She is Severely Ill, But I Want to Marry Her

20 January, 2017
Q I love a girl (let's call her Zainab), who is severely ill. She has epilepsy and asthma problems. We met online, and she fell in love with me a year ago. She prays five times and has memorized more than half of the Quran. I thought it would be like other regular kind of love affairs. I knew it was not halal, but I decided to stay on this because she was deeply in love with me and I couldn't get away. We decided that we would get married three years later. Slowly, I started to grow feelings for her and I kind of fell in love with her as well.The problem started about a month later when her family came to know that she is in love with me. She grew up without her mother’s support because her mother is physically disabled. The parents of her best friend raised her. Her friend’s elder brother has a big crush on her since he was 12. He proposed her for marriage and let her know by various means that he loves her, but she refused. When that guy came to know about our relationship, he fell apart and emailed me informing that the last wish of Zainab’s father was that she would get married with that guy. That guy hid this thing for two years and didn't let Zainab know. I believe he did it because he didn’t want to put pressure on Zainab. So, that guy begged me to stay away from Zainab. He seemed to be a very good Muslim and love Zainab a lot. But Zainab always tells me that she considers that guy as her brother and never had feelings for him.Zainab grew up in a privileged family, and I come from a middle class family. She needs special care. For example, she needs someone to watch her 24/7 and give her special kind of medication. If she is not taken care of well, she might end up the same way as her mother did. Her father’s chosen guy is well off and can provide everything she needs. Besides, she has developed a strong family tie with them over time. If she marries me, she may have to leave all those bonds which, I believe, she needs for her emotional well-being and cure.I am confused. I am still a student. I don’t know what to do. Emotionally, I am ready to marry her because I know if there is love, no matter what, we will be happy. But I am not ready financially. I need to take care of my parents, have a job, while she needs to be taken care of as well. But my faith in Allah is growing stronger day by day. I wish to be with her even after death in Jannah. We are supposed to get married two years later when I graduate and get a job. But I am always thinking about the other guy. He is a good person. I can feel his in pain. I don’t know what will happen to him and to his family if Zainab marries me.I also don’t know how I will provide a proper living arrangement for Zainab and his mom, but I believe if Allah wants, all of these problems will be solved very easily. Right now, I am keeping in touch with her as less as I can and continuing my studies. My parents want to help me, and I believe they won’t disagree with me about marrying Zainab if I can show how serious I am about her. But I am worried about Zainab. I want to be the perfect husband for her and want to see her smile always. She is waiting also not knowing what will happen. She understands the reality as well. Right now, all we can do is waiting and see what Allah wants. What do you think would be better for us to do now? What would be the best choice for Zainab?



As-Salamu ‘Alaikum brother,

You seem to have good intentions in your heart and you to want to make a rational decision. We all agree that love is a powerful force and is extremely important in a relationship, but unfortunately there are other factors that should be taken into consideration when we decide to marry someone. As you know, it is part of the husband’s duties to provide for his family even though nowadays family systems have changed and some women are able to contribute as well, yet this does not seem to be the case of “Zainab”. You mentioned that she is severally ill and needs special care. I see that you want to take good care of her, and you want to do whatever it takes to make your relationship work out, but think about it:

    1. Where are you going to live with her since she will probably have to leave her home?
    2. Will you able to provide health insurance for her?
    3. Can you buy her medications?
    4. Who will watch over her 24/7 as you said, if you will be working?

If I understood correctly, you currently live with your parents; that means you would take her to live with your family considering you don’t have a job. In the end of the day, if you are a full time student, you will end up having your parents taking care of her. According to your description, if she does not receive proper care, it can be life threatening for her. All these factors must be considered. To marry this sister is a huge responsibility, and from your email I don’t think you are financially or even emotionally ready. In addition, there is the factor of Zainab’s father wanting her to marry someone else as “his last wish.” Whether this is true or not, it is still another factor that makes things less easy for you.

I believe that right now, you both should be very patient and act smart. A marriage needs more than love to succeed, and the priority now should be her well being.

“O my son, establish prayer, enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and be patient over what befalls you. Indeed, [all] that is of the matters [requiring] determination.” (31:17)

“Forbid what is wrong”; you said that your relationship isn’t halal, thus you should consider make it right and trust that the best for you will happen. If your feelings remain the same, I am sure that both of you can keep this halal relationship alive for two years and then take it further.

I understand your concerns about the other brother involved, but you also know that she refuses to marry him. Nobody can force “Zainab” to get married. Even though it was her father’s desire, she needs to agree with the man chosen for her:

“O you who have believed, it is not lawful for you to inherit women by compulsion…” (4:19)

You two must to be clear to each other about your feelings and intentions. Unfortunately for the other brother, she chose you. The right thing to do now is not to get married to take her under the influence of the other guy, but is to talk to your family and decide the best way to approach her family and discuss your intentions. Get to know each other in a halal way and trust in Allah. Whatever seems to be a hardship now, it will be made easy by Allah, and your truth will unfold if it is His desire.

“Verily, with hardship there is relief” (Qur’an 94:6)


“Perhaps Allah may bring victory or a decision according to His Will.” (Qur’an 5:52)



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About Karim Serageldin
Karim Serageldin, founder of Noor, completed his BA in psychology & religion, followed by an MA in east-west psychology with a specialization in spiritual counseling. He is a certified life coach with years of teaching and community outreach experience. His practical work and research includes developing a modern framework of Islamic psychology, relationship, family and youth coaching. He provides seminars and workshops in the United States. You can contact Br. Karim at: or