Is it permissible to force a girl or woman into marriage?
Submitted by on Mon, 12/01/2009 - 22:20
Dear Brother / Sister,
If a female or a male is forced into marriage by being threatened with death, intensive beating or long-term imprisonment, that marriage is not valid. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) stated the following regarding the issue:
“Allah forgave my ummah for actions carried out as a result of mistakes, forgetting and being forced for my sake.”1
The following hadith reported by Imam Nasai enlightens the issue in a very nice way:
Hansa, the daughter of Hidama from Ansar, goes to Hazrat Aisha and complains to her:
“My father forced me into marriage with the son of his brother to increase his prestige. I do not want him.”
Hazrat Aisha says “wait until the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) comes” and makes her sit down.
When the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) comes, Hazrat Aisha informs him about the situation. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) sends for the father of the girl and gives the girl the authority to marry.
Then Hansa says to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH):
“O Messenger of Allah! I will accept to marry him but I wanted to make it clear that fathers had no authority to force their daughters into marriage.”2
What we understand from taking the authority from fathers is that they cannot force their daughters into marriage. Both of the hadiths above show that the consent by the female is one of the conditions for the marriage to be valid. Since forcing eliminates consent, the marriage becomes invalid.
This decision is the view of the majority of the mujtahid imams. However, Hanafi sect has a different view. According to Hanafis, consent, in essence, is not one of the conditions for the marriage to be valid. As evidence, they present the hadith that states being serious and making a joke have the same effect in carrying out the act of marriage.
However, the view of the majority of the imams regarding the issue is better in terms of the state of the home to be set up and to prevent unjust treatment of the parties in marriage.
1 Ibn Majah, Talaq: 16.
2 Nasai, Nikâh: 36.
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