What Does Islam Say About Forced/Arranged/Love/ Secret Marriages?

By Shaykh Muhammad Salim Ghisa

Marriage is a sacred bond between a man and woman, which makes each other permissible for them to enjoy and live happily. Allah has described, in the most moving and eloquent terms, this eternal, natural relationship between man and woman, which is filled with security, love, understanding and compassion:

And among His signs is this that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your hearts: Verily in that are signs for those who reflect. (Quran 30:21)

Marriage is a sacred bond between a man and woman, which makes each other permissible for them to enjoy and live happily. Allah has described, in the most moving and eloquent terms, this eternal, natural relationship between man and woman, which is filled with security, love, understanding and compassion:

“And among His signs is this that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your hearts: Verily in that are signs for those who reflect. (Quran 30:21)

Marriage is also an important part of the Sunnah. The Messenger of Allah (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “The Nikah is my Sunnah (way), whosoever leaves my Sunnah is not from amongst me” (Kitabus Sunan – Mishkat)

The Prophet of Allah (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) has also said as narrated by Ibn Masud (May Allah be pleased with him)

“Young men, those of you who can support a wife should marry, for it keeps you from looking at non permissible females and protects you from immorality. However, those who cannot should devote themselves to fasting, for it is a means of suppressing sexual desire.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

However, we also find that in today’s day and age that there are many marriages that are improper or unfair and can make a person’s life miserable. These marriages are either forced or arranged against a person’s will. Islam does not support in any way a marriage where either the man or woman is unhappy with the set up.

We find that some people use their power of authority and cultural understanding (baradarism) to arrange such forced marriages and then hide behind the religion of Islam to justify their actions.

Arranged marriages

Arranged marriages are allowed and promoted in Islam as long as they are accepted by both the bride and the groom. One of the conditions for the Nikah (marriage ceremony) to be valid is both the man and woman are asked independently of each other as to whether they agree with the marriage or not. If either of them say ‘no’ then the Nikah cannot continue , however, silence is regarded as consent. (Radd ul Mohtar).

The parents have a responsibility to ensure that both couples are compatible and do not arrange a marriage merely for their own social or personal reasons (i.e. 'she's my brothers daughter, lets get our son married to her'!). If the latter is the case then they will have to answer to Allah. The Prophet of Allah (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) gave the strictest orders with relation to the rights of others. He said

“'Truly Allah has totally forbidden disobedience (and the subsequent hurt) to mothers, burying alive daughters, with-holding the rights of others, and demanding that which is not your right.” (Hadith Muslim 4257. Recorded by Mughirah b. Shuba).

When a suitable partner is chosen then four things are considered, out of which one should take importance and this is the religious practice of their prospective partners. Whilst the following Hadith is in relation to choosing a woman, it refers to both sexes: the Messenger of Allah (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) said

“A woman (or man) may be married for four things: for her wealth, for her noble descent, for her beauty or for her religion. Choose the one who is religious, lest your hands be rubbed with dust!” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Although the Prophet advised the young Muslim to look for a religious partner, it does not mean that they should ignore their preferences regarding the physical beauty. The Prophet (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) encouraged seeing a prospective partner before finalizing the marriage, so that a Muslim does not find his/herself trapped in a marriage with a woman/man he/she finds unattractive.

Al Mughirah Ibn Shaibah said “I got engaged to a woman at the time of the Prophet (May Allah bless him and grant him peace). He asked me “Have you seen her?” I said “No”. He said “go and have a look at her, because it is more fitting that love and compatibility is established between you.” (Nasai)

Therefore, in the above situations we find that Islam promotes love and compatibility between husband and wife and recognizes that these are vital ingredients in a successful marriage.

Forced Marriages

Whilst we understand the importance of love and compatibility we must also ensure the approval of both parties. However, one must also recognize that forced marriage is a problem occurring today and Islam condemns it to the highest degree. The issue of forced marriages is not one that is limited to some Muslims, but Hindus, Sikhs and other religions also acknowledge it as a problem.

As explained above, Islam regards marriage as a right of the individual and therefore others cannot make the decision for them. If a woman/man is forced in marriage then the marriage would not be valid and would therefore need to be cancelled. However, daughters and sons should also recognize the rights of their parents and come to an agreed solution before the marriage takes place.

If this does not happen then those who forced the marriage and those who allowed it are both guilty and have committed a major sin. The following incident clarifies the position of forced marriages in Islam;

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 (May Allah bless him and grant him peace). 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). (Fathul Bari Sharah Al Bukhari 9/194, Ibn Majah Kitabun Nikah 1/602)

At first, the Prophet (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) told Al Khansa to obey her father, and this is as it should be, because the concerns of fathers for the well being of their daughters is well known. But when he realized that her father wanted to force her in to marriage she did not want, he gave her the freedom to choose, and saved her from the oppression of a father who wanted to force her into an unwanted marriage.

