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Teenage Love: I Want to Marry Her When I Get Older

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Feb 26, 2017

Question

As-Salam Alaykum. Dear counselor, I have a problem for quite long, but I am too afraid to tell my parents. I really hope you can help me out of this. I am a 15 years old Muslim boy. There is a girl who is one of the few girls wearing the hijab at school and is really pretty. In the eco club, we started talking to each other related to work. I liked everything about her, and well, I wanted to ask her out for the first time, but she asked me first. I was shocked to realize that both of us had the same feelings. I’m from Pakistan and she is from India. We both live in the UAE. I really love her not only because she is sweet, but I feel she has changed my whole life. I gained control over my fears and anger. I used to look at every crossing girl in front of me, but now I only think of her. We have been together for a year and are so happy. We have never met in private or touched each other. We only text or rarely talk on FB, nothing more. But my younger brother caught me and told my mom who scolded me saying that it is haram in Islam and that we can never marry Indians and stuff. The girl also informed her parents, but got into trouble, too. She now says that it’s wrong in Islam what we’ve been doing, and I know that I should come to her after 10 years when she is ready and I am earning money by myself. Is our relationship really haram? She is going leave to India after this year, and I know that she won’t wait for me 10 years if we don’t talk. We can keep in touch with a guarantee of no sexual contact as she will be far away from me. I just can’t let her go. It seems so hard me for me; however I perfectly know that as a Pakistani marrying her is impossible. Can I keep contact with her until we, in sha’ Allah, get married in 10 years?

Counselor

Answer


Teenage Love: I Want to Marry Her When I Get Older

Answer:

Dear In-Love,

I cannot tell you if you can stay in touch with her because it is not the role of a counselor to tell you what to do. However, it is the role of a counselor to help you figure out what you want to do – by pointing out things relevant to your situation which could potentially, in sha’ Allah, help you figure it out.

First of all, your age is an important factor in this situation. Several hadith mentions that a person becomes an “adult” at age 14 or 15 years, and, at that point, their parents become their “advising friends”. Furthermore, the angels, who record our actions, begin to write for us our deeds at puberty (menstruation for a female and a wet-dream for a male which occur somewhere between the ages of 10 and 14 years for both genders). Thus, we are responsible for our own actions from that point forward as we are adults now.

However, don’t get me wrong! That does not mean that at age 15 you should leave your parents’ home, disrespect them, or tell them that they no longer have any say in what you do! No, you are still obliged to be kind to them. However, while they should no longer expect or force you to obey them since their wishes are now advice, you should not view their advice as only advice as long as their advice is not shirk. One of the forms of shirk is to obey another set of rules/laws other than Islam, when they are in preference to Islam. In that context, you should not obey their orders.

In your case, you told us that the reason they will not let you talk to this girl is ethnic/racial difference (a Pakistani should never marry an Indian). Rejecting a marriage based on race/ethnicity is not Islam. The Prophet (saw) married many women who were of different ethnicities than himself, even a Jewish woman of Jewish descent. So if they refuse your marriage in the future due to this tradition, you should not obey them, but follow the teachings of Islam.

That having said, there are some other important factors which you also should consider when making this decision. If you still live under your parents’ roof, eat their food, etc., you have very serious obligations to respect them and follow their rules for that reason, too!

Furthermore, there is a huge difference between an “adult” and a “young adult” –  someone who is new to adulthood. A young adult is like a new anything – just learning how to be that thing. So, while you should not take your parent’s advice as “the Word of God”, your parents’ advice is seasoned reasoning as compared to yours. That is not to say that it is okay to tell you that you Pakistanis should never marry an Indian. It is to say that it may be very problematic for Pakistanis to marry Indians because of cultural differences, and/or family problems, and/or socio-economic issues, i.e., class issues, etc. There are a myriad of very serious challenges which come along with cross-cultural marriages! In fact, those problems have been known to cause such severe problems in marriages that the marriages end in divorce.

When you are older, let us say 18 or 21 – a time which is not 10 years down the road, you may be in a much better position both economically and maturity-wise, which will be more conducive to you making this decision about marriage. You will be more experienced, thus able to make your own decisions, independent from your parents.

I absolutely think that you should marry the woman of your dreams. However, please remember that you are still only a very young adult, and don’t be surprised if you suffer a broken heart at least once in your life before you are 50 years old. Allah (swt) tests us – and, more often than not, He tests us in our love lives! Feelings change. Furthermore, Shaitan whispers into our hearts. But that is a thing which few people think of when they are possessed by a feeling, especially teenagers who are new to the feelings of love, because the hormone which causes that feeling is new in their veins!

Forethought is also a thing foreign to most of us, old or young – but, especially adolescents. Belief in Allah (swt) is all about forethought, i.e., doing things based on how that choice will serve you in the Next Life. As such, forethought is one of the most important things in life, and by extension, using it to counteract our inclination (along with Shaitan’s incessant prompting) for immediate gratification! So, don’t view your parents’ concerns as against you, but see them as them caring for you. See if there is any good advice in their wishes in term of you being patient, learning self-control, and respecting your parents, etc.

Lastly, I want you to know that I am a hopeless romantic, so your story truly touched me. I feel great happiness for you that you have found someone you love so dearly. And you love her because she is a good Muslim. This, too, is truly wonderful and the most valuable thing in the world! As things go today, it is rare to find a beautiful, successful marriage that is full of love and happiness. So, please, don’t give up on your dreams, meaning the idea of a beautiful marriage. But, be wise about it. Just because it is the first time, remember that this may or may not be the only time in your life that you feel this way. Then, again, it may be the only time, so go forward carefully and slowly. You have time, In Sha’ Allah to figure this thing out without hurting your parents.

If you decide to go against their wishes, let them down respectfully and gently, In Sha’ Allah. Use Islam to prove your rights, don’t just fight with them. And listen carefully to what they are telling you so that you can sort it out. Figure out what is good advice and what not (not accordance with Islam). Don’t go by what you feel only!

To help you decide if you should continue talking to this girl, and how to talk to your parents so that you are not at odds with them, ask Allah (swt) to guide you whether you should do that and on how to do that. Istikharah prayer is the way we were taught to ask of Allah (swt) for important decisions, so don’t underestimate its power and pray it!

May Allah (swt) make it easy for you my young brother as you enter the world of adulthood full of challenges and decisions!

Salam,

***

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About Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem

Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem, an American, has a BA in English from UC Berkeley and is about to receive an MS degree in counseling psychology (Marriage and Family Therapy - MFT) from the Western Institute for Social Research. For over ten years, Nasira worked as a psychotherapist with the general public and in addiction recovery. For the last few years, she has been a life coach specializing in interpersonal relations. Nasira also consults with her many family members who studied Islam overseas and returned to America to be Imams and teachers of Islam. Muslims often ask Nasira what psychology has to do with Islam. To this, she replies that Islam is the manifestation of a correct understanding of our psychology. Therapists and life coaches help clients figure out how to traverse the path of life as a Believer, i.e., "from darkness into light", based on Islam and given that that path is an obstacle course, according to Allah.

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