Episode 9: Women as viewed by Islam (2/3)
3-Thereafter, many verses followed and varied in establishing the rights of
women. Thus, they discussed all the issues they faced during the pagan era,
while bringing about just rulings. One of the most important problems she faced
was that of forced marriages, with utter oppression and vile intent. So the
divine verses came with a solution for this problem, too, through the following
blessed verse: "O you who believe! You are not permitted to inherit women
against their will." (Surah An-Nisa’, 19)
Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with both of them, said regarding this verse: "Before, the practice was that when a man dies, his male relatives used to have the right to do whatever they wanted with his wife. If one of them wants, he would marry her, give her in marriage, or prevent her from marriage, for they had more right to her than her own family. Thereafter, this verse was revealed." The Prophet, peace be upon him, says: ‘a guardian has no say with a matron’
He also says, "A widow has more say about herself than her guardian. And he must seek consent regarding the marriage of a virgin; her silence being her consent".
There is also the well-known story of Khansa' bint Judhaam whom her father married off and forced her, while a matron. So she came to the Prophet, peace be upon him, who nullified her marriage.
From then on, it was clear that women can refuse whomsoever they will. And that nobody has a right to force her in that. In Islam, her approval is the most important condition of her marriage, contrary to pagan era. This gave her back the social recognition she had lost during the pagan era.
4- Islam also confirmed for women their right to receive a dowry during marriage, a right which the people of the pre-Islamic period used to give to her guardian and the men in charge of her. Allah says: "And give the women their dowries fully."
The preservation of the rights of female orphans as well as their dowries is given priority. Regarding the verse: (And if you fear that you shall not be just in dealing with orphan girls), Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, narrated: She is the orphan-girl that was under the care of a man who married her using her money, treats her in an evil manner and misappropriates her money. Let him instead marry whatever pleases him from other women [– two, three or four.].