07 Jul Can women be forced into a marriage?
Can women be forced into a marriage?
My parents keep trying to get me engaged to my cousin. I consider this to be forceful because although I have said no MANY times, my parents will not take me seriously, keep finding pathetic refutes to all my reasons why i dont want to marry him, and they will not break off the engagement. I even showed them evidence in Islam that states you cannot force a woman to marry. How do i deal with this while hurting my parents as least as possible?
I think you need to show them stronger evidence, as what you can and cannot do is something I cannot know because I do not know your parents, the seriousness of the situation, but this is what I can offer, which are the relevant ayat from The Qur’an and the Hadith from the Sunnah:
وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا أَمْوَالُكُمْ وَأَوْلَادُكُمْ فِتْنَةٌ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ عِنْدَهُ أَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ
“and know that your worldly goods and your children are but a trial and a temptation, and that with God there is a tremendous reward.” [8:28]
As you can see, the word is “Fitnah” and should be understood as a test and trial, and that we shall be judged by how we treat our wealth and our children.
This is not the only place where this happens, as it is repeated, again:
إِنَّمَا أَمْوَالُكُمْ وَأَوْلَادُكُمْ فِتْنَةٌ ۚ وَاللَّهُ عِنْدَهُ أَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ
“Your worldly goods and your children are but a trial and a temptation, whereas with God there is a tremendous reward.” [64:15]
If you want to remind your parents that forgiveness is important, then you may quote from this ayah:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّ مِنْ أَزْوَاجِكُمْ وَأَوْلَادِكُمْ عَدُوًّا لَكُمْ فَاحْذَرُوهُمْ ۚ وَإِنْ تَعْفُوا وَتَصْفَحُوا وَتَغْفِرُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ
“O you who have attained to faith! Behold, some of your spouses and your children are enemies unto you: so beware of them! But if you pardon [their faults] and forbear, and forgive – then, behold, God will be much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace.” [64:14]
Furthermore, when it comes to the Seerah of The Prophet, when Ali ibn Abu Talib asked Fatima az-Zahra, it was Fatima’s choice whether she wanted to marry him or not, which she did, through accepting Ali’s proposal.
There is also two Hadith, the first narrated by Aisha, in Bukhari, which says the following:
I said, “O God’s Messenger (SAW)! A virgin feels shy.” He said, “Her consent is (expressed by) her silence.”
This means that if she does not give consent, she will say something.
Another Hadith, narrated by Abu Huraira, also in Bukhari reports the following:
“The Prophet (SAW) said, “A matron should not be given in marriage except after consulting her; and a virgin should not be given in marriage except after her permission.” The people asked, “O God’s Messenger (SAW)! How can we know her permission?” He said, “Her silence (indicates her permission).”
If you do not give your permission, it is stated, clearly by The Prophet (SAW) that marriage can only happen with her permission. The idea of “her silence” is a product of their times and how they did things, but it does not change the idea that your permission is needed and required.
In fact, another Hadith, this time narrated by Khansa bint Khidam Al-Ansariya, also in Bukhari, she reported the following:
“that her father gave her in marriage when she was a matron and she disliked that marriage. So she went to God’s Messenger (SAW) and he declared that marriage invalid.”
There is another variation of this Hadith, again, by Bukhari, narrated by the same woman, which goes as the following:
“My father married me to his nephew, and I did not like this match, so I complained to the Messenger of God (PBUH). He said to me: `Accept what your father has arranged.’ I said, `I do not wish to accept what my father has arranged.’ He said, `Then this marriage is invalid, go and marry whomever you wish.’ I said, `I have accepted what my father has arranged, but I wanted women to know that fathers have no right in their daughter’s matters (i.e. they have no right to force a marriage on them).”
This version is found in Fath al-Bari, the commentary on Bukhari, by the foremost scholar on Bukhari, Ibn Hajar.
The commentary on this Hadith, found in The Ideal Muslimah, says the following:
“At first, the Prophet (PBUH) told al-Khansa’ to obey her father, and this is as it should be, because the concern of fathers for their daughters’ well-being is well-known. But when he realized that her father wanted to force her into a marriage she did not want, he gave her the freedom to choose, and saved her from the oppression of a father who wanted to force her into an unwanted marriage.”
Another proof of why it is important for a woman to be in agreement, is the following:
There is a report in which the wife of Thabit ibn Qays ibn Shammas, Jamilah the sister of `Abdullah ibn Ubayy, came to the Prophet (PBUH) and said: “O Messenger of God, I have nothing against Thabit ibn Qays as regards his religion or his behaviour, but I hate to commit any act of kufr when I am a Muslim. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Will you give his garden back to him?” – her mahr had been a garden. She said, “Yes.” So the Messenger of God sent word to him: “Take back your garden, and give her one pronouncement of divorce.”
According to a report given by Bukhari from Ibn `Abbas, she said, “I do not blame Thabit for anything with regard to his religion or his behaviour, but I do not like him.”
Therefore, there are other factors, beyond religion and behavior (deen wa akhlaq) that must be considered, and the woman has a choice in this, as is the command of The Prophet.
Remember that The Qur’an refers to marriage as the following:
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَنْفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ مَوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
“And among His wonders is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you might incline towards them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you: in this, behold, there are messages indeed for people who think!” [30:21]
If you do not follow the Sunnah of Rasul Allah (SAW) then you cannot have a marriage of love and tenderness, which is as God desires for us, and which is guaranteed should be ensure that we maintain the Sunnah.
If your parents do not like what you have to say, then you can refer them to the following Fatwa by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani which can be read here:
You are completely within your rights to refuse, and there is nothing in The Qur’an or Sunnah that would ever, ever say that you aren’t allowed to refuse, full stop.
I will be praying for you and I hope this helps, insha Allah.