Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, who heads the Council of Senior Islamic Scholars, has come out strongly against the practice of forcing women to marry against their will while calling for the imprisonment of violators, the Saudi Press Agency reported yesterday.
The grand mufti’s call evoked positive reaction among women in the Kingdom, who greatly welcomed the move, saying it was a “wake-up” call. They also hoped that a mechanism would be set up to monitor and help those who come out against such practices.
“Forcing a woman to marry someone she does not want and preventing her from wedding someone she chooses … is not permissible,” the grand mufti said. “Anyone who insists on forcing a woman … to marry against her will is disobeying God and His Prophet (Muhammad),” he said.
Sheikh Abdul Aziz said anyone who does not give up this pre-Islamic practice “should be punished by imprisonment and should not be released until he drops his demand, which contravenes the provisions of Shariah.”
Violators should be kept behind bars until they commit to “refrain from aggressing the woman, her legal tutor and the man she marries, and until the chief of their tribe or another influential member of the tribe guarantees that they will comply with this and refrain from aggression,” he added.