Dating in Islam – Q&A
Dating in Islam -
Q & A
by Yasmin Mogahed
Reprinted from SuhaibWebb.com
Question: Is dating allowed in Islam so that I can get to know someone for marriage? It’s hard to get married and dating is normal in our society. Arranged marriages aren’t realistic for us nowadays.
As-salamu `alaykum brother,
Thank you for the honest question you asked regarding dating. There are a number of issues that you brought up. First, you have pointed out that you live in a society where dating is the norm. While I understand and sympathize with that struggle, it is important to make clear that just because something is the norm in one’s society, does not justify participating in it. In the society that the Prophet (sal-Allahu alayhi wa-sallam) lived, burying little girls alive was the norm. Of course, the principles of Islam prohibited such barbarism – regardless of what was widespread at the time.
In fact, the Prophet (sws) has told us that those who follow the right path will always be ‘different’ or ‘strange’ to the mainstream. In one beautiful hadith, the Prophet (sws) says: “Islam began as something strange, and will revert to being strange as it began. So give glad tidings to the strangers.” Then the people asked, “Who are they (the strangers), O Messenger of Allah?” He answered, “Those who are pious and righteous when the people have become evil.” (Ahmad)
Secondly, you state the concern of getting to know someone for marriage. You explain that dating is needed since arranged marriages are not feasible. However, by saying this you imply that these are the only two routes to getting married. What you are forgetting is that there is a third option: the option taught to us by our beloved Prophet (sws). Let us examine each of the three options for meeting a marriage partner:
One option is dating. This option is prohibited for a number of reasons. First, the Prophet (sws) has taught us that it is haram for a non-mahram (unrelated) man and a woman to be alone together. This is called khilwa. He warns that if this happens, Shaytan (satan) will be present with them. The Prophet (sws) said: “Whenever a man is alone with a woman the Devil makes a third.” (Sahih Bukhari) Now it is important to note that Allah never prohibits something unless it is harmful to us. Let us examine for a moment the harm in this.
First, most reports of sexual abuse are not committed by strangers. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, 68% of young girls raped knew their rapist either as a boyfriend, friend or casual acquaintance, and 60% of rapes of young women occur in their own home or a friend or relative’s home – not in a dark alley. So, overwhelmingly, it is those people who you are out on a ‘date’ with that commit these crimes. Also, as dating has become more widespread in a society, so has unwanted pregnancy, as well as sexually transmitted diseases. By prohibiting khilwa, Allah, in His infinite wisdom, is protecting us.
Also, as you know even consensual extra-marital intercourse (zina) is a grave sin in Islam. But Allah did not just tell us not to commit zina. He says in the Qur’an: “Do not come close to zina for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).” (Qur’an, 17:32). One does not leave their infant to play on a highway, but hope they will not get hit by a car. One important Islamic principle is: prevention before cure. You do not come close to fire, and then wonder why you got burned. Therefore, Allah has prohibited anything that may lead to zina, namely khilwa (being in seclusion). Now if just being in seclusion is prohibited, what can be said about physical contact and the whole institution of dating?
In support of dating, some argue that it is needed in order to find a spouse. The irony in this is that dating does not increase marital success. In fact, the United States is a culture where dating is the norm. However, 50% of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages end in divorce, according to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology. And according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, couples who lived together before marrying have nearly an 80 percent higher divorce rate than those who did not. So if dating is putting you at a higher risk of sexual abuse, sexually transmitted disease, and unwanted pregnancy, and it makes you no more likely to find a successful marriage partner – but in fact less likely – what logical person would chose this option, even if it were not prohibited by Islam?
2) Arranged Marriage
There is also the option of completely arranged marriages. While it is fine for parents or mutual friends to introduce two prospective partners, the Prophet (sws) has told us not to go into a marriage blindly. Once a man came to the Prophet (sws) and told him that he was going to get married. The Prophet (sws) asked if he had seen the woman. When the man said no, he said: “Go and look at her for it is more likely to engender love between the two of you.” (Ahmad)
3) Islamic Courting
Islam provides the balanced solution to courting, which protects the individual and the society, but does not have people enter marriage blindly. If there is a woman you are considering for marriage, you should approach her mahram (male relative). From there, many avenues exist to get to know her better, without having to be in seclusion or engaging in physical contact. Talking to someone over the phone, through email or the internet, or in the company of a mahram, gives you a chance to find out more about them, without crossing the boundaries set by Allah in His infinite wisdom. The Prophet Muhammad (sws) said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him not have a private audience with a woman without her mahram.” (Ahmad)
This is the way designed by our Creator, who made everything in the universe, who knows what is hidden and what is open, who knows the future and the past, who knows us, better than we could ever know about ourselves. How could we ever think that a better system could exist than the one prescribed by our Maker and the master of the universe?
