Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Thank you for participating in the session.
Please find the 4 questions to which our counselor provided answers. If you do not find yours here, check out our upcoming session or submit it there again.
Question 1. Validity of marriage
I was forced to marry a boy who I never liked. My family blackmailed me in the name of taking opinion. I told them that I don’t like him and I don’t want to marry. Even I told the boy that I don’t like and want him. In one evening, my uncle came and told me that groom’s two sisters’ husbands would come. If they ask you something, you say yes. Don’t spoil our honor. Then his brother-in-law, his father, came to our house. My grandfather, uncle, and those three people were there. His sister-in-law asked me, Do you know that your marriage discussion is going on with our son? What is your opinion on this matter? I said yes while crying. Then her father put a ring on me. And no registry, no acceptance, no kabin—nothing happened; I was not even informed at that moment. Even in front of me, no rules of marriage, such as listening to Kabin, marriage contract or marriage was taking place at this moment. Later, I heard that nikah was happend in his shop. But I knew nothing. After that, they say we are married. I still asked them to tell me how they got married me. They didn’t tell me. In this case, is the marriage valid or not?
Wa alaikom salam, dear sister,
Thank you for contacting us. I am really sorry to read your letter.
It is really not the way a young Muslimah should get married. Regardless of familiar or cultural expectations, as long as you and your family are Muslims, they need to consider the conditions of Islamic marriage when they talk about nikah.
And, alhamdulillah, the conditions and the process of nikkah are very clear.
Read more about it here.
There are multiple problems with your nikah, according to what you present in your letter.
First of all, if you did not consent to the marriage, it can be considered invalid. And forcing and blackmailing you to utter the words “yes” when needed is not consent, no matter how some people try to make you believe that. Pressuring, threatening, or making you feel that you dishonor your family by saying no or saying what you really want is actually forcing others will upon you and taking away your rights, and it is clearly prohibited in Islam. It is haram, a sinful act.
Read more about it here.
Secondly, you are not sure when the nikkah has taken place, as at the moment when you were questioned, no ceremony had taken place and no contract had been signed. Later, you were informed that you got married at the shop of your family.
Sister, as I am not a scholar, I kindly ask you to write to our fatwa live session or ask a local scholar about who has to be present in order for the nikah to be valid. As far as I know—but again, this is not a scholarly opinion—the bride’s wali (your father) should be present, but your actual presence is not a requirement. And according to the Hanafis, having a wali is not a condition. (Read more here.)
On the other hand, your consent is required, and there is consensus about this among scholars. Please check out the link about the conditions of marriage in Islam.
So, I am not sure whether you have consummated this marriage or not, but if you want, you can look for a local scholar who can support you and your opinion. You may find a religious organization that supports women / men against forced marriage, and you can ask for legal and religious advice from them.
What I can tell you, as a counselor, is that to put your trust in Allah and think about what you would like to do next.
I know that it is not as easy as it sounds, and I am really sorry that you have to go through this. I am not sure about your particular circumstances, and therefore I cannot advise something that could cause you more harm.
In not every country and family can you get the same legal protection or support to stand up for your rights that are truly yours according to Islam.
That is why those circumstances should be considered, and that is why I kindly advise you to check online for a local organization—for women’s rights, against forced marriages, etc.—and contact them if you think that the local imam would not be able to offer you help.
Your parents need to realize that their duty is not only to marry you but to marry the person you want to marry, and your willingness must precede family interest. There should be a balance. It is not about honor, not about family agreements, or some form of monetary or social interest, but about your life and your future.
They have the right to guide you in case your wishes go against Islamic recommendations about who to choose, but there should be mutual communication about your needs and your opinion.
I hope, sister, that you can find solutions and ease; may Allah help you with that.
Question 2. Not Manly Enough
Salam Eleykoum wa Rahmatallah y wa Barakatou thanks you for seeing my question.
I am 25, I wanted to marry since teenager, doing the things the right way. But I come from a poor family and just told myself let’s wait that I get a job, alhmadulillah I did good study I am an engineer since beginning of this year, so I started to look for someone.
And one girl very quickly that lives at the opposite city of the country, had EVERYTHING I asked for, I was so shocked, I quickly tell her that I would like to see her uncles (she never saw her father), but I met her and she is a very depressive girl, since life tests and sins.
