On our way back from Leo two days ago, we examined some of the issues ravaging Muslim marriages, tearing families apart, and destroying the moral fabric and architecture of the society. Of all the reasons adduced by those that spoke, I find my view of “oversimplification” of ‘aqd by the waliy (parent or guardian) of the would-be bride as a very valid point.
What do I mean by “oversimplification” of aqd?
Under the Islamic law, a lady requires the permission of her waliy (father, his designate or guardian) before she could be engaged to her suitor. In Q.4:25, Allaah said:
“Marry them, then, with the leave of their guardians, and give them their bridal-due in a fair manner…”
Similarly, in a hadith narrated by Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), the Messenger of Allah (upon him be peace) said:
وعن عائشة رضي الله عنها قالت : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : ” أيما امرأة نكحت بغير إذن وليها فنكاحها باطل فنكاحها باطل ، فنكاحها باطل ، فإن دخل بها فلها المهر بما استحل من فرجها ، فإن اشتجروا فالسلطان ولي من لا ولي له .
” Any lady that got married without the permission of her waliy, her marriage is null; her marriage is null; her marriage is null…”
It’s based on the injunctions in these texts that a suitor must approach the parent (father, his designate or the guardian) of the lady to obtain his consent or permission before any marital contract between them is sealed.
In the case of the man, he’s not obliged to have a waliy before he could enter into a marriage contract. There’s no single text either in the Qur’an or Sunnah that stipulates this. He can decide to approach the parent of his would-be bride alone or go in company of others depending on the tradition of the people.
In typical Nigerian culture, no family would consent to a marriage contract between their daughter and a strange man before meeting his parents. In fact, the tradition as far as we know is that it is not the suitor himself that will make the official approach to the bride’s family. Rather, his father will delegate one of his own brothers or a middleman to carry out such task.
So usually, the bride, after the nikaah will be handed over to the groom’s father (as an Amaanah) who will in turn hand her to his son. This practice is symbolic. What it means is that henceforth, the groom’s father is responsible for the welfare and safety of the bride. It also means that whenever there arises misunderstanding between the couple, he’s the first point of call to mediate between them and reconcile them before things go awry.
This traditional practice was so effective that it made divorce rate to be so low while marital life was, at the average blissful. No one dare divorces his wife out of his own volition except his father had consented having exhausted all reconciliation mechanisms. No one dare insults or humiliates his inlaws or behaves rudely towards them. In my own family, once your wife reports you to dad (رحمه الله) for assault, you’re sure to be guilty as charged. Because even when your wife was guilty, you’re expected to come and report her at best.
However, due to the oversimplification of Sunnah, especially where the two major criteria of marriage have been met (religious uprightness and sound character) most parents downplay the significance of the tradition of meeting the groom’s parents. They get carried away by mere sainthood appearance of suitors who had come in company of a few friends to the ‘aqd. In the end, many sisters end up with deranged folks who abuse them and then divorce them for frivolous reasons.
I have received disheartening and heartwrenching tales of sisters who were deceived into marriage by Sunni-looking brothers many of whom have even severed ties with their parents having pronounced takfeer on them in the granduosity of their self-acclaimed Salafism: a manhaj that’s completely conflicting with the manhaj of the Salaf.
Inasmuch as the Sunnah is simple, I find nothing unusual or wrong in the bride’s parents requesting to meet with the groom’s parents before consenting to the marriage. This, especially in view of the unfortunate circumstances that we’ve found ourselves in will go a long way in restoring sanity and decorum in Muslim marriages.
These shenanigans of molesting and divorcing our sisters anyhow by clowns and thugs in the garb of Sunnah have got to stop. We cannot afford to fold our hands and allow these black sheep to ridicule the Deen and get away with it. Parents must remain ever vigilant and should not be carried away by the cosmetic Sunni appearance of monsters that are serially abusing their daughters.
You want my girl, go and bring your biological father or the Magaji of your house, accompanied by the Imam of the mosque where you pray among other responsible personalities. It’s because you’re getting them on the platters of gold that’s making you to misbehave. Assuming you have to present expensive gifts to the bride’s family before the nikaah, maybe your head go correct small.
Enough is enough!