Woman and Her Social Independence 2

Woman and Her Social Independence 2

Permission of Fathers for Girls in Marriage

The question under consideration on the authority of fathers over daughters is whether the permission of the father is needed in the marriage of girl who marries for the first time. According to Islam there are certain things that are certain. Both the son and the daughter, as far as economics is concerned, are independent. The property of a son and a daughter should be put at their disposal if they have reached puberty, are in full possession of mind, and are in addition, mature, that is, when from a social point of view, they have that degree of mental maturity which allows them to personally safeguard their property. The father, mother, husband, brother, or anybody else has no right to supervise or interfere.

There is another matter which is considered completely certain in connection with marriage. Sons, when they have reached puberty and are fully in possession of mind and mature, are free to make their own choice, and no-one has a right to interfere. But in case of daughters there is a slight difference. If a daughter was once married and is at present a widow nobody has a right to interfere in her affairs, and she is like a son. But if she is virgin and is going to enter into a marriage contract with a man for the first time, what is the situation?

In so far as the father does not have absolute authority over her and cannot give her in marriage to anybody he likes without the daughter’s desire and consent, there is no dispute. We saw that the Prophet in reply to the girl, whose father had married her without her knowledge and without her consent, clearly ordained that, in case she did not wish she might marry someone else. There is a difference of opinions among the fuqaha’ (Islamic law scholars) on the point whether an un married girl has no right to marry without obtaining the approval of her father, or whether the approval of the father is in no way a requisite for a legal marriage.

However, there is another thing which is also undisputed and quite certain, that, if the father refrains from giving his approval for no reasonable cause, his right is forfeited and there is unanimity among all the fuqaha’ of Islam that the daughter then has complete freedom in choosing her husband. As mentioned before, there is difference of opinion as to whether the approval of the father is a necessary condition in the marriage of a daughter, and probably the majority of fuqaha’ especially the fuqaha’ of recent times, are of the opinion that the approval of father is not a necessary condition.

However there is a group of fuqaha’ who consider it a necessary condition. Our Civil Law has followed that section of the fuqaha’ who base their precepts on the precondition and adopt the safer side. Because the subject is not something undisputed in Islam we shall not discuss it. But, from the social point of view, we consider it necessary to deal with. Moreover, my own opinion is that the Civil Law has taken up the right course of action.

A man is a slave of his passions and a woman is a captive of her lovingness

The philosophy behind the fact that a virgin girl must not, or at least should not marry a man without the agreement of her father is not because a girl is considered to be deficient in some respect or is counted as inferior to a man as regards social maturity. If it were so what could be the difference between a, widow and a virgin, by which a widow aged sixteen year, is not in need of the agreement of her father, while a virgin aged eighteen years is, according to this opinion?

Furthermore, if in the view of Islam, women were, considered incapable of managing their own affairs, why should Islam acknowledge the freedom of a grown up woman past puberty to manage her own economic affairs and accept transactions involving, say, hundreds of millions under- taken independently of the agreement of her father, brother or husband? There is some other philosophy behind this matter, apart from the aspect of the reasons of fiqh (Islamic law). One cannot afford to ignore this philosophy and for that those who drew up the civil Law deserve a tribute.

This matter has no connection with any deficiency, or lack of intellectual or mental development. It is related to an aspect of male and female psychology. It relates specifically to the predatory side of man’s character, on the one hand, and to woman’s trust in the loyalty and sincerity of man. Man is a slave of his basic urges and woman is a captive of her love. What cause man to stumble and lose his footing is his basic motivational urge? According to psychologists, woman has more patience and endurance in the control of her passions. However, that which imbalances woman and enslaves her is the sweet voice of affection, sincerity, fidelity and love from man. It is here that she is trusting.

A woman, as long as she is a virgin and has not come into direct touch with man, very readily believes in the soft whisperings of his affections. I do not know whether my readers read the views of Professor Reek, the American psychologist in issue No.90 of Zan-e ruz magazine under the title, “The world is not the same for men and women”, or not. He says that the best sentence a man can say to a woman is: “my dear: I love you” and he also says, “It is happiness for a woman; I mean, to win the heart of a man and maintain it for her whole life.”

The Prophet (s.a.w.a.), the divine psychologist, clearly stated this truth fourteen centuries ago, He said, “A woman will never let go from her hearts the words of a man to her: ‘I love you,’ ” Predatory males always make use of this sensibility of women. The trap of “My dear: I am dying from love of you” is the traps for hunting down girls who have no experience of man. Recently the story of a woman, Afsar by name, who attempted to commit suicide and a man named Jawad, who deceived her, received much publicity and their case reached the law courts. This man employed the above-mentioned formula to deceive Afsar, and Afsar, according to Zan-e ruz magazine said:

Though I did not speak with him, my heart wanted to look at him every day and every hour.” “I did not fall in love with him, but, with an affection that cried out, I had a psychological need for him. All women are like this; before they fall in love, they have affection for the lover. For all girls and women, after they find a lover, love comes into existence. I was exception to this rule.” What we see here is a woman who was a widow and had had experience. Woe befall inexperienced girls!

That is why it is necessary for a girl, who is “inexperienced” with men, to have the agreement of her father, who knows the sentiments of men better, and who, with a few qualifications, wishes good and happiness for his daughter. The law has not in any way humiliated women in this matter. Rather it has extended the hand of protection over them. It would not be wholly illogical, if sons were to protest as to why the law did not make it binding upon them also to get the agreement of their fathers or mothers, and complain about daughters being at an advantage in having to get the agreement of their fathers.

I wonder how people, who are daily confronted by the stories of Buyuk, Zohreh, Adil and Nasrin, who see and hear them, can advise their daughters to rebel against their guardians and not take any notice of them. Such actions, in my opinion, are a sort of contemporary conspiracy between the persons who claim sympathy with women and those who hunt and chase women. The former prepare the prey, make the arrows ready, and then beat the victims towards the latter.

Continue in the next article: ( Woman and Her Social Independence 3 )