Dear reader,

Main reason I read articles on The Art of Manliness is because I love traditions and love to receive some guidance. I've been dating a wonderful woman for the past year and at some point I'd like to marry her. She feels the same way which is terrific. That being said her father lives in Morocco and believes in the Quran, which is unfortunate since I'm agnostic and so is she. I'd like to ask him her hand in marriage because I believe it's the right thing to do, but I realize that I will probably never get his blessing. What to do?

Greetings 
Erik

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Have you met him before?  What sort of role does he have in her life?  What's their relationship like?  Will you meet him before you would propose?

I think that if he has a good relationship with her, or if it is important to her, then it might be worthwhile to seek his blessing, or at least to ask.  However, if (as I suspect) he's largely absent from her life, I don't see a compelling reason to. 

Meh.  Just be respectful to the man (the man may some day be your father, and he deserves your respect.  Remember, that's his little girl you are dating), then show him you care for his daughter and will work hard to make her happy.  He is a father who loves his daughter, and he wants what is best for her.  If the two of you feel the way you do about each other, and the two of you are sincere, he will see that you are what is best for her.  Every guy who has approached a girl's father about marrying his daughter has felt the same way as you have, no matter what the father's belief system or background.  The fact that you will go to such lengths to travel to meet him and that you respect his culture well enough that you would request his permission and offer yourself up to his judgment before asking for his daughter to marry him will go a long way in earning his respect and permission.

Good luck, and I wish you both well in the future as well.

That's a lot of speculation about what a wonderful, loving dad OP's girlfriend has...based on what, exactly?

Not all fathers love their daughters, or want what's best from them, and often the way in which they might think they do is perverted by selfishness or ideology (which can include religion).  For example, a father's idea of what's best for his daughter might  consist of what will make him look the best in his community and culture, not with what is actually best for her.

Yes, because he let his daughter go all the way to another country where she has obviously spent quite a bit of time because he has some kind of possessive control issues with her and doesn't value her ability to make decisions that affect her life.

More assumptions.  Given the difference in nationalities between mother and father, and the woman's age, I see no reason to think it was a matter under his control.

You are a very angry little man, aren't you?  Would you feel better if I patted you on the head and told you that you were right and a special little snowflake?

I don't think I'm the one with anger issues here.

There are a few factors that you haven't told us that could profoundly influence the matter.  First of all, how old is she, and how emancipated/independent is she, already?  Second, how old are you?  Are you established in a career or at least independently self-supporting?  Third, you say that this man believes in the Koran---but you don't say whether he is a practicing Muslim---or whether he expects his daughter to be.  If he is devout about his Islamic beliefs, then is he aware of the fact that his daughter does not share his viewpoint?  Does it matter to him?  Because that's something she is going to have to settle with him (if, indeed, it's something that CAN be settled).  

Beyond that, any father is going to want to see a track record of stability, financial responsibility, and some ambition and good judgment before he is going to be enthusiastic about giving his blessing for you to marry his daughter.  Meanwhile, meeting the family, being respectful and polite, and talking/acting like a young man with a good head on his shoulders are all factors that are going to go a long way toward making a good impression and winning their approval.

How important is it to your lady-friend that her father give his blessing?  What if he says "no" based on factors you can change (finishing college, having some money in savings, etc.)?  Will you honor his decision, or at the very least, try to earn his approval?  Figure out ahead of time just what you're dealing with.  But regardless, at least try to get married with the family's blessing, if possible.

I think it would be well to ask a sympathetic Muslim or ex-Muslim what's most reasonable.  I don't know their customs.  What's her religion?  And what does she think on this issue?

Thanks for your response.
I've added a list of extra details according to your questions.

- Never met him before
- Good father, but not always the easiest
- Would love to meet him before I propose. Want to know where she comes from. 
- She respects her father and looks up to him, but she can't understand that he doesn't want to talk to her if she doesn't live up to the Quran
- She is 30 and I'm 25 years old
- Her mother is Dutch
- He is very loyal and practicing Muslim
- I have my own company and I'm financially stable

Greetings Erik

This information helps.

In Western civilization, where women are free to choose their husbands, the proposal comes before asking for the blessing from Dad.  Sure would be a problem if he agreed and she didn't!  I know that's not what you were saying.

"He doesn't want to talk to her if she doesn't live up to the Quran":  so he's not talking to her?  Then he surely won't bless the union!  Or is it that he thinks she is living up to the Quran?  He'll soon find out differently, right?

I found this page on Muslims marrying non-Muslims.  Marrying a Christian or Jew is not absolutely forbidden (although this imam thinks it is if the woman is the Muslim and the Christian or Jew is the man).  But marrying a nonbeliever is forbidden, and the Quranic basis seems unambiguous:

Do not marry unbelieving women until they believe. A slave woman who believes is better than an unbelieving woman, even though if she attracts you. And not marry (your girls) to unbelievers until they believe. A man slave who believes is better than an unbeliever, even though if he attracts you. Unbelievers do (but) beckon you to the fire ... (al-Baqarah, 221).

http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=2267&CATE=10

There is apparently some disagreement on the correct Islamic response to a daughter leaving Islam.  Wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostasy_in_Islam ) says some recommended responses include no penalty at all, imprisonment until repentance, slavery, and execution.  Suffice it to say it's obviously a big deal, and if she marries you there's a big to-do coming.  Maybe not "want[ing] to talk to her" is his response.  If so, it's a relatively innocuous one.

Good luck.

I'd like to weigh in on this discussion and ask if you and her have gone to marriage counseling?

If so, seek out someone around the area that is Muslim or at least knows the Koran to see how they think/act/believe/etc... If not, see if you can get a marriage counselor that knows something about that faith.

If she has been raised by her mother and father for her entire life up until she left home, might want to head over to set up a meeting with Ma first and see what she says. Both on the marriage issue and about seeing and asking the father.

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