“Do not cry, Nura,” said Rachel on the phone. “Allah is with you and hears your dua. If Michael is meant for you, you will be together.”
“They don’t even listen to my opinion,” continued with disappointment.”My parents do not want to hear the reasons about my marriage decisions.“
“I am so sorry, Nura,” replied Rachel supportively. “I do not know what to say.”
“At least you were able to convince your parents,” Nura said, her voice tinged with sadness and contentment for her friend’s success.
“Yes, alhamdulillah, but it was not easy,” replied Rached. “But at least they understand that they cannot force me to do something against my will.
“They know that I won’t be happy that way. We have our disagreements, but they know, deep down, that they have to respect my choices.”
There was silence on the other side of the phone. Rachel continued.
“So, they reluctantly agreed to see Uthman, and, alhamdulillah, it was a positive encounter. You know how Uthman is—so well-educated and with good manners… And they noticed his determination. So, we agreed to keep talking about our plans and see how we could work them into our family.”
“That sounds great, alhamdulillah,” said Nura finally. “May Allah bless your marriage with Uthman.”
After some moments, she added resignedly and with bitterness, only to herself:
“It is incredibly how we are blinded by culture and family tradition...”
Though the story of Rachel and Nura may be fictitious, there are unfortunately many Rachels and Nuras struggling out there, as well as many Michaels and Uthmans.
Sometimes their plight and challenges, in real life, are far worse than any imagination. The reasons at the individual, family, social-cultural, and religious levels abound; what really matters is how we find solutions.
One of the solutions is for families to recognize the value of consultation (shura) which is deeply rooted in the Islamic tradition, and give room for the opinions of their children.
Since the advice of the wise elder holds true value until it does not turn into tyranny, a command to obey without listening to and understanding diverse perspectives and alternatives.
But …. conduct their affairs by mutual consultation…(Quran 42:36-38)
Shura is the leader’s duty to consult with the people on major issues and seek their opinion and advice.
The goal is to ensure that all members—including family members—have their views and interests considered when making decisions, for example, during marriage choices.
Discussing options and listening to the younger ones bring blessings into the family, for that will ultimately make them willing to hear as well.
If the members are truly open to dialogue and discussion, future Muslim generations will be able to actively participate in their life choices.
They will have the chance to form happier lives according to their needs and fulfill higher purposes in life.
May Allah strengthen our community through mutual consultation and healthier marriage choices, ameen.