Forced marriages

Updated 05 December 2013

Forced marriages

Question: May a father force his virgin daughter who attained puberty to marry?
Answer: Two well-known opinions in this regard are reported from Ahmad: That he may compel her. (This is also the opinion of Malik, Ash-Shafi’i, and others.); and that he may not. (This is also the opinion of Abu Hanifah and others, and is the correct one.)
People have differed as to the reason permitting the compulsion, whether it is virginity, the daughter being under-aged, or a combination of both. The closest opinion to the truth is her being under-aged, whereas no one can compel a grown-up virgin in marriage. Abu Hurayrah reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A non-virgin woman may not be married without her command, and a virgin may not be married without her permission; and enough permission for her is to remain silent (because of her natural shyness).” (Al-Bukhari, Muslim, and others)
Thus the Prophet (peace be upon him) prohibits forcing a virgin in marriage without her permission, whether it be her father or someone else. Furthermore, Ayeshah (may Allah be pleased with her) said that she asked the Prophet, “In the case of a young girl whose parents marry her, should her permission be sought or not?” He replied, “Yes, she must give her permission.” She then said, “But a virgin will be shy, O Allah’s Messenger.” He answered, “Her silence is [considered as] her permission.” (Al-Bukhari, Muslim, and others) This applies to the father as well as others.
Furthermore, Islam does not give the father the right to use any of her wealth without her permission, how then could he be allowed to decide, without her permission, how her body (which is more important than her wealth) is to be used, especially when she disagrees to that and is mature to decide for herself?
Also, there is evidence and consensus in Islam to restrict an underage person’s free control of his wealth or person. However, to make virginity a reason for the restriction contradicts the Islamic basis.
As for the difference between the non-virgin and virgin in Hadith it is not a differentiation between compulsion and non-compulsion; the difference between the two cases is that (a) the former gives her instructions for the marriage whereas the latter gives permission, and that (b) the virgin’s silence counts as a permission.
The reason for this is that a virgin would be shy to discuss the matter of marriage, so she is not proposed to directly; rather, her wali (guardian) is approached, he takes her permission, and then she gives him the permission not the command to marry her. And as for a non-virgin, she would not have the shyness of virginity anymore; thus she can discuss the matter of her marriage, she can be proposed to, and she gives the command to her wali to perform the marriage, and he must obey her.
Thus the wali is command-executor in the case of the non-virgin, and is permission-seeker in the case of the virgin. This is what the Prophet’s words indicate.
As for compelling her to marry, this would contradict the fundamentals and reason. Allah Almighty did not permit a wali to force her to sell or rent her property without her permission. Neither did He (Allah) permit him to force her to eat or drink or wear that which she does not wish. How would He then oblige her to accompany and copulate with a person whose company she hates at the time when Allah has sent between the two spouses love and mercy? If such a company happens despite her hatred and repulsion, where is the love and mercy?

- Courtesy: sunnahonline.com


The beauty of prayer in Islam

Updated 23 September 2016

The beauty of prayer in Islam

GOING deeper into our spiritual state during prayers (salah) requires that we have a presence of heart and are mindful of the words being said during the prayers.
Our prayer will feel shorter, yet when we look at how much time we actually spent, we will think, “Did I just spend 10 minutes?” or even 15 and 20 minutes.
A person who began applying this said he wished the prayer would never end.
A feeling that Ibn Al-Qayyim describes as “what the competitors compete for… it is nourishment for the soul and the delight of the eyes,” and he also said, “If this feeling leaves the heart, it is as though it is a body with no soul.”

