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Can I Marry Her Despite My Schizophrenia?

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Reply Date

Sep 04, 2019

Question

Assalamu Alaikum. I met a girl online. I fell in love with her after exchanging few email and photos. I am 33 years old and high school graduate. I have schizophrenia but alhamdulillah I manage the symptoms successfully. I've just started college this fall, alhamdulillah.

It seems she wants me, and I want her, too, but told her I can't marry her considering the issues in my life. My parents won't support me either. Both of us are very pious. I feel more pious and strong when I communicate with her. But I can't marry her or meet her. I feel pain; therefore, I listen to Qur'an for peace.

If I marry her, I have no means to support her, and I am not in support of Muslimahs to work. I like them to pay attention more to their children. I know you can't help me. But some advice would help. By the way, she is in her twenties, and we are from a totally different culture.

Counselor

Answer


Can I Marry Her Despite My Schizophrenia?

In this counseling answer:

• Work is a vital part of rehabilitation. It increases self-esteem, reconnects the ill individual to the community, and provides a meaningful way to fill time

• If you are serious about marrying her, you discuss your progress and prognosis with your therapist concerning marriage.

• Seek out support groups of those with schizophrenia who want to marry or who are married.

• Instead of feeling sad and depressed, I would begin the process of looking into ways to increase your confidence.


Salam ‘Aleikom dear brother,

Thank you for writing to us. While there are varying degrees of schizophrenia as well as five major types of schizophrenia, I am not sure brother where in this spectrum your illness lies. However, you seem to have a very effective treatment in place as you appear to be high functioning in that you have good insight into yourself, being a pious Muslim and also seeing the barriers you are facing in wanting to marry.

In addition, you have finished high school and you are preparing for college. While it may have taken you a little longer than the most brother to reach these milestones, alhamdulillah you have met them! You need to be proud of your accomplishments and make du’aa’ to Allah that you continue on this healthy path in life. While schizophrenia is not something people usually recover from, it is something that can be managed if a good treatment plan and the team are in place. These supports are vital to your continued success.

Can I Marry Her Despite My Schizophrenia? - About Islam

In regards to a full recovery, WebMD states that “recovery isn’t the same as being cured, and it doesn’t mean that you will be symptom-free. It is being able to live a full life and enjoy favorite activities with as little trouble as possible from your symptoms. Recovery may help you manage your symptoms so that you can be an active member of your community. Education, support, and training in social and job skills all are important parts of your treatment and recovery.” Thus, it appears you are doing everything right to ensure you remain as stable as possible as well as living a fulfilling and happy life. This includes marriage, too.

While your parents may fear the responsibilities and stress that marriage can bring may be too much, it may be something you would discuss with your therapist and get some feedback. As far as your being able to work and support a wife, again, I do not know the severity of your symptoms; however, I see you finished high school and are about to enter college. This is indicative that you are able to focus, be responsible, learn and function in a social environment. Therefore, my question would be, what would prevent you from working once you are done with college?

Research has shown that working has a positive effect on those with mental illnesses as it helps one to feel a part of society, a contributor as well as a vital part of rehabilitationOpentheDoors states that “people with schizophrenia can work—even if they have symptoms. Several studies have shown that people with major mental illnesses fare better if they work. The ability to hold a job is not necessarily related to the severity of the person’s illness. British and American studies have shown that people with schizophrenia are more likely to stay out of the hospital if they are employed. While many people with schizophrenia are able to work successfully in competitive fulltime employment, for others part-time or volunteer work is best.

Work is a vital part of rehabilitation. It increases self-esteem, reconnects the ill individual to the community, and provides a meaningful way to fill time.” So, based on research studies brother, as well as your own progress, it appears you would be able to work, in sha’ Allah.

As you would like to marry this girl, I would ask you if she knows of your illness. Is she aware that you will be in treatment as a lifelong commitment to your success in managing your schizophrenia? Would she be willing to be a supportive partner in your maintaining your treatment plan as well as support should you regress?

Often times, dear brother, when we are dealing with a mental illness, there are special considerations which we must make known to the one we plan to marry. This goes for people with OCD, depression, bipolar illness, anxiety disorders and so forth. And, there are a lot of people with mental disorders brother, so you are not alone. While there are definite barriers to work and marriage when one has schizophrenia, it is not something that cannot be overcome.


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In fact, a study was done in India “ showing that a fairly high-70% of schizophrenia patients out of 101-had tied the knot and have been married for between five and 15 years. Interestingly, the marital rate of schizophrenia patients seems to be just 10-15% less than that of the general population”.

I would suggest in sha’ Allah that if you are serious about marrying her, you discuss your progress and prognosis with your therapist concerning marriage. Seek out support groups of those with schizophrenia who want to marry or who are married for information, tips, support and a deeper insight. I would also suggest talking with her about your illness, its manifestation, your treatment modalities and what it may mean to be supportive of a spouse with schizophrenia.

Finally, if all is going well regarding the progress in the two above suggestions, you may want to approach your parents with your therapist and perhaps and imam whom you trust and are close to. While I do not know her cultural traditions and practices, ideally this should not interfere in an Islamic marriage, however, sadly it often does regardless if one has an illness or not. Some parents prefer and almost demand that their daughters marry within their cultural tribe or region. This, as we know, is not Islam.

Regarding the Islamic standpoint on marrying when one has schizophrenia, while I am not a scholar, I did find wherein Islamqa states that “The person who has schizophrenia can get married, so long as he informs the woman he wants to marry about his illness. That is because every sickness or fault that may have an impact on married life or may put the wife off must be disclosed and it is haraam to conceal it”.

Therefore, brother, there is not a ruling against it. With your ability to go to high school, graduate and go on to college, your outlook in sha’ Allah should be very good based on what you have said. As long as you are honest with your intended, and she knows exactly what is involved, you are Islamically free to proceed.

So, my suggestion dear brother is instead of feeling sad and depressed, I would begin the process of looking into ways to increase your confidence regarding this as well as engaging your support system. If it is not her dear brother, it may be someone else down the road whom Allah has for you. We never know unless we try.

I commend you for your persistence in trying to overcome your symptoms of the illness and forging on with a satisfying life. Some people without schizophrenia don’t even go to college. Thus, based on what you have told us, I would suggest looking into marriage further. Make du’aa’ to Allah for guidance and be happy for all of the accomplishments you have made thus far. In sha’Allah, with the help of Allah help, you will make many more.

Please let us know how you are doing brother. You are in our prayers.

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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 Aisha Mohammad

Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word poetry projects.

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