I am a 26 yrs old muslim girl.I have done masters in economics.My parents want me to marry a distant cousin who is not well educated plus is totally different in his life style from me.In simple words i do not want to marry him.Do i have the right to refuse to marry this boy?Have i got a choice to marry someone i like?Can i marry someone without my parents approval?
No one, not even the parents, have a right to force marriage upon any boy or a girl. Without the free consent of the woman (as well as the man), a marriage contract would be deemed void. Forcing marriage upon a woman is clearly against the teachings of the Prophet (pbuh).
According to a narrative reported by Abu Dawood, once when a case of forced marriage was reported to the Prophet (pbuh), he allowed the woman (who was forced into marriage) the option to revoke the marriage, if she desired to do so (Abu Dawood, Kitaab al-Nikah, Narrative No. 1797).
Both men and women have a right to marry a person of their choice, however, it must be remembered that a marriage which takes place without approval and consent of parents only creates disruption and extreme unpleasantness in the family and eventually breaks a family.This, ofcourse, cannot be allowed. Both man and woman must remember that unless there are extreme situations consent and approval of parents is mandatory.Without a genuine reason the state has the authority to stop such marriage.This opinion is based on the following saying of prophet(pbuh);
Any woman who gets married without the permission of her wali, her marriage is invalid, her marriage is invalid, her marriage is invalid(Classed as Hassan by Tirmidhi,Abu Dawood and Ibn Maajah).
The guardian has to have a very solid reason for disapproving the marriage.In the absence of a genuine reason the girl has the right to change her guardian to someone who is fit to be a wali in her close family .
Hope this helps