If I Am Forced to Marry Someone, Must I Get a Divorce in Order to Marry Someone Else?
Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch
I am a 27-year-old woman. What can I do if my parents force me to marry someone I don’t like? I’m not sure how to explain why I dislike him. It’s only a feeling. Is that correct? I live in Pakistan, and it is not as simple to leave one’s home or fight for one’s rights as it may be in other countries. It’s pointless to talk to my parents. I’ve tried to convince them that they can’t force me under Islamic law, but they won’t listen.
My main question is, what constitutes a valid nikkah? And if I’m coerced into going to the nikkah, how will I get out of it? Will I have to get a divorce before marrying someone else? Please also tell me about any special prayers you use to seek Allah’s guidance and assistance.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
The marriage of a free, mature, sane woman is officiated only with her consent. It is not permissible for anyone – even her guardian (wali) – to force her to marry. [Maydani, al-Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab]
If a guardian takes it upon themselves to marry off their daughter, the validity of the marriage is suspended until she consents, in which case the marriage becomes official. If she declines, the marriage is voided. [Ibid.]
Dealing With Difficult Parents
It is important to remember that most parents act according to what they think is in the best interest of their daughter. The child may not always agree or see the benefit of the parents’ choice.
However, this does not mean that some parents act in what they see as the daughter’s best interest and refuse to consider the daughter’s opinion.
For you to say, “I don’t want to marry him,” without giving some reason will not help your situation. Your parents are likely reasoning about a spouse’s financial, religious, and cultural requirements.
This person may fulfill all of their conditions. They will only accept your refusal if you reflect and think deeply about your requirements.
Given the considerations in such cases, we urge you to consult reliable local scholars or counselors about the situation’s specifics. May Allah facilitate all ease and good for you.
Seeking Guidance (Istikhara)
My advice would be to reflect deeply on what you want in a husband and why. Think of the conditions you are not willing to compromise in and those you are. Remember, the Prophetic advice is to give priority to religious practice, piety, and good character.
Thereafter, perform the prayer of seeking guidance.
Have a respectful, calm, conversation with your arents where they can speak uninterruptedly and you can as well. At ,this point you should have your position well thought. If it will help you in expressing yourself write down what you want to say.
In the end, the marriage is not valid without your consent. Despite this your parents deserve to be treated respectfully and that their opinions, when they are reasonable, should not be dismissed without consideration.
Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Quran and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Quranic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.