In this counseling answer:
• Parents have a right and obligation to offer criteria to their children and offer them guidance in marriage.
• The time apart from each other will give you both a chance to reassess what you want and need in your life for the sake of Allah.
• Speak to your parents; focus on your worshiping of Allah; surround yourself with good people.
• When a relationship ends, there is a vacuum of emptiness. Surround yourself with good friends and spiritual mentors, who remind you of Allah or anything else that raises your Iman.
Thank you for writing in with your question. May the response be a source of support for you.
It is unfortunate that this gentleman was willing to sacrifice so many things in order to maintain a relationship with you, including ending up in a haram relationship in front of Allah, but that he has given up so quickly when his parents have told him no regarding marriage to you.
If he had emailed me I would have, first, advised him to not give in so quickly and to continue to work on his parents and speak to them if he was absolutely certain that you are the woman he wants to marry. This requires maturity, patience, and often the involvement of another party to help in negotiation and conversation.
I am glad you pushed him to stop seeing you in private and for him to take the proper and correct steps to discuss marriage with his parents. You did the right thing which would also help you both stop doing something which is displeasing to Allah.
I would have hoped that you also took the step to speak to your parents at the same time. As of now, it’s not clear if you have done so. If you haven’t then it’s not right for either of you to consider speaking again now or in December unless he plans on approaching your family and asking for your hand. At this point in time, you can explain to them that you both already know each other and that you were interested in marrying him previously.
It was narrated from Ibn Abbas that the Messenger of Allah said:
“There is nothing like marriage, for two who love one another.”
It is very common for parents to make quick judgments about individuals their children want to marry without fully understanding the depth of connection that two people may have already experienced with each other. They do not know who their son or daughter is destined to marry.
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Parents have a right and obligation to offer criteria to their children and offer them guidance in marriage. Afterall, many people fall in love with bad people who will harm them now and in the future. I’ve counseled so many women wrapped up in a relationship with a man who is emotionally abusive to them. Others fall for someone because it is the first and only person they’ve ever allowed themselves to get close to even though that individual doesn’t match anything they wanted for their future.
Feelings of love may not be a sufficient reason to carry on their own.
This is why there has to be a discussion of values and vision as well. Do the two people who want to get married, when you strip away the loving feelings they have right now, have enough in common values and vision to help them through the tough times? Because there will be tough times in any marriage to navigate through.
Further regarding his parents, in this situation, is also their misunderstanding of how religious their son is. It appears they see your hijab as a defining marker of where you are lacking but aren’t seeing their son’s level of practice and involvement with you as a symbol of where is faith is right now. This isn’t to knock all the ‘ibadah you both are doing for the sake of Allah as none of us are perfect nor sinless human beings. It’s to remove the “my son deserves better than this” thought process they have and help them see that you two are at the same level of religiosity based on your actions together even if some of your external actions vary at this time in your lives.
Often the recommended solution is to find another girl/man for marriage who the parents are pleased with and ticks all the boxes on their checklist without taking into account their own son or daughter’s feelings for another individual. This solution often creates heartache down the road for a newly married couple when one figures out or senses there is someone else their husband/wife is in love with.
There are further things to consider as well.
* Will he later resent marrying you because you didn’t wear the hijab right away and he wanted someone more practicing from the get-go?
* Will you later resent him for his religiosity because you tried to become someone you weren’t for him and felt rushed to please him or his family?
*Will he blame you for the tension he had to go through to marry you when you both hit a rough patch down the road?
*Will you lose respect for him because despite his religiosity he tempted you to do things you were trying hard to stay away from in order to become a better Muslim?
The time apart from each other will you give you both a chance to reassess what you want and need in your life for the sake of Allah.
1) Speak to your parents.
For you, this is a chance to revisit your own future without it being wrapped up in his own. It’s also a time to begin speaking to your parents about marriage to find out what their own expectations are. You might think his parents are the obstacle but what about your own?
Technically as a man, he could marry you without anyone’s approval, legally speaking but you cannot. You need a wali to agree to your own marriage and support it. It makes no sense to consider anyone or allow yourself to suffer any further without having things clear with your own parents.
2) Focus on your ‘ibadah
When any of us as human beings hit a low in our disobedience to Allah it’s a chance to prioritize our lives and focus on what’s most important. Allah does not forbid anything that is beneficial for us in the long run. So those things which are sins are to be abandoned because the harm, in the long term, outweighs the good.
Focusing on this helps one come closer in trust to Allah. From there is renewing your repentance and turning to Allah while fully trusting that He loves those who repent and leave that which is haram for that which He loves. Then focus on your iman and be selfish in protecting it. This is your life and your akhirah. Protect it, nurture it, and take care of yourself.
3) Find positive spiritual environments
When a relationship ends, there is a vacuum of emptiness. This is where your sadness is coming from. You are also going to go through a period of grief as this comes to an end. Grief is a process. Some days you’ll forget all about him and other days you might remember him.
What can help you in this process is surrounding yourself with good friends and spiritual mentors, immersing yourself in Islamic environments which remind you of Allah or anything else that raises your Iman. Find some people that are spending time in nature, making dhikr, or volunteering their time. Find ways to serve others who also have heartache even if it’s different from your own. It might feel like your sadness will last forever but it won’t. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Hang in there.
4) Cut off all other communication.
Moving forward, you two cannot continue to text or call or see each other because the risk of falling back into sin is extremely high right now as you both have the same vacuum. If you do feel you want to speak to each other again because he decides he does want to try again on his parents the next meeting needs to be with your parents but never alone.
May Allah protect you both, forgive you both, and support you both to move towards that which is most pleasing to Him and make you of those whom He loves. May He keep your heart near to Him and let this be a test which becomes the seeds for a garden where ‘ibadah will grow and grow to grant you a garden in Jannah.
Please write back and let us know if this was helpful for you and if you have any other questions.
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.