So, I tried to limited my contacts, but I couldn’t let her alone, Just told myself it would be temporary but weeks and weeks, feelings got in our hearts we told things like “I love you” multiple times, I know we have to cover our sins, but for understanding I have to say that. She pushed back all the time because she wasn’t feeling great, she didn’t want when depressed, she had also some mental issues that I won’t details.
I told her that we do a pause and we stop to speak except, if necessary, the time she heals her mental, but we were still speaking since she was feeling bad so much days, but less.
She told me it’s the end, 1 month and half, from nowhere, there was so much signs in my head that I was like I just have to be patient and minimize interaction and be here for her when she is feeling really bad. She told me she stopped all because she wanted to take care of her mental health, I was feeling it wasn’t the case, and she told me after some days that, she was liking me but in a friendly way at the end, and not attracted anymore… that she was very attached to me but that’s all even if she said she loved me, she wants to see me in real life etc… (even, if she didn’t let me the chance for that) …
Like she is saying that she is not attracted in a romantic way, that she felt like the man and me the woman??? How she can say that to me when she was in a relationship, with many boys before, never proposing her in marriage, constantly harrasing her??
But WHO IS THE MEN HERE?? I become crazy with that, the guy that spam her that we have to marry, (duration of our conversations was 3 months before she stopped), that is here to support her mental problems because of others relationship that “destroy her” like she used to say “I’m a broken human”… That I can’t have good conversations funny moments, cuz we aren’t married, we are not halal. Who is the man here, those randoms that just kiss her, and cuddle her for years, and never take responsibility to marry her. Like I need to know, my heart is so broken. Girls say they want serious but when serious come to her, they are just afraid and want to take time etc…
Also, I’m not good looking even if I do much work on myself. I have chronic disease that reduce the things I can do, I can’t drive for the moment cuz of sickness issues, I feel like a complete loser a 0, not even a man cuz of what she said and that I am so sensitive, and I have some bad thoughts like “why me”, but I ask Allah to forgive me for those bad thoughts, I am Muslim so I can’t kill myself, but I can’t handle this life any longer… This life is so hard I got much tests before, I know prophets’ story and after big tests, they get a full peace end, I thought it would be my case, I found a job that perfect girls, last tests would be easy.
I swear Allah did infinite good for me, I can work have a job, even with that chronic disease, I can pray at work (Allah made asking easy for me), I got easier things to allow me that, my Lord saved me and take care of me all my life, but I still want to leave this life… When I started speak to this girl, those ideas have left my head, I felt loved for the first time (yeah, I have parents but I won’t speak about that, loved from them is black hole), I told myself I can’t have those ideas anymore someone is counting on you, and alhmadulillah my mind was feeling so good, just needed to be patient.
I’m crying so much writing this, but I know that I am just a weak person not even a man…
Salam alaikom wa rahmatullah, dear brother,
Thank you for your long and detailed letter. You have poured out your heart, your thoughts, and your feelings about the situation you are in at the moment.
There are quite a lot of things to unpack here. The interesting thing is that you described your current situation from different perspectives throughout the letter. The facts are basically that you are a working man, you have a chronic illness, and you cannot drive because of it. You’re 25; you finished your studies well and became an engineer. You were looking for someone to marry, and you met this girl.
But, while you started and ended the letter with a positive and hopeful outlook on these facts, when you wrote about your emotional struggle with this girl, all went black, and you perceived the same situation with a lot of hopelessness. “I feel like a complete loser, a 0“.
And I wanted to point out this interesting notion because I found it a good presentation of how our well-being is affected by our emotional states and our preceding thoughts.
The facts remain the same, but you either experience them as blessings or as disasters. The question is, what thoughts could have crossed your mind, and what beliefs about yourself support them?
You had hopes for this relationship, as you thought you had found the one you needed and were looking for. Unfortunately, it seems that although she got attached to you, she did not feel exactly the same way and ended the relationship.
I am not sure what exactly happened between you, but if you have crossed the boundaries of halal interaction—which you probably did—I kindly ask you to repent and ask Allah’s forgiveness. We are required to keep the boundaries set by Allah not only for His sake but also for our protection and to prevent hurtful situations and irresponsibility in our dealings with others.
You felt especially hurt, according to what you present here, that she did not find you manly enough. And you compare yourself to her past relationships with boys who hurt her, while you think you were just the opposite—kind and attentive.
