Is a Muslim woman allowed to choose who she wants to marry?
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 'alyhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.
The female who wants to get married would either be a virgin who has not married before or a previously married woman who is either divorced or widowed. Each one of them has its particular ruling. Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: "A woman without a husband (i.e., she is divorced or a widow) must not be married until she is consulted, and a virgin must not be married until her permission is sought." People asked the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, how a virgin’s consent would be elicited; he, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “When she keeps silent.”
Muslim narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas and his father, that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: "A previously married woman - divorced or widowed - has more right to her person than her guardian, and a virgin's consent must be asked from her, and her silence implies her consent." Imaam’s Ibn Maajah and Ad-Daaraqutni reported from Abu Hurayrah that he said that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: "A woman should not give another woman in marriage and a woman should not marry herself off." All these narrations prove three points:
1 - A woman who has been previously married has more right to choose a husband for herself than her guardian, although her guardian may of course guide her and seek a suitable match for her.
2 -A virgin's consent should be sought. She should choose a good, reasonable and virtuous person. If she chooses other than that, her guardian must prevent her. The Muslim scholars have established that her consent must be known in some way. She has the right to refuse any unreasonable match, such as an unchaste person who drinks alcohol or leaves prayers etc. Her guardian has no right to force her to get married to these kinds of people.
3 -The final Hadeeth proves that a woman cannot get married without her guardian's consent. This is the opinion of the majority of the Muslim scholars.
Allaah Knows best.
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