Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam aleykum,
I’m 33, my elder brother is 36, and our parents are not very interested to get us both married. What does Islam say about the rights of children, which parents are obliged to fulfill for them?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.
I am sorry that your parents are not actively searching for a spouse for you and your brother. It is understandable for you to feel disappointed.
I encourage you to read the article The Rights of Children In Detail. Here is an excerpt:
1) The first and foremost right of a child is that he/she has an Islamic upbringing.
2) The parents are responsible for the religious education of the child.
3) Parents are also responsible for the moral training of the child which is to learn and put into practice the principles of morality and ethics.
4) Physical training of children is also an important parental responsibility, which ensures children remain alert and healthy.
5) Parents must ensure that they select good and pious friends for their children, and prevent them from evil and bad company.
6) Children must be shown love, affection in every possible way.
7) Finally, the father is responsible for the financial support of his children.
This article does not include ‘the right to look for your child’s spouse’. There are pros and cons to this.
In some Muslim families, parents arrange marriages for their adult children. In others, parents have no say whatsoever, and must come to accept whoever their children choose to marry. Every family dynamic is different, and it depends on that family’s unique community and cultural context and expectations.
I do not know much about your family dynamics and community expectations. It sounds like you expect your parents to find a spouse for you, but they have not been able to.
I strongly encourage you and your brother to read this book Before You Tie the Knot: A Guide for Couples.
Have you spoken to your parents about how you feel? I encourage you to speak to them calmly and respectfully. Have you expressed to them what you are looking for in a husband? Even before that – do you and your brother have a clear idea of what you both want in a spouse?
Because of generational, cultural and many other differences, even the most loving and well-meaning parents can sometimes choose unsuitable spouses for their children.
What often happens is this – parents expend a tremendous amount of energy looking for what they think is a suitable spouse for their adult child, their adult child completely disagrees with their choice, and all parties become frustrated with each other. The key, as always, is balance. Try to reach a middle ground. How can you meet your parents halfway?
Empathy and acceptance
It can be challenging, but try to put yourself in your parents’ shoes. What do you think could be preventing them from actively searching for a spouse for your and your brother? Is it possible that they find that process a struggle too?
Often, acceptance is the solution to many problems. I encourage you to accept that your parents are doing the best they can, even if it does not seem enough to you.
Focus on being of service to them, instead of feeling resentful that they are not doing enough for you. Reflect on everything they have done for you and your brother, and be show gratitude for that through kindness to them, especially when they fall short of your expectations.
I encourage you to enrol in this course – Excellence with Parents: How to Fulfill the Rights of Your Parents. Learn about what rights they have over you, and do your best to fulfil them. Trust that goodness to your parents will only bring about goodness in your own life, including the gift of a righteous and loving spouse.
“And so many a moving creature carries not its own provision! Allah provides for it and for you. And He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.“ [Qur’an, 29:60]
I encourage you and your brother to perform the Prayer of Need and ask Allah to send both of you righteous and loving spouses.
Remember this Allah is your Provider – not your parents. Your parents are the means through which you have been raised and nurtured. All of your provision has already been determined by Allah, including who you marry.
1) Perform the Prayer of Need, preferably in the last third of the night (before the entry of Fajr) and ask Allah to send you a righteous and loving spouse
2) The scholars of Shaam have said that this ayah from Surah al-Anbiyah [Verse 89] has been proven to work and should be recited 100 times a day with your intended purpose.
رَبِّ لا تَذَرْنِي فَرْدًا وَأَنتَ خَيْرُ الْوَارِثِين
3) Be of service to your parents, and maintain family ties.
4) Speak to community elders and family friends about your wanting to get married. Ask them to keep a lookout for prospective spouses, for both you and your brother.
5) Move in the right circles with the intention of seeking knowledge and potentially finding a spouse e.g. Islamic classes, places where you can help those in need etc.
There is wisdom behind Allah’s timing. Even though it is natural and healthy to want to be married, please have a good opinion of Allah. When He gives, and when He withholds, it is out of love for you. Always return everything in your life to your relationship with Allah. Exercise beautiful patience, for His sake. Use this as an opportunity to develop yourself in ways which are pleasing to Him.
Reflect on the patience of Nabi Yusuf and Nabi Yaqub (upon them be blessings and peace), and remember how in the end, they were reunited with their heart’s desire. Read Surah Yusuf and reflect on its meanings as often as you can, and draw comfort from that. Only Allah can place true and lasting tranquility in your heart.
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersGuidance Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.