In the name of Allah, the most compassionate, the most merciful.
Allah has created the bond of marriage as the most sacred bond between a man and a woman. Marriage makes it possible and permissible for them to enjoy each other. Allah has described this bond as:
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 nonpermissible 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)
Regardless, we find in today’s world that there are marriages that are totally improper and unfair and also makes ones 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 setup.
The first thing we must know that Islam does not approve of any sort of Forced marriage. It is not valid and is haraam. We must understand that love and compatibility must be ensured by both the parties. However, we must know that The issue of forced marriage is not only a Muslim problem but can occur in any community. It is, unfortunately, happening in our society even today and Islam highly condemns it. The approval of both the parties is must to form a marriage contract.
Islam regards the marriage as the right of an individual and therefore others cannot force them into something that they do not want in their life. No one can make a decision on their behalf, and if one happens to do that, he is answerable on the day of judgment, to Allah. No one has the right to put the person’s life into miseries, no matter what the reasons are. Allah has given all the Human Beings the power to decide for themselves and this is one matter where he/she has to decide for himself/herself.
If a woman/man is forced into marriage then the marriage would not be valid and would, therefore, need to be canceled. 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 is both guilty and has 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 (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked her to obey her father as the concern of a father is the well being of his daughter. He advised her to follow her fathers decision and make peace among families but when he (peace be upon him ) realize that she did not want this marriage and this marriage was forced upon her, he nullified it and gave her the freedom to choose, and saved her from the oppression of a father who wanted to force her into unwanted marriage.
After hearing this she clearly mentioned to Prophet (Peace be upon him) that she does not want to cancel the marriage but wanted people to know that no father can force his daughter into a marriage that she did not want.
however, it must be noted that just like a parent does not have the right to force his child into marriage, the child too is not allowed to marry anyone by disobeying his/her parents. There is no place for disobedience to one’s parents in Islam.
Let’s try to define secret marriages first. “Any marriage contract taking place between a man and a woman without the knowledge of the parents of one or both the individuals, marriage was done without the consent of the parents, marriage, about which no one is aware.”
Secret marriages are highly disliked in Islam and are considered as haraam if one 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.
We recognize that some parents need to be advised and talked about the issue regarding marriage, this should be done by asking relatives or local Imaam’s to intervene. If one’s parents are not agreeing than try to convince them. Parents must also note that they must not be so strict regarding such issues and push their children to take extreme steps.
Create an atmosphere of love and respect for you. Remember your children are humans too and have emotions as well as feelings. Getting hard on them and leading them to sin of disobedience is also a great sin. Children may also note that they understand the reason behind the parent’s advice and give those a thought.
It is, however, the duty of both, parents and children to try to maintain peace and love in the family and protect one another from the wrath of Allah and destruction. 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.