Once I was entering the office of IRF when a young couple was waiting for me. The girl was in total hijab, even her face was covered. The boy had a red thread tied on his wrist, indicating that he was a non-Muslim. He was carrying a helmet. It was the month of Ramadhan and the time was just 9 am. I asked them how can I help them. The girl replied : I want some guidelines as to how to convince my guardian to allow me to marry this boy if he embraces Islam?
I had to reply truthfully because da’wah also includes giving a thoughtful advice to some one. It can pinch them yet it has to be given like the bitter but beneficial pills or sharp injections of doctors.
“ You father is your guardian so he may never agree” I said, “ Because being your well wisher and protector he will not fail to realize that you have deceived him. You wore a niqabi hijab and went to college and they thought that you are observing hijab so no question of you falling into a haram relation. In the early morning of Ramadhan you are fasting, wearing a hijab, covering your face and then sitting on a motor bike with a non Mahram. You can cheat your parents but can you cheat Allah? This boy may also be thinking that if my girl friend can deceive her own parents how can I trust her?“
The girl was quick to defend : But what if this boy converts to Islam?
I replied : I cannot stop any one from becoming a Muslim but still I will caution you that what if the boy turns back to his old faith later after you having two kids? Whom will you go and complain? His parents? They are non Muslims. They may lay off their hands. These are the precautionary measures that your guardian may be thinking of while refusing this boy. In love you may not think about it but your guardian loves you too so he will think. Then I concluded : Don’t hurry. Give this man a chance to learn and practice Islam , see if he observes five time prayers and fasts in the coming month of Ramadhan. Then you may approach your father and take a chance after a couple of years. Till then don’t roam around with him. He is your non Mahram. The couple went away together on the bike and never returned.
Few years back a young girl in affair with a Muslim boy presented her case before me : I like a boy who is very religious. He has a beard and prays five times but my guardian do not agree to our marriage.
I asked her: What is the reason that your guardian is putting forth to reject this boy ? The girl did not have an answer or rather she did not want to give. I explained to her that if the boy was religious then why did he approach you instead of your guardian? This is what your guardian must be thinking of. He has a point : My daughter is a hijabi and this boy corrupted her by making her fall in his love. I continued, : because you too did not think that way nor you resisted the boy’s advances nor you informed your parents, your guardian doesn’t have confidence in your choice and he has a right to. This is why guardians are for.
The Arabic ‘wali’ means a Well wisher, a Protector, a Guardian… and all this terms suits the wali of a girl getting married. The guardian, is not a mere rubber stamp for fulfilling protocols of nikah but a man who out of concern makes proper investigation about the family background of the boy and negotiates all aspects of marriage. He has a sense of responsibility regarding the happiness of her daughter. He does not want his daughter to be cheated into a nikah. He wants to examine the religious aspects too so that his daughter may not end up in a marriage that can be a threat to her Akhera. That is what the wali is for.
In my 13 years of public life and as a counselor I have come across many such marriages where a Muslim girl in affair decided to go into nikah without the approval of her father and appointed a non qualified wali from her friend circle and ending up as a divorcee in few years, stranded out alone with kids to be brought up.
It is an irony that Muslim girls who fall into affair find their ‘wali’ as the biggest obstacles whereas the ‘walis’ are actually the protectors of their interests and welfare. No Guardian would agree to the risk of allowing his daughter to be allured, seduced and exploited in the name of ‘LOVE’ That is why ‘Wali’ is the guardian, well wisher, and protector of a young girl.
( Adapted from my upcoming book : I WANT TO MARRY BUT….. To be released soon Inshallah)