I Want to Marry a Foreign Muslim; My Dad Disowned Me

29 May, 2020
Q Assalaamu alaikum,

I’m in need of advice on what I should do. Alhamdulillah, I've met a man that I am very pleased with spirituality and all other aspects. We are from different races and cultures, and although that isn't an issue for us, him being from a country that had apartheid and racial segregation poses as a problem for my family.

I am from Indian origin and he is from African origin. I informed my family that I would like to marry this man because I am very pleased with his character, but my parents, particularly my father, opposed.

He unenrolled me from university, refused to let me go to work, and locked me in the house. I had very little contact with friends and family as they weren't allowed to see me. At the time, my mental health deteriorated a lot as I was totally isolated simply because I wanted to marry a man out of my race.

Alhamdulillah, I’m grateful to Allah every day that I was able to get out of the situation as my aunt allowed me to live with her. My father has thrown me out of the house, disowned me, and forced my immediate family members to cut contact with me because I’m not racist and want to marry a man that isn't from my race.

I have a job and can look after myself, so I am not left destitute. I am very certain about the man I want to marry as he is a God-fearing Muslim, treats me well, and despite my family’s treatment towards him, he still respects and encourages me to love my family.

Please advise me on what I should do.


In this counseling answer:

One way you could try easing this is by educating them on the matter from an Islamic perspective in regards to marriage.

Let them know that you are considering their perspective in your decision-making.

Arrange a meeting between the families so that your family can get to know his family for who they are, not for what they look like.

The pros and cons of each option need to be considered in-depth before deciding.

Pray the istikharah prayer.

Assalam alaykum,

Alhamdulillah, you have met a man that you wish to marry and whom you are pleased within all aspects. It seems that your family are very unhappy with your choice of a spouse to the point that your father even locked you in your house to prevent you from seeking marriage to him.

This leaves you in a predicament in how to proceed. There are several things to think about and things you could potentially do to ease the situation and pave a smoother path forward.

Most important qualities in a spouse

As you are probably aware, the most important trait to look for in a spouse is taqwa (piety). If you have a spouse with this quality alone, above other qualities, you can be more certain of a healthy and happy relationship.

I Want to Marry a Foreign Muslim; My Dad Disowned Me - About Islam

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that:

The Prophet said: “A woman may be married for four things: Her wealth, her lineage, her beauty or for her religion. Choose the religious, may your hands be rubbed with dust (i.e., may you prosper).” (Sunan Ibn Majah Vol. 3, Book 9, Hadith 1858)

You could meet a spouse who is handsome and wealthy but has a weak level of spirituality. You could run into numerous relationship problems if his religion is not the strongest guidance in his life. Unfortunately, many overlook this in favor of more materialistic qualities and discriminate against those who don’t match up to such qualities.

It seems that your parents are of this orientation too in their reasoning for denying you the chance to marry this man. This is not a part of Islam. We should not judge people by their race, as we are all viewed equally by Allah in this matter. Allah instead judges on one’s level of righteousness and piety.

“O mankind, indeed, We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted” {Quran 49:13}

Don’t disrespect your family

Whilst it is easy to say that race does not matter and it is permissible to marry him regardless of his race, your parents seem to think otherwise. They oppose it to the extent of abusing you by locking you up, which is unacceptable.

Of course, we know that we should respect our parents and obey them, but when they instruct us against Islam, we are not obligated to obey.

However, if you choose to disobey, do understand that there may be consequences for having gone against their wishes and it’s important to keep so in mind when deciding where to go from there.

Educate them on the matter

One way you could try easing this is by educating them on the matter from an Islamic perspective as discussed above so that they can see from the Qur’an and Sunnah that their reasons are invalid.

If you feel uncomfortable bringing this to them, or anxious about how they will take it or if they will even listen, you could ask a local person of knowledge or family member to relay such information to them. They may be more responsive then, than if they were to hear it from you.

View things from their perspective

Try softening their hearts on the matter by viewing things from their perspective. Even though you don’t agree with their ideologies, if you can try understanding why they are behaving the way they are, you will be in a better position to discuss the issue with them.

Let them know that you are considering their perspective in your decision-making. This will make them feel more respected and likely to empathize with your desires.

Let them know that you understand that they only want what’s best for you and that means that they want you to marry a good spouse.

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It is unfortunate that their ideas of what is best isn’t in line with Islamic values, but their intentions may not be as bad as they seem. Their bias is based on their desire for you to marry whom they feel will be best for you.

Arrange a meeting between the families

If practical, arrange a meeting between the families so that your family can get to know his family for who they are, not for what they look like. In shaa’ Allah, this would soften their hearts towards people from other ethnicities, which would make them more welcoming of you marrying outside of your own ethnic group.

Consider your opinions carefully

This is a difficult dilemma for you to be in and you have many things to consider; do you disobey your parents and marry the man you want to at the risk of seriously disturbing family relations, or obey your parents’ requests and abandon this potential marriage at the sake of your own heartbreak.

The pros and cons of each option need to be considered in-depth before deciding. However, you must also trust that whatever the outcome, you will get through. If you marry him and your parents are initially upset, in shaa’ Allah they will eventually come around with your patience and continued attempts to maintain family ties.

If you abandon the marriage, then trust that Allah will replace him with someone who is better for you. The most important thing as you are contemplating is to pray istikhara so that Allah will guide you to what is best.

Additionally, keep relations with this man halal to prevent you from developing feelings that become deep enough to influence your decisions and potentially lead to heartbreak.


Mashaa’ Allah, you have found a man of good faith whom you wish to marry, and you are in a stable position to do so. There are some middle-ground options to consider in the meantime as you consider this very important decision and its consequences.

Such options include educating your parents on the importance of taqwa over ethnicity either directly or via a third party, arranging a meeting between both families so that they may get to know each other as people and not as a stereotype of their race.

Do this whilst maintaining as much respect as possible and trying to empathize with their desire for your best interests.

May Allah guide you to make the best choice and make your situation easy. May He grant you a spouse that will bring you happiness in this life and the next.



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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