Love Marriages

Marriages that are done due to a couple falling in love with one another are acceptable but are usually an unlawful way of approach. Meaning, that two people of the opposite sex start a relationship and then decide they want to marry. However, one must also realize that this is happening and therefore if a couple are in a relationship they must either get married immediately and save themselves from sin or separate.

If the father/ mother is aware then they should ensure that there is a successful outcome and if there is compatibility between the couple, they should try and ensure that the marriage takes place as soon as possible. Mere excuses, such as they are from a lower cast etc are not acceptable. However, valid reasons such as religion must be taken in to account.

Abu Hurairah narrates that the Messenger of Allah (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) said “when one with whose religion and character you are satisfied asks your daughter in marriage then accede to his request. If you do not do so then there will be temptation in the earth and extensive corruption”. (Tirmidhi)

Secret Marriages

Secret marriages whilst recognised are severely disliked in Islam and even Haram when it goes against the will of the parents. The reason for this is that it means that those who are responsible for them are not advised of it and the couple will go against their parents by doing so. The Messenger of Allah (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) has clearly stressed that the will of the father is the will of Allah (Bukhari) also how important it is to obtain the dua of one’s parents.

Whilst we recognise that sometime parents need to be advised, this should be done by asking relatives to intervene, or the local Imam or anyone who may have an influence over one’s parents and they can agree. Insha Allah a marriage can only ever obtain spiritual comfort if the dua of one’s mother and father is with them.

Whilst the secret marriage may be valid it does not mean it is right and blessed.

May Allah give us the ability to understand the sacred concept of marriage and the Islamic approach towards it.

What is the best way to find a partner in the UK? To find out and to read more articles on marriage visit: www.therevival.co.uk/marriage.php

Comments

Nad (not verified)

This article is a bit hypocritical and slightly out of Islamic context at some places. Islam encourages 'arranged marriages' and discourages all other type of marriages whether it be Forced Marriage/Love Marriage/Secret Marriage. Male/Female in Islam are allowed to say 'No' to an arranged marriage on the basis of wealth,beauty,deeds e.t.c but not for another man/woman as often is the case nowadays. Islam strictly prohibits relationships between a man and woman and does not allow flexibility in this regard because it brings immorality in the society. This article is highlighting the flexibility prohibited in Islam. Islam does not allow man and woman to sit in each others company without the presence of a Mahram and you aint falling in love with a person without getting to know which can only happen after marriage in Islam. So please have a balanced approach, discourage Forced Marriages but at the same time also discourage Love/Secret Marriages.

You
Member since:
24 June 2005
Last activity:
1 hour 19 min

love and secret are not the same.

I think "love marriage" is used here in the context of anything that is not arranged (but even arranged marriage can have love... it does not have to start off with nothing).

(as for islam encouraging arranged, and discouraging love marriages/finding your own - is there any evidence of the sort?)

Its time to be angry.

Ya'qub
Member since:
21 November 2006
Last activity:
1 year 8 months

Nad wrote:
Islam strictly prohibits relationships between a man and woman and does not allow flexibility in this regard because it brings immorality in the society.

proof?

Don't just do something! Stand there.

The Lamp
Member since:
10 November 2008
Last activity:
1 year 9 months

Nad wrote:
This article is a bit hypocritical and slightly out of Islamic context at some places. Islam encourages 'arranged marriages' and discourages all other type of marriages whether it be Forced Marriage/Love Marriage/Secret Marriage. Male/Female in Islam are allowed to say 'No' to an arranged marriage on the basis of wealth,beauty,deeds e.t.c but not for another man/woman as often is the case nowadays. Islam strictly prohibits relationships between a man and woman and does not allow flexibility in this regard because it brings immorality in the society. This article is highlighting the flexibility prohibited in Islam. Islam does not allow man and woman to sit in each others company without the presence of a Mahram and you aint falling in love with a person without getting to know which can only happen after marriage in Islam. So please have a balanced approach, discourage Forced Marriages but at the same time also discourage Love/Secret Marriages.

Ah, but if two people who have feeling for each other take the time to get to know each other in a halal way, and get married, then isn't that ,a love marriage? The point you said about saying no because you have feelings for someone else, what makes you think you can't, mate? If you feel for someone else and marry someone who you don't have feelings for or aren't compatible with, isn't that like marital suicide?
Let me know what you think.

