“Arranged” Marriage

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I am madly in love with a good man.

Next week, I am going to marry another.

I have cried more tears this year than I have cried in my entire life. I have been brought so low that I cannot see a way out. I no longer trust my own judgment, my own thoughts, my own brain or heart. I used to be amazing. Now I am a mere shadow of who I used to be.

You read about stories like this. But you never understand how it could happen now, in the 21st century.  You never imagine it could be you.

I am crying bitterly, shaking my fist at the sky, and my heart feels it will burst at the injustice of it. I am not being forced into it. Just, you know, bullied, pushed and coerced.

I know. It sounds like the plot of a torrid Bollywood film, Turkish soap opera, an old black-and-white American movie. But it’s my life.

I’m no ignorant teenager living in the mountains of Afghanistan or in the deserts of Yemen. I am an educated, worldly woman in my late twenties. I have a Ph.D. I have traveled all over the world, and I have a very successful career. I am independent and I can take care of myself.

So, how is this happening? The same old story: a family that misuses religion.

It begins as children when we are taught marriage is our life’s goal.  Sure, you can go to school and pursue a career, but in the end, you must get married. Unmarried women are a burden. A shame.

People say, “You make your own money? You are fulfilled without a husband and children? Shush. What do you know? We will introduce you to good men. What? You meet good men in your workplace or during your travels? Shame. What would people say?”

You dare to choose a possible suitor, but he is vetoed if he is not of the same color, caste, nationality, socio-economic status, and/or academic background.

They say there is no such thing as love. Anything you feel before marriage is a sham and an illusion. They say God never mentioned love in the Qur’an as a matrimonial pre-condition.

Women like myself live like strangers in our homes. We spend our lives trying to balance between what our family wants and what we need.  We pray for the day we get married because we aren’t allowed to live alone—we only gain our independence after we marry. So we pray to marry someone like us, although deep down we know our parents won’t approve of someone like us. They want someone like them.

But, we pray anyway.

We grew up watching Disney movies. We were programmed to think we should follow our hearts and everything will magically work out. They never told us how horribly scary taking a risk is, because the risks in the Disney universe always, always paid off.

We. Just. Don’t. Disobey. Our. Parents.

And these parents — for whom cultural and societal traditions trump religion anyway — then manipulate religion to manipulate you.

I fell in love with a good man.  Because of my education, I was willing to compromise on social standing, which Islam never dictated as a criterion anyway. Islam said he must have good character and faith, and the couple must be compatible. He did and we were.

My parents did not approve. In their version of Islam, if parents do not approve of your choice, you cannot marry him.  I want to be a good Muslim.

I fought, cried and found someone to intervene. I did everything I possibly could to try and get them to change their minds.

I spent a year being emotionally blackmailed and abused by my family. We fought constantly. I was forbidden to travel and from working. They made my life so horrendous that marriage became the only way to gain my independence.

So why not pick up and leave?

I think of myself sometimes as a bird trapped in a cage. I’m so used to living inside it, even though I know it’s a cage, that even if the cage door was opened, I will still stay inside the cage.

It is deeper and more complex than that: I could never shame my family. Even though they have hurt me more than anything, I still can’t hurt them like that.

What I can’t withstand is when my family plays with my head. When every single family member, old and young, tries to convince me that I have this world figured out wrong. That marriage is not about love or feelings but about good men and good personalities.

It tortured me, killed me inside, ripped me in two. I want to listen to them and make them happy. Perhaps they are right. I thought, “I’ve never been married before, what do I know? Maybe their choice will make me happy. After all, it’s worked for hundreds of years. I’m the only one who thinks this way. There must be something wrong with me.”

They slowly broke me down. But that voice inside of me still said: it’s MY life.

I turned to my faith, which preaches patience. It tells us that we never know where goodness lies. “You may hate something and it is good for you.” We are to trust in a grander wisdom than our own. If something is not destined, it will never be.

That isn’t the only reason I caved. The real reason I eventually gave in? Other women.

Women, who, like me, were in love but had disapproving parents.  Women, like me, who eventually married men their parents approved of. You listen to them and hold on to their stories like a life raft. They did what their parents wanted and still managed to live normal lives. Surely if it was so horrible they would tell me not to repeat their mistakes, right?

The tragic part is I know that if they were still the same women they were before caving, they would never advise me to go through with it. They advise me to cave because caving changed them. They hated themselves and the world when they caved; when they married a man while wanting another with every fiber of their being. They thought they could never reach such a low, but they did.

The duality of living a life of emotional and spiritual infidelity killed them inside. They realized they’d made an irreversible decision. They had to adapt if they didn’t want to live a miserable life with their fiery rage. They had to lose a part of themselves, perhaps the very best part, and it is in this loss that they are able to continue with their lives. It is because of this loss that they are able to tell other women to embark on the same path.

I know their loss is the best reason not to follow in their footsteps. But I listen, and I will follow. Because they knew what they were going to lose before they caved, but they did it anyway. There is a comfort in knowing that I will be able to live a normal life even after losing a part of myself.  I will be okay because I will forget what I lost.

Some days I meekly submit. Other days I am seconds away from heading out of the house and never returning. On all days I am miserable.  On all days I miss the man I love with a ferocious passion.

In a couple of years, I will be advising another woman in the same position that I find myself in today. I will tell her to listen to her elders, and to follow the rules.

I am a good woman – one who has never been kissed, who has been saving herself for one man and one man only.

I love another man. I want his babies.

Next week, I  will marry another.

The writer of this piece has chosen to remain anonymous.

UPDATE 6/06: The author of the piece has replied to comments.

UPDATE 6/18: A male response to this post.

Share your story with the Love InshAllah community. Read stories from other writers on this blog.

Read the book “Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women” that started it all, and the sequel, “Salaam, Love: Muslim Men on Love, Sex & Intimacy“, available Valentine’s Day 2014 from Beacon Press. 


311 Comments on ““Arranged” Marriage”

  1. S says:

    “So why not pick up and leave?

    I think of myself sometimes as a bird trapped in a cage. I’m so used to living inside it, even though I know it’s a cage, that even if the cage door was opened, I will still stay inside the cage.

    It is deeper and more complex than that: I could never shame my family. Even though they have hurt me more than anything, I still can’t hurt them like that.”

    So heartbreaking. I know the feeling well.

    Lots to say here, but you should remember that not all women in your position ‘cave’. Some fight bitterly and lose a lot to be with the one they love. But they do not become numb to themselves and their surroundings; they fight and they feel and ultimately, hopefully, they heal. And sometimes, in the best of all possible situations, some of these women have parents who come around, with time and distance. Sometimes parents are so blinded by expectations and false teachings (there is no coercion in Islam, after all), that having their beliefs challenged in such an extreme way is exactly what they need in a spiritual wake-up call.

    Remember these women who fight when doling out future advice, too. I hope you find peace and that you are loved, in whatever choices you make.

    • Karka says:

      Salam Alaikum,

      Allah doesn’t fill our hearts with love without a reason.

      I just want to note, that the sister’s story does not apply only for women. Unfortunately, some men might be in the same situation.

      Might Allah helps us all to find the straight path.

    • leelz247 says:

      Islam has only ever been a positive presence in my life, never a tool used to coerce and control or bully. Unfortunately, I’m starting to realize that that’s just not the case for seemingly a majority of people. Although you were pressured into this marriage, I don’t think that you should make yourself feel guilty about it or kick yourself or be consumed with self-blame and self-loathing.That’s only pouring salt on the wound. Anyone would have found those circumstances difficult to tolerate before caving, and you’ve never known any way of rebelling before now. It’s not as easy to be a free and independent spirit as some people make it seem. You would have had to completely rely on yourself if your parents cut you out of their lives. Perhaps you weren’t prepared to do that. Perhaps after years of being the perfect child, you could not picture yourself being the object of scorn and enmity. You did the human and the logical thing to do. Don’t cause yourself any pain about that. There is nothing inherently cowardly or weak about you, nothing at all. Defying your parents just would not have been within your comfort and experience. Be kinder to yourself. Now that you are married, you get to “dictate” how you run your own household. Limit your contact with your parents for a while, see if it gives you a new perspective. I wish you all the best.

  2. LilBabyTiger says:

    Salam Sister, thank you for sharing your story. My heart breaks for you- I have dreaded what you have been through, imagining it in my head, and crying about it well into the night. I can only offer you compassion, since every story is different, and maybe yours will be an unexpected love story. I can tell you that I went against everything, dealt with the pain and the shame, and married the man I loved. It was more painful than I ever imagined, more rewarding, and more heart-wrenching than I had ever thought ever thought possible. I knew I could not marry whom my parents wanted me to marry, and that if I did, I would be a ghost of who I was. It had nothing with the man they chose; he could be great. It would have to do with feeling trapped and not feeling honest with myself. I made my choice and survived. I pray you do too.

  3. sista says:

    oh gosh, my sister. i was right where you are and after a time of struggle and pain my story turned, and my parents gave their blessing to the man i’ve been married to for ten years now. i came so close. if you could read my journal entries from that time they would feel like your own. i’m so, so sorry and i’m sending you love and duaas. i want to say this, and i mean no hurt to you by it, but i’m saying it because i’ve seen it happen, too: when you marry someone while wanting someone else, you’re also causing irreparable pain to the person you’re marrying. it’s an incredible injustice to both of you, it won’t remain hidden until your heart finally dies, and it will hurt more than just you, but you most of all. you probably already know this. and i know, i know, i know how it’s not your decision. all you can do is move forward with your eyes open. and know that the “change” that comes from that caving you mentioned is just another path your life can take. sometimes you have to change because that’s the only way you can control your life. and that’s going to happen no matter who you marry.
    i want to say “don’t do it,” and i do believe you have a choice. i believe this very strongly. but i know how brutal and impossible that choice is. so all i can really do is pray and give you my internet understanding. i’m so sorry❤

  4. J says:

    Beautifully written but stifling to read. I am so saddened for you. I pray that you find happiness. I pray that you gain strength to stand-up to your parents. It’s not too late. Fulfilling the duty of respect is one thing, but to listen to your family who seem to be void of love and have completely distorted religion to please themselves and make their case is doing a disservice to yourself. There is still time. Please seek a moderate Imam to intervene. Seek someone, anyone who can stand-up with you. You deserve to be happy. You deserve a beautiful life. Don’t short-change yourself to please family because I can promise you, they will continue to be unpleased even if you go through with this. That is the nature of this world. Please yourself by pleasing God and let everyone else sit on the sidelines.

  5. Sara R says:

    Until we women do not learn our rights given to us by Allah we will face such situations. Where we are not entrusted to make a decision for ourselves but it is made for us.
    I married the man I fell in love with. No caste, no education criteria not even the same ethnicity / nationality.
    Yes it’s been a rough ride but its my ride my choice. A right given to me by my creator – Choice.

    • Siren says:

      I think her parents really don’t care what she wants or how she feels. They are more interested in the idea ABOUT the wedding of their daughter than their daughter’s happiness. I was in the same situation as the writer, and I chose myself. She shouldn’t marry someone she doesn’t love. Her future husband deserves a loving wife who loves him and only him. She needs to follow her heart and not put her new husband and his family and her family in miserable situations in the future.

      • leelz247 says:

        What makes me sad is when women inflict this existence upon their daughters…what are they thinking?

  6. I didn’t go through what you did but my heart breaks at the sadness of your words. I pray that you find your peace. It’s such a big leap that you are taking and I hope that God gives you all the strength that you need.

  7. Eli says:

    Pathetic. she knows it all and still will do the opposite to what she wants. Isn’t that being a bit stupid for an educated woman who travelled the world.
    I feel no empathy towards this story at all and the very reason for that is the whole story itself.

    You know what ur religion teaches u and that is to chose faith over culture. Here u r chosing culture that ur parents have also chosen.

    Forget about explaining that to ur parents because they will never understand coz they dont want to understand., BUT how are u going to explain it to Allah? that u chose culture over faith.

    • Amy Amir says:

      I agree 100% with you Eli. She is pathetic, and I think deep down she’s the kind of woman who loves feeling sorry for herself. Her parents are cultural, she’s cultural, and she will advice other women in the future to also be cultural. So pathetic. Study your deen woman! So sad. Women like her give all Muslim women a bad rep!

      • Eli says:

        couldn’t have put it better myself. Yes that is right. She needs to study her deen and please Allah only in all matters first.

      • Samar says:

        Religion also states one should respect and obey the parents, unless it is contrary to the religion, considering I skimmed read it, it looks like a catch 22.

      • leelz247 says:

        Samar, you’re kidding right? All religions teach us to honor and respect our mother and father, but this pair sound like hideously abusive autocrats that used their daughter as a means of gaining status and recognition in their community. She has an education only because it boosted her marriage credentials, not because they wanted their daughter to learn, be curious about the world, and be independent. These people locked their adult daughter in her room and confiscated her passport. That’s actually a crime if you didn’t know it and it’s called false imprisonment. She recognized this abuse from an early age. We have a commandment to honor our parents, but not all parents are GOOD. God sees that.

    • SisterinIslam says:

      Totally agree here…stand up woman! So what if parents aren’t happy…are you telling me that they won’t love you. OK, so they will fuss and make your life difficult for a while. So what? Does that decrease your duty to them to lower your wing of mercy to them? No! Don’t marry some poor unknowing guy and then blame your parents for your misery. Take responsibility! And yes, how are you going to explain yourself to Allah?

    • LilBabyTiger says:

      What our religion teaches us is to be kind and caring, not stuck on our high horses judging people. This woman’s story is not black or white. If it was, she would have been content in making her choice. She did not choose this situation, it was cast upon her. She is coping as well as she knows how to. That, good sir, is true bravery. And it is exempt of your contempt.

      • Eli says:

        Yes but Allah has also given her free will and to be able to chose right from wrong. The same way u and I have to make choices every day in our life the same way she also has a choice.

        Everything in our livesis cast upin us but that is why Allah has given us a choice.

        This is not judging but sometimes u have to be cruel to be kind and shake the person out of his/her way of unjustifed thinking when that same person who wrote the story knows and is telling u that her situation is wrong.

        She needs to snap out of it and stop feeling sorry for herself and do something about it because she can.

        Otherwise it will be too late and she may end up divirced in a couple of years time with a kid. And then we’ll see how proud and happy her parents will be.

        Unfortunately in the “culture” divorced women are frowned upon. So she can either sort her life out or go from one bad situation to another worse one.

        There is no time for emotional words and dont say that do this and blah blah , time is running out. So be realistic.

      • Eli says:

        to be honest what is the most anoying and u justifed thing about this article is the fact that she DOES say in it that in the future she will also be telling other women to follow the elders.

        So yeah there us every right for the readers to be angry when after everything she comes to that conclusion as if it is ok to do this and destroy some other young woman’s life.

        Think about it how would u feel if ur own daughter was given this advice by someone.

        Or maybe u are ok with that opinion.

      • Eli says:

        that is not bravery but feeling sorry for urself even when she can see ehat is right and what is wrong.

    • Saarah Si says:

      When Commenting Sis You Should Always Be Respectful That’s Because You Were Raised With No Manners Doesn’t Mean You Can Go And Talk To Others The Way You Do. You Must Always Be Respectful.

    • I think that before you say anything you should think about it first. You have no idea the kind of situation she’s in and I’m pretty sure that you don’t practice the same culture that she practices. I don’t know either but I CAN see myself in her shoes, so it is YOU who is pathetic. Instead of trying to understand and say words that might inspire others you’re calling names. I know exactly what this woman is going through because I’ve seen it happen in my own home. Us women have duties that we have to follow well after we turn 18. We don’t pick up and just leave as to not cause shame to our loved ones. So, next time you go about name-calling think a little about the culture the person may be from and thank your lucky stars that you weren’t born in the same environment. I wish you well and hope that you understand where both the womanwho is in the same situation and I are coming from.

      • Eli says:

        ur duty is to Allah first. so if the woman in question studied her deen she would know this.
        the reason why we have a society that we have and these kind of forced marriages and backward parents and sisters who know right from wrong but still chose to follow wrong and then we have sisters who comment like urself above without knowledge about why i said what i did, is actually because ppl do not put Allah and Sunnah first.

        Sometime u have to be cruel to be kind to shake the person out of it, to snap out of it and to stop feeling sorry for oneself.

        So really it is also u who is pathetic to for not being able to see what is behind my coments and/or not reading the rest of my comments above and below.

        • Sarah says:

          Yes, you’re right. Our duty IS to Allah (SWT) and to Him only but sometimes it’s not that easy. Allah did not put us in this world alone. We are social beings and within His orders is one that says that you must also obey and respect your parents. I see this woman doing just that and I sympathize with her. Sometimes parents put you at a point in which you have no one to turn to. They say things like “You must get married because we are worried” or say “What will others think if you’re not married? I wouldn’t be able to look at others if I knew my daughter was still single in her late 20s, early 30s.” But when you like someone, they don’t approve no matter how much you explain to them that you DO want to marry them. In the end, you come to a point where you’re like “Okay, well…I can’t marry who I want because I’m not about to elope with that person and my parents are also worried about me and by me denying their wished it’s just making matters worse,” so what do girls in this situation do? They compromise with the circumstances and leave it to Allah to handle the rest.

          Yes, she fell in love but Allah knows who and what is best for her, neither you nor I do. I’m just upset because you raised your finger at another Muslima and called her pathetic AND called me one too later on. You see where I’m going with this? Sometimes it’s not as easy to follow your heart because others can’t feel what you feel. I honestly, feel bad for her but I know that whatever may come her way it’ll be for the best, inshAllah. It is in the Qur’an that “Although they plan, Allah also plans and ALLAH is the best of planners” (Surah Al-Anfal: 30). I haven’t read anywhere where it says that you MUSt follow your heart and forget about everyone else, please correct me if I’m wrong! Allah never places a burden upon us which we cannot bear. Cut her some slack and pray for her well-being that’s my point.

      • Eli says:

        P.s. a word pathetic and stupid are not name calling but a description of an action or some actions that most of us have done in our lives in the past or will do in the future.

        And if u felt that is name calling then why dont u also practice what u preach.

      • Alrighty then, I will take that into consideration…

    • jesskho says:

      It’s the cultural thing. Readers will not comprehend unless they are exposed to the same upbringing, religion or culture. I am blessed that I do not come from such background but I know of friends and acquaintances who are results of arranged marriages and often ‘they live happily ever after.’ This story is sad for both the writer and her love. This tradition of arranged marriages may last for generations and may even go on forever but if one is brave enough and loved each other fiercely, I guess there is still a choice. Break free from the tradition and face the consequences. Thank you very much for sharing. Be brave, pray and God/ Allah will show you the way,

    • This could have been said much more kindly. She’s stuck between the choice of her family and the family she could have. I’ve never been there myself, but I can imagine how horrible it is. Quite frankly I don’t think you should have posted this comment.

    • sbuckleit says:

      It takes a lot of guts to bare your soul to the internet, especially on such a delicate subject. Who are you to judge so harshly? Be proud that she has decided to share her struggle with you, and respond in a way that helps her to make the choices that you think are right. Your criticism will only put her in the place where she won’t have enough confidence to follow her heart. Spread love, not hate. If you don’t like that people sometimes choose what their family’s want over what they want, then work to empower them through kindness and support.

    • Siren says:

      i completely agree with you Eli

    • sparkplug06 says:

      dont you think you are being a bit harsh here? i do not know of you background or ur upbringing but there are somethings you cannot comprehend until you have been in the situation. I am not a muslim, nor a women but i understand the pressure community can sometimes exert on people in these situations. just because she has a PHD does not qualify her as having open minded and similarly moulded parents. i do agree some amount of bravery is needed for her to be with the man she loves but having brought up in a traditional family i can see why it could be hard. Just giving my 2 pence.

    • Jay says:

      I just want to say this. Now a days many woman AND men go through this, and parents abuse their power but this is a case of damned if you do and damned if you don’t. If you listen to your parents and cave, you broke that mans heart for life a searing pain that will be etched into his soul forever and only get worse if he ever hears your name or passes you by on the street. You do not agree to this knowing that, that in itself makes you a terrible human being. On the other hand, that man you love may be the one for you regardless of what your parents say. Obviously he was not your naseeb, but had you disobeyed your parents and married another, it would have been gods will. The man you marry next week wouldn’t feel a thing ! He’d go on to the next one. Your parents may be angry with you maybe even completey ostracize you but eventually they will learn to see what you seen ! The decision you made Is why future generations will continue to suffer. I’m sorry but you made a choice all those before you made, and you won’t even be able to see your own child’s heart break in the future because you sealed away your own.

  8. Amy Amir says:

    Life is about choices. You are choosing to please parents who really seem cruel, and that’s the choice you are making. Your behavior is the stereotypical, weak, submissive Muslim women that most folks think that we are. What disgusts me the most about your article is when you said you would advise others to listen to the elders and follow the rules. What!!! Are you for real? No! Follow Allah, the Quran and the Sunnah. Make hard choices, but live your best life, because life is short and it’s a gift. Respecting parents is one thing, but, letting them control you is another. It’s called a backbone. And you seriously need to get one.

    • J says:

      Agreed!

    • Sarah F. says:

      You chose to read this piece in one way, and that’s your prerogative. I just want to point out a blatant untruth in your comment: the author does NOT advise readers to listen to elders. She doesn’t even imply it.

      • Janet says:

        Actually, she says “In a couple of years, I will be advising another woman in the same position that I find myself in today. I will tell her to listen to her elders, and to follow the rules.”

    • LilBabyTiger says:

      I looove the judgement in your tone. It’s so very Muslim of you to offer no compassion, no empathy, and no support. Your word choice- calling her parents “cruel” and calling her “weak, submissive” speak volumes about you. This is not about right or wrong, not about Islam versus Culture. This article is a deeply personal reflection of one woman’s life. You may disagree with her choices, but it does not give you the right to qualify her whole personhood. Educated women of all backgrounds and religions face difficult situations all the time; otherwise, educated, God-fearing women would not be abused. Or are they all just weak and submissive?

      • Eli says:

        Yes but Allah has also given her free will and to be able to chose right from wrong. The same way u and I have to make choices every day in our life the same way she also has a choice.

        Everything in our livesis cast upin us but that is why Allah has given us a choice.

        This is not judging but sometimes u have to be cruel to be kind and shake the person out of his/her way of unjustifed thinking when that same person who wrote the story knows and is telling u that her situation is wrong.

        She needs to snap out of it and stop feeling sorry for herself and do something about it because she can.

        Otherwise it will be too late and she may end up divirced in a couple of years time with a kid. And then we’ll see how proud and happy her parents will be.

        Unfortunately in the “culture” divorced women are frowned upon. So she can either sort her life out or go from one bad situation to another worse one.

        There is no time for emotional words and dont say that do this and blah blah , time is running out. So be realistic.

      • Saarah Si says:

        Dear Eli,

        You Need To Put Your Ego Down And Do What’s Pleasing to Allah…
        Because The Shaytan Is Telling You To Talk The Way You Do.

      • Eli says:

        Saraa Si how is it that i am talking that is not pleasing to u. in fact i am typing but if i was talking believe me u would have understood it much better.

        You see ppl always have a problem when u tell them exactly how things are.

        But just because ppl have a problem with that, that does not mean it is also my problem. U see i accept the truth exactly how it is whether it is pretty or not. I dont need to sugar coat it with some words that some have above, when this lady needs saving fast from the biggest mistake she will probably make in her life.

        So yes sometimes u have to be cruel to be kind dear Saara Si.

