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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 Islamic law.

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, we read,

"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 consulted."

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.)