I could write an essay…so many points to address from this piece. The first thing that comes to mind though is that it reminds me why I have always loved my Muslim friends, they show so much love and compassion to each other–and in my experience–non-Muslims. In reading this piece though, I felt choked. I felt the stifled personhood of the writer and it made me feel like I was suffocating. It is unthinkable that someone who God has charged with the care of children can treat their own blood this way. It is unthinkable that parents can not empathize with their children sufficiently to see the horror in such a forced situation…especially one that blatantly contradicts the laws of their “Holy Book”. I am clearly Christian and I appreciate the flexibility of my Spiritual practice, but I also come from a culture that can be quite oppressive/repressive when it comes to relationships and marriage.
I married a man against my parents wishes–they tried everything–and I very much regretted it. Because if/when that man changes or hurts you or disappoints you, there will be no family to run to because you have cut them off. I regretted my choice very much. So it is important that if you wish to marry someone for which you have “ferocious passion” that you have a solid community backing you up in that relationship. If you are going to lose your parents in the process of marrying your “soul mate” make sure you have a “back-up family”/community that you will run to when the marriage suffers, because all marriages can be difficult, not just the arranged ones.
I was lucky that my family welcomed me back with open arms, but many won’t be so lucky.