        Life is too short to be pleasing others on wrong things, when u have to please Allah first in the correct things.

    • Padi says:

      I totally agree! Your parents are not the ones that are marrying your husband, you are, so it is your right to choose! Don’t let anyone control you and put you down. I understand it’s hard but what they’re doing to you is cruel and you don’t deserve it. Don’t let people make that choice for you that you will regret for the rest of your life. Care about your own happiness!

    • leelz247 says:

      All human beings are weak, not just the stereotypes. Do you really expect it to be so easy for a person who obeyed all her life to suddenly learn to rebel and assert herself? The right path is often hard to take. But forget her parents, you sound like a pretty cruel and unforgiving person yourself. Stereotyping a person is a group of people is wrong, but dismissing and belittling a person because they happen to fit a stereotype is just as wrong. Also, she is a whole, complicated person. Not just a stereotype.

  9. Sid says:

    Does your soon-to-be husband know this? If he has any integrity he’d man up and postpone the wedding indefinitely.

  10. Sadaf says:

    DON’T DO IT!! I didn’t finish reading your article — I read enough DON’T DO IT!

    I was in the same situation and now I’m divorced with a daughter! Please call me ASAP so you can hear the other side.

    You live once! Don’t ruin your life! Inshallah I hope you email me soon!

    • SC says:

      I COMPLETELY agree. To the author: Please also message me as well. I think most of the women of our generation and educational background who have been through something similar would advise you in this way. You must listen to their stories before you make a terrible mistake.

  11. SC says:

    Sister, I know right now you feel so stuck and you feel you have no choice. But believe me, you DO have a choice now, and you will feel much more stuck once the papers are signed and the wedding has passed. You must fight. Otherwise, you will look back and realize that what you feel now pails in comparison to how hard it is to either stay in a marriage that makes you cold and frigid, or to go through the nastiness of a divorce process. I know because I have been there. To marry a man you feel nothing for, even if he is a good man, especially when you love another….your own body will become physically frigid and cold to the man you marry, you will feel violated being with him, especially since he would be your first. I’m sorry to be so strong with my words, but I want to prevent you from making a mistake you will regret, and from hurting a man who is innocent to the whole situation. We are of a different generation, a different culture because of having grown up here. The same standards cannot apply to us as they were applied to our parents and grandparents. Your family will never understand this, I know. You cannot convince them of anything. The only choice you have, however painful and arduous, is to defy them. Then, no matter what the outcome of the choices you make, they will be YOUR choices. You should not regret your own choices, whether the relationship with the one you love works out or not, because you owned your choice, and that sister, no matter what anyone tells you…that is SO important. You will find it almost impossible to even let that part of you die and stay in the marriage. Because you are not your mother, or your grandmother, or your aunts, you are raised here, you are educated, you have traveled, your culture is now another, your choices are more varied than theirs, and you will find it almost impossible to submit, to accept, to give up, to live such a lifeless life. The man they want you to marry may be a good man, but he will suffer by your side, and you will suffer by his side. Forgive me for my bluntness, but it will also leave some permanent scars for you as far as your sex life and way you view your body. You cannot imagine what it is like to have to open up and give yourself to a man who every inch of your body and soul shuns. It is not fair to you, nor to him. Sister, you are not trapped, nor will you be trapped even if you do marry. But now is the time to break free of this. I hope you read this sister, and I hope you choose the pain of defying your family over the worse pain that I assure you will follow. And sister, if you marry and become pregnant, things become even more complicated I can assure you. If I could stand in front of you now and shake you I would, so that you fight now and do not do this.

    • Ashley says:

      Very good advice! I feel the same way. And trust me, the children suffer most here.. if they are born..

    • leelz247 says:

      You’re right, but she revealed in this article that she is now married. She played her role for that big day. Now she has to pretend and play another role. Maybe she can love him in time? Surprisingly, this phenomenon is not just unique to traditional people, but modern secular people marry others they don’t love all the time, just because they feel they need to fulfill some kind of rite of passage or are pressured by their biological clocks, or are settling down for settling’s sake. I think this is a universal experience.

  12. leahmed says:

    Run. Go as fast as you can. For God’s sake, for the sake of your heart, your ambitions, for the sake of that little girl inside of you who believes in true love.. Run.

  13. Sarah F. says:

    I used to think that Love, InshAllah gave a kind of idyllic space to the few women who felt brave and confident enough to marry whom they loved, in spite of cultural norms. But I stand corrected; I am so impressed with you for posting this. In some degree or another, this is reality for so, so many Muslim women. And, I imagine, for any woman who comes from a culture where arranged marriages are the norm.

    For those telling her to run: don’t think she hasn’t already considered it. There is a great deal at stake here. Not only her family’s respectability, but whether her children and their grandparents will see each other. I’ve even heard the odd story about a parent who attempted or committed suicide because their daughter defied their wishes and married whom she pleased. That is NOT an easy thing to have on your conscience, no matter what your religious affiliation and how ludicrous your parents’ view of the world is.

    I believe this woman has considered all of her options. She knows her situation best. There is no need to insult or patronize her by chiding her and telling her she should flee. She is obviously devastated, and has every right to pour out her pain this way. That devastation is not a cry for help. It’s a side effect of her decision that warrants expression.

    • Eli says:

      to be honest what is the most anoying and u justifed thing about this article is the fact that she DOES say in it that in the future she will also be telling other women to follow the elders.

      So yeah there us every right for the readers to be angry when after everything she comes to that conclusion as if it is ok to do this and destroy some other young woman’s life.

      Think about it how would u feel if ur own daughter was given this advice by someone.

      Or maybe u are ok with that opinion.

      • Eli says:

        sorry posted under wrong reply.

      • Saarah Si says:

        Eli In Case You Didn’t Already Know This But Love Before Marriage is Un-Islamic Thing It Is Haram…..Love Comes After Marriage.

      • Eli says:

        Saara Si r u now trying to teach me my Deen?!

        First of all not once in my comments anywhere did I say that love marriage is ok or not.

        Secondly my points raised, if read them properly, were about being forced into marriage which Islamically Haram!

        Thirdly my points also raised were about pleasing Allah and not ppl on the wrong things.

        And Fourthly have u not read that I advised the woman in question to learn her Deen first. And if she did she would know her rights and she would know what type of marriage is pleasing to Allah.

        So pls stop staliking my comments lol without reading them properly.

      • leelz247 says:

        Saarah Si—Love before marriage is haram? Give me a break, where do you come up with this stuff? Love is never haram. NEVER. Love is a gift from God. You must not know much about it.

  14. L says:

    I am not a Muslim but grew up with many friends who are.

    I can speak directly about one family, three daughters, the elder disobeyed her parents and followed her heart… They disowned her and for many years spoke of only “two daughters”.

    Ten years have passed and she has, ever so slowly, built the bridges… Herself a mother of two, I asked her how she felt about what had happened and she said it had only made her stronger, her family can either accept her two children as a gift, or they can stick it.

    It tore her apart, but now she proudly says it’s the best decision of her life.

    Sadly, they are about to do the same to their youngest daughter who is also prepared to follow her heart… I just hope they’ve become a little more flexible this time.

    I do not deduce my opinion on one family, but will simply say… It’s YOUR life and YOUR choice, only YOU can decide… If you want to wallow in the “what ifs” forever, so long as your family are happy, then fine… If not, then a speedy foot down, a packed bag and a backbone.

    Good luck x

  15. Zeenat says:

    What a sad story. One I can relate to. Except, I chose to marry the man I love. In exchange I “lost my parents”. Yet I know I made the right decision. My life is at peace and not turmoil. My heart broke over and over again when my parents chose to be cruel.

    I hope your choice eventually gives you peace, because you do not seem to have it now.

  16. Ashley says:

    To me, you are destroying the life of the young man you are going to marry and the man you love. I feel sorry for them both. You seem to be comfortable in your victim complex, but what right do you have to destroy their lives? The one who marries you will not have your heart and the one who you are not marrying will only have your heart.

    I hope you don’t live with regret for the rest of your live, because of your decision.

    • Eli says:

      The one marrying her is also probably forced into the marriage. It is really some parents who destroy their childrens’ lives for the sake of culture, and only coz adult children allow them to.

      there is just no more excuses for these kind of behaviours to be honest.

      they are all equally to be blamed.

  17. Iram Ramzan says:

    Just get out of there – you are your own person. I understand what it’s like to be blackmailed by ‘shame’ and ‘honour’ but you are educated and you are not financially dependant on your family. Trust me, most families always disapprove at first BUT they come through in time Ive seen this happen so often. Just be brave and stand up to them, otherwise youll end up resenting them and end up miserable

  18. Love, marriage — these things are half of our deen, and there is a real, intrinsic spiritual component to this. (I know it sounds cheesy because we often hear it spoken in cheesy, cultured moments). But it is THAT important: marriage is soul work, and love comes to us through different channels. She came to here to tell her story, and I know how frightening it was to even write anonymously. I am so glad that she took the leap to share it, and by putting it down on paper, she has made the first step to digging into her soul. I hope we all send positive energy her way that whatever decision she makes, she can also make peace with it.

  19. farah287 says:

    My own South Asian family, in particular my progressive parents, are very different from this author’s family. So while I can’t relate to her heartbreak entirely, the part of this piece that stands out most to me is this:

    “It begins as children when we are taught marriage is our life’s goal. Sure, you can go to school and pursue a career, but in the end, you must get married. Unmarried women are a burden. A shame.”

    This writer so brilliantly captures the perpetual struggle in most Muslim societies, and in my experience, South Asian societies in particular. Regardless of the lack of pressure I feel from my parents, who support my ambition and decision to marry on my own terms, there will always been some Aunty somewhere who asks them why I’m not married yet.

    I’m waiting patiently for the day when this will change in South Asian society. And in the meantime, I hope that this struggling and heartbroken writer finds peace some way or another.

    • Eli says:

      yeah and divorced women are even more shame in some “cultures”. what do they expect when they force daughters and sons into marriages. This is FORBIDEN in Islam.

  20. Bride 2 Wife says:

    Reblogged this on All things Karachi Weddings and commented:
    heart breaking, but true for many. men and women.

  21. ryouki says:

    i will pack my bag and leave without anyone knowing. i wont get married to anyone until my parents approve the person i love the most. and yeah, that might needs lots of time. but who cares? rather than following others decision and living unhappy afterwards.

  22. Adam says:

    Salaamualaikum.

    Not to sound harsh but, ARE YOU MAD?
    You have more brains and education than most will ever have and yet you talk like you dont!

    There is nothing in the Qu’ran or Hadith that tells you to marry someone that is NOT of your chosing.

    YOU HAVE THE CHOICE. NOT YOUR PARENTS!

    You should not marry this man just to please your parents, this in itself is wrong.
    Yes it will be difficult at first, but they will eventually accept it.

    I applaud how you wish to please your parents, and Inshallah you will do, but you must not do so regarding this important matter.

    If you are a shadow of your former self now, then how will you be if this marriage goes ahead? WORSE!

    I wish you all the best.

    Salaamualaikum

  23. zeynab says:

    ah come on, this woman unfortunately is being alil cowardly and feeling self pity rather than standing up for herself. she is ruining her life herself and blaming it on her culture and family. she can choose to leave the family and do wat she likes, she can choose Not to be oppressed,but she doesnt. thats alil pathetic. how will this end? after ten years, she’ll end up regreting cowering in and blame her parents . please stand up for urself sister,cuz no one else is gonna do it for ya!

    • fashionelle says:

      it seems easy telling someone to man up and face your fears but when its you in that position, you see how difficult it is. Yea you’re being all courageous right now telling her to be strong, but its far easier said than done. You can’t judge her because you’re not in her shoes and you’re not going through what she is. I sympathize with the author. my family doesn’t even have religion behind them and their desires for me, they don’t need to. All parents want what’s best for their children and their standards can be based off religion or just their understanding of ‘common sense’. This kind of situation is a constant fight for women especially immigrant women with parents who have much higher standards and refuse to give up the fight for what’s best for their little girl so easily.

  24. Ali D. says:

    Asalaam alaikum,

    If your faith is strong, Allah will always keep you safe regardless of what happens. Istikhara and Dua will make a big difference. But the question on my mind is… why marry the other? Why not just remain unmarried?

    I only ask this because I know sisters who have been unable to marry the one they love, so in protest they refuse to marry any other. At first their community is against them. They say “shame”. But over time, like a prisoner who refuses to eat… people start to sympathize with her, they start to beg her to get married… and eventually she is allowed what she wishes when her patience is stronger than her parents patience.

    It is your faith and determination that inspires them to change their mind – that you believe in what you want more than they can believe in what they want for you – and with that you will get what you want without upsetting anybody in the long term.

    It doesn’t matter who you upset in this life as long as what you do doesn’t upset Allah.

    “If anyone seeks Allah’s satisfaction at the expense of people’s anger, Allah will be pleased with him and will cause people to be pleased with him. However, if anyone seeks people’s satisfaction at the expense of Allah’s anger, Allah will be angry with him and will cause people to be angry with him.”

    – Ibn Hibban in Mawarid Az-Zaman 1541, 1542 & At-Tirmidhi 2416

    There’s nothing bad about saying “no” to marrying somebody you don’t want to marry.

    And there is a lot wrong with oppressing yourself. For one, many people will look down on you for the rest of your life… as some of them already are in the comments written above.

    May Allah guide you.

  25. Saha says:

    Some of the comments here are so unkind, it is shocking.

  26. mohammed says:

    Bismillah.

    I am the child of an arranged marriage. There are good days and bad but it is really sad to say that neither of my parents got what they were expecting or what they should have expected. I’m glad to be here typing, alive and married to wonderful Muslimah of my own choosing and yet I am sad for them. It’s unfair to your arranged fiancee, unfair to yourself, and unfair to your children if your arranged marriage leads to marital discord that impacts them (alhamdulillah I was spared this but I’ve seen it tons of families).

    It is not unislamic to marry someone that you want to be with for the rest of your life. It IS unislamic to be forced to marry someone. I have seen way way way more examples of parents coming around to their children’s decision than I have of the “drastic disowning” types who hold a grudge forever. I know it won’t be easy but please make the right decision.

  27. Rabiya says:

    You are in a victim state right now. Please just pick up the shreds of your self esteem and live your life on your own terms. Later, if u r unhappy your parents will not take responsibility. They will just tell u that this is life and deal with it. There’s no shame in loving a man and marrying him, but there is shame in not coming through for him. It’s not about other women who have been through whatever…but it seems like you have made it about them in general. You only live once. And all I find you need is the courage to step up and live. I think that courage is what is missing. Let your parents know you tried your best and you find yourself unable to be the sacrificial goat for them.
    And please, don’t bring God into this – that he will do for you what’s best. He’s already guiding you – your heart is talking and you’re ignoring it. Please see a therapist too you’re in a very fragile state of mind.

  28. concerned brother says:

    From a brother’s perspective: yes the story is quite sad, i would never wish to see this happen in my own household with my own sister. However, I feel that this situation does not only make you unhappy, but will also have a negative impact on the relationship with your soon to be husband. It’s not fair to him that he be married to you while you are in love with another man. If a girl told me that she was in love with another man, i could NOT be with her, I would call it off immediately. Great relationships flourish on honesty and great communication( or so we’re taught) , if your marriage starts off with this BIG(and I mean BIG) hidden secret, what effect do you think this would have on your marriage.

    I am begging you please, let the brother know before you marry him, about your true feelings, and if he is a kind good brother, he will find a way to call off the wedding without exposing your reason. If he is not a kind, good brother, then please, have the courage to do what is best for you according to Quran and Sunnah. Your mental and spiritual health is first and foremost. Yes, we are taught to be patient, so be patient with your parents, and inshaAllah they will come around eventually and appreciate the honorable young man you mention that you have feelings for. So please sister, let the brother you are about to marry know about your true feelings, so that you can work on a solution that will save both of you from the fitna that your marriage may/may not cause. i’m sorry if I offended you in any way, please forgive me, but once again from a brother’s POV I would feel horrible if I was married to a woman only to find out she is in love with another man. please let him know ASAP, and iA both of you can work towards a solution with a trusted and fair local scholar/imam.

  29. Khan says:

    Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (r.a.), the
    great-great-grandson of the
    Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is
    reported to have quoted Imam ‘Ali
    (ra) that, “disobedience to parents
    is a major sin.” He also stated that,
    “if a person looks at the face of his
    or her parents with wrathful eyes,
    despite the fact that injustice was
    done to him or her by the parents,
    his or her salah (prayer) will not be
    accepted by God.”

  30. eN says:

    Never EVER marry someone you don’t want to marry. You have it narrowed down in your head to two choices: marrying the person you love and marrying this person you don’t. There are more options than that. Maybe you’ll find a person both you and your parents love. Keep making istikhara. I know someone whose parents’ heart changed after she kept making istikhara about a man who she thought was a good Muslim but the “wrong” country to her parents. They refused until they finally agreed to meet him. And then they absolutely loved him. Maybe you’ll make istikhara and things won’t turn out with the person you love. Then that person isn’t really good for you. Maybe you’ll make istikhara and you’ll find out something amazing about the person you dislike now that makes you fall in love. There are so many options beyond the two you have narrowed down. Just trust in Allah. Want what’s best for you in your deen and dunya. And Allah will be with you even in the most difficult times. We women tend to make marriage our end goal, but marriage only Allah should be our end goal

  31. sherry says:

    Assalaamulalaikum sister. I do not know if what I am going to tell is going to be of benefit to you or not but this is from my personal experience… Leave it to Allah sister. At this point I am sure you’ve done everything you could to turn the situation, but Allah is the turner of hearts and he knows what is best for you. What is it for Allah? If he wils, he could just make your parents all for it. Consider this as a trial from Allah to check you out. Have a moment between you and Allah and tell him, if the man I love is going to benefit me in this life and the akhira, then make it easy for me, Allah. I hope I was of some help to you.

  32. Leana says:

    Assalamu Alaikum sister, first of all know that Allah has sent this as a test, & all this pain you are feeling is expiation for your sins, so have patience & hold on to your prayers. Have you tried praying istikhara? Its a prayer to help you with a big decision. Know that in Islam although we must obey our parents we cannot if they are telling us to do haram & fired marriage is haram, sister blackmailing you counts as ring forced because you don’t want to go through with it. My advice to you oh sister is to go to your local Imam & explain the situation, he can mediate between you & your family & try & explain using quran and Sunnah why this is wrong. Just keep praying & have save Allah will provide a way out. But do not do it! Then you will also be in the wrong by choosing cultur over Islam, I know it’s hard & it’s killing you inside but keep strong, find peace withinh your deen & know Allah loves you & he would never do anything bad to you, he may be doing this for a reason that we don’t know & you may release later on in your life why but it will be a great milestone in your life & teach you many lessons so never look down on the situation or blame Allah. Know that If you go through with this you will ruin your life & the life of another man & may even his family, your future kids Etc. so please think of the consequences for other people not just yourself & the fact that you may be miserable the rest of your life & end up loosing faith in Allah & stop following your deen because you think Allah has left you, I’m not saying that will happen I you marry the man your parents hose but it’s a possibility & then you will have to face Allah. We are on his earth for one thing & one thing only & that is I worship Allah so please remeber his all the time before you make any decisions. My thoughts and prayers are with you sister. May Allah make it easy for you Ameen.

  33. Bintemaryam says:

    Assalamoalaikum wa rahamtullahi wa barakatuh
    Dearest Sister,

    Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has created you for a purpose, and that purpose is to WORSHIP Him alone.

    وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ

    I have only created Jinns and men, that they may Worship Me. [51:56]

    ya habibti, you write in pain and confusion, and as though after this one event in your life, there will never ever ever be any good to the amount to which you will lose, if you lose that is.

    My dear you accuse parents who use religion as a means to fulfill whatever they desire, would a woman who proclaims to be a good Muslim,who has never been kissed, come to the level where she has not protected her heart, and has reached a stage where she wants to mother children of a man who is not her husband yet. Allah S.W.T says in the Quran, the meaning of which is

    “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty”(Quran 24:31).

    Islam does not forbid natural attractions, and likeness for the opposite sex, but it does set rules so that that attraction does not go beyond limits and cause pain and suffering, BUT we are humans and it happens and when it does, Islam preaches nothing better for the two who have developed feelings of love, attraction whatever you call it,beyond repair, then the two should get married and without delay.

    “There is nothing better for two who love one another than marriage.” Recorded by Ibn Majah.

    Sister having said the above, i request you to make dua, not a dua of arrogance where you have already made a decision to what is right for you, but one where you ask your Creator to guide you to the way that pleases Him, not our desires…
    When you make a decision, it should never be because of what your soul desires or what the society preaches or what the parents force, but that which is done only for the sake of Allah s.w.t, a decision that will benefit you in the akhirah and in this dunya. When we do this there is never any heartache, you never cave in to anyone but the one to whom we are supposed to submit, there is only the knowledge that i did it for Allah and He will reward me regardless if according to my human understanding, the decision is one that fails.

    My sister know this that your situation is nothing compared to millions of Muslims, dying each day to the atrocities around the globe, if you feel caged in your own home, come down to the basics of living, do you have a shelter to sleep in, clothes to cover your body, a sane mind to know life exist. If you have this then Alhamdulilah you have loads to be positive about.

    I know how devastating this whole thing can be, reach out to Allah to pull you out, and make the intention of living for His sake, doing actions to please Him, believe me you will be rewarded from places you never could imagine.

    TAKE a final decision, with the right intention to please Him and then don’t ever regret. in sha Allah i pray that Allah guides you to the thing that will benefit you in this dunya and the akhirah.

    I will leave you with this incident to ponder upon, Owais Qarni r.a was a man who because of his responsibilities towards his mother, couldn’t get to meet the one person we would do anything to meet just once, the Prophet S.A.W. This raised him to a very high station that he is mentioned in one of the hadiths:

    the Messenger [Salah Allahu Alaihi wa salam] had advised ‘Umar ibn Al-Khatab [Radiya Allahu ‘Anhu] that if he meets [Uwais] then he, ‘Umar, should ask [Uwais] to ask Allah to forgive him and to make supplication for him.sahih muslim.

    The Final decision is yours, for every step in your life towards Allah and to your final destination, no one is held or will be held accountable but You alone. Decide wisely and make dua in abundance.

    Jazak Allah khairun
    massalama

  34. noIdea123 says:

    Don’t do it!

    For how long will this chain of caving in go on? Generation after generation is this what will be told to the daughters?
    If Men marry as they wish, why shouldn’t women do the same? Why should we women allow ourselves to be suppressed?
    Our Islam is not like this! It has flexibility. Yes, they are your parents and you should obey them but sometimes there’s a limit. You can disagree with then in a respectful manner. You have a life and the decisions are yours to make. After all whatever the decision and whoever makes it, you will be the one who’s most effected by it. And it’s the question of YOUR WHOLE life!

    I may not understand your situation well, but someone has to take a stand to end this!!
    And you should, Allah is with you. Seek His help. Just don’t give up!! Stay strong!!!

    Talk to the groom-to-be and tell him about your situation. Also, try talking to the groom’s mother. Tell your parents that this way man’s life could be ruined and you too will be a cause of this. And if tomorow something happens, you will be equally blamed, not me alone.
    I pray that atleast he himself draws away the proposal.
    And I really pray that somehow or the other way you get out of this.

