Answered by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
What should the parents do if the daughter is adamant that she does not want to marry someone from her own background
Respecting and pleasing our parents are paramount.
Sayyiduna Abu Bakrah narrates that the Holy Prophet said:
As for all those other sins, Allah Ta’ala defers whichever He wills up to the Last Day of Qiyamah – except the sin of depriving parents of their rights and disobeying them. The punishment for that is given, much before the Hereafter comes, right here in this world as well. [Bayhaqi, Shuab Al-Imaan]
Marriage is a long-term relationship. Hence, every individual should marry according to his/her choice. On the other hand a brother and sister should not marry without consulting his/her parents.
The Prophet of Allah has said, “A lady is married for one of four reasons, wealth, rank, beauty or piety. Choose the possessor of piety and achieve success.” (Sahih Bukhari p.762 v.2)
Regarding this hadeeth, Hafiz Ibn Hajar has said in Fathul Bari: “And it is taken from this that one with a noble lineage, it is better for him to marry one with a noble lineage, unless the lineage contradicts with a religious woman, or one with noble lineage contradicts a non-religious woman, then the religious woman is chosen. And it is likewise in the other three traits.” (p.41 v.9)
The main criterion for marrying is that the person must be religious, irrespective of whether one is Bangladeshi or not. If a brother is found to be pious and religious, he should be considered for this sister in question.
Saiduna Ali narrates that the Prophet of Allah said, “O Ali! Never delay in 3 matters; Salaat – when it’s time is nigh; Janaaza – when it is ready (before you), an unmarried woman – when her Kuff (suitable partner) is found.” (Sunan Tirmizi p.43 v.1)
However, at the same time it needs to be highlighted that when it comes to family situations and relations one should not be too stubborn and dogged in their approach. One should use wisdom and tolerance. The approach taken by the sister seems a bit too over the top. If for example, if all the Bangladeshi boys all over the world were known to be bad and irreligious, then fair enough everyone will understand her stance. But, Alhamdulilah there are many Bangladeshi boys who are pious, religious, knowledgeable and following the deen and the Sunnah.
Furthermore, the reasons she has put forward about cultural issues are also prevalent in other ethnicities as well.
It is mentioned in a hadith which can be found in Sunan Tirmizi that the Prophet of Allah said, there is no wisdom without experience.
In other words a person gains wisdom, understanding and tolerance through experience. The sister in question is still young, naïve to a certain extent, she just seen her family or relatives who dare I say it may be religiously backward and she thinks every Bangladeshi family are religiously backward and not pious.
My advice would be if someone respectable in the family or even a local Imam could speak to her and explain the situation, Insha Allah she will understand.
Regarding the questions:
Can the daughter marry without the consent of her parents
The initial view of the Hanafi school of thought was that the marriage of a free sane adult woman without the approval of her guardian is valid if the person she is marrying is a legal and suitable match for her in terms of their religion, independence, lineage and possession. If the person happens to be unsuitable for her in terms of the aforementioned categories then the marriage will be deemed invalid.
However due to the corrupt nature of society today (Fasad-zaman), if a free, sane adult women gets married without her guardians consent, the marriage will be valid irrespective of whether the man is a suitable match for her or not. (Raddul-Muhtar p157v4)
According to the teachings of Imam Shafee, Imam Malik and Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal it is necessary for a woman to seek permission from her guardian in order to get married.
“The Prophet of Allah has said, “There is no marriage without the consent of the guardians.” (Sunan Abu Dawud P284v1 & Sunan Ibn Majah p135 v1)
Can the Imam act as the Wali?
The person who has the power or choice of getting an immature boy or immature girl and mature girl is called a wali. If the following people are present, then the Imam cannot be a Wali.
The wali is the “asabah” consists of the following:
Uncle…(Raddul Muhtar P.190 V.4)
However, as I mentioned above, the marriage will be done in the Hanafi Fiqh without the need of a Wali.
Do the parents have the right to refrain from the wedding if they are not happy with the choice of their daughter?
In principle, they don’t have a right to stay away from the wedding. It might be a good idea for at least some family members to be there to maintain ties. However, if they are upset and their feelings have been hurt because she married someone without their consent then they can refrain from going to the wedding with the intention of rectification.
The basis of the aforementioned ruling is deduced from the incident when the Prophet of Allah and the Companions abstained from talking to Kaab Ibn Malik , Murara Ibn Rabi Radiallahu Anhu and Hilal Ibn Umayya for 50 nights until Allah revealed an ayat regarding their forgiveness in the Holy Quran. (Maariful Quran p.489 v.4)
Is it a sin to expect or insist the daughter to marry from the same background (Bangladeshi)?
It will be wrong if it is based on nationalism or pride.
Daughter also refusing on the grounds of ethnicity so is this not the same situation as the parents are in?
The daughter should refuse anyone because of ethnicity. It should be based on whether the prospective suitor is pious or not.
By telling the mother not to look for a suitor is that a sin on the daughter’s side or is she in her rights to find her own suitor?
The daughter can look for a prospective suitor herself. However, for parents helping one’s children marry and find a suitable life-partner is an important parental responsibility.
Saaiduna Umar ibn al-Khattab and Anas ibn Malik narrate that the Prophet of Allah said: “It is written in the Tawrah that: who’s daughter reaches the age of twelve years and he fails to marry her off, then if she commits a sin, the sin will be on the father.” (Mishkat Masabih)
In light of the above, it becomes clear that it is the moral and Islamic responsibility of the parents to actively look for a suitable spouse for their children and do whatever they can in order for them to find a suitable life companion. However, parents should remember they cannot force their chosen spouse for their children, otherwise, it will become a forced marriage.
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham
This answer was collected from DarulIftaBirmingham.co.uk, which is run under the supervision of Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah from the United Kingdom.