Abusive Stepmom Wants to Delay My Marriage

03 April, 2017
Q As-Salamu Alaykum. My 2 siblings and I were adopted by my Muslim aunt and her Catholic husband right after our biological parents passed away. My aunt has done lots of good by taking care of us financially; yet she is so verbally, physically, and emotionally abusive. This got to the point that my little brother and I tried committing suicide at different points in our lives. She is also overly controlling; she wants to even control the lotion we put on our bodies, how we eat, talk, walk, or smile. Basically, she wants to control our whole existence. Throughout my life with her starting at the age of 9, she has tried to get me married or engaged to different family members at different points in time, but they all failed. Currently, I am in a relationship with her best friend’s brother she had set up 4 years ago. After 3 long years of phone conversation, I finally meet the guy for 4 days in August this year, and now we have decided that we want to get married to each other. Since then, she has been trying to object to the marriage and convincing my adoptive father to do so as well, claiming that she wants me to finish my university degree first. This shows me that she has other motives, because she has been trying to marry me off since I was 9 years old. I am 22 and a virgin, but I do not know if I can keep my virginity for long. I want to get married now, and this is the guy I want to get married to. I really do not want to commit the sin of sex before marriage, yet she expects me to stay like this until she allows me to get married. I feel like she is using me as a piece of meat to be sold for the highest bidder or to the man she can control the most. I am grateful for all that she has done for me and my siblings, and I want to respect her and get her blessings, yet I am torn apart. Islamically, should I listen to her and wait until I am done with university which is another 2 years? Can I get married without her consent? What should I do? Please help; I am really torn between family respect and what I see to be the truth.



As-Salaam ‘Alaykum sister,

I pray that you have proper guidance and support in your situation. It must be very difficult to feel what you are experiencing right now.

Here are a few points you must consider moving forward:

– Marriage is a life-long commitment that requires dedication, growth, knowledge, and practical stability. It will have tough times and good times as anything else.

You should not get married to escape living with your aunt despite her ill treatment of you. If you feel you are being used and abused to the point that it is intolerable, then you need to contact family protective services and report your aunt. The only way your aunt can continue abusing you is if you enable her by not taking necessary steps. If she is being investigated by the state, she will be legally obliged to improve her treatment towards you and your brother. Serious circumstances require serious action!

– If you continue to feel despair and have suicidal thoughts, please contact a suicide hotline and seek help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline number is 1-800-273-8255.

– If your aunt refuses marriage based on non-Islamic principles, then you need to get other family member support for your decision. Secondly, if your aunt is married to a non-Muslim man, some scholars might consider her marriage invalid and her opinion as incompatible with Islamic law. Thus, you may be able to marry without her consent. However, this is a matter of fiqh that should be discussed with a scholar of Islamic law. So kindly, contact your local imam for further help and/or write to our ‘Ask the Scholar’ section.

– Yes, avoiding zina is important, but it is not a substantial enough reason to get married when other factors are not ready such as finances and your own home. If you are in danger of committing zina, then you should (i) fast and (ii) ask why you are putting yourself in a dangerous situation with this brother. If you are following sacred law during your encounters, then you would not fear to do something wrong. You should consider how you are spending time with this brother and honor sacred law. If you really know he is right for you, and you are marrying for the sake of God, then you two can trust that it will be facilitated smoothly. More importantly, you should fear to commit zina (in all its forms, kissing etc.) as this will take away the blessings of your future marriage.

– If your fiancé is financially stable and able to take care of you, in addition to that you found you can get married without your aunt’s consent, after praying for guidance, try to move your marriage forward. It is best to marry when you have the means and you are ready, as the Sunnah teaches us.

Do your best to prepare for marriage by researching resources in Islamic roles and relationship skills in the field of psychology. Try to better equip yourself with the knowledge and tools necessary to sustain a prosperous marriage.



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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: http://www.noorhumanconsulting.com or facebook.com/noorhumanconsulting