  35. maryam says:

    I feel for you sis,firstly you should pray the prayer for guidance[salatul istakhara] and ask for Allah’s guidance,and then in islam,your parents are not allowed to force you into marriage,even though you are asked to obey them….Then you have your choice,it’s your life,think of it this way,on the day of judgement you will be judged according to your choices,your actions,not your parent’s action….and then again muslim men are allowed to marry four wives or have u forgotten,you don’t love this man and he knows he might end up marrying 3 other wives….I have a question for you,is he aware that you love someone else,if he his not tell him,he might withdraw his proposal..

  36. anon says:

    this is not something that happens only amongst muslims its been happening from the beginning of time to all religionsand nationalities. she is not pathetic sometimes there is no way out. I have been through the same thing with parents that understood my feelings and still made me marry their choice. embrace it and insh Allah you will be very happy if the man your parents chose for you is a good man. does he know and how does he feel. ? I pray for your happiness love and contentment.

  37. J T Ahmad says:

    Being a good Muslim can mean obeying your conscience not your parents. Parents can be wrong. When parents are wrong you have a duty to obey as all moral authority comes from a higher place. A daughter must break free for her future daughters. So do not marry this man sister.

  38. The problem is in islam a woman has to have permission from her parents in order to get married. But then you have to choose is your happiness more important or is your families happiness more important they aren’t going to be marrying him you are. The whole concept of a shame is just a use of emotional blackmail especially for women, it is used to make women feel lky they are the ones that can destroy their families.
    Don’t fall for it.

  39. J T Ahmad says:

    meant duty to disobey!

  40. Gretchen says:

    There is a hadith in Sahih Bukhari, Vol 9, Book 85, Hadith 78 that says: Narrated By Khansa’ bint Khidam Al-Ansariya : That her father gave her in marriage when she was a matron and she disliked that marriage. So she came and (complained) to the Prophets and he declared that marriage invalid. (See Hadith No. 69, Vol. 7) (Source: http://www.hadithcollection.com/)

    No Muslim woman can be married without her consent. Shouldn’t *that* very important detail be balanced against the command to respect and obey one’s parents?

    I feel compassion for this woman, but only because I can not relate to and so hesitate to judge the cultural background she comes from. It sounds like she is conceding to be a victim, at the expense of her own spirit, and that is a sin against oneself. Doing that will make you an angry and bitter and resentful wife. That will be easy to take out on children. If one’s parents are unreasonable and essentially abusive, forcing you into a situation that you can’t stomach, THEY ARE WRONG.

    And I can’t fathom why, if she understands very personally the pain this type of marriage causes, she would then go on to give the same oppressive advice to other women.

    Allahu alim, I pray that she is able to find peace and happiness regardless of her choice.

  41. MsEmmie says:

    This makes me so sad!! I am a new Muslim and an American and I know culture plays a big part in these things. I also remember reading what the Prophet said about this….if a woman says no, then the answer is no and must be accepted by her parents. What they are doing has nothing to do with Islam, but is about culture. I will pray she finds happiness and fulfillment in her choices.

  42. Nikia says:

    As-Salaamu Alaikum,

    I rarely post on forums like this, but I found this piece so moving that I felt compelled. I do not come from a culture where marriage is imposed, coerced or forced by parents, and I chose my partner (with my parents’ consent) of my own accord. That being said, I recognize wholeheartedly that there is no magic formula to creating a marriage of peace and tranquility. If so called “love marriages” had a lock on this we wouldn’t have the divorce statistics that we do, and while others point to old-school arranged marriages (and presumed lower divorce rates) as harbingers of success, those statistics don’t account for how many of those “successful marriages” are actually made up of unhappy individuals who are simply… enduring.

    That being said, from what I’ve witnessed over the course of my life, the type of misery you describe going into your marriage isn’t going to get better. Either it will get worse, or you will numb yourself (read: lose a part of yourself) in order to endure. Aside from the emotional damage this will continue to do to you, it WILL impact your future-husband, and it WILL impact any children you may be blessed to have. As others have mentioned above, I’m not advocating that you do marry the person you are in love with— only Allah knows if that’s best— only that you don’t get married while your heart is in so much turmoil, for your sake and everyone else’s.

    While our parents most certainly only want the best for us, the reality is that so many of them, especially those who did not grow up within the same cultural context, don’t always have their finger on the pulse of what that is. And no matter what obligation, real or perceived, that you believe you have to your parents, they will not be the ones living your day-to-day life. I have seen so many women make the choice that you are about to make, and I’ve seen how it not only impacted their relationships (negatively) with their family members (husband, children and parents included), but also their relationship with their Creator. In order to rationalize the miserable circumstance they find themselves in, they attribute (read: blame) their situation to Allah (“well, marriage is qadr, so this must be what Allah wanted for me”). And while that sounds like a lofty, spiritual position to take, it is also one that allows them to divorce themselves of all personal responsibility for the decisions they’ve made all while harboring a degree of anger and disappointment with their Creator for “putting” them in this situation, especially when they see others who aren’t.

    So, I caution this: enter this marriage at your own risk, but do it understanding that despite how painful the choices here may seem at this time (and I admit, they ARE painful), they’re still YOURS and YOURS ALONE to make, and while I truly hope and pray that Allah will reward those who make such sacrifices in His name (warranted or not), I certainly believe that He in all of his Grace and Mercy would never ask or expect this type of sacrifice from us. Wa Allahu ‘Alim. Though I pray that the Most High opens the path that best leads to His pleasure, I also pray that He extends His Grace, Mercy, Patience and Strength to you no matter what path you ultimately choose.

    ~your sister in Islam

  43. ravi says:

    I wonder why you blame your religion rather than yourself or your parents mindset? It’s your choosing to not marry the one you love – there is no invisible religious entity putting a gun to your head and saying “you must do this.”

    Second, let’s say you do marry the guy you love. What happens? Most parents first disown the child, but then they come around when a grandchild is born (I have seen this happen many times!!). Tension in the family lasts for a few years until a baby comes along vs. marrying someone you don’t love where unhappiness exists your whole life. If you choose to not go with option one don’t place blame on religion – blame yourself b/c ultimately you made the choice, not the religion.

  44. Abu 7amzah says:

    Our prophet prayers and peace be upon him taught in an authentic hadeeth that a woman should not get married till she agrees on that. This hadeeth in Saheeh Muslim and others. You can take your case to the judge. Remember you don’t want to displease Allah in the future because you want to please your parents this is not from our deen.
    3 – لاَ تُنكَحُ الأيِّمُ حتَّى تُستأمرَ ولاَ تنْكحُ البِكرُ حتَّى تُستأذنَ قالوا: يا رسولَ اللَّهِ وَكيفَ إذنُها؟ قالَ: أن تسْكُتَ
    الراوي: أبو هريرة المحدث:مسلم – المصدر: صحيح مسلم – الصفحة أو الرقم: 1419
    خلاصة حكم المحدث: صحيح

  45. sim says:

    Please don’t do it, the family that plays with your head and guilt-trips you into this is going to die and you will be left in a marriage you don’t want to be in…I know it’s hard but you are independent and more than capable of doing this!

  46. Who’s to say your parents are right? My husband and I both went against our parents will to marry. I’m white Irish, he’s Pakistani. Ten years on we’re still deliriously happy, travelling the world together and have three wonderful, healthy children. We are TRULY blessed and the only ones not sharing these blessings are our families.
    The Qur’an teaches us to think for ourselves, not blindly follow. By making your own choices you’re not disrespecting your parents – that’s their choice if they assume that position. Allah is closer to you than your jugular vein, do you not think that the true love you feel is evidence of this? Do you not think the answer you seek is already within you?
    I’m glad my husband and I didn’t let our families blinkered perception stop us from receiving the gifts Allah has blessed us with.
    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B6jcdIHn714QTGFmOEdGSS1mS2M/edit?usp=sharing

  47. Anonymous says:

    I am praying for your situation and that you someday will return to the man that you love.

    I feel an understanding for your situation in the sense that I am the forbidden woman. I am a white woman who is non-Muslim but was considering learning and making the transition towards the faith to be with the man that I love, in hopes of earning his parents approval.

    Upon their forbidding of our relationship, he has seen no other option but to cave as well. With out the approval of his family, he does not feel that he will be accepted by Allah.

    I hope that some day he will find the courage to choose love. Until then, my life has been placed on hold and I feel that I have lost my future. Not only is this decision robbing you of long lasting happiness, but it also will change the man you love forever.

    I am so saddened for your situation, his situation and everyone who has had to choose between culture and love.

  48. A says:

    Assalamualaikum sister. I agree with most of the other sisters here. It’s a matter of choice and I believe that you should do what you feel is right, regardless of what others are pressuring you into doing. But before you make any decision, I suggest you pray salatul istikhara and have your family pray it as well, if it’s possible. I’ve heard many stories in my life about topics related to this one and usually salatul istikhara saves them from committing a grave mistake and it gives them a chance at a happy, successful life. After praying salatul istikhara In Sha Allah everything will work out. I’ll be praying for you as well sister.🙂

    • A says:

      Also sister, I would suggest you get a sheikh involved that your parents agree with. Nothing in Islam says that arranged marriage is the “correct” way, especially if the woman isn’t willing to accept. You can’t be forced into saying yes when you feel it isn’t right. If you truly believe that what you’re doing is right, then stand up for yourself. Don’t give up. You can be a role model to so many women out there who are struggling through the same thing.

  49. Anon says:

    Hello everyone,

    First of all, let me thank all of you who took the time to respond and to advise me not to go through with this, those of you who sympathized, and yes, even those of you who criticized. Heaven knows I go through my share of self-loathing most days at being the weak pathetic woman who caved.

    I was a victim. But I also made a choice.

    This piece was written a couple of months ago, and I got married.

    But even if I had posted it here just before the wedding, your beautiful advice would have unfortunately made no difference. Khalas. My emotional and psychological state was such that it would have taken an act of God for me to call off the wedding.

    So I sat crying with my best friend in my hotel bathroom on the day of my wedding, up until the makeup artist showed up to turn me into a happy bride. And I pulled it off beautifully. I was a happy, beaming bride –and every single member of my family, young and old, grandma and aunts and cousins and uncles, even the wedding dress seamstress pinning me into my dress during the dress rehearsal while I cried, knew I was in love with another man, and that I did not want this marriage.

    If you’ll bear with me, I’d like to write some more. Not to justify – I need to justify myself to no one except God – but because I hope my words can somehow help another woman who might find herself where I was.

    So let’s backtrack a bit.

    My father is a dictator. A paranoid maniac depressive who refuses treatment. He grew up in a village back home, and controls the lives of everyone around him—his sister, who has three kids, one in high school, calls him up to ask permission when she wants to travel with her husband of twenty years.

    My mother wanted a divorce a few months into her marriage. But, divorce being the shame it is, she stuck around and had a bushel of kids, losing herself in the process and becoming a weak and passive woman. “We are all puppets in the hands of a madman,” she would tell me. “And I sacrificed my life for you and your siblings. Don’t let me down. Make me proud.”

    I was the golden child.

    Nothing ever pleased my father. Nothing. There is always something lacking, something more you can do. No matter what you did, what you sacrificed, there was more. Power and control over our lives, he believed, was a God-given right. And everything was forbidden.
    I did everything right. I was perfect. And because I was perfect, I was loved.

    I remember a conversation we had when I was 12. I wanted to go to a school birthday party. He said no. I swallowed and said “Okay. But why not?”

    I got a slap for that. You don’t ask why. He decreed, and as such, you do it. You don’t question, you accept with a smile. There was no logic, no discussion, and no debate. You learned how to deal with it.

    It seems ironic to say this, but out of everyone he has ever dealt with in all his life, I am the only one who had ever rebelled. The only one who was permitted to semi-rebel, and only because he loved me so much. Rebel by asking to travel, by going on to graduate school, by not getting married at 18.

    Everything was a struggle.

    And he loved me so much because I was so good.

    My sense of self-worth came from his approval. From everyone’s approval. And I had never, in my entire life, seen anything other than approval and praise.

    I believe myself to be a good person at core. I am the person who can never enjoy doing a little wrong, because the guilt would kill me. I am the person who cannot stand to be the cause of another’s misery.

    Marriage was the only way to get out of my family’s home, to escape the stifling constrains of a life that as time went on, I was becoming unable to balance. And I simply could not just move out. I couldn’t.

    My parents waltzed the first suitor through our door when I was 17. From my country. A week later, I was engaged. A couple of months later, my father called it off, on a whim.

    But I fought. I persevered. For ten long years.

    I got engaged to another man I did not want but my parents did halfway through that period. Again from my country. My father called it off, again on a whim.

    I spent ten years hoping that one day a man would come we both could agree on.

    But deep down I knew it never would happen.

    I liked men who at least had a dual nationality. Men like me. I did not want a man from ‘home.’ Men who did not want their women to travel or work etc.

    Twice, men I really liked proposed. Twice, they didn’t make it through the first interview with my father, who would ask them questions like “do you masturbate?”

    And then I fell in love. And the man I loved was shown the door so fast I’m sure it hit him on the way out.

    We tried. God knows we tried everything.

    No go.

    The day after my father finally met him? “Okay, I said no. Now remember this other man I told you about? You can marry him tomorrow now.”

    Yes, my father is semi-crazy.

    And at that moment, I crashed. I finally realized how stupid I was to ever think he and I could ever agree upon something as important as the man I could marry. I had been deluding myself.

    But still, I stood up to him. Not getting married was better than marrying a man I did not want.

    But I was all alone.

    No one supported me. No one. Not a single solitary soul. Not my mother, not my siblings, not my aunts, not my cousins. The common refrain?

    “Take this chance. Your parents won’t allow you to marry the man you love. So marry this wonderful kind man who is somehow blinded to the fact that this crazy man will be his father in law, and leave. He will let you do all the things the men your parents like would have never let you do. You will never again get another opportunity like this.”

    I was reeling from severe emotional trauma.

    Brokenhearted and confused, I thought, I asked advice, I tried to figure out what God’s plan was for me. If these were signs. I prayed istikhara.

    Everyone was of the opinion that this man my father liked was a God-send. But more than that. He ticked all the checkboxes that were my bare minimum.

    My parents locked me up in a room. Gave me the odd slap. Forbade me from working. Forbade me from traveling. Hid my passport. Forbade me from seeing my friends. Kicked me out of the house.

    And when that didn’t work, they resorted to what eventually did work.

    I had brought shame to the family. Me, who had always brought so much pride, was now unworthy.

    They fucked with my head. I’m sorry to say it, but that is the only word to use. And I believed.

    I believed when they said I would forget.

    I believed when they said so many women do this and live normal lives.

    I believed when they said making my parents happy would make God happy and that would make me happy.

    I believed when they said time and good treatment can make you fall in love with anyone.

    I believed when they said I was emotional and we went through stories like this and we’re your parents and know what’s best for you.

    I believed. I believed. I believed.

    I was naiive.

    And I was good. So good. I listened to my elders. I learned from their mistakes and their advice. I refused to be the ungrateful daughter. I wanted to be perfect.

    And I was.

    There are costs we are willing to pay to get what we want. The loss of my family is something I wasn’t willing to, and still cannot, pay.

    The manipulation of religion. If I hadn’t been such a strong believer, I think by now I probably would have given up on Islam. As it is, my faith is hanging on weak threads, and it is only because I am still able to distinguish between culture and religion that it’s still there.

    My parents made me question if I truly was a good Muslim. Isn’t Islam about submission? Isn’t it about jihad against what your nafs wants? If it isn’t written for you to marry this person, it won’t ever happen. Be stronger. Be better. They threw verse after verse and hadith after hadith at me. Brought me sheikhs and made me listen to horror story of love marriages and success stories of arranged marriages.

    So I was stronger. I shoved myself into the tiniest corner of my being that I could, and I brainwashed myself better than anyone else. I could do this. I could make my brain triumph over my emotions and heart. I was strong. I was good. I was a wonderful daughter. I would bring pride. And when God saw what a good person I was being, He would help me somehow.

    So I made istikhara. I asked God to give me what was right for me.

    And the engagement proceeded.

    And one very, very important point: I told my fiancé that I loved someone else, but someone I had accepted I could not have. I told him I did not want to marry him, but that he presented the freedom I now felt I was going to die without. That I would not be the wife he deserved.

    And he still wanted me.

    He believed that if I married him, left the hell that was my home, was given all the freedom I never had, and saw what a good person he was and how much he loved me, then I would one day love him.

    He was naiive too.

    There is so much more I can say. I can write a book about what led me to make the decision I did. But suffice to say, when I made my decision I honestly saw no other way.

    So I gritted my teeth, cancelled out my spirit and heart and mind and soul, and went through with it.

    One clarification I need to make since it got a little lost in editing: I did not mean I advise women to do what I did. I meant that if I went through with the marriage, and lost the part of me that people told me I would lose, then I would become like those women who advised me to get married, and so I would advise women to do what I did.

    Unfortunately, as so many of you told me might happen: I didn’t.

    I didn’t lose that part of me.

    So here I am. Married. And miserable.

    And more trapped that I ever was before.

    With the irony being that I have freedom I never could have imagined in a million years.

    I married a wonderful, patient, kind man with one of the most beautiful hearts I have ever encountered.

    And I don’t love him.

    I try. I fail. I try. I fail.

    And I can’t imagine spending a life like this.

    And I can’t imagine going back to my father’s house.

    And I can’t imagine – even after all this – to tell my parents I want a divorce and I’m not coming back.

    I still can’t shame them like that.

    Still trapped by the person I was—or used to be.

    My parents see my misery.

    And they don’t care.

    We haven’t talked in months.

    I lost pretty much everything.

    And I gained nothing—nothing but the freedom to move around in a bigger cage, one of my own making this time.

    I am pathetic, in a way. I admit that. A coward. A slave to society and culture that has killed something in me. That has made me a ghost of who I once was. I want it all. I want their approval and my happiness. My cake and to eat it too. I was never willing to sacrifice anything but myself.

    But I have never had anything but the best of intentions and reasons. And I know God knows that.

    I am living in a torturous limbo.

    Unable to accept and adapt, and unable to walk away.

    I cannot find the courage I need.

    Perhaps I never will.

    But perhaps one day I will.

    • Sadaf says:

      Anon – your article was very clear you didn’t need to clarify anything.
      God bless you and your intentions.
      I don’t know if you can see my email address but I’d LOVE to speak with you.
      My duwas are with you,
      Sadaf

    • I have no advice to offer. But I thank you for your emotional honesty and for being brave enough to tell your story. With your permission, I will hold you in my prayers. May you find strength and compassion and a way out when you are able to take it.

    • I’m really sorry about your situation. Thanks for sharing, it really must have taken a lot of strength to reveal this to the public but trust me you’ve raised a very concerning issue in our society. I pray that whatever is for the best comes your way. Don’t lose hope though, Allah (SWT) works in the most magical and mysterious ways but until something happens learn to love the one you’re with. You are an educated and strong woman and I KNOW you can make the best of your situation because at this point it is your best option. I wish you well and rest assured that you will be in my prayers. Good luck.🙂

    • AIsha says:

      Dear Anon,

      It is not my place to tell you what to do or what Islam or Allah think because I do not know what Allah thinks. However, I wanted to say I understand where you are coming from, I understand your pain and anguish and your need for approval. I wanted to let you know that there is someone out there that understands what you went through and what you are currently going through. May you someday find peace in your decision. You are strong and you are not pathetic. Sometimes we may think one choice makes us weak, however, the choice you made signifies your strength. I hope one day Inshallah you are able to forgive yourself. No one understands your pain or your family better than you.

    • Aisha says:

      I’m sorry for your pain…. its horrifying to read this because you are so aware of the situation you are in, you are so well spoken and self aware that the pain you feel must be doubly so. I am a stranger on the internet and have no bearing in your life but I would as a fellow woman just beg you to look into leaving– life is not practice, its the real thing, and each day is precious, you deserve more and better. There will be heartache and heartbreak in leaving. There will be anger. There will be frustration and lonliness. But there is all of this right now as things stand with no hope of improvement but with leaving there is hope for a light that can be yours to harness. Do it for you. Do it for your future children. They deserve more. So do you. My e-mail address is aishacs at gmail dot com should you ever need someone to talk to who can give support– its a difficult situation but as an outsider looking in I can tell you its not impossible as impossible as it is to see that in this particular moment. Thoughts and prayers sent your way for peace.

    • Umber says:

      I pray for you, your husband, and all those that you love to find peace in this world and in the next. May you inshaAllah find an everlasting love in this world whether it be with your current husband or with someone else. May all those who have emotionally hurt you to the point that you have lost all hope find it in their hearts to become better people and seek forgiveness. May you find Muslims who empathize with you and bring you comfort in this world. May your story be used as a way of seeking justice for all those who suffer from injustice from their loved ones. I will pray for you and I am passing your story around for others to make dua for you as well inshaAllah.

      Thank you for sharing this story. I have already shared it with people in similar situations and they were incredibly thankful that someone has raised this issue in our community. You are very strong, so please don’t be hurt by the words of complete strangers who do not completely understand what it is that you’re going through.

    • nomargin says:

      Prayers for you.

    • Anon says:

      You are so brave. So intensely brave and strong. The themes of your story are among the reasons I “lost” my family, and in losing them realizing that I never had them at all. You are my every fear come to life, and I wish so strongly that I could give you a hug, embrace you as a sister, and help you find a way to be true to yourself.

      I’ve lost my faith, but my heart cries out for you, in hopes that you’ll find peace. Despite the pain of losing everything I had ever known, I have found happiness. I hope that one day, you will too.

    • What a painful way to live. I’m so sorry. I do hope you find happiness.

    • Have you been in touch with the man you do love?

    • Your Little Brother in Islam says:

      InshAllah

      As a young man in college (undergrad), I feel that I am UTTERLY unqualified to give any advice. I feel that all I’m qualified to do is stare at the words you’ve written in disbelief and sympathy, and just make du’a that Allah protects your heart, gives you what he knows to be the best for you, and mends your relationship with everyone you know in such a way that you can look back years from now on this as a fond, bittersweet memory.

      I can sympathize with and understand (to probably a lesser degree) the societal pressure that comes with having Islam used as a coercive weapon against you, but it does seem that you are grounded enough in Islam to understand the difference between its true nature and when it is being abused by those who try to use it for their own gain (a sad microcosm of the current Ummah if there ever was one). Matrimonial terrorism is as much of a plague on the Ummah as any other kind.

      In that vein, all I can do is try to offer a piece of advice that, in my inexperience, seems like it SHOULD be a foolproof way to get out of such a situation. If it helps you, alhamdulillah. If not, Allah is my witness that I am sincere in trying to help and so maybe my dua for you will be answered, inshAllah.

      Here it is:

      First off, if your parents command you to do anything against the commands of Allah, it’s permitted to disobey them, albeit respectfully. Your right as a Muslim, as commanded by Allah, to choose your spouse is being violated, so I would argue that you should disobey them without any guilt, yet respectfully. Since the marriage has already happened, that might not be the most subtle or considerate way to go about it, but in an extreme case it is something I think you can turn to.

      From what I see, your parents (especially your dad) are so set on the prospect of ABSOLUTELY ENSURING your future success (as a wife…apparently nothing more than that) to point of ignoring your right as a Muslimah to choose your own spouse. If anything, you can capitalize on this desire of theirs by showing how their actions as parents are COMPROMISING your future success as a wife. The details of that can be up to you, but one argument I might suggest you use is, that in making you marry someone you’re not attracted to, your family is basically preventing you and your husband from fulfilling each others’ sexual rights. I know that sounds really cut and dry, and even as I write it it sounds idealistic and naive, but those rights upon each spouse are serious business and need to be considered seriously by your parents. Find the Islamic rulings and basis for those rights and present them to your father in a businesslike manner (he seems like businesslike person), and maybe that will get through to him.