"If you stand for nothing, you'll fall for anything!"

Motto of Outlandish

TPOS
Member since:
8 November 2008
Last activity:
24 min 49 sec

"Khansa' reported,
Her father gave her away in marriage, and she was a thayyib, and she did not like it. So she came to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, and he annulled her marriage." (Bukhari 67 : 43.)
Thus the woman has the choice of repudiating a marriage to which she is not a consenting party. The word thayyib includes both, a woman whose husband has died and a woman who has been divorced.

I've never heard of an Islamic marriage being annulled, ddint know it was allowed.

Q: are wife's meant to actually obey the husbands orders or is that more of a tradional cultural thing?

"How many people find fault in what they're reading and the fault is in their own understanding" Al Mutanabbi

You
Member since:
24 June 2005
Last activity:
1 hour 19 min

ThE pOwEr Of SiLeNcE wrote:
Q: are wife's meant to actually obey the husbands orders or is that more of a tradional cultural thing?

Both.

Its time to be angry.

TPOS
Member since:
8 November 2008
Last activity:
24 min 49 sec

but then how does equality come into it if the guy is more authoritive :S

"How many people find fault in what they're reading and the fault is in their own understanding" Al Mutanabbi

You
Member since:
24 June 2005
Last activity:
1 hour 19 min

Who said anything about equality? I find that term oppressive.

Also, a good husband would be reasonable. (not all are)

The wife also has the right to divorce if she thinks he is abusing his position. Ofcourse easier said than done.

Its time to be angry.

TPOS
Member since:
8 November 2008
Last activity:
24 min 49 sec

You wrote:
Who said anything about equality? I find that term oppressive.

Also, a good husband would be reasonable. (not all are)

The wife also has the right to divorce if she thinks he is abusing his position. Ofcourse easier said than done.

in RE yesterday i was reading a textbook (which tbh didnt look very correct) but it said in Islam husband and wife are equal.

oppresive?

"How many people find fault in what they're reading and the fault is in their own understanding" Al Mutanabbi

You
Member since:
24 June 2005
Last activity:
1 hour 19 min

They are not equal - they have rights and responsibilities to each other. rights and responsibilities that can differ from person to person, spouse to spouse.

Its time to be angry.

jamal (not verified)

To Nad

I think you're being hypocritical

~The Prophets marriage to Khadija was a love marriage. Meeting the opposite sex for a valid reason is allowed in Islam, (doctor patient, teacher pupil etc)Getting to know someone for marriage is a valid reason.

Dating with view to marriage is not the same as having casual sexual relations. That is clearly a ban.However if they do, they can still marry. But dating is not wrong, otherwise love marriages cannot be accepted. But they are.

The point is, dating has nothing to do with sexual relations. They can happen even if you don't want to marry.

If you're saying a couple cannot date, why is the marriage recognised then? There would be a clear ruling saying that a couple who dated are not allowed to marry. This is not the case, and love marriages happen.

Please do not turn your personal prejudice into an Islamic ruling.

TPOS
Member since:
8 November 2008
Last activity:
24 min 49 sec

jamal wrote:
To Nad

I think you're being hypocritical

~The Prophets marriage to Khadija was a love marriage. Meeting the opposite sex for a valid reason is allowed in Islam, (doctor patient, teacher pupil etc)Getting to know someone for marriage is a valid reason.

Dating with view to marriage is not the same as having casual sexual relations. That is clearly a ban.However if they do, they can still marry. But dating is not wrong, otherwise love marriages cannot be accepted. But they are.

The point is, dating has nothing to do with sexual relations. They can happen even if you don't want to marry.

If you're saying a couple cannot date, why is the marriage recognised then? There would be a clear ruling saying that a couple who dated are not allowed to marry. This is not the case, and love marriages happen.

Please do not turn your personal prejudice into an Islamic ruling.

Can u please tell me what your idea of a "love" marriage and "dating" is?

i don't mean to be rude it's just that i found ur post confusing, and i may have understood it wrongly, but also contradicting Islam.

"How many people find fault in what they're reading and the fault is in their own understanding" Al Mutanabbi

miserable (not verified)

mashALLAH m soo pleased with this all n i am feeling lucky to be a muslim alhamdlilah..m so miserable because m just 15 n my parents have decide secretely whom they are goin me to marry with and i dont like that person.please pray for me

TPOS
Member since:
8 November 2008
Last activity:
24 min 49 sec

miserable wrote:
mashALLAH m soo pleased with this all n i am feeling lucky to be a muslim alhamdlilah..m so miserable because m just 15 n my parents have decide secretely whom they are goin me to marry with and i dont like that person.please pray for me

:/ is there no way to talk them out of it? then they not ask u? Sad

InshaAllah, anything that happens will happen for the best and u will become happier!

