Women Corner >> Women After Marriage - Part 1

The Institution of Marriage

The Quranic point of view with regard to the institution of marriage is based on the following principles and laws:
Interdependence of man and woman in ensuring fullness of life for each other through mutual affection, mutual confidence and mutual protection, as husband and wife has been stressed by using a metaphor of profound beauty: "They are your garments and you are their garments." (2:187)
For those who can afford it, marriage is an obligation. The Quran says: "And perform marriage of those among you who have not been married and of your suitable servants and hand maids. If they are poor, Allah will enrich them out of His Bounty. And Allah is Ample Knowing." (24: 32)
Contrast it with the attitude of those religions, which advocate celibacy and idolize it as the ideal of perfection, considering sexual satisfaction even in the bond of marriage as a positive evil from the spiritual point of view. 
Marriage is a social contract. The word Nikah, used for marriage in the Holy Quraan, originally means Aqd. Thus, the very word Nikah implies that marriage is a social contract, and not a sacrament, although it is a sacred contract. Moreover, the Quraanic permission to terminate the relation of marriage, if it becomes absolutely impossible for the husband and the wife to continue that relation, proves that the Quraan regards marriage as a social contract only.
Women are not to be treated as property (*1). The Quraan says: "O believers! It is not lawful for you to be heir of the women forcibly." (4:19)
Marriage with persons of certain categories has been prohibited. The Holy Quraan has prohibited marriage with all those who may stand in the relations of consanguinity, or affinity, or fosterage. Almighty Allah states; "Forbidden to you are your mothers, and your daughters and sisters and your father's sisters and mother's sisters and your brother's daughters and your sister's daughters, and your mothers who have given suck to you and your foster sisters and the mothers of your wives and daughters (your step daughters) who are in your care from the wives with whom you had intercourse but if you had not intercourse with them, then there is no harm in their daughters, and the wives of your sons who are of your loins and to have two sisters together except what has already passed. (*2).Undoubtedly. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." (4: 23)

Islam has established that every marriage must be preceded by the consent of the woman who is to be married, whether she is a virgin or a woman who had a previous marriage. Her consent must be obtained before her father or the guardian can act for her in any marriage contract.
Indeed, when a marriage is conducted, the government registrar or other official or the Qaadi must satisfy himself that he has the woman's full agreement. If someone is acting for her as her guardian, the Qaadi will ask him to produce two witnesses who testify that she has authorized him to act for her in this marriage. Several Hadith tell us that a previously married woman has more authority over herself than her guardian. A virgin must be asked concerning her marriage. Her consent may be given by keeping quiet. 
The distinction here between a previously married woman and a virgin is merely in the form of how consent is granted. A virgin may be too shy to state in words that she accepts to be married, while a previously married woman has learned practically that there is nothing to be shy about in marriage.
Hazrat Abu Huraira رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ narrated 
that Rasulallah  صلی اللہ تعالیٰ علیہ والہ وسلم said that a matron should not be given in marriage without her consent and a virgin should not be given in marriage without taking her permission. The people requested Ya Rasulallah  صلی اللہ تعالیٰ علیہ والہ وسلم! How can we know the virgin consent (permission)?Rasulallah  صلی اللہ تعالیٰ علیہ والہ وسلم said if she keeps silence during asking then it implies her consent (indicates her permission). (Sahih-Al-Bukhari: Volume No.3, Chapter: Kitab-ul-Nikkah, Hadith No.123)

Hazrat Aisha رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ narrated
I requested Ya Rasulallah  صلی اللہ تعالیٰ علیہ والہ وسلم a virgin girl feels shy from giving her consent.Rasulallah  صلی اللہ تعالیٰ علیہ والہ وسلم said that her silence implies her consent. (Sahih-Al-Bukhari: Volume No.3, Chapter: Kitab-ul-Nikkah, Hadith No.124)

