Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: I am struggling with my family because of my desire to get married. They are against it because she is older than me, not from our cultural background and was not raised Muslim. For them it is humiliating.
What can I do?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah grant you a way out from this tribulation.
Emotional parents can make dramatic statements in anger, many of which they might later regret. Try not to let that get you down. They’re upset, they don’t understand why you want to get married to her, and they have trouble communicating that calmly.
Try looking at it from their perspective. They love you and want what is best for you. They cannot comprehend why you would choose an older convert woman from a different cultural background instead of what they imagine is ideal for you. Even though the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) married our Lady Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her), when it comes down to it, parents are often unable to apply that logic to their own offspring. When you become a parent someday, inshaAllah, you might understand them better. In the meantime, even though you are frustrated with them, you must still treat them with respect and compassion.
I see three options:
1) Work to persuade your family, and then marry with their blessings. This is the ideal scenario.
2) Marry without their consent. This is less than ideal, and it could be very stressful on your new marriage. You are likely to get disowned but it is your responsibility to still reach out and visit your parents, while shielding your wife from their anger. Most parents come around by the time a grandchild arrives.
3) End the relationship and choose someone your parents are more likely to approve of, without compromising on your Islamic values.
Each of these scenarios have their pros and cons. Be honest with yourself about what you are able to do. Please note that marrying without their consent is an absolute last resort, and this should only be done if (a) all means are taken to convince them; and (b) you have consulted a reliable, experienced scholar or religious counsellor. In most cases, parents can be convinced, if children are patient and approach them with wisdom and tact.
When registration re-opens, it would be very beneficial for both of you to complete Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life.
Is there a respected community elder or family member whom you can ask for help? Many parents react poorly when their children try to correct them, especially in matters of deen. Many parents also become very emotional when it comes to their children’s marital prospects, so perhaps a wise elder can help vouch for you and the woman you wish to marry.
Prayer of Guidance and Prayer of Need
You can perform The Prayer of Guidance up to seven times to help you make a decision on whether or not to marry this woman. There’s no need to look for a dream. Just observe what Allah makes easy for you – if He throws obstacles in your way which block your marriage, then the answer is a negative. If He makes it easy, then the answer is a positive. The challenge lies in you submitting to whatever Allah decrees, especially if it goes against what you want.
Please perform The Prayer of Need and ask Allah to soften your parents’ hearts. Anything is possible with Allah’s help.
I pray that Allah guides you to what is most pleasing to Him and most beneficial for you in both worlds.
Please refer to the following links:
What to Do When My Parents Reject My Choice of Spouse Because of Cultural Reasons?
Marriage & Dealing With Parents
Marriage in Islam: A Reader
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani