In this counseling answer:
It is recommended that you take some time away from your parents if possible to get some space away from the unacceptable abuse that you face. This will also give you the time to think more rationally about the options you have available to you at the moment; agree to meet him and get to know him, marry him and potentially grow to like him, in case he might be good for you, or completely object to it. Either way, this is your choice, no one else’s.
As-Salamu ‘Alaikum wa Rahmtulahi wa Barakatuh sister,
Marriage is a topic that brings many people stress and anxiety. In your case, you have the added burden of the pressure that your parent are putting you under, seemingly forcing you into what you feel you are not ready. At 18, you have already had some negative experiences and you are not even married yet, so it is understandable why you would continue to be anxious to get married at this point.
You have been through a traumatic time and still continue to face this as you have from such a young age. The first thing you need to remember is that what your mum did is not ok. Forcing people into marriage is completely unacceptable and beating people is also equally as unacceptable. Understandably, as a result of this, you are going to have these negative associations with marriage. This will further reinforce to you that you don’t want to get married.
It is your choice when you get married. No one can force you to do this if you are not married. However, it is important for you to take a step back and think about marriage with a clear mind, free from the negative bias that your parents have created in you towards marriage. If there is somewhere you can go, be it with relative or friends, that will not cause difficulties for your family members, then it might be a good idea to take some time away to assess your options without your parents on your back, forcing something on you that you are not ready for. This will not only give you a chance to think more carefully about your options but will give a break away from the unacceptable abuse that you are presently facing. It will also give your parents a chance to reflect on their behavior towards you also.
During this time, you can weigh up your options; give up and get married or stand your ground and wait until you’re ready. Maybe you will grow to love the man that is being put forward for you, and you will have the protection that marriage brings. If the man is a good one, he’ll allow you to go back and achieve your dreams. Today, you have every chance to go back to school and work and still achieve all you want. In fact, as you will be older it may be that you enter into your education with a more mature brain and achieve even better than you would have done. Do consider the potentially positive side of this marriage as well so you can be very sure that you have considered everything and have made the best decision and will not look back with any regrets.
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However, at the same time, maybe he is not a good man, so maybe you could make a compromise with your parents that you’ll be willing to meet him in their presence so you can get the chance to be sure whether he is or isn’t for you. Again, at least this way you, won’t look back with regrets knowing that you did explore this as an option. However, if you are absolutely against the idea altogether, then you are under no obligation to take it any further with him at all.
Do take into account that there are advantages to getting married younger and it’s certainly encouraged in Islam for many excellent reasons.
And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them, and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought. (Qur’an, 30:21)
It is not necessary for you to complete your studies before marriage as this is something that you can continue whilst marriage. However, this is your choice, no one else’s. Not even your parents. The following hadith illustrates this which clearly states that no one should be forced into marriage.
It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas that the Prophet said: “The guardian has no right (to force) the previously married woman (into a marriage). And an orphan girl should be consulted, and her silence is her approval.” (An-Nasa’i)
But, I would encourage you to also keep these things in mind when you consider your options at this point. Maybe these are the issues your parents are concerned with more and want to protect you as their child, and it is their responsibility to do so. But, at the same time, under no circumstances should they be forcing you to marry against your will. This is not part of Islam.
In this time, make friends, build social support networks, and build your emotional strength. Even if you change your mind and decide you do want to get married, you also need time to get yourself back together again after having gone through such a difficult time. You are clearly deeply distressed at this point so need to do all you can to take care of yourself. Take this time away if you are able and face it when you are ready and in a better emotional state too. Having the support of others will greatly help in your healing and moving forward. Building a strong social network will ensure that you have people to rely on should your parents continue with their unacceptable behavior.
This will also give you time to do other things that take your mind off what you face with your parents. It will give you a chance to do enjoyable things that make you happy without facing the pressure from your parents. Be comforted and empowered that Allah (swt) does not test us beyond what we can bear and He knows you are strong enough to survive this.
Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity…” (Qur’an, 2:286)
Overall, it is recommended that you take some time away from your parents if possible to get some space away from the unacceptable abuse that you face. This will also give you the time to think more rationally about the options you have available to you at the moment; agree to meet him and get to know him, marry him and potentially grow to like him, in case he might be good for you, or completely object to it. Either way, this is your choice, no one else’s.
However, you are asked to consider the benefits or marriage also amongst the distress it might also cause you due to the negative associations that you have due to your parent’s behavior, in considering all your options. This will help you to be absolutely sure you have made the right decision and that you will not look back with any regret. Ultimately, build a strong social network so that you have support as you move forward with whatever choice you choose to make.
May Allah (swt) ease your pain during these testing times and guide your parents on the straight path. May He (swt) grant you a righteous spouse when you are ready to pursue marriage.
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.
More from sister Hannah Morris
Healing the Scars of My Mother’s Abuse