My Parents Don’t Approve My Marriage, Do It Secretly?

11 November, 2020
Q Salaam,

I want to get married to my boyfriend and he wants the same. Our parents aren't that satisfied with each other so the thing I want to do is either secretly get a nikkah or something that relates to a nikkah or an engagement which I can promise him that I will marry him and only him & he feels the same.

So what shall I do? Just get engaged or is there something that relates to a marriage ritual. Thank you!

Answer

In this counseling answer:

“Secret marriages are haram sister and I encourage you not to do that.  If you did a marriage in secret it would be going against Islamic principles as well as putting you both in the position to have to lie to cover up your marriage, thus you would have a sin of being liars.  I am sure that is not what you want.”


As salamu alaykum,

Thank you for writing us.  I am sorry to hear that both your parents are not satisfied with the fact that you want to marry.  Parents often have preconceived criteria concerning who they want their child would marry and why.  Some of the criteria may be based on Islam, but a lot of it may be based on tribal-cultural customs which is not relevant in Islam.

Parents

For instance, a parent may want their child to marry someone who comes from a wealthy family, or desires a spouse for the child that makes a certain income or a spouse that is from their tribe or ethnic background.

These are a few examples and they are not valid.  In Islam, marriage is permitted between two people who are halal to each other. In the Qur’an it states

“And marry the unmarried among you and the righteous among your male slaves and female slaves. If they should be poor, Allah will enrich them from His bounty, and Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing”.  (Quran Al Nour 24-32)

My Parents Don't Approve My Marriage, Do It Secretly? - About Islam

It mentions nothing about marrying within one’s own tribe, nor ethnic background, nor does it mention you have to be wealthy.

Marriage

While I do not know the reasons for your parent’s denial, if you both are Islamically halal for each other there should be no reason why you should not marry.  Marriage is a safeguard and it is the Prophet’s (PBUH) sunnah

I would kindly suggest that you both sit down with your parents (separately). And discuss your reasons for wanting to marry. Highlight the positive and Islamic traits of one another. As well as point out hadiths and Qur’anic proofs supporting your marriage.

Approach the topic

To have any affect upon your parents dear sister, you must approach them in a mature and respectful way as I am sure you are doing.  Please do write down your thoughts and proofs before talking with them so that your conversation is in order and you are prepared to address any of their concerns. 

Be prepared to discuss how he will support you, where you will live, how you will finish university education if that was your plan as well as any other issues that they may have.  Lastly sister, please do examine their reasons carefully, are any of them valid based on the Qur’an and sunnah?


Check out this counseling video:


Parent’s blessings

You both have the right to marry. While your parents cannot prevent you from marrying it is best to have their blessings. And to be on good terms with them.  It is the best way to start out married life. Though it does not always happen this way as you can see.  

The other option is to get them to agree to an engagement.  While this is not promoted among some scholars. It may be an option to give both of your parents more time to get to know each others families and adjust to the idea.

Engagement rules

Please be aware that during the time of engagement you are not married yet. And the Islamic rules of not being alone together and not committing haram acts still apply.  It may be difficult sister, thus the reason for recommending marriage rather than a prolonged engagement.

With that said, secret marriages are haram sister and I encourage you not to do that.  If you did a marriage in secret it would be going against Islamic principles. As well as putting you both in the position to have to lie to cover up your marriage, thus you would have a sin of being liars.  I am sure that is not what you want.

Conclusion

I would kindly suggest that you speak with your parents again as outlined above.  If they are still resistant, and there is no Islamic reason why you should not marry, please do insha’Allah consult with an imam to see if he will marry you and if so, how to go about it in regards to a wali and witnesses.  While you may not have your parents blessings, perhaps in time both families will come to accept your marriage and be supportive.

By doing things in a respectful and Islamic way sister, both you and your possible future spouse will insha’Allah gain many blessings from Allah.  As marriage is an important and lifetime commitment insha’Allah, you want to start out your marriage in a good way.

We wish you both the best, you are in our prayers.

***

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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About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.