I pray that what I’ve said has been beneficial to you. Anything I said that was right, it is from Allah. Anything wrong, is from myself.
That’s the end of Yasmin’s piece. I’d like to add a few comments of my own. Sister Yasmin’s article is informative and of course correct in all it’s statements of fact, but doesn’t really offer practical alternatives for men and women getting to know each other. Yasmin says, “If there is a woman you are considering for marriage, you should approach her mahram. From there, many avenues exist to get to know her better, without having to be in seclusion or engaging in physical contact.” Of course this is true, but how do you get to that point of choosing someone that you might be interested in for marriage? Just by seeing someone at work, school or a conference? That feels like taking an important step based on insufficient information.
I have three suggestions that would allow singles to meet in an Islamic manner, to get to know each other for marriage:
1. Internet matrimonial services. Of course we have online matrimonial services now – like Zawaj.com! That’s a good place to start, and does not require breaking any Islamic rules. Young people can read one another’s profiles, exchange a few anonymous messages through the matrimonial service’s messaging system, then if they find each other interesting they can take it offline and contact each other’s families.
2. Marriage events. I’m talking about organized marriage events where men and women can meet in a structured and supervised environment. This should be a more widely considered option. There are some organizations doing this already, but they tend to be held only occasionally in larger cities. Smaller cities rarely see such marriage events. I think local mosques should take the lead in organizing marriage events for the singles in their communities.
And every major Islamic conference should include such an event.
3. Imams as matchmakers. Maybe the Imam of each community (and his wife) should take it as one of the office’s functions to maintain a database of single brothers and sisters, and make suggestions and introductions. I’ve read about an Imam in New York who does that quite successfully.
We seem to have these two extremes – either an arranged marriage between cousins, which is generally unhealthy and seems to end in misery more often than not, or a free-for-all where young people must fend and seek for themselves, and often fall into sin.
As a community we must develop modern alternatives that satisfy Islamic requirements and allow single Muslim men and women to meet.
Misyar marriage: definition and rulings
Source: Islam Q&A
Misyaar marriage was mentioned on your website. What is this marriage? Is it halaal or haram?
Praise be to Allaah.
Misyaar marriage is where a man does a shar’i marriage contract with a woman, meeting the conditions of marriage, but the woman gives up some of her rights such as accommodation, maintenance or the husband’s staying overnight with her.
The reasons that have led to the emergence of this kind of marriage are many, such as:
Increase in the number of single women who are unable to get married, because young men are put off marriage due to the high cost of dowries and the costs of marriage, or because there is a high divorce rate. In such circumstances, some women will agree to be a second or third wife and to give up some of their rights.
Some women need to stay in their family home, either because they are the only care-givers for family members, or because the woman has a handicap and her family do not want the husband to be burdened with something he cannot bear, and he stays in touch with her without having to put too great a burden on himself, or because she has children and cannot move with them to her husband’s house, and other reasons.
Some married men want to keep some women chaste because they need that, or because they need variety and halaal pleasure, without that affecting the first wife and her children.
In some cases a husband may want to conceal his second marriage from his first wife, for fear of the consequences that may result and affect their relationship.
The man travels often to a certain place and stays there for lengthy periods. Undoubtedly staying there with a wife is safer for him than not doing so.
These are the most prominent reasons for the emergence of this kind of marriage.
The scholars differed concerning the ruling on this type of marriage, and there are several opinions, ranging from the view that it is permissible, to the view that it is permitted but makrooh, or that it is not allowed. Here we should point out several things.
None of the scholars have said that it is invalid or is not correct; rather they disallowed it because of the consequences that adversely affect the woman, as it is demeaning to her, and that affects the society as this marriage contract is taken advantage of by bad people, because a woman could claim that a boyfriend is a husband. It also affects the children whose upbringing will be affected by their father’s absence.
Some of those who said that it was permissible have retracted that view. Among the most prominent scholars who said that it was permissible were Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz and Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez Aal al-Shaykh; and among the most prominent scholars who said that it was permissible and then retracted it was Shaykh al-‘Uthaymeen; among the most prominent scholars who said that it is not allowed at all was Shaykh al-Albaani.