      I have another piece of advice, which I feel is much stronger and might have some actual spiritual benefit to you. In my relatively short life, this ayah has been a source of immense intellectual, emotional, mental and spiritual comfort to me.

      “…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” (Al-Baqarah 2:16)

      Alhamdulillah, I’ve had own my share of seemingly world-ending disappointments and shortcomings (nothing on your scale, so please forgive me if this comes across as callous), but this ayah has always helped me stay grounded in a reality that transcends my existence. I’m in no position to suggest what may or may not be better for you, but I think if you ponder on this ayah it will at least bring you peace, inshAllah.

      I apologize if not a word of this was useful to you, since I’m sure you have heard it all before by the number of people offering their support, but if nothing else, I hope I at least demonstrated that you have brothers and sisters in Islam sincerely making du’a for you, with the real, sincere, honest desire to see you find peace in a seemingly unfair world. Please, please don’t harden your heart. Allah has gathered so many people to make du’a for you. It is impossible that Allah doesn’t have your best interests in sight, or has left you to your own devices. Please try to find courage in that.

      I’m sincerely making du’a for you, and Allah is a witness to my sincerity. Salaam Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.

    • gita4elamats says:

      One day soon, you will find the courage. Take care.🙂

    • Honey, I’m so sorry. 😦 Start developing a new support system if you can of people you trust and who can help you when you decide that the time has come to get out, if possible. Protect yourself, do what you can to keep from getting pregnant, and keep your eyes open for people who can help you when you finally get a chance to make a break. I’m so sorry you have to struggle with this — this is a awful injustice that you’re being subjected to, and it’s 100% wrong.

    • nathalie says:

      I can’t begin to convey how I felt when I read this. It felt like you were reading my mind.
      The paragraph beginning with “Women like myself live like strangers in their homes…” I froze. I got chills. “I think of myself sometimes as a bird trapped in a cage.” I’ve always thought of myself that way. The more I read, the more I couldn’t believe what I was reading–someone actually gets it! I wanted to hug you. I wanted to be best friends with you. I wanted to send you a message saying I COMPLETELY 110% KNOW EXACTLY what you are dealing with, and I love you for writing this because it is so comforting just knowing that I’m not crazy for feeling so conflicted.

      I hope you can find a way to be content if not truly happy, whether you decide to leave or you decide to accept and adapt to your married life.You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers as I doubt I’ll ever forget this post. <3333 I don't really know how to use this site but if you can see my email or info but if you can, I would love to talk with you!

    • TS says:

      Wow, after reading this, I’m so glad I never got married. Your story really sucks. But seriously try getting some therapy.

      All that said, my parents are now over me getting married to the “right sort” and just want me married. Unfortunately, they came to that conclusion about 15 years too late. Oh well, they’ll just have to provide well for me since I’m growing old alone!

    • sister says:

      Salaam,
      I pray that you find the courage to free yourself, one day InshAllah it will come. the only advice I can offer you is to believe that Good things are Meant for you InshAllah and to enjoy the little things in life. I know it sounds silly but the little things, these small pockets of happiness can brighten the darkness you are suffering. God has a plan for you and InshAllah what best will happen.
      You are in my prayers!

    • Guys this is FORCED arranged not arranged. And if some brothers are currently talking to sisters thinking they will get married to them, this is what will happen to every sister if the parents say no. Clearly, she was attached to the man she loved BUT she wasn’t supposed to be attached to him to begin with. The blame is mostly on the parents but she shares the blame when it comes to not “loving” the person she married because she is constantly comparing him to the guy she wanted to marry before. And she even said that the guy was good but yet she didn’t love him so no matter how good a guy can be, it will never be enough cause that guy isn’t the one she loved before……ya need to look at the bigger picture and don’t get caught up in the emotional aspects of the story.

      • SCM says:

        This is ridiculous. She wasn’t supposed to be attached to him in the first place…give me a break. She didn’t say she did anything to cross boundaries with him, she expressed attachment. They tried to do the right thing by going to her parents to try to get married. They did nothing wrong. They tried to do things in the right way by Allah and the family prevented them from doing so. She was forced into a terrible situation, and to say it is sufficient that her husband is good, is taking away a woman’s agency and right to be a discerning human being capable of deciding what is best for herself. There are many good men in the world, but that doesn’t mean you can just marry anyone. There has to be compatibility, otherwise things will end in coldness, resentment, and further problems down the road. It’s not just about “the guy she loved before”, it’s about her not having any say over her life. I married someone before while I actually loved another and I can relate to her story well. We got divorced, but did I run into my “true love’s arms”? No, because ultimately, it was about more than that. I’m over the former love, but I’m also happy I didn’t trap myself in a loveless marriage.

    • nubiengodess3@gmail.com says:

      Anon- You article was very clear and I feel your pain more than you know. My husband is a man that of your father. I have no time nor freedom to myself. I can’t breathe not alone go to the bathroom without him asking me where I’m going and for what. I’m not in love nor am I happy. My new opression is giving him a baby. Only reason I am still married because I fear what God would do to me. I feel if I give up on my marriage I’m giving up on my faith. Even though I kow the two is not in comparison. Only thing I can say is Gad knows your heart and intentions. I believe sometimes you have to go through something to get to something. God has not made love for imprisonment or control. Love don’t come with conditions and marriage is not for oppression. God’s will is simple it’s us who make it hard. If your family truely love you(which I’m not doubting they do) Their love and respect for you wouldn’t come with stipulations. You life is your’s and God’s not your parents’ or family. You happiness would be more important to them. Until you start living for God and not man you will forever be unhappy. May God guide you to a peacful and less tormenting resolve.

    • Aicha Lasfar says:

      Salaams sister.
      Your story makes me so angry and sad, because I know there are probably countless other women in your situation. This is so detrimental to society. How can the ummah thrive when it’s littered with miserable, trapped women in unhappy marriages?

      I honestly think it’s a shame that you are not willing to pay the price of leaving your family. You don’t need to be surrounded by such selfish people who don’t give two sh-ts about your happiness.

      Cutting ties with the family is a big problem in Islam, but you can still do what you want and do YOUR part to keep the family ties. If your family disowns you for wanting to be happy, then that is THEIR sin and will be their responsibility to answer before God, not you. As long as you still call and show up to their door once in a while, it will be their sin if they hang up or slam the door in your face. You deserve to be happy!!!

      My in-laws didn’t meet me for 3 years into my marriage, not even after the birth of our son but they eventually came around and we have great relations now.

      You never know what could happen until you try…. The rules of Islam exist to protect us and the rules of Islam are on YOUR side in this situation.

      I really hope that you find the courage you need to take control of your life and be happy.

      Much love and support, xox

      -A

    • Aasma says:

      Leave him & marry the man you love. Happiness is worth fighting for.

    • SCM says:

      Sister, inshAllah you read this. I knew you would be at this point today when I first read your story, because I lived it, or at least a part of it. I didn’t have the cultural stuff, the family situation, etc. that you do. But I brainwashed myself into marrying a man I did not love, much the same way you did. I desperately tried to convince myself that this was what God wanted for me. Other people confused me with their version of Islam, of marriage, of many things. He was also, at least it seemed initially, a kind man with a good heart, and like your situation, he also knew how I felt about someone else. Like you, I thought I could convince myself that love would develop, love would grow, that I could be like those other girls who “adjust.” None of that ever happened, and I am divorced today. But I am thankful that I had the courage to get the divorce and that I never got pregnant during the marriage (thank God for modern-day contraception). Now I am much happier, living my life and moving forward Alhamdulillah. Sister, have you ever seen a counselor? I have been through years of counseling to deal with various family and personal issues, and I can tell you that you MUST do this. Individual counseling, not couples counseling. You and your family are victims of psychological, physical, and emotional abuse at the hands of your father, who never got treatment himself. You need help in order to essentially reconstruct yourself, to build your sense of self worth, and to get the courage to start living for yourself. That doesn’t mean you don’t care about your family. But you are a human being with a mind, heart, and soul, and YOU COUNT, YOUR NEEDS COUNT, YOUR OPINION COUNTS. You can get the courage to do what you need to do. And you must NEVER return to live in your parent’s house. You are not living in your home country and you are of a different generation–you must work to undo these notions of shame because, dear sister, they will kill you and extinguish your spirit. Based on what you say about your father, do you think he would try to physically harm you if you do not follow his wishes? Because that is more concerning to me than even getting disowned. If that is the case, law enforcement might need to get involved at some point. I don’t say this to scare you, I say it because I really believe you must get the courage to break away from all this–no matter what happens. Your father may not be a bad person, but he needs help, and sadly people of his culture and generation rarely seek it. I know my own family members have never sought help they need. But sister, you will have to break away from all this…even from your own family, because that is a toxic, abusive environment, and you are a VICTIM. But you CAN overcome.

    • Ed says:

      Salam my Sister – and I thought I grew up in a home of a dictator, until I read your story. I do have glad tidings for you though. Allah Almighty will not let you down and I’ll give you a sign. Allah swt knows how much you suffered with your father, but when you asked Him through your istikhara, He allowed things to go in a certain route for reasons unknown to us, and despite the fact that they were just too painful to endure. And the sign that there is glad tidings, inshaAllah, is that your man now is kind and loving and has a beautiful heart like you said. You already recognize such good qualities in him. And your husband sees something in you that makes him want to still be with you knowing you loved another man. This is a guy whom you can inshAllah rely on when life gets tough. I believe it has been very hard for you to let go and love your husband because of your emotional attachment to the other man, and most importantly, because perhaps your current husband represents your father’s repressive will. You probably feel that if you let go and love your husband, you’d have given up completely to the oppression of your father. This may be an emotional trauma that you need to work your way out of with a professional and inshaAllah it’s doable. I can recommend 2 things: look up EFT on youtube, and try it, and look up “living eman” on google, this is a great counselor you can talk to and whom have helped countless couples with such tough situations. You need help my dear sister, and Allah swt will not ignore what you’ve been through and He will help you. If Allah swt gave you life until the age of 90, you don’t want to spend you remaining 60+ years in misery. You said it yourself that you are a great person with tons of potential and education, so put them to work sis and help yourself get out of this tub. You are no longer in your father’s home, you sure are free.

    • Daria TN says:

      To the sister who wrote this original article, if you could please contact me – I would really appreciate it. I am a Muslim woman in my 20s and I going through this same situation right now, parents are forcing me into a marriage with someone from back home in Pakistan. I am struggling to find a way out, and confused, hurt and everything else you wrote about it your article. I don’t know who to talk to about this. I could really use the advice right now about getting through this somehow.

      My email is dariatn9@gmail.com

    • anonymous says:

      your story is really emotional. I kind of identify with you. Not that I am in love with someone but my father has selected a guy and wants me to marry this year. Day by day he is becoming cranky and i dont feel like talking to him. I do not want to get married yet. My mother is no more and i have a step mom. Due to my dads crankiness my siblings are also agreeing with whatever he says related to my marriage. Even though I have family I have always felt lonely. When i tried telling him that I am not ready to shoulder the responsibility of marriage…..he said that I am no one special . Every girl goes through the same thing and lives so even i should accept it just because I am a girl. I seriously dont understand how do people expect me to leave my house and go live with a stranger and his family. and I am expected to live upto their expectations or else I am not a good woman?????? I am sorry to say this…but day by day I am losing faith in my religion. My family is saying that they are happy because I am getting married According to them it is the ultimate goal in a girls life. So when someone is saying that they have found a guy for me it is automatically assumed that I am happy. When I think of my marriage date….its like a sword is hanging and as the days are passing one by one the sword is coming closer to me and killing me….Everything looks grey and lifeless. I just want to runaway someplace where it is only me and no societal pressures

  50. Abu 7amzah says:

    You also should be frank with the guy and tell him that you dont love him so you dont oprisse him or your future children, If he is a man he should leave peacefully. Also please dont take it personally but these are some of the furites of haram relationship. Pls no body reply to my comment if you dont believe in that it is up to you this is our deen.

  51. Sisters, it is time to think with your feet.

    Don’t allow yourselves to be fobbed off to a man you don’t like, or even know, just because of “tradition”.

  52. talibilm says:

    XLIII. When a man gives his daughter in marriage against her will, the marriage is INVALID (sahih Bukhari, Book of Marriage)

    hadith 4845. It is related from Khansa’ bint Khidham al-Ansariyya that her father gave her in marriage when she had been married before and she disliked that. She went to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, who cancelled the marriage.

    Show your parents this hadith if you cannot get yourself to like your current suitor. However, also note that during times of ‘ferocious passion’, we tend to overlook certain red flags, personality quirks that can become the bane of our existence during the course of marriage. It is hard to be objective when you have ‘ferocious passion’.

    So please, for your sake and happiness, re-evaluate your situation and see whether the man of your dreams is an illusion or not. I had a friend who married that way and his wife ran away from her parents house and married my friend after a year long saga. He ended up failing his coursework because of all the drama and got married to her (a wedding which her parents did not attend). Two years later, the girl filed for divorce. What was the guy’s mistake? marrying someone who is willing to run away from the very house that fed her, clothed her, educated her and loved her. What was the girl’s mistake? following her ‘ferocious passion’ without being practical. The two were both muslim but of different nationalities, backgrounds and similar socioeconomic statuses. The girl was not as practicing as the guy.

    Nevertheless, if you prayed istikhara about the man of your dreams and it didn’t work out then I want you to rest fully assured that the outcome will be for the best. That is the point of istikhara, when you seek the counsel of the One who created you and what you love, He will facilitate your path to what is ultimately better for you NOT what you THINK is better for you. You really don’t know what will lead you to jannah so don’t be fixated on your opinion.

    so please, go by the beach or something and reflect on the situation, if you absolutely cannot approve of the current grooms character, or if there is no physical attraction and no reason why you can live with this person, then you MUST call this off instead of subjecting yourself to torment for the rest of that marriage and I have already quoted the hadith above for you which gives you the power to do so.

    However, if you cannot find a reason to hate this current groom and you think by objective standards, this is a good prospect, then by Allah, your willingness to preserve and honor your parents will NOT be in vain for that may be your key to Jannah. In loving and hating, not for your sake, or for your parents, but for the sake of Allah.

    and Allah swt knows best dear sister.

    • Sarah F. says:

      “What was the guy’s mistake? marrying someone who is willing to run away from the very house that fed her, clothed her, educated her and loved her. What was the girl’s mistake? following her ‘ferocious passion’ without being practical.”

      You’re not just talking in parentspeak…you’re also being overly simplistic and shaming these people on their presumed characteristics. A girl following her ‘ferocious passion’ is also ensuring that she is working for a future where she has no one but herself to account for for her choices. And maybe the man admired this very quality in the woman.

      As for things not working out between the two: although this happens often with such marriages, I don’t think it’s necessarily because the couple made the wrong choice. It’s because the family (or families) refused to give their blessing and hence deprived the relationship of barakah. Family problems are like money problems: they put a huge strain on a relationship, often to the point of breakage.

      Surely you must realize that the burden of a family’s care was one of the primary things gnawing at the author’s conscience. To be honest, though, I don’t fully understand this reasoning. It’s pretty crazy to say that your parents did you a favor by clothing you and feeding you when you were helpless; what else were they supposed to do, neglect you?

      • talibilm says:

        Thanks for your input. When you said “It’s because the family (or families) refused to give their blessing and hence deprived the relationship of barakah. ”

        I feel that is exactly what this dilemma boils down to in my humble experience. It’s about the barakah of your parents whom you can never repay for their sacrifice (assuming they are good-intentioned and not superficial).

        Perhaps one day when our kids reach this stage of marriage we too shall wish that they choose wisely and with practicality instead of an abstract notion of love based on flowery conversations before marriage (not saying this is the case of the author but this is too often the case with unsuspecting sisters who get drawn into a man’s ability to make her feel special and wanted to the point of ignoring how practical that relationship will be in the long term)

        as for the couple in my example…financial hardship wasn’t even a question for them, the guy’s parents sponsored both their educations including transportation for the girl! Their problem was that they told each other they cannot think about living with ANYONE else except each other without realzing the fact that marriage isn’t two people living on an island alone…it’s grasping each other’s hand and helping each other navigate the social fabric around you.

        And HOW can you have barakah when one person runs away from her house, and her parents are not even at the wedding? Her parents eventually came to accept the relationship and started visiting quite often rather…but she got fed up with the marriage and her words were “you’re not fun anymore, you’re too serious” simple because he was encouraging her to dress more modestly in public (not niqaab, but at least sleeves…ironically…prior to the marriage she wore hijab!).

        nevertheless, I’m not using this example to generalize, but all i’m saying is that there was a point in their relationship when they they thought they would die without each other. Yet look at how much they changed (they guy went from failing his coursework trying to get married to her, to being the top of his class in two years and she went from hijaab and smiles to filing for divorce after several vacations and getting her education and brand new condo paid for by her IN-LAWS…At one point they were the most compatible couple ever. She followed her ferocious passion to divorce basically. Both of them overlooked the fact that one is not practicing as the other and that both and very opinionated people with stubborn in-laws on the girls side.

        They overlooked red flags in the heat of their passion is what i’m saying and that hurts more knowing you defied everyone around you to end up making the wrong choice.

        What makes this situation MUCH easier to deal with is the fact that if you pray istikhara for a relationship and it doesn’t work out despite reasonable effort then for God’s sake don’t kill yourself over it and live the rest of your life in misery. Life is too short for that too. However, if the alternative to your choice itself has red flags then like I stated above, you have been given the right to refuse it by your Creator.

        and Allah knows best.

    • girlinahole says:

      she is a well-educated woman most likely in her late 20s. not a teenager who only follows her “ferocious passion” and she can feed, clothe, and take care of herself . and in the real-life scenario you gave us, no doubt the girl was forced by her husband to follow how he practices Islam and made cultural and religious demands on her.

  53. nayomi munaweera says:

    most powerful thing i’ve read in a long time. i so so hope you find the courage to make your life your own. it’s really not for me to say—but it seems like you’ve sacrificed your life for people who really don’t care that much for your happiness, so maybe you don’t have to care so much about how they are viewed. i wish you strength, courage, support and all the love you deserve.

    • Your Little Brother in Islam says:

      “the courage to make your life your own.”

      I love this phrase.

  54. leahmed says:

    Habibi, I say this with so much love and admiration and sorrow in my heart: you are a fool. You have put your parents on a pedestal, of which they do not deserve to be on. They are human and they are not without error. But who will be suffering from this error? You. And you will suffer alone because they do not care about your heart or your well-being.

    I understand how difficult it is to love your father so much. I have been ever so fortunate to have an incredible dad. But I have also had to fight my parents, both deeply devout Muslims, to do things I know are best for me. When I moved out of my brothers house where I was attending university, I was threatened to be ex-comunicated completely; however, I did it anyways. I trusted myself. And with time, they have also learned that they can trust me too.

    I say that to tell you this… You are loved. I love you for who you are. I am okay with loving a stranger because I want to bear the burden with you, if that is possible. How long will you sit idle and let life eat you alive? How long will you sit and let your misery be your undoing? Your dad is only a spectator, yet, you are allowing him and the fear of his disapproval to be your guiding force. When will you be freed of this? I will say this over and over and over again- your parents are human and not without error. They do not feel your sorrow, you do.

    There is a story I remember my sister telling me about the Prophet (pbuh) leading a group of believers; the women, and his wife, were in the back. The prophet chose to not be at the head of the group, rather, he stayed behind to walk with his wife, laughing with her. That is the best example of a man- our own Prophet. Gentle, and sweet, and loving and nurturing. Your father does not, unfortunately posses those characteristics. Forgive him, but seek the ultimate example. Requited love with someone who walks behind others just so he can laugh with you. Your heart will explode. You are so worth that. I hope you realize this.

  55. Petra says:

    Horrendous. Such suppression and stifling, it’s horrid to read, simply horrid.
    I cannot imagine that life.
    The good man who you truly love, how will he cope with your rejection? Is his heart broken?

  56. Hen says:

    If there is still time, LEAVE. your family will accept it later!

  57. Asiila Imani says:

    Salaams Sis: since you made your decision, i think you should give it more time. This man knows your heart is with another yet is accepting of you still? how many brothers would? and although it’s unwise to stay in touch with your “true love,” in a year or so he may marry another and go on with his life. i’d advise not to have children yet, Insha’Allah, but to definitely give this guy more time, and to STOP wishing what shoulda been. it’s not what is. count your blessings and go forward. i don’t know what ‘time limit’ you give this—wherein you absolutely cannot stomach it anymore—but i think it needs TIME after you stop grieving.

    People lose sight and limbs; all types of tragedies happen…is your marriage like these? maybe. unlike losing a leg or a beloved family member or friend, it’s something you can ‘change,’ but methinks that since you did not marry an ogre and by your own admission “a wonderful, patient, kind man with one of the most beautiful hearts I have ever encountered,” it would be wise to stop thinking and fantasizing about the other, and above all stop trying to force love. Just be with him…”date him,” get to know him without a prejudiced eye.

    Given the fact that it was arranged by a ‘mad man,’ you certainly could’ve gotten a lot worse.

    If it truly is not to be sis, you will eventually find your way out. Like you said, your family is not involved anymore.

  58. Sarah F. says:

    I know someone who went through a similar experience, and now, five years later, the main source of joy and purpose in his life are his kids and his work. He made a conscious choice and effort to be happy through means other than romantic love. I’d never pretend like I’m capable of such a thing, but since this woman has already made her choice, I cannot help but be reminded of him and share his example.

    She cannot dwell in misery. To be happy, she needs to either get out and make herself open to the possibility of happiness through romantic love, or focus on other things while remaining married. Let’s not forget that it’s her happiness we should be rooting for, no matter what choices she makes. Even if her circumstances were miraculously changed to align with what she wanted, it would take years to work through the emotional suffering she had to go through.

    (Dear Anon: sorry to speak of you in the third person when you’ve graciously clarified so much in your comment. I just don’t want to sound even more presumptive by addressing you directly! Much love and duaas to you.)

  59. strikemereality says:

    I’ve never “fallen in love” or at least loved someone so passionately that I would like to spend the rest of my life with them. I have, however, encountered every single other emotion this author put in her article. She says she does not have to justify herself to anyone (which is true) yet if you look close enough, she does so. She gives you every reasoning as to why she went ahead with this decision. She even sums up the whole message of why she did it in one sentence:

    “We. Just. Don’t. Disobey. Our. Parents.”

    It is true. We don’t. Ever. Disobey our parents. Most muslim women know these circumstances, and we know how every act that you do must be related back to your parents. Every career decision or a clothing choice will somehow reflect your parent’s upbringing of you. Religion can both undermine and uphold this message, depending on how a person spins it. But no matter how much you are praised by your parents, there is still that underlying message, that “annoyance” of not wanting to disobey and upset our parents that usually pulls us back.

    Not only does this author tell you her reasoning, but she gives the history for that as well.

    ” We grew up watching Disney movies. We were programmed to think we should follow our hearts and everything will magically work out. They never told us how horribly scary taking a risk is, because the risks in the Disney universe always, always paid off.”

