Q: I am 18 and I have a boyfriend of 2 years and we discuss getting married at a young age. We struggle with how to tell our parents one day soon in a couple of years but battle with ourselves as to what age our parents will be more accepting. The typical marital age in our society is around 25-27. We both want a nikaah when we are around 21-22 even if it means living separately in our own family homes. He is practising and has taken a gap year to focus solely on his Islamic studies as he is a titled Qari and trying to become a Hafiz. Although we know it is haraam to date, it is something we went into before we became more deeply involved within the folds of Islam and it is difficult now to not be together. My family know him and his family know me through a mutual relative (marriage). There are no issues between our families but we know our parents wont be accepting of us getting married young because in this society we are told to get our degrees and get a stable job, to become established before considering marriage. After researching more about how Islam really encourages people to marry young, my inner peace is not there as much. I feel uneasy knowing how difficult it will be to have a nikaah at the age of 21 for instance. He is more scared of telling his parents because both his parents have that mentality, whereas only my mum has the mentality of becoming established before marriage. My dad on the other hand I know will be more understanding of wanting to get a nikaah at a younger age as he recently spoke to me about how it is better to not wait too long to get married and discussed a couple benefits of marrying young and why Islam encourages it. I do not know what to do or when to do anything and it is just something I battle with because although I am scared about discussing any of it with my parents, I know he is more afraid of discussing it with his parents and I do not want him to feel like as if I am pressurising him when he himself is struggling more than I am.
A: In Islam it is not permissible for a girl to be in contact or to speak casually with a non-mahram boy. You should sincerely repent to Allah Ta’ala for getting involved in this sin and make a firm resolve that you will not repeat this in the future. The Islamic teaching is that a girl should consult her parents and allow them to decide in the matters of nikaah. It is not in keeping with shame and modesty that a girl independently looks for her own suitor. If you wish to get married to this boy, then you should mention it to your parents.
And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.
Mufti Zakaria Makada
Checked & Approved:
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)