Muslim Matrimonials and More

Articles and Essays on Marriage and Family in Islam


Marriage in Islam

Part Four

By Adil Salahi

Subject Index
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six
Part Seven
Part Eight

Second Marriage

Q) Although my father promised not to get married again after our mother's death, he took a new wife within six months. Is this appropriate?


A). You should not take your father's declaration that he would not marry again as a promise. You should appreciate that it was a declaration made at a moment of extreme grief at the loss of his wife and the mother of his children. He must have judged after the initial sadness at his bereavement that it was better for the family that he should get married. Of course that is his right and privilege. No one could deny him that. He is not breaking a promise by doing so. He is taking only an enlightened decision as he determines his own needs and the needs of his family.

It is wrong that he should ask you and your brothers and sisters to call his new wife 'mother.' Maybe this is customary in the place where he comes from, but this is not right from the Islamic point of view.

There are two important reasons why it is wrong. The first is that it is not true. She is not your mother and you should not call her that. The second reason is that it forces on you the thought that another woman could be in the same position to you as your mother. As such, it offends your memory of your late mother without endearing his wife to you at all. Indeed the reverse is true, you will continue to reject the very thought of having a replacement for your mother, as it was.

Unfaithful wife

Q). If a woman is unfaithful to her husband, can she be punished under Islamic law?

U. Sbeikh, Riyadh

A). Punishment for unfaithfulness depends on the extent of her error. If we are speaking here of adultery, then the offense should first be established in accordance with Islamic law. In this case, such a proof is established only by one of two methods: A voluntary confession by the person concerned. The confession has to be clear, given voluntarily and leaving no room for doubt whether the offense has been committed or not. Moreover, the confession can be withdrawn at any time, even during the affliction of the prescribed punishment. Such withdrawal is accepted without question, and the punishment is stopped immediately. Islam does not encourage offenders to make such a confession. Indeed it encourages that people should keep their offenses a secret between God and themselves, requesting God for forgiveness.

The other method of establishing guilt is the testimony of four men who are known to be honest They must testify under oath that they themselves have seen the offense being committed. They must not rely on hearsay or on seeing something less than the actual intercourse. If four witnesses testify that they have seen that, then the punishment must be enforced. Short of that or a confession no punishment is applicable in Islamic law.

Getting married to someone who is far away

Q). Is it possible to have a marriage contract made through the telephone?

M. Irfan, jeddah

A). I think there is a practical difficulty in arranging a marriage contract on the telephone. For a marriage contract to be made, the two parties must be present, with the woman's father or guardian and two witnesses. In modern societies, there must also be a registrar from the authority concerned with family matters. How are these people to have a telephone conversation, with all of them listening to both parties at the same time is difficult to imagine.

Besides, all of them must he sthat the party on the other end of the line, i.e. the one they do not see, is the person concerned with the marriage. It is often the case that brothers or sisters may have very similar voices, which sound the same on the telephone.

Suppose that the bride has a sister with a similar voice, how is the registrar and the witnesses to know that the one speaking to them on the phone is the bride, not her sister?

Besides, why go to all this trouble, with the possibility of mistakes in identity being there? There is a much easier method to get married to someone who is far away.

The bridegroom may give power of attorney to someone in the town or village where the bride lives, giving him clear instructions to make the marriage contract on his behalf. He specifies all the details he wishes his attorney to observe.

The attorney agrees the details with the bride and her family, and arrangements are made to have the marriage contract done and registered in accordance with the requirements of the law.

Martial Relations in periods

Q). Is there any risk in having marital relations with one's wife when she is in her period?

(Name and address withheld)

A). The major risk is that it constitutes disobedience to God who has ordered us not to do that. The instruction is found in Verse 222 of Surah 2 which states: "Stay away from women during their period and do not come unto them until they are cleansed.

When they have cleansed themselves, you may come unto them as God has made it lawful."

Marrying sister of former wife

Q). A court has nullified my marriage after my wife had applied for khula. I refused to accept the money she sent me after that. Now I have received a letter from my former mother-in-law suggesting that I may propose to her elder daughter, and that the family does not need any dower from me. Will such a marriage be valid, and would the ruling be affected if my previous marriage was consummated or not?