    This is why she, and many other muslim women, never disobeyed her parents. Because we don’t know the outcome of risks that we want to take. As much as we would like to imagine a positive outcome of our risk, we don’t know what could happen. And her family used this to their advantage. They planted a seed of doubt into her head and it grew and consumed and terrified her.

    “I think of myself sometimes as a bird trapped in a cage. I’m so used to living inside it, even though I know it’s a cage, that even if the cage door was opened, I will still stay inside the cage.”

    It terrifies us so much that it starts fucking with your head. That’s what happened with this author. The seed of doubt, along with the notion of “never disobeying your parents” finally consumed her. She could not handle it anymore, and I do not blame her (nor should you).

    The only advice I could give this author is to start taking risks. Take small ones at first, then larger ones. Be comfortable with the idea that your parents, or any of your family, do not know the world inside out. It’s hard because they fuck with your head so much, but you know better than them. So much better.

    You can walk out of the cage, InshAllah.

  60. Taha Imran says:

    Dear Anon, the most important thing to understand here is that Allah has a plan for you. Though the man you may wish to marry is a very good man, before you are married to anyone remember that the element of care should be more than the element of love. I also regret watching Disney movies in the past since they have a brain-washing effect on us. But you know, happiness can be found at any time in life. Allah may have saved you from some horrible tragedy that could have happened say if you had married the man you wanted to. If the man you are married to is patient and had good nature, love him. When you learn to do that, you will be happy.
    Now, I wouldn’t presume you should live in the apathy of the past. Beating yourself up for wrong decisions/choices only makes life worse and can lead to transgression. So stop that now, your suffering has built a character within you I feel radiates from your words, but if your husband loves you, you should love him back.
    Whoever you are, you have my prayers. And understand that you shouldn’t think too much about your past, so much as you should think about building self worth in the future.
    The day you see your first child, you will love him/her so much that he/she will be the reason for you to love your husband as “The Father Of My Child”
    And one more thing, keep your children away from this concept of Love or Arranged Marriage.
    Teach them, The Liked Marriage (A moderation of the two), that who you marry is a choice your child must think on, tell the family immediately, and allow them to evaluate the cause before he/she begin to care or love that person, because if that happens, they will feel apathy if the parents disagree
    And of coarse, keep them away from Disney
    When your children are happily living without any sense of detachment their parents or freedom, you will feel happy for them. A mother’s life is beautiful when she sees her children living happily in Allah’s way.
    And remember, Allah is with you always, you have it better than a lot of people in this world
    Marriage, arranged or love can work out either way, but the path to peace is to make it so that your children do not suffer the way you did, and if your husband is half as patient as you say, he will ensure you and him complete this task and give you the fulfillment you deserve
    http://www.biharanjuman.org/MarriageGuide.pdf

    • SCM says:

      Forgive me I know you are giving tender advice, but I just cannot agree! Is it so easy to “forget the past”, to simply love someone you feel nothing for, to move on and get over it? I see a lot of myself in this author’s story, which is why I can’t help but to respond this way. I know what it feels like to go through with such a marriage. The idea that this man, being a good man, is a blessing from Allah is what got her into the marriage in the first place. It is part of the self-brainwashing process we go through. “So stop that now, your suffering has built a character within you I feel radiates from your words, but if your husband loves you, you should love him back.” My goodness, but that is impossible! It is not so easy to force yourself to love, even if she did not have a previous love. The author needs some serious counseling, and I think the best thing that could happen for her would be to leave the situation and stand on her own two feet for the first time in her life. She needs to build herself up first after a lifetime of a troubled childhood before she can build a life with another human being, for both his and her sake.

  61. […] This is in response to the “Arranged Marriage” article: https://loveinshallah.com/2013/06/05/arranged-marriage/ […]

  62. sim says:

    whilst you’re still trapped in belief of religion the courage won’t come, because the courage you need comes from rejecting all these ideas of shame/dishonour/parental right to headfuck you etc…..

    these ideals are firmly entrenched in religion

    • Salwa says:

      Sorry. its her asian culture that has trapped her.

      In Islam the law states women have a right to Inherit, a right to work, a right to earn her own money for herself and not give away, has a right to keep her fathers name, has a right to choose a spouce! has a right to education, has a right to be respected, has a right to be looked after, has a right to have rights intimacy and enjoy intimacy. this has been our right for the last 1400 years. Thank god!

      Culture created by man has taken women back to being animals… no opinion, no feelings worthless creatures. I thank god i follow my religion and the law. I get all my rights! So sorry get your bloody facts straight before you start talking!

  63. segmation says:

    I think that some traditions should change and realize we are now in 2013!

    • Salwa says:

      Islam has given the right to women to choose for 1400 years along with the right to own our own property, inherit and earn and keep our own money.
      But some people ignore it and continue to follow their backward cultures.

      I thank god me and my family practice Islam correctly. I have rights and have choices.

  64. Zenah says:

    What your family did to you in the time leading up to your marriage was abuse, there is no other word for it. You entered a marriage with a man that you didn’t want to marry against your will, how is that even an acceptable “islamic” marriage. I appreciate your honesty, but for your own sake you need to get out, you cannot make yourself love someone through sheer will, it won’t happen. Also in regards to support, there are support networks out there that can help you, you will not find support from within your family, no one will be willing to break ranks and support you as is evident in the number of people involved in your wedding who KNEW you didn’t wish to be married. Your husband sounds lovely however is it really fair to him to stay in a marriage when you have zero feelings of love for him?.

    It is hard, I have been there, leaving a marriage as a muslim woman is hard, no doubt about that, but what will be even harder is the toil this will take on your mental and physical health. it’s no exaggeration to say to that that it messes with your mind so much that you question your own sanity.

    My situation was somewhat different in that I married an abusive man who I loathed pretty much from the moment I married him, leaving him, and facing the “community” is one of the hardest things I have ever done, but realising that I was not responsible for my parents happiness or unhappiness helped , kind of lightbulb moment.

    But now 5 years down the line “the community” are gossiping about someone else, twitching their curtains at someone else’s misfortune, I have remarried and have 2 beautiful children with another muslim man and I am happy. You can be too, you just have to allow yourself to be. You are not devoid of choices, they maybe difficult choices, no denying that they are difficult choices, but they are choices nontheless. You are an educated, intelligent woman, there are people out there that can support you. Decide what you want to do and reach out for help when your ready.

  65. I’m not even going to pretend that I understand what you are going through, but know I will be praying!

  66. Faatimah says:

    Sincere thoughts and prayers are with you. Cannot thank you for raising such a concerning issue that is prevalent in the society of today. God bless you.

  67. Here is the thing,in islam,there is nothing that says forced marragae is halal. Actually,forced marrage is haram and anything against your will is haram. You are grown up and since you have a phd, you can choose ur life not your family choose it for you. You accept what you think you deserve. Say no if you don’t want to marry,if you don’t object to it then you want to marry.

  68. sunflower22a says:

    “A family that misuses religion”. That happens not only in islam. Muostly, women pay the price – all religions tend to have many more rules for women than for men. Because they are made by men. However, at some point humanity – women – needs to break out of this vicious circle. I wish you all strength to break out, to be more than a subordinate of “a family that misuses religion” – just to be yourself.

    • Salwa says:

      Sorry Islam says it is forbidden to force anyone to marry anyone. A case happened in the time of the beloved prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. A woman came to him complaining her father had forced her to marry someone she had no interest or desire for. And he affirmed she did not consent and then said I will divorce you from him if you wish. She said no, She is happy to remain married but wants to make sure this never happens to anyone else and women are aware they can say no and have that right. So Islam forbids forced marriage. It is the Asian culture that is created by man that says women are worthless and belong to men. Thank you!

  69. sunflower22a says:

    Reblogged this on sunflower22a and commented:
    “Arranged marriage” – Eine herzzerreißender Beitrag darüber, was religiöse Verblendung und stupides Festhalten an mittelalterlichen Traditionen alles anrichten können. Nicht in Afghanistan oder Somalia. In USA.

  70. I am not a Muslim, nor have I had to contemplate an arranged marriage. However, I was raised in a religious family with a parent who abused religion to suit her needs and assert control and reading your post eerily reminded me of my own personal tumult. For years I struggled with duty to religion and being an “honorable daughter” versus my fighting, gasping need to be loved as an individual who deserved a relationship that wasn’t solely based on fulfilling one parent’s needs. The emotional blackmail was identical to what you are experiencing, it defined my childhood, and my heart goes out to you.

    Eventually I made the decision to break all ties with my parent. It was hard at first, and harder still because people in the community will look at you funny or say things, failing to comprehend how abusive the parental relationship was. It is all the more difficult for you because both of your parents appear to be a manipulation team. In the end though, I decided the most honorable thing to do would be to end our “relationship” so I would stop feeling resentful against her and living my life constantly afraid of her retaliation.

    Please consider, as someone who is ultimately trying to honor your parents, that by going through with this you will only intensify your hurt and resentment against them for the rest of your life. Even if your husband passes away or divorces you, the anguish you feel against your parents for manipulating you into this situation will never go away. If you truly care about preserving any shred of your relationship with them, reconsider this forced marriage.

    The unknown is frightening. The potential to be cast out from family, religious community, and related friends is excruciating. But I can see that you have reached a breaking point, and in my experience breaking away from the parental abuse was infinitely more rewarding than staying under it. THEY HAVE ALREADY TAKEN EVERYTHING. Don’t let them take more!

    • Salwa says:

      No offence, but this has nothing to do with religion. It is culture and most likely the Asian culture which goes against Islam and what the laws of Islam say on this. Let me make it clear in Islam it is forbidden to force anyone to marry anyone! So please stop saying religion is to blame. It is the twisted culture created by man that is to blame.

  71. I don’t know where you live but I think you need to get out of that place. Any place where people tell you there is only one way to live and any other way is wrong is a toxic environment and judging from how miserable you describe yourself, the toxicity is affecting you. I hope the best for you and I hope you’re able to do what you feel is right.

  72. nicolemkurz says:

    This was beautiful, moving and hearbreaking. While I do not share your faith, I appreciate your pain. I wish you a beautiful life, and happiness in the path you choose.

  73. grad-u-hate. says:

    No, do not do this Sister. Do not do this. You will not only lose a big part of your character, but it will also ruin a big part of your husband-to-be’s life too.

    We are not in the generation of “making things work” – and being highly educated and demanding of yourself – there’ll always be that part of you that wished for more in life.

    I know your decision is not right. My sister is the perfect example of choosing what she thought was best. It was hell for her, my own family treated her like she was the devil’s child. But now? Now? She has all she wanted in life, my family learnt from their mistakes and her decision to leave home (whilst not recommended, ever) life is good not just for her, but my family too.

    The beautiful thing is, after all that we’ve been through, and my sister mainly, you could literally see the appearances of each family member change for good, the glow on the skin comes back, the hair does not fall out as much, and the smile – the big, real, smile – returns and that’s when all realise that yes, it’s Allah’s wish that my sis decided to take this path – and we had to go through this troubled time. But in the end we all became stronger because of it.

    Allah puts many challenges in front of us. Yes it requires patience, but also strength. Search your heart clearly one more time, if you think you really are in love with this guy, and he’ll bring you happiness – then stick to your choice. Life is a long hard battle sometimes, you don’t want to end up alone.

    I’ve left my email address if you decide to find out more about what my sister went through. She went through the exact process you did. But it’ll also be interesting in what you do. Her choice was made. She left home, and now she’s happy – because our parents soon enough decided where they went wrong.

    Shaming your parents is one of the worst things a child could do. But she left respectively, and was rather forced out then left. Be strong. You’ve worked hard not to give up now.

    Always here for a chat sis. I wish you the best.

  74. Dear sister, recently a Pakistani woman contacted me seeking a counsel. She was in a forced marriage, obeyed her parents in the name of “honor”, and her years of marriage turned out to be a LIVING HELL. Her husband is verbally abusive, and they lived their lives hating each other. While another woman I know, was forced to leave her stellar career to “obey” husband from the same kind of “arranged” marriage as well. Because he thinks woman working a career is haram. Which is completely bullshit and hypocrisy since he’s working in Bank with interests and whatnot.

    Please know this, sister : it is your life, not theirs. You have to undergone the pain, not them. All the people who would point fingers on you with “shame” won’t care so much about your life, they’ve been pre-occupied with theirs, and most importantly they will not go through your walk. Think about your life next years ahead, it’s yours. You dont need to repeat mistakes other people have gone through.

    Choice is yours, just like your life is yours. Even if you confused, my suggestion is to do salaah istikharah whether to go on or not. And also to look or search this future groom’s characters. Is he kind? Have emotional problem? Misogynist? Good characters? Lastly I hope Allah eases, ameen

    • Salwa says:

      i agree with you in some points, but disagree with you in regards to parents not hurting. Sorry the parents are probably hurt and frustrated with this. Perhaps they are used to this, and the only way they know. You need to have empathy for both sides.

      If you want to go one step further, harram for a woman to work.. harram for a man to work in a bank due to interest all true. What about Harram to commit zina? The sort of zina that leads to fallen “in love” before marriage. What we are warned against, zina of the eyes, not lowering your gaze, zina of the mouth, zina of the hands and feet. That which brings you towards zina. You do not fall inlove with a strange man from a far, or from one halal glance, which we are permitted in islam. This love forms through time, in a harram way. with many harram glances, lustful gazes and inappropriate conversations and dating.

      So yes her parents are going against Islam. But surely she has disobeyed Allah too? So we can sit here and judge her parents…. but we are forbidden to judge her? She can do as she pleases harram or what not, but heaven forbid if her parents also sin?? Subhanallah the hypocrisy. If she kept her heart pure and free from zina and lust perhaps she would be helped by Allah and in a better place?? Just think about it. Takes two to tango as tehy say and two sides to every story.

      May Allah guide her and her parents back to the straight path and forgive them all.

      • Levannah da Revert says:

        Sorry girl. Please calm down. This is not black and white case. Blaming anyone now and blaming her will not be a solution. If she sins it is her account with Allah. But it has happened. Can you turn back time? So what would you do if you are her? You just talk about empathy, right….Now stop judging and let’s hear a solution.

      • SCM says:

        This is judgmental in my opinion. No one knows or needs to know the details of her previous relationship. I think this story is about much more than her previous relationship. It is about abuse and not having any say over your own life. She would likely feel the same way with or without the previous love, because she is a victim of abuse.

  75. Jane says:

    My heart breaks for you.

  76. This is by far the saddest thing I’ve read in weeks. I’m not from your culture and I don’t know what I’m “allowed” to say about this, but my heart is crying with yours. I’m so thankful that my family allowed me to marry the man I did almost one year ago. I’m praying for you that you’ll find the strength within yourself to run to the arm of the man you truly love and never look back. I’ve seen similar situations with my Hispanic friends and their families and with my Mormon friends and their families. Some have chosen to leave their families behind and pursue their lives, and it causes pain. Some have chosen to leave their passions behind and abide by their families, and that causes pain too. I hope you choose the option which will cause the least pain for YOU. Ultimately you are responsible for your own happiness and you are not responsible for the happiness of your parents or your family. Do what’s right for you. Please! The world needs more happy people.

  77. amandajeanbrennan says:

    This seriously made me cry. It breaks my heart to think that someone will be denied love. Denied a chance to be with someone that envokes passion and desire within them. The family pressures are something I will never understand. I have NEVER brought a man home to meet my family, because they will not approve of the men I fall for, they’re not Bible Thumping Christians; they are great men, they’re educated, intelligent, kind and generous, but because, like me, they don’t feel the need for organized religion, they are cast away from the category of “suitable suitors” in my families eyes. Sigh… family, and religion…

    • Salwa says:

      She is not being denied Love. It is possible to love more then one man/woman. Look at people who become widowed, or divorce.. they loved and moved on and loved again. So it is silly to say she is being denied love. This man she is marrying may be the love of her life, may be the one to fill her life with honor love and respect. So lets not be so dramatic, this is not a Hollywood movie this is LIFE and in Life people love, love and love again. If there was only one love then millions if not billions of people would be depressed and lonely.

      • amandajeanbrennan says:

        I respectfully disagree, to be in love with one man while marrying another is a denial of that love, I never said she won’t find love again, I meant that the love she feels with this man is denied. I think people fall in and out of love throughout their lives, I just think that not getting to pursue the love you feel for someone is sad.

    • Salwa says:

      The difference is. We follow Islam. The girl in the story is a muslim and wants a muslim. She does not want to run away from her religion and be rebellious and marry a non muslim! They are ignoring religion and following the culture. So please have a little more understanding it is not about religion. It is about culture that is twisted. And in no way similar to your situation.

      • amandajeanbrennan says:

        The feeling is the same, I was not trying to insult your religion or feelings. I’m just saying that its hard to struggle between meeting your cultural and familial obligation and balance with your feelings, your life and the world we live in. I feel like a religious upbringing, regardless or the religion, becomes integrated into the culture of your family and generally the people that surround your family. It’s all intertwined.

      • SCM says:

        I really find this attitude toward a non-Muslim sister expressing her empathy to be harsh and inappropriate. “She does not want to run away from her religion and be rebellious and marry a non muslim!”….”and this is in no way similar to your situation.” First, what does that imply about amanda, that she is simply being rebellious for running away from her religion and being rebellious based on what she said about her situation? And how can you say “this is in no way similar to your situation” so strongly without knowing either party personally. She is trying to express empathy, and in jumping to defend our religion so strongly, this comes across as quite harsh. My family is a mix of converts and non-Muslims, so I particularly don’t think a harsh reaction is appropriate. Not everything in life is black and white. I don’t think saying she is being denied love is saying this is some sort of Disney flick. Being forced to marry against one’s will is haraam. She is being denied more than love actually. I don’t think anyone here is blaming Islam for anything. The problem is in fact culture + a MANIPULATION of religion. I think that is clear to most people here, no one is saying anything hateful.

  78. ProSona says:

    it depends on your family and not on your religion

  79. indiajones says:

    Well, lady, maybe your love will “grow”, for the man who tried to understand you so much, indeed, went out of his way too. Like all here, I too wish you Best of Luck,and Loads of Happiness !

  80. wolfgangcat says:

    Your choice is to follow the teachings of God or the interpretations of man. According to what you wrote, following your heart is not against the will of God. Any “shame” that would come to your family is their own doing if they force something on you that is in opposition of what you state to be true.

    Only you can decide what is most important – following the true teachings of your God or a family that values its’ pride more than God.

    Whatever you decide, I wish you peace and happiness.

  81. harrypeat says:

    You should do what YOU want, Whose life is it? Yours or your parents’?

  82. Salwa says:

    Subhanallah. La walaqati illah billahi, I feel sorry for this sister. May Allah give her the strength and patience, and May Allah guide her parents to the straight path.

    It is not in Islam to cave, i have never heard the prophet SAW saying to force your daughter to marry someone she disproves of, quiet the opposite in fact. So again culture has taken the spot of Islam. In these situations, she should of gotten a sheikh, imam involved. Forced Nikkah is not a real nikkah and invalid. So without proper consent will be leaving a life of sin.

    I would also like to add, there are a high number of sisters running off and meeting men in harram situations, without mahram, dating, fallen in love. How did this sister fall in love with a non mahram? She must of had to spend huge amount of time with him, in inappropriate situations to fall in Love. This is where some the blame is placed on her. She should of observed Hijab both internal and external and kept away from non mahram. Perhaps if she had then she would of been open to meeting this man her parents had lined up for her. And perhaps fallen in love with him.

    Times like this i read these stories, and thank Allah for my parents and thank Allah for safe guarding me from harram love. Yes love before marriage is not permissible as Allah forbids us from going anywhere NEAR zina. Not to walk towards it, not to listen to it, not to speak of it. And many sisters fall into zina of the tongue, eyes and heart and then wonder why they do not get the fairy tale ending.

    If women safe guarded their hearts and kept pure Allah will surely reward the sabr we have. If you go out chatting up men and being innapropriate do you then expect Allah to give you a happy ending?

    So I suggest the sister makes sincere Tawba to Allah for getting herself involved emotionally with a man who is a stranger to her, not her mahram. Make Tawba for disobeying Allah, and try to do things correctly. Only Allah can change the condition of a people, only if they change that is within themselves. So sister rid your heart of this Harram Love, love Allah and your parents and Inshallah your’ future will be better.

    I pray Allah guides you and your family to the straight path Yes your parents have commited a great injustice but look at yourself in the mirror. Surely you sinned by “lusting” over a man who is harram for you.

    And Allah knows best

    • SCM says:

      This sister is a victim of abuse for goodness sake! Years of psychological, emotional, mental, and physical abuse! She is a victim. Why are we assuming that it’s her fault for falling in love with someone. Whether she fell in love or not would not change a thing! Her father is still a dictator (though i understand there are major mental health issues involved here). She would still be denied the right to make her own choices. She would still be forced to marry someone not of her approval or choosing. It is not so simple! “Yes love before marriage is not permissible as Allah forbids us from going anywhere NEAR zina”….for goodness sake, there is nothing stated here about her having committed zina, so nothing can be assumed. “Love before marriage is not permissable”….sister, may I ask, are you married? If you are not, then I must say there are things you do not understand. If you are, there are all sorts of assumptions being made here about culture. Islam does not erase culture, Islam exists across cultures, and “love before marriage is not permissable”, while you may state this is Islam, I respectfully disagree 100% and say this is more cultural than anything else, it just depends what you mean by love. No one is making zina halal, but that doesn’t mean two people cannot have love before marriage. There are all sorts of cultural assumptions being made here and treated as religion and I firmly disagree. “Surely you sinned by “lusting” over a man who is harram for you”….this is so judgmental, I’m sorry, but this makes so many assumptions and is harsh to say to someone who, I repeat, is a victim of ABUSE, and will need much counseling throughout her life, which i hope she receives inshAllah.

  83. Ali says:

    For the love of Allah do not have a child with this man. You’ve ruined your life and your husband’s to please your father. Don’t ruin your future children’s lives as well. Do you want them to grow up with a mother who is miserable with her husband? If your father is this controlling of everyone he’s going to control your kids too. Do you want his opinion dictating who your future kids marry too? Stop this cycle now.

  84. Hello Miss. I’d like to say a few things to you, for you.

    But first off, let me clarify, I am not in a position to judge you for your choices or actions. This is my advice to you.

    Tonight I have had a renewed understanding of the phrase, You Only Live Once. And it’s true. You do only live once.

    This life is yours, and yours to hold. Then what is life if not choosing your own fate? What is life of not to live it to the fullest? What is life if it dictated and influenced by outsiders and doubts they plant in your mind? Then are you not but a mere puppet in their control?

    Maybe you are listening to the voices of these women, the people who have gone before you. They may seem fine. But don’t forget. Those people made a choice; the choice to forgo love and “do as they’re told.” And in part they have lost a part of themselves. They have lost hope and love. They have lost their future with the men they loved.

    And, about your parents.
    I am just like you, a lady who loves her family and values her honour. I don’t think that you should jeopardise your marital life for the sake of your familiy’s honour. There is no honour in stooping so low as to follow the dictation of others on how to live your life. But there is no honour lost in marrying a man out of mutual love. You do your family no wrong. You give them no shame. Don’t listen to the lies. You are family, and you owe your parents respect, and so do they to you. But as it seems, they’re not respecting your decision. They’re not respecting you. You don’t owe them your life! This is the 21st century! You have a right to do as you please!

    I believe that love does exist. And I believe the those who say it doesn’t are having a case of sour grapes; they haven’t found it. But you! You have found it! It’s there in the palm of your hand, and what, are you going to throw it away?