The love of Allah
Some people’s relationship with Allah is limited to following orders and leaving prohibitions, so that one does not enter hell. Of course, we must follow orders and leave prohibitions, but it needs to be done out of more than fear and hope; it should also be done out of love for Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an: “… Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him.” (Qur’an, 5:54)
We often find that when a lover meets the beloved, hearts are stirred and there is warmth in that meeting. Yet when we meet Allah, there is not even an ounce of this same feeling. Allah says in the Qur’an: “And (yet) among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals (to Him). They love them as they (should) love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah.” (Qur’an, 2:165)
And those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. There should be a feeling of longing, and when we raise our hands to start the prayer, warmth and love should fill our hearts because we are now meeting with Allah. A dua of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “O Allah, I ask You for the longing to meet You” (An-Nisa’i, Al-Hakim)
Ibn Al-Qayyim says in his book Tareeq Al-Hijratain that Allah loves His Messengers and His believing servants, and they love Him and nothing is more beloved to them than Him. The love of one’s parents has a certain type of sweetness, as does the love of one’s children, but the love of Allah far supersedes any of that. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Any person who combines these three qualities will experience the sweetness of faith: 1) that God and His messenger are dearer to him than anything else; 2) that his love of others is purely for God’s sake; and 3) that he hates to relapse into disbelief as much as he hates to be thrown in the fire.” (Bukhari)
Thus, the first thing he mentioned was: “… that God and His messenger are more beloved to him than anything else…”
Ibn Al-Qayyim says: “Since ‘there is nothing like unto Him’ (Qur’an, 42:11), there is nothing like experiencing love for Him.”
If you feel this love for Him, it will be a feeling so intense, so sweet, that you would wish the prayer would never ever end.
Do you truly want to feel this love? Then ask yourself: ‘why do you or should you love Allah?’
Know that you love people for one (or all, in varying degrees) of three reasons: For their beauty, because of their exalted character or/and because they have done good to you. And know that Allah combines all of these three to the utmost degree.

All-embracing beauty
We’ve all been touched by beauty. It is almost fitrah (natural disposition) to love what is beautiful. Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said about the Prophet, peace be upon him, that it was “as if the sun is shining from his face.” Jabir (may God be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah was more handsome, beautiful, and radiant than the full moon” (Tirmidhi)
Allah made all His Prophets have a certain beauty so that people would have a natural inclination toward them.
And beauty is more than what is in the face, because beauty is in all of creation and somehow has the ability to take our breath away and give us peace simultaneously. The glimmer of the crescent moon on a calm night, the intensity of a waterfall as the water drops for thousands of feet, the sunset by the sea … certain scenes of natural unspoiled beauty stirs something in us. As Allah is the One Who made it beautiful, so what of Allah’s beauty?
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “And it is enough to realize Allah’s Beauty when we know that every internal and external beauty in this life and the next are created by Him, so what of the beauty of their Creator?”
This fitrah for loving what is beautiful is because Allah is beautiful. One of His Names is Al-Jameel (the Most Beautiful). Ibn Al-Qayyim states that the beauty of Allah is something that a person cannot imagine and only He knows it. There is nothing of it in creation save for glimpses.
Ibn Al-Qayyim says if all of creation were the most beautiful they could be (so let’s imagine, ever single human being looked as beautiful as Yusuf, peace be upon him, and the whole world was like Paradise), and all of them combined from the beginning of time until the Day of Judgment, they would not even be like a ray in comparison to the sun when compared to Allah. Allah’s beauty is so intense that we will not even be able to take it in this life. In the Qur’an, Allah describes Musa’s (peace be upon him) request: “And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘My Lord, show me (Yourself) that I may look at You.’ (Allah) said: ‘You will not see Me but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.’ But when his Lord appeared to the mountain He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious.” (Qur’an, 7:143)
Even the mountain could not bear the beauty of Allah and crumbled, and when Musa, peace be upon him, saw this (he did not even see Allah), he fell unconscious. This is why on the Day of Judgment it is Allah’s light that will shine on everything. We talk about breathtaking beauty, but we have yet to experience Allah’s beauty. While things in this world can be beautiful or majestic or if they combine both they are finite, true majesty and beauty are for Allah: “And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.” (Qur’an, 55:27)
Keeping all of this in mind, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Allah directs His Face toward the face of His servant who is praying, as long as he does not turn away” (Tirmidhi).
Remember this in your prayer, and ask Allah to allow you the joy of seeing Him in Paradise.