Islamic Supreme Council of Canada
Date: July 11, 2014
ISCC affiliated Imams Issue Important Fatwa on Forced and Underage Marriages
Forced and Underage Marriages Are Un-Islamic
(Calgary) During the blessed days of Ramadan, the thirty-five Imams and the Islamic leaders affiliated with the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada have issued the following Fatwa reminding Muslims that forced marriages and marriages with underage girls are un-Islamic actions and crimes in Islam. These crimes are major sins in Islam punishable by the court of law and the Almighty Allah.
FATWA (Religious Edict)
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
We, the undersigned Imams, are issuing this Fatwa as a reminder to the Muslims of North America regarding the issues of forced marriages and the marriages of underage girls and boys.
We know very well that there are a few parents who believe they can force their daughters to marry only men of the parents’ choosing, and there are a few Muslims who believe marrying underage girls is permissible. However, based upon the guidance in the holy Qur’an and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), these are very un-Islamic, criminal actions. Such marriages are forbidden (haraam) in Islam.
According to the holy Qur’an, the biggest liar is the one who tells lies on Allah. There is no justification for such practices in Islam. These are crimes in the court of law and in the sight of Allah. Therefore, this Fatwa is issued, based upon the command of Almighty Allah in the holy Qur’an:
- “Let there among you be a group that summon to all that is beneficial commands what is proper and forbids what is improper; they are the ones who will prosper.” (3:104)
- “Believing men and believing women are protecting friends of one another; they enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong; they perform salat and give zakat…” (9:71)
- “Those who, if We establish them in the land (with authority), establish regular prayers and practice regular charity and enjoin the right and forbid the wrong…” (22:41)
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said in a Hadith:
- “When people see a wrong-doer and do nothing to stop him, they may well be visited by God with a punishment.”
It is an obligation upon us (the Imams) to inform all Muslims in Canada and around the world that in Islam:
- Forced marriage is not recognized as lawful marriage. The relationship between the husband and wife is based upon mutual love and acceptance.
- Marrying an underage girl is cruel and criminal.
- “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.” (Qur’an, 30: 21)
- “Ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness…” (Qur’an, 4:19)
- “They (wives) are your garments. And ye are their garments.” (2:187)
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has emphatically forbidden forced marriages. He has unequivocally stated that in order for a marriage to be Halaal (legal/permissible) the guardian or parents must ask permission from the female to be taken in marriage. A marriage cannot go ahead unless the woman is consulted and she has given her approval for the marriage. If she refuses, and does not want to get married, then her wish must be respected and others may not go against her decision.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
- “A matron should not be given in marriage until she is consulted, and a virgin should not be given in marriage until her permission is sought.” (Tirmidhi, Book 11, Vol. 2, Book 6, Hadith 1107)
- “A matron should not be given in marriage except after her permission; and a virgin should not be given in marriage except after her permission.“ (Bukhari, Book 62,Vol 7, Hadith 67)
- Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: ‘An orphan girl should be consulted with regard to marriage, and if she remains silent, that is her permission. If she refuses then she is not to be forced.’” (Nasa’I, Book 26, Vol. 4, Book 26, Hadith 75 and Tirmidhi, Book 11, Hadith 30. Vol. 2, Book 6)
- Narrated by Abdullah ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him): “A girl came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and mentioned that her father had married her against her will, so the Prophet (peace be upon him) allowed her to exercise her choice.” (Abi Dawud, Book 12, Hadith 51)
Thus, it is clear from the several sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) that parents cannot force a daughter to marry a man whom she does not approve of. For a marriage to be valid in Islam there has to be mutual consent, from both the bride and the groom.
Marriage is one of the most important institutions of Islam. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) declared that when a person marries he has completed “half of his religious obligations.” Marriage is a legal contract between two individuals. It requires the usual mutual consent between the parties, specified conditions, and a public witness. The involvement of parents and family extends only to help in finding the right partner. For a successful, long lasting marriage, it is essential to consider long-term compatibility, moral character and religious beliefs. However, an arranged marriage may not be a forced marriage and Islamic law stipulates that the free consent of both parties is necessary for its validity.
Evidence in the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) clearly shows that forced marriages are not a part of Islam. It is apparent that forcing a marriage upon someone against that person’s will is forbidden in Islam.
The above-mentioned Ahadith (sayings) of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) make it obvious that the girl to be married must first reach an age when she has developed all the cognitive faculties necessary to analyse the pros and cons of her prospective marriage. She must be mature enough to make a conscious decision about her future life and to select her spouse. An underage girl (or, that matter, a boy) is not mature enough to make such a rational and intelligent decision, which will have life-impacting effects. Therefore, it is a clear violation of the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to marry an underage girl. Once again, parents cannot make a decision or choose a spouse for their daughters. They can only facilitate, guide and advise their children, girls or boys.
Some people try to use the following verse of the holy Qur’an as an excuse to justify underage marriages:
- “And if you are in doubt about those of your women who have despaired of menstruation, (you should know that) their waiting period is three months, and the same applies to those who have not menstruated as yet. As for pregnant women, their period ends when they have delivered their burden. “(Qur’an, 65:4)
Those who justify underage marriages say that the section in the above verse, “…those who have not menstruated yet,” refers to underage girls. This is a complete misinterpretation of the Quran. The Quran is not referring to underage girls here, but to women who have stopped menstruating for some medical reason (which is not uncommon).
