I’m a Muslim sister and I’m almost 20 years old. I was pressured by my parents to get married to someone I don’t like and I don’t accept that person to be my husband. I told my parents that I’m against the marriage and I told the “husband” that too. However, no one listened to me and I was pressured to sign the papers of marriage and I had no choice but to do so. However, I was expecting the 2 witnesses to come up to me and ask me if I accept that person to be my husband so that I’ll tell them that I don’t… but no one even bothered to come to me and asking me if I want to be married to that person! I don’t know what to do. The person I’m married to is going to be coming to this country soon may Allah forbid. I tried to convince my parents that I don’t want him to be my husband but all what they cared for is the respect of the family and that they can’t say no! I can’t imagine myself living with that person in the same house rather than having him even touching me! According to Islam, or so I was taught, no one has the right to force me to get married and it’s essential for me to accept the groom in order for the marriage contract to be valid! However, I was forced into this and my parents kept pressuring me and making me feel guilty that I’ll shame them and I’ll shame the family until I ended up signing the paper. But everyone knows that I don’t accept that person to be my husband and he knows that too but he didn’t care. I need your help and advice. What can I do and is there any thing that I can do to get away from this problem I was put on? Does Islam give me the right to pick my husband or am I to be given away as my parents decide?
My family are now telling me that even my prayer isn’t going to be accepted because my “husband” is not pleased with me hence whenever he calls, I refuse to talk to him. Is that true? Am I to be treated unjustly in Dunya for being forced to live with someone ‘insha’Allah I won’t live with him’ I hate and then be doomed in my Akhira because my prayers are not accepted because of that same person?
No one, not even the parents, have a right to force marriage upon any boy or a girl. Without the free consent of the woman (as well as the man), a marriage contract would be deemed void. Forcing marriage upon a woman is clearly against the teachings of the Prophet (pbuh).
According to a narrative reported by Abu Dawood, once when a case of forced marriage was reported to the Prophet (pbuh), he allowed the woman (who was forced into marriage) the option to revoke the marriage, if she desired to do so (Abu Dawood, Kitaab al-Nikah, Narrative No. 1797).
The free choice of the woman is a necessary condition for a valid Nikah. In view of this fact, if it is found out that a woman has been coerced into a Nikah, then such a Nikah can be revoked or even invalidated by the competent legal authority.
Nevertheless, considering the fact that you have signed the Nikah contract, you will now have to seek legal help to invalidate the Nikah, if your parents do not accept your basic moral and legal right.
Because you have been forced into marriage, therefore, your apparent husband does not have any moral or legal rights over you, till the time that you give him such rights, with the willingness of your heart. Under the stated circumstances, I do not consider it sinful on your part to refuse talking to him or to seek legal help in revoking the said marriage contract.
I hope this helps.
November 27, 2001