    With all do respect, I think it’s better to marry someone you love, and be faithful to him and him alone, not you family, not your friends, nor your peers. Because in the end, they will all leave and it’s only going to be you and your husband alone.

    Wouldn’t doing this be better than marrying a man you are not truly devoted to? Wouldn’t it be better to live a simple life with your love than to sit beside another man, wondering silently about the life you could have had? Think about him. Wouldn’t he miss you too?

    Time is running out. You have a choice and both are right. What are you going to do?

    Remember.
    You Only Live Once.

  85. I wish I could tell you to flee the bondage of religion but it seems to mean a lot to you,,,sister, I hear you but I do not know what to say except I hope you find the strength to be with your love or to forget it existed.
    may allah be with you. take care and god bless. sending you my prayers.

  86. I can’t even imagine how you feel. My tears are for you and I hope and pray for you to find peace.
    My parents support everything I dream and care about, so it’s difficult to put myself in your shoes. I also am not Muslim and know sadly little of your faith, though I respect your beliefs.
    The part I have the least understanding of is staying home. I’m a sophomore in university and at 19 already live on my own. I too don’t kiss or give my body to others and am waiting for marriage but can’t imagine living at home, especially once I graduate with a degree. I guess what confuses me is that with a Doctorate, how did you stay home?
    I’m not judging, like I say my heart breaks for you. It’s truly wrenching and I apologize for my lack of cultural understanding.
    Best wishes for peace and love,
    -Brooke’s Sister

  87. themodernidiot says:

    I am coming late to this place, and I am not Muslim (I am not anything actually); so forgive me if my question seems silly.

    I do not understand this conflict. It is my understanding that Allah is in your heart, and wishes you to obey him first. If this is so, why would a woman defy Allah to follow misguided rules of parents?

    One’s fear and insecurity are not good enough reasons to defy one’s god, to defy the love he has gifted, yes?

    Aren’t the tears cried evidence of the heart’s, and therefore god’s, knowing that one is choosing the wrong path; and a sign from Allah to return to the path of the heart?

  88. This is complicated. Fear and abuse never result in anything positive. This is sad.

  89. mutti39 says:

    Another good woman lost to religion. Sad, How can this continue to happen to smart women? Why do they continue to make such ignorant choices?

  90. Almustapha M A says:

    Aslm alkm,I read your episode carefully and clearly,I salute the way and manner you are following your parents.V ery good indeed,I want to tell you that your parents like you as their daughter,they are to choose the best for you.Everything in life need patience,Pray to God for the best and wait for His time.I wish you the best in life and regards to all.

    • SCM says:

      She is a victim of abuse. Her entire family are victims and are probably at this point just trying to do the best they can for her, but that doesn’t mean they are choosing what is best for her sadly.

  91. Irene Lee says:

    I’m sorry for what you have to go through. Life is never easy. I’m saddened that religion is used against you in such a way. I hope you gain strength in whatever path you choose though. Support is all around. Be strong and reach out even if its in a blog post. People will listen to you. Even though were strangers, I wish the best for you.

  92. Saosan. says:

    Dear OP/Author,

    I would love to chat with you about how to change this situation, as many comments here have also offered. But I think you feel you are set in your choice, and that is your decision. So I offer you my ear and time post-wedding. As a late-twenties South Asian woman who is marrying in three months, perhaps you and I will have a lot to talk about. I’m sure your friends will help you in the ways that they can, but sometimes a third party can be comforting. If you can get my contact information from the moderators of the site, I hope you can use it.

    I don’t pity you. I don’t judge you. I understand your situation.

    Sending love your way, and remember that because of your strength for submitting this story, many brothers and sisters are holding you in our du’a.

  93. E G says:

    Wow, it took a lot of courage to write this. I am not Muslim, but my religion/culture also values family and marriage. In my particular community, people will date and choose who they want to marry, but I know of communities where arranged marriages are very common. And even though we also have a religious precept that one should never be forced into a marriage, I am sure that it happens due to cultural pressures. I think marriage is a wonderful, sacred thing, and I’m sorry that you were pushed into one you did not believe in.

    It’s a very difficult thing that you’re doing. Feeling one way inside, and being told (forced) to do something that directly contradicts that…It’s tough. And painful. I understand why you could not break away from your family; following your heart isn’t quite as easy as it looks in those Disney movies. Family is the first thing you know in life, and how you identify and figure out where you belong. One of the hardest things to accept is that even family can manipulate, because we expect family to always be on our side. And we trust that they know us best and have our best interests at heart. But sometimes…even people who love you can get lost in their own psychological messes, and then project those messes onto you; and that’s where you have to figure out how to protect yourself.

    I don’t think what you have is some irrational passion. It’s the deep need people have to be true to themselves. When you say you lost everything…please remember that you still, and always, have yourself. Your smart, thoughtful, compassionate, struggling self. There is no shame in searching for truth, no shame in wanting to be true to yourself. There is only respect, for the strong person you are. You may not feel strong at the moment, but to be struggling like this- you are.

    From what you wrote, it seems that you feel very alone. Is there anyone in your life who supports your desire to be true to yourself (even if you don’t think you can live that value right now)- maybe that best friend you mentioned? Even though I don’t know you, please know that I am wishing the best for you. It’s not quite the same as having someone right there, but maybe just knowing that someone (many someones, actually, judging from the comments) cares and supports you can help lighten the burden.

    I hope you find the peace and joy that you seek. Remember that in life, everything passes. Today, something feels like forever. In a few months, or in a few years, you’ll be looking at different challenges, and different opportunities. So hang on. You’ll find your way.

  94. youandwe26 says:

    I wish you all the best despite what you really feel about it. This situation is no joke. Its your life after all. Great that there is a blog you can use to shout on.

  95. nivaladiva says:

    Hi, I’ve just been reading your post and all the comments. I come from a different background, one where women are allowed to marry whom they choose and independence is valued. So my first reaction was shock, horror, then tears for you and your situation. Then, in reading the comments, I saw that some people criticized you for being “weak” etc. I find these very judgmental and full of unrealistic expectations, as if it’s easy to walk away from one’s family (as you clearly stated was the only alternative). I don’t know what I would have done in your situation, but I do know this, the family bond is very thick, especially (it sounds like) in your culture, also in mine. I love my family passionately, even wihen they make me angry. I can’t imagine choosing to break ties to them. Would I marry someone I didn’t love to stay with my family? I don’t know. But I certainely don’t judge you for doing so.

    Now you’ve made your decision and you will live with it. I wish you peace and strength to hold your head high, forgive yourself and your family, mourn the loss of your former relationship, and eventually, if possible, embrace the reality of your current one. We women are a strong and enduring lot. We are stronger than men, if you ask me. We hold much power within our hearts and bodies. Dig deep and one day you will find your power again. One love.

  96. Kim says:

    Your beautifully raw story hurts me in such a way that I cannot describe. I hurt for you as another woman, regardless of our different faiths. I remind myself that I can’t possibly imagine what it must be like to be fostered in a culture as you describe it, and I feel at a loss to give you any words of consolation.

    I truly admire your strength. If there is one thing you can do despite the manipulation and the misery, try to keep your strength. That is my hope for you.

  97. Behaved women never make history..

  98. I am sorry, I did not know that you already made that decision.

    I am going through the same thing, I love a Muslim convert who happens to be a white American..which is greaaaaaat for a Palestinian Muslim family😉 I am still 20 years old and I am not planning to get married anytime soon, I am going to live my life, become financially independent, and if my relationship with him is still standing, I am going to try with my parents, if they say no, I will simply take off with him.
    I honestly won’t take that bullshit.

  99. I do not want this to sound mean spirited. But, I find it difficult for someone to be in the position you claim to be in, and post that on the internet?

    Won’t you be found out?

    Won’t your future husband be slightly offended?

    His family?

    Your family?

    I guess this is a cultural thing. But, I just do not understand.

    Ghost.

  100. It is easy for me to say, “Follow your heart.” Yet, how can you when you are torn by family, faith and tradition?
    My choices were different, but I cannot, not will I, lie and tell you that following my heart proved the right thing to do. Life, with all of it’s trials and tribulations can alter and turn us on our heads within minutes.
    Whatever should be your decision I want to thank you for sharing your honest and heartfelt convictions. I appreciate that you offered your truth. I applaud and value your sincerity.

  101. krishchrish says:

    Well written. I hear you. I’ll be brutally honest with you. DON’T!!

    You said you are an independent woman. Don’t worry about the cage. It will only keep you a slave, in bondage. It will limit your life, your feeling, your soul.

    Only person who can stop this from happening is you, not your parents, not your friends (I like to call them crabs in a bucket – trying to keep you inside the bucket with not letting you get over the edge and become free). If you don’t stand for your basic right to be a free person, then no one can help you.

    You are an independent individual. Be thankful to your parents for bringing you up & being supportive in other things etc. Take care of them in their old age. But, do your self a favour. Don’t become a slave to their wishes/dreams. You have the right to wish and dream. It is only you who should chase them after. Not your kids, not your friends. You. The person who you see in the mirror.

    If you choose the comfort of the cage now, over your dream you will regret it rest of your life. You passionately love someone and want to start a life with another man. In my books, that’s called cheating. Would you like to live with a husband who sleeps with you in the same bed, but has the feelings towards another man?

    If you respect your religion, don’t lie. I never read the Quaran, but I’m sure it doesn’t teach to lie. The decision you’ve made just now and are trying so hard to justify, now that’s LYING.

    *You are lying to your self (the only person who is going to be with you from birth to death).
    *You are lying to the one you love (the person who wants to share rest of his life with you).
    *You are lying to your soul (that is passionately seeking someone special).

    Ask you self now, are you being a true Muslim or are you being a quitter? Quitting on your self, on your dream, on your passion, on your independence, on your religion…….the list goes on.

    Sorry if I sounded harsh. But I wanted my reply to hit home. I want you to not miss the boat. This is the last chance. Make it count. Stand up for your self. Stand up for your love. I’m sure true Islam is about LOVE. Either way you go, you love to your parents is not going to change. But ask your self

    “how about the love you have for you?” – Can you face your own face?
    “how about the love you have for your lover?” ——–
    “how about the love he has for you?” – – ——-

    Hope you revisit your decision and make the right decision, than the one with the path of least resistance. Don’t settle for mediocre… settle for the best… the best for you & your lover.
    Even if it means, getting out of the cage now, do it. Everything will be alright at the end.

    All the best in life.
    Kindest regards.

    • krishchrish says:

      CORRECTION 5th para: …. “Would you like to live with a husband who sleeps with you in the same bed, but has the feelings towards another man?”

      Sorry, the last word should have been “woman”.

  102. sheenmeem says:

    You should do Isthahara. You will know what Allah has ordained for you. Whatever you are shown, stick with it.

  103. Marriage often brings a end to love, even if you are marrying the one you love. Let love be love , don’t mix it with marriage.

    • I think that this is the best advice I’ve ever read. We live in a society where both marriage and love have to intertwine but maybe that’s just not the case.

  104. Alison Ross says:

    What an emotional piece… I’m afraid to look at the other comments, I feel some of them will disregard the context of your life and blithely condemn you for not just running off into the sunset with your true love, consequences be damned.

    You write of three categories of people pulling at you, influencing your decision(s) – your parents, the man you love, and other educated and intelligent women who rebelled only internally. I would suggest one more category to consider: any future daughters you might have.

    I hope you find some measure of peace.

  105. abdullah says:

    Astaghfarullah. Wheres the world heading? Consult real scholaras for knowing whats halal and whats haraam please. http://www.askimam.org/public/cat_fatwa_details/54

  106. If possible, please update us on whether or not the woman who wrote this actually got married. I’m not a Muslim but my heart breaks for her because I’m a newlywed myself and just trying to imagine life without this wonderful man makes me want to cry.

    “I wonder what he is up to today…”
    “Maybe I can briefly see him at work today…”
    “Is he thinking about me too now?..”
    “Is he thinking about a different woman?..”

    Life would be HELL! And you would be the only one suffering for the rest of your life, while your parents will continue on with one less “burden” in the house! Please don’t do this:/

  107. Seemi Sadia says:

    Touching words,

  108. Sigh says:

    I feel like this is what almost all enlightened Muslim girls go through nowadays. It’s not fair at all. It comes down to the choice of being miserable in a marriage for the rest of your life (because divorce is shunned) or being happily in love but being miserably from bringing shame to your family. It’s ultimately the hardest decision ever, so many of my friends say just do what you want. What they don’t understand is that losing your family is no joke. No one wants that burden, but your parents aren’t going to be around forever they won’t have to live with the man, you will, it should be your choice and if your family can’t accept you for who you are maybe they don’t deserve to be a part of your life.

    – Rebel child.

  109. mspomsky says:

    I honestly understand your predicament. I may not be exactly in the same situation of being in a arranged marriage but the feeling of being trapped is the same. When everything you want to do is make your parents happy even if in the end you lose everything for yourself. Because admit it or not, what your family says matters the most. Sometimes I am also thinking of just walking away from everything and follow my heart. I want to be free to think and to live in my own time and not controlled by any tradition or religion or plan that other people may have for me. But as easy it is to say, it is hardest when in making decision you still consider their feelings especially your parents. I just hope that you will still find happiness despite the difficulty of going through your decision and someday maybe see the purpose behind everything that is going on at the moment.

  110. hqas says:

    Outdated customs practiced under guise of religion, in particular Islam will never end, South Asia, and elsewhere women will keep leading terrible lives, forced into brutal conditions. I’m a Muslim Pakistani, more than often am ashamed at the atrocities done to us women in name of Islam and Holy Quran. Islam’s in the hands of men who were, are and will remain dangerous to the fairer sex!

  111. Dear Sister,
    Read your article, felt sad that you were coerced for what you didn’t want to do. I don’t know if your perspective changed after marrying the man your parents chose for you.
    Anyway, my prayers are with you that you make your mind to live with him peacefully and amicably.

  112. ghostlydaisies says:

    Oh my…. I can’t even to pretend to know what if feels like. I could not marry a man that I didn’t love while thinking of another and I certainly wouldn’t marry one that my parents chose. If they can’t accept, respect and honour the decisions that I make then how can they expect me to respect them.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  113. Woah. So deep this is and I don’t know whether to tell u it’ll all be okay, when there’s no guarantee….but as a brother in islam, the true ruling is that a woman must be ‘happy’ to go ahead (otherwise a marriage is considered void) and vice versa. I hope u follow what u really want inside, u seem like you have earned the right to choose your own future being as successful as you are. I ain’t preaching, just hope that all works well, no matter what happens. Good luck…

  114. I understand your hesitation in disobeying your parents. Although I am not brought up in a culture where arranged marriages is the norm, I am brought up to respect and obey my parents. It is difficult to disregard the programming and the social stigma that comes with disobedience. I cannot tell you what to do, as it is your prerogative to do as you will. Follow your heart and have the will to see your choice to the end. Good luck.

  115. Samar says:

    A lot of comments, however those who keep stating follow the deen, it would be better to post some evidence, but for those who do not, I will share some books on Islamic marriages. Hopefully this way, we all get better educated.

    Just go to the title Women + Parental + Marriage.
    http://goaloflife.wordpress.com/

  116. Wrote a piece on this few weeks back from the perspective of the 2 Dads who were doing their best for their 2 daughters. Then daughter of Dad Nr 2 wrote a guest blog for me on following week. Not sure if anything mind-blowing in either piece but you might enjoy the 2 relatively short pieces. Best of luck to you, whichever fork on the road you decide to venture down:

    http://michealdebarra.com/2013/04/26/marriage-by-arrangement/

    http://michealdebarra.com/2013/05/03/daughter-of-dad-nr-2/

  117. Jean says:

    It must be difficult for you to read some of these comments. I haven’t got much to offer but I feel sad with you.

    My mother is a picture bride….meaning my father immigrated from China in the early 1950’s, worked here for 7 yrs. He wanted a wife (Chinese) and he was in a tiny Ontario town of 2,000. So anyway he and Mom exchanged a few letters and photos.

    Then later she met my father for the first time after she landed in the Toronto Airport.

    I was born about 15 months later.

    they had 6 children.

    We have had some real difficult times because parents opposed interracial marriages (to whites). Anyway there’s a convoluted story to all this (which includes a sister who was disowned for 10 years before she had her lst child).

    So arranged marriage in your situation…is actually the same thing..enormous psychological turmoil.

    Do consider delaying the marriage for a year. If he loves you, wants you, he will wait. And the in-laws will be good enough to do that also. Get a job so that your parents aren’t always on your back. (Sorry, I assume you can work since you are highly educated.)

    • Jean says:

      I should add that my father is a naturally even tempered guy and the more cheerful person. My mother has an explosive temper. Still she does know how extremely fortunate she was because picture bride situations is huge risky situations.

  118. I cannot fathom the idea of arranged marriage especially in this day and age. I couldn’t even imagine how you feel right now. Still, I wish you all the best in life and may you live wonderfully.

  119. poohbear99 says:

    My heart breaks for women like you. You can’t disappiont your family, but you can’t follow your heart. I hope that the decision you make will bless you for years to come.

  120. zangiex3 says:

    I understand everything you wrote there though I haven’t been in your situation but I can imagine it. You want to balance between your happiness and your parents’.
    In this case, you said that you are in your 20s, you are mature enough to decide in distinguish between lust and love. I’m sure that you really love him that means you know him very well which your parents don’t. Even if he “looked” bad you love him and know him very well to see the good side in him. Parents like that do what they do to keep the tradition, there is no such a thing as love. A “good man that we know”, that would at least fit a very young teenager but not a woman like you. The marriage isn’t legal too when you are satisfied. You should remind them of this. Explain to them that you really love them and respect them with their decisions, but it’s not like buying a shoe that would get old and be replaced over the time it’s YOUR life. You don’t want to regret for sure. Prove to them how the one you love is a “good man with a nice personality”. There’s love in Islam. Just marry him and never give up. You don’t have to do anything you are not satisfied with, you know.

  121. Amy Amir says:

    It’s never too late to be happy. Even if you end up divorced, so what? People get divorced and learn. Give your marriage a try. Give it 100%. Avoid getting pregnant. Again, avoid getting pregnant. If your still miserable, then get a divorce and take control of your life. Don’t let mentally sick individuals destroy your life. Even if they are your parents, remember, they are not God. Be strong, hold your head high and pray to Allah. Allah hears you and is testing you. You will find your way. If you trust Allah, you will find your way. God Bless you.

    • SCM says:

      I totally agree. Divorce rate is 30-40% among Muslims in the US now. I know many divorced girls who are already re-married. I know some re-married after being previously divorced twice! People are getting over the stigma from the simple fact that so many girls are divorcees now.

  122. ninagrandiose says:

    Sadly, you seem very enmeshed in the victim/martyr syndrome. Nothing can or will change until you recognize this and are ready to change and act, as difficult as it may be.

  123. Wow how brave of you to write this. I don’t know what country you are in, so I’m not sure of the laws where you live. But as one woman to another–if it’s at all possible–follow your heart.

    There is nothing worse than a loveless marriage, I know because I lived it. I am not a Muslim, and I respect that you don’t want to hurt your family, but your family is hurting YOU. You are worthy of some happiness. I will pray for you.

  124. I am a Christian born & raised in the world of Muslim – and I know what you are talking about. I have seen and witnessed my own Muslim friends who has been going through this. Few has run away for their lives for they simply cannot imagining living being married either too early and they are in love with someone else. Few are too afraid even to leave home for fearing being hunt down and get killed.

    I hope you know what you are doing, my dear. I wish you all the best in this life!

  125. […] The article below is a very sad tale….This lady is caving in but  would she do the same thing  if and when her daughter a  wanted to marry someone else ????“ […]

  126. Saba-Thambi says:

    I hope you fight for your own right!
    just another thought – even if you go through this marriage, what are the choice you will give if you have a daughter in future?

    Best wishes for a happy future.

  127. shobha says:

    I am not Muslim but I am Indian. I had a similar situation 15 years ago and I caved. It helped that I wasn’t in love with anyone else but I was badgered into being a “good” girl and marrying someone my parents chose.

    My parents loved me and chose well – he was good on paper but we had nothing in common. The marriage lasted 8 months. Every day I felt a little bit of me dying inside. I understand what you mean about other women who have done the same – if you don’t adapt you will go crazy inside.

    But I was too Westernised. I couldn’t stop the voices in my head who thought I can’t do this for the next 50-70 years. Live an empty life with no emotional solace in the one person whom the world expects you to be close to. One day when I was about to step in front of a bus in Chicago – I stopped myself and thought – enough. I didn’t really want to die, I just didn’t want to be married.

    I took a plane to an American girlfriend in New York City who let me share her apartment and started divorce proceedings. I left with nothing but there was nothing I wanted. It helped that I, too, was well educated and found a great job on Wall Street. My parents and family couldn’t understand. His parents and family were aghast. The shame I brought upon their son!!! My divorce took 8 years because his family refused to let him sign papers. They told my family that they wanted to make sure I was into my 30’s and over-the-hill in marriage terms to ruin another Indian family. Whatever. Like I was going to have another arranged marriage!?

    My parents eventually forgave me (after 6 years) but I’ve not seen my aunts and uncles since. I eventually re-married someone whom I adore and respect. I can’t imagine the emotional horror of my first marriage. I caved and tore myself and my family apart. Not caving, would I have done less damage? who knows?

    I wish you luck. It’s not an easy road when you are caught between 2 cultures and parents who twist tradition to serve their own purposes. I will never do that to my own children.

    • SCM says:

      Wow, thank you for sharing your story sister. And may Allah bless you. I am happy to hear He gave you the strength to leave.

  128. electricbohemian says:

    It breaks my heart, such fantastic full of spirit women full of love – having to follow some unwritten rule, what do I know but what is the point of living when you can’t follow through with love. God who is Allah, Allah who is God, is love. That is the whole point. It all seems somehow like a business transaction, that is not religion, religion should not be wealth – love builds character, love accepts us for who we are and adds more goodness on top of that. I have read the Book of Fate from Iran and heard how love can grow but even still it is not the same, not the same as pure love. Why we where built in such a way as to know who is right for us and yet human beings have taken away that pure right. The right to chose a life for ourselves, free will. All I see is a long line of pride of ancient pride and thus the shame is felt because of worrying what the neighbours think, this to me is not spiritualty where everyone should be equal brothers and sister that is the religion we were taught. Envy is a sin, pride is a sin yet to love seems like a sin in lslam – the purest and best thing of all is banned or misunderstood. My heart goes out to you.

  129. gmariclay77 says:

    I speak from experience as a now divorced woman. Without Love in a marriage it will never survive. You are going from one cage to another. You will never be free if you don’t fly and make a change. You should be an example for other woman to follow your heart. It’s your life. You are educated and know better than to follow such footsteps of woman before. Love means everything.

    • gmariclay77 says:

      So your religion says nothing about love and marriage? God is Love……. Love is all that matters in life. Marriage is hard enough as it is with Love. But without Love the marriage is doomed for failure and a life of misery. Soon you will be begging to break free from your new cage only this time it will be worse than the first one. Instead of your parents dictating to you then you will have a new dictator…. your husband. You will have children not made from love but from duty. I can’t see a God who would force anyone to live such a miserable existence. Sometimes if you are very lucky you can grow to love your arranged husband and just maybe he might love you in time…. but in the meantime you will be in your own self-made prison.

