I’m Not Religious Enough for His Family

11 January, 2021
Q Assalamu Alaikum. I am in a very difficult situation right now.

A fellow Muslim brother and I began talking in January. I have gotten to know him for 6 months. He used to live in NY but moved to SF, for me, all without consulting his parents. He graduated from college and is now 22. He is a very pious man, but we allowed our emotions to get to the best of us, and we did not consult/involve our parents during these past 6 months of getting to know each other.

Last week, I pushed him to talk to his parents as I was exhausted of the "what ifs" - what if parents say no, what if when I come back to SF (I'm currently abroad for the summer), we hang out for a while, make more sins, and his parents say no to our relationship. He is very close to his family and loves them more than anything materialistic in this world... which is something I loved about him. He used to tell me that he would never step over his parents with a decision such as marriage yet he moved thousands of miles for me.

Fast forward to what happened a week ago, he spoke with his parents, and parents said no to the marriage for the following reasons: deen (I am not a hijabi and I don't practice the religion as much as he does, but for the past months, I have been working on bettering my relationship with Allah and have begun to wear the hijab - his parents know this), culture (I am Indian, he is Bangladeshi), family (my parents argue quite a lot and I am not close to my mother - I come from a "broken family"), distance (parents don't have any way of checking up with 3rd party in regards to my character), and lastly misconduct (we met up on 2 occasions, kissed, and made out - no sexual relations, but we did get intimately close, for which I deeply regret and ask Allah for repentance).

After his parents said no, he said he could not move forward with such a decision without their complete and full support. He told his father about me and his father said outright no after he explained to his father about my upbringing (broken family) and my relationship to Islam (did not always wear the hijab, or pray, or read the Quran - but I am making every effort to do so now, not for him as that is not sustainable, but for my own well-being).

If things do not work out with him, I do want a pious, Muslim husband. I want to approach marriage the right way next time. I don't want to repeat this mistake again. Next time, I want to have my parents involved and become a better practicing Muslim before I get married. I deeply regret not informing my parents right when I met him. I did want to tell my father, but because he was not telling his parents, I also did not want to tell my father. I realize that was a wrong mentality to keep.

This man is someone I can see a future with. He makes me a better person, a better woman, a better Muslim. He is devoted to his family, and I want a husband who does everything he does for his family. That's what he does. He is not materialistic, he has a kind heart, he is a giving soul. He is responsible and has very strong family values. I love this man deeply. I know he loves me too, but I think he is moving on for the sake of Allah. I just don't want this to end, because I felt more at peace and calm than with any other friend in my life.

Before our last conversation ended, I asked him - is this a test from Allah? That we may get back together in the near future, once I have a solid foundation with Islam? He said I don't know, he said I don't know what the future holds, that he has moved on within hours of speaking to his parents, and that he doesn't see me in his future anymore, because his parents said no, that things happen for a reason. Despite that, I asked him if I could contact him in December, a few months down the road after I've deepened my foundation with Islam - continuously practiced my 5 prayers, Quran, and hijab - and see if he still feels the same way. He said I could, he said he probably would too. But he was hesitant, he did not want to string me along until December. He said that if something were to happen in December that we would start on a completely new chapter, a completely new page, a fresh start, and do things the right way, the Islamic way then. I said okay. But he was still very hesitant.

I just don't know what to do. My heart hurts every day. I try to remain productive but I just can't. This was a man I loved deeply and immensely. I don't want him to leave. I don't want to marry anyone else. What should I do? What are your thoughts on this?


In this counseling answer:

• Parents have a right and obligation to offer criteria to their children and offer them guidance in marriage.

• The time apart from each other will give you both a chance to reassess what you want and need in your life for the sake of Allah.

• Speak to your parents; focus on your worshiping of Allah; surround yourself with good people.

• When a relationship ends, there is a vacuum of emptiness. Surround yourself with good friends and spiritual mentors,  who remind you of Allah or anything else that raises your Iman.

As-Salamu Aleikom,

Thank you for writing in with your question. May the response be a source of support for you.

It is unfortunate that this gentleman was willing to sacrifice so many things in order to maintain a relationship with you, including ending up in a haram relationship in front of Allah, but that he has given up so quickly when his parents have told him no regarding marriage to you.

I'm Not Religious Enough for His Family - About Islam

If he had emailed me I would have, first, advised him to not give in so quickly and to continue to work on his parents and speak to them if he was absolutely certain that you are the woman he wants to marry. This requires maturity, patience, and often the involvement of another party to help in negotiation and conversation.

I am glad you pushed him to stop seeing you in private and for him to take the proper and correct steps to discuss marriage with his parents. You did the right thing which would also help you both stop doing something which is displeasing to Allah.

I would have hoped that you also took the step to speak to your parents at the same time. As of now, it’s not clear if you have done so. If you haven’t then it’s not right for either of you to consider speaking again now or in December unless he plans on approaching your family and asking for your hand. At this point in time, you can explain to them that you both already know each other and that you were interested in marrying him previously.

