Can Parents Reject Marriage Proposals Because of Caste System?

09 August, 2020
Q There is a marriage proposal and I’m interested in accepting it. My mother is also interested in it. However, my father is against it because of the caste system. Father believes our caste is superior and it is an insult to us to give his daughter in that caste. What should I do about this?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


In this fatwa:

1- If the person is compatible (in faith and character) and you want to marry him, then your father cannot object to it based on differences of caste or status.

2- You are allowed to seek other channels of authority to intervene. The concerned authority should get the parental consent to the marriage.


In responding to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

If the person is compatible (in faith and character) and you want to marry him, then your father cannot object to it based on differences of caste or status. Such material considerations are not acceptable in Islam. After all, the choice is ultimately in your hands once you have chosen based on the sound considerations mentioned above.

Compatibility in Marriage

Compatibility in marriage entails a person’s worth in a spiritual and moral sense; the only primary criterion that makes or breaks a marriage. The Prophet Muhammad (May Allah send his peace and blessings upon him) said; “If a person with sound faith and character proposes, marry him; otherwise, you are paving the way to corruption  on earth.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Therefore, if you have made a choice based on the above consideration, then your parents have no right to stop your marriage. Since it is your choice to eat the food you wish to eat. Likewise, it is your choice to decide whom you wish to choose as a life-long partner. They cannot stop you from marrying the person you want simply because the person is not sharing your culture or ethnic background.

Parents, however, have the authority to intervene should you choose someone of questionable moral and religious character. Should you proceed in such a case against their wishes, your marriage is null and void according to the rules of Islamic jurisprudence.

What Should You Do?

If, however, your parents objection to your marriage is based purely on racial, cultural or ethnic grounds, you should seek other channels of authority to intervene in such a case, as long as the person of your choice is of acceptable religion and character. The concerned authority should get the parental consent to the marriage. If parents insist on their stand, the authority can authorize your marriage.

This last option should only be exercised after you have exhausted all endeavors to communicate with your parents, both individually and through other channels in the community such as elders or respectable leaders or Imams. It is more likely that parents are concerned about their children for genuine reasons, and that once things are explained to them, they will probably, relent.

Almighty Allah knows best.