Sunday, 18 March 2012

Marriage, Parents and Youth

There is a contradiction in today’s Muslim world where the older generation (like the parents) often get confused and angry about why their children/youth are going astray and committing sins that were not even thought of in their previous times. There’s quite a few major reasons, and I plan to cover them in various parts insha’Allah. The common factor is that society has made the haram easy for people to do, but made the halal hard to do, and put obstacles to the halal things.

As to why most Muslim youth are getting involved in sexual relationships before marriage (they are committing a major sin), there is the peer pressure, media/entertainment and the society which shows that it is “cool” to have such haram relationships. And they get lonely or jealous if they see others having “fun” and have “comfort” and “love” through their boyfriends/girlfriends. There's haram and naked people/images everywhere. The deep seated needs and desires of the innocent youth are encouraged and stimulated by seeing others fulfilling their desires.

But when they want to fulfil their desires and want to in a halal way, through getting married, they come across many obstacles to their path, primarily from their parents and cultural expectations. Whilst most people have sexual relationships and partners at university and can easily fulfil their haram desires, the Muslims wanting to stay halal, can’t. Their parents want them to restrain their desires for at least 3 years, as they finish university. But even then, the parents want them to get a job, work for a few years, establish their career and only then can they look to get married.

What type of society is this? How can parents expect their children to restrain their sexual urges for so long, when the temptation is everywhere? Why make the youth suffer? Did the Prophet say that the youth can’t get married until they get a degree or have become quite rich? In fact the Prophet recommended marrying young.

I understand parents want their child to have a good marriage but then they can’t be sure that their child will get it. They can't expect their children to avoid adultery when at university, and at the same time wait for years to get married. It’s normally one or the other (unless the child is really religious).

It is possible to marry and study at university and get a good degree at the same time. It happens many times. Most students have sexual partners and live with them (especially the non-Muslims), yet many of them do fine in their degrees. In fact they can support and motivate each other when one is down. The same is the case with career. Many non-Muslims and Muslims make an excellent career, even when they're married before that.

As for financial stability, that is quoted for not being allowed to get married, the standard has been grossly exaggerated by cultural influences. The Islamic requirement is actually that a husband provides (he can even borrow to provide them):
 1. Food
2. Articles for personal hygiene
3. Clothing
4. Housing
5. And any expenses related to pregnancy and childbirth

And many people actually can provide all that. The most expensive thing is the house. But if you look at the Islamic law, the requirement is fulfilled if "the wife is provided with a separate area within the house, and where she is able to keep her belongings and where none of the husband's family members are able to enter"(Radd al-Muhtar 3/559-600). Don't many of the students already live in their own apartment that they rent? Or they have separate rooms in their own houses? And in a few years they can get a bigger house, or house just for the two of them if they currently live with family house.

But the parents want so much more income, like provide a life of luxury for the girl. Or they'll only allow a person to marry a specific race/colour, regardless of the person being more pious and better in every other way. These are unIslamic standards. After all, money comes and goes, people get fired all the time, and the Sahaba married people of various races/colours (see their marriages in India, in Persia etc). When a husband is fired, will the girl be pressured to divorce him? People implicitly assume that the spouse has control over his destiny, not Allah swt.

If the Prophet wanted to marry your daughter, would you reject him because he is not Pakistani? Much of the diversity of this Muslim Ummah is due to the inter-racial marriages leading to richer cultures, more cooperation, unity and breadth of experience for Muslims.

The problem becomes further worse and higher chance of adultery, when a boy and girl like each other, even if the parents know about it. Yet they have to wait years (like 2 or 3 years) to marry, and they talk every day, or meet now and then and have lots of temptations from shaytan.  They should be allowed to get married, to avoid the haram, since their desire to be together occurs regularly. It's better that a couple be married and have a sexual relationship than if they be unmarried and have pre-marital sexual relationships.

After the obstacles to marriage presented by culture and parents, I don’t think it is right for parents to complain that their children have committed adultery and disobeyed their commands. What will you tell Allah if He asks you “why did you make it difficult for your child to do things the halal way? Because of you s/he sinned!” But if as a parent, you want your child to grow up Islamically, then please make the halal path easy, and make the haram path harder. The problems of parents and youth affect us all, so lets work together insha'Allah.

You don't want your child to be like this: 


  1. Well said Aslan. I think this article can be complemented by another on how to make a marriage - even at an early (legal) age - work. I think perhaps the number of divorces that results from marrying at a young age and from immaturity partly deters people and wrongly convinces them that marrying young is not the right choice. Personally I think maturity - rather than age - matter. Ultimately any marriage will work if both partners work hard at making it a happy union and putting Allah firmly at the centre of the marriage.

  2. Good points, jzk and I might write on it. I sort of did in the other post before in the marriage section.
    The issue of failed marriages is given below:
    "Incompatibility was the most cited reason for divorce (16.38%), followed by abuse (13.12%), financial disputes (10.41%), family / in-laws interference (10.20%), sexual infidelity / adultery (8.79%), and others."

  3. Fantastic Article Aslan!
    "If the Prophet wanted to marry your daughter, would you reject him because he is not Pakistani?" - brilliant line which sums up the backwards attitude of many Arab and Asian cultures.
    May God give parents the strength and patience to raise children with a high level of God consciousness and manners and allow early marriage to prosper.