I Got Engaged to My Cousin to Please My Parents. How Do I Break off My Engagement Without Being Harsh?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I got engaged one year ago to my cousin. I dislike him; he is not well-qualified, but I could not refuse my parents. I hoped that I would start loving him, but this did not happen.

I cannot sleep at night. These thoughts affect my studies. How do I get rid of this forced engagement without being harsh?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. Dear sister, may Allah ease your hardship and and bless you with the best husband for you.

Parents

It is difficult for many virtuous Muslim children to say no to their parents. However, reflect on your state. You are currently depressed, dislike your fiancé, and your studies are affected. Although we strive to always respect our parents, we do not obey them in that which is haram or harmful. It is clear to me that being engaged to your cousin is causing you many levels of harm.

Solution

I recommend that you speak to your parents calmly, and explain your unhappiness with your engagement. Tell them that you do not want to marry your cousin. Apologise for not being upfront from the very beginning, and say that you did not want to disappoint them. Give them gifts to soften their hearts. Remain respectful throughout your discussions with them.

Whatever you do, try your best to keep calm and respectful. There is no need to resort to harshness to end your engagement. Treating your parents harshly would be impermissible. Ask them to please help you end your engagement. Although It is likely that your cousin, his parents, and your extended family will be very upset by your decision, inshaAllah, that storm will pass. Please perform the Prayer of Need and beg Allah to smooth everything over for you.

If your parents do not agree to you breaking off the engagement, is there a compassionate local scholar or community elder who can help advocate for you? Please consult them and ask them for help. Your marriage contract will be invalid if you are forced.

Looking forward

Please complete this course Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life to help you prepare for your eventual marriage. Share what you learn with your parents, so that they will be on the same page as you.

So many parents have disagreements on the topic of marriage and their children. InshaAllah, understanding the spirit and the law behind a successful Islamic marriage will help you and your parents in the future.

Please refer to the following links:

VIDEO: How To Develop Meaningful Relationships With Parents (Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Shaykh Zahir Bacchus & Shaykh Rami Nsour)
Marriage in Islam: A Reader
What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani