I begin with the Name of Allaah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
“We do not think that there is anything better for those who love one another than marriage.” Narrated by ibn Majah (1847) and authenticated by al-Albani in as-Sahihah (624).
Marriage is an institution legitimized by Allaah the Exalted as a demonstration of His Favor, Mercy and Grace to humanity. It is an important social, legal as well as spiritual concept in the life of a believer, the foundation of which is love and mercy.
Allaah the Exalted says: “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you, affection and mercy.” Qur’an 30:21.
It can be deduced from the above verse that a man stays with a woman because he loves her, or because he feels compassion towards her if they have a child together, or because she needs him to take care of her or because they get along well. This has been alluded to by ibn Katheer under the Tafseer of the above verse. The reverse is the case for a woman too.
Love and affection are something created by Allaah. Often at times, nobody gets to decide who they get emotionally attached to.
Be it as it may, it is important to note that, Islamically, it is not permissible to force a woman to marry someone she does not want. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was very categorical about the fact that a woman’s permission should be sought before marrying her off.
In the hadith narrated by Imam Nasaai (3217), authenticated by Shuaib al-Arnaoot in Tahkreej Zaad al-Maad (5/87), Aisha (May Allaah be pleased with her) reported that a girl came to her and said, My father married me to his brother’s son in order to raise his social standing, and I did not want this marriage (I was forced into it). Aisha said, sit here until the Prophet (peace be upon him) came and she told him about the girl. The Prophet (peace be upon him) sent for her father, then he gave the girl the choice of what to do. She said, O Messenger of Allaah, I have accepted the way my father did, but I wanted to prove something to other women.”
Notably, if forced marriage is something allowed in Islam, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would not have bothered to call the girl’s father and give her the choice of what to do – of either seeking for divorce or accept her father’s decision.
In addition, the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) said: “A previously-married woman should not be married without being consulted, and a virgin should not be married without asking her permission. They said, O Messenger of Allaah, how is her permission given? He said, by her silence.” Sahih al-Bukhari 6455.
(By her silence) means, her silence is her permission and acceptance of the proposal. Also, this hadith is a clear demonstration of the respect and value Islam attaches to a woman and her opinion.
Consequently, it is haram (prohibited) for a woman to be forced to marry someone she does not want or does not like because of the above evidences and this is the position of the scholars.
Today, many marriages are shadows of what an ideal marriage should be. Some spouses are forced on each other for selfish reasons beneficial only to their parents or guardians.
At the introductory part of this sermon, it was made clear that Allaah wants love and compassion between the spouses. Undoubtedly, an atmosphere of hate and resentment in her heart towards the husband will not lead to love and compassion. Many have lived in marriages for more than two decades without ever getting to taste what a happy marriage is because probably, the marriage was either forced on the wife or the husband.
Alas! Just as that father of yesteryears married his daughter off to raise his social status, many parents and guardians are guilty of that today. Arranged marriages often not in the interest of the daughter but that of the Parents or the guardians. Why would there not be tension in married homes? Young girls being forced to marry those they have no inclinations toward just for the selfish interest of their parents or guardians.
As a result, those that are victims of forced marriages end up being depressed, frustrated and demoralized. The marital atmosphere will not accommodate simple courtesy of showing gratitude and appreciating each other because of the absence of love and compassion.
Sad tales of girls getting to know about their marriages few days or weeks after their parents or guardians have made all the arrangements. Parents and guardians need to know that they are not the ones that will live the marital life for their daughters. Hence, forcing them to marry others without their consent is tantamount to sentencing them to solitary confinement in an isolated prison of depression and mental abuse. Who wants that for his daughter?
Such societies where forced marriages are prevalent will not be free of sad and unfortunate events amongst spouses. With the ease of communication via mobile phones and social media platforms, a girl that is forced to marry someone she does not like – if not contained within moral boundaries- will always find a way of contacting whom she loves and if this is not a great fitnah (trial) then fitnah has no reality.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) has given an everlasting formula to preventing immorality from creeping into marital homes. He said: “We do not think that there is anything better for those who love one another than marriage.” Narrated by ibn Majah (1847)
With regards to forced marriages, Ibn Taymiyah in his usual analytical style said: “With regard to giving her in marriage when she is reluctant, this is contrary to the basic principles and common sense. Moreover Allaah did not allow her guardian to force her into buying or renting without her permission, or to eat or drink or wear something that she does not want, so how can he force her into sleeping with and living with someone she does not want to sleep with, and living with someone she does not want to live with…? Majmoo’ al-Fataawa 32/24.
Oh sisters that are forced to marry others, know that the marriage contract depends on your decision as did the Prophet (peace be upon him) with that girl that was forced into marriage. If you accept the marriage afterwards, then it becomes valid otherwise you may decide to seek for the end of the marriage.
Whoever desires good for his womenfolk, should not subject his daughter or a woman under his guardianship to a life of misery under the guise of arranged marriages mostly forced upon her for selfish – worldly interests.
May Allaah rectify our affairs.
Mr Abdallah can be reached via Twitter: @Penabdull and Instagram: @Penabdul