"How many people find fault in what they're reading and the fault is in their own understanding" Al Mutanabbi

The Lamp
Member since:
10 November 2008
Last activity:
1 year 9 months

OK, you should definately make it clear to your parents that you do not want to marry that person, if that doesn't work then you'll have to speak to an adult. Unfortunately we cannot give you any solid advice since we don't know everything about your situation and if you make a really bad decision because of our advice we'll be responsible. But remember in Islam, forced marriages are Haram and void, no one can force you.
In Islam a wife should obey her husband so long as he's being reasonable and Islamic, for example if he sys to not go see a man who definately wants to take advantage of her. The same goes the other way, a husband has to listen to what his wife has to say.
Hope that helps Smile

"If you stand for nothing, you'll fall for anything!"

Motto of Outlandish

Miss Millie (not verified)

Ya'qub wrote:
Nad wrote:
Islam strictly prohibits relationships between a man and woman and does not allow flexibility in this regard because it brings immorality in the society.

proof?

GIVE ME THE PROOF FROM THE BOOK PLEASE!!!

Imran umer (not verified)

slam o alikum brothers and sisters
i am 25 years old . i love one girl which she is 22 years old we both love eachother and my mum take my perposal to her family but they reject my perposal because her parentes want her to get marry with her cousin which she donot like she clearly tell her brother and mother about me that she want to marry with me . but her parentes didnot listen to her . my parentes agree on it but her parentes not. we did not meet eachother yet because its not allowed in islam. we want to get marry first my question is can we marry without her parentes permission whether they know everything and they are forcing her to marry with her cousin, the only reason they didnot accpet my perposal they donot let their kids marry outside their family? plz giive me advice.
slam o alikum

Khalil (not verified)

Assalam waleikum,first of all plz wish Salam properly as u r just insulting it by saying slamwaleikum....and abt ur problem....well its the problem faced by many especially in India and i personally feel dat one shud try to convince their parents bcoz parent's prayers are very important for a successful future and stiill if they r not convince and if both the girl and boy are ready to take step they shud go ahead and marry each other as Islam also permit this and dis will make u both happy and finally ur parents will forget u and will be happy for ur happiness and they wont be happy to c u people sad after getting married to their choice....rest u decide and Allah knows best....take care....Salam Waleikum

Khalil (not verified)

Assalam Waleikum....m sorry i forgot to mention....i replied to Imran Umer....tc....Salam Waleikum

Anonymous123 (not verified)

Salam

I'm a 19 year old muslim girl living in England. My mum arranged my marriage to a guy from Pakistan when i was 13..(the guy at the time was 18). At the time she did ask me if i was ok with it...I was 13 years old..I didnt know anything and never thought about marriage so i just said whatever you think best mother. But since i was 14...I've been telling mum that i really dont want to get married to that guy. She listens..but the next day the atmosphere in the house is incredibly uncomfortable. And she will not talk to me until she asks me again and i give in to what she wants. I've been post-poning the marriage by saying i'm still studying. However, that guy is now in England..and I don't know what to do?

Information about the guy..He's 25years old..has a masters in something to do with computer science..prays when he can and fasts. Doesnt do anything haram as far as i'm aware. His family is quite poor, they live in a village in Pakistan and theres about 10 of them in a one storey house with about 3 rooms. Erm..He doesnt work..He's actualy in England on a student visa. According to my mum his character is fantastic.

I really need some advice..can someone help..Please =/

Wsalam

You
Member since:
24 June 2005
Last activity:
1 hour 19 min

Question is... are you uncomfortable, need reassurances or are you certain that this is not what you want?

In the case of the former, you need to get reassurances. Meet him, tlak to him - and no, someone else telling you he is a good guy is not the same thing.

In the case of the latter, maybe talk to him too, tell him that you do not want to marry him and that you think he should tell the family that he wants someone else?

Either way, forcing you into marriage is haraam and without your consent marriage is not valid.

Question is how you are willing to approach the issue and what you are willing to risk.

Its time to be angry.

Anonymous123 (not verified)

I have spoken to him, and he comes across as very clever but acts like he knows it all and talks A LOT..like i couldnt get a word into the conversation. But I have told him that i don't want to get married to him because there isnt a connection there. All he said was we'll see what happens when the time comes.

I have thought about just going through with this to give my mum's mind some peace and to see what happens..but should I really take that sort of risk which could ruin both our lives..?

