Father Prevented Her from Marrying a Suitor
Fatwa No: 419854

Question

Assalamualaikum wa Rahmatullah wa barakatuhu,
I have received a proposal from a man 5 years ago who I had gone to university with. He is a different nationality but is a practicing Muslim and is of good character. My father is unhappy about this relationship as he only believes in arranged marriages within the same culture. Through these 5 years as he did not have a religious reason to say no, he kept giving excuses to delay saying he had to wait for the man to meet the elders of my family, friends, and other relatives first. The man has been patient and has done everything that was asked of him until my father agreed. Now we have a week left for the wedding and my father is refusing to sign as my wali after dragging us for along for all these years. He is making demands of the man to give exorbitant mahr, pay for a grand party and forcing me to put terms on my marriage contract when I don’t want to. If not, he says he will let me get married but I won’t be living with my husband until all these terms are met. When I try to discuss with my father, he threatens to disown me and to not even see him during his funeral. I have used the elders in my family and my older brother to talk to him, but he refuses to listen unless they agree with him and keeps delaying our marriage unnecessarily. What can I do?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Firstly, we would like to advise you to supplicate Allah, The Exalted, abundantly, and hopefully He will accept your supplication, rectify the situation of your father, and bring him to his senses. Verily, Allah, The Exalted, is Competent over all things, and He commands us to supplicate Him and promises to answer our supplications. He Says (what means): {And your Lord says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell [rendered] contemptible.} [Quran 40:60]

You should keep trying to convince him to complete the marriage and not to impede it. If he is not convinced today, he may get convinced tomorrow; you should never give up. If you succeed in convincing him, all praise be to Allah. Otherwise, you have the right to refer the case to the Sharee‘ah court. If it is proven that you father unjustly prevents you from marrying a suitable suitor, the Muslim judge would marry you off or issue a judicial order obliging him to marry you off.

As for the stipulation of conditions in the marriage contract, this is your right and not your father’s, and he does not have the right to compel you into stipulating any condition when conducting the contract. However, even if you stipulate a permissible condition, you are entitled to waive it because when a person gives up his own rights, they are waived.

We do not know what is meant by your father’s threat to disavow you; if he intended to deny his paternity of you, this is not possible because you are his daughter as per the Sharee‘ah and are attributed to him whether he likes it or not. As for attending the funeral, if he intended that you should not follow his funeral, it is disliked for women to follow funerals anyway. If he meant merely attending the washing and enshrouding of his dead body and performing the funeral prayer over him, then you are not obliged to refrain from attending them because he requested you not to attend them.

Allah Knows best.

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