Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Tribal Laws Marrying Brother’s Widow

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Tribal laws are forcing them to marry.

I am an American-Muslim engaged to a Muslim man from Afghanistan. Because he is from Afghanistan he practices tribal cultures that I do not. That has never been a problem until now.

Here is the dilemma: Approximately one week ago, my finance's brother died leaving behind a wife and children. Now the Quran says that women are not to be inherited. But the tribal law says that because children are involved, my fiance must marry his brother's widow, because not only is he the oldest son but he is the only son.

My fiance does not want to marry her nor does she want to marry him. My fiance father has threatened to disown him, he has told him that he will never be allowed to return home and that he will bring dishonor to his family.

My fiance has spoken to his brother's widow and has asked her to speak up, tell them that this is not what she wants, but she says that her family will kill her if she does not marry him. My fiance parents are afraid that they will never be able to see their grandchildren again.

What I would like to know is if there is anyway around this without him losing his family? He is an honorable man and will do the right thing if push comes to shove, even if that means walking away from me. I have told him that no matter his decision I will honor it, even if that means walking away. My fiance is here in America, but his family is back in Afghanistan.


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5 Responses »

  1. I wonder how the tribe will deal with the situation if you both were married.
    Did you sponsor him for green card?

  2. AssalamuAlaikom Sister Samira

    This is indeed a crossroads for all parties involved, and a difficult situation that requires wise and thorough thinking.

    MashaaAlah you are a wise sister indeed Samira.
    I like your readiness to honor his decision, no matter what, even if that means walking away from you .

    This tribal law, even though it limits the choices of family members, the reason behind it is a noble one, i.e, to protect the weak , the widow and her children, in a society that lives relatively a tough life. .. its vital to know the wisdom behind it.
    I by no means endorse applying it by force, because no matter how noble an action is, without voluntary acceptance of parties involved, it loses its good meaning and become a problem of its own.

    Taking care of orphans and sponsoring one is one of the righteous deeds which Islam encourages us to do. Its among the means of not only entering Paradise, but also attaining the highest positions therein, close to the prophet SAW. In the hadith the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him):

    I and the one who takes care of an orphan and provide for him, will be in Paradise like these two (fingers) ” – and he gestured with his index and middle fingers, holding them apart.

    - Al-Bukhaari, 5304.

    In another hadith the prophet (PBUH) said,

    "Whoever caresses the head of an orphan (in affection), solely for the sake of Allah, a good deed will be written to his account for EVERY HAIR over which he passed his hand.

    – narrated by Abu Hurairah

    Its a highly encouraged noble act in Islam, and if its .done with the right intention, (the key to attaining the reward of Allah (SW), like in all other actions), its reward is to be close to the prophet in paradise. that's a great great reward indeed sister Samirah... Just imagine what kind of other good deeds can bring reward close to this, . ( may Allah grant us the companionship of the prophet SAW in paradise)

    For your fiance, his family will not change their position unless somebody offers to marry the widow, witch is least likely. So even though its hard, your fiance will most probably not go against his family wishes. its less harder than losing them, and its still a small sacrifice for attaining his parents pleasure, the people who were the reason of his existence in life.

    Honorable men are a RARE commodity nowadays, and hard to find. and I can see its not an easy thing for you to breakup with him. So my advice is to be proactive and make your choice now, and not just follow where the circumstances may lead.

    What about not having to choose between your fiance losing his family or losing you.?ِ
    Will you be prepared to share your future husband this responsibility and great reward, by becoming part of a bigger family.? or is it beyond what you can handle
    If you are willing to try, what is the best way to go about it?
    what conditions, if followed by your future husband, will make things easier for you.
    would it be better if you guys get married first, and later on he get married to the widow as a second wife.

    Its not an easy decision, but the reward is not a small reward too, and on top of that you win your fiance.
    Letting him go is an equally hard decision too.

    so do not rush to answer.. take your time and think about it thoroughly. Make istkharah, and lots of prayers that Allah guides you to what is good for you in the end.

    I ask Allah SW to make it easy for you.

  3. I can understand sister this a canfusing difficult satuation to be in. I myself is an afghan from afghanistan and i have never heard of somthing like if man dies and leaves his wife with kids his brother "must" marry her. This is not a law its just somthig which some people are doing it for their own selfishness and for socity. That widow dosnt want to marry and son dosnt want to marry then why their forceing both for marriege?? This isnt protacting the woman and her kids this is purly this stupit culture their are following so that the woman wont be able to marry outside of their famly and socity will not talk bad about them. They dont care whether it will make this woman and man happy or not as long as their honor in front of the socity is save. I have seen many cases like this, they force both son and doughter in low to marry eachother and then after marrieg the girl is the one who suffers the most becuse the husband either leaves her and go to anther country, or he dosnt fullfill his rights abuse her emotionaly and physicly or in most cases he marry a secound wife. After all this has happend the famly espicily thoses selfish and greedy perents will say this was in her or their destany we just wanted their happiness!!!! They will cantinu to watch that couple suffering but wont do anything to fix the problem.

    Now u knw a little about this stupit cultural thing and why they do such a thing u need talk to ur faince. This will ruin not just ur, ur faince that woman but it will ruint those kids lives whom will be involved in this.
    U said u will eccept his disition whtever it will be. Dont do this!! Ur engaged to him they have no right to break ur engement then force him to marry her.. U need to stand up for ur self do not just eccpet wht he disides. Talk to him. Talk to his famly that girls famly. If they didnt listen and stil wanted to force then ur faince should stand up for himself and marry u instead of eccepting tht force marrieg. It is his famly choice whether they gonna ecce pt ur marriege or disown him. They cant just force him by balckmailing him emotionaly.

    By the way can u understand thier language?? Have u ever heard them talking about all this or do u just listen to ur faince??? If u cant undertand their language or cammunicate with them then probably theres more in to this story which ur faince might have not told u. They cant just break ur engement with him. As far as i know calling off engament in afghanistan is also a very bad thing to do. They take engement like marrieg once done can not be undone no matter wht. Because they scared it will bring shame to them in socity. All they do is thinking about socity and how to maintain their honor in socity. They follow culture more then wht islam has thought them.

    May allah make it easy for u.

  4. Salaam sister,

    Thank Allah that you have not married this guy yet. I think there are lots of issues in his tribe culture. Do you really want to marry this man and then suffer if something happens to you. If you are not ok with the culture of the tribe then it is best to not marry him. Or else you will have to deal with other cultures which are present in that tribe.

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