|In the Name of Allah, the Inspirer of Truth.
Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
All the scholars agree that “offer and acceptance” (Al-Ijaab wa al-qubool) are amongst the pillars of marriage. Both bride and bridegroom must agree to the marriage contract, in order for the marriage to be valid. Forced marriages are a misnomer (an incorrect or unsuitable name) in most cases. I don’t think many persons are “forced” to get married. What we must stress here is where someone is coerced into a marriage contract, employing both physical and emotional pressure, it is not permitted, and a highly reprehensible act.
Sure, at times, persons may have family pressures to get married to so and so, which can be termed an “arranged marriage” of some sort. One wishes not to rock the boat and gets married to this person, whilst quietly regarding it as a kind of coercion. Whilst that may be the case to some extent, Islam gives the undeniable right NOT to get married, so one should refuse quite clearly if one is not comfortable for whatever reason – this is your Islamic right.
(1) Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (R.A) narrates that
Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “A
previously married woman should not be given in
marriage until she is consulted (i.e. gives her
consent directly and verbally) and a virgin is not to
be given in marriage unless her consent is taken. The
Sahabah (R.A) enquired, “How does she give her
Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) replied, “By
remaining quiet.” (i.e. a virgin’s silence is
considered as her approval).
(Bukhari and Muslim)
(2) Hadhrat Khansaa Bint Khizaam (R.A) narrates that
her father gave her in marriage against her wish while
she was previously married (i.e. not a virgin).
She came to Raulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam)
and he rejected the Nikah. (Bukhari).
To conclude, forced marriages where the bride or bridegroom have not agreed to marry, are not permitted or accepted in Islam. Where, the persons have been convinced and pressured into agreeing to marry a person, then the act itself may not be permitted, however the marriage itself is valid and accepted.
And Allah knows Best
Wa Alaykumussalaam Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh
(Mufti) Abdullah Patel
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