Muslim women and forced marriages in the UK

Aisha K. Gill, Taher Hamed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Forced marriage (FM) affects numerous communities within the UK and has farreaching effects for both individuals and the wider society. This paper attempts to address this issue from an Islamic jurisprudence standpoint. While the paper provides a comparative-contrastive account of key discussions between Muslim jurists (fuqaha’) from the four Sunni schools of law regarding coercion (ikrah) and its effect on the marriage contract, it pays particular attention to the Hanafi school of law’s position and ways in which its jurists’ reasoning dissents from that of the majority of Sunni jurists. This paper collates the pertinent information, focusing on the effect of coercion (ikrah) and on the pivotal issues of consent (rid.a) and choice (ikhtyar). It also considers recent UK legislation and established personal status laws in several Muslim countries. We conclude that FM is incompatible with the objectives of Islamic law and has no reliable basis in its sources, highlighting that the function of the guardian (wali) is to protect the interests of the ward, rather than to exercise authority over those under his guardianship. We suggest that victims of FM in the UK should be able to seek annulment via the courts rather than traditional, community-based, non-enforceable mediation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)540-560
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Muslim Minority Affairs
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs.

Structured keywords

  • SPS Centre for Gender and Violence Research


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