Bismillah, Asalamu Alaykom,
The primary or default ruling is that a virgin girl wanting to marry, MUST seek permission of her current guardian such as her father or her parental grandfather. Marrying without their permission wouldn’t be permissible. If neither were present however - which meant that it wasn’t possible for a girl to obtain their permission - then their permission wouldn’t be required. It could also be possible that both of them are deceased which would make the matter in the girl’s hands.
An important question arises though, and I believe that this matter must be addressed as I haven’t seen many scholars speak on it. The matter is as follows:
If you are enquiring about a secondary ruling on this matter, and are wanting to know if it’s possible in any circumstances for a girl to marry without the consent of her guardian, then the answer is yes.
The religion of Islam gives women rights and in extreme circumstances of hardship, the guardianship of the father can be dropped. Let us say that a family is oppressing their daughter by stopping her to marry for no legitimate Islamic reasons. Let us say that by preventing this girl to marry, she will fall into sin and start losing her religion; in such cases, a virgin girl may marry a suitable believer without permission provided that such a decision isn’t based on emotions or a haram so called ‘love marriage’. She should also be of sound mind and distinction.
We have faced many cases in our communities where due to racism or cultural reasons, parents have rejected suitable believing brothers to marry their daughters! Or even the other case where a son is stopped marrying a suitable believing woman due to non-Islamic reasons and family pressure. I have personally met brothers in their mid-thirties still unmarried due to past believing sisters never being able to satisfy their families’ cultural expectations. Such practices contradict the many ahadith from our Prophet and imams (peace be upon them) and people should reflect on the following narration:
فَإِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ص قَالَ إِذَا جَاءَكُمْ مَنْ تَرْضَوْنَ خُلُقَهُ وَ دِينَهُ فَزَوِّجُوهُ إِنَّكُمْ إِلَّا تَفْعَلُوا ذَلِكَ تَكُنْ فِتْنَةٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَ فَسَادٌ كَبِيرٌ ‘
Verily the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said: “If someone comes to you and you are satisfied with his manners and religion, marry him. Verily, if you do not do that, there will be fitnah (sedition) on the earth and great fasād (corruption)”
This is why we see many fall into corruption or even leave the religion due to not being married. Therefore, this is why some scholars have conducted marriage contracts without consent of the guardian as the refusal cannot be based on non-Islamic reasons.
Please check the rulings of some Maraja below:
2440. If a guardian’s refusal to allow a virgin to marry will cause her serious harm, or contribute to social corruption, or cause her unbearable hardship, then his guardianship is nullified and she can marry immediately without his permission. But if she is not intellectually mature, then she becomes a ward of the religious authority (the marjaʿ).
- S. Taqi Al-Moddaressi, The Laws of Islam, p.439.
"Q: If a baligh and mature girl wishes to marry a devout Muslim young man but her father refuses this for material reasons, is it permissible for her to marry him without the consent of the father, if the latter continues to insist on his refusal?"
A: It is permissible, if the husband is of equal or comparable status to her.
S. Sadiq Al-Shirazi, Islamic Laws, p.486
2441. If a girl is not a virgin, or if she is a virgin but seeking the consent of her father or paternal grandfather is not possible, or entails a lot of hardship and she needs to get married, then the consent of her father or paternal grandfather will not be mandatory.
- Wahid Khorasani, Islamic laws, p.518.
If the guardian of a virgin girl refuses to grant her permission to get married, is the girl allowed to get married?
A - if the guardian refuses to give his permission for her marriage for the sake of her own welfare then she is not permitted to marry without the consent. If the person that approached her for marriage was suitable for her and the refusal of the guardian was out of stubbornness, then his permission is not required." - From the official website of Sayed Sa’eed Al-Hakeem.
So to answer the question, if a girl married without permission for no valid Islamic reason, then it would be sinful. If she however had no choice due to extreme circumstances and was forced to flee her home, then no sin has been committed inshallah.
Please note that the above rulings should be taken into consideration as a very LAST resort. Even if a sister’s parents reject a suitable believer, she should do everything possible to try and convince them. She may also seek help from reputable scholars or members of her Muslim community to mediate between her and her parents.
May Allah grant you success