It was narrated from Ibn Abbas that the Messenger of Allah said:

“There is nothing like marriage, for two who love one another.”

It is very common for parents to make quick judgments about individuals their children want to marry without fully understanding the depth of connection that two people may have already experienced with each other. They do not know who their son or daughter is destined to marry.

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Parents have a right and obligation to offer criteria to their children and offer them guidance in marriage. Afterall, many people fall in love with bad people who will harm them now and in the future. I’ve counseled so many women wrapped up in a relationship with a man who is emotionally abusive to them. Others fall for someone because it is the first and only person they’ve ever allowed themselves to get close to even though that individual doesn’t match anything they wanted for their future.

Feelings of love may not be a sufficient reason to carry on their own.

This is why there has to be a discussion of values and vision as well. Do the two people who want to get married, when you strip away the loving feelings they have right now, have enough in common values and vision to help them through the tough times? Because there will be tough times in any marriage to navigate through.

Further regarding his parents, in this situation, is also their misunderstanding of how religious their son is. It appears they see your hijab as a defining marker of where you are lacking but aren’t seeing their son’s level of practice and involvement with you as a symbol of where is faith is right now. This isn’t to knock all the ‘ibadah you both are doing for the sake of Allah as none of us are perfect nor sinless human beings. It’s to remove the “my son deserves better than this” thought process they have and help them see that you two are at the same level of religiosity based on your actions together even if some of your external actions vary at this time in your lives.

Often the recommended solution is to find another girl/man for marriage who the parents are pleased with and ticks all the boxes on their checklist without taking into account their own son or daughter’s feelings for another individual. This solution often creates heartache down the road for a newly married couple when one figures out or senses there is someone else their husband/wife is in love with.

There are further things to consider as well.

* Will he later resent marrying you because you didn’t wear the hijab right away and he wanted someone more practicing from the get-go?

* Will you later resent him for his religiosity because you tried to become someone you weren’t for him and felt rushed to please him or his family?

*Will he blame you for the tension he had to go through to marry you when you both hit a rough patch down the road?

*Will you lose respect for him because despite his religiosity he tempted you to do things you were trying hard to stay away from in order to become a better Muslim?

Moving Forward

The time apart from each other will you give you both a chance to reassess what you want and need in your life for the sake of Allah.

1) Speak to your parents.

For you, this is a chance to revisit your own future without it being wrapped up in his own. It’s also a time to begin speaking to your parents about marriage to find out what their own expectations are. You might think his parents are the obstacle but what about your own?

Technically as a man, he could marry you without anyone’s approval, legally speaking but you cannot. You need a wali to agree to your own marriage and support it. It makes no sense to consider anyone or allow yourself to suffer any further without having things clear with your own parents.

2) Focus on your ‘ibadah

When any of us as human beings hit a low in our disobedience to Allah it’s a chance to prioritize our lives and focus on what’s most important. Allah does not forbid anything that is beneficial for us in the long run. So those things which are sins are to be abandoned because the harm, in the long term, outweighs the good.

Focusing on this helps one come closer in trust to Allah. From there is renewing your repentance and turning to Allah while fully trusting that He loves those who repent and leave that which is haram for that which He loves. Then focus on your iman and be selfish in protecting it. This is your life and your akhirah. Protect it, nurture it, and take care of yourself.

3) Find positive spiritual environments

When a relationship ends, there is a vacuum of emptiness. This is where your sadness is coming from. You are also going to go through a period of grief as this comes to an end. Grief is a process. Some days you’ll forget all about him and other days you might remember him.

What can help you in this process is surrounding yourself with good friends and spiritual mentors, immersing yourself in Islamic environments which remind you of Allah or anything else that raises your Iman. Find some people that are spending time in nature, making dhikr, or volunteering their time. Find ways to serve others who also have heartache even if it’s different from your own. It might feel like your sadness will last forever but it won’t. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Hang in there.

4) Cut off all other communication.

Moving forward, you two cannot continue to text or call or see each other because the risk of falling back into sin is extremely high right now as you both have the same vacuum. If you do feel you want to speak to each other again because he decides he does want to try again on his parents the next meeting needs to be with your parents but never alone.

May Allah protect you both, forgive you both, and support you both to move towards that which is most pleasing to Him and make you of those whom He loves. May He keep your heart near to Him and let this be a test which becomes the seeds for a garden where ‘ibadah will grow and grow to grant you a garden in Jannah.

Please write back and let us know if this was helpful for you and if you have any other questions.



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 Megan Wyatt
Megan Wyatt is the founder of Wives of Jannah where she offers training programs, live workshops, and relationship coaching for wives and couples. She is a certified Strategic Intervention coach with specialized certifications for working with women and marital relationships and has been coaching and mentoring Muslims globally since 2008. She shares her passion for Islamic personal development in her Passionate Imperfectionist community. She is a wife and homeschooling mother with four children residing in Southern California.