Sunday, 12 January 2014

Forced Marriages In View Of ISLAM

“Oh! You who believe, you are forbidden to inherit women against their will!” (4: 19)

Maajid Andrabi Writes :

Forced Marriage is Abuse not cultural

As they say, “Marriage is the sacred union of two unknown souls”, so, its significance on the lives of the beings can never be overlooked. Islam has given it a special status by ordering that the one who has married, should consider, himself of having fulfilled half of the religion and should fear Allah regarding the other half. Marriage is the gateway towards eternal bliss. It joins two people in a bond that putatively lasts until death. It gives rise to a feeling of love and compassion while enabling the partners to share their happiness and sorrows collectively. Marriage is the commitment that two partners make to support each other in their ups and downs. It is the beautiful time when two souls start to share one heart. It also facilitates mutual understanding between the partners and guides both of them to follow the same goal of having a happy and prosperous family. Having got such relevance both from religious and societal point of view, people seem to be disregarding this holy ceremony. Alas!!! Not all, but a large number of marriages have been seen to end sooner than to last for lifetime. How often we see the partners following the true spirit of marriage and remain united with each other till their eternity? The drastic social shift in our society has had considerable impacts on the marriages. As per official data available with the State Women Commission (SWC), Jammu and Kashmir has of late witnessed 60% increase in divorce cases. More alarming is the fact that nearly 70 percent of these divorce seekers fall in 25 to 35 age group. The data reveals that most of these couples applied for divorce within 1 to 3 year of their marriage. Among the other reasons for the possible cause of divorce like lack of capability, temperamental differences, ego problem, betrayal, interference from relatives (both husband and wife’s) and distrust stand one more complex reason and that is of forced marriage. The rate of divorce is slightly higher among the couples who are forced by their families to marry someone against their will. Forced marriage has become the most troublesome factor that is drawing attention of all towards it.
Forced marriage is a marriage that takes place without the free or valid consent of one or both of the partners and involves either physical or emotional duress. In Islam Marriage is the sacred contract between two people which must be entered freely and with mutual consent. The religion mandates that the woman’s consent is the precondition to the validity and soundness of a marital contract. None can be forced to marry someone he/she is not willing to. Almighty Allah says in His glorified book, Quran Sharief that “O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness or detain them wrongfully (4:19). On the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity” Thus, Quran Sharief explicitly says that men cannot inherit women against their will, which obviously means that forced marriages aren’t allowed in Islam. In fact Islam does not advocate or promote any form of forced marriage. The holy Prophet Mohammad (SAW) has clearly mentioned that “A matron should not be given in marriage except after consulting her; and a virgin should not be given in marriage except after her permission [Sahih Al-Bukhari 7.67]”. Thus, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) clearly taught that women must be consulted about the marriage, and her permission should be sought before reaching to any kind of decision. In yet another place it has been reported that once "A virgin came to the Prophet (SAW) and mentioned that her father had married her against her will, so the Prophet (SAW) allowed her to exercise her choice. The choice that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) gave to the woman was that she can either remain married to the man, or divorce herself from him. (Sunan Abu-Dawud)". Thus, it is absolutely clear that Islam does not favour any kind of forced marriage and gives free choice to everyone to go as per their will.  

Love and harmony between two spouses are the essential ingredients of a successful marriage. How can they bloom when the partners have been made to tie the knot forcefully?  Allah is the one who has ordained marriage for His creatures. He has placed within marriage the blessings of comfort, love, and mercy. But we have brought disregard to this sacred act by playing with its austerity. Merely giving“consent” by tongue without having the same feeling in one’s heart absolutely does not hold good for the consent. The decision to tie the knot must not be taken under any pressure rather parents are advised to provide an amiable environment in their homes which could foster effective communication with their loved ones. They should be given a fair chance to defend their choice, if any. They must not be robbed off, from stating their point and should be listened carefully. It is the right of every individual to select the partner of his/her choice as he/she has certain expectations regarding their better half. The decision to marry should never be taken hastily but all things should be evaluated precisely in an effective manner in view of the possible consequences. The act of forcing someone to marry is in fact an act that is against the practices and teachings of Islam and should be discouraged. Remember this decision is a life changing one and has a direct bearing on the lives of the beings. Obviously it needs to be good which eventually depends on how well one takes this step which mandates that it should be free from any kind of pressure and must be taken wholeheartedly. Let us put an end to this practice and proceed towards a much happier and progressive future. 

Inside Kashmir | 2014

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