Islamic marriage advice and family advice

They want me to marry a person I do not know should I leave home?

Forced Marriage

Forced Marriage

Salaam, I am a 23 year old student in England. I am currently living with my family. My parents are wanting me to get married to my cousin in Pakistan who I have only seen once, 5 years ago. He does not know English and I don't even know if we are compatible or not. I have tried explaining these concerns to my parents but they believe that their brothers/sisters are more important than my happiness.

My older sister got married 6 years ago. She does not get on at all with her husband and are constantly fighting. He does not respect her and doesn't even trust her with the money that he earns. She has told my parents a number of times that she wants a divorce and does not want to live with him anymore. But my parents shout at her, they argue and sometimes my dad even gets violent with her.

No one listens to her and they just brush the issue under the carpet. They continue giving him another chance and have so for the last 6 years. We have even talked to my parents about how my sister feels, but they tell us that this issue does not concern us.

I am scared that the same thing will happen to me. I will be stuck in a marriage which I do not want to be in. But my parents are not listening to anything that I say, they are pressurizing me to get married to this cousin of mine. I am so scared that my life will turn out like my sisters. She's always crying and feels that she'd be better off dead. She's even said this to my mum but she always says 'think of our izzat (honour). Think of what our brothers/sisters in Pakistan will say'. Their izzat is more important to them than us!

I want to leave home, and move away somewhere to start my life on my own. I have enough money to to this. I don't want to tell my parents or any of my family where I will go. I want to start my life on my own without being scared of having to get married, and being stuck in a life like my sister's.

I know that in Islam we have to respect our parents and that Allah's happiness is in our parents happiness. But I can't see any other way out. I don't know what to do.


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10 Responses »

  1. Anika,

    Houston! We have a problem.

    I can understand your predicament. However, I would suggest that time has not yet arrived to take any radical decision. Things haven't gone out of hand. Any irrational step would further jeopardize the honour of your family.

    I'm 23 year old lad just like you. Parents in the subcontinent are driven by preconceived notions of the society and family.

    I would advise you to speak to your Uncle or Aunt or Imam who could penetrate the mindset of your Parents. Just ask for some space and time.

    You could accost your cousin with whom you are supposed to get married and probably convince him that you two are not made for each other. If his heart would be clean then He would perceive your problem else You are his Visa for England.

    If you have any other Muslim guy in your mind, then put forth his candidature.

    Most importantly put your faith in Allah. You could do Istikhara. Don't set presumptions or be dogmatic about this guy. You did not know English when you were born. He might be able to adapt to your culture and you could make a few compromises. Take your time. Hope this helps!

  2. AsSalaamu Alaukum Sister

    I believe other brothers and sisters will give you a better advice.

    What I can say now is that, it's not right in Islam that your parent will want to force you to marry someone your heart does not like, but at the same time I do not think running away from your family is a good idea, because you can't really tell whether what you might face after running away will be worse than staying with your family and doing what they want.

    I think you should tell us more about why your parent what you to marry this brother, is it for religious purposes or just a way for him to enter England by marrying you? If it's for religious purposes, you should find a way to investigate much about the brother and know what he really is and do Istikhara at the same time - perhaps you may end up liking him if he is really a good Muslim brother Insha'Allah (and you can teach him English when you get married and make him yours Insha'Allah), but if there is no way you can investigate about him, you can just do the Istikhara alone, and then continue to do it and see what you would feel again about the marriage. If your heart still doesn't feel safe to marry him, discuss it with any Imam and have him talk to your parent.

    However, if your parent's purpose is for the brother to enter England by marrying you, then you should NEVER marry him however, though you should NOT run away from your family, but you can threaten them about running away at each time when they try to force you, and if you have any relative in England you may go and live with them for a while.

    This is all I can think for now, and I believe you will be able to get better advices from others Insha'Allah

    May Allah decree the best for you, Ameen!!!

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  4. Sister,

    Stand your ground and do not give in. Islam gives you rights to marry a Muslim man of your choosing. Your parents do not have the right to force your cousin upon you as a potential spouse. You have every right to say, "no", and they need to respect that.


  5. Assalamualaikum

    This is q quite common situation with no easy solution. But if you are willing to understand each party's position then you will be able to amicably resolve the issue.

