Shall I Refuse My Friend’s Marriage Proposal?

29 March, 2021
Q As-Salumu Alaikum, I am in a confused situation, I've prayed istiqara last night, but still I am not able to decide what is good for me. I recently completed my post-graduation degree. A boy fell in love with me because of my respect toward Islam and hijab, as he said. I have never tried to impress anybody when I was in college, but this guy slowly became my good friend. I considered him as a friend, but not more than that. Then, I realized that he was in love with me, and this was his first love I mean he never approached any girl in my class, he only came to me. I respected his feelings towards me and we use to help each other in the course or when one of us was absent. As time passed by, I went with him to the mall with my other friend and her boyfriend since I felt everyone around me enjoys going out with their friends, so I should also go and "see the outside world". It's not a sin, I thought, so I went with them and the guy whom I considered as friend since it's haraam to meet a non-mahram alone. Now, I feel I was totally wrong; I have committed a sin by going with him to the mall, watching movies and thinking about him as a friend, because now I have increased his feelings towards me. At that time, I felt I should not go anymore with him, so I confessed him that I can no longer be your good friend since I cannot think about you as my life partner. As I stared ignoring him, he started to miss his classes. Somewhere I felt I should not be the cause for this as it might risk his future career. I don't like hurting anybody. He seemed he was not ready to accept my refusal, so I continued this friendship until we graduated from college. Later on, I came to know that as college finished and months passed by, he still hopes that I would marry him. Yesterday, I had to lie to him that my marriage is fixed with someone from a good family. Can u tell me that what I am doing is right or wrong? Should I marry him, because he is ready to wait for me, but I am not OK to spend my life with him? Do I sin by not accepting him as my husband and that I spent time with him during college? He is a good hearted person, humble and likes me with hijab, so I guess I should accept him. I feel this way sometimes, but I also feel that I should not be in a hurry in this matter as I have left the marriage issue to my brother and my father. Islam teaches us to be patient. I have never met him after my college, and although he told me that he will send his parents to my family seeking marriage, but I know I am not ready. Once, I had discussed this issue with my brother, and he told me that love marriage is not good in our religion. My dad does not know anything about this. Tell me am I committing sin? Should I wait for my family's choice since I respect their decision? Do I have the right to break the heart of such a good person who loves me? Please, help. Thank you.


In this counseling answer:

Honestly examine your feelings when it comes to yourself and how to view other people. How do you feel about yourself as a woman? As a Muslim? What are your life goals? What do you wish to improve about your character? How do you think others perceive you? Taking your time and getting to know yourself better is an important step that you have to take now before getting married.

Salamu ‘Alaikum Sister,

Thank you for sending us your question. It appears from your question that you feel very strongly about the predicament you are in. You seem to be a very thoughtful and caring person who would never want to hurt another person’s feelings, even if it goes against your own feelings. I ask Allah (swt) to help you gain more confidence and strength within yourself to make wise decisions.

To summarize your situation, you are a college student who befriended a fellow male student in your class. Over time, the both of you became friends and started to meet each other outside of class. You say that he has feelings for you and wants to eventually marry you, but you don’t feel the same way about him, even though, he is “such a good person who loves me.” You also feel very guilty about meeting him outside of class like in the mall or in the cinema and feel that you have committed sin in doing so. Now, you are tormented and feel terrible about potentially breaking this young man’s heart by refusing his marriage proposal. You are even contemplating accepting his proposal in order to avoid upsetting him.

As I mentioned earlier, you appear to be a kind-hearted person who wants to do good with everyone. That is wonderful; however, there should be a balance between being nice no matter what the situation is and being assertive. Being assertive means that you are someone who confidently states his/her rights and feelings without dismissing the rights and feelings of others. You seek a win-win situation without forgetting about yourself. In your situation, instead of lying to this brother and telling him that you are engaged, you should answer him respectfully saying that you believe he is a good person, but you do not feel that the both of you would be compatible for marriage, then, kindly decline his proposal.

You would be doing yourself and this young man a great injustice if you accepted his proposal for marriage out of pity for him or to avoid hurting his feelings. Marriage is a lifetime partnership that will test a person’s character in many ways. It has to have a strong foundation in order to take all the obstacles that will be faced. If either party is not ready for marriage or is marrying for the wrong reasons than it sets up the whole relationship for potential failure. Neither you nor this young man deserves that.

I believe that you make a wise statement when you say that you want to wait a bit more before getting married. Reading between the lines as a mental health professional, I have to mention that in many instances a person, who feels the need to always please others at the expense of their own feelings, may have low self-esteem and low self-confidence. These people don’t feel that they are worthy enough for other people to hear and value their feelings and opinions.

As I read your question, it appears that you are very hard on yourself. I noticed this when you mention how guilty you felt about possibly falling into sin regarding your relationship with this young man as well as when you thought of accepting his proposal to marriage, even though you don’t feel that he is a good match for you.

Please, do not misunderstand me, feeling guilt and regret after sinning is normal and important, but we all know that Allah (swt) is All-Forgiving and All-Merciful. If we sincerely ask for His forgiveness, He (swt) will grant it, in sha’ Allah. What we forget to stress on as practicing Muslims is that we have to forgive ourselves after sinning. There is a reason why Allah (swt) makes it easy for us to ask for forgiveness.

Apart from the fact that Allah (swt) has created human beings to, indeed, make mistakes and learn from them He (swt) also wants us to grow up emotionally and intellectually through making mistakes. It takes a lot of courage and compassion to let go of the negative feelings one has when doing something wrong. The ability to overcome these feelings of negativity helps create a more honest, strong, and compassionate person. That is what Allah (swt) wants for us. Allah (swt) wants us to be strong and compassionate; thus, He (swt) wants us to have high self-esteem.

Honestly examine your feelings when it comes to yourself and how to view other people. How do you feel about yourself as a woman? As a Muslim? What are your life goals? What do you wish to improve about your character? How do you think others perceive you? Taking your time and getting to know yourself better is an important step that you have to take now before getting married.

Focus on your studies, your work, or whatever it is that you intend to spend your valuable time doing. Learn to love and appreciate yourself, and work on the kind of a woman, Muslim, etc. that you want to become. Doing so will help you to improve your self-esteem and will help you to perceive yourself and the world in a more positive light.

May Allah (swt) help you,    


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Read more:

I Find It Difficult to Accept Any Marriage Proposal

The Nikah Contract: Marriage or Business Proposal?

Marriage Proposal at the Haram: Valid?

About Aliah F. Azmeh
Aliah F. Azmeh is a licensed clinical social worker who practices in Detroit, Michigan. Aliah graduated with a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan in 2007 and has experience working in the United States and overseas. Aliah currently works as a clinical social worker and provides individual, family, and marital counseling at Muslim Family Services in Detroit, MI.