Forced marriage is illegal under Islamic law: the bride’s consent must be obtained. However, the idea of “consent” is a bit elastic:
“Narrated `Aisha: I asked the Prophet, ‘O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! Should the women be asked for their consent to their marriage?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘A virgin, if asked, feels shy and keeps quiet.’ He said, ‘Her silence means her consent.'” (Bukhari 89.7.6946)
Her silence means her consent? It may mean that she is terrified to speak up, for fear of the consequences. What’s more, women are treated as commodities in Islam: they can be beaten for disobedience (Qur’an 4:34), their testimony and inheritance rights are devalued, they can be divorced at a word, and more. This doesn’t create an atmosphere in which their consent is likely to be valued, and that leads to incidents such as this one.
“Pakistan bride accidentally poisons 13 family members in failed bid to kill husband,” by Memphis Barker, Telegraph, October 30, 2017:
A Pakistani woman has been arrested after a plot to murder her husband with a poisoned glass of milk led to the death of 13 family members.
The woman’s mother-in-law used the tainted milk to make lassi, according to police, after her husband refused the glass. A total of 27 people, including several children, suffered poisoning from the yoghurt-based drink.
Police in Muzaffargarh, a city in south Punjab, say that Asiya concocted the plot to “avenge” being married against her wishes two months ago.
After an earlier attempt to flee to her parent’s home was foiled, she was provided with poison by her alleged lover, said a Muzaffargarh district police officer, Nazim Ali.
But the plot went awry when Amjad, Asiya’s husband, did not drink the glass of milk she handed to him, Mr Ali said. Instead, her mother-in-law poured the poisoned substance into a vat kept by the family, and drew from it the next day to make lassi and butter.
Initially, it was claimed that a lizard had fallen into the milk, poisoning it. But according to police, Asiya confessed her role while in custody.
Although Pakistan recently strengthened laws designed to prevent child marriage and forced conversion, there is little legal remedy for women who reject a partner chosen for them by their family.
Pakistan accounted for the highest number of forced marriages reported to the UK’s Forced Marriage Unit in 2016. Some 612 of the 1400 cases involved women from the south Asian country brought over to Britain….