      And let me ask you this? If you were to have a daughter or son would you again repeat this vicious cycle of forcing your children to marry without love? And wouldn’t you be a hypocrite to preach to them and to others to do this when it is something that you don’t believe in with all your heart? Are you to sacrifice everything in the name of religion?

      Why did you even go out to the world and get an education if you still have not learned anything about life? You might as well stayed at home and waited for your arranged husband and learned nothing at all then maybe you would have been content with the old ways…. This is 2013……. this is not the dark ages anymore. You are an educated and self sufficient woman….. someone has to break the chain. If you go ahead with this farce of a marriage you are committing mental suicide and going against all you believe in. Your parents have had their life and family. This is YOUR LIFE…… now …….. not theirs…… This is just my opinion and in the end you should do what your heart tells you to do. If you are not strong enough to do this then you have no one to blame but yourself and then stay in your cage and raise all your children in that cage and this time the door will be nailed shut and not open….. I hope that you do the right thing for you and IF you cannot break free from the cage then please don’t tell others to do what you have done.

  130. indiajones says:

    Are you for Real ? I read your blogpost two days back, I still can’t figure out that this is what happens in the “land of the free and home of the brave”. Not even in India, can today parents force their offspring to wed their choice, for a lifetime – the kids just run away, the very next day.
    Do remember, you are responsible for your own decisions, and how it affects yourself and those around you. That’s how Allah and the Prophet (PBUH) look at too, I guess.

  131. Khushbo says:

    Hello. I have skipped through everyone’s comments here. Truth is there is a wide divide between what one is “rightfully” allowed to do, and what one’s situations allows them to do. Law versus actuality. I know exactly where you are coming from. I had an arranged marriage too. I was very young, hardly knew the man expect that he was related and thus from a “good family” and therefore everything was arranged and dandy. I had never been around men much in that capacity, so what my parents said went. My father officially only asked me the night before my Nikah almost as a liability cover. And when he did everyone’s faces were on alert, “why’s he asking?”, family pressure, I agreed. I only had my first convo with my husband after my Nikah. He turned out to be a very meek and sluggish person. All the goals and ambitions his mother had advertised, did not exist. He just wanted to sleep, eat, and repeat the next day. Still for the sake of “family” I put up with it, he wouldn’t get a job, if he did he would lose it and sleep some more, and if I was short on rent, my father paid. This carried on for five years. Mostly my fault. I take responsibility for it. I just wanted this arranged marriage institution to work out so badly. I was willing to put up with the fake facade. My father was too embarrassed to ever stop paying because he felt responsible of the decision he made for me. And I felt bound by the laws (cultural and social) of the community. One fine day, I snapped and with a pile of debt that he had helped me incur I left the house. I found my own place and kept going. He went homeless and started living with relatives. He is still jobless and living with relatives. I work, take care of myself. But still the very people that would have been my loyal family, community members for whom I had given years and years of sacrifice disappeared. Flat out vanished. They told stories about my character, everything they could. I am educated and I am a good Muslim. I do not think he even deserves to be called a Muslim. But the favour is with the man. What’s the moral of the story? The same father that pushed me into this marriage, now stands with me. The bastards from this community that police women’s chastity still crucified me despite my sacrifices. Please put up with the pain, torment and pressure now. Let them hate you, chastise you. It won’t be half as bad as when you decide to leave your marriage. I promise that it will be hard, I also promise that it only gets easier. Even in my situation, I can say life is getting better Alhamdullillah. Your creator, your ruler is Allah my dear, no one else. Your parents were given to you as a gift from God to guard you and shelter you. They are human, do not let their misguided ideas ruin what Allah has in store for you. They will come around, I promise you that too. Let no one’s limited ideology cause you to lose faith in Allah and yourself. Believe in yourself!

  132. itsmyaveragelife says:

    I was moved by your post and I will not attempt to give any advice as I am ignorant of your religion and culture but you will be in my thoughts as I was so saddened by your situation. The weight of the world must be on your shoulders and sadly will be until this is resolved,

  133. ensorcellent says:

    I hope you come to your senses and choose love. I don’t think you should commit psychological suicide to appease your family. I am not a Muslim, to be exact I am an agnostic; however, if there is a divine creator I would expect that he would love you regardless of your choice in this matter. The problem you are experiencing is more of a cultural problem. This is a tough choice to make, and I suppose I could not really imagine the situation you are in; however, I would hate for you to spend your life unhappy. I understand that you must respect your parents, but on the other hand I believe that God would want you to be happy. I believe your parents will come around. It may take years, but they will. You are a well educated woman with a career, it is time to brush the forced marriages away. It makes sense to have arranged marriages for women in countries where women are uneducated and unable to meet men on their own. You can do this on your own and you have obviously done so since you are in love with someone. Don’t murder part of your soul to appease your parents.

    • Please don’t be offended, but your words are extremely ignorant about what it means to have an arranged marriage. Frankly, it’s also offensive to extremely intelligent women who have decided to go through with such a life choice on their own free will. You are free to say what you feel about the issue, but don’t bring in others without having any real understanding of the culture behind it. It comes off as condescending.

      • SCM says:

        I think he is speaking about forced marriage, not arranged marriage. I understand people confuse the two, and the author herself calls this arranged. Arranged to me, done properly, implies that the families introduce their kids to eachother and see if they like eachother and agree to a match. If not, then no wedding. This authors story is forced marriage, not arranged clearly. i guess I just don’t think the person posting above meant it in a bad way.

  134. gmariclay77 says:

    I went back and read that you wrote this some months ago but just posted it? Why? You had already made your decision. Of is this story even a true story I wonder? The sad thing is that you can’t make yourself love somebody that you don’t love and vice verse

  135. gmariclay77 says:

    You were a good girl
    you made your father proud
    You never dared to disobey
    or talk back to him loud
    and you say that is what made you today,
    and now you’ll never run away
    because you do everything the right way.

    Father let you somewhat rebel
    for you were the perfect one
    you got to go to school
    and followed all the rules
    while locked in your prison inside
    where you felt safe to hide

    You were always under his control
    now you do as you’re told
    Even though you are grown
    and deserve a life of your own
    What have you gained
    Now your soul is stained
    because you’ll never be free
    No you’ll never be free
    You will have to stay in your cage
    or deal with father’s insane rage.

    It’s a sad sad tale of woe
    but now you are in a new cage
    Good Girl you did what you were told
    now you must deal with your inner rage
    God did not want you to be so sad
    so please don’t be so mad
    you have yourself to blame
    Later you’ll forget the shame
    and maybe you’ll be happy one day

    but You are a good girl
    and you always do what you are told
    Can He change you dark heart gold
    and your wipe your tears from his daughters eyes
    for your soul he bought and sold.
    Someday father will be gone
    but your life will carry on

    the one that was robbed from you
    the one he robbed from you
    The Love that you deserved so true.

  136. Katka says:

    I know this situation very well from the other point of view – being a woman that her lover cannot marry because she is NOT from the same tribe, of the same culture. If the young generation continues being abused by their parents in this respect, they will continue to impose it on their own children. So ugly and unfair – the thing I like the least about the Arab world. Sumbission and obedience yes, but not to the point of breaking the young heart. The children, however, should also realize that leaving the family and taking their own decision is not the end of the world, neither the end of parents love. And if the parents really wont talk to the stray child until the end of their lives, they were not good parents anyway – this one I doubt though, because I know that the majority of the parents are the good and loving ones.

  137. Reblogged this on lightsjournal and commented:
    A story that captured my heart.

  138. limseemin says:

    For you, i think true love is more important!!!!
    Consider it, think wisely, or you definitely will regret!!

  139. Zen A. says:

    I’m going through a bit of a similar situation right now. The man I love is American and a convert, my parents still don’t know about him, and I’m terrified to tell them because I know they will freak out. He proposed, and we do want to be married by the end of this year, and even though I said yes to him, I have no idea how I will pull this off, I don’t know how I’ll manage to convince my parents that there’s nothing wrong with marrying an American. The story resonated with me because I sense the helplessness the author felt, and I really wish her happiness with all my heart.

  140. clearhaven says:

    Salam,
    One thing I am sure of is this, Islam never spoke of arranged marriages. So you going against your parent’s wishes is not necessarily disrespectful. I remember some of our prophets who went against their parents/guardians but had very good reasons for doing so, because their parents/guardians were wrong in their endeavours.

    I can’t imagine what you’re going through. But I feel you should marry who you want to marry, as long as the person brings out the best in you.

    It saddens me that people misinterprete the Quran because some things were not clearly stated. Was it stated in the quran that we should not place our hand in fire? No it wasn’t!
    Some of us have never be burnt but we know that placing our hand in fire will harm us. So your parents stating that ‘Love’ is not a criterion before you enter a marriage(just because it was not clearly stated) is absolutely wrong. That is misquoting the Quran.

    You even stated that this is misuse of religion. So follow your heart. It is not disrespect.

    • girlinahole says:

      actually there are multiple verses and hadiths condemning forced marriages. Forced marriages are INVALID. Meaning you will live a life of adultery with your “husband” if you do not accept your marriage and situation. 78:
      Narrated Khansa’ bint Khidam Al-Ansariya:
      That her father gave her in marriage when she was a matron and she disliked that marriage. So she came and (complained) to the Prophets and he declared that marriage invalid. (See Hadith No. 69, Vol. 7)

      When the Imam asks you if you accept this marriage, and even if you say “yes” but with your heart you say “no” your intention is not to accept this marriage. Thus, this marriage will be invalid. Do not commit a sin, sisters. That sin will surely fall onto your parents and unfortunately, they will be greatly punished for it on the day of judgement😦

  141. Fabulous writing and thank you for this piece. Go with your heart and you will find peace. Respect your parents but they also must respect yourself. If they cannot do that and cannot listen to your words I feel you only have one choice. ❤

    I am not muslim, but I have fought myself for years because of manipulation from parents. Now I can see that to be healthy I simply have to walk away. It is really sad and not something I want to do, I have tried so hard, but sometimes you have no choice.

  142. Think about what kind of household you will bring your children into, what kind of mother to them you will be. WILL you be able to love wholeheartedly the children you have with this man you don’t love? Or will you look resentfully at them, resenting them because they are not his? Because they are the symbol of your being tied to a man you don’t love for the rest of your life?

    What about when your daughters grow up and fall in love? WILL you let them marry who they love because you wouldn’t want them to go through this hell? Or will you be jealous of them and resentful of their wish for freedom and squelch their love because yours was squelched?

    You will bring your children up in a household that was poisoned from the very beginning. You will hate yourself for having had the chance to escape and not taking it. You will be envious and angry with your daughters when they want the same freedom, and in the more modern world which is coming closer every day, they WILL TAKE that freedom even if it means leaving you behind, and you may find yourself without a loving relationship with your own children and living in a home with a man you don’t love and memories of what might have been.

    I’m sorry to be so cold, but this is what you are choosing. You are relinquishing your self, doing it openly, knowing you shouldn’t, and it will poison your home and your children’s future. For the good of your future children, you cannot bring them up in a house with a jealous mother pining for the past who resents the freedom they will have. There is no way to sugarcoat this. I hope things work out for you. 😦

  143. gmariclay77 says:

    This story really made my heart bleed for you……. I cannot imagine a marriage without love. Love is everything. Your father and mom are very selfish for not letting you have love and marriage. Did they not have love so that they think that love is not necessary for you? Love is not selfish so if they did coerce you into this marriage then they don’t possess true love for their children. What most good parents want above all things is for their children to be happy in life. I don’t understand these parents of yours. It is so wrong. It is so terribly wrong. Stop trying to please your parents for once in your life. It’s your life…. someone has to break this terrible cycle of abuse. Yes this is ABUSE. Break free from the cage and find peace and love. However I’m not sure if your ex boyfriend will take you back? i wonder how he feels now ….. betrayed, unloved? Not good enough to fight for his love? I don’t know. I feel sad for you and empathize with you and understand the situation to a degree. But for an educated woman and liberated one that can be independent if she so chooses because of this, I think you made a very lame and weak decision. If you can possibly live with it then do so. I hope you can forgive yourself one day and that your love can forgive you for this. I don’t want you to feel any worse than you already do but you need some tough love……… We are telling you the truth. This is the 21 century and this sort of thing is an abomination to woman everywhere to be treated like a slave. Good luck to you in your life. We all have to live with our decisions that we make in this life good and bad. I’m sorry to say that you made a wrong decision. Regrets? I think you will have regrets for sure. Have a good life as much as you can and I suppose you should make the best of it if you cannot have the strength to make the change……I’m sorry for you and sorry for all the woman that are still being treated this way.

  144. Dear anon,

    No words I can offer to comfort you.But there’s two things I learn from how hard my life has been: First, good and bad of fate is from Allah. Second, we think we knew what best for us but Allah knows above of all what best for us no matter we crave for that.

    And [withal,] We do not burden any human being with more than he is well able to bear: for with Us is a record that speaks the truth [about what men do and can dol; and none shall be wronged.(23:62)

    In the future this might be a lesson for you for not putting your children in an arranged marriage. Keep believing, keep praying. and stay strong.

  145. sawdameher says:

    Hello sister,

    I have no words to console you. But If the man whom you loves love you back then what are you waiting for? If you marry another guy aren’t you cheating with him? Because you don’t love him. I would strongly recommend that you speak with the person whom you are going to marry and tell you love another guy!!! I think he can help you to stop your marriage and can convince your parents as well! I really wish you get your loved one. Because I am also kind of in the same situation😦

    Hope that would work.
    Take care please.

  146. […] “Arranged” Marriage. […]

  147. umaimahmalik says:

    that made me cry because the same is happening with two of my friends. this is pure insanity. INHUMANITY. torturous murder of a soul. of a heart. wrote about the same topic a couple of days ago. here’s the link
    http://uncomposedmelodies.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2013-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&updated-max=2014-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&max-results=5

  148. bjones1031 says:

    I have no advice for you. It’s not really what you need anyhow. But, I just want you to know, that you’ll be in my heart. A women like yourself will land on your feet. I wish you a future full of love in whatever way that may come.

  149. Sylvia Hicks says:

    I was going to say, “I don’t know how you can live a life like that.” It just strikes me as wrong, and yet, I have in many ways given up the potential of who I could have been by marrying the young man that I did. I went into a marriage, not because I was madly in love with the young man but because his family was long time friends with mine, and my family “approved” of him, and I felt pressured by him and by the approval of my family. Being a young woman right out of college, I felt I had no choice and on my wedding day, I was miserable. In the 56 years of marriage to date, I have wept many silent tears and stuffed down a lot of unexpressed anger. Now in my late 70’s the anger is finally being released in daily spurts, and I have the courage to speak my truth. I really wish you ‘d made a different choice because you never forget the “other” or what could have been.

  150. Sooner Mommy says:

    I can not begin to understand what you are going through, but I do know one thing. When you have children your love for them will trump any other feelings of love and duty you feel towards your family. Make the best choice for your future family (whomever that may be with) because in the end, you parents will be gone. From one mother to a future mother believe me when I say THIS love will be the one you will want to honor. Don’t pass your misery on to your little ones to come! Make different choices for them.What a compelling read. My heart goes out to you!

  151. IdentityCrisisAverted says:

    Being in the same situation I was so grateful when my parents caved after a year of painful struggle. Alhamdulillah for me it ended well but I know what way it could have gone. Please stay strong sister. May Allah swt bless you.

  152. IdentityCrisisAverted says:

    Reblogged this on Madz Ahmed's Blog and commented:
    Compelling read! Very accurate in depicting how it is for young Asian girls

  153. You are in an extremely sad situation, but it is your choice to obey your parents and your culture. I think the only way is to change the way you are thinking about the choice you have made. I can only wish you would view the situation more positively, you will soon find the light in what you are currently viewing as darkness. I have made some very bad relationship choices and am currently single, perhaps the man you love would not work out in the end, who knows? You made the choice, give it a chance and be happy, good luck!

  154. A lot of people may judge you for what you have chosen
    but your brave to do so
    this may not be the right choice but I pray its the good choice for you
    Im sorry that you are burdened this way
    and personally I feel that its an unfair and bad situation
    still I hope there is a light for you in your future
    and that your faith will help you

  155. claravonins says:

    I will be praying for you as I am sure many others are. I hope for you to find happiness, love and joy in you life. I want you to know that you deserve those things and nothing less. Do what you do to take care of yourself. You don’t want to live a life you regret.

  156. Jessica says:

    I may be too late. But DON’T DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  157. TS says:

    Hul, my parents didn’t even try to choose for me. The funny thing is, I would’ve taken an arranged marriage if there’d been one because I wanted to be married and have children and I trusted my parents to choose a decent, clean guy with an education. Now, that I think about it, maybe they didn’t choose for me because they couldn’t find the basics?

    Right, group therapy was fun, but I’m off. Good luck to you all: I have a movie to watch.

  158. I did not read all comments, but I didn’t see any that asked how the proposed groom feels. Does he know how you feel? What does he think about it? How did he find you? I am not Muslim and don’t understand all of this, but I do understand a bit about men and pride and love and desire. What is his position?

  159. bubliibeauty says:

    Really got emotional while reading this … thankx for sharing such a awesome post .
    http://beautyndbest.com/

  160. This story made me unbelievably sad. I married the wrong guy the first time around and my parents went mental when I told them I was getting a divorce (they are very religious as well). I think that they were ashamed to have a divorced daughter. I went ahead with it and had no one to support me, but I was determined to leave what was an abusive relationship. My parents and I had a talk about it afterwards and realised that my life is mine to live as I choose and that my mistakes are mine to make. We’ve reconciled now. They love me and want me to be happy, even if they don’t agree with my choices. It’s very selfish of parents to impose their will on their grown offspring. They have their own lives and make their own choices. I would never expect my parents to compromise their morals, but I do expect them to love me unconditionally as I love them.

    I hope that you find a way out of the situation you’re in. It’s a horrible feeling knowing that you’re married to the wrong person. I felt old and I was only 26 at the time. You mentioned that you try to love your husband but fail. How could you possibly succeed in an impossible task?

    I hope you find your strength and your self worth. I hope you find that the only approval you need in this life is your own.

  161. Louella says:

    Such a terribly heartbreaking story! Praying for you to find a light at the end of that tunnel. I do not believe what is taking place is what is right. But God can bring GOOD out of everything, even the bad and the wrong, unjust, unfair things.

    Take comfort in the fact that whatever takes place over the coming years of your life, and even in the next week, you have great opportunity to learn and grow and experience things you never have before.

  162. As a gay man born into the Islamic faith, I can only suggest this: That you be strong and follow your heart. If you cave in, you will just feel resentment and regret which will eat into your self esteem, confidence and mental health state. We all have choices to make but we need to consider whether or not we would be happy to live with those choices. Reading your post, I don’t think you would be happy as like the women you write about, you “may lose a part of yourself”. Is this worth it? Wouldn’t you rather be 100% whole with someone you love and who loves you in return for who you are rather than what you could be? Nearly all the South Asian /Muslim women I know who were “coerced or cajoled into an arranged marriage” are dissatisfied in their relationships albeit in the long term, they stay with their husbands to “save face or not place shame on the family!?” Parents won’t be on earth forever (sadly, I lost mine over a two year period) so you have to do what is right for YOU! Only you can lead your life how you want to because no-one will do it for you. Whatever you decide, make sure that you make the right choice and that you can live with it in the long term. I hope for your mental well being, emotional and physical health, that you do find the answers you are seeking.

    • NeverGiveUp says:

      Please (anonymous author) reply to my comment. Have you guys talked…how long have you guys known each other? And im so sorry to hear about your story.

      Reading your story made me cry. My love and I don’t see each other ..we text for the most part. I love a very good Muslim guy, and we are hoping that when the right time comes our parents will approve of us. However, deep down in my heart I just know that my parents will probably never approve of us. I am 23 and we are not planning to get married any time soon. We are planning to tell our parents after both of us graduate and become doctors iA. I just pray and hope that they won’t care much about society and let me be with him. He’s a perfect muslim that a girl could possibly want in a husband…but reading these kind of stories make me want to end the whole thing before it’s too late..before I hurt him…I couldn’t possibly live with myself if I break his heart.

  163. Begum says:

    just like she said, I am a good woman – one who has never been kissed, who has never held a mans hand, who has been saving herself for one man and one man only.” i m going through the same situation. Except the fact that i don’t love anyone, my parents are specially my mother is constantly torturing me with her emotional blackmail. Picking up guys who are very opposite then me and almost every one of them are interested for my passport not for me:(. One thing they don’t understand is I am just not ready to settle down then why they are forcing me every second? Feel like leaving everything behind, but i know i can never do that.

  164. misskayes says:

    I read it with a heavy heart but the final two lines just stirred up all sorrows I’ve ever had. I do not have much wisdom or experience to provide advice or comment that well on this. What I have been is a victim of the society’s so called community and racial segregation (even within the same faith). I do wish that you will be rewarded somehow for the sacrifices you are making. And I wish you receive the happiness you deserve.

  165. Melanie says:

    Reblogged this on travelertobe and commented:
    I think of myself sometimes as a bird trapped in a cage. I’m so used to living inside it, even though I know it’s a cage, that even if the cage door was opened, I will still stay inside the cage.

  166. Dija says:

    Your story resonates so deeply with me. For 4.5 years I lived your life. My parents finally agreed when they saw that I would never stop fighting. You chose another path. May Allah swt give you strength what needs to be done next. Get yourself in front of a therapist, you sound like you are the grips of depression. You need to build yourself again. Don’t ever stop healing your broken self. Don’t worry about trying to make anyone else happy for now. Get on some anti depressants, and get out of your cage and break free from these chains that are weighing you down. I promise you one year from now your life will be so much better and you will leave this grey cloud behind. Keep the faith, know that life will get better.

  167. Shahin says:

    Assalamu alaikum sis,
    I hope you’re well. I don’t know if you’ll even find my comment after all of the ones above, but I wanted to say a few things anyway. I was raised in a family similar to yours (with the cultural baggage), but your parents seem much stricter than mine so obviously you have it harder than I do. I believe that one should be obedient to one’s parents first and foremost because Allah has told us to BUT I also know that Islam does not tolerate injustice. There is no black-and-white answer to the situation that your’re in, because if the man you want to marry loves you back and is indeed of good religion and character, maybe you can get married to the man you love by having a shaykh as your Wali or something, obviously after telling him the whole situation. But I also learned that in situations like these, one way to console yourself is to think about how you can always find another spouse but you can never find another set of parents. I acknowledge the fact that they are being very injust, and you say that you don’t want to bring shame upon them and you mentioned in your post that they are acting upon their cultural beliefs in the name of religion, but let me tell you: By saying that your “rebelling” against them to marry the man of your choice will bring shame upon them, you are acting upon those same cultural beliefs while disregarding religion. You have to speak up and not ruin your life. Also, you are the victim of injustice so you know how bad it feels. Do you want to do injustice to this other man you’re about to marry? As “cultural” as I may be, I know my rights in Islam and I would never, ever cave in to pressure. You seem to have a very soft heart towards your family, which is why you don’t want to hurt them despite everything they have done to you, but don’t ruin your life. You know your parents better than I do. What’s the worst that would happen if you married against their will? Wouldn’t they forgive you eventually?
    On the other hand, however, I want to say that no matter how hard you may think it is to forget about a person you love, it is not impossible. I was in a similar situation, though in mine, it was one-sided, so again, you have it harder than me. I’m not saying your love is not true, but in my case what I found is that our hearts have a tendency to get attached, and that’s just natural. But if you make the sincerest du’a to Allah to attach your heart to Him Alone and not to any human being, it will happen. I am still trying to detach my heart from a particular person, and contrary to what I believed earlier (that I would never be able to stop loving him), it actually happened. After countless du’as and countless tears (and the effort is still going), I noticed that Allah did help me to remove that strong attachment that I had to him. Instead of wanting to marry him and ONLY him, I am now able to semi-happily contemplate marrying another suitable man when Allah sends him my way. Remember that marriage is a bond that is first and foremost an act of worship. Marrying the one you love is truly a blessing and May Allah grant all of us that blessing. If the man you’re about to marry is of good akhlaq and is kind to you, then put your trust in Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an that HE is the One Who puts “mawadda” and “rahmah” (love and mercy) between the spouses. Just keep making du’a that Allah marries you to the person that is good for your dunya and Akhirah. I kept making this du’a and still do and it helped me get over my own love to a certain extent. If Allah wills for you to get married to your love, it will happen. If He doesn’t, it won’t. I once read a quote that made me cry but also made my heart tranquil and solidified my trust in Allah: “We fear not what the future holds, because we know Who holds it.”

