Forced marriage is the compelled marriage of an individual (usually female) against their will. The individual is usually forced by family members and in countries with poor women's rights. Forcing a female who has reached the age of puberty to marry someone against her explicit wishes is forbidden in Islam. Nevertheless, Shari'ah fails to protect the most vulnerable - children.
Most (but not all) Muslim majority countries have made child marriage illegal. However, in all schools of classical Islamic law, a guardian was allowed to enter his pre-pubescent child into a marriage contract without consent. When the child reached the age of puberty he or she could exercise the "option of puberty" (khiyar al-bulugh) to repudiate the marriage, but only if it was entered into negligently, fraudulently or by someone other than the father or grandfather. The option was also lost to a virgin female who has reached puberty and who had taken no action or remained silent for what is considered a reasonable time after being informed of the contract. A male child retained his option in the same circumstances until he actively approved of the marriage  
A father or guardian must ask the consent of his daughter before offering her in marriage if she is a virgin who has reached puberty, based on a well known sahih hadith. However, according to that same hadith, if she remains silent when asked, offering no explicit acceptance, this counts as consent.
A girl is expected to make a life changing decision on marriage while still a child, with very limited experience and utterly dependent on her parents. Child marriages occur all over the world, but especially in Muslim countries that practice Shari'a. The UN regards child marriage as a human rights violation and aims to eradicate it by 2030. The girl is vulnerable to spousal abuse and childhood pregnancy which greatly jeopardizes her health and future.
Due to Muhammad's marriage to six-year-old Aisha, a child can be betrothed by her father without her explicit consent. Some sahih hadith state that a virgin's silence is taken as consent. Consummation of the marriage takes place when the father and husband believe she is ready for it. Since Muhammad consummated his marriage to Aisha when she was nine, there is nothing wrong Islamically with an adult consummating his marriage to a 10-year-old who has reached menarche. In fact, Islamic law allows adults to marry pre-pubescent girls and does not stipulate when sexual relations may occur. Islam mandates that a woman have sex with her husband whenever he asks for it unless she is menstruating or severely ill. In Iran, for example, tamkin is the word used to describe a woman's obligation to be sexually available at her husband's whim. There is no law in Islam that protects a woman from rape by her husband. In fact, a wife is a man's tilth, and he is permitted to approach her however and whenever he feels like it. If she feels that she is being mistreated, she must seek a divorce from an Islamic court and prove the mistreatment. If her husband divorces her, but changes his mind before the mandatory 'idda is over, he may take his wife back whether she desires to remain married to him or not.
Slaves and Captives
We must not forget the others whose lives are at the mercy of those known as owners. Although Islam promotes the freeing of slaves by promising divine rewards in the afterlife, it also institutionalizes the practice by sanctioning the capture and enslavement of enemy (kuffar) noncombatants as well as promoting an indulgence-style requirement of manumitting a slave for the compensation of sins committed. The buying and selling of human beings like livestock is permitted in Islam, and there is no limit to the number of slaves a Muslim can own so long as he (or she) can afford to feed, clothe, and shelter them. Slaves have no right over their own persons. A slave may not get married without his or her master's permission, and a slave can redeem his or herself only if the master allows it.
A female slave may be used for sex by her master. He does not need her permission to practice al-'azl, and after having sex with her he may sell her to another man or ransom her back to her family (if she had been captured during a battle or raid). If he desires her as a wife, he may marry her and does not have to pay her a bride price. Her freedom is considered her mahr. This can come in handy when a man is poor and yet desires to have a wife. A captured woman costs nothing, and he does not have to pay any money to marry her. A man may have sex with his captives and slaves without the permission of his wife (or wives).
The woman, of course, has no say in the matter. However, it would probably be in her best interest to get married seeing as though she might never experience freedom otherwise. Mandatory freeing of a female slave only occurs upon her master's death IF she has given him a child. Whatever the scenario, a female slave has absolutely no control over her life. Her master can have sex with her if he wants (rape), sell her to another man, or give her in marriage to another man. Her wishes are meaningless and her compliance unnecessary. The only thing her master cannot do is earn money by prostituting her to other men.
Muhammad's slave girls and captives
Juwairiya was a captive from the Banu Mustaliq tribe. She was given to one of the Muslims, and she entered into an agreement with him to purchase her freedom. She then sought assistance from Muhammad for the payment amount. He offered to pay the price of her freedom if she married him (since she was very beautiful). So, she married him and the captives were released because they had become the relatives of Muhammad by marriage. On account of Juwairiya, one hundred families of the Banu al-Mustaliq were set free.
Safiyah was a Jewish captive from Khaibar and chief mistress of the Quraiza and An-Nadir tribes. After the brutal death of her husband Kinana, she was given as war booty to one of the Muslims. Muhammad was informed of her great beauty, and so he ordered her owner to give her to him in exchange for another slave girl. He married her shortly thereafter, and considered her manumission to be her mahr. Of his nine wives, Muhammad spent the least amount of time with Safiya.
