In Islam, arranged marriages are very prominent. In fact, arranged marriage is the only Islamic way through which a couple can get married. This is because Islam forbids intermingling of the sexes, which also means that it is against the practices of dating and cohabitation that are prevalent in modern societies.
Arranged marriage can happen through either of these ways:
Parents can find their daughters a suitor who can support her. And if she wishes, she can choose to marry him.
A woman may express her interest in a man (after hearing of him or witnessing his behavior in public spaces) to her parents. Her parents then ought to inquire after the man to see if he will make a suitable husband and proceed accordingly.
The bottom line is that when deciding on marriage, both parents and daughters should have an equal say in the matter. But in many countries, especially in South-East Asian countries (Pakistan, India), arranged marriages become forced marriages when parents pressure and/or blackmail their daughters into marrying a man of their choice for reasons such as power, status, and wealth. And after getting married, if the daughter seeks her parents help on a marriage-related issue, she is usually told to keep quiet as any other action would threaten reputation.
So what can a woman do under such circumstances? She can seek an annulment.
This is because Islam does not recognize a marriage that is forced in any way. In other words, forced marriages are Islamically invalid and an annulment is a legal procedure that nullifies the forced marriage.
(Note: An annulment is different from a divorce. Click here to read more about their differences.)
If you’re interested, do watch this short clip of Nouman Ali Khan explaining the invalidity of a forced marriage.
Sometimes when I let my thoughts wander, I find myself thinking about complex things and asking questions that have no way of being answered. It usually starts like this: I come across a mind-blowing natural phenomenon and then ponder on the greatness of Allah and all his creations before finding myself stuck in the never-ending maze of “Why did Allah create us to worship him?” or “Who created Allah?”.
I know I am not alone in this because curiosity is a common human trait. But it is the very trait that leaves me feeling sinful every time I ask myself if our Creator has a creator. As a result, I declare to myself that I must be deficient in some way because my faith is not as strong as others’. But Alhamdulillah, my doubts were proven wrong when I came across one of Omar Suleiman’s videos on YouTube.
So, if it sinful to doubt your faith? Absolutely not!
Having doubts about your faith is not sinful as long as you 1) do not speak of it to others and 2) do not act upon it.
And when you do have such thoughts, say “Amantu Billah” to restore your faith in Allah and in Islam.
And then comes the question “Why is it not considered sinful to doubt faith?” given that you do not speak of it or act upon it. It is because:
Allah is the most merciful.
Doubts push you to search for and find answers in order to find closure and in the process, strengths your Iman. (Note: Not all our questions have answers but our intellect will allow us to understand Quranic verses and other Islamic texts and help us realize its truth value.)
So if you ever have these doubts, do not worry for they do not necessarily lessen your faith, but are simply means to strengthening it.
If you wish to know more, I strongly advise you to listen to this beautiful explanation by Omar Suleiman.
A few hours ago, I was on YouTube looking for answers to Islamic questions that have been on my mind for a while. In fact, they had been around long enough to make me question my beliefs and my faith. But a few minutes into my research, I got more answers than I needed and now, I feel as if I have been renewed and cleansed of the negative thoughts that have been polluting my soul. Alhamdulillah!
I then thought how wonderful it would be if there was an online portal where us Muslim sisters from different walks of life can share stories of Islam and of our experiences that can grow and strengthen the understanding and deen of many more sisters (like myself). So I googled and came across a few forums, but none were as flexible and easy-to-navigate as Quora. So here I am, attempting to create a small online portal myself but in the fashion of a blog.
Here are some basic facts about myself that you might want to know:
My name is Fathima.
I am Indian by race.
I am Muslim by birth.
I am 22.
I am a college student.
Here are some of the things you can expect to see on this blog:
Quranic lessons and Hadiths
Messages from Nouman Ali Khan, Mufti Ismail Menk, Omar Suleiman, and many other great scholars of our time.
Personal messages from sisters who want to share their stories. (If you would like to submit a PM, do get in touch with me.)
I hope you will find this blog very informative. And I am really looking forward to connecting with other Muslim sisters.