Forcing the Virgin to Marry
Most people believe that this was merely a detestable habit practiced by some
Arabs and Muslims who lived in some underdeveloped countries. However, we must
realize that this practice has its roots deep in Islamic law and that it is a
principle applied by Muslim scholars. Yet, I myself have read this ordinance in
the main sources of Islam acceptable to all Muslim commentators. Let us study
together the ordinances and the statements of scholars of exposition and the
Ibn Timiyya and Ibn Hazm, Famous Legists
Muslims regard Ibn Timiyya as the Sheikh of Islam. He truly is. He is the author
of great many huge volumes on various subjects If we open Vol. 32, pp. 29 and 30,
"Even if the virgin is an adult, her father may force her to get married. This
is in accordance with Malek Ibn Ons, al-Shafi and Ibn Hanbal’s."
On page 39, he also states:
"The young virgin can be forced by her father to get married without being
This is the verdict of Ibn Timiyya who was joined by some great Legists such as
the Shafii, Malek, Ibn Hanbal, and the professors of Islamic law at the inception
of Islam in Mecca and Medina. Most Arabs and most Islamic countries embrace their
teaching. Actually, if we study Malek Ibn Ons book (Vol. 2, p. 155), we read,
"A father can force his virgin daughter, his maid-slave and his male-slave
to get married."
What is Ibn Hazm’s opinion concerning the daughter’s marriage? How can we ignore
the opinion of the chief Legists of Islam in this respect? It is well known that
Ibn Hazm also composed huge volumes of books on various topics on which all
contemporary Muslim scholars rely because he is one of the greatest scholars of
the Islamic law through the ages. In his sixth volume, part 9 of his book
al-Muhalla ("The Sweetened", pp. 458-460), he says,
"A father may give his consent to have his young virgin daughter married
without obtaining her permission, for she does not have a choice, exactly
as Abu Bakr El Sedick did to his daughter, Aisha, when she was six years
old. He married her to the prophet Muhammad without her permission."
Then Ibn Hazm adds:
"Even if she was deflowered (previously married and divorced, or a widow) as
long as she is young and has not reached the legal age, her father may force
her to marry without obtaining her permission."
As long as she is a virgin or just still young, she can be forced to get married
without her consent. These are unequivocal, plain words. "Without her consent",
and "does not have any choice." These are cruel, hard words and iniquitous
Islamic principles which the free human conscience utterly rejects and detests
because it is related to the most important subject in the girl’s life, that
is, her body and her future.
If enrolling in a certain school or seeking employment for a particular job, even
buying a house or a car, should be in accordance with person’s choice, how much
more should choice control the issue of a girl’s marriage? We acknowledge that a
girl should consult with her parents in this matter, and their duty is to offer
their sound opinions to protect her interest and future, but we cannot understand
or even imagine that a father may force her to get married to a man she does not
know and has never met. This is Islam!
These are not just mere words. This is actually what happened to the prophet of
Islam because Abu Bakr, El Sedick who was Muhammad’s friend, wed him to his
daughter, Aisha, when she was six years old, though the actual marriage took place
when she was nine years old, according to all the Muslim scholars and
Chroniclers, without exception. Even Aisha related the story of her marriage,
which we will review shortly.
The difference in their ages was 45 years! Muhammad at that time was 54 years old,
the age of her grandfather, but what is significant for us now is not the great
difference in age, but rather Aisha’s marriage without her permission. Even she
was taken by surprise when she found out about it.
What about a son? In part nine, page 462, Ibn Hazm stresses that it is not
permissible for the father to force his son to get married.
The reader may be interested to read the text recorded in Sahih Muslim
(Vol. 3, p. 577) with the commentary of al-Nawawi, because this book is a
basic, indispensable book. Aisha said,
"The messenger of God betrothed me when I was six years old and then married
me when I was nine years old."
In another story, he married her when she was seven years old. This is a clear
text which makes it permissible for a father to make his daughter marry without
obtaining her permission. All Muslims consent to that, and she did not have the
option of nullifying this marriage which her father planned. This is according
to Malek, al-Shafi’i and the rest of Hedjaz legists.
This was from Sahih Muslim, and a similar text is reiterated several times in
Sahih al-Bukhari, part 7.
Taken from http://answering-islam.org/BehindVeil/btv3.html#CH3 (Note: We do not necessarily endorse this site or its views.)