Brother, I know it can be very hurtful if someone important has a negative opinion about you or comments on your look, your character, or whatever.
But you are the creation of Allah, and He created you as a lovable, kind, and worthy person. Worthy of the love of others.
You have to believe that and also think about the fact that just because one person sees you this way, it does not mean that you are like this or that everybody sees you that way.
That is not true at all, and I am sure that there are women out there who will find you adorable for the way you are.
You may be more sensitive or emotional than others, but who says that a man cannot be sensitive? Look at our beloved Prophet; peace be upon him, he had the best character. In the seerah, we read about some moments that required strength and straight-forwardness, while others required attention, care, and compassion.
What does it mean to you to be manly? How the men around you are? Think about your character too and list the traits you have.
If you want to develop certain traits you think you lack, but you find manly just start practicing them.
Each day of the week, write down a situation that, for example, has required “courage,”ambition,” self-control,” or whatever you would like to work on.
The goal is to find the most suitable behavior and attitude for each situation. You can be manly when you are protecive in a situation, brave in another and kind in other.Parental Love
You told me that the love from your parents is “a black hole”. I am not sure what exactly you mean, but as you continue, it seems to me that you did not receive sufficient appreciation for what is necessary for feeling loved and worthy enough for the love and care of others. I am not sure what happened or why you perceived it that way, and this requires a more in-depth conversation.
That is why I kindly ask you to seek counseling and try to talk about this with a professional.
Although it seems “normal” that after a breakup you feel depressed and hopeless—especially if you feel that this is something very close to your dreams and wishes—there might be some beliefs about yourself and the world that could make you feel bad about yourself.
And with the help of a counselor, you can adjust these beliefs and turn them into a healthier and more positive perception.
A counselor can also help you explore your needs and wants before the marriage search and navigate through it. Sometimes we want someone who is not good for us, is not meant for us, and is not the one we need. We should avoid getting too attached to someone or to some idea before marriage, before we make conscious decisions about our future. That is why we need to stick to halal interactions and prevent the risk of falling into zina or other sin.
So, I want to encourage you, brother, to reach out and find a suitable counselor locally or online. That would mean a lot and could help you feel better about yourself.
Help of Allah
You also related that you frequently turn to Allah with your duas and that you see the blessings of Allah in your life, alhamdulillah.
Keep up with this attitude and find solace in your supplication and in His guidance. Allah will not leave you alone, brother, and will help you to find the right one for you.
May Allah reward you with a righteous spouse and a happy life, ameen
Question 3. Mother-in-law
My mother in law has a lot of problems. Most posts ask husband to intervene but she will not listen to her son or even her own husband. We live in a different country and she does not let my husband talk to his own father, lies and says he’s not home or asleep. She sold my wedding jewelry and my mother’s jewelry gifted to me for my wedding. I forgave her and moved on but she did it again and wronged me two more times and cursed me. What should I do? I don’t want to hold a grudge but can’t bear even talking to her. She does not care or talk to my children until it’s time to ask money from my husband. Just a very selfish woman
Salam alaikom, dear sister,
Thank you for turning to us.
To be honest, what you relate about your mother-in-law does not sound good, to be honest. You say that the posts you read about this topic advise asking for the help and intervention of the husband, but you think that in your case that would not work as she does not listen to his son either.
She does not let your husband talk to his father either; she sold your wedding jewelry, wronged you, and cursed you.
I understand, sister, that what is going on here has to do first with her and her emotional and mental well-being. I am not sure what is going on with her, but according to this letter, her behavior does reflect some flaws.
I do not want to start guessing what the reasons could be for her behavior; I do not know, and she is the one who could answer these questions.
But what I can tell you are some tips on how you can deal with a person who is a family member but is difficult to get along with.
First of all, as I understand, you do not live together, which means that you do not have close contact on a daily basis.
I am not sure what kind of contact you have with her or how you experience these conflicts. At your home when she visits or when you are there, perhaps? Do you talk on the phone? How often do you meet? How frequent are your interactions?
You do not want to hold grudges, and that is fine, sister; I agree with you.
You can try your best to maintain respect and kindness for the sake of Allah whenever you meet or talk.
Think about it this way: your behavior is not about her. You do it; you are kind to her because that is what Allah requires from you. Your kindness and good manners are reflections of your character and not a response to her way of dealing with you.
