I have a question, but let me give you the back story first. So there is this guy I love, and he loves me. We try to keep our conversations strictly about marriage and whenever we feel we are getting out of hand we stop talking to each other because we both know it is Haram. We are 18 years old and are about to leave the country to go to university, he will be going to the UK and I will be going to Canada. It will be very hard for us not to communicate with each other but we know that we must try and by the will of Allah it will be easy for us if we do it for Allah’s sake. We spoke about getting married now but unfortunately early marriage is not part of the norms of our society and this guy is not prepared as he is still not financially stable or anything. He has told his sister and my mother knows. He plans to tell the rest of his family in a few days to consult them and ask them what he should do. It is highly unlikely for them to tell him to ask for my hand in marriage now but my question is: is it a good choice for him to tell his family now? It will simply be to tell them that he is interested in me and we’ve spoken in the past but we stopped because it is Haram. I told him I am not comfortable with him telling his family because if it spreads and our relationship does not work out in the future, my name will always be tied to his and nobody will approach me for marriage. Also his family are people my family sort of ‘know’ so if it doesn’t work out it will be very awkward. Also my other concern is that this conversation he is ‘supposed’ to have with his family about us in a few days is not about asking for my hand so I feel that he should tell his family when he is very serious about marrying me and making it official and my mother agrees. However after expressing my concerns to him he told me that I mustn’t worry about the word spreading because he cares a lot about my reputation and will make sure 100% that nobody from his family will tell anyone and it will never ‘slip’ out. He told me that it is very important for him to tell his family because he cannot keep it from them any longer. He says that they
might tell him something that could help our issue of separation. He plans to tell them before they travel next week and so I told him that I would think about it and let him know soon.
I’m not sure, I did Istikhara and I would trust my feeling afterwards. I feel that I should let him tell his family as it could help us in sha Allah and if it is not meant to be we can stop the Haram now rather than waiting.
Is it the right thing to do? In terms of following Islamic principles? Should I agree to him telling his family now before he is very serious about marriage? Because he just wants to consult them and wants them to guide him through it, nothing more.
Your feedback is very much appreciated, sorry for the very long story, I have nobody else to turn to.
Also, is it wrong for me to let him know how I feel about him? For example, is it Haram for me to just tell him “I love you”? We don’t commit any acts of Zina or any touching, we speak about marriage strictly and sometimes talk about our day and sometimes about our feelings. Is expressing to him how I feel Haram too? In the end we have a serious intention of getting married.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
Sister, may Allah reward you for taking the initiative to write and seek advice about the correct way to move forward in this situation.
First and foremost, it is important to understand the difference between “attraction” and “true love.” The latter only materializes with the blessings of nikah. Your feelings for this man and his feelings for you – at this point – are just attraction. It is important to differentiate between the two.
Secondly, there is no midway point between a man being stranger and being your husband. Meaning, this man is considered a stranger to you until the nikah has actually taken place. Just because the both of you discuss nikah does not mean you can just chat with him like that and tell him “I love you”, even if its on the phone. You are right to have stopped communication with him, and you need to keep it that way.
While the bonds of attraction might initially make it difficult for you not to communicate with each other, think about your love for Allah and His Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) and Insha-Allah it will become easy to make the right choice.
Thirdly, the fact that he wants to discuss the matter openly with his family is a good idea – and it is always a wise choice to consult family. However, he should clearly state to them that he wants to marry you and at the very least have his family propose to your family an engagement between you two – if he is really serious.
As it is now, his telling his family that he is “only interested in you” is not good enough and Allah forbid, could lead to suspicions about your relationship with him should things not work out between you two.
An engagement is simply a promise to marry in the future – as agreed upon between your family and his – and will preserve your reputation should things not work out because it will be a formal proposal from his family to yours to marry at a future date.
Keep in mind that an engagement does not confer any rights upon you or him nor does it make your relationship with him any different (he will still be a stranger to you). Any formal issues regarding the marriage that need to be arranged can easily be done through your families.
At the same time, prolonged engagements and unnecessarily delaying the marriage is not desired and can lead to fitnah.
You have also stated in your inquiry that you will be traveling by yourself outside of your country for studies which is itself another issue that needs reconsideration.
We make dua that your families come to an agreement that preserves the chastity of you both. Ameen.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best,
Mufti Sohail ibn Arif,
Assistant Mufti, Darul Iftaa
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.