A Father Refusing to Give his Daughter off in Marriage 

Dr. Naasir bin Abdullah Al-Jarboo’ (Judge at the General Court in Riyadh.)

All praise is due to Allah alone, and may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon the last Prophet, his family and companions. 

This is one of the cases filed before the court for which a court judgment was issued against a father who unrightfully prevented his daughter from getting married. 

The purpose of presenting the details of this case is to demonstrate how Islam cares for women and how a woman who is treated unjustly by her father or anyone else can resort to justice to receive her right and to remove any injustice that may have been exercised against her. 

1. Details of the Case The claimant, a 25 years old girl, filed a case against her father, stating that more than one suitor proposed to her but her father refused to give her in marriage for no rational or legal reason and that she had been harmed by such an act of deprivation from marriage. The claimant requested that the right of guardianship given to her father by law with regard to giving her in marriage to be removed and that her elder brother be appointed as her guardian for this purpose. The father was summoned to appear before the court but he refused. Therefore, the case was heard in absentia in accordance with the Law of Legal Procedures. 

2. Procedures The claimant was requested to submit evidence supporting her claim and she brought two witnesses from among her relatives who testified that her claim about her father’s depriving her from marriage was true, that the current suitor was suitable for her and that her elder brother had full legal capacity. The two witnesses were verified to be of full legal capacity.

3. Judgment and Justifications After hearing the claim and the evidence, the following judgment with the relevant justifications was issued: Based on the claim stated hereinabove and the testimonies of the two witnesses, and as refusing to give one’s daughter in marriage to a suitable suitor for no reasonable reason is unacceptable according to the rules of the Islamic Sharee’ah and as this act causes her much harm: “Do not prevent them from marrying their husbands.” (Al-Baqarah:232), this case gives the father the right to have guardianship over the girl with regard to marriage according to the Hanbalite school of jurisprudence (Ash-Sharh Al-Kabeer 184/20). 

It has been proved to me that the father was refusing to give his daughter (the claimant) in marriage to a suitable suitor. 

Therefore, he loses the right of acting as her guardian to give her in marriage. Accordingly, I have appointed her elder brother as her guardian with regard to giving her in marriage.

 4. Objection to the Judgment and Ratification by the Appellate Court After issuing the judgment deed, a copy of it was given to the father to submit his objection within the legal period. 

The father was informed of the judgment and he submitted his objection statement. 

After reviewing the said objection statement, there was nothing in it that could possibly affect the judgment. Therefore, the judgment was forwarded to the Appellate Court which ratified it, and hence it became final. 

5. The Rules and Fundamentals Included in the Judgment 

a. Preventing one’s daughter from marrying a suitable suitor is unjustifiable. 

b. This act by the daughter’s guardian is prohibited according to Islamic Sharee’ah because it causes harm to the daughter. 

c. The daughter’s guardian cannot be established by a mere claim; rather there should be evidence or confession by the guardian.

d. If this act of preventing one’s daughter from marriage is established, it is a sufficient cause for removing the guardian’s legal capacity with regard to marrying off the girl and giving it to another relative, though the latter may be a distant relative, according to the Hanbalite school of jurisprudence. 

However, the majority of scholars opine that the right of giving the girl in marriage is given to the ruler. 

May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and companions.

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