This is a rather controversial issue, given that the Muslim Umma is the most racially and culturally diverse body of people in the world and that the issue of marriage is one that goes at the heart of a person’s identity as it often involves customs and traditions that pre-date Islam.
This article is concerned with the issue of love and arranged marriage and to answer the question, is a love marriage allowed in Islam?
The direct answer to that question is yes but let’s backtrack a little for some context, what do we mean by a love marriage? For the purposes of this article, a love marriage is one based on the couple’s own volition. In its strictest definition it means it is not one which is arranged by other parties, most likely by other family members.
Now depending on cultural variables for some people a love marriage requires a couple to have met each other and contacted each other directly and maybe even “dated” prior to deciding to spend a life together.
Similarly, an arranged marriage is often believed to be one where parents or responsible elders are the ones to initiate and ‘arrange’ the whole wedding, without the bride or groom’s prior involvement in the matter.
Before we discuss both, it is pertinent to mention the importance Islam attributes to marriage, or technically, Nikkah.
The Prophet PBUH said, “Nikah is my Sunnah (way), whosoever turns away from my Sunnah is not from me”.
Likewise, Allah states in the Quran, “And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought”.
Hence, it is not wrong to say that love is a natural emotion, it is inherent in our nature, and is by no means wrong or haraam in Islam.
However, what is not permissible is having any sort of illicit relationship. Since men and women are not allowed to deliberately look at each other, if an accidental glance results in some affection or emotion within any one, it would not be haraam.
The presence of such an emotion in your heart should not however lead you to commit acts which are forbidden. The only way to bring such love to fruition is to marry the other person, and the proper way to do that is to seek the permission of parents or elder guardians.
On the other hand, parents are not allowed in Islam to force their children into marriages they don’t want. While it is true that the consent of elders is essential, the willing consent of the bride and groom is also crucial to a proper marriage.
Hence, strictly arranged marriages, are not right per se, if the man and woman in question are not in agreement.
Then there is also the question of secret marriages, or marriages without consent. Strictly speaking, in Islam, there is no room for a marriage without the consent of parents or guardians.
“Any woman who gets married without the permission of her wali, her marriage is invalid, her marriage is invalid, her marriage is invalid…” (Narrated and classed as hasan by al-Tirmidhi, 1102; Abu Dawood, 2083; Ibn Maajah, 1879).
However, most people construe this to mean that the guardian has the last say and that no man or woman can get married if their guardian does not agree with the union in question.
It is important to realize that such is not the case. Islam asks children to respect their parents, but the parents too have duties towards children. They cannot object to any marriage on any basis other than the conditions laid out by Islam.
The hadith’s referenced below shed more light on the matter.
The Prophet Mohammed PBUH said, “If someone comes to you (for marriage) and you like his Deen and ethics, then accept him as a bridegroom to your daughter. If you do not, there will be a fitnah on earth, and a big corruption”.
As for choosing a wife, the Prophet PBUH said, “The woman is married for four things: for her Deen, for her beauty, for her family status, and for her wealth. Choose the one with the Deen you will be safe”.
It is hence clear that the conditions for rejection or acceptance of a proposal are purely religious and moral. If a parent or guardian rejects a marriage proposal due to personal whims and wishes, it would not be right in the eyes of Islam.
In such a case, guardianship can pass onto someone who is fit to assume the role and do justice to it (for instance, passing from the father to the grandfather). If there is no other recourse, the guardianship can also pass to recognized figures of authority, like the Qadi or the ruler of the nation.
This means that instances where parents force their children to marry someone are not right, or Islamic. In the same vein, a Muslim jurist, Ibn ‘Abidin, is of the opinion that, “a person should not marry his young daughter to an old or an ugly man, but he should marry her to one similar”.
As for secret marriages, Islam is strictly against them, since any marriage without the consent of parents or guardians is considered void, and Islam also lays a huge emphasis on the ‘Walima’ or the post-nikkah ceremony, the essence of which is to announce the new relationship to the whole community. Hence, Islam encourages people to publicly make known that they have been married.
All of these teachings make it clear that choosing a partner is the right of every man and woman. And while the consent of parents is necessary for a valid marriage, that does not mean that there can be no love between the bride or groom-to-be (as long as the limits prescribed by Islam are not transcended).
The parents or guardians are to be respected, and there is no permission for secret marriages, but parents and guardians also have the responsibility to consider your choice and not reject a proposal without any solid, religious reasoning.
We hope that this post helped clarify some of the questions young boys and girls may have about love marriages in Islam. Please feel free to comment below and ask any other questions you may have. It is always better to research and read more about our beautiful religion as it deals with all aspects of human life.
In future posts we will be discussing more about marriages in Islam, including the proper way and requirements of an Islamic marriage, rights of husbands and wives and other related topics. Meanwhile, what do you guys think about love marriages? Cast your vote below and share this post so others too can benefit. JazakALLAH.[vme id=”1″]