Hazrat Abu Huraira رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ narrated 
that Rasulallah  صلی اللہ تعالیٰ علیہ والہ وسلم said unmarried girl must not be married until she is not consulted and a virgin must not be married until her permission is sought. Blessed Companion (Sahaba) asked: Ya Rasulallah  صلی اللہ تعالیٰ علیہ والہ وسلم! How virgin consent (permission) is? Rasulallah  صلی اللہ تعالیٰ علیہ والہ وسلم said her silence(it indicates her permission). (Sahih Muslim: Volume No.2, Chapter: Kitab-ul-Nikkah, Hadith No.3458) 

Hazrat Aisha رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ narrated
I asked from Rasulallah  صلی اللہ تعالیٰ علیہ والہ وسلم:When a girl whose marriage is solemnised by her guardian, whether it necessary to take permission from her or not. Rasulallah  صلی اللہ تعالیٰ علیہ والہ وسلمsaid: must be consulted. Hazrat Aisha رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ said i requested: Ya Rasulallah  صلی اللہ تعالیٰ علیہ والہ وسلم   she feels shy, whereupon Rasulallah  صلی اللہ تعالیٰ علیہ والہ وسلم said: Her silence implies her consent (permission). (Sahih Muslim: Volume No.2, Chapter: Kitab-ul-Nikkah, Hadith No.3460) 

After the girl attains adulthood, her parents should find a good match and marry her. During the matchmaking exercise, the parents should abstain from establishing matrimonial relations with families of wrongdoers like Wahabis , Deobandis, Shi'ites, Najadi (*4). etc. They should give the hand of their daughter into the hand of a Sunni boy who sincerely follows the Sharee'ah and the ways of the Ahle-Sunnah wa Jama'at (*5). .

Hazrat Abu Huraira رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ narrated 
That Nabi Kareem  صلی اللہ تعالیٰ علیہ والہ وسلم said a woman is married for four things,because of her wealth, her family status, physical look and beauty and her religion. If your hands are soiled then get religiousness. (Sahih-Al-Bukhari: Volume No.3, Chapter: Kitab-ul-Nikkah, Hadith No.81)
The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) added that religiousness should be given priority at the time of matchmaking. Marriage fulfills the purpose of expanding the generation. It also saves man from illicit relations with other women. Marriage (Nikkah) carries high rewards. 

Forced Marriage is not acceptable
The idea of a woman being forced into a marriage against her own wishes is not acceptable from the Islamic point of view.  

Hazrat Khansa bint Khidam Al-Ansariya رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ narrated 
That her father gave her in marriage when she was a matron and she disliked that marriage. So she went to Rasulallah صلی اللہ تعالیٰ علیہ والہ وسلم and Rasulallah صلی اللہ تعالیٰ علیہ والہ وسلم said that marriage invalid. (Sahih-Al-Bukhari: Volume No.3, Chapter: Kitab-ul-Nikkah, Hadith No.125)

Hazrat Abdur-Rahman bin Yazid and Majammi bin Yazid رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ narrated 
That a man called Khidam married a daughter of his.Next the same above Hadith No.125 (Sahih-Al-Bukhari: Volume No.3, Chapter: Kitab-ul-Nikkah, Hadith No.126)  

It is often thought that because a father acts for his daughter in marriage, he can marry her to whomever he likes, without seeking her consent. People, who suggest this, make a very superficial judgment. By requiring a father or a guardian to act for the woman in her marriage, Islam emphasizes the woman's honor. Marriage in Islam is the way to establish a family, and this is conducted through families. Therefore, the woman appears to have the consent of her family to her own marriage. She does not appear as the weaker party in a civil contract.
There is no rigid process of choosing a husband. If a man proposes to a family seeking to marry one of their daughters, then he must have based his choice on either first hand knowledge or proper investigation. Similarly, if the woman's family makes the approach, then it must be based on a good knowledge of the man and his character.
As we all know, Islam does not permit the sort of free-mixing between the sexes, which is known in Western societies. If some aspects of that social mixing is practiced among certain sections of society in Muslim countries, then that is something Islam disallows. In a certain situation, a woman is able to know the character and nature of a man and she feels, on the basis of her knowledge, that he can make her a very good husband. It is perfectly conceivable that a woman can acquire such knowledge of a man, either because he is her colleague at work, or because she has had a chance to see him acting in different situations. Such knowledge would enable her to understand his character and to find out that he can be a good family man.
When a woman has known such a man and wishes to marry him, she should speak to her family about it. Her father or guardian will take over and speak to the man either directly or through intermediaries. All this is appropriate. What is not appropriate from the Islamic point of view is that the woman should try to get the man into a love relationship with her as it happens in films or in Western societies.
If a woman selects a man as her future husband and he is considered to be good for her from the social point of view, then the father is required to facilitate her marriage.

