Monday, August 26, 2002
I was the "temporary wife" of a Muslim man. We lived together for over a year and I am now pregnant with his child. At first he said that this was a problem, since we were not married in the "eyes of the law" in the USA. I suggested that we do a marriage ceremony, but then he said it would not make a difference anyway because the child was already conceived before the legal marriage. Is this true?
After a few months of being pregnant he started acting very strangely towards me and I began suspecting that he was having sexual relations with other women, even though he denied it. Several times a week he would not return home for days at a time, with no explanation. I eventually broke off the relationship for this reason and because he began telling a selected few people that this child was not his and that I cheated on him. The way that he could easily lie about the situation and not take responsibility showed me exactly the kind of man he really was.
After a month or so of being apart he has come back to me, but has not stated what his full intentions are. Is this legal in Islam, or does he have to renew the temporary marriage vow? Does he need to proclaim his intentions, or the temporary marriage publicly for it to be valid? What are his responsibilities to our child once it is born? He states to me that this child is his full legal responsibility, but I am hearing from a lot of gossiping people that this is not the story he is telling them.
I am still very much in love with this man, despite all the lies (unmentioned here) that I have been told by him. I want our child to have a family and I am willing to try to work things out with him. I have tried to research various things in the Muslim religion so that I may have a better understanding of the beliefs he is trying to live by. I am still unclear as to whether or not our child is really "illegitimate" because I was the "temporary wife" up until I was seven months pregnant. Can you give me some information, so that I may have a clear understanding on this issue?
I would be more than happy to provide you with Islamic information on the questions you have raised. I think you are following the correct course of action by striving to get accurate information on the religion.
"Temporary marriage" has been prohibited in Islam since the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). I refer you to the article found here on Zawaj.com, Temporary Marriage and its Illegitimacy in Islam.
Many of the hadiths (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad pbuh) quoted in this article can be read here at Zawaj.com. Qur'an and Sunnah are the two primary sources that a Muslim consults for right guidance. These particular hadiths (Sahih Muslim) have been accepted as authentic and valid by Islamic scholars. Visit the Qur'an and Hadith page, then under "Hadith Resources", go to Sahih Muslim, The Book of Marriage. In the book on marriage, Chapter 3, see "Temporary Marriage and Its Prohibition for All Times." Please read through this section. I must tell you that the study of Hadith is something that ideally requires assistance, but it is clear that temporary marriage is prohibited.
Secondly, in Islam, if you were married and became pregnant, the marriage could not be terminated until after the birth of the child, hence the child would be legitimate within Islamic standards. Hadiths on the topic of divorce are provided in The Book of Divorce, in the same general area as the previous information under, "The Period of Idda comes to an end with the birth of the child." I don't know the particulars of your situation, so I am not sure why you refer to it as a temporary marriage, nor why you say the marriage is now ended.
From what you have said in your letter, it seems you are not receiving correct information about Islam. There is probably a Muslim community where you live. I would stronly suggest you go and talk with someone. Muslims are eager to answer any questions on Islam. Your heart and mind seem to be guiding you to seek the truth. Perhaps this journey will guide you to become Muslim. I extend the invitation to you.
Marriage in Islam should have witnesses and be a public matter. Check some of my previous responses on the subject of marriage. A practicing Muslim brother usually has Muslim friends and is frequenting a mosque for prayer. Also, you mention that he is saying untrue things to others about you. A person who is maligning your character to others is a person to beware of.
You sound like a level-headed person who should be respected, but I shudder when I hear women say that they love a man they know is mistreating them. In Islam, love of Allah is foremost and love for others (husband, family, children) follows in the proper manner. Strive to take more control of your emotions. I know this is not an easy thing to do, but you should make the effort. Without making any judgements because I only have one side of this story, but in the interest of good advice, I say the following things to you. Stay on the path of seeking the true knowledge about Islam, your heart and mind are guiding you. This is often the means whereby Allah (exalted is He), guides us to better things. You need to get a clear understanding as to whether you are married or not. If this man is a Muslim, he should not be living with you without benefit of marriage, nor can he marry a woman who is not of a monotheistic religion. If you were "married" when the child was conceived, he can not finalize a divorce until after the child is born The bad feelings you get about the situation could possibly be true. No relationship should be based on guessing - things should be clear. You and the baby you are expecting deserve an upright and respectable family environment. The Muslim man you speak of may not be knowledgeable of his religion because what you have presented is not in keeping with proper Islamic conduct. Don't settle for less than you know you deserve and if need be, find the strength to move on and build a better life (perhaps with a practicing Muslim brother) for you and your child. Allah knows best.