Forced Marriage In Islam | Everything You Should Know

Forced marriage in Islam is not allowed and highly condemned. There is sufficient evidence that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and his Messenger ﷺ made forced marriage Haram. And the scholars of Islam are preaching for the liberty of women as per the command of Allah and his Rasul ﷺ.

There are certain groups who frame Islam and Muslims of being this anti-women establishment. But Islam was the first entity religion that established women’s rights. It identified and eliminated the practice of forceful marriage and many other heinous crimes done against women.

In this article we put forth the views of forceful marriage in Islam. We talk about some of the most significant hadiths on the topic and some other important facts.

What is Forced Marriage?

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Forced marriage is when someone is pressured into marriage without their willing consent. This pressure might involve elements of duress or coercion. This can involve both physical or emotional coercion.

What Is Forced Marriage In Islam?

Most of the time the scenarios look like the following-

  • Threats of disowning the child
  • Threats of Divorce of parents
  • Traditions not set by shariah
  • Physically getting someone to a certain place without their consent
  • Or even physical assault

There can be other scenarios as well.

Quran and Hadith about Forced Marriage

Our prophet ﷺ distinctively outlawed force marriage.

Narrated from Ibn ‘Abbās (radiyallāhu anhumā) who said:

أنَّ جاريةً بكرًا أتتِ النبيَّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّمَ فذكرَتْ أنَّ أباها زوَّجها وهي كارهةٌ فخيَّرها النبيُّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّمَ

“A virgin girl came to the Prophet ﷺ and stated that her father had married her off against her will. So Allah’s Messenger ﷺ allowed her to choose [to either stay with him or to leave him].”

(Reported by Ahmad (2469), Abu Dāwud (2096, 2097) and Ibn Maajah (1875). Shaikh Al-Albāni graded the narration saheeh in his checking of Sunan Abī Dāwūd)

This clearly means if the women would have objected the marriage would have been annulled. But the hadith continues and the women in the hadith did not reject her father’s choice. But she came to the prophet ﷺ so that her sisters in Islam may understand the value of a women’s consent.

In the narration by Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him),

‘The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ emphasized that a woman who has previously been married must explicitly and verbally give her consent for her marriage. Similarly, it is imperative to obtain the consent of a virgin before arranging her marriage.’

Sahaba (R.A.) of the Messenger ﷺ  asked him, “How does she give her consent?”

The Holy Prophet ﷺ  said, “By remaining quiet.” So, a virgin’s silence is considered her consent.

Another hadith from Bukhari and Muslim on the topic

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said- “Until a virgin doesn’t give her permission, she shouldn’t be given in marriage.” [Bukhari, 6968; Muslim, 1419]

There are also many instances in Quran where Allah establishes the right of women hence ruling out forced marriage

Surah An-Nisa, Ayat 19

“O believers! It is not permissible for you to inherit women against their will”

The explanation of this ayat touches the culture of forcefully marrying the wife of a deceased person and inherit their assets. These practices are haram.

 If you cannot forcefully marry a widow you can not do it to a virgin as well.

 Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 232

When you divorce women and they have reached the end of their waiting period, do not let the guardians prevent them from re-marrying their ex-husbands if they come to an honorable agreement. This is joined on whoever has faith in Allah and the Last Day. This is purer and more dignifying for you. Allah knows and you do not know.

This verse advises not to stop women from marrying their chosen partners if both agree fairly. It’s especially relevant after a divorce when the waiting period ends, allowing the woman to remarry. Forced marriage is prohibited for divorced women, and this applies even more strongly to single women.

The scholars of Islam have also made it easier for us to understand the matter of forceful marriage in Islam.

Shaykh Ibn Taymiah said-

Forcing a girl into marriage without her consent doesn’t serve the concept of Islamic principles, and it is against common sense. It is because Allah Subhanahu Ta’ala didn’t even allow the girl’s fathers to buy or rent something for her forcefully.

