Q. I have a friend who has a boyfriend and they’re both practicing muslims. However the boy is younger than her by 2 years and they would like to get married now. But his parents think he should wait until he reaches 21 years and that’s almost 2 years from now! I would like to find out if marrying secretly without their parents’ knowledge would be ok, since marriage would keep them away from committing sins.
A. Marriage is a very sacred contract in Islam and brings with it responsibilities and duties. It also brings about respect and dignity and paves the way for a happy and blessed life. It is not done for conveniences, nor is it done to fulfill ones passion’s and desires. The Prophet (SAW) said. ‘O group of young people whoever among you have the ability and can afford to marry, then he should marry. For it is a means of protecting one’s private parts and a means of lowering the gaze. And whoever is not able to marry should fast, for it is a protection’.
In the above hadith, the Prophet (SAW) guided the young people to observe fast, if they are not able to marry. Fasting controls the passion and protects one from sins.
As such, the answer to the problem is not in doing a secret marriage. In fact, there is no secret marriage in Islam, because the Prophet (SAW) has clearly stated, ‘Announce your marriage’.
Doing a secret marriage may seem attractive to the parties involved; however, this creates a great amount of problems in the family circle. It causes great pain and grief to the parents, and it amounts to disobedience on the part of the children, which is a great sin.
Parents who have sacrificed and worked hard for the comfort of their kids, and have given everything to them, cannot deal with this conduct of their children. This behavior is totally opposing to the blessed teachings of Islam which seek to bring about happiness, joy, comfort and obedience to one’s parents. When children go against their parents in order to fulfill their lust and passions, they become the instruments for destroying the family ties. In these cases, it is often seen that the mother or father becomes so angry and grieved, that they do not want to see the daughter or the son. Some immediately break off their ties with their children and others disown the son or daughter.
Secret marriages which have found its way among Muslims, are nothing less than the typical ‘runaway’ relationship. These marriages are void of the duas of the parents and their happiness, and instead, have become a means of destroying the relationship which existed between the parents and children.
My advice to you on this matter is that if the parties have a strong desire to marry, then the parents should be contacted and spoken to. Insha Allah, it is hoped that they will consent to the marriage at the present time. If they disagree, then both the boy and the girl should refrain from all that which is haram and wait until they are able to marry each other. If they are ‘Practicing Muslims’ as you say, this would not be difficult for them.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan