Islamic marriage advice and family advice

We are having a conflict with my sister…

Salaam aleikum. I apologize in advance for the length of this question and thank you for your patience while I explain a rather complicated family situation.

This serious situation concerns my 27 year old sister. She is mashallah well educated, striving to be a better Muslimah, and is very beautiful. She is also naïve, and has never been married. She currently lives with my husband and I, and has done so for the past 9 months.

She has just met a Saudi man who is Shia, from the East coast of Saudi. He is 2 years younger than her, with a wife and two young children (the oldest is 6) back in Saudi Arabia. This man is a student who has a scholarship here in the US for 2 years. He is studying to be an engineer, and claims to be divorced from his wife in Saudi. His family and "ex-wife" are currently caring for his kids.

The problem is this: my sister has only known this man for 6 months and the two of them now feel that they are soulmates and want to marry as soon as he can support her financially.

My father is traveling internationally for an extended period of time. My sister has not told my father of the situation, but she has told my mother, who strongly believes this Saudi man is not a good match for my sister.

My sister has looked to my husband for guidance on this matter. My mother approves of my husband's role in this matter as she trusts his judgement because he is a good Muslim man, alhamdulillah. My sister told my husband she wanted to marry this man last weekend. My husband initially agreed to meet him, although he expressed reservations about this man's current situation concerning his ex-wife and family, as well as the fact that this man is Shia. My husband had agreed to meet the man this coming weekend. My husband did not have time to meet him last weekend as he is a full-time student who also works part time to support us. This is an issue because my sister is an impatient person....

My husband has been out of town for two days. The first night he was gone, she met with this man, alone, at night after work. She sent me a message saying she was with him, and claims nothing bad is happening but that she needed to talk to him face to face about how they will arrange things with the families so they can marry.

I was furious and told her that telling me she is out with this man does not legitimize what they are doing. I also said that if she does not know what is Islamically correct, this Saudi man should, if he is the good man she claims him to be. I was willing to give him a chance before, but after this, I do not believe he is a good influence on my sister. It is bad enough she spends hours on the phone with him and he often visits her at work (her boss, who is a Muslim, set them up together and thinks this Saudi man is a good match for my sister.)

When my husband learned from me that she arrived home after 11 PM, and that she was with this man, he was furious also. She has broken the rules of our house, and my husband and I feel disrespected as she asked us to meet him then went behind our backs to see him.

We do not understand why she would even ask us to meet this man if she will do whatever she wants to do anyway. My sister claims she does not care what my parents think but that our opinion is what matters to her.

My husband no longer wishes to meet this man, and wants my sister to either break it off with him and continue to live with us, or says that if she wants to stay with this man, she can find her own place to live because this man is playing with her and is encouraging her to sin. My husband now belives this man wants to use my sister and have fun while he is here, and will cast her aside and go home to his wife and kids back in Saudi after the two years are over.

My sister and I had a terrible fight about this. I told her she has put me in a bad position in terms of expecting me to soften my husband towards this man while I know they are not behaving appropriately. My sister is stubborn, aggressively defensive about this man, and she blames me for this mess, saying it is essentially my fault that my husband is so angry. She now stomps around the house and does not want to speak to me.

My husband has had enough of the drama and says we have to focus on our own young children. My husband arrives home today and will give her the ultimatum tonight.

What should I do-cut her out of our lives if she continues with this man? Or just support her regardless of her decision? We are just trying to protect her. I love her and do not want her to be hurt. Your guidance is most appreciated.


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9 Responses »

  1. OP: My husband no longer wishes to meet this man, and wants my sister to either break it off with him and continue to live with us, or says that if she wants to stay with this man, she can find her own place to live because this man is playing with her and is encouraging her to sin.

    Your sister is 27 years old. Your husband agreed to meet that man. If you sister wants to do anything with this man, she could easily slip away from office and go to this man's apartment.

    Without meeting this man, you want your sister to reject this man, that does not look fair.

