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The article concerns the issue of consent on forced and arranged marriages. The article recognizes that though there are different levels of consent between forced and arranged marriages, still consent should form an important part of the human right and should be highly regarded in the process of any marriage (Nguyen n.p). Nguyen points out in the article that, consent should be an essential and absolute right within the context of marriage based on Article 16 part 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 16 (2) holds that marriage must be entered based on free will and full consent of the intended spouses. Nguyen recognizes in the article that consent in arranged marriages exists in reduced capacity especially based on the agreement of parents (Nguyen n.p). Therefore, the reduced capacity to consent provides potential loopholes to oppression in arranged marriage through manipulation, threats, abandonment and family excommunication.
Arranged marriages completely violate the norm of human rights and are not ethically right to be practiced. The fiduciary aspects of the parents acting on behalf of their children cannot replace the aspect of full consent as an ethical standard required to join two people together in marriage. The full concept as an aspect of ethical standards requires that an individual makes the decision by themselves without any influence whatsoever and finally agree absolutely to be united to their partner. Furthermore, when two individuals are viable to make the decision by themselves, the responsibility of providing consent to a marriage must come from the partners themselves to be ethically correct.
According to Desai, arranged marriages continues to be more important and a legitimate way finding a partner in India including among the Indian educated middle-class. However, based on the Western notion of love marriages, the Indian custom of arranged marriages might seem primitive, undemocratic and illogical. Though Desai tries to identify the arranged marriages in India to be similar to the Western systems of dating which start through online dating, being set up by friends or speed dating are all attempts to find a potential spouse. However, the difference becomes where the Indian arranged marriages consider love to come in once people are married while the Western notion takes love as the true foundation of marriage. In India marriage is a family responsibility while in Western culture marriage is an individual choice.
Logically, the mode of getting into a marriage does not matter unless the two individuals are ready to live a happy life. The same way women are oppressed in arranged marriages is the same way some women are oppressed in the marriages that started with a love story. The institution of marriage depends on a individuals notion and maturity to lead it and make a happy family in the end. People can get into a marriage based on love and fall out of it, the same way people can get into an arranged union without their decisions being considered and lead to an oppressive and unwanted marriage.
The article is about an Islamic woman who is in love with another man but is manipulated by the parents to marry the arranged partner. Rivera points out that Islamic parents choose cultural and religious feelings of their daughters such when a lady brings their choice home, the man is vetoed based on color, socio-economic status, academic background, nationality, and ethnicity. Furthermore, the parents use religious manipulation and say, no part of Qur’an mentions that love is the matrimonial pre-condition. Therefore, the woman ends up in a state of emotional torture since she cannot be allowed to marry her choice. It even becomes more oppressive when the woman becomes depressed by choice given to her by the parents.
The success of the institution of marriage does not entirely depend on feelings and love but greatly depends on good personalities from both the man and the woman to be united together. Therefore, it is important that two people should be connected emotionally and ready to accept each other in the relationship. Denying the children their choices and making them accept the choices created by their parents might end up in emotional torture and even depression leading to oppression in a union that is considered to be the backbone of happiness. Therefore, as much as arranged marriages are a religious and cultural aspect in the Islamic society, the parents should consider the choices of their daughters too to find happiness.
Zuberi Hena comes to the rescue of the arranged marriage as a respected cultural norm in the Muslim society around the world since the young men and women are not allowed to date as in the Western culture. The families of the two individuals must set out the values that will control the marriage and therefore prevents any form of oppressive actions from the men and lead to a satisfying life. Furthermore, Zuberi points out that, arranged marriages do not just take place abruptly but go through a process from introduction, the couple given a chance to meet privately or publicly to know each other, make the decision to marry and finally get married. The Muslim version of marriage also is based on family and community values and should not be an individual burden. Finally, any form of marriage that involves emotional blackmail, fraud, coercion, threats and without consent is not considered a marriage in Islam a falls under forced marriage. Arranged marriage requires consent and therefore should not be confused with forced marriage.
In the Islamic norm of marriage, it is noted that the marriage process must involve ijab and qubul which means there must be a proposal and acceptance to be considered valid. Therefore, according to Zuberi, the couples to be married based on Islamic norms of marriage have the choice to deny, and their parents are obligated to go along with the choice since manipulating or coercing them to accept the marriage will result in forced marriage which is a great crime in the Muslim community.
- Desai, Santosh. “The logic of arranged marriage in India – Times of India”. The Times of India, 2009, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/santosh-desai/city-city-bang-bang/The-logic-of-arranged-marriage-in-India/articleshow/4268676.cms.
- Nguyen, Frances. “The issue of consent: Clarifying the differences between forced and arranged marriage”. ilg2.org, 2013, https://ilg2.org/2013/08/14/the-issue-of-consent-clarifying-the-misunderstandings-between-forced-marriage-and-arranged-marriage/
- Rivera, Eve. “”Arranged” Marriage”. Love, Inshallah, 2013, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/loveinshallah/2013/06/05/arranged-marriage/.
- Zuberi, Hena. “Arranged marriage is not forced marriage | Muslimmatters.Org”. Muslimmatters.Org, 2011, http://muslimmatters.org/2011/12/22/arranged-marriage-is-not-forced-marriage/.