Question: I have gotten to know a guy who is practicing and ticks all my boxes for marriage. However, my family does not approve of him because his mum passed away when he was young, and his dad remarried again and then got divorced. My family thinks this is not a good family only because his father is divorced. Is this an Islamically valid reason for my family to reject a proposal for me?
Thank you for your question. No, this is not a valid reason to reject a suitor in Islam. Kafa’ah (suitability) is one aspect that should be considered for marriage, but it is not as important as man’s religion and piety. The criteria for suitability is explained here from the Reliance of the Traveller:
“m4.0 A SUITABLE MATCH (KAFA’A)
(N: The definition of a suitable match should not be misunderstood as a recommendation for whom to marry. It is merely a legal restriction to protect a woman’s interests when the father or grandfather of a virgin marry her to someone without her consent (dis: m3.13,15). As for when she wishes to marry someone who is not a suitable match and her guardian has no objection, there is nothing wrong or offensive in her doing so.)
m4.1 Suitability concerns lineage, religiousness, profession, and being free of defects that permit annulling the marriage contract (def: m7). (N: As for color, it is of no consideration in suitability.)
m4.2 The following are not suitable matches for one another:
(1) a non-Arab man for an Arab woman (0: because of the hadith that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Allah has chosen the Arabs above others”);
(2) a corrupt man (def: 024.3) for a virtuous woman (0: though it is sufficient for the would-be husband to have given up his wrongdoing);
(3) a man of a lowly profession for the daughter of someone with a higher profession, such as a tailor wanting to marry a merchant’s daughter (A: though an Islamic scholar is a suitable match for any level whatever);
(4) or someone with a defect that permits annulling the marriage (def: m7) for someone without such defects. Being wealthy has nothing to do with suitability (0: for money comes and goes, and those with self-respect and intelligence do not take pride in it), nor does being elderly.“
As per the above, your suitor’s having a divorced father does not enter into any criteria for suitability at all. I pray that you can talk to your parents gently, and communicate how strongly you feel. Make du’a that Allah softens their hearts and they get to know him before they judge him. Be the best Muslim that you can be during this time and give charity. You will end up getting their consent or walking away. I pray that whatever you do, you do it well and that Allah grants you patience and ease. See these links as well:
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.