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Ask Aunty - March 2011

Ask Aunty - March 2011

Issue 78 March 2011

Q) I have been looking to get married for some years and am now in my mid 30s. I have been trying to convince my parents to look beyond the Pakistani community that we belong to; our cultural background is of great importance to them and they feel that a Pakistani is the only option. I don’t know how to explain to my parents that there are other like-minded Muslims out there, who aren’t necessarily Pakistani, that will fit in perfectly with the family.


A) There is no doubt that Islam enjoins upon believers marriage. The Prophet described marriage as “half of faith”, with “fearing God” the other half. Islam is also very clear that any potential groom should receive the consent of the guardian of the bride if she has never been married before. However, the Prophet warned, “When someone with whose religion and character you are satisfied asks your daughter in marriage, accede to his request. If you do not do so, there will be temptation on Earth and extensive corruption.” That Prophetic warning can be seen manifest in the increasing number of people in their 30s who are unmarried.

 The Prophet was very clear on the criteria for choosing a spouse, and detailed how spouses are chosen for four things: wealth, family status, beauty and piety. He advocated choosing piety otherwise “you will be losers”. And whilst young people should try and understand the cultural sensitivities of their families, the criteria of marrying the same race cannot be binding when choosing a spouse. Indeed Umar ibn Al-Khattab said to the family of As-Saib, “Your offspring are becoming so thin and weak. Marry outside your close of kin.”

 As such, if you have done everything in your means to attempt to accommodate your family’s wishes with regards to finding a suitable spouse, you must explain to them clearly and respectfully that the fulfilment of your faith has to take precedence over their cultural wishes. Explain that you are getting on in years, that you have needs for both physical and emotional fulfilment that can only take place within a marital framework, and that you wish to look outside your own race community for a spouse, as race is not one of the criterion in the search for a spouse as laid down by the Prophet.

 Attempt to get the support of respected elders who understand the Islamic principles and etiquettes but who will also be seen as sensitive to the cultural aspects of your family’s wishes. Hopefully, they will be able to explain to your family that if they cannot provide you with a spouse of their own race, the best thing is to look for a suitable spouse based upon Islamic criteria.

 Respect, communication, and adherence to the Islamic principles, are key to achieving a peaceful outcome to this.


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