Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: My family does not know that I converted to Islam. Recently, a brother asked me to marry him; the age difference between us is quite big, but we both understand each other and we both have the same expectations from this possible marriage.
1. If my father is not present in my life, who will be the wali during the marriage ceremony?
2. Does my mother have a role in the marriage ceremony?
3. How can I make sure that my future husband understands the difficulties of my situation?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah place ease in your situation, and grant guidance and understanding to your family.
In the Hanafi school of thought, you can get married without a wali. However, for your own protection and well-being, I would advise you to seek a righteous and compassionate older Muslim man as your guardian. Marriage is a lifelong journey of self-improvement. It is difficult to navigate the ups and downs of marriage without the support of close family and friends. A good, trustworthy wali and his family could be an invaluable source of support for you and your future husband.
Please perform the Prayer of guidance about the possibility of telling your parents that you are Muslim. Even though your parents will undoubtedly be very upset, time heals all wounds. By ‘coming clean’ with them, you stand a better chance of healing your relationship with them and moving forward. Have this difficult conversation now, before you have children.
Getting married is the perfect opportunity to invite your family into your new life as a Muslim. Show them that they still matter, and that you still care about then even though you’ve changed religions. You are still their daughter/sister/niece. Your mother will still have role in the marriage celebration – she remains the honoured mother of the bride. Bridge the gaps in their understanding with sincere, compassionate and honest conversations with them. Although it may shock them that you want to marry earlier than they expected, your family ultimately wants you to be happy.
Keep in mind that the stress of keeping your Islam secret may negatively impact on your marriage. The first year of marriage is already a huge adjustment – you do not need the added pressure of tiptoeing around your family. Allah, ultimately, in the Turner of Hearts. In the best possible scenario, the admission of your Islam may plant a seed of belief in their hearts. Truly, nothing is difficult for Allah Most High.
“If Allah helps you, none can overcome you; and if He forsakes you, who is there after Him that can help you? And in Allah (Alone) let believers put their trust.” [Quran, 3:160]
Make dua in the last third of the night. Strive to pray two raka’as of regular tahajjud. Give in charity. Ask Allah to place understanding and acceptance in your future husband’s heart. There is no sure-fire way to guarantee anything in life, least of all the response of another human being. All we can do is take the means and place our trust in Allah.
Your reality is clearest to you, and it will take a lot of understanding and empathy for your future husband to see where you’re coming from. If he does not reach complete understanding, then I pray that at least he is able to attain acceptance of your situation.
Reach out and build strong friendships with other Muslim sisters and their families. Too many convert sisters find themselves in difficult situations because they have no one else to turn to when they face trials in their marriages.
I recommend that you and your future husband enrol in SeekersGuidance’s Successful Islamic Marriage course for more support.
I pray that Allah blesses you and your future tranquil with a tranquil marriage, and righteous children who will be the coolness of your eyes.
Raidah Shah Idil
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani