Fatwa: # 24418
Category: Marriage
Country: United Kingdom
Date: 26th February 2013


Asian families insisting on the oldest son getting married first


Assalamu Alaikum. Asian families like mine (Bangoli background) they are intent in having the oldest boy getting married etc and having it in such order where the oldest get married first and then you go down in age order. I want to get married and I've told my parents to either such for a wife for me or that I find a wife and do everything in a halal way. But they deny me and say my oldest brother must get married first and even claim it's Islamic and Sunnah. My brother will get married in a few years (maybe more or less I don't know but not anytime soon) I'm ready and feel its best for me to complete half my Deen In Sha Allāh. I want a wife who is religious and can inspire me to be a better Muslim. I'm at univiversity at the moment and I feel having a wife will help my immensely just to become a better person and sin less. What do I do in this situation? In Shaa Allāh I'm doing it for the right reasons not just to fulfil my sexual desires which I know are not having the right intentions to get married. My parents are making me wait, this could mean a wait for 2 years or maybe more, what do I do? Jazakallah Khair


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

As-salāmu ʿalaykum wa-raḥmatullāhi wa-barakātuh

A distinguishing feature of a Muslim is that he always remains subservient to the divine laws and teachings of Islām. In this is not only the assurance of his success in the Hereafter, but also in this temporary life.

Social and cultural norms that contradict the guidelines of Shariʿah should be discarded. Amongst these unacceptable customs is that of unconditionally frowning upon a decision to marry off the younger child before the older child gets married. At times, this is the reason for violating the fundamental Islāmic teaching of preserving and maintaining the child’s chastity, and a contribution to what we witness today of an increased amount in illicit relationships between Muslim boys and girls. There might be a situation where there is a great fear of the younger child involving himself in an illicit relationship if his marriage is delayed until the older child gets married, whereas in terms of Shariʿah, it will be absolutely necessary for the younger child to get married immediately in such a situation. Another instance where the Shariʿah would be undermined due to the said norm is where the older child is not willing or not able to get married, whereas the younger child is interested and able to carry out this important aspect of his Dīn. Parents should therefore shun the practice of not allowing a younger child to get married for the sole reason that the older child is still unmarried.

As for your situation as explained in your question, if you are able to relate to your parents the correct Islāmic teaching as explained above and you are positive that they will accept the truth, then you should do so without disrespecting them. However, if this is not possible, you should discuss the issue with your older brother and ask him to convince your parents to allow you to get married before him if he does not intend getting married soon. Perhaps after seeing that your older brother does not consider it any right of his that he gets married before you and that he does not frown on the fact that you get married before him, your parents will be willing to assist you to get married sooner.

Furthermore, you should patiently continue to explain to your parents the main reason why you intend getting married immediately, as you have stated in your question.

Also, make constant Duā that Allah Taʿālā changes the incorrect perception in the mind of your parents, for indeed our hearts are all in the control of Allah Taʿālā.

And Allah Taʿālā Knows Best

Mahmood Patel
Student, Darul Iftaa
Azaadville, South Africa

Checked and Approved by
Mufti Ebrahim Desai



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