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How to Get Out of My Forced Marriage?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Nov 02, 2017

Question

I got married 5 and half years ago. My parents forced me into this marriage. I was in a serious relationship for 6 months when I took it to my parents. They told me I can marry the man whom I wanted. Then they saw this man whom I'm married with now. I first said that he would not be a good pair for me, but my parents didn't listen to me and moved for engagement and then marriage. I spoke to this man before our marriage, which is haraam I didn't know that time. He approached me very badly like he wanted to see me naked. I tried hard to stop the marriage but nobody listened to me. I got frustrated and started talking to my ex. I got married, but I didn't find any good reasons to live with him. He raped me and now I have a child. I tried hard to love him but I cannot. I got depressed. I again spoke with my ex. He told me he was ready to accept me and marry me. But he also said we should not talk now. I'm now being separated from my husband for a year. My parents and husband do not allow me to seek divorce. It's being so stressful that I commit sin again and again and that which Allah has made halal is not happening. I fear I may turn to kufr. My family is very unislamic. They do shirk and all but alhamthulilah Allah has guided me to the beautiful religion of Islam. I'm aware of shirk and bidaah and all alhamthulilah, but I can't have a practicing and productive life. My husband would not divorce me.

Counselor

Answer



In this counseling answer:

“Forced marriage is not ok. You are quite right to feel so distressed under these circumstances. You are advised to seek support from your local imam in seeking a divorce given the circumstances in which you have been placed. In the meantime, take care of yourself, find comfort with Allah and do not rush into anything, instead of taking time to look after yourself.”


As-Salamu ‘Alaikum wa Rahmatulahi wa Barakatuh sister,

Forced marriage is a common practice in some regions, but it is completely haram. It is ok for parents to select and arrange a potential marriage, but it should not be forced if the couples do not wish to go ahead with the marriage.

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that: the Messenger of Allah said: “A previously-married woman should not be married until she is consulted, and a virgin should not be married until her consent is sought, and her consent is her silence.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

In most cases, being forced into a marriage against one’s wishes will lead to high levels of stress for at least one spouse – as you have been experiencing. This is perfectly understandable given the circumstances, especially when on top of this your husband even went as far as to force himself on you and rape you. This is completely unacceptable and is an acceptable reason to pursue divorce as you have been trying. Unfortunately, without the support of your family, this only adds to your already heightened levels of distress.

Get support

In this case, I would highly recommend that you consult your local imam, outlining your situation to get support in moving forward with this divorce. Perhaps some words from him to your parents and husband will make them understand that the situation you have been forced into is not ok. As you continue on this journey, try to get as much support from others as possible. Even though your parents do not support you, perhaps you have siblings, cousins or friends who will provide you with emotional support during this difficult time. Do not be ashamed to accept assistance if offered to you. Having this social support will make the process a lot less stressful.

Take care of yourself

If you are able to go ahead with the divorce, be kind to yourself and give yourself time before marrying again. Be sure it’s what is best for you before doing this. Instead, use this time to recover from the stress and take care of yourself. This will make it clearer to you what the best next step is for you.

During this time make sure to spend time doing things that you enjoy. This will also help to relieve you of the stress you are going through somewhat. Additionally, make sure to eat well, get sufficient sleep and a bit of exercise where possible. These are all things that will contribute to your overall wellbeing.

Take your time

The man that you do wish to marry right now advises you correctly. He is right that you should not talk to him right now as it could open the doors to further problems. Take this as excellent advice form a good man, looking out for your interests as well as his. It is a sign that he is a pious man living by the deen.

Marrying this other man may not be the solution, but if you are not happy and never were happy in your current marriage, then maybe divorce is the best option. In sha Allah, you will be successful in securing a divorce, but don’t use this as a chance to rush into a new marriage. Take time to recover, look after yourself and when you are truly ready, seek marriage again in a halal way.

Remember Allah

Use this time to get close to Allah. Find comfort in his remembrance and seek His guidance.

Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah . Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured. (13:28)

Also, pray for Allah to guide your parents on the straight path and away from their current behavior which is seemingly very unislamic. Continue to respect them as we should our parents, but when it comes to matters of innovation then continue to be strong and do not follow them in such matters. Keeping Allah in mind always will protect you from this.

Keeping close to Allah will also protect you from going astray as you fear. What you are facing is a big test and Shaytaan would love nothing more than to see you go astray. Instead, seek protection from Shaytaan and remember Allah in everything you do. Increase your acts of voluntary worship; offer nafl prayers, fast and spend time in making du’aa’ and reading the Qur’an. It is things like this that will strengthen your faith, bring you strength in difficulties, and prevent you from committing sin.

So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me. (2:152)

Summary

Ultimately, remember, forced marriage is not ok. You are quite right to feel so distressed under these circumstances. You are advised to seek support from your local imam in seeking a divorce given the circumstances in which you have been placed. In the meantime, take care of yourself, find comfort with Allah and do not rush into anything, instead of taking time to look after yourself.

May Allah guide you and bring you ease during difficult times. May He grant you a spouse who will be good to you and the coolness of your eyes in this life and the next.

Amen,

***

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.

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About Hannah Morris

Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (www.facebook.com/activemindcare)

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