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Interpreting istikh?ra.

Last updated: 26th February 2024
Question ID: #9760
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Assalamu'alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh, Just to give a bit of background, I am a 26-year-old female of Pakistani descent. I have always had a fear of marriage as I come from an extremely traditional Pakistani family. My family only marry into the family and marriage outside the family is rare. This is something I have always dreaded as I feel the women in my family are extraordinary, but the men in my family are subpar (in terms of intellect, ambition, success and most importantly, deen). My parents made it very clear to me that a marriage of my own choice would lead to them being very unhappy with me. Females were heavily judged and shamed for this while you can imagine the same rules did not apply to the men in my family. There is a huge double standard, however for this reason I never so much as spoke to a man beyond necessity. I have extreme anxiety around men to the point where I fear them. For this reason, I made peace with the fact that I would most likely have an arranged marriage within the family. My parents are not the type to force me, but emotional manipulation is a tactic used heavily in my family. My father is the patriarch of his family. He is extremely strict and scary. He has used his wealth and power to help his family but also control them. My family fear him, however, my father interprets this as respect. Because of this, my parents always assumed that marriage proposals would come flooding in through our immediate family. No such thing happened. To be honest, this does not bother me as I have prayed to avoid marrying any of my first cousins since I was as young as 12. However, this is a great source of anxiety for my parents as they don't know what to do with me. They view me as a burden, even if they pretend not to, I can tell. Fast forward to January 2024, finally, somebody in the family asked for my hand in marriage. I do not know anything about this person, as he is from Pakistan. However, multiple people vouch for him. They say this is a very good proposal. My aunty even said that I would not get a better proposal than this and that once good proposals slip away, you never get that chance again. I do not believe this. God would not punish someone for rejecting a proposal. If one door closes, He will open another one for you. I have never met this man but I did find his TikTok, on which his videos are extensive. He posts a lot of pictures of himself but also the content of horse racing, as this is his hobby. The reason I mention this is because from his pictures I know that I would not be attracted to this man. Not in the slightest. I know attraction can grow, but I am doubtful, it ever will. I don't want to be vain and I am sure there are women out there who would find him attractive, I am however not one of them. I don't want to have a wandering eye after marriage and wish for something better. I want to be committed to my husband and fulfil all my duties to him as a wife. Also, he is a lot younger than me, which is not a huge issue but it means he is not established at all. However, I have been told he takes care of his family as his dad lives and works in the Netherlands, which shows he is responsible. Additionally, he is educated and is studying to become a lawyer which is useless to me as I live in the UK so he will not be able to practise if he was to come here. Although I have only heard positive things about this proposal, even from family friends who know of him, I do not have a positive feeling towards this proposal. I do not want to marry this man. My family told me to pray istikhara and I prayed it 10 times. My feelings did not change, however, this proposal is not going away. His father and my entire family are very persistent. They will not leave me alone. They say I will regret it and say if you do not marry him, you will have to marry outside the family and you will regret it. They say people outside the family are untrustworthy and they keep trying to scare me and say that I will be treated badly. In my opinion, this is not a valid argument. Almost every woman in my family is unhappy. They do not have marriages that anyone would desire, but they are forced to stay as they married their cousins. I do not have a high opinion of my family as you can probably tell. I do not trust them to know what is best for me as they have never done right by the women in their care. They are extremely backwards in their thoughts and my father shows very little love towards his daughters. He does not even speak to my sisters, who are married, as he doesn't view them as his problem anymore. After marriage, I will not have his support regardless of whether I marry in the family or out of the family, so what difference does it make. The reasoning for my email is this: I don't understand what Allah is telling me. I really do not want to marry this man. I even cry when I think about it but why is everyone around me telling me to marry him? Sometimes Allah sends you a message through other people but I wish he would send me one directly. I am a practising Muslim and I pray my salahs but I feel so disconnected from Allah right now. I don't feel he is speaking to me as I am feeling one thing but everyone around me is pushing me towards this marriage. The message isn't clear. I don't know what to do but I do not want to marry this man. What should I do. I don't feel I have anyone on my side right now. I have started praying istikh?ra again but I find myself scared "What if Allah tells me to do it"? I want Allah to tell me that I am right in my apprehension. I wish for a clear sign. Please advise me on what I can do to get an answer from Allah, is there anything else beyond istikh?ra? I am so terrified of my family, I am so afraid of upsetting them but I can't throw away my own life for them. Please help me.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

الجواب حامدا ومصليا

In the Hanafi Fiqh, a woman who reaches maturity can marry whom she wants whether compatible or not without the permission of the Wali. However, if the person is not compatible with her the Wali has the right to refuse. This is Zahir Riwaya (manifest transmission) of the Hanafi Mazhab.

Firstly, you must sit down with your parents and tell them that you don’t want to marry him. This should done in a respectful and gentle way. If this doesn’t work then get trusted family members or your local Imam to explain to them and to support you in this situation.

Please see the Q&A on Istikhara: www.muftisays.com/qa/marriage-general/4271-istikhara/

Only Allah Knows Best

14 Dhul Hijja 1445/ 21 June 2024

Answer last updated on:
21st June 2024
Answered by:
Ulamaa ID 04
Location: London