Consent of Woman in her marriage 

For the greater interest of the daughter Islam gives mother a bit more importance and recommends to consult her before marrying off her daughter for some obvious reasons. Prophet (SAWS) said, "Take woman's permission about their daughters". [ Transmitted by Ahmad and ascribed to Ibn Umar (4905); researched by Ahmad Shaker, Abu Dawud (2095); and others.] In this context, Iman Abu Sulaiman Al-Kattaby has some valuable remarks to add, as comment on this Hadith, in his book Landmark of Traditions (Maalem as-Sunna), which should be conveyed for their moral sense and integrity. He writes: The counsel of mothers in the affairs of their daughters is not because they have a say in the marriage contract, but it is also that the daughters feel secure and have intimate relationships with their mothers . . .. Moreover, mothers are closer to their daughters; they listen more to what they say. For these reasons, their consultation concerning the marriage of their daughters is appreciated.

He adds: It could be for another reason in addition to what is mentioned. A woman might come to know through her special relation with her daughter and through her private conversation with her amatter, which could invalidate the marriage contract. It could be due to an illness, which makes her unable to perform her duties as a wife. Usually the mother is better informed about such matters, as she is psychologically closer to her daughters.

In addition, the mother may know from her daughter's secrets that her heart is tied to someone else. If that person proposes and is suitable, then he should have the priority, as in the Hadith, "Nothing is better for 
those in love than marriage". [ Transmitted on the authority of Ibn Abbas, Ibn Majah (1847); Al-Hakim and corrected on Muslim's term 2/160, agreed upon by Al-Dhahaby and Al-Baihaqi 7/78; Al-Tabrany, Tammam and others. It is mentioned by Al-Albany in the "authentic ones" (624).]

If the father has no right to marry his daughter to one she does not like, he has the right that his daughter should not get married without his permission, according to the Hadith by Abu Musa, "Nomarriage without the guardian," and for the Hadith [ Transmitted by Abu Dawud (2085); Al-Termithy (1101); Ibn Majah (1881); Ahmad 4/394,413, 418. Other words mentioned in the Hadith are transmitted by Al-Munzery in 
The Concise Book of Traditions (Mokhtasser As-Sunna),and by Ibn Al-Qayyim, see Hadith (2000).] on the authority of `Aisha, "Any woman who marries without the permission of her guardian, and her marriage 
is void." This was said three times. [Transmitted by Abu Dawud (2083) and (2084); Al-Termithy (1102) who improved it; and IbnMajah (1879).] (ibid)

Basically Islam encourages the involvement of the parents or guardians in the marriage of their offspring as Allah (SWT) entrusts them with the special duty of marrying off their progeny. He says, “Marry off those among you who are single, and the virtuous ones among yourselves, male or female: if they are in poverty, Allah will give them means out of His grace: for Allah encompasseth all, and he knoweth all things.” (24:32). The reason why Islam lays down the condition of the involvement of the parents or guardians 
is the betterment of the bride and bridegroom who can potentially make mistake because of the immaturity of their experience if they don’t consult their parents or guardians about their marriage. Besides, it is a 
matter of decency, appreciable social decorum and after all respect to parents and guardians to engage them in marital affairs. Despite the fact that Islam encourages the involvement of parents in the marriage, majority of Islamic jurists think that an adult lady can perform her marriage independently and, in law, she does not require any sort of parental consent.(Ref. Dr Jamal Al Badawi, G-series). In the case of divorcee, Islam gives her a bit more freedom than thevirgin because she possesses some experience about marital life and hence is capable enough to take her own decision wisely.

This is noble creed of Islam that ensured the independence of woman as human being about fifteen centuries ago whereas the modern world realised the same thing in the recent time. The UN General Assembly ensured such independence in 1965 by resolution. It says, “[Principle I (a)] No marriage shall be 
legally entered into without the full and free consent of both parties, such consent to be expressed by them in person, after due publicity and in the presence of the authority competent to solemnize the marriage and of witnesses, as prescribed by law.” (Recommendation on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages; General Assembly resolution 2018 (XX) of 1 November 1965)

(The readers are advised to go through the chapter Verdict of Jurisprudence in “Women in Islam and Muslim Society” by Dr Hassan Abdulla Al Turabi, and the chapter Woman as Daughter of the book The Status of Women in Islam by Dr Yousuf al-Qaradawi both are available on the web)

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