Is it permissible for a father to force his daughter to marry a person whom she does not want to marry?

Question:

Is it permissible for a father to force his daughter to marry a person whom she does not want to marry?

Answer:

A father or any other person is not allowed to force the girls towards whom they act as Walis (a legally accountable person acting for a woman seeking marriage) to marry one whom she does not want to be married to. Rather, her consent is a necessity as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A previously-married woman cannot be given in marriage until she is consulted, and a virgin cannot be married until her permission is obtained.” They said: “O Messenger of Allah! How is her permission?” He said: “by keeping silent”1

In another narration, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Her silence is her permission” In the third narration: “A virgin’s father must ask her permission , and her permission is (obtained by) her silence.2

Accordingly, a woman’s father or Wali (a legally accountable person acting for a woman regarding marriage) must ask for her permission if she is nine years old or above. She may not be given in marriage except with her consent. This is Wajib (obligatory) upon everyone involved. If a person gives his charge in marriage without her permission, the marriage becomes invalid; for the mutual consent of both parties is one of the conditions of marriage. Therefore, anyone who compels a woman to marry unwillingly by means of force or threat; this marriage becomes invalid, except for a father whose daughter has not yet reached nine years. According to the correct view, if she is under nine, and he gives her in marriage, there is no harm in doing so, since the Messenger (peace be upon him) married ‘Aishah without her permission when she was under nine3 as mentioned in the Sahih (authentic) Hadith.

But, if she is nine or more, he should not give her in marriage except with her consent, even if the Wali is her father. Furthermore, a man should not complete the procedures of marriage knowing that a woman does not agree, even if the father agrees. Rather, he should fear Allah and not pursue a woman who does not want him; regardless of her father’s claims of her consent. He should beware of what Allah (Exalted be He) has prohibited for him, since the Messenger (peace be upon him) ordered to obtain her consent.

We recommend all women to fear Allah and agree to the choice of her father or Wali (a legally accountable person acting for a woman regarding marriage), if the suitor is a pious person, for the great benefits of marriage on one hand and the risks of remaining single on the other hand. As a result, we recommend all girls to accept whoever is suitable and not use their studies or the like as an excuse. Allah is the Grantor of success!


  1. Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Book on marriage, no. 5136; Muslim, Sahih, Book on marriage, no. 1419; Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan, Book on marriage, no. 1107; Al-Nasa’i, Sunan, Book on marriage, no. 3267; Abu Dawud, Sunan, Book on marriage, no. 2092; Ibn Majah, Sunan, Book on marriage, no. 1871; Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 2, p. 434, and Al-Darimi, Sunan, Book on marriage, no. 2186. 

  2. Muslim, Sahih, Book on marriage, no. 1421; Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan, Book on marriage, no. 1108; Al-Nasa’i, Sunan, Book on marriage, no. 3260; Abu Dawud, Sunan, Book on marriage, no. 2098; Ibn Majah, Sunan, Book on marriage, no. 1870; Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 1, p. 274, Malik, Al-Muwatta, Book on marriage, no. 1114; and Al-Darimi, Sunan, Book on marriage, no. 2190. 

  3. Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Book on marriage, no. 5158; Muslim, Sahih, Book on marriage, no. 1422; Abu Dawud, Sunan, Book on manners, no. 4933; Ibn Majah, Sunan, Book on marriage, no. 1876; and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 6, p. 211.