Q: I am a 17 year old boy from Brisbane, Australia but orginaly from Pakistan and I was wondering if an Imam can advise me on a problem I am currently seeing happen with my own eyes.
There is a 16 year old muslim girl whom I know very well, you can call me her best friend pretty much. She is from India and like me, she is also in her last year of school in Australia and university will start next year. Me and her have been friends since last year and were hoping that in 3 to 4 years Insha-Allah we will tell our parents about each other and arrange a marriage for us Insha-Allah. Unfortunately her parents are very abusive and strict parents, I have heard from her about the many different cases of them beating her up everyday for little things like forgetting to wash the laundry. Wallah I am not lying this is all true. A few weeks ago her mum was beating her up and said the following words to her “you are my daughter and I can do whatever I want to you and you can do nothing but obey me because I own you.” I was absolutely shocked when I heard this. Wallahi all of this is true she has been constantly getting abused by her mum and dad since she was a little girl and her older brother seems to join in when he wants to.
Recently, her parents told her that they want to get her engaged at the end of the year and she doesn’t want this to happen. They have been forcing her to accept whatever they say and live with whoever they want and they made some cultural comments like no one else will be allowed to marry her except an Indian boy, no arab no pakistani no one except an Indian. She told me that she doesn’t want this to happen and has been crying and feeling depressed from many days now. My question is, what is Islam’s view on forced marriage and what can this girl do to avoid what her parents are doing because they have been abusing and forcing her to do as they say and she does not wish to get engaged to anyone by force and only wants to engage someone who she will accept with her heart but she feels like whoever her parents show her, she will only accept because of fear out of what they will do if she says no due to their abusive nature and not because she actually accepts the boy.
If possible, can you please advise me on what this girl should do and how she can seek help? What does Islam say about a scenario like this and what can this girl do to avoid forced marriage? I am looking forward to the Imam’s advice Insha-Allah it will be greatly appreciated.
A: I suggest that she should speak to some of the elders of her family. Maybe they can explain the situation to her parents.
And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)