Some people use a Hadith quoted in Bukhari regarding the age of Hazrat Aisha Siddiqah (May Allah be pleased with her) when she married Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). According to this Hadith when Hazrat Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) married the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) she was 9 years old.
All the scholars of Islam are unanimous in understanding that the holy Qur’an supersedes every other writing, including Hadith. Moreover, there are several categories of Hadith and every Hadith in the books of Hadith is not necessarily authentic OR correct. This particular Hadith has been disputed by several scholars and is considered a misquoted or fabricated Hadith. Reasons for doubting the authenticity of this Hadith include the evidence that it clearly conflicts with the character of the holy Prophet (peace be upon him) as described in the holy Qur’an.
The character of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) described in the holy Qur’an is:
- “And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character.” (Qur’an, 68:4).
- “Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct)…” (Qur’an, 33:21)
It would be immoral for a person in his fifties to marry a girl of only 9 years of age. Our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is on the top of morality. This world had never seen and will never see anyone more moral and spiritual than the last Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (peace be upon him). Therefore, it is a lie and a piece of false information that Hazrat Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) married Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) when she was underage. A wealth of evidence suggests that she was no less than nineteen (19) years when she was married to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). For a detailed analysis and evidence regarding the age of Hazrat Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) when she married, please refer to http://islamicsupremecouncilofcanada.com/ummul-momineen-hazrat-ayesha-may-allah-be-pleased-with-her/
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) gave no recognition to class distinction. On the contrary, in marriage, he emphasized compatibility. When a man questioned the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) about whom he should marry. The Prophet replied, “Your match” One of the most prominent jurists of Islam, Imam Ja’far Al Sadiq (May Allah be pleased with him) said, “An intelligent and wise woman must not be matched except with a sage and wise man.”
“There is no compulsion in religion… ” (Qur’an, 2:256)
As Imams and religious leaders in the community, we have an obligation to inform everyone that Islam forbids forced and/or underage marriages. We offer every Muslim family in Canada and the United States the support and guidance they need if a family member seems to be violating the Islamic code of conduct. However, we want to be very clear that no one, except the Canadian/American courts, has the right to punish a crime. It is the requirement of Islam that citizens must follow and respect the laws of their countries. Therefore, Muslims who live in Canada must follow and respect the laws of Canada. Similarly, American Muslims must follow the laws of the United States.
- Prof. Imam Syed B. Soharwardy – Calgary
- Imam Mufti Safiullah Chishti – Edmonton
- Imam Mufti Shabbir Alam Misbahi – Mississauga
- Imam Mufti Muhammad AyyubAshrafi – Toronto
- Imam Syed Mukhtar Hussain Naeemi – Houston, USA
- Imam Muhammad Masood Ahmed Ashrafi – New York, USA
- Imam Hafiz Qari Ghalib Hussain Akber Chishty – Calgary
- Imam Hafiz Muhammad Nasir Qadri – Montreal
- Imam Abdul Latif No’mani – Vancouver
- Imam Muhammad Mahmoud – Mississauga
- Imam Qazi Bashiruddin Sahib – Brampton
- Imam Hafiz Muhammad ZareefNaeemi – Calgary
- Imam Syed Akram Abbas – Toronto
- Imam Syed Ahmed Amiruddin Khan Naqshbandi – Mississauga
- Hafizah Zaheera Tariq Soharwardy, Calgary
- Imam Shahid Bashir – Calgary
- Imam Muhammad Anees Siddiqui – Calgary
- Imam Muhammad Fahad Siddiqui – Calgary
- Imam Salim Chishti – New Lebanon, New York, USA
- Imam Abdul Ghani Owaisy – Houston, USA
- Imam Muhammad Amin Mujaddadi – Live Oak, California, USA
- Imam FaizRasool Qadri – Houston, USA
- Imam Zubair Naqshbandi – San Francisco, USA
- Imam Mahmood ul Hasan – Toronto
- Imam Muhammad ZakariaShakir – Toronto
- Imam Shahnawaz Ali – Toronto
- Imam Muhammad Ali – Toronto
- Imam Hafiz Ibrahim – Edmonton
- Imam Hafiz Muhammad Suhail – Calgary
- Imam Muhammad Zubair Attari – Calgary
- Imam Zafar Iqbal – Calgary
- Imam Hafiz Muhammad Amjad – Montreal
- Imam Hafiz Muhammad Ilyas – Montreal
- Imam Muhammad Taymoor – Calgary
- Maulana Hafiz Shaid Iqbal – Toronto
- Maulana abdul Qadir Qadri – Brampton
For further questions, please contact Imam Syed Soharwardy at 1-416-994-5467 OR email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks
Note: We are in the process of getting more endorsements from various Imams across North America. Their names will be posted on ISCC’s website, http://islamicsupremecouncilofcanada.com/fatwa-on-forced-and-underage-marriages/