Child of forced marriage legitimate
Fatwa No: 332230

Question

Assalaamu alaykum. What are the Islamic rulings regarding forced marriages? Is it correct that such a marriage is invalid? If so, then what is the status of a child that is born from such a mariage which is then ended through divorce some time after the child's birth? If the marriage was unwanted but brought about due to pressure and threats from a parent and then violence occured throughout the time of marriage, then would a child from such a marriage be considered as legitimate if the marriage contract was itself invalid? If this would be an invalid marriage, then is the child considered the same as one being born out of wed lock? On an Islamic forum, it stated that a person born out of wed lock is to have no relation with their father; is this correct, and what is the case if the father is also a relative of the mother? And if this rule is correct, then is this rule also applied to a child who came about as a result of an unwanted relationship? If there is any evidence from the Quran and Sunnah regarding this, it would be greatly appreciated if you could provide it. May Allaah reward you.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

The preponderant scholarly view is that it is impermissible to force the woman into marrying someone whom she does not want to marry, and this ruling applies to the virgin and the previously-married woman alike. Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, "A previously-married woman should not be given in marriage until she is consulted, and a virgin should not be given in marriage until she is asked for permission." People said, "How will she express her permission?" The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, "By keeping silent (when asked for her consent)." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

‘Aa'ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her said, "I asked the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, 'O Messenger of Allaah, are women asked for their consent to their marriage?' He said, 'Yes.' I said, 'When a virgin is asked, she feels shy and remains silent.' He said, 'Her silence is her consent.'"

If her Wali (legal guardian) marries her off without her consent, then she has the right to approve or annul the marriage contract. Ibn ‘Abbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reported that a virgin came to the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and mentioned that her father had given her in marriage against her will, so the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, allowed her to exercise her choice. [Abu Daawood and Ibn Maajah - Al-Albaani graded it saheeh (sound)] Please, refer to fataawa 90190and 162499.

If the woman approved the marriage, then it is not declared invalid. The child born out of such marriage is attributed to its biological father.

The above rulings are pertinent to the case in which the woman is forced against her will and consent. As to mere dislike in the heart without force or compulsion, it does not affect the validity of the marriage contract. There is no difference if the husband is one of her relatives or is not related to her in this regard.

The child that results from a defective marriage, such as a marriage without the presence and consent of the bride's Wali, is legitimately attributed to its father due to their mistaken belief that their contract was valid. The same applies to the invalid marriage, i.e. the marriage declared defective according to the scholarly consensus, such as the marriage conducted during the woman's ‘Iddah (waiting period) if the man mistakenly believed that the marriage was valid. The child is attributed to its father even if the marriage was invalid because the father married believing that this marriage was correct.

Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote, "All Muslim scholars unanimously agreed that any marriage in which the husband believes that it is valid and he consummates the marriage, the children thereof will be attributed to him and they would inherit from each other according to the agreement of all the scholars, even if such a marriage is invalid according to the agreement of all the scholars."

He  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him added, "The establishment of parentage does not require the validity of the marriage; the child is attributed to the owner of the bed (i.e. the husband). The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, 'The child is for the (owner of the) bed (i.e. the husband), and the adulterer gets nothing but the stone.'"

What you read on the Islamic forum is relevant only to the child born out of wedlock. According to the majority of scholars, it is not attributed to the biological father and is attributed only to the mother, as has previously been underlined in fatwa 89082.

Allaah knows best.

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