By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam
25 August 2021
Forced Marriages Are Invalid in Islam
. With Taliban reportedly forcing young women, even minors, and young widows to marry their fighters, the issue of forced marriage's validity in Islam has come to the fore.
• The consent of a woman who is to be married is a prerequisite for the validity of the marriage.
• Nikah in Islam is not just a social connection between two people but also a fundamental pillar of the sustenance of human society.
• Forcing a woman to marry against her choice is forbidden in Islam.
• The Prophet [peace be upon him] Declared the forced Marriage of a woman invalid.
• Neither Shariah nor modern-day laws permit the forced marriages.
With Taliban reportedly forcing young women, even minors, and widows to marry their fighters, the issue of forced marriage's validity in Islam has come to the fore.
Forced marriages are unequivocally prohibited and invalid in Islam. Because the consent of a woman who is to be married is a prerequisite for the validity of the marriage, it is only fair that she chooses her future husband.
Nikah [marriage] is more than just a social connection between two people, a personal desire, a natural longing, or a private affair. It is a fundamental pillar of the sustenance of human society and possesses a special significance in Islam, as evidenced by the fact that every divine rule from the time of Hazrat Adam [peace be upon him] to the divine law of the last Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] has recognized it. Nikah in Islam requires that the couple lead their life happily, respecting the rights of each other. This is possible only when their marriage takes place with their mutual consent. Therefore Islam has imposed some conditions and commands concerning a successful and valid Nikah. One of the conditions for the validity of Nikah in Islam is mutual consent. Marriage in Islam can’t be valid without the consent of the woman who is to be married. Whether she is a virgin or has been married before, her approval is required before her parent or guardian can act on her behalf in any marriage contract
Forcing a woman to marry against her choice is forbidden in Islam and thus the marriage done by the force is not valid in Islam. A woman once complained to the Prophet (peace be upon him) about her father marrying her to his nephew without her permission. Her father, she said, intended to improve his reputation by marrying her. The marriage was cancelled by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). “Now that I am free, I freely consent to this marriage,” the woman later told the Prophet (peace be upon him), “I only wanted it to be known that males have no say over women in their marriages.”. Imam Bukhari has narrated this event in his compilation of Hadiths [Sahih Bukhari] under the chapter “If a man marries his daughter notwithstanding her opposition, the marriage is null and void”. The full hadith is as follows;
Khansa bint [the daughter of] Khidam Al-Ansariya narrated that her father married her [without obtaining her permission, to someone] when she was a widow [and an adult] and she disliked that marriage. So, she came to Allah’s Messenger [peace be upon him] and he declared that marriage invalid. (Sahih Bukhari, 5138, Book 67, Hadith 74/ Also in other books of Ahadith such as Abu Dawud 2101, Nasa’i 3268, Ibn Majah 1873, Darimi 2192, Musnad Ahmad 6-328, Mishkatul Masabih 3128)
First, get women’s consent and then marry them to men. This has been emphasized as a condition for the validity of marriage in numerous Ahadith [plural of hadith].
It is narrated by Hazrat Abu Hurayrah [may Allah be pleased with him] that Allah’s Messenger [peace be upon him] said, “A woman who has no husband [Ayyim] must not be married until she is consulted, and a virgin must not be married except after her permission”. They [the companions/Sahaba] asked, “O Messenger of Allah, how can we know her permission”? He said, “Her silence [indicates her permission]”. [Sahih Bukhari 6968, Sahih Muslim 64-1419, Tirmidhi 1109, Abu Dawud 2092, Nasa’i 5611, Ibn Majah 1871, Musnad Ahmad 2-250, Darimi 2186]
Ayyim mentioned in the Arabic version of the aforementioned hadith means a lady without a husband. This could refer to a divorced woman or a widow. Because such a lady is generally less bashful, the techniques for obtaining her consent differ. She will either make a request or offer a clear hint that she wishes to marry someone. On the contrary to the older women, the virgin is generally shy, yet when questioned, she will respond with silence rather than an audible response. As a result, her silence in this circumstance is interpreted as approval. The Hanafis base this hadith to state that the marriage of an adult virgin [Bakirah Balighah] is not valid except after her permission.
It is reported by Hazrat Ibn Abbas that Allah’s Messenger [peace be upon him] said, “The Ayyim [meaning a divorced, or widow, adult and sane] has greater right [about the marriage of herself] than her guardian. A virgin [who is an adult] must be asked for permission about herself [i.e. about her marriage]. Her permission is her silence”. [Sahih Muslim 2-1036]
It has become clear from the above discussion that in Islam the consent of both the bride and groom is required for the nikah [marriage] to be legal and valid. As for the right of consent for men to marry women, this can be derived from the following Quranic verse which reads: “Marry the women whom you like” (4:3) Both the boy and the girl must consent in the presence of two witnesses for the Nikah [marriage] to be legitimate in exchange for the Mahar [a necessary payment of a sum of money as a gift given as a token of respect to the wife]. It is also evident that no one in Islam has the right to force a girl to marry him; neither Shariah nor modern-day laws permit it. If anyone tries to do so, a complaint must be filed immediately with the appropriate authorities so that the girl can be freed from tyranny.
A regular Columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator.
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