MOD Q & A / Q & A

Q & A Marrying who we want

Q & A

Q. They say we should always listen to our parent and obey them. What if we have fallen in love with someone we know they [are] not going to approve of? Then what?


            Islam has ordered children to be dutiful and obedient to their parents, never to disappoint them, never to hurt them nor cause them to grieve. In fact, obedience to them extends to those areas which are even personal to an individual, e.g. their dress sense, whom they should marry, etc. In these matters, it is not obligatory (fard) to obey parents but highly recommended (sunnah/mustahabb) hence deserving of reward.

            The initial fear or extreme dread of rejection is an assumption made by the child who fails to retain an optimistic opinion of the parent(s). This assumption is not strictly warranted as the outcome cannot be decided before the means have been exhausted. Before mentioning a general advice, one may not do the following:

1. Marry in secret out of fear of a possible rejection. It is unlawful, according to the Madhhab of Imam Abu Hanifah (RA) to marry with Allah (SWT) or indeed His Prophet (SAW) as witnesses.

a. In the Fatawa al-Hindiyyah quoting the Hanafi Jurist Shaykh al-Islam al-Marghinani it states:

و من تزوج امرأَة بِشهادة الله و رسوله  لا يجوز النكاح ، كذا في التجنيسِ و المزِيد.

“Whoever marries a woman with Allah and His Messenger as witnesses, it will not be valid as is found in [the work] al-Tajnis wa ’l-Mazid…”[1]

b. The great Hanafi commentator Shaykh Zadah wrote:

 (و) شرط أيضا (حضور) شاهدين فلو تزوج امرأةً بِشهادة الله تعالى و رسوله لا يجوز النكاح.

            “(And) another condition (is the presence) of two witnesses. If a person marries a woman with Allah and His Messenger as witnesses then it will not be valid…”[2]

c. In Abu Bakr b. `Ali al-Zabidi’s commentary of the Mukhtasar al-Quduri, it states:

قوله (ولا ينعقد نكاح المسلمين إلا بِحضور شاهدينِ حرينِ مسلمينِ بالغينِ عاقلينِ) و يشترطُ حضورهما عند العقد لا عند الإجازة…

“And his saying (and the marriage of Muslims is not contracted without the presence of two free, adult male, sane and Muslim witnesses) is that the condition is both [witnesses] have to be present at the point of the contract not at the point of [mere granting of] permission…”[3]

2. Elope and run away. This would be falling into disobeying one’s parents and hurting them which is a serious sin. Obtaining the consent and blessings of the parents is advised as Allah’s pleasure and displeasure lies in the pleasure and displeasure of the parents.

3. Insist on marrying without the legal guardian (wali). Indeed, the Madhahb of Imam Abu Hanfiah (RA) does not posit a legal guardian (wali) as a pillar or integral (rukn) for the marriage but does deems it a condition (shart). So, if a woman marries without the consent and presence of her legal guardian, then it will be (strictly and legally) valid but she will be sinful in that she has intentionally neglected a condition. And being sinful is not a spiritually healthy position to be in.

The general advice would be is to talk to parents. Persist in making them understand in the most polite, gentle and caring way. It may be that time is needed for there to be change. It may also help to use confidential and individual members of the family – especially elders – as mediators.

            The specific situation in point requires more elaboration and in the absence of particulars, any detailed answer is entirely inappropriate. As a last resort (after all else has failed), it ought to be referred to knowledgeable individuals or indeed the Imam (or a confidential committee) of the local Mosque.

And only Allah can grant success.


[1] See Fatawa al-Hindiyyah, vol.1, p.268. Cf. also al-Kasani, al-Bada’i` al-Sana’i`, vol.5, p.120.

[2] What is in the brackets is the text of Ibrahim al-Halabi’s legal primer Multaqa al-Abhur and its commentary by Shaykh Zadah is entitled Majma` al-Anhur Sharh Multaqa al-Abhur, vol.1, pp.320-321. See also Ibn `Abidin’s remarks in Radd al-Muhtar, vol.3, p.27.

[3] See al-Zabidi, Jawharat al-Nayrah Sharh Mukhtasar al-Quduri, vol.4, pp.479-480. What is in the bracket is the text of Imam al-Quduri.


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