Our Daughter Insists on Marrying a New Convert!
Reprinted from IslamOnline.net, Ask the Scholar
Name of Mufti: Ahmad Kutty
Topic: Our Daughter Insists on Marrying a New Convert!
Name of Questioner: Hamad from Canada
Question: Dear scholars, As-Salamu `alaykum. What should parents do when their daughter wishes to contract marriage with a man recently converted to Islam whom the parents suspect, because of his previous behavior, may be simply trying to exploit their immature and impressionable daughter?
Should they give their blessings to her or make her choose between them or this man?
They also fear that by acceding to their daughter’s wishes this may give a signal to the siblings and other relatives that they condone dating and choosing one’s own spouse. Jazakum Allah khayran.
Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear brother in Islam, we would like to thank you for the great confidence you place in us, and we implore Allah Almighty to help us serve His cause and render our work for His Sake.
Young women have always been subject to the desires of the ill-hearted and evil opportunists. Islam recognizes the independence of the woman but also decrees measures to maintain her rights and deter those who have ill aims and desires.
Therefore, Islam gives great importance to the approval of the woman’s guardian in a manner that reflects the significance of the marriage contract. Islam’s insistence on the guardian’s involvement in the selection process is to ensure that the woman exercises her choice correctly.
The responsibility of the guardian in marriage is to help the woman in selecting her husband. Usually, a woman can hardly dig into essential information about a man, so the guardian does his best for the interest and welfare of that woman. Thus, it is the job of the wali (guardian) to act in the best interest of the woman according to the standards established by Islam.
In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
The parents’ right to exercise guardianship over their children is conditional on their exercising it in order to safeguard and protect the interests of children themselves. In other words, parents are not allowed to exercise their right to guardianship to the detriment of the interests of the children or for the purpose of taking away their legitimate Islamic right and freedom to choose their own marriage partners or run their own lives as long as they do not harm the interests of the parents.
Parents in Islam, therefore, have no right to interfere in children’s choice of marriage partners unless they are certain that the children are exercising their choice to harm themselves. That would be the case if someone were to choose for marriage a person who is utterly incompatible and therefore unsuitable for marriage: for instance, if the man is a non-Muslim or a Muslim who is lacking in religious and moral integrity, or someone who, in spite of meeting the requisite religious requirements, is unable to provide financial support. In such cases, parents definitely have the right to refuse to consent to such marriages, and if the children still went ahead without their parent’s consent such marriages will be invalid.
If, however, the above is not the case, and the parents are simply refusing to give consent for material considerations, other than compatibility of religion or ability to support, then they are certainly unjustified in such behavior, for by doing so they are clearly overstepping their authority as guardians.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “If a person of religious and moral integrity comes forward proposing for your daughter, offer her in marriage (if she chooses him); otherwise, you are paving the way for rampant corruption!”
Based on this, you should consider carefully: If this person is trustworthy and sincere in his Islamic commitment and he has the ability to support your daughter in marriage, then you should not stop them from marrying, if they have chosen each other freely. If on the other hand, you have reasonable grounds for suspecting that this person is not trustworthy or that he cannot support her, then you are justified in withholding your consent.
In the last mentioned scenario, if, in spite of your refusal to give consent, they were to go ahead and get married, such a marriage is considered invalid in Islam. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, “If a woman were to get married without the consent of her guardian, such a marriage shall be deemed as invalid.”