    Is you sister a US citizen? Is she planning to go live in Saudi arab after marriage? Are there other guys you know of who want to marry your sister?

    Your husband should meet this man. You guys should discuss pros and cons with the sister after the meeting. Giving ultimatum is a bad thing.

  2. Assalam alaikum,

    Since your husband is involved at this point, I feel that he should meet with the man. Once he does, he can tell your sister that this man is not right for her and he should in fact tell the man the same thing to his face. Hopefully, the man your sister has met will feel embarrassed and back away. This isn't your husband's responsibility, but he is involved and this issue is more important than anyone's ego being hurt, it is more about protecting your sister.

    I also believe that you should tell your father too and that he should be involved. Your mother should tell him and NOT keep this a secret.

    The thing that is lacking in this situation is that this man has not had to deal with any males at all so far--it has been really easy for him.

    I suggest all of the above because I believe this is better than cutting yourself off from your sister. At least after you try your best, you won't feel regrets about what you tried for your sister.

    Also, don't argue with your sister. Simply tell her where you stand and when you feel overcome with anger, either end the conversation or tell her you will only talk to her when she is really ready to listen and not pretend listen. Since you live in the US, you are limited in what you can do or ask your sister to do. If she won't listen to you at all, write her an email that lists all your concerns in detail because more than likely she will read it than actually listen to you say it.

    May Allah ease your family's difficulties, Ameen.

  3. Saba: Since your husband is involved at this point, I feel that he should meet with the man. Once he does, he can tell your sister that this man is not right for her and he should in fact tell the man the same thing to his face.

    Sister's husband should meet the man with an open mind. Family should investigate this man's background before deciding what they are going to do.

  4. Sister,

    Your sister is playing with fire and she is going to get burned. He is married and is going to play the field while his wife is back home taking care of the kiddies. See it all the time.

    Your sister is a grown woman but she is beyond foolish if she thinks she can stay out late with this guy or any guy for that matter and not know that something is going to happen sooner or later. This guy isn't looking to play a game of Monopoly. He is looking to score, end of story. I can only pray that she is smart enough to listen to all of those who love her before this guy uses her and tosses her aside when he is done with her.


    • Salam sister Najah. Your response is the most direct and helpful. For the others who also responded without insult, thank you as well. As for Sara-perhaps you should be more polite if you truly desire to be helpful and recall that this is an Islamic site. Anyway, as I said in my OP, we have been clear from the start that we are an Islamic household and committing zina is unacceptable. They both knew this, and met alone regardless. They are both adults, but are looking to us for validation. My husband and I will not condone a relationship with a man who is clearly not a good influence. His actions with my sister so far speak louder than words. I repeated Najah's message to my sister to give her a reality check, and she may decide what to do in the coming weeks as she sees fit. It is him or us: we have tried to advise her, but do not have to tolerate such behavior in our home. Thank you and salam.

  5. Salam sister.
    It appears from post that you and your family has Pre made your mind against this Saudi man without even meeting with him once. He being bad is all on assumptions.
    Your sister is 27 and this is mature age to be married. By this age women usually start getting desperate due to fear of increasing age .

    It is not hard to find out from other resources if he is lying or is really divorced. If he is lying then you can present proof to your sister and will be easy to convince her against him.
    However if he is divorced then he is truthful and there is no harm in looking into him with positive mind.

  6. I don't understand why you are still not meeting that man. How without meeting that man can you say that he is bad? I think you and your husband are just being egotistical that she met him without your permission that you are now even refusing to meet this man which is foolish.

  7. I agree with Najah
    Your sister is very naive and for one this man is married and could be telling her all sorts to use her.
    Your sister needs to be told never to be with a man alone and use her head wisely. Trust me MEN ESPECIALLY THESE DAYS WILL DO ANYTHING TO USE A WOMAN. Especially when they know that women is easily taken for, I seriously would run from this sort of man.

    • Not all of us.. Some of us hate this behaviour and have been treated this way by women. There's a lot of generalisation going on about the acts of "men". We're not all bad. Shukran

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