I don't have a boyfriend and I don't know who i would marry if i dont marry this guy but should I just give up trying to find someone else? Is this guy my mum has chosen really the only choice i have?

You
Member since:
24 June 2005
Last activity:
1 hour 19 min

Well, forced marriage is not allowed by British or Islamic law, so no, you are not without choice.

Yes, trying to pull out will cause issues because things have been set up in a certain way, but they are not your fault.

If you do not want to marry the person, then you need to speak up. Even if it causes some short term friction, in the long term it will allow things to heal instead of potentially getting yourself into a situation where you will grow resentful and instead of there beign some friction, there is a total breakdown of family relations.

No one can walk the path for you - you need to decide what you want (and make sure that you really really really don't want to marry the guy because backtracking will not be an option once you put your foot down) and then talk to your family about it. Your mother, your father too.

If someone tries to use emotional blackmail, clamly explain to them that this is not of your making and that well... in politer terms "you reap what you sow".

If you don't speak out it is not fair on you and it is also not fair on the other guy who may be under the false illusion that everything is sorted (then again if you have told him that he is not the person you want to marry, his delusions are his fault/making and not your concern.)

Its time to be angry.

Anonymous123 (not verified)

How can you be sure that if i do speak up and tell my mum I definitely do not want this marriage to happen..the short term friction will be short term? What if my mum hates me for what I've done (bringing shame on the family.. etc.)

And I am sure.. definitely sure that I do not want to marry this guy. But I've tried talking to mum..She just starts accusing me of having a bf and sleeping around =/

Thank you for your advice though..It has helped.

Jazak'allah

You
Member since:
24 June 2005
Last activity:
1 hour 19 min

Can you talk to someone else too?

and no, it should not be long term friction. It is a single issue which can be overcome later.

Everything feels final, but people eventually move on in many cases and that is what should happen herem, especially as you are not doing anything wrong, or even anything to hurt "family honour" if they find such things important.

Tell her that there would be more "shame to the family" if you go ahead with it and then it ends up in divorce - "how bad will that be?" and give reasons "he is too old" etc if you cannot think of real reasons that she would accept.

(Can't you talk to your father instead? May be a harder thing to do but it may also allow for better resolution of things.)

Its time to be angry.

Anonymous123 (not verified)

Theres no one else in the family to talk too..My uncles, my grandad and my brothers are on my mums side and I cant talk to my dad because he walked out on us a few years ago =/

And I have said he's too old..and that he's in a different phase in his life compared to me..For example..He's done with uni..he's an adult ready for marriage..Whereas I'm still in uni..still growing up and definitely not ready for marriage. But nothing will get through to her =/

sanaaaaa (not verified)

am 23 years old female.i got engaged to my cousin last year.We both liked each other for long time..until i met this guy at school..i think my feelings for my coiusin was not strong because i really likr that guy frm school..i dont knw what to do.im nt able to forget tht guy from school..i dont love my fiance,it ws jus attraction..help me.and my rngagement was official..hes my cousin..he knws tht i dont love him,but stl want to marry me.

You
Member since:
24 June 2005
Last activity:
1 hour 19 min

That is one of the problems with delaying marriage unnecessarily, things can get complicated and circumstances can change.

Will you be able to marry the new guy? If not, what will you do when your hormones calm down? will you regret breaking off the engagement with the current guy? (if yes, what if some new person comes along that is suddenly more appealing or at the very least, new?)

Its not something anyone else can do for you, you have to decide what you want and then go for it, even talk to your parents etc.

Its time to be angry.

sanaaaaa (not verified)

i recently got to knw sum stuff abt my fiance tht made me double minded..like he sen stuf to sum other grl.he admitted tht he did al those messages,but th reason he gave me was because he wntd revenge,for hid frnd,tht grl sent absuive stuf to his frnd,and thn my fiance said dirty to her for revenge..tel me how cen i trust him???i tld my fiance i need time to think abt our future..he and i dont get along well also.he loves me but i dont..how can i marry sum1 i dont love or either trust??
and abt the other guy my feelings for him is very pure nd so is his..am sure..he wanted to marry me but i got engaged..he stl loves me

You
Member since:
24 June 2005
Last activity:
1 hour 19 min

If you don't trust the person you are engaged to, that is a different thing.

Give it thought, talk to your parents too if needs be.

and if you pull out, make sure its not just because you got cold feet, but because of valid reasons. That way there is less chance that you will regret your decisions.

You may also try the istikhara prayer to help you.

As for love, you are/have been attracted to him and love can grow after marriage. It does not have to be like a bollywood romance films - that type of love probably does not exist outside of fantasy.

Its time to be angry.

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