In this counseling answer:
•We advise you strongly against using any sort of threat or force to get your daughter to stop dating this man or stop considering marriage to him. We have knowledge of too many stories with unfortunate and tragic endings simply because the parents attempted to use force to get their child to change for whatever reason.
•We suggest that you keep all channels of communication open with her so that she continues to keep you updated about her life.
•You and your husband must maintain contact with your daughter. Make extra prayers, keep voluntary fasts and give in charity.
May Allah Most High grant you patience and the clarity of mind to deal with your daughter. We understand the pain you and your husband must be feeling. With all of the other responsibilities of raising children these days. The challenges include inter-racial and inter-cultural marriages. Understand that Allah Most High holds you and your husband responsible to the extent that it is your duty to provide your children with a solid education about Islam and about their responsibilities towards Allah Most High.
Let us first deal with your relationship with your daughter and then we shall offer advice on how to deal with the extended family, such as your parents and your husband’s family. In the case of your daughter, we are reminded of even the Prophets, such as Nuh (peace and blessings be upon him) whose own son rejected his father’s call and was drowned! In the end, Allah Most High guides whom He wills and, as painful as it might be to come to terms with the reality, after the age of puberty, your daughter is responsible for her own actions.
Your role is to advise as much as possible and do everything in your power to appeal to your daughter’s conscience. Somehow, perhaps through her own brother, she needs to realize the gravity of her actions. It might be worthwhile to have her brother contact her and speak to her directly. Of course, he will have to sound less like an ambassador for you and your husband and more like what he really is, her concerned brother. If she rejects his advice and continues to engage in sinful conduct, then there is little else that you can do, unfortunately.
Another option you have is to actually befriend her boyfriend and present the message of Islam to him. Only Allah knows what is in this young man’s heart and it could very well be that he knows nothing about Islam. We know of cases where even though the young Muslim despised Islam and wanted nothing to do with it, the non-Muslim boyfriend or girlfriend actually inclined towards Islam once they knew what it was.
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Some people will criticize this approach and say that you should not push the young man to become Muslim just to marry your daughter. Well, look at the alternative. When your daughter marries this non-Muslim man, she will be committing a grave sin because Muslim woman are forbidden from marrying non-Muslim men.
Our hopes and prayers should be that this young man accepts Islam and Allah guides him to encourage his own wife to practice. Suppose he accepts Islam only for the sake of marriage and neither he nor his wife practice, then our hopes and prayers should be thatinsha’ Allah, their children will be practicing Muslims. What else do we have left but our hopes and sincere prayers to Allah to set aright such a situation that has gone completely awry!
With regards to dealing with the extended family, both yours and his, we suggest that the emphasis be placed upon
disclosing the matter only to those family members who wish to help and not those who wish to know merely “what’s happening” in your family. Your husband is exhibiting culturally appropriate behavior by hiding what is happening from his family, out of fear of embarrassment and shame.
It is all right for him to behave like this for now, just keep the channels of communication open with him so that he does not take matters into his own hands and react out of anger or hopelessness. You must be the source of calmness and patience for your husband.
We are not sure where family members on his side of the family live. If they live in your local area and your daughter has a positive relationship with even one of them, then we suggest choosing that person to talk to your daughter. As for your own parents, you can only remind them that if they do not agree with your religious value system, they should at least remain neutral and not encourage your daughter further. Since she is so close to them, they could at least emphasize the universal value of respect and obedience to one’s parents.
We advise you strongly against using any sort of threat or force to get your daughter to stop dating this man or stop considering marriage to him. We have knowledge of too many stories with unfortunate and tragic endings simply because the parents attempted to use force to get their child to change for whatever reason.
In some cases, the sons or daughters either just ran away and never looked back at their families or even worse; they felt so entrapped by a lifestyle that strips them of their own self-respect or either they found no way out, but to end their own lives. We admit that those are extreme cases, but only Allah knows how your daughter will cope with the challenges that she may face.
We suggest that you keep all channels of communication open with her so that she continues to keep you updated about her life. As painful as it will be to hear that your daughter is going to marry a non-Muslim, it will be even more painful to hear news of decisions she makes out of desperation and hopelessness.
Finally, you know best how your family ended up in this situation. This did not happen overnight. Therefore, do not expect that the situation will also resolve itself overnight. You and your husband must maintain contact with your daughter. Make extra prayers, keep voluntary fasts and give in charity.
Seek out Allah Most High in the early parts of the morning before Fajr prayer time. Turn to Allah and repent to Him for any shortcomings you both had as parents. Allah Most High could well be testing you with the toughest challenge of your life. You and your husband should rise to the occasion in sha’ Allah.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.