The role of elders, especially parents
A lot of times, when a young, single Muslim, who is passionate about the practice and propagation of Islam (da’wah) in life, desires marriage with a particular person of the opposite gender who holds similar religious views, whom they have met or heard about through other people – it is common for a conflict of interest to develop between them and their parents as a result of this choice.
Parents who are not as religious as their adult, single offspring can create a myriad of hurdles in the latter’s marriage process. The reasons for this are many, but primarily its because they, out of sincere love and concern for their children, tend to impose their preferences and beliefs regarding the perfect marriage formula on their reluctant adult sons or daughters.
Here are some examples of some of the most common of those hurdles:
1.“We will not marry into ______________ (insert name of any ethnic group, viz. Memon, Bihari, Hyderabadi, Balochi, Sindhi, Pathan, Punjabi, Urdu speaking, Lucknowi, Chinioti, etc. blah blah) because they are very _______________ __ (insert any broad-brushed generalization, such as miserly, quarrelsome, selfish, materialistic, non-forgiving, eccentric, dumb, greedy, etc. blah blah).”
2.“We will not marry outside the family.”
3.“We will not consider weird, extremist, and rigid religious families. Moderately religious families are welcome.”
4.“You have to do your Masters first. Don’t even think about marriage before then.”
5.“We will not consider proposals from abroad. Girls/boys raised in the West are very fast.”
6.“There has to be an age difference of 5 years, at least.”
7.“Our shahzada is so tall and fair. How could you suggest that stocky girl whose complexion is darker than his?Haye, do you want my grandchildren to turn out kaalay?”
8.“Their economic status is much higher than ours. What will people say? Do you want to be taunted about being a pauper all your life?”
9.“Five sisters?!Na baba na, my daughter won’t be able to handle FIVE wagging tongues filling her mother’s-in-law ears all the time.”
10.“He is 2 inches shorter than you!Kuch to socha hota….bewaqoof! ”
Parents are the vital support system that enable a young Muslim person to get married. Making them relent in their views, especially if the latter are very staunch and etched in stone so to speak, can be an impossible task, one that can shatter a pious young man or woman when he or she has a perfectly agreeable proposal turned away for the most trivial and idiotic of reasons.
Hope, however, should never be lost. If the young person seeks Allah’s countenance and pleasure through good deeds, obeys all the obligations that Allah has endorsed upon them, and stays away from impermissible things (محرمات), beseeching Allah’s help through patience, perseverance and consistent supplication, time can always bring about a change for the better.
What is crucial is to not shout at, rebuke or be insulting towards elders, no matter what they do or say to you.
Secondly, never stop connecting with Allah in order to get His help on your side.
Thirdly, get some pious elder from the community to intercede on your behalf and advise your parents.
Finally, if all your efforts fail and you cannot marry that person you are so convinced is right for you — try to accept this decree as Allah’s will and the result of your sincere and constant Istikhara.