As-Salamu `Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh my sister,
Your effort to reconnect with a childhood friend, your cousin, was an innocent initiation, but it was at a time when you were both able to marry each other. If there was nothing to your relationship with your cousin, would you have kept the nature of it from your family? This is where the problem began, and so, unaware of your situation, your parents acted in good faith. They did not arrange the marriage for you, and as far as they are concerned, you have accepted the proposal.
They are happy, but you are not. Who would be happy if you were to marry your father’s friend? If the marriage will be an unhappy one for you, then it will be an unhappy one for your fiancé. If you both become unhappy, then your parents will also become happy. This means that, with all your kindness and consideration of your parents, you will not be able to avoid hurting them. Not only this, but you will become disillusioned with the idea of marriage, possibly at a time when there are children present.
Your parents are happy now, but you are not happy with your fiancé, emotionally, psychologically, or religiously. Maybe, if he could satisfy your religious needs, the rest would just be a matter of time. As Abu Hamid al-Ghazali advised through the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (saw).
“A man asked, ‘A number of suitors have asked for my daughter’s hand in marriage; to whom should I give her?’ He replied, ‘To the one who fears God; because if he loves her, he will be kind to her; and if he hates her, he will not wrong her.’”
As marriage in Islam is not only about two people, but about improving the quality of the fabric of society, Al-Ghazali further comments, “Virtue predominates in the offspring of religious parents, particularly if it is resolved to bring them up and direct them along the path of virtue.”
You had an opportunity to right the Internet relationship with your cousin by informing your parents from the beginning. You also had an opportunity when your parents presented you with a proposal from your father’s friend, and again when your female cousin misinformed your parents, but you let it go, and since then you have been a passenger on your own journey instead of taking responsibility.
Right now, no one is aware of your situation except you. If you had resolved in your mind the wishes of your parents, there would have been no need to write to us, but you clearly cannot cope with the direction your life is taking. So, you are left with only one solution.
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“Let not anyone of you belittle himself.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah, how can any one of us belittle himself?” He said, “He finds a matter concerning Allah about which he should say something and he does not say (it), so Allah (Mighty and Sublime be He) says to him on the Day of Resurrection, ‘What prevented you from saying something about such-and-such and such-and-such?’ He says, ‘It was out of fear of people.’ Then He says, ‘Rather it is I whom you should more probably fear.’” (Hadeeth Qudsi #22)
Summarizing the situation, ask yourself:
- Will my parents be hurt because they are embarrassed by the fact that I have a broken engagement?
- Will my parents be hurt because they made a promise to a friend who they really value?
If the answer to the first is yes, then they will recover if they accept your cousin as their son-in-law. If the answer to the second question is yes, then, naturally, it will take some time to heal; but if you marry someone who you are sure can never make you happy, then the outcome will be the unhappiness of everyone, including your parents.
Your parents love and respect you; now it is time to love and respect them by loving and respecting yourself. Approach your mother and discuss all that is in your heart and mind. To be upset is only natural, but to share and consult with each other allows for healing to take place, increased understanding, and a positive way forward for everyone concerned. If your parents accept the idea of your cousin as their son-in-law, then you should not contact him—this is their role that might be more acceptable to your cousin and his parents, in sha’ Allah.
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