I am a young woman who would really like to get married but my parents do not believe in arranged marriages. How should I explain to them that this is their obligation?
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
Helping one’s children marry and find a suitable life-partner is an important parental responsibility.
Abu Sa’id and Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with them both) narrate that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Whoever has a child, he should give him a good name and teach him how to read and write. And when he matures, he should marry him off. When he matures and the father does not marry him off, then if the boy commits a sin, the sin will be on the father.”(Shu’ab al-Iman of al-Bayhaqi)
Umar ibn al-Khattab and Anas ibn Malik (Allah be pleased with them both) narrate that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “It is written in the Tawrah that: Who’s daughter reaches the age of twelve years and he fails to marry her off, then if she commits a sin, the sin will be on the father.” (ibid. Also see: Mishkat al-Masabih, 2/939, no. 3139)
In light of the above, it becomes clear that it is the moral and Islamic responsibility of the parents (and importantly the father) to help their children marry. They should actively look for a suitable spouse for their children and do whatever they can in order for them to find a suitable life companion. They should select a pious spouse for their offspring and spend whatever they need to in this regard. Failure in doing so and being neglectful in this regard will result in them being sinful by Allah Most High.
You state that your parents don’t like the idea of arranged marriages, thus you need to explain to your parents that, it is not necessary Islamically to have a arranged marriage, in the sense that the children are not obliged to marry whom the parents select. The final choice is yours, and you can not be forced into marrying someone whom you don’t wish to marry, for Islamically, both men and women have the full right to choose their spouse.
Thus, if you explain to them that their responsibility is only to help search, recommend and select a suitable person for marriage, after which you will have an independent right to marry or not marry the selected person. You will have the right to look at and speak to (within limits) the suitor in order to determine whether he is the right person for you or otherwise.
If you explain this to your parents in a gentle and polite manner, I am sure that they will understand the concept of parents arranging marriages for their children. They have probably misunderstood the concept of parents helping their children marry.
May Allah Most High make it easy for you in order to carryout this beautiful obligation of marriage, Insha Allah.
And Allah knows best
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK