Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I am 37 years old, single, and living alone. All my necessities and support, including food, clothing, and shelter, are being provided by my married friend, who has two children, not by my parents or siblings—seeing the harassment, torture, and mistreatment at my parent’s home continued to force me to leave. To date, no one has asked about my well-being.
In the past, my parents kept making excuses regarding my marriage. Now, the same married friend of mine is interested in settling my life and marrying me. Again I asked my parents to permit me either to marry on my own or to marry me to whom they please, and they have done nothing. Can I marry on my own? Is it offensive to conduct one’s nikah without the presence and permission of my father?
Indeed, you are in a challenging situation with living alone, relying on friends, and not having the support from your guardian to conduct your marriage. May Allah Most High make it easy for you.
See these links for the conditions of a valid marriage contract (nikah):
Can I Marry in Secret With the Minimum Conditions for a Valid Marriage to Avoid Fornication?
Can We Get Married Without Involving Our Parents?
Please pray istikhara first to see if you should take this step with a married man. Is his wife ok with this? Please speak to her about it, perhaps in his presence. Will you be ok with sharing his time and money and intimacy? Are you aware of the jealousy and inconveniences of sharing a man? I understand that you must feel the urgency to settle soon, but this is not necessarily the right way.
Please act according to your Istikhara: The Prayer of Seeking Guidance, and then if it is positive, talk to your parents again. There are many ways to get your father to respond. Tell him that you are serious and going ahead with the marriage and that the imam has required his presence. Have the imam call him and tell him. Alternately, the suitor can also come to your parent’s home to request your hand in marriage. Outside influence usually stirs a man enough to act. It would be unwise to conduct a nikah without your father’s permission and presence and a great disrespect which is sinful. You could also bring the imam and suitor to your father’s home to conduct the nikah there.
In this case, please turn away from him, forget him, and take the following steps to improve your life:
Seek to support yourself. Get a temporary job and study to attain a certificate or skill. Then use it to be independent of your friend. This situation cannot go on forever. The barakah lies in eating the food provided by yourself. This will seem not easy at first, but I guarantee you that when a person is thrown into a situation to do something, they can do it. No soul is to bear a burden that they can’t bear. Allah says, “Allah does not require any soul more than what it can bear. All good will be for its benefit, and all evil will be to its own loss.” [Quran, 2:286]
Call your parents weekly so they know you love them and will not forsake them. Keep it short and sweet, and they should calm down over time and be able to have a decent conversation with you. Get in touch with your siblings at least once a month to keep up kinship ties. They will also soften towards you with time. Don’t argue or bring up the past; show them that you care about them and want to ask about their well-being. They will learn by your example. Cutting them off is not an option.
Make du’a that Allah facilitate your marital situation and send you someone suited to you. Please don’t be extra picky, as this will narrow your prospects. The Messenger of Allah said, “When someone whose religion and character you are pleased with proposes to (someone under the care) of one of you, then marry her to him. If you do not do so, there will be turmoil (fitna) in the land and abounding discord (fasad).” [Tirmidhi]
May Allah give you the best relationship with your family and well-being and success in all facets of life.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, 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 later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.