MBH QnA Corner
Your Questions - July, 2017

An unmarried girl wants to marry her colleague as both of them work together and know each other well. The issue is, the guardians of the girls are ready to get her married to the same boy but the boy’s parents refuse this relation as the girl does not belong to their caste and tribe. They overlook the rest of the good qualities that the girl harbours in her nature and manners. The girl wants to know if there is any chance of getting married in such a situation.

Answered by: Shk Zafar ul Hasan

Indeed, believers are brothers amongst themselves(Surah al Hujarat)

Let me assure you that Islamic teachings and rulings are very clear in such matters. There is no perception of choosing a spouse on the basis of caste and tribes in Islamic marriage rules. Before the advent of Islam, the Arab land was infected by tribalism and family superiority which was denounced by Islam. There used to be bloody wars upon these divisions which used to last for decades.

Do not revive ignorance after it is dismissed by Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him)

The term Ignorance was put for such divisions. Ignorance included all those disliked acts, culture and rituals which prevailed in the society. Ignorance was declared to be prohibited as a result of the twenty-three years of the Prophet’s efforts and sacrifice. If someone wants to revive such acts of ignorance then he is considered to be a very evil person in the sight of Allah.

During his Farewell Hajj, the Prophet (peace be upon him ) announced, “There are three types of Muslims whom Allah dislikes extremely.

  1. Those who revive and push back  ritual, customs and style into the Muslim society, which was prohibited by Islam.
  2. Those who intend irreligious acts in the precincts of Haram.
  3. Those who kill a Muslim without any justified cause.

Stressing cultural and tribal superiority is an act of ignorance and people who do it fall into one of the above categories of sinners. It makes Allah extremely angry because it is a rebellion against His command.

It is an insult of Adam and Hawa, to set up lines of superiority and inferiority among the children of Adam

The words of the Prophet (peace be upon him, “Each one of you is a son of Adam and Adam was created from mud,” erased the divisional lines among humanity and put them all in one straight line with no racism, tribalism or casteism in its rank. Whether he is fair or strong built every son of Adam’s original source of creation is mud.

The purpose of tribes and races in human society is mentioned in the Qur’an and superiority is not one of them.O mankind indeed we created you from one pair of male and female and made you all in different society and tribes so that you may identify each other (and not respite). Indeed the most honoured in the sight of Allah amongst you are those who are righteous.” Al Hujarat

Let me state an example to make it easy: Suppose there are four men in your village and all of them are named ‘Mohammed’.   A traveller comes and asks for Mohammed. Now there are four Mohammed in your village so how will you identify which Mohammed is he looking for? So it is here that a tribal or caste identity may be required if he is an Ansari, or Quraishi etc. Thus you may further ask the traveller if that Mohammed he is looking for is Quraishi or Ansari and make the task easy to locate him. The above verse ends with a statement that qualifies a person to be honourable. Indeed the most honoured in the sight of Allah amongst you are those who are righteous.”

Rejection of a good marriage proposal can explode fitnah

One of the reasons of the corruption in our society is a stubborn attitude of elders of the community. It is becoming a trend that after being qualified in the merits of character and religion the poor boy or girl is rejected because their caste does not match or sometimes the financial status does not match. But note this Hadith:

If you receive a marriage proposal for your girl (daughter, or sister) from a man whose character and Deen satisfies you then do not reject the proposal. If you refuse then there will be a fitnah on the earth.

There can be many types of Fitnah, for example, your daughter may run away with a boy or fall into immoral relationships or flee to a different city or country away from you. We have seen that there are even honour killings and suicides too that results due to disobeying the command of the Prophet (peace be upon him) by elders.

Elders should not harbour such ego rather repent if they have harboured

But if a boy selects a girl who is not a victim of any bad habit or negative traits in character and the parents refuse the proposal due to differences in caste and tribe then such parents should do Toubah instantly and sincerely. It is a not merely a rejection of proposal but a rejection of the command of Allah. The girl now is your daughter in law and she has all the rights of a daughter in law.

There are parents who take up the issue as a matter of pride and even threaten to break off the relations with their own son if he marries a girl who they disapprove. Such type of threats of severing ties is again going against the command of Qur’an and Sunnah. Such boycotts are haram in Islam.

