Hadeeth 8: A woman cannot be forced into marriage―and if her guardian marries her to a man without her permission and she dislikes that, the marriage is nullified: 40 Hadeeth on the Manners and Conduct of Women.

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Hadeeth 8: A Woman Cannot be Forced into Marriage. If a Guardian Marries her to Someone without her Permission, and she Dislikes that, the Marriage Contract is Nullified

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 (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) and stated that her father had married her off against her will. So Allah’s Messenger 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)

Benefits and lessons:

1. Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullāh) and before him Shaikh Al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah stated a woman cannot be married to a man except with her permission, regardless of her age, or whether or not she has been previously married. The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) stated:

لا تُنكحُ البكرُ حتى تُستأذنَ

“A virgin cannot be given away in marriage until she gives her permission.” (Al-Bukhari, 5136). So the virgin is not to be married until she reaches the age when she is able to give her informed consent to marry. Ibn Shabramah from the well-known jurists stated: “This is the correct view: The father cannot marry off his daughter until she has reached the age of marriage (adulthood). And once she has reached the age of marriage, she cannot be married off unless she is happy with the marriage.” (See Sharh Al-Mumti’, 12/57-58 and 12/28, and his Tafseer of Al-Baqarah, 3/139-140)

2. The guardian (the father) has no right to spend the wealth of his daughter unless she gives him permission, so how is possible for him to take possession of her right over her body and give her away in marriage to someone she may regard to the most horrid of men.

3. Shaikh Al-Fawzān stated, “So this hadeeth proves that the guardian of a woman cannot marry her off except with her permission, even if she is a virgin. So long as she is an adult woman, and sane, there is no compulsion upon her. So she has the right to choose or refuse. If the guardian contracts a marriage without her being pleased, she has a free choice, if she wishes to remain (then the marriage is sound), because the contract is completed with its conditions. However, she has a choice to repel the harm she has been caused – so if she wishes, she can proceed (and accept) the contract, and if she wishes she can nullify it.

This is a very important affair since there are many verifiers amongst the scholars who have said this: “The virgin cannot be forced by her guardian into marriage.” But you still find those who oppose that claiming that the guardian has a right to compel the virgin girl. So this hadeeth is a clear evidence in this matter, that she cannot be compelled.

In this hadeeth also is proof that the nullification of the marriage is a particular duty assigned to the ruler because of the fact that this woman came to the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) – and that clearly proves that if such an affair was to take place [in our times] then it is referred to a Shariah court. Then the court will investigate the matter so that the people do not fall into confusion.”

(See Shaikh Al-Fawzān’s Tas-heel al-Ilmām bi-fiqhil-Ahādeeth min Bulūghil-Marām, Kitāb An-Nikāh, vol. 4, slightly abridged)

4. Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:

لاَ تُنْكَحُ الثَّيِّبُ حَتَّى تُسْتَأْمَرَ وَلاَ الْبِكْرُ حَتَّى تُسْتَأْذَنَ وَإِذْنُهَا الصُّمُوتُ

“A previously married woman cannot be given in marriage except after consulting her and taking her permission – and a virgin should not be given in marriage except after she gives permission, and her silence [when she is asked] is her permission.” (Ibn Mājah, 1871, graded saheeh by Al-Albānī)

In both cases, a guardian is a still a must for marriage, a marriage without the guardian’s permission is invalid. Read this for succession of guardianship of a woman.

Abu Khadeejah Abdul-Wāhid.

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