Parents Forced Me to Marry My Cousin

16 October, 2019
Q As-salamu `alaykum.

I am 23 years of age. I believe in Islam and pray five times a day. I met a Muslim man, the same age as me. We both liked each other and always had in mind that one day we would marry. I am aware that Islam discourages a single woman to go out with a guy, but I always thought that this man would be my husband. Recently, my parents married me to my cousin. I do not approve of this marriage and neither am I happy. I have only known this person for five days. I am always praying to Allah to help me separate from my husband because I do not love him and I still have very strong feelings for the guy I was going out with and he feels the same way about me.

Please, can you advise me on this situation? If a woman is not happy in her marriage and does not want it to work out with her husband, is there any way she can divorce him? Please advise me. I am deeply distressed about the situation I am in. I have told my husband about the feelings I have for the other guy and the relationship we had. My parents now also know what I am going through.


In this counseling answer:

•  You have to turn to Allah (swt) with remorse and sincerely repent to Him for any sins you might have committed before your marriage.

•  Talk to your parents further about this and go with them to consult and seek advice from a local Imam or religious scholar.

• Before you do anything at all, we urge you to learn about the Istikharah (supplication for guidance) Prayer.

As-Salamu `Alaykum, 

Thank you so much for writing to us with this rather complex situation. We make du`aa’ to Allah (swt) to guide you to choose what is best for your faith, family, and future.

As a general comment, we do want to point out that precisely one of the reasons Islam forbids pre-marital relationships is because there is no contractual obligation for either the man or the woman to ensure the well-being of the other. In your case, the question clearly arises as to why after nearly two years there had been no move towards getting married to your boyfriend?

Based on what you have written, it is not clear to us if your boyfriend proposed marriage to you or even if he ever thought you two would get married. It is only clear that you had strong feelings for him and wanted to marry him someday, but there is no assurance as to if or when that would have happened. Needless to say, you have to turn to Allah (swt) with remorse and sincerely repent to Him for any sins you might have committed before your marriage.

Parents Forced Me to Marry My Cousin - About Islam

If you are at all serious about resolving your current crisis, then you have to establish a relationship with Allah (swt) first. That relationship will never be sound if you are unable to turn to Allah (swt) and admit to Him your sins, despite the fact that He (swt) is already aware of what you have done in public and in private. But is an important part of the repentance process that you admit to Allah (swt) what sins you have committed and promise that you will never commit those sins again.

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As to your marriage with your cousin, the Islamic teachings are quite clear in that a woman cannot be married against her will. Again, we can only base our response on what you have written and so it is not clear to us what objections if any, you raised when your parents suggested marriage to your cousin. If, in fact, you had no choice and were forced to marry your cousin, it might be possible to dissolve the marriage on the grounds that you were not a willing party to the contract.

We strongly urge you to talk to your parents further about this and go with them to consult and seek advice from a local Imam or religious scholar in your area. It is imperative that you not let too much more time go by before resolving this. It cannot be done via the Internet. The Imam or religious scholar must be told everything about the case, and in sha’ Allah he will be guided by Allah (swt) to offer a just resolution to this matter.

We do want to remind you that just getting a divorce from your cousin will not be the end of your problems. The matter is still outstanding that your real wish is to marry your boyfriend of the last two years. Before you do anything at all, we urge you to learn about the Istikharah (supplication for guidance) Prayer. Then, make sure to pray before you proceed with the divorce. If you do get a divorce, make sure you also make the Istikharah Prayer seek Allah’s (swt) guidance regarding your boyfriend.

Allah Most High knows what is best for you. Prepare yourself for the reality that Allah (swt) might guide you not to marry your boyfriend, and in his stead, Allah (swt) might guide you to marry another man altogether, one who will be a blessing for your faith, family, and future. The challenge is to have a strong enough relationship with Allah (swt) so that you are able to receive His guidance.

Repent to Allah (swt), pray more often, fast regularly, and give in charity. Allah (swt) is testing you for your sins, but if you persevere and seek His guidance, then by His will the resolution may come from an entirely unexpected source!

Allah (swt) knows best,


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 Dr. Abdullah Abdur Rahman
Dr. Abdullah Abdur Rahman had obtained his Masters and PhD in Social Work and has worked in the US as a licensed social worker since then. His focus is on counseling Muslims in non-Muslim countries, with special emphasis on life in North America, counseling adolescents, pre-marital counseling, online counseling for married couples and da`wah (inviting people to Islam).