Mariyah was a Coptic concubine sent as a gift from Egypt to Muhammad. She gave birth to Muhammad's son Ibrahim, but he died by the time he was two. They were never married, but he had sex with her because she was his property.
Rayhana was a Jewish captive from the Quraiza tribe. One source says Muhammad offered her marriage instead of slavery, but she declined and remained Jewish. Another source says he married her, and her manumission was her mahr.
"The law ... which I created I see as correct for both men and women," he said. "We have given rights to both men and women, even better than rights given to women in the West. We give women more in this law."
I asked him about reports that if a woman does not comply in having sexual relations with her husband, then the husband can refuse to feed her. "Yes, I said that," Mohseni said looking me in the eye. "When a couple marries, sex is a part of marriage, and they agree to that."
He went on to explain that a woman isn't obliged to have sexual relations every single night or if she is told by her doctor to refrain. But otherwise it is her obligation and something she signed up for when she got married. He calls it the wife's duty.
Mohseni added that a wife wearing makeup "prevents a man from thinking about other women on the streets and he can just think of his wife."
He continued: "It is natural that women (wear makeup). Don't they in the West? Their women wear it on the streets and in shops. Women should put make-up on for their husbands as it will increase the love and attraction between the two."
The cleric also explained that a woman is not required to ask the permission of a man to leave the house if she has a job and needs to go to work. But they do need to get permission if they are leaving for other reasons.
- Karma Nirvana - A registered charity based in Derby, supporting victims and survivors of forced marriages and honour based violence
- Forced Marriage Unit Intervened To Save 2-Year-Old Victim, Statistics Show - Jessica Elgot , The Huffington Post UK, March 5, 2013
- The Disappearance, Forced Conversions, and Forced Marriages of Coptic Christian Women in Egypt. pdf - A November 2009 Report Commissioned by Christian Solidarity International
- Afghan girls burn themselves to escape marriage - Adrienne Mong, NBC News Producer, MSNBC World Blog, October 29, 2009
- Rotterdam is tackling forced marriages - Klaas den Tek, RNW, September 25, 2009
- New school year puts French on forced marriage alert - Sophie Hardach, Reuters, September 2, 2009
- Netherlands: Muslim youth fear forced marriage - Islam in Europe, July 18, 2009 (This is a blog. The original news source is in Dutch.)
- English Summer = Forced Marriage Season? - Aidan Jones, ABC News, July 11, 2009
- Up to 8,000 forced marriages reported in England last year - Martin Beckford, The Telegraph, July 2, 2009
- A forced marriage stirs emotions in Spain, Mauritania - Earth Times, March 12, 2009
- Woman uses new forced marriage laws against father - Lucy Collins, The Independent, February 10, 2009
- Abducted. Abused. Raped. Survived: The survivors of forced marriages tell their stories - Rebecca Seal and Eva Wiseman, The Observer,January 11, 2009
- London doctor is held as forced marriage hostage - The Independent, December 7, 2008
- Statement from Humayra Abedin - The Guardian, December 19, 2008
- Fears over forced marriage levels - BBC News, March 11, 2008
- Marriage fear teenager 'murdered' - BBC News, January 11, 2008
- Muslim girls in Austria fighting forced marriages - Eric Geiger, San Francisco Chronicle, December 4, 2005
- Forced Child Marriage in Islam - Bare Naked Islam
- Around 90% of Afghan women suffer from domestic violence - CNN, October 2009
- Esposito, John L. (2001) "Women in Muslim Family Law (2nd Edition)", New York: Syracuse University Press, pp.16-17
- Ali, S. M. (2004) "The Position of Women in Islam: A Progressive View", New York: State University of New York Press, pp.40-41
- Sahih Bukhari 7:62:18
- Al-Muwatta 28:7
- Sahih Bukhari 7:62:68
- Sahih Bukhari 7:62:64
- Quran 65:4
- Sahih Muslim 8:3368
- Mishkat al-Masabih Book I, Section 'Duties of husband and wife', Hadith No. 61
- Al Tirmidhi Hadith No. 1160 & Ibn Ma’jah Hadith No. 4165
- Ilkkaracan, Pinar. (2008). Deconstructing Sexuality in the Middle East. (p. 129). Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Company.
- Quran 2:223
- Cleric: Rape, beating OK for wives - Mark Dunns - The Daily Telegraph, January 22, 2009
- Quran 2:228
- The wife’s consent is not a condition of taking her back after divorce - Islam Q&A, Fatwa No. 75027
- Quran 4:92
- Quran 24:33
- No, it is unIslamic to stop husbands: Aamir - Daily Times, August 26, 2006
- Row erupts in Malaysia over marital rape - Agence France-Presse, August 23, 2004
- Saud Hamada - Bahrain Offers Women No Protection from Spousal Rape - The WIP, June 29, 2009
- Najah Alosaimi - Outlaw Marital Abuse, Demand Saudi Women - Arab News, April 10, 2007
- Atia Abawi - Afghan cleric defends controversial marriage law - CNN, April 21, 2009