(*)[Sayyidah Hafsah bint Omar (radi Allahu anha), Sayyiduna Omar's - radi Allahu anhu daughter, became a widow when her husband, Khunais bin Huthafah (radi Allahu anhu), who was a companion of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), passed away in Madinatul Munawwara Munawwara. Sayyiduna Omar (radi Allahu anhu) reports: I went to Uthman bin Affaan (radi Allahu anhu) and offered him Hafsah (radi Allahu anha) saying, If you wish, I will give you Hafsah (radi Allahu anha) as a wife. He said, I will consider the matter. I waited for a few days, then Uthman (radi Allahu anhu) met me and said, I have considered the matter and I do not wish to be married now.
Sayyiduna Omar (radi Allahu anhu) goes on in his report: I then met Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) and said, If you wish, I will give you Hafsah (radi Allahu anha) in marriage. Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) kept quiet and gave no answer whatsoever. I felt more aggrieved with him than I was with Uthman (radi Allahu anhu). After a few days, Allah's Messenger (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) proposed to marry Hafsah (radi Allahu anha) and I gave her away in marriage to him. I then met Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) and he said, You might have felt something against me when you offered me Hafsah (radi Allahu anha) and I gave no reply. I answered in the affirmative. He said, What prevented me from answering your proposal was that I had learned that Allah's Messenger (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) had expressed his wish to marry her. I am not one who reveals the Prophet's (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) secret.] 

Witnesses are necessary in Nikah 

The majority of Ulama concur that a woman may not give herself away in marriage, but her guardian (as a representing Wakeel) must act on her behalf by the virtue of her permission in her Nikah to a man. Nor can she give an authority to anyone else to act for her in marriage. Moreover, a woman cannot act (as a Wakeel) for another woman in a marriage contract. (That is to say: even a mother cannot.)]
As for the person who should be her guardian for marriage purposes, there is no doubt that it is her father. If he is available, then no one else may act for her. If her father is not available, either because he is dead or mentally deranged, then her paternal grandfather or great grandfather may act for her. If she has no father or grandfather, her brother will act for her or any family elder as agreed by the family and woman.
It should be said that the condition of a guardian to act for a woman in her marriage does not detract from her the ability or the qualification to make the right choice. Indeed, any such guardian should have her consent before he goes ahead with the marriage arrangements. His presence is required not as a witness but as her representative. This is an aspect of the honorable position that Islam assigns to women. Moreover, it reflects on the seriousness with which Islam views marriage. It is a family matter, which is conducted by families. Moreover, when family represents the woman, this is more conducive to ensuring that her husband respects her rights. Besides, the nature of society Islam builds is one in which the woman normally takes her natural position, looking after the future generation. That is bound to limit her social activities a little. Her judgment of people, especially of men and their characters may, as a result, needs to be supplemented by that of other men in her family.
If a woman marries herself away without the presence of her father or appointed guardian, then her marriage is invalid because there no witnesses as required by the Sharee'ah. 
Thus we are to understand that the Sharee'ah requires one to announce Nikah either in public or in the presence of witnesses so that the Muslim society does not fall into any doubt about the legitimate relation of two individuals.
A woman, until she gets married, is called the daughter of her parents. After the marriage, she becomes somebody's wife. Now she has much more responsibilities and duties than ever. She has to fulfill additional duties towards her husband. She should be sincere and faithful to her husband and serve him with utmost dedication.