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Youth Marriage – How Far Should Parents Be Involved?

They say, “Youth is wasted on the young”. There is some degree of truth behind these words.

Youth is that time of life that is bursting with energy and enthusiasm.

It is charged with idealism, and fueled by a strong desire to pursue dreams in the pursuit of a bright and happy future, leaving no stone unturned in turning them to reality.

The energetic years of youth are often tinged with impatience and haste, based on desiring to see optimum results of endeavors quickly.

The one thing lacking when one is young, however, is the essential component of success that is foremost in imparting wisdom and knowledge to a person, and in acquiring which, there are no shortcuts: life experience.

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Life experience has no counterpart or rival. It is because of this gem or treasure that older people possess more than their younger counterparts, that their advice and counsel is all the more valuable for the latter in making big, life-altering decisions.

Older People – Mostly All the Wiser

Nowadays, one of the greater obstacles that young Muslims face when it comes to marriage is the opposition they face from their family elders regarding their choice of spouse.

There can be many grounds for this opposition, e.g. race, ethnicity, cultural disparity, level of religious commitment, age difference, chosen profession of the prospective spouse, and family background, to name a few.

There are more chances of conflict between generations when they are not on the same page in other areas as well, e.g.

lifestyle choices, frank and friendly communication, mutual respect and compassion, as well as moral and religious inclination.

Youth Marriage - How Far Should Parents Be Involved? - About Islam

For example, a young, single person might want to marry someone belonging to another ethnicity or religion only on the basis of sexual attraction/physical desire, and their parents might not agree with their choice because they can clearly see the red flags of incompatibility leading to future marital disaster.

If this conflict persists, the youngster might be ill-advised by friends or colleagues to go ahead with their choice of spouse and marry them any way, ignoring their parents’ opinions, and go off to live an independent life away from their elders’ eyes.

However, before any youngster decides to jump the gun in such a manner, and take such a drastic measure, they should pause and try to rationally and objectively reflect upon why their parents are refusing to let them marry the person they like.

What are the reasons for their parents’ opposition to that person as a spouse? They should try to communicate in a calm and controlled manner with their parents to find about this.

Next, they should reflect upon the relevance, correctness and validity of their parents’ concerns.

Nine times out of ten, parents are justified in their reservations about their adult offspring’s decisions, and want to protect their offspring from suffering and getting hurt ahead in life.

Their more advanced life experience enables them to see the long-term results and outcomes of the choices made by people during young age, and they are all the wiser because of it.

Youth Marriage - How Far Should Parents Be Involved? - About Islam

The only situations in which the opinions of parents can (and should) be undermined when a young singleton is seeking a spouse for marriage, is when their parents are non-Muslims, or much less religiously inclined than them.

In such cases, their prime reasons for opposing an otherwise religiously compatible match, are purely worldly or cultural in nature e.g. the guy is too short, or he has too many siblings; the mahr (dowry) being given is not high enough or they only marry within the extended family.

As long as the reasons for parents’ reservations regarding their offspring’s choice of spouse are related to things that can change with time (e.g. educational qualification, visa status, professional establishment, size or location of residence, or living arrangements), a young singleton should not allow them to turn away good proposals.

They should gently and respectfully educate their parents about the commands of Deen related to marriage, to persuade them to let the small things slide, and not stick to rigid and irrelevant cultural traditions.

The best way for a singleton to deal with marriage proposal conflicts with parents, is to regularly turn to Allah in earnest and sincere istikharah prayers, to supplicate for the best decision and decree regarding their marital future.

Single people should remember that, even though it might outwardly seem as if their parents are in-charge of their future, and are turning away perfectly nice proposals for trivial reasons; ultimately, all matters related to their future provision and decree have been preordained by Allah.

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