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Hello All

I wonder if you can help me please........

My partner is Turkish and I'm English, we were due to get married in 5 weeks time but sadly his mother has passed away. He has been in turkey for several weeks caring for his mother.
Our wedding has been cancelled but when I enquired about a new date, he has advised me that he can not get married for a further 9 months to a year, something about a local custom where he lives, (Ankara/Akasary)Sorry if I’m being rude but i don’t understand this especially as my partner has lived in the uk for 20 years, surely he would not need to carry out this local custom as he does not live their and also their must be a custom he can not live with me unless he is married? I'm finding this difficult to understand how he can chop and change his mind. He is more then happy to return home to be with me but can’t marry me for this amount of time.

Please don’t think I’m being rude I’m just struggling to understand.

Your help would be much appreciatedThank you

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I have lived in Turkey for 25 years and have never heard of weddings having to be postponed for 9 months or more after the death of a family member.

Yes, Muslims are not supposed to live or have sex with someone they are not married to but this very much depends on how seriously they take their religion. The same applies to drinking alcohol, which is also forbidden.

I hate to say this, but are you sure that he hasn't got cold feet about marrying you?

How long have you been together and have you met his family? Turks are very family orientated and it would be unlikely that he would go against his families wishes and culture if there was opposition from them.

Islamic Traditions

Traditions differ in every country and the Turkish interpretation of Islam is in some ways different than those in other Arabic countries. These comments are basically relevant for Turkish culture:

  • Death is considered an act of God is not questioned. Faithful followers believe that all the events in the life-course of an individual, including the time and type of death, are pre-written by God.
  • People in grief are encouraged to show their feelings openly. They are encouraged to cry loudly as it is believed that crying cleans the soul. Any expression of rebellion against God's decision to take a person away from her/his dear ones is considered a sin.
  • Friends visit the house of the deceased and talk with the family members, encouraging them to describe how the death occurred, what they were doing at the time of death, etc.
  • For seven days, the family members are never left alone. Friends and neighbors bring food, as no cooking is supposed to be done in a funeral home during those seven days.
  • Traditionally, no television, radio or any musical devices would be allowed for 40 days but this practice has waned in recent years.
  • There is a religious prayer at the 40th and another at the 52nd day after the death.
  • Muslims are very sensitive to where their beloved ones are buried. They definitely want them buried in a cemetery for Muslims. They also want the funeral prayers to be led by a Muslim, not by a rabbi or a Christian priest.
  • A special ceremony and prayers accompany the funeral. The body is buried without the coffin and wrapped in white clothes, as it is believed that the body should touch the earth.
  • The body must be washed/bathed with certain rituals before the funeral ceremony begins. This usually takes place at either a special section of the mosque or in the morgue of the hospital. It is very upsetting when a body is buried without being washed.
  • When meeting with someone who has lost a relative, conversations start by saying: "May you be alive and May God's blessings be on him/her - the deceased."
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Thanks for your email.


We have been together for nearly 5 years. I have met all of his family apart from his mother.

I don't know if he has cold feet to be honest.

When i spoke to his sister, she thinks its a mark of respect for his mother.......






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If my mother died, the last thing I would want to do is have a wedding celebration. Maybe you should let him greive, and not ask about new wedding dates right now. It's the logical thing to do no matter what culture he's from. Seems like he gave you the most polite answer he could. 

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I was just about to wonder if his "mother" dying is even true...  You never met her and now he can't marry you because of her death?  Sounds a little fishy to me...


But yes, it's true that you would NOT be living together if not married.  That's not outlandish, even by American standards- ever hear of the term, "living in sin"?


I'd tell him that you respect his wait time (is it 40 weeks???  40 is big in Islam...) but if he doesn't set a date NOW and pay for the invitations to get printed, you're going to assume that he has no real intention of marrying you and you'll break it off. 


See what he says about that.  If he gets angry, I think you have your answer.



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Living together outside of marriage is becoming more widespread in Western countries, especially among younger people, to the extent it is almost normalized, certainly no longer really considered as "living in sin". 


Having said that, there are still those who hold traditional standards, including people from Muslim countries.  This could be why your fiance feels he must adhere to the culture of not marrying until a certain time has passed after the death of his mother.  And then there's the family honour side of things to consider.  I think even living in the UK for 20 years may not change him in that way.


KM1, I feel you may lose him if you push too hard.  After 5 years, a further 9-12 months in consideration of him & his family isn't asking too much.  Good luck to you! :)

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  • 3 months later...

Its not about the mother dying its about your relationship. If you want to marry her so do it, convence here. All old people like (her mother) have to die some day but life never stop there. Convence her and do marriage and buy some wonderful dresses for here. You will see that she will definetly going to marry you.

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