So, just try not to think about her faults; that is something she needs to deal with. Only Allah can change her character and make her more mindful of the people around her. You can even make dua for her and ask Allah to help her soften her heart and realize her shortcomings.
Keep up your good behavior and also be supportive of your husband. He may have hard times with her too, so try to help him without too many comments and judgments about her mother.
At the same time, you do not need to swallow disrespectful behavior. What you can do in these moments is let her know how her behavior makes you feel.
If she curses you, you can kindly let her know that in the sight of Allah, cursing is not acceptable and that you feel sorry for her misbehavior.
You may ask her if there is anything you can help with.
What can she lack, or what can be behind her behavior? If you think that you can offer her some genuine love, time, and attention, as that is what she needs, you may try to give her that, waiting for reward from no one else but Allah.
It is not your responsibility to fix her character, but for the sake of Allah, you can see what you can contribute to her well-being, of course, without harming yourself along the way.
Here are some further readings from our site:
May Allah help you with it.
Question 4. Father and Anger
My father is a good man who protects us and provides for us well in terms of education. He even shielded us from my mom’s toxic family
However, as far as I remember my father has had anger problems time to time whereby, he would direct anger towards my mother. He would get really angry and then he would not speak to my mother for a period of time. There even was a time 5 years ago that he and my mom did not speak for 2 months. Please note that the intervals in which this would happen is not extremely frequent and I would say that I am living in an abusive family
In the most recent episode of anger my father started yelling at my mom and he used the foulest words in our language and it really hurt for me to see him call my mother that. He hasn’t said a word to her in 2 weeks. I have tried telling him that this behavior is wrong but he just doesn’t listen and he even justifies it by saying that Rasullulah (PBUH) has not talked to his wife for a month. Yesterday, I told him that I feel sad that you are not talking to my mom and even showed him how I feel. However, he got angry and told me to be mature and not involve in his personal life. He even says that these kind of fights in the family are normal. Whenever he fights with my Mom, it’s always about household chores and cooking.
My guess on why he is like this is because he grew up in an abusive and neglectful environment where people are not treating their families well. His mother was emotionally abusive towards him and his siblings, his brother-in-law was abusive towards his sister. His brother is mentally unstable due to being neglected emotionally by his parents and I am aware that he did not treat his wife well. His other brother was emotionally blackmailed into marrying his cousin by his mother which made the next 18 years of his life miserable. The issue I have is that whenever my Dad gets angry at my mom I think about how horrible my grandmother was and I have even said nasty things about her despite her having passed away 2 years ago. I also started developing hatred towards his brother who as I mentioned earlier was neglected by his parents emotionally because I am aware that he has the same characteristic. These thoughts keep passing into my head despite knowing that holding grudges is haram. I have even said horrible things about them in anger. I am also a bit worried that what has happened is because of evil eye or black magic from my mothers’ family members because I know some of them hate my mom and is jealous of her and do not want anything good to happen to her. How can I stop thinking about them? I want my own mental peace. These feelings of grudges are making me miserable. I don’t want to think of them anymore
Honestly, what I am frustrated about is that whenever there is a conflict either between him and my mother is that he does not resolve conflicts quickly and he keeps silent treatment and anger for prolonged periods of time. He even doesn’t accept responsibility for his own mistakes and has never apologized to my mom even if does reconcile with her. Note that in his family it is not a custom for people to realize their own mistakes. No one ever does, especially if they’re from the older generation.
I really wish and hope that you read this message. I really need an answer to this as I feel very distressed about this situation
Salam alaikom wa rahmatullah, dear brother,
Thank you for sharing your story and turning to us for advice.
I am really sorry for what has been happening to your home, especially what you relate about your father and his family.
It seems that you are looking for the answers in the right place, though, of course, it is saddening to realize that your father and his brothers grew up in emotional neglect. Unfortunately, it seems that these experiences were not balanced enough with other positive and strengthening ones that could have helped them realize where they were coming from, not carry on their wounds further, and make their own family lives emotionally healthier.
May Allah help them to gain awareness, and may He soften their hearts and bring them change, ameen.
Silent treatment is a common practice, and unfortunately, some people justify it with the „sunnah”, as you also mention. Read more about why it is a mistake here: When to Give Your Spouse the ‘Silent Treatment’?
