Question # 227: Assalamu’alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh…. Is a parent have the right to force their children to marry someone if they are not ready to do so??
Bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,
Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: The parents have no right to force their children into marrying someone they do not want to. In case of a daughter, although the father has the right to marry her to whomever he thinks is qualified for her, even without her permission as a virgin, she has a full authority to approve or disapprove his action. However, if she is married off without her consent, then the marriage contract is invalid, because it is a forbidden contract which cannot be validated. Nevertheless, it is not permissible for her to marry anyone else until the first husband divorces her. In case the husband refuses to divorce her, then the shar‘i judge may annul her marriage. In case of a son, who is forced by his parents to marry someone whom he does not want to, he is not considered to be sinning by refusing and disobeying them.
CASE OF DAUGHTERS
Dr. Main Khalid Al-Qudah, Member of the Fatwa Committee of Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America says “[The] father [of a daughter] has the right to marry [her] to whomever he thinks is qualified for [her], even without [her] permission as a virgin. However, this right does not mean dictating his opinion and enforcing [her] to marry someone [she] do not like. In another word, he has the right to conduct the marriage contract for [his daughter], meanwhile, [she] has a full authority to approve or to disapprove his action.”
[In other words,] it is haraam for the parent or the guardian (wali) of the woman to force her to marry someone she does not want and does not like, because the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “The virgin should not be given in marriage until her permission has been sought.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: With regard to giving her in marriage when she is reluctant, this is contrary to the basic principles and common sense. Moreover, Allah did not allow her guardian to force her into buying or renting [something] without her permission, or to eat or drink or wear something that she does not want, so how can he force her into sleeping with and living with someone she does not want to sleep with, and living with someone she does not want to live with. Allah wants love and compassion between the spouses, and how can that be attained when she hates him and does not like him? What kind of love and compassion can there be in that case?” (Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa)
If the marriage takes place without her consent, then the marriage contract depends upon the woman’s approval. If she approves of it, then it becomes a valid marriage contract, and there is no need to repeat it. But if she does not approve of it, then it is an invalid marriage contract. It was narrated that Buraydah ibn al-Haseeb said: A young woman came to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and said: My father married me to his brother’s son so that he might raise his own status thereby. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) gave her the choice, and she said: I approve of what my father did, but I wanted women to know that their fathers have no right to do that. (Narrated by Ibn Maajah; classed as sahih by al-Buwaysiri in Misbaah az-Zujaajah)
The majority of scholars are of the view that if a woman is married off without her consent, then the marriage contract is invalid, because it is a forbidden contract which cannot be validated. This is the view of the Shafi’is and Hanbalis. The view of the Hanafis, which was also narrated in one report from Ahmad, is that the contract is dependent upon the woman’s acceptance. If she gives her consent then it is valid, otherwise she may annul it. (See al-Mughni; Fath al-Baari)
Ibn Qudaamah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “If a woman is married on the basis of an invalid marriage contract, it is not permissible for her to marry anyone else until the first husband divorces her or her marriage is annulled. If he refuses to divorce her, then the [shar‘i] judge may annul her marriage. This was stated by Ahmad.” (al-Mughni)
CASE OF SONS
Ibn Muflih al-Hanbali (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “The parents have no right to force their son to marry someone he does not want. Shaykh Taqiy al-Deen (i.e., Ibn Taymiyah – may Allah have mercy on him) said: Neither of the parents has the right to force their son to marry someone whom he does not want, and if he refuses then he is not sinning by disobeying them, because no one has the right to force him to eat food he finds off-putting when there is food that he wants to eat, and marriage is like that and more so. Food that one is forced to eat is unpleasant for a short while, but a forced marriage lasts for a long time, and it harms a person and he cannot leave it. (Al-Adaab al-Shar’iyyah)
(Most part of the above reply is based on various answers provided by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid on the topic)
Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.