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How to marry a woman who was forced into getting married to another man?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by DarulIftaBirmingham

My Girlfreind ( a revert to Islam ) says she was blackmailed into marrying this dude, by saying if she doesn’t marry a Muslim guy, her parents ( who are non Muslims ) will marry her off to a non Muslim guy of their choice.   She was forced to pick one of the Muslim guy and she was married to him (she selected this guy from the list that she was given) her parents told her that they’ll kill themselves or die if she married me. But in her heart, she was 100% forced to marry and she had no intention of marrying, she says.   My question is, now we want to marry each other, and since her marriage was forceful and hence Haram, does she need to take a divorce from her husband to marry me   I mean legally ( with paperwork ) I understand, we have to divorce him to get married to me legally,   But what if we want to marry each other with by heart (meaning we are not going to get married on paper, rather just in front of Allah, baring him as witness, without any paper work, and just in front of 2 witnesses and a Maulana ) if we have to marry each other this way, do we need to have a Legal Divorce ? 

Because technically, since her marriage is INVALID to this guy, Islamically, she doesn’t need a divorce or a Khulla to get married to me. Is this understanding correct ? Please Help me and correct me if I am wrong.


In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.

You should firstly, stop contemplating and thinking about this girl as she is unlawful for you at present. She is also in somebody else’s Nikah.

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says in the Holy Qur’an:

Also (forbidden are) women already married, except those (slaves) whom your right hands possess.” (Surah Nisa v.24)

This is Shaitan trying to lead you astray. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has said, “Verily Shaitan is an enemy to you: so treat him as an enemy. He only invites his adherents, that they may become Companions of the Blazing Fire.” (Surah Fatir v.6)

Islam is a religion that instructs its followers to be moral and modest and does not allow its followers to tread the path of immorality and immodesty.  Allah enjoys on both males and females to restrain their eyes from looking at each other. “Enjoin the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their modesty… Likewise enjoin the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their modesty… (Surah An Nur: 30-31)

Ahadiths on the prohibition of men and women intermingling are many. Jarir ibn Abdullah narrates that I asked the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) about the sudden glance (that is cast) on the face (of a non-Mahram). He commanded me that I should turn away my eyes. (Muslim, 1015)

Uqba bin Amir narrates that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Beware of entering upon the ladies.” A man from the Ansar said, “Allah’s Apostle! What about the in-laws of the wife?” The Prophet replied, “The in-laws of the wife are death itself.” (Bukhari, Vol 7, 159)

Regarding your question, if this sister was forced to marry someone against her wishes then she can get the marriage cancelled through an Islamic Shariah Council.

You should contact the following person:

Maulana Yaqub Qasmi
Dewsbury, UK
Home/Office: +44 (1924) 464122

An Islamic Shari Committee can annul a marriage if they have at least three just persons sitting therein.  They should all be knowledgeable and well versed in Shariah laws on marriage and divorce.  An annulment issued by such a committee is valid in the Shariah.   (The Complete System of Talaq p.211)

An annulment of marriage can be effected in any of the following situations:

  1. The husband is missing completely
  2. The husband is absent with no known whereabouts
  3. The husband is incapable of maintaining his wife
  4. The husband is unwilling to maintain his wife
  5. The husband oppresses the wife such that he does not fulfil her rights
  6. The husband is castrated
  7. The husband is impotent
  8. The husband is insane
  9. The husband is afflicted with leprosy or any other illness which makes living with him difficult
  10. The choice of an immature when he/she attains maturity
  11. Husband or wife become apostate
  12. Foster relationship which only becomes known after Nikah (The Complete System of Divorce p.213)

Finally, unless the sister gets her marriage cancelled you will not be allowed to marry her whether legally and certainly not secretly in front of two witnesses and a scholar. This is because if the sister accepted the marriage i.e. the offer and acceptance of the marriage took place the marriage will be considered valid, even though she may have been forced emotionally or blackmailed to get married.   

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.

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