This is a huge misunderstanding. What we understand as silent treatment is no more than a form of emotional abuse where one person deliberately uses deprivation of love, care, and attention as a punishment for any mistake, and there is no form of discussion, communication, or resolution of the conflict either before or after.
What you mention is also a key point: “in his family, it is not a custom for people to realize their own mistakes.”
Yes, you frequently find this pattern where emotional abuse is taking place because the family is very poorly equipped with conflict resolution and communication skills. They do not recognize, apologize for, and reconcile after a disagreement. The errors and mistakes are followed by harsh punishment, even if the mistake was unintentional.
Growing up in emotional neglect and in a „cold” atmosphere also develops the idea that dealing with and expressing emotions, especially those that have to do with vulnerability, like sadness, frustration, etc., are childish and one has to be „mature enough” and not show his vulnerability or any feelings of compassion for others.
Dear brother, I know that it is not easy growing up in a family like this. And we don’t know where or with whom it started: maybe your grandma also suffered from his parents’ neglect, maybe her parents too, etc.
Of course, being a former victim cannot justify oppression and ill-treatment, as we are going to be accountable for our own deeds and actions. If we know what is wrong and right, we have to make conscious efforts to choose the right way and manners to deal with others.
Masallah, you are blessed with the ability to see these unhealthy patterns and are ready to change them. You would like to break the cycle, and in sha Allah, you will.
You are asking, how?
What I can say is to first focus on yourself and then help your mother too.
You probably cannot change the behavior of your father if he cannot or doesn’t want to deal with his own pain and past suffering. I am sure he loves you and his family but he may struggle with emotional issues. Only Allah knows what is in his heart, and I truly hope that one day he changes for the better, but it is not in our hands but in Allah’s.
Only Allah knows what is in his heart, and I truly hope that one day his heart changes for the better, but it is not in our hands but in Allah’s.
So, what you can do is make dua for him. Ask Allah to soften his heart and help him heal.
The second step is to be able to distinguish his behavior from your feelings. If his treatment is unfair, it is NOT you and NOT about you, brother. You do not need to respond with anything other than the right manners.
Think about it this way: you are responsible for your manners and he for his. If he speaks in a hurtful way, it is about his manners and not about you. It is his responsibility, not yours. If he behaves with disrespect, again, it is about his manners and not yours. He is accountable for it, not you.
When it happens and you notice these behaviors and words, just let them pass without letting yourself get emotional. Remember, your reaction is the one you can and have to control. At the beginning, it will necessitate more attention—not getting angry and affected, but keeping trying it. Remind yourself that his behavior is his responsibility, and your reaction is yours. Try to keep calm and not drag yourself down with his emotional state, anger, or whatever. You can try to use your imagination, if that helps, and, for example, draw a shield or a wall between your emotions and his words, or between you and him in those moments.
If you practice emotional stability and distance in these situations, you will feel stronger and also notice more clearly what is actually happening. If you do not talk back and take it personally, it may feel like he is throwing stones at a “wall” or a shield, and those stones cannot harm you. With this, you do not give room for fights and quarrels from your side, and he remains the one who has to deal with his own anger.
Remember the hadith of the Prophet, peace be upon him:
“The person who is strong is not strong because he can knock people down. The person who is strong is the one who controls himself when he is angry.” (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 1317)
And start practicing the right way to deal with conflicts. Apologize if needed, say sorry when you lose your temper, recognize your mistakes, etc. For the sake of Allah, you do not have to think whether the other “deserves” it or not.
Learn about effective communication and healthy conflict resolution.
Here are some tips from our site: Effective Marital Communication: Fighting Fair, Dealing With Others – Consider These 4 Steps From Quran
Help your mother shift perspective too, to protect her self-esteem and not identify herself with the harsh words of her husband.
Maybe with time, with the help of Allah, he will notice the change, and this will let him think about and reflect. Maybe he realizes that while it is normal to have disagreements in a family, there are healthier and better ways to deal with conflict.
But first, it is about you and your future. Work on your character; try to learn manners that please Allah and others around you. Think about it, brother, that one day you will also be a father, in sha Allah, and you will be grateful to Allah that you treat them with kindness and respect and listen to their needs.
May Allah reward your efforts, ameen.
Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023 | 09:00 - 10:00 GMT
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