Muslim Marriage and Dower Rights of Women
Dower rights of women are mandatory in any Muslim marriage. In Arabic language it is…
Quran does not give a detailed procedure to make an Islamic Marriage contract. However, your legislature can make rules by following the basic Islamic principles and philosophy. You know…
…basic urge of life is survival. Viruses, insects, bird, plants, animals and man, all have different modes of regeneration. But the man can make laws to regulate the process. God has helped human beings by announcing His own laws:
“And Allah has made for you mates (spouses) of your own nature, and made for you, out of them, sons and daughters and grandchildren, and provided for you sustenance of the best: will they then believe in vain things, and be ungrateful for Allah’s favors? And follow laws of others than Allah who have no power of providing them, for sustenance, with anything in heavens or earth, and cannot have such power?” (Quran 16:72-73)
The Muslim jurists are not agreed upon details of the procedure for an Islamic marriage contract. However, they are agreed on two things to establish a valid marriage:
1- Independent proposal and
2- Independent acceptance of the proposal
Thus you are supposed to propose with your free consent…
How can you make a free proposal without seeing your prospective partner of life?
Prophet Muhammad (S) has recommended:
“When one of you seeks a woman in marriage, and then if he is able to have a look at whom he wishes to marry, let him do so”. (Abu Dawood)
Falling in love is not a requirement for an Islamic marriage contract. However, most of the Muslim jurists agree that there is nothing wrong if you see your would-be spouse before making a proposal. It is even advisable to have some useful conversation.
However, this meeting must not be a dating in the North American style. During the meeting no sexual contact is allowed. As for as meeting in privacy is concerned, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has guided:
“No man has the right to be in the privacy with a woman who is not lawful for him. Satan is their third party unless there is a Mahram “. (Ahmad)
Who is a ‘Mahram’?
Your parents, elder brother or any third person who is in the prohibited degree…
Even then you must not ignore limits of God:
”Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: And Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms…” (Quran 24:30-31 Trans: Abdulla Yusufali)
Proposal of marriage can be made by either of the parties. Hazrat Khadija (RA) had made a proposal to Muhammad (PBUH) and that was accepted. There are a number of incidents reported that many women made proposals in the time of Muhammad (PBUH) but neither God nor His prophet objected.
You can make proposal in either of the two ways:
1- Directly by yourself
2- Through your authorized agent
Any consent in proposal got with fraud, dishonesty and force is illegal. It frustrates not only an Islamic marriage contract but also the philosophy of Quran. More on Philosophy of Islamic Marriage Contract…
Acceptance of proposal is to be treated on the equal footings to a proposal making. Quran says:
“Marry women of your choice. (Quran 4:3 Abdullah Yusufali)
“O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will.” (Quran 4: 19 Abdullah Yusufali)
Muhammad (PBUH), the prophet says:
“The widow and the divorced woman shall not be married until their consent is obtained, and the virgin shall not be married until her consent is obtained.” (AlBukhari)
You must investigate a proposal before rejecting or accepting it. When you are satisfied that you can live a peaceful and harmonious life with the proposal maker you should accept otherwise the proposal.
Like proposal making, you can either accept/reject the proposal directly or through your ‘Wali’ (authorized agent).
There is no doubt that an independent consent of the partners is required for a valid Islamic marriage contract. However, there is difference of opinion regarding the role of a Wali.
Wali in Islam is father, brother or grandfather or mother etc of a woman…
There are two schools of thought. A group of the Muslim jurists claims that the ‘wali’ has no right to interfere in an Islamic marriage contract. They refer to a verse of holy Quran:
“When ye divorce women, and they fulfill the term of their (‘Iddat), do not prevent them from marrying their (former) husbands, if they mutually agree on equitable terms. This instruction is for all amongst you, who believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is (the course Making for) most virtue and purity amongst you and Allah knows, and ye know not. (Quran 2: 232 Abdullah Yusufali)”
However, many jurists suggest that the verse is for divorced women and addresses the husbands. They propose that a ‘Wali’ has a bigger role. He can not only suggest a partner but can even reject a proposal. They refer to the case of Abu Juhm bin Hudhaifah and Mu’awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan. Both of them proposed to Fatimah bint Ghaith. The prophet advised Fatimah not to marry any of them as Mu’awiyah had not developed means of life yet and Juham was a harsh person.
In our opinion, the role of a ‘Wali’ should be advisory in nature. It is possible that either of the Muslim partners may be making a mistake due to her immaturity or over-zealousness. Or either of them may have received just distorted information about her future life-partner. In such situations, a father, brother or mother should tell her truth and convince her not to marry such a person.
A ‘Wali’ should:
1- Suggest about prospective spouses.
2- Screen proposals and call references.
3- Act as the third party in an Islamic marriage contract.
The best way is that you should not ignore wishes and advice of your parents and elder ones. And your ‘Wali’ should not force you to marry to a particular person. A delicate balance can not only solve many problems but also save you a life of frustration.