I got to know this guy on the Internet, he is interested in me and wants to ask for my hand in marriage. First, I want to let you know that my parents are divorced and I live with my mother. This guy has spoken to my mother about his intention to marry me. I don't know how to tell my father that I am talking to this guy online because he won’t understand or may not accept it.
Also, we don’t know how we will be able to meet each other in the presence of my wali (guardian) because I live in the US and this guy lives in Jordan. I will be visiting Palestine with my family in November, and I may or may not be able to visit this guy in Jordan. I have an aunt (my father' s sister) that we visited in Jordan four years ago and she may come to Palestine for my sister's wedding. If my aunt comes to Palestine and my mother and I go to Jordan for a few days after the wedding, everyone will get suspicious and ask why we are going to Jordan since we are there for my sister's wedding. This guy I am interested in can't come to Palestine and see my guardian and me. I don’t know what I can tell my dad to convince him to go to Jordan. If my mother and I go to Jordan, everyone will question the visit, as we have no relatives out there other than my paternal aunt.
I need your advice on my particular situation because I really care for this guy a lot and I know he feels the same about me. We want to get married the halal (permitted by Allah) way. I also want to mention that I will be in Palestine, in sha’ Allah, for three months and my father and mother will be there for one month. My mother and father will go back to the US and I will stay with my grandparents.
I don’t know what to do because time is very limited for my mother and father; my sisters wedding, in sha’ Allah, will be in the second week after we arrive in Palestine, so my parents will have two weeks left after my sister's wedding. Thank you very much for all your help in advance.
In this counseling answer:
“A family plays an important role in shaping a person’s character, and by knowing the family, one gets to know and understand a little more about the person one wishes to marry. It is never an open and shut case of falling in love and marrying that person because many complexities of a person’s character arise due to their upbringing, which could lead to an unhappy marriage.”
As-Salamu `Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh sister,
Sometimes one would like to give all the encouragement one can if it seems that the advice will lead towards making everyone happy. But will it? You describe “this guy” as if you actually know him, but you really know only what he has told you. You do not mention to what extent your mother has been in contact with “this guy,” but regardless, the fact is that up until now your relationship with him, albeit through the Internet, has been haram (forbidden by Allah); however, your mother seems to have accepted his proposal. Your mother is your legal guardian and in practice is responsible for you. You also have a guardian, so either your mother or your guardian (or both of them) should take on the responsibility of contacting your father. He has a right to know, and not just because you need him to facilitate the visit and give his approval.
Of course, there is a strong possibility that your father will not accept the idea. You, your mother, and your guardian have no real knowledge of this person who has proposed, yet you expect your father to travel and to commit time to visit someone who may very well be different from what you perceive, and very different from what he has told you. It is a long way, and there is a strong possibility that you may be disappointed.
Check out this counseling audio:
Do not be alarmed. I am sure you are quite convinced about this person, and you may even know more about him than you have conveyed. You have an aunt in Jordan, she would be better placed to discover what type of person your suitor really is, to see how suitable he is, to assess his circumstances, and to assure your father about your future. If your aunt gave a good response, the task would be easier all round, and make it more likely for your father to accept. He has a right to know all the details; after all, your future is at stake.
It is normal in Middle Eastern countries for families from both sides to know each other, and Islamically this is correct, even if one is not going to live in the same country. A family plays an important role in shaping a person’s character, and by knowing the family, one gets to know and understand a little more about the person one wishes to marry. It is never an open and shut case of falling in love and marrying that person because many complexities of a person’s character arise due to their upbringing, which could lead to an unhappy marriage.
The other issue is if you were to marry, I assume that you would both live in the US. There would be the process of acclimatization to a different culture and a very different social environment. An intrinsic factor would be your suitor’s ability to get reasonable employment, which could take some time and would affect the balance in your marriage. He would not only have any other means of support financially, but he would not get the kind of support he would get from his family if there were any problems in your marriage. Your mother and possibly your father would represent your side of the argument, but who would represent his side of the argument? Everything seems possible when one is in love, but can that love endure the kind of realities that would test that love?
Although your sister’s wedding provides an opportune moment to proceed, I think it would be wise to slow down. First, go through the procedure of asking your aunt and the male representative in her family to see what the picture really is and if it looks good. Then, it is the responsibility of your guardian or your mother to contact your father who, in sha’ Allah, will consider all the issues pertaining to such a marriage.
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.