In an Islamic marriage, the consent and choice of both the boy and the girl are paramount. However, families from both sides can be involved in advising young people in their choice in the light of their experience. In this context, marriage in Islam is often broadly an arranged or assisted affair. In Muslim culture, every relevant person in the family contributes to building a new family. The family and society all have stakes in the success of a Muslim marriage.
Parents, relatives and friends often help in their own ways to find marriage partners for their loved ones. Mature boys and girls are themselves allowed to choose their life partners provided that they adhere to the norms and decencies of Islam. Coerced or forced marriage is not acceptable in Islam. In fact, no marriage is valid without the consent of the boy and the girl themselves. Islam has clear and well-defined laws for the interaction between men and women.
Decent interaction for valid reasons, for example, education and learning purposes, between a man and woman in the presence of others is different from this. It is important for both sexes in these situations to conduct themselves with individual piety. This is something that must be instilled in children from a young age. It is not something that can be enforced by law when the children have grown up. The purpose of this apparently ‘strict’ segregation of men and women is to uphold high standards of moral conduct and decency within society and to prevent people from acting on passing whims and desires that will be of no benefit to them as individuals and to society at large. A society in which the individuals do not adhere to the guidelines given by Allah, will inevitably find itself degenerating into chaos.