The Father's Permission
- :Shahid Murtaza Mutahhari
The question, which needs examination from the point of view of the authority exercised by fathers over their daughters, is whether the father's consent is essential in the case of a maiden's first marriage.
From the Islamic point of view certain things are indisputable.
The boy and the girl both are economically independent. Every sane adult is entitled to have full control of his or her property, provided he or she is mentally mature, that is, capable of taking care of themselves. A father, a mother, a husband or a brother has no power of supervision or intervention in this respect.
Another point, which is indisputable, relates to marriage. The adult and mature boys have full liberty in this respect and nobody else has any right of intervention. The position of the girl, who has been married once and is now without a husband, is the same. But the case of a maiden, who wants to marry for the first time, is a little different.
It is beyond any doubt that the father cannot force even a maiden to marry any person against her will. We already know what the Holy Prophet told the girl whom her father had given in marriage, without taking her consent. The Prophet said that if she was not happy, she could marry someone else. But there exists a difference of opinion among the jurists as to whether a maiden can contract a marriage without the consent of her father and whether the validity of her marriage is in any way conditional to the consent of her father.
There is one more point about which there is absolutely no dispute. If the father withholds his consent without a sound reason, he loses his right. The jurists are unanimous that in such a case the daughter is free to contract a marriage with anyone of her choice.
But otherwise, as we have pointed out, the jurists differ on the point, whether the validity of the marriage of a maiden depends on the consent of her father. Most of the jurists, especially the later ones, are of the view that it does not. But still there are some who are of the opinion that it does.
This being a disputed point, it is not possible to discuss it from the Islamic point of view. Anyhow it can be discussed from a social point of view.
Adapted from the book: "Woman and Her Rights" by: "Shahid Murtaza Mutahhari"
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