In this counseling answer:
“You could suggest that they meet his parents or family and not just him. This will also give them reassurance that he comes from a good family and will take the focus away from him alone if that is what you fear will make them reject the proposal. If they are confident that you are marrying into a good family, then they might be more willing to accept the marriage even if they dislike the fact that he is disabled.
In time, in sha Allah, as they get to know him, they will be able to see beyond his physical appearance and disability and will accept him for who he is, and not how he looks. It might be that you have to organize several meeting between the families or between your parents and him to encourage such a relationship.”
As-Salamu ‘Alaikum wa Rahmatulahi wa Barakatuh sister,
It is great that you have found someone you like enough to desire to marry. However, I would first stress great caution on having contact with a non-mahram male at this point. Unfortunately, Shaytan can intervene in such situations where a man and woman are alone together resulting in unhealthy desires towards one another outside of marriage. If you are serious about perusing this marriage, I would recommend cutting one to one contact with this man first of all. If you want to be in contact with him, always be sure to have a mahram present to prevent Shaytan from interfering.
The Prophet said:
“No man must not be alone with a woman except in the presence of her (Mahram).” (Bukhari and Muslim)
If you are both serious about marriage, then take the most appropriate steps in moving forward. Whilst it is not necessary for the families to meet before getting married, it will make things a lot easier for you and your marriage if they do.
The fact that he is willing to meet them first is a good sign of his character. They should see that and be pleased that he is coming forward to approach your parents for your hand in marriage without going behind their back. Going ahead with a marriage without them meeting his family or the man himself could potentially cause serious friction and even impact negatively on your marriage. They will feel like you deceived them and didn’t trust them which will make for poor family relations.
Before they meet him
Before he meets your parents, pray to Allah to soften their hearts at this point. You can’t be sure that they don’t accept him. They may be far more understanding than you think. The most important thing is that he is a man of piety who will treat you well and fulfill his role as your husband the best he can. If this is the case, then your parents can be satisfied that he will be a good spouse for you. The fact he has a disability should really play no part in whether they think he is suitable or not because this will not prevent him from being a good, pious Muslim and husband to you.
Meeting him and his family
You say that he will talk to your parents, yet you fear they won’t accept him due to his disability. Instead, you could suggest that they meet his parents or family and not just him. This will also give them reassurance that he comes from a good family and will take the focus away from him alone if that is what you fear will make them reject the proposal. If they are confident that you are marrying into a good family, then they might be more willing to accept the marriage even if they dislike the fact that he is disabled.
In time, in sha Allah, as they get to know him, they will be able to see beyond his physical appearance and disability and will accept him for who he is, and not how he looks. It might be that you have to organize several meeting between the families or between your parents and him to encourage such a relationship.
It may even be that the first conversation they have with him is conducted over the phone. By this way, they can get to know him for his personality, without the option to pass any judgment on the fact that he has a disability. This might make it easier for them to accept him if they come to like him for his personality based on phone conversations. So when they meet him, they are able to see past his disability and focus solely on him as a person and not his disability.
If they don’t accept him…
In the worst case, they don’t accept him, they need to know that Islamically the most important quality is not his disability or the way he looks, but his character and piety.
The Prophet said: “Allah does not look at your forms or your wealth, rather He looks at your deeds and your hearts.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)
They need to understand that people with disabilities are no different to able-bodied people in that respect. In the eyes of Allah, we are judged on our taqwa and nothing else. Therefore, we should also do the same.
Remind them of example in Islamic history where people with disabilities were treated with as much respect as everyone else. Allah is the most Merciful and expects people with disabilities to perform acts of worship like everyone else, allowing for modifications if and where necessary. In fact, a whole 10 ayats of the Qur’an were revealed as a warning to the Prophet Muhammad regarding the matter of treating people with disabilities with respect, in this case, a blind man.
“The Prophet frowned and turned away because there came to him the blind man, [interrupting]. But what would make you perceive, [O Muhammad], that perhaps he might be purified…” (Qur’an, 80:1-3)
If this is not something that you feel comfortable to do, then you could ask your local imam to either talk to them directly about the matter or indirectly by giving a khutbah on the topic. He could highlight these important points in pursuit of assisting them to see the situation from an Islamic standpoint that is more conducive to positive relations between able and disabled people.
If this fails and your parents still don’t accept him, then there are a few options to consider. You can be patient with them whilst praying that Allah will soften their hearts. You can go ahead and marry him without their support. Or you can forget about marrying him and seek someone else. All of these options come with consequences which you need to consider very carefully.
Take your time and don’t rush to make such an important decision. Think about what is most important to you and what will be most pleasing to Allah. Praying istikhara during this time will be of great benefit to you. Allah will guide you to make the decision that is best for you and is most pleasing to Him. In sha’ Allah, it will work out for you and you won’t need to consider these alternative options. However, in case it doesn’t, be comforted that there other men out there to marry.
In summary, the first thing to be aware of is making sure any further contact with this man is conducted in the most appropriate way (i.e. with a mahram present and not alone). It is recommended that they do meet him and/or his family first before going ahead with a marriage to sustain good relations with your parents and for them to know his character, not just his disability. However, this is not entirely necessary and you could seek marriage without such meetings. But do be aware of the potentially disastrous consequences.
In sha Allah, they will accept, but if not, you can continue to pray to Allah to turn their hearts whilst educating them on the importance of treating everyone equally as per Islamic principles highlighted in the Qur’an and Sunnah. This is something the local imam could talk with them about also. In the meantime, praying istikhara will give you comfort that Allah will guide you to do what is best.
May Allah soften your parents’ hearts and guide you on the straight path. May He grant you a righteous spouse who will bring you happiness in this life and the next.
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