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Can I Marry Without Parent’s Permission?

29 December, 2016
Q As-Salamu alaykum. I want to ask about marriage. I know a man that wanted to marry me. He is divorced with 5 children, 16 years older than me and he is a convert Muslim. He asked my parents to marry me but my parents refused because of his situation. My family is not a practicing Muslim family. Now we have a relationship that is haram and because we wanted to correct our mistakes we got married in secret without my parents' permission and after this I already started wearing hijab, I pray and I also encourage him to pray. We help each other in deen. My question is did I/we committed a big mistake regarding this matter? Is our marriage valid? And now we don't want to let my family know about this because I know they will do things that will separate us. We already do things as married people do. Please help me. I feel so guilty every time I am with my family.

Answer

Wa `alaykum As-Salamu waRahmatullahi 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 questioner, 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.

Answering your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a Senior Lecturer and an Islamic Scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

Parents’ role in the marriage of their daughters is limited to guiding them to choose compatible marriage partners.

Compatibility entails a person’s worth in a spiritual and moral sense: the only primary criterion that makes or breaks a marriage. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “If a person of acceptable religion and character presents himself for marriage, marry him, otherwise, there would be widespread sedition and rampant corruption in the land.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Therefore, if you made a choice based on the above consideration, then your parents have no right to stop you from marrying the man. Since you are free to choose to the food to eat, likewise, it is your choice to decide whom to choose as a life-long partner.

Having said this let me rush to point, marriage, in order to be valid, must be publicized and it cannot remain a secret.

The conditions of marriage as stipulated by Islam can be summed up as follows:

1- The consent of the guardian of the woman;

2- Presence of witnesses;

3- Offering and acceptance;

4- And mahr (dower).

Once the above conditions have been fulfilled, the marriage will be deemed as valid; but if these conditions are not fulfilled, then it will be considered as being null and void.

As far as the consent of guardian is concerned, it can only be dispensed with if the guardian is simply refusing to give consent for considerations other than Islamic, in which case the judge can authorize the marriage after having followed the due process. If, on the other hand, such is not the case and no attempt was made to ascertain the consent of the guardian, then such a marriage would be considered invalid and, therefore, unacceptable in Islam. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “There is no (valid) marriage without a guardian and two reliable witnesses.” (Abu Dawud)

By stipulating the above-mentioned conditions for the validity of marriage, Islam insists that a marriage should remain distinct from other loose and immoral lifestyles such as fornication and illicit affairs. Hence, the Prophet insisted on making marriages public.

In conclusion, in light of the above, I would urge you to decide for yourself whether you have followed the above conditions or not.

You also have to offer sincere repentance for your illegal relationship with that man.

Allah Almighty knows best.