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The Choice of the Partner


Grand Ayatollah H.E. Sayyed M. H. Fadlullah

Q Is the Muslim woman given the freedom of choosing her future husband away from the authority of the father?

A: In Islam, the father doesn't have the authority to interfere in his adult children's-males or females - decisions, especially in the case of marriage. Although many reservations concerning the issue of the virgin are being raised on the behalf of some Islamic jurisprudents, we believe that both adult males and females possess the legal right to make their own personal decisions. However, it is up to the person himself / herself to consult the father if she/he wishes to. Nevertheless, all Islamic jurisprudents agree on the point that the widowed or the divorced has the absolute freedom to choose her own future partner.

The matter of obedience to parents, which Islam calls for, shouldn't contradict with the benefits of the children. If the son or daughter recognizes that this obedience to the parents doesn't fit his/her ambitions, then he/she has the total right to seek what benefits him/her. Thus, any person-male or female has the legal right to get married to whom he/she sees his/her life with. As a matter of fact, since obedience to parents is not an Islamic law, it is just a case of taking care, protecting, and respecting our parents; the above-mentioned behavior is not considered an act of disloyalty or disobedience. The persons are supposed to be kind, helpful, and patient to their parents nothing more.

Q: According to this, is the contract of the virgin's marriage that has taken place without the father's agreement, legal?

A: If we adopt the view that necessities the presence of the father , then we have to say that the virgin woman is prohibited from getting married without her father's agreement, and in this case the marriage, if it happens, would be illegal. However, some other Islamic jurisprudents, like Assayid Al- Khouee, resort to what is called obligatory precaution to the case of such marriage. They demand that the father should agree, or that the man should divorce since the contact is not absolutely valid.

In the same sense, the view that advocates the marriage of the virgin woman without the presence of either her father or her grandfather is also a legal view and is advocated by a number of scholars, and thus the marriage in their view is legal.

If the permission of marriage is not subjected to the idea of loyalty, them why is the woman supposed to ask her father's permission not her mother's knowing that the emotional relation between the mother and her daughter is stronger than that with the father?

It is probable that the father might be more understanding to the personality of the proposed person that the mother. However, we have already stated that the permission of marriage is not a necessity neither from the father nor from the mother. Therefore, both the father, and the mother meet in this point. It is, in fact to the daughter's devotion to seek the permission if she wishes to.

-What are the qualities needed in a daughter or in a son to make her/him a decision maker?

Both the son or the daughter Should be mature enough to make their own decisions. They should be rational and aware of what benefits them.

The Preferable qualities in a partner.

What are the preferable qualities, which Islam motivates the man or the woman to find in the partner?

Islam necessities the presence of both the religious and the moral traits upon choosing the future partner. For instance, the Prophet(p.) once said: "If the religious and the moral qualities exist in the proposed partner, accept the proposal, otherwise it would turn out to be a greatest corruption on earth." For more clarification, a man once consulted the Prophet(p.) about the kind of the person he should get married to. The Prophet(p.) advised: "The religious one."

Going deep into the word "religious", we could understand that the mind, the heart, and the body are inclusive. A religious or a pious person is known for his commitment to his religious duties within himself and with others as well. A pious person who is faithful and obedient to Allah knows and respects his limits and the limits of others. Thus, the presence of the religious element guarantees the success and the healthiness of a marriage life.

In addition, Islam focuses on the presence of the moral side in the process of choice to a partner. The moral side is so essential in that it enriches the spiritual one. The presence of both the moral and the spiritual empowers the relation and strengthens it against any shaking trouble. These two elements help in the compatibility of the partners yet they become more faithful, more honest, and more merciful to each other. Islam concentrates on and highlights the importance of the presence of the moral side for the moral side for the success of any human relation not only the marriage-relation.

The Prophet(p.) said: "I have been commissioned to perfect the best of morals." Allah also says:

"And marry such of you as are solitary and the pious of your slaves and maid-servants. And marry such of you as are solitary and the pious of your slaves and maid-servants. If they be poor, Allah will enrich them of His bounty. Allah is of ample means, Aware. Allah is of ample means, Aware. 24:32 ا

However, Islam doesn't give any credence to the partner's economical side simply because money doesn't make a man' it doesn't form one's human values; it is man who makes money that is why the presence of money is not stable; it easily goes. Allah says: "
If they be poor, Allah will enrich them of His bounty. Allah is of ample means, Aware.

" in fact, a person might be poor but rich in his values, love, and care.

What do you advise a woman who is asked to choose between either staying single or choosing a person who doesn't posses the Islamic qualities?

If the proposed person in an ordinary person who doesn't affect negatively her beliefs and doesn't bring troubles to her life, then I prefer the state of marriage to the state of staying single.

Woman and her invasion to the fields of arts and media

The Observance to the moral limits:

-If woman's work outside her house has been legally issued, is her work in the fields of art and media which is mixed with men, permitted?

In principle, such kinds of jobs are not prohibited. Woman's entrance to the world of cinema and theatre is Islamically legalized provided that the woman herself would observe her restrictions and keep her moral values as well. Needless to say that the observance of restrictions and moral values are also, required on the behalf of men. Both men and woman have the same rights and are thus subjected to the same laws and restrictions.

If there is any objection towards the woman's job in the cinema, it might be due to the lack of the Islamic cinemas and theaters nothing more. In the same manner, if the Islamic benefit requires the development of such fields so that we could limit the impact of the western culture and tradition on our Muslim people and so that the theatre and the cinema could guide and instruct to the right path of Islam, than woman's work becomes a must.