    I hope Allah gives you the strength to do what is right and May Allah give you the best in this world and the next.

    Wassalamu alaikum🙂

  168. NeverGiveUp says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this!

  169. Anonymous says:

    While I do feel for you and the troubles you have endured, I cannot say I agree with this article. I should preface my comment by saying that I am a (very) young Muslim woman pursuing a career in business (something most parents disapprove of for their daughters). And while I have seen many a heartbreak (such as yours and admittedly my own) and woeful marriages, their is something that I must stress beyond belief. I will not pretend to know you or your circumstances; I simply want to explain this story for the rational perspective of the parents who we sometimes fail to give a voice by deeming them “fobby” or “backwards thinking”.

    Our parents arrived in this country many, many years ago with hopes and aspirations their own. In attempting (and oft failing) to achieve these dreams they have had to sacrifice many things (I have seen this first hand). My mother stayed in a loveless, unhealthy marriage so her children could have a father (though i now know we would’ve been better of without him she sacrificed her happiness for our comfort). Both my parents have little to no family here and have only been back to the motherland twice in over 20 years. So much has changed for them that they (like us) find it hard to identify with their native heritage and their country of citizenship. They, like me, have become nomads. They have shielded us from the harm that is modern society (drugs and alcohol) and have given us many liberties (the freedom to speak, to learn, to grow into our own beings). And most importantly they have nurtured us from birth and given us an unlimited supply of love. So when they ask us to choose suitors from a pool of (literally billions of eligible men) who would not only make us happy but would satisfy their own desires in some way, we choose to say no? Is this how we return their favor? Is this how we thank them for their sacrifices? I don’t pretend that my parents are perfect or that all of their ideologies or opinions are made with clear justifiable reasoning, but I DO know that parents who have raised you have a certain right over you. Why is it we choose to look at the situation as if they are giving us only one option? Rather they are expanding our options to millions of eligible men, but are simply asking that we choose someone who they might also get along with. You are right in saying that this is your life and it should be your decision. But what you fail to realize is that our parents have given us this life (second only to Allah SWT Himself). So we not owe them this tiny bit of ourselves? Should we not give them the satisfaction of knowing that they are handing their sons and/or daughters off to men/women who they might be able to converse with? People they might be able to level with or understand.

    I know this is probably an unpopular opinion in this comments section, but we so often take for granted what our parents have given us. We recognize it on holidays and birthdays but we forget that everything in our lives has been the outcome of dedication and hard work on their part. So if they ask us to chose a man they might also be able to connect with, shouldn’t we make this tiny sacrifice as a token of our love, devotion, and appreciation to them, for they are the ultimate sacrificers, are they not?

    • SCM says:

      Sister, I would normally agree with much of what you have said, but I think the situation the author is describing has a particular element which cannot be neglected. And that is the issue of abuse. She indicated in her follow up that her father has certain mental health issues. In a situation like this, it is much more complex.

  170. Man's perspective says:

    As a man that has been on the other end of this situation, I beg you, please follow your heart. It’s been 5 years since the woman I loved married another man, the man her family arranged. I cut all ties with her due to the pain it brought us. But a year after her wedding we had an affair, one that lasted a few months. I was still in denial, but then realized we were suffering even worse every time she left me for her husband. Now as I continue to avoid her and remain hidden, she has started a family, picture perfect in the eyes of her husband and the rest of the world. I have yet to recover, but I will someday. Until then I would never marry a woman I don’t love with a passion.

  171. Sally says:

    Never compromise with your happiness. Realize you are responsible for yourself on the day of judgement, not your parents, so when you are asked why you made yourself suffer in this world, what would be your answer? And is that answer good enough? You intention should be to please Allah first, not your parents. Once you please Allah, you will please your parents. Allah does not want us to be unhappy.

  172. Kelly Willie says:

    I’m not one for name calling so I will refrain from doing such a thing. I think in this case you first see what Allah says in the Quran and then secondly look to what the Prophet Muhammad(SAW) has said in the hadiths. Islam is simple but if I remember Islam gives rights to women to be able to choose who she wants to marry and what your struggling with culturally honestly has no precedence over our deen.

  173. Reem says:

    Salaam dear sister.

    May Allah (SWT) bless you with His everlasting love n light. I will pray for you insha ‘Allah and ask Allah (SWT) to grant what is best for you in this dunyah wal akhirah. Stay strong in spirit and in faith. Peace and blessings of God be with you and the entire Muslim Ummah. Ameen

    Fi aman Allah

  174. Sereen says:

    IMPORTANT READ THIS!!!!! If you have not gotten married yet I would advise you to do 1 thing. Istikhara. Istikhara is a prayer that Prophet mohammad SAS used to do all the time and told us to do it whenever we need help, guidance, if we are unsure about things. ITS REALLY amazing its the best thing to do at the moment because your asking for Allah’s Advise who better to get advice from and your asking for help, who better to give it?

    Sometimes you will have a dream that will make you realize you must do onething over the other. sometimes you wont dream at all but you’ll just get a feeling and intuition of somesort, sometimes you will just get the strength and things will flow to the right direction that Allah knows is the best for you. The best thing is to take the decision making out of your hands, out of your parents hands and leave it to Allah. Then whatever happens you know that you entrusted your life into gods hands and he knows best if you go against your parents and marry the one you love Alllah will make it easier on you and maybe your parents will change their mind and hearts. Allah is the changer of hearts, he might change your heart, he might change your parents hearts. If you marry this man you are arranged to marry, then maybe the other one would have turned out to be a lunatic and Allah saved you from a bad marriage and bad relations with parents? Maybe Allah doesnt want you to marry either of them and there is another one coming along. Just PRAY ISTIKHARA and inshallah Allah will help you!

    By the way Marriage is one of the main things a person should pray istikhara for! it should have been done since the beginning but i hope its not too late.

  175. Randa says:

    I totally understand where you coming from , but i want to share with you my own experience, i fell in love with a man who meant the whole world to me , i thought he was kind caring, loving , , a dream come true. When he proposed all my family were against this marriage, they saw in him things i didn’t see , they judged his family and i was disappointed of how my family will judge a person by his family , after strong determination on my part, endless arguments and fights, my family caved in and i thought i won , My dad gave me away with tears in his eyes and disappointment He didn’t want to be at the Jaha ( the part when men of the other family go to your family’s house to ask for your hand) . I was so happy beyond imagination,after all i am marrying the love of my life . It didn’t take too long for me to realize my huge mistake. At the beginning i thought things will get better, he wanted kids right away so i felt loved and was excited about family , but things got even worse , i did not share my problems with my family because i was too proud to hear the “I told you so part” so in silence i suffered , Here i am after 18 years of marriage, a divorced woman with three kids alone in a foreign country. This man ( if we can call him so) turned his back on his three kids , i am living with no financial support and he never cared to see his own kids. I am educated , with a great job yet , i was too blind to see but my family knew better. What i’m trying to say,sometimes our emotions take control of our good judgment and we end up paying a very bad price. I always wish my parents were more tough and held their ground and never approved this marriage, but they loved me so, they just didn’t want to break my heart. Arranged marriage is not so bad , just give that person a chance to love you and try to see what your family sees in him. . This is just my opinion.

  176. V says:

    I am so happy that you wrote this. Your article touches on so many REAL issues that especially women from South Asia and the Middle East face – I believe that religion and culture have been used to control our decisions and when you step out of that control you are chastised. Your desire to please your family has been conditioned from years of approval, but approval is not love. The hate that people have lived with years before our time now lives on through this style of “arranged” marriage – you’re told that you should only stick with your colour, your religion, your caste, your kind – and if you manage to fall in love with someone who fits this checklist, then you’re lucky.
    People say that there are different ways of showing love. Parents who act like this are brainwashed by religion (their version of it), and controlled by their elders – they don’t know how to show love because in order to do that you have to be free, you have to have had the freedom to live your own life and express yourself the way you wanted to in order to be receptive and generous with love – but your parents have probably been cloistered in the same way and perhaps to a worse extent. They don’t know any better. That’s why it’s up to us – our generation to say no and live our freedom of choice. It is so so so hard. A free mind and a controlled mind cannot understand each other – since your parents think that it’s their duty to control you, you will likely never reconcile unless they change. BUT you will live – and live a life of your choice with a man that you love.
    You are not giving up your family or bringing shame on them – they already gave up on you the moment they decided to control you and your choices and forbid your own decisions. As for shame, it is an ugly word used to control female behaviour…becoming a criminal would bring shame on your family – not following your heart. And that “shame” is something that women must confront directly. Shame means that you are challenging the religious and cultural norms that are the source of your parents’ control, shame means that you are attempting to break that system – nobody who has ever spoken truth to power has ever had an easy ride – but it is necessary. You have a beautiful way of articulating the exact emotions that too many women go through. You are not shameful – you are human with a desire to be free as every human should be. Be strong – find your love – it is so so worth it because I have experienced similar pain and chosen the love of my life and it was worth every tear.

  177. arslanone says:

    Asalam u Alaikum all,

    Sister, I keep trying to figure why did you make this post. Is it because you can’t make up your mind what you should do? Or was it just to get your emotions out… share the burden on your heart?

    If it’s the second reason then fine. It’s good you shared.

    If it’s the first, then think I can divide the people who commented into two types. One, who think they have _the_ answer for you. And they tell you what you should do. And the second type are those who know they cannot possibly know all the facts to make a judgement, and they just wished you well, and prayed for you.

    And so, if you made this post because you don’t know what to do, then I have something to say as well. I am of the second type. I don’t know all the facts, I can’t tell you what to do. But I might sound like the first type.

    Here is what I think. Your life was a torture in your home with your parents; your father especially. You wrote about it. When your father came to you with this last proposal, and it seemed like he will go through with this one, you had two choices:

    1: Just say no, get ready for all consequences. What could be the worse your parents could do? Kill you?

    2: Just get out of your damned house. Say yes, get married. And think about the rest later.

    You took the easy way out. The number 2. You said YES to the proposal. Even on the Nikah, the molvi sab must have asked you “Qabool hai?” three times. You said yes 3 times. No body was holding a gun at your head. You wanted out.

    And you got it. But now, you think what to do next. Is that it?

    What will you do next?

    You can hold on to your concept of “love” and ruin this marriage with a good man, get a divorce, go back to your parents’ house, or get a job and find your own place, then your romeo will come and marry you, and you will live happily ever after. Is that your plan?

    I think when you said YES three times, you made a choice. Now you need to honor your choice. “Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

    You need to get busy living sister. Best of luck.

  178. Aerisa says:

    So sad to read this. Every culture and faith is so different and for mine honour and “face” is most important. I chose my faith and my trust in God’s plan for me over what my family wanted and was disowned by them. Painful times, but I’m happily married and they slowly came around. Choose God and what he wants above all else and he’ll make all things work for good. Praying for you.

  179. Angela says:

    Having read both parts of her story. I don’t understand her logic, perhaps it’s because I’m not Muslim. In the first part, she said she wanted to respect her parents’ wishes because that is part of the Muslim faith, and would therefore only marry someone they approved off. However now she is married, she is no longer talking to her parents and is writing about them in a negative light, even insinuating that her father has a mental illness. So at present she really isn’t adhering to the Islamic values she states in her first piece, with regards to her parents. My principal point is that, if she had just run off and married the guy she was in love with, the conclusion would have probably been exactly the same as it is know, in that she would no longer be talking to her parents. So why go through with the marriage ordained by her parents, when she was going to shun them afterwards anyway, she should have just married who she wanted. Also, now she may have put her happiness in a predicament. Plus whether she leaves/or stays with the man she has married, she has also put his happiness in jeopardy.

  180. ruk1960 says:

    Reblogged this on Mind.Speak.Revolution. and commented:
    I could write an essay…so many points to address from this piece. The first thing that comes to mind though is that it reminds me why I have always loved my Muslim friends, they show so much love and compassion to each other–and in my experience–non-Muslims. In reading this piece though, I felt choked. I felt the stifled personhood of the writer and it made me feel like I was suffocating. It is unthinkable that someone who God has charged with the care of children can treat their own blood this way. It is unthinkable that parents can not empathize with their children sufficiently to see the horror in such a forced situation…especially one that blatantly contradicts the laws of their “Holy Book”. I am clearly Christian and I appreciate the flexibility of my Spiritual practice, but I also come from a culture that can be quite oppressive/repressive when it comes to relationships and marriage.
    I married a man against my parents wishes–they tried everything–and I very much regretted it. Because if/when that man changes or hurts you or disappoints you, there will be no family to run to because you have cut them off. I regretted my choice very much. So it is important that if you wish to marry someone for which you have “ferocious passion” that you have a solid community backing you up in that relationship. If you are going to lose your parents in the process of marrying your “soul mate” make sure you have a “back-up family”/community that you will run to when the marriage suffers, because all marriages can be difficult, not just the arranged ones.
    I was lucky that my family welcomed me back with open arms, but many won’t be so lucky.

  181. kazanka says:

    I’m an American convert. The man I loved was forced by his family to marry another girl. He was not an emotional man, but he cried when he told me. I cried a lot more afterwards. Two years later, he tried to divorce her and called me to tell me he still loved me and wanted to marry me, but his family intervened again and stopped the divorce. So I understand in part the rage and sorrow that you feel, though I am grateful to still have the freedom to make my own decisions about marriage in the future.
    First, as everyone has mentioned your father and family were very wrong to force you into a marriage that you did not agree to, and as you know, you have every Islamic right to object or to end this marriage. If you can’t bring yourself to consider divorce, don’t think about this option. But don’t trap yourself into believing that you have no choices in your life. When your heart is broken, it seems like the end of the world, but try to forget this idea that you are living in a cage. Everyone’s life is circumscribed in some way- by war, or poverty, or physical disability, or family relationships, but the most essential part of your life are the choices that you make for yourself.
    You still have a unique, wonderful identity. You can define yourself independently of your father, husband, or the man you loved. We read about and admire male scholars, scientists, artists and no one ever wonders about their relationship with their wife. You have a PhD, so you must have a love for your discipline and clearly you are a gifted writer. Keep that alive. Go back to work. Start researching a book. Volunteer in your community. Run for political office. Plant a garden. Express yourself in writing or art or dance. Whatever you love, give yourself to it. Figure out the change you want to see in the world, and make it happen. And get a reliable method of birth control, and decide to have children with your husband when BOTH of you feel ready. Maybe you will come to love your husband. It is possible to fall in love with more than one person. Or maybe you will decide that it is impossible to live with him and get a divorce. But completely irrespective of him or any man, you still have as much opportunity for finding happiness and living a full, meaningful life as anyone on Earth.

  182. aprillaugh says:

    Reblogged this on April Laugh's Blog.

  183. B. Oloye says:

    May i say it doesnt reside with Muslims alone, it is with other religions too. It is not actually religion matter, it is society matter. It is due to some brainwashing that have affected some other people. There is always a way out in all situation. Anyone who breaks or got bent for a situation because of pressure from others do so because they just arent strong enough.

    No one, i mean no one will dictate my life for me. Ive got only one and im gonna use it the way i see it fit. I dont have to succeed in my decision, but it is what i want anyway. After all, im happy doing what im doing.

    When they say we must get parents blessing over our marriages, it keeps me wondering, those who have neither parents, dont they get married? After all, our parents are not God’s representatives, the clerics are. Can any parent make their blessing or curses come to reality without the supreme being? I dont think so.

    Since the writer is still in her 20s, im older than her. If its not from your heart, dont do it. The spirit of God lives in all of us. Before you caved into other people’s demand over your life because of religion, why dont you take a few hours to read about all religions or selected few of your choice to know that they are all the same and some people have established these religions to control our lives?

    Im a Christian and i have seen many people doing evil yet under religion. Dont listen to the parents who are bent on taking your freedom, happiness and future away from you. You’ve got only one live to live. Live it as it pleases you.

  184. Sumaiya says:

    No doubt, this was a heartbreaking story and I commend you for sharing. That said, while reading near the end, I feel that you lost me in the point you were trying to make. You say that you feel absolutely miserable and yet you are gonna encourage another person to sacrifice their happiness in order please their parents? How is that fair and justified at all? Forced marriages are illegal .whether physically or emotionally forced. And parents need to understand that at the end of the day, their child is the one that is getting married and the CHILD has a right to love and happiness. I personally think you should have not gone thorough with the marriage but assuming you have, I hope you find your happiness one way or the other. May Allah make things easier for you.

  185. […] response to our post, “Arranged” Marriage, was overwhelming. We heard from hundreds of readers expressing sympathy and concern for the writer […]

  186. I am not a Muslim, not an American, I am living on the other side of the planet, holding onto no particular religion and I am in no position to give you any tangible comfort or share any relevant (if possible) word of wisdom in such a heartbreaking situation… But. I truly truly TRULY pray to everything good left in this world that a hope for your happiness is not lost yet, darling. Stay strong. It may yet play out the way nobody expects.

  187. […] anonymous writer on her experience with arranged marriage and a male reader’s […]

  188. […] ‘Arranged’ Marriage an anonymous writer shared why she capitulated to her family’s […]

  189. Ranaaaw says:

    I am single, will soon be fated for someone inshaa allah by parents’ advice. I am not regretful or what, maybe because I’ve so long kept myself away from fitna/men/boys. My ustadz said, we should not give away our heart with anybody BEFORE marriage because it will hurt tremendously—be wise enough. TAKE HOLD OF YOUR HEART BEFORE MARRIAGE. It was not easy but as I go along, I learned I am meant for somebody. Look at other marriages that are so successful even though there were no love in it BEFORE their marriage.

    Maybe it was like I am so accepting my fate my destiny, my future love/husband because before I love a man and myself, I love first Allah and what He commanded— to stay away from possible or seemingly impossible FITNA. Ask forgiveness to Allah for every fitna and also pray to Allah to bestow upon you a husband whom one day will be more than that lover u had. Nothing is impossible when Allah makes it happen. Allahu a’lam always.

  190. Anna says:

    That’s so heart breaking to hear. I could never imagine what you’re going through but you’re so strong in doing so. I loved a boy who my parents did not wish for me to have any sort of a relationship with cause he was muslim and I was a christian. But unlike you I stood my ground. Though I loved my parents (probably not as much as you cause you listened) I chose to leave my home. My parents were outraged and my brothers threatened to kill me and my bf. But I had it in my mind that I would rather live my life with someone I love than someone I had no feelings for. Being with someone I love was more in important. Being in a relationship where there is love makes life more worthwhile. I dont know but when you hug them it’s like you have everything. Your doubts and fears disappear cause you have them. I know that the stunt I pulled would probably have severe consequences if I was in your shoes but I hope this man treats you well. I feel honestly like this is unfair. God placed love in us for a reason why leave it half full? Im getting married soon to my bf who is now my fiance. From hearing your experience I will do my best to make my children happy.

  191. Sara says:

    Assalamoaleykum sister, I cried after reading your story.. I can somewhat feel what you’re going through but not entirely. A man has never loved me and I’ve never loved anyone, so that part I do not know. But I know how aching it would be to leave the man you loved behind. Your parents didn’t do the right thing, to be honest. There’s no such thing as a “forced” marriage in Islam. And literally they forced you into it. They played with your emotions until you gave in and this is what you did, you gave in because you were a dutiful daughter. You should’ve just ran away with the man you loved. I would have if I were in your place. The part you said about girls being considered a burden, I totally agree. I see how my dad thinks of me as a burden and wants to kick me out if he ever got the slightest of a chance. In fact, he doesn’t even care who I will end up with, he just wants me to get married to any jeckyl.. My parents think that marriage for “love” is BS. I’ve seen so many married women living for the hell of it because they just have to. They put this facade in front of their parents that they’re happy when they really are not. I always wondered how a girl can sleep with someone she don’t want to sleep with.. or why marry someone you don’t even like.. It’s a sad life for some girls, and it’s really sad to hear each one of their stories. I’m writing this after a year from your writing. So I hope you’ve found happiness with the person you married, inshallah.

  192. Stephanie says:

    I was hoping to find encouragement, peace, and some sort of hope. I am not Muslim, but the man I love is. He is from India, and he is the one that will leave me. I feel the same pain and anguish, but I think it’s somehow worse. I am the one being left behind. Alone. I’m going to hear about the wedding and new wife. I still do not understand how parents could truly love their children, and still make them do something like this. How could parents really disown their child for an act of courage and love- such as choosing to marry a woman you love. I am not Muslim, but I am beautiful. I have a big heart, values, morals, and education. I am a school teacher. I am faithful and dedicated to my own religion, which aligns closely with Islam. I may not be from India, speak Hindi, or belong to a caste, but I am still God’s child. Are we not all equal?

  193. aniie says:

    Hi ,its difficult especialy if u have noone to turn to and noone that listens (am actualy going thru the same thing i feel so scared atm ).but something i have learnt is that u must follow what u want .shaming family is a small price to pay for ur own happiness ive seen how ‘arranged ‘ forced marriages plan out and there not pretty at all .dont feel like ur alone there is support .it is veru hard but u need to take contol of ur life .

  194. noorlaila265 says:

    Reblogged this on more than hijab and commented:
    As I looked further into arranged marriage for my upcoming features I found this piece that really moved me. Touching and emotive real life experience. Beautifully written from Love, InshAllah

  195. The perfect afghan girl is fed up says:

    I feel for you. Reading your story is as if I’m reading my own life story. 10 years after an arranged marriage and I’m more unhappy than ever. He is a wonderful kind responsible man, I respect him, I care about him, but I never felt like being his wife. I will hurt him the most and I don’t want that. But I will divorce him soon.
    F*uck the culture, the pressure, the family’s shame. The hell with them and their miserable shame! They should be f*ucking ashamed for putting so much pressure on their children. I’m angry, yes I’m so f*ucking angry! I wasted 10 years of my life waiting for things to get better, forcing myself to be happy…I think I had fooled myself too for a while there…the man I love will get married soon and my soul is breaking…I hate the world. Sometimes I just want to die. Want all of this emotional torture to end. Enough is enough!

    All the ladies who read this post: don’t wait for 10 years to finally find courage to put your own happiness first…guess what as much as I have been the most wonderful daughter giving them all the pride they wanted, trying to keep my parents happy, my parents still find ways to be just miserable about one thing or another….it’s enough. I forgive them. I will love myself and put myself first this time.

    Keep me in your prayers as I’m just starting to talk to my husband about divorce. It breaks my heart that I’m breaking his heart because he truly is a wonderful man and didn’t deserve this either….