So, how can a father force his girl to sleep and live with someone she doesn’t want to sleep with and she doesn’t want to live with? [Majmu‘ al-Fatawa, 32/25]

But Is Forced Marriage Valid? Islamic Law Against Forced Marriage

Islam unequivocally prohibits forced marriages, and this principle is well-established. Nevertheless, let’s ponder upon a situation where the bride or groom is subjected to immense pressure and compelled to give their consent, resulting in the completion of the marriage contract through offer and acceptance (Al-Ijaab wa al-qubool).

If a virgin is in puberty and is forced to marry someone she doesn’t want, the validity of marriage will depend on her decision.

Let’s read the following hadith again-

“Buraydah ibn al-Hasib said: A girl came to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and said: “My father married me to his brother’s son so that he might raise his own status thereby.”

The Holy Messenger ﷺ asked her to make a choice.  The girl said: I approve of what my father did, but I wanted women to know that their fathers have no right to do that.” [Ibn Majah: 1874, Classified as sahih by al-Buwaysiri in Masabih az-Zujajah, 2/102, Also classified as sahih by Shaykh Muqbil al-Wadi‘i based on Muslim]

This marriage is invalid if the girl doesn’t accept it. But the marriage is valid if the girl accepts it or doesn’t protest against it. The groom can’t force the girl into intercourse.

This is about virgin girls. We have another example in front of us about a woman whose father forcibly gave her in marriage against her consent. This incident was with Khansaa Bint Khizaam (R.A). She was married previously.

She later came to the Holy Messenger of Allah ﷺ with the case. Then, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ rejected the marriage and declared it void.

So, parents forcing for marriage their children should be aware of it. Forcing marriage could be a culture in many communities. But Islam doesn’t allow it.

Islamic Laws on Revoke the Marriage When Attaining Puberty

All classical Islamic laws allow all fathers to give in marriage their pre-pubescent virgin children without their consent. But when the children reach puberty, they can take advantage of the “option of puberty” (khiyar al-bulugh).

But they can do so if their marriage is done by

  • Fraudulently,
  • Negligently, or
  • Someone else except for father and grandfather.

Mukhtasar Al Quduri, a very famous fiqh law of the Hanafi school of jurisprudence, mentioned the following law for the forced marriage of pre-pubescent virgin children.

“If the father or grandfather gives the child in marriage to someone, he/she can’t revoke the marriage after attaining puberty. But, if someone other than the father and grandfather gives the child to someone in marriage, he/she can decide one of the two following actions.

1.        Can keep the marriage

2.        Can reject the marriage.”

[Mukhtasar Al Quduri Chapter 32 (Nikah), p. 329 translated by Tahir Mahmood Kiani]

Related Questions

We have added two related questions about forced marriage in Islam, which may help you to understand the issue clearly.

  1. What is the primary difference between arranged marriage and forced marriage?

The primary difference is the consent. If both families from the bride and groom’s sides finalize the marriage with the consent of the bride and groom, it is a good example of an arranged marriage.         

  • What is the minimum age for marriage in Islam?

There is no such age limit in Islamic Shariah for the minimum age for marriage.  As Allah says, ‘Marry those among you who are unmarried… If they are destitute, Allah will provide for them by His grace [Surah An-Noor 24/32].

So, if the child is likely to be involved in immorality, marriage should be given as soon as possible. And if that is not possible, especially for a boy, one can wait until the financial ability to manage the family comes. As Allah says, ‘And those who cannot afford marriage, let them exercise self-control until Allah relieves them of want by His grace… ‘ [Noor 24/33].  [At Tahreek]

Final Words

So, it is pretty clear that there is no place for forced marriage in Islam. Marriages can only happen with the willful consent of a man and a women.

Islamic Shariah answers the problems of all men and women. So, there will be unique situations with different people and different times. We have the Ulama is always there to help us.

May Allah guide us all in the right path.

Talha Ubaidullah
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