A.M.S., Jeddah

A). The consummation of your marriage does not affect your status toward the family of your former Wife. The dissolution of your marriage is complete. It was done at your wife's request for khula. Your situation is the same as the one who has divorced his wife. When the divorce is complete he may marry his former wife's sister, if the two parties agree to this marriage.

In your case, the family of your former wife have expressed their willingness that you marry their other daughter. As such, there is nothing to stop you from marrying her if that is agreeable to you.

Having said that, I would like to pause a little at the family’s suggestion that you do not have to pay any dower. It may be that the family has appreciated your attitude when you refused to take the refund of your dower. Perhaps the family felt that you have taken the whole question with a broad mind, Hence their suggestion.

However, it is not for the family to make such a suggestion. It is the girl's right to have a dower at the time of her marriage. She may ask what she likes, and if you accept, then that is payable in full as it may be agreed between the two of you. No one may pressure her into forgoing her right to a dower, but if she herself accepts a nominal dower, or if she forgoes part or all of it after it is agreed, you may take it if you so wish. Or it may be that after you returned the dower, which is your right to have back since your marriage was terminated at your wife's appeal for khula, the family felt that it was sufficient as a dower for their other daughter whom they are making proposal to you to marry. If so, then you should tell them that the two couldn’t be set off against each other. You may claim the first dower back and pay your new wife, if you decide to marry her, a fresh dower the amount of which you may agree together.

Marriage between kin

Q). What does Shariah say regarding the marriage between kin? Is there any Hadith or tradition preventing marriage between kin, such as the uncle's daughter, because we know that medical scientists do not advise such marriage?

(Name withheld), Jeddah

A). The women who are prohibited for marriage are mentioned in the Holy Qur'anic verse: "Prohibited to you (for marriage) are: Your mothers, daughters, sisters, father's sisters, mother's sisters, brother's daughters, sister's daughters foster-mothers (who gave you suck), foster-sisters, your wives' mothers, your step-daughters under your guardianship, born of your wives to whom you have gone in - No prohibition if you have not gone in - (those who have been), wives of your sons proceeding from your loins and two sisters in wedlock at one and the same time, except for what is past. Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess." Other women are permissible and one can marry his uncle's daughter.

However, it is reprehensible so as to safeguard the health of the children. It has been narrated that Caliph Omar Bin Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) saw an Arabian tribe called Banu Al-Sayeb whose bodies were very weak and emaciated because they used to marry their kins. Caliph Omar told them to marry strangers.

Muslim jurists also say that if the marriage of one's kin ends up in divorce, this may severe the relations between kin which is forbidden in Islam.

Marriage of close relatives

Q). You stated in a recent answer that the marriage of first cousins is acceptable in Islam, but you failed to mention that it is not really desirable, while the Prophet has spoken strongly discouraging it. There is plenty of medical evidence that the marriage of close relatives may cause many problems. I hope you will quote a Hadith, which encourages marrying non-relatives.

Gent (Mrs.), Jeddah

A). There is much inaccuracy in what is normally said about the marriage of cousins. I have recently asked a medical specialist of considerable repute about it, and he tells me that there is little medical evidence to justify the popular notion that the children of cousins are weaker physically or susceptible to more illness. Nor had the Prophet spoken strongly against it. Indeed his action in marrying his daughter, Fatimah, to his cousin, Ali, belies such a statement. What the Prophet says in this regard is his advice to marry outside one's own tribe, and to marry his children outside his and his wife's tribes. But this Hadith is meant in a different vein. It provides a way to break the tribal barriers through marriage. When people frequently marry outside their immediate tribes, then the frequent marriages will bring tribes closer and encourage cordial relations within a Muslim society. By the way! the expert I have talked to about this subject has suggested that the disadvantages of marriage to close relatives are counterbalanced by real advantages. He insists that there is plenty to recommend such marriages, provided that inter-family marriages do not continue for several generations.

Articles Muslim Matrimonials and More