There are parents who even discard their son from inheriting their property because he married a girl whom they disapproved. Such types of retaliation is also not approved by Islam. Nobody has a right to deprive anyone from the rights Allah has given to him.

What are the options for the girl and the boy?

If both them have crossed the legal age of marriage as per their country’s local law then you must know that it is not compulsory for the boy to have the consent of a guardian. It is only for the girl to have the consent of her guardian for her marriage to be solemnised.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “A girl who marries without the consent of her guardian then her marriage is not valid, her marriage is not valid, her marriage is not valid.”

In another narration, he is quoted as saying, “A girl who marries without the consent of her guardian has committed adultery.”

Some people may object this ruling but let us understand the wisdom behind it

The influence of the British system has made it applicable in Indian and Pakistani courts that after passing the legal age of consent a girl can marry a boy of her own choice without the consent of her guardian.

The issue is whose choice will be considered if there is a clash between the choice of the girl and her guardian? The answer is, the girls choice will be appreciated and formulated but if the girl is unmarried her guardian choice will be considered and appreciated. Let me explain it: An unmarried girl is unaware of difficulties in marital life as compared to a  widow or a divorcee and out of infatuation or crushes she flees and marries with the boy without her guardian’s consent then she may meet a lot of difficulties. The presence of wali is like a protective shield for her and he is in a better position to finalise the boy due to his seniority.

If the girl is a Sayyeba (widow or divorcee)

A widow is an experienced person in marital life yet the consent of her guardian is essential for her too but in her case, her choice will be given a priority in case her choice clashes with the choice of her guardian.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The choice of a spouse in case of a widow or a divorcee will rest with the lady.

There is one such incident that took place in the lifetime of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and it is interesting to note how he tackled it. He said, “If there arises such a situation where the choice of the guardian contradicts the choice of the girl then the girl has a right to approach the government.” She who does not have a guardian, the government will be her guardian.

There was a lady who was married to a man by her father. The father then died. One day the couple had a fight and the man divorced his wife. It was a Talaq e Raja’ee, the divorce which can be reverted back within her iddat. So she went back to her brother’s house. The man could not revert her back to her during her Iddah and thus a couple of years passed by. Then they managed to communicate with each other and the man desired to take her back. So he asked her brother to give her back in marriage because her iddah had already passed so there was a need for fresh nikah.

The brother refused very harshly. He was already against his sister’s marriage with this man right from the beginning but was compelled to marry her to the man. The girl wanted to go back to her husband with a fresh nikah so she requested her brother but he was adamant. The matter reached the Prophet (peace be upon him). He waited for the revelation till Allah sent Jibra’el with a verse from Surah Nis’a. “Do not stop women from marrying their former husband.”

Allah gave priority to her desire and choice. He, therefore, commanded all the guardians henceforth not to stop women from marrying their former husband. The brother agreed to get her sister married to her former husband.

This exemption is for Sayyeba.

Why is the consent of a Guardian a condition for a woman’s marriage?

  A woman needs a support all throughout her life.  A girl’s who builds her marriage upon the foundation of hurting her father, mother brother and other elders faces uncertainty during a calamity. If she flees from her house and marries without the consent of her guardian and her marital life falls into rock after few years and if she divorces or her husband dies, then she is left on her own alone.

Let us see a case study:

Suppose a girl chooses a many for her marriage but her father refuses to accept her choice. Both, the guardian and the girl are locked up in a dispute over the choice, then what is the solution in shariah? It is correct that the girl cannot marry against her guardian’s wishes but in such a case even the guardian should not say I will never let you marry to this man ever nor the girl should threaten to flee to teacher her elders a lesson. It can be also possible that a girl has two guardians and there is a dispute between both the guardian. For example, a girl’s father has died and her two elder brothers are now her guardian. But there is a difference between the two guardians about the choice.

In our times we do not have Islamic governments but we have Muslim welfare committees in our society. In some countries, there are Qazis appointed by the government who will hear both the parties and try to know why the guardian is refusing and why the girl wants to proceed with the same boy.  He will then decide accordingly. Therefore in such situations, a girl can approach a Qazi and present her case.

Therefore if such a cases arise then either the girl and her guardian should agree for something which gives a win-win situation for both or the girl should not insist stubbornly but show mutual respect to the view of her elders. She should agree that her elders have more experience and it is better for her to obey their choice.

May Allah guide us all to understand the situation and accordingly to what pleases Allah.