    Your Parents: They want to see you get married either because of social pressure or because they understand that the longer they wait in a western society the harder it will be for you to find a suitable partner (there is truth in the latter, as we grow older our ability to change our habits and lifestyles decreases). They grew up in an era where both parties made the marriage work and made adjustments. They also understand/fear that with more western education and western lifestyle you will become a strong minded person and lose the ability to make adjustments to make the marriage work. They are coming from an era where majority of the guys were straight as an arrow (simple minded and honest) and if the marriage failed then it was mostly due to the wife's inability to compromise (their assessment of their era is pretty correct). The problem is that they don't realize that times have changed drastically.

    Your Cousin/Pakistani Guys: Don't hold his lack of English skills against him but if he is unable to even understand English then he might be a great guy but he is not the guy for you. On the other hand there are going to plenty of guys in Pakistan who are going to be a great match for you, you just have to give them a chance. You have to realize that they are coming from a social setup which is alien to you and likewise they are coming into a social setup which is pretty alien to them. I have many friends from Pakistan settled in England.

    You: You are a little bit scarred by what happened to your sister and you probably have heard many horror stories. And because you don't know much about Pakistan you are not sure how to resolve your predicament.

    Now most parents living abroad tend to make the common mistake that they look for a decent guy in the family blindly hoping that the person would be kind and considerate to their daughter. They tend to overlook his education hoping that family ties will compensate for lack of qualifications. The one thing that almost every girl's parents overlook is that in Pakistani culture, the husband wants to believe that he is bringing something of value to the table, either his education or his status, and if this is not the case then the marriage is doomed to fail. (I believe that Islam also has some similar guidelines when finding a match, although Islam advises to overlook everything else if the wife/husband to be are righteous).

    So to get out of your predicament, follow the following:
    i) Make sure he is well educated and not just someone holding degrees which he acquired after many struggles (I know from experience that most Pakistani guys who go to universities and clear their exams without much struggle are decent human beings and know the value of hard work. They just don't expect things to be handed to them on a plate). You can tell your parents that you are open to marrying someone from Pakistan as long as he is well educated.
    ii) If he is well educated then he shouldn't have problem learning english or he already knows english but is not fluent.
    iii) As a litmus test (my personal experience), a person who is trying to take advantage of you by marrying you, get him to agree to outrageous and if he easily agrees then you should be wary of this person, a person who is not going to exploit you will try to convey displeasure (this approach can backfire so use it at your own risk as you could put a sincere person in serious difficulty)
    iv) Try to get someone reasonable to talk to your parents on your behalf, there are plenty of nice hardworking guys who will treat you with respect that you deserve, its just a shame that they get ignored because nobody knows how to recognize them.

    When you finally get married and if it is someone from Pakistan, never ever make them feel as if you and your family did him a favor by getting their daughter married otherwise who would be rotting in Pakistan. This mentality is going to doom your marriage even if the person is a very nice guy.

    In the end make lots of prayers to Allah and Inshallah you will find a good match for you.

    May Allah make it easy for you.

  6. Salam walaikum if forced/pressured marriages are haram, why do so many muslim families emotionally blackmail their child/sibling into the marriage, wont the marriage be invalid?

  7. Walaikumassalam Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu.

    Do not run away from your home. You could ruin your life if you run away.

    What if in future you want to marry someone ? don't you know that a girl's marriage is invalid without a wali(guardian) ??

    You can get into more complications.

    Tell your parents that they cannot force you to marry someone. Be Obedient and kind with them. They have many rights over you.

    DO NOT RUN AWAY. This is not the solution to the problem.

    Ask a scholar or your grand parents or your other relatives to speak with your parents.

    may Allah make it easy for you and us.

    May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet, his family and Companions!

  8. Hi,
    I am also in a similar situation right now , but some what different i.e. i am in Lahore pakistan , and i am 23 age , ............since 2 or 3 years they have come up with this topic and now forcing me to get married, although they hav no rishta right now . They just talk scaristically with me that We r not going to keep u all our life in this house' , do the dishes , and go n get married and get lost"

    yes these r their comments , its more of mental abuse then physicall , but i am very sensitive and weak in health person ,

    ( i wanted to study engineering or sciences , but he did not admitted in any such university , so that i would not become more educated then him.)

    now i have a just a social B.A degree , and with this I will have to struggle all my life , to earn something for my living.

    So , plz I am considering to leave home in Lahore and run away , will it be oke ?
    plz tell me what shud i do 🙁

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