jazak ALLAH khair for your imput also sister zeena and muslimgirl. May ALLAH bless you all. Ameen, Your brother in islam.

  16. Ameen to your Dua bother.

  17. If this brother can't committ to the relation just leave her now... it's not your fault that your brother has past away or that she's a widow... You can't give her a wifes rights because you can't committ to the relation .. you new this & went ahead with
    Nikah .. Intention matters..

  18. Please can you tell me how i can delete this post as i have got my answers and i am uncomfortable with it being listed or can the administrators please take down the listing. Imaran

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