As-Salamu ‘Alaikum dear brother,
When you find someone who you want to marry but feel like you are not able, it can, indeed, feel very distressing managing yourself in a way that is halal. Shyness may be acting as a hidden blessing for you because she is currently haram to you and, therefore, it is important that you avoid too much contact with her to ensure that you are not tempted to engage in haram relations with her. Whilst you are not married to her, it is important that any contact you do have with her is in the presence of someone else who is mahram to her. The following hadith warns us:
Ibn ‘Umar narrated:” ‘Umar delivered a Khutbah to us at Al-Jabiyah. He said: ‘O you people! Indeed I have stood among you as the Messenger of Allah(s.a.w) stood among us, and he said: “I order you (to stick to) my Companions, then those who come after them, then those who come after them. Then lying will spread until a man will take an oath when no oath was sought from him, and a witness will testify when his testimony was not sought. Behold! A man is not alone with a woman but the third of them is Ash-Shaitan. Adhere to the Jama’ah, beware of separation, for indeed Ash-Shaitan is with one, and he is further away from two. Whoever wants the best place in Paradise, then let him stick to the Jama’ah. Whoever rejoices with his good deeds and grieves over his evil deeds, then that is the believer among you.'” (Tirmidhi)
The only way to ensure this girl’s commitment to you is to marry her. Marrying her will allow you to have a proper relationship with her without fear of the interference of shaytan as any relations between you, alone, or with others, would be perfectly permissible.
There may be many reasons why you do not feel ready for nikah right now, but it’s important for you to think about whether these reasons are valid not to get married and whether these reasons to pursue a marriage now are stronger than the reason not to.
Marriage is prescribed from a young age in Islam for a number of reasons; it protects us from engaging in haram relationships as we can have our emotional and physical needs met in the best and most appropriate way. The marital relationship also provides a strong emotional bond that cannot be attained in any other kind of relationship – a relationship where you will be able to soothe and comfort each other in difficult times and support each other in the deen.
“It has been made permissible for you the night preceding fasting to go to your wives [for sexual relations]. They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them. Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He accepted your repentance and forgave you. So now, have relations with them and seek that which Allah has decreed for you. And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night]. Then complete the fast until the sunset. And do not have relations with them as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques. These are the limits [set by] Allah , so do not approach them. Thus does Allah make clear His ordinances to the people that they may become righteous.” (Qur’an 2:187)
If your fear is related to finishing your education and getting into a career, then remember it is still possible to do this after marriage, too. It will be an extra responsibility, but if she is a righteous wife, then she will support you in reaching your goals, especially if you make this clear from the start and she agrees to it.
Regarding paying a mahr, it is an obligation on the husband, but if you are not in a good financial position, then, in sha’ Allah, she does not have to accept anything, or she will be content with something small so that you may pursue this marriage. If she understands your situation, then she would be happy to accept this in order that you can get married.
“And give the women [upon marriage] their [bridal] gifts graciously. But if they give up willingly to you anything of it, then take it in satisfaction and ease.” (Qur’an 4:4)
If you still feel that you could not pursue a marriage at this point, then you could fast as it is recommended by Prophet Muhammad (saw) in such situation as a means to control any urges you might be having.
It was narrated from Aishah that the Messenger of Allah said: “Marriage is part of my sunnah, and whoever does not follow my sunnah has nothing to do with me. Get married, for I will boast of your great numbers before the nations. Whoever has the means, let him get married, and whoever does not, then he should fast for it will diminish his desire.” (Ibn Majah)
You must also keep in mind that whilst you are not married, or even if you have made the proposal but not actually carried out the nikah yet, she is still under no obligation to marry you. By waiting, you run the risk that another suitor may come her way, and if he is a good, pious man, then she may well take his offer as this is recommended in Islam.
If this happens, then it is for you to be strong in your faith in Allah (swt) and the knowledge that He (swt) has something better planned for you. Maybe, you will meet another girl who you will love and will make you happy when you feel you are in a better position to get married. However, maybe this girl is willing to wait for you and you would both have to be patient in waiting for this time. Do your best to control your urges both with this girl and with others you may meet or see in the future.
May Allah (swt) guide you to make the decision that is best for you and the girl and bring you contentment with whoever your spouse may be when the time is right.
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