It goes without saying that in Islam parents have no right to compel their daughter to get married or to stop her from pursuing education. They have every right to advise their child to get married, but the ultimate decision is in the hands of the child. Moreover, every Muslim woman has a right to basic education and skill training.

Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states: “While parents in Islam have every right to advise their children and persuade them to get married, nevertheless, the ultimate decision when and with whom they wish to get married lies exclusively in their own hands, and not in the hands of their parents. Also, In Islam every woman has a right to basic education and skill training. Parents cannot stop her from pursuing it. It is important for girls living in this society to get least their basic education and skills training in order for them to function as intelligent mothers as well as to be able to take care of themselves without being a burden on others, should their marriage fail. So every Muslimah should have a free and open discussion with their parents on this issue, and should be able to convince them of the following:

1. Marriage in Islam is ultimately your decision, and parents have only the role of a guide or adviser; since you are the person who must live with the person, you must be able to decide for yourself. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) clearly established this precedent in authentic traditions.

2. Education is a necessity in this day and age. Islam exhorts us to get educated in order to be able to face the many challenges of life. In this day and age, no one gets anywhere in life without at least a basic education and skills training. We must learn a lesson from the pious Caliph `Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) who advised parents saying: ‘Remember you are born in a different age; so they need to acquire certain skills which you were not required to learn in your time.’

3. It is you and you alone who must decide when you will be ready for marriage. But at the same time, it is not advisable for you to postpone the marriage indefinitely once you have acquired the basic education, or if you wish to enter into a marriage contract which stipulates that you will be allowed to complete your education even after marriage.

4. Should you find yourself unable to communicate with your parents, you may ask help of some wise people or imams who are respected for their sound knowledge and wisdom to talk to your parents. I pray to Allah to guide your steps and bless you in your decisions. Never fail to pray to Allah, for surely Allah is always with those who do the right things. Ameen.”