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Forced marriage in Islam

Question

What do the scholars of Islamic Shariah say about my client’s case:  My client claims to have been married against her will in Bangladesh. She claims the marriage to have taken place verbally and she was never asked for consent directly although she was over 18 at the time. She claims that if consent was ever provided, it was provided by one of her male relatives. However, she had never accepted the marriage with intention of treating the man as her husband. My Questions are:

Is this marriage valid under Islamic law? Is this lady free to marry another person?

Answer: 

According to the Sharia consent of both bride and groom is a condition of Nikah, the marriage.  A forced marriage is defined as a marriage conducted where consent of the bride, groom or both has been obtained through emotional pressure or physical abuse

يحرم على ولي المرأة أن يجبرها على الزواج بمن لا ترغب به ولا ترضاه ، لقوله صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : ( لَا تُنْكَحُ الْبِكْرُ حَتَّى تُسْتَأْذَنَ ). رواه البخاري (6968) ، ومسلم (1419)

First, it is unlawful for parents to marry their daughter forcibly with a man that she does not like, the Messenger said “You do not marry a woman until she has been asked for permission” (Bukhari: 6968) In the case you have cited since no consent was obtained from the daughter the marriage is not valid under the Islamic law. This marriage is unlawful as the hadith makes it clear.

There is another opinion that the forced marriage will be valid after consent from the bride, or if she was silent.

When parents married their daughter forcibly with a man, she does not like then she will be given a choice to accept this marriage or refuse it. Here are two more ahadith to corroborate this:

Abdullah ibn Abbas narrated: “A young lady came to the Prophet ﷺ and mentioned that her father had married her against her will, so the Prophet ﷺ allowed her to exercise her choice. (Abu-Dawud, Marriage (Kitab Al-Nikah):11: 2091)”

Khansa Bint Khidam said “My father married me to his nephew, and I did not like this match, so I complained to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. 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). (Fath al-Bari Sharh al-Bukhari 9/194, Ibn Majah Kitabun Nikah 1/602).

Allah ﷻ knows the best.

Signed on behalf of BFC

Dr Musharraf Hussain Al-Azhari

Dr Hafiz M Munir Al-Azhari