Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam aleykum,
I am in love with a non-muslim girl and want to marry her. My family wants me to get engaged to and marry my cousin, but I feel I can’t be happy with her. The girl whom I want to marry wants me to wait for her for the next 3 years, after which she will convert to marry me. What should I do?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. Please forgive me for the delay.
You are in a very difficult situation. One thing is clear – it would be deeply unjust for you to marry your cousin, given the fact that you are in love with another woman.
I encourage you to be honest with your family. Tell them that you are not ready to get married because you are in love with a non-Muslim woman, who says she will convert to marry you three years from now.
This will take a lot of courage from you. It has been easier to hide your sinful relationship, but now your family wants to arrange a marriage for you. It is time for you to take responsibility for your actions, and make good on your Islam.
I do not know what is in your girlfriend’s heart. Only Allah does. I would encourage her to embrace Islam as soon as she can, and not wait for three years from now. There is no guarantee that any of us will live to see tomorrow, let alone three years from now. It is far better for her to die on Islam.
Please do your research about what a successful Islamic marriage looks like. Love is not enough. Love, physical attraction, desire – all of these are not enough to maintain a marriage, especially through the ups and downs of life.
I encourage you to read books such as Before the Wedding: Questions for Muslims to Ask Before Getting Married and Before You Tie The Knot.
Think about the kind of mother you want your children to have. Please remember that the bulk of child-rearing will lie on your wife, the mother of your children. Your influence will be limited because you will most probably spend most of your time working outside the home to support your family.
Even if the practice of Islam is not a priority for you, please know that your children are still the greatest trust given to you. Your children’s first teacher is their mother.
Please see: Rights of Children in Detail
“There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in Taghut (Satan) and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.” [Qur’an, 2:256]
Please encourage your girlfriend to convert to Islam sooner rather than later, then bring her to your family. That being said, please know that there is no coercion in Islam. This is a decision only she can make.
If she says she will only convert three years from now, then you need to make a decision. The option that is most pleasing to Allah is this – make your repentance, end your relationship, and then approach her for marriage after she becomes Muslim three years from now.
If she is destined to be your wife, then trust that you will find your way back to each other. If she is not, then it is far better for you to free your heart from her.
Your family is likely to be deeply disappointed, ashamed and angry. They have made plans for you out of deep love and concern for you, and you have broken their trust
However, trust can be rebuilt. It is far better for you to be honest with them now, than after you agree to an arranged marriage while you are in love with someone else.
Apologise to them. Ask them how you can make amends. Brainstorm some solutions together.
It is praiseworthy for you to have written to us for advice, but when the heart is in love, it does not listen. If you do listen and choose to end your relationship, then may Allah reward you for your heartbreak and sacrifice. Nothing is lost on Him.
If you do not listen, and persist in your relationship, then please do not get married to your cousin. As hard as it is, please be honest with your family. Tell them the truth, and work together with them in finding a solution. I pray this has been helpful for you.
Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.