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Question: I am an adult Muslim girl and I want to marry the adult and responsible Muslim male I love and trust. But my father does not approve. So marrying against his will will I be committing any sin?

Ideally, marriage is to be done with the willing consent of both the boy and the girl with the approval of parents or guardians, once the conditions of a valid marriage are fulfilled. Since marriage is not a temporary liaison, but meant to be a permanent partnership, the most important criteria for selecting marriage partners should be the religious factor and character. The Prophet said, 'when a person of good faith and character, presents himself for marriage, marry him'. He also told us to consider the religious factor as the most important; by this, he did not simply mean ritualistic performances; rather the piety and good character.

Parents are to guide their children to find suitable partners as they have wisdom born of experience. If, therefore, an eligible candidate is found, who is perfectly compatible in terms of religion and character, and is financially able to support a family, then it is the duty of the guardian to agree to the marriage. However, if he refuses to give permission based on flimsy reasons such as race, or ethnicity, which are not acceptable in Islam, she can proceed with the marriage by recourse to other channels: through a qadhi (Islamic judge) in an Islamic state, or through an imam with legal papers--if she is living in a non-Muslim country. Having said this, I must point out: She should not rush to marry in this way. She should only do it as a last resort after having exhausted all the means to convince the father or guardian. Furthermore, if the father is refusing to give permission, she should get the next closest male relative such as an uncle or brother who can act as a guardian in this case. If that is not an option, then she can choose someone to represent her if an imam is willing to marry her with the requisite legal papers recognized in the country of her residence.

In conclusion: consider your situation carefully in light of the above and decide for yourself. In case you do get married without the consent of your father, you still owe him and your mother all due respect and honor that they deserve in all other matters.


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