Rafed English

Who should select: The youth or parents?

Adapted from: "Sexual problems of Youths by: "Ayatullah Makarim Shirazi"

This was my selection and that was my parents’ selection!
This strange story was published in newspapers, while there are so many similar cases:

An 18-year-old bride who took off her bridal dress a few minutes before conclusion of marriage contract and after wearing a man’s dress, she jumped from the window to the yard and escaped. Then, she went to a bathhouse in Narmak area, and cut her vein, but soon she was transferred to a clinic and was saved from death.

Later, she explained her story to police as follows:

I was studying in the high school last year, and was engaged to a young man whom I had selected. Last year, while reading the newspaper, I saw his photo and learnt that he was arrested for stealing jewels. I called his home, and after investigation, I found it to be true!

A month ago, one of my father’s friends proposed marriage to me. He was a rich man of forty whose wife had recently died.

I had no interest in him, and expressed my view several times, but no one listened to me and my father still insisted. Once I found that invitation cards for the wedding have been distributed I had no other alternative other than ‘escape’ and committing suicide.

There are two contradictory attitudes if marriage shall be approved by parents and the elders of family or this critical issue shall be left only to the tendencies of the youth, without any intervention
Let us first become familiar with both groups, and then find a proper way through inspection and study:

One group of youths says: Do our parents want to select a spouse for themselves that they should approve it? Everyone should select his or her own partner in life. Supposing that a girl is a heavenly angel in view of our parents, but she is worse than a monster if we do not like her!

Studies conducted by many social scientists and judicial authorities indicate that most marriages that end in divorce are those made in young ages, when choice of parents had been the only criterion.

Basically, an adult does not need any ‘custodian’ or ‘administrator’. Suicide and running away of many girls and boys from the family is the result of this big mistake of parents, the example of which could be always found in newspapers.

If the youths were unable to distinguish right and wrong in the past and could not recognize what is expedient for them, today it is not so, and all of them know everything before maturity!

The mentality of parents is often out-dated, and not compatible with the spirit of time, and thereby, they cannot understand the preferences of a young girl or boy.

In brief, the parents should not intervene in this critical issue, and they should leave it to the taste, creativity and idea of their children.

On the other hand, parents say:
Even Plato and Avicenna were not perfect in their youth. That is to say, the youths are so optimist and simple-minded that they are easily deceived by elegant and self-righteous faces due to their innocence and sincerity. They do not know what devils are hidden behind these deceitful faces.

There are many perverted individuals who memorize the most beautiful phrases and the most enchanting and literary clichés, and repeat them with extremely masterful way to allure young boys and girls, and so-called ‘spouse hunters’, but when everything is over, they show their real faces.

Even the clever youths need a guide for marriage, because it is the first time they are experiencing it. They shall seek help of those who have traversed this path as it is dark and one should fear the risk of aberration.

Furthermore, parents are never enemies of their children. They consider their real expediencies, because they love them even more than themselves.

Even illiterate and uninformed parents are experienced and familiar with advantages affecting the future of matrimony, and are able to distinguish ‘realities’ from ‘imaginations and delusions’.

Moreover, it is very shameful from the moral point of view if a youth totally disregards one who has devoted his or her power, alacrity and strength to him (and to whom he is indebted for his life) in such critical issue and pay no heed to their pure feelings at all. He should not just think of satisfying of his desires and select his spouse without parents’ consent, and forget all his debts to them. This is not compatible with any ‘human principle’.

However, we believe that none of these two views are fully realistic.

Neither the parents have any right to impose their idea on the youth in spouse selection, nor is it advisable for the youth to make this critical selection alone.

Rather, the proper way is to arrange and accomplish this critical issue through assistance consultation and exchange of views.

The parents shall consider the reality that selection of spouse is not just based on logic and reasoning. Rather, the main factor for this selection is a matter of taste, and certainly the tastes of two individuals, even two brothers, are very different.

An imposed marriage is unlikely to last long. Sooner or later, it ends in divorce. The worst and most dangerous case is when parents consider their personal interests in selecting the spouse of their children. Such people are absolutely wrong.

On the other hand, the youth should know that the fervour of youth casts blinds his vision, and he sees nothing except ‘goodness’ in that situation and ignores all ‘faults’. The sympathetic parents and well-informed friends would help them with their intellectual contributions in this critical selection.

Even the powerful youths are not needless of the assistance of their friends, relatives and parents in the crises and events of life.

If they disregard this vital issue, they cannot enjoy their support and backing in future problems. So, it is necessary for them to earn their trust and confidence.

From ethical point of view also, they should obtain the consent of their sympathetic and kind parents. Islamic laws instruct (particularly the virgin girls), to first obtain their parents’ satisfaction (father as an obligation). Of course, there are exceptional cases when the father wants to arrange a marriage against interests of his child for his personal interests, or when the marriage is in accordance with the child’s interests, but the father intentionally obstructs it. In none of these cases, his opinion is valid, and it is not obligatory to obey him.


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