Un-Arranged Marriages


By Shehzad Saleem


Question: What option does Islam give to a man and a woman who intend to marry one another against the wishes of their parents?
Answer: Before the question is answered a basic guideline provided by Islam in social affairs must be clearly understood: Islam regards the institution of family as the basic unit of a society and stresses that it is the need of every individual if his life is viewed as a whole. Man is basically a weak and an insecure being. He has spiritual as well as material needs. If he needs to develop a strong relationship with the Almighty to fulfil his spiritual needs, he needs to develop a strong relationship with his fellow human beings to meet his material needs, which may be physical, emotional and psychological. His family and clan fulfil these needs. Couples who live in isolation are deprived of this support. Consequently, Islam regards the consent of the parents, who are the foremost guardians, as something extremely important in a marriage. It is in the interest of the couple to be part of a larger family. In this regard, if on the one hand the children must respect the wishes of their parents, on the other hand the parents have no right to impose their wishes over the children. A difference of opinion in this regard should be settled with magnanimity and accommodation on the part of the parents unless of course they have some sound grounds in opposing such a marriage.
If a situation arises in which the man and woman who intend to marry reach the conclusion that either or both the parents are opposing their marriage on baseless grounds and all efforts to resolve the conflict have ended in vain, they have the option to take their case to the courts of justice and apply for the guardianship of the state. If the court is satisfied with their stance, it will grant them this guardianship after which they can marry. In this case, the protection and support needed for such a marriage shall be provided by the state, which, of course, is not an exact replacement of the one provided by the family set up of parents and other relatives. The man and woman must realise that this is the cost they would be paying in such a union.

Source: Renaissance, a monthly Islamic magazine from Pakistan, Vol. 16, No.12, December 2006. (http://www.renaissance.com.pk/)