Q & A
Q. What abt [sic.] the word (IZAT) respect a lot of parents tend to use that, i.e. if Dean was to ask his mum to marry a Pakistani woman parents will turn around and break the izat.
It must first be stated that to have a notion of honour and dignity (Arabic/Urdu/Bengali = `izzat) and concern for what others in the Muslim community may think is not something un-Islamic. Often our youth immediately snap and react to parents in an unacceptable and disobedient way when this notion of `izzat is even mentioned by parents and then they accuse parents of intolerance while at the same time being intolerant to their concerns!
Yes, the Shari`ah fully permits marriage to any Muslim and no doubt emphasises that it should be the piety (taqwa) in a spouse that is the ultimate and desirable characteristic and yes, in the Shari`ah any contract made out of coercion and force has no legal effect but if a person does not have a strong preference for a particular individual then it may be more rewarding to allow his/her parents to be involved in searching for a spouse of his/her own country or background. Parents’ joy and happiness and the rewards they bring to the child are immeasurable and indeed bring the pleasure of Allah (SWT).
A child should step out of their shoes and stand in the shoes of his/her parents and empathise with their fears about marriage into an entirely different family. Because difficulty in language, cultural and regional differences are real anxieties and the change and adjustment can be daunting; therefore a child must be extremely prepared for helping his/her parents through this reality. Often, however, our youth simply ‘drop’ the news and then expect the parents to suddenly cope with the possibility. There is neither wisdom nor appreciation in this.
It is also true that some parents use the notion of `izzat as a ‘trump card’ for preventing a perfectly acceptable marriage and use it as a tool for emotional blackmail as though it is shameful and abominable to marry into a different Muslim family. It is the mature task of the child to talk to parents and alleviate their fears as well as to show the beauty and excellence of the Shari`ah in permitting this. But how can this be the case when our youth are not even learning about the superior nature of the din?
We ask Allah (SWT) to redress this weakness in us. Amin!
And with Allah alone is all success.