Those who said that it is permissible did not say that a time limit should be set as in the case of mut’ah. And they did not say that it is permissible without a wali (guardian), because marriage without a wali is invalid. And they did not say that the marriage contract may be done without witnesses or without being announced, rather it is essential to do one of the two.
Opinion of the scholars concerning this type of marriage:
Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about Misyaar marriage; this kind of marriage is where the man marries a second, third or fourth wife, and the wife is in a situation that compels her to stay with her parents or one of them in her own house, and the husband goes to her at various times depending on the circumstances of both. What is the Islamic ruling on this type of marriage?
There is nothing wrong with that if the marriage contract fulfils all the conditions set out by sharee’ah, which is the presence of the wali and the consent of both partners, and the presence of two witnesses of good character to the drawing up of the contract, and both partners being free of any impediments, because of the general meaning of the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “The conditions that are most deserving of being fulfilled are those by means of which intimacy becomes permissible for you” and “The Muslims are bound by their conditions.” If the partners agree that the woman will stay with her family or that her share of the husband’s time will be during the day and not during the night, or on certain days or certain nights, there is nothing wrong with that, so long as the marriage is announced and not hidden. End quote.
Fataawa ‘Ulama’ al-Balad al-Haraam (p. 450, 451) and Jareedah al-Jazeerah issue no. 8768, Monday 18 Jumaada al-Oola 1417 AH.
However, some students of the Shaykh said that he later retracted the view that it is permissible, but we could not find anything in writing to prove that.
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez Aal al-Shaykh (may Allaah preserve him) was asked:
There is a lot of talk about misyaar marriage being haraam or halaal. We would like a definitive statement about this matter from you, with a description of its conditions and obligations, if it is permissible.
The conditions of marriage are that the two partners should be identified and give their consent, and there should be a wali (guardian) and two witnesses. If the conditions are met and the marriage is announced, and they do not agree to conceal it, either the husband, the wife or their guardians, and he offered a waleemah or wedding feast, then this marriage is valid, and you can call it whatever you want after that. End quote.
Jareedah al-Jazeerah, Friday 15 Rabee’ al-Thaani 1422 AH, issue no. 10508.
Shaykh al-Albaani was asked about Misyaar marriage and he disallowed it for two reasons:
That the purpose of marriage is repose as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect” [al-Room 30:21]. But this is not achieved in this kind of marriage.
It may be decreed that the husband has children with this woman, but because he is far away from her and rarely comes to her, that will be negatively reflected in his children’s upbringing and attitude.
See: Ahkaam al-Ta’addud fi Daw’ al-Kitaab wa’l-Sunnah (p. 28, 29).
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) used to say that it was permissible, then he stopped saying that because of the negative effects, as it was poorly applied by some wrongdoers.
Finally, what we think is:
That if Misyaar marriage fulfils the conditions of a valid marriage, namely the proposal and acceptance, the consent of the wali and witnesses or announcement of the marriage, then it is a valid marriage contract, and it is good for some categories of men and women whose circumstances call for this type of marriage. But this may be taken advantage of by some whose religious commitment is weak, hence this permissibility should not be described as general in application in a fatwa, rather the situation of each couple should be examined, and if this kind of marriage is good for them then it should be permitted, otherwise they should not be allowed to do it. That is to prevent marriage for the sake of mere pleasure whilst losing the other benefits of marriage, and to prevent the marriage of two people whose marriage we may be certain is likely to fail and in which the wife will be neglected, such as one who will be away from his wife for many months, and will leave her on her own in an apartment, watching TV and visiting chat rooms and going on the internet. How can such a weak woman spend her time? This is different from one who lives with her family or children and has enough religious commitment, obedience, chastity and modesty to help her be patient during her husband’s absence.
And Allaah knows best.
Divorce While Pregnant?
My husband divorced me while I was pregnant. Then before I gave birth to my child he came back and said that we are not divorced since pregnant women can’t be divorced. So I would like to know am I really divorced or not? My husband and I love each other very much and now we have a baby son. Please do reply to me as soon as possible.
Praise be to Allaah.
Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked whether a woman may be divorced by talaaq when she is pregnant. He said:
This is an idea which is common among some people. Some of the people think that a pregnant woman cannot be divorced by talaaq. I do not know where they get this idea from, for it has no basis in the words of the scholars. Rather the view of all the scholars is that a pregnant woman can be divorced by talaaq. There is consensus on this point among the scholars, and there is no dispute. Talaaq according to the Sunnah means that a woman may be divorced in two cases:
1 – She may be divorced when she is pregnant; this is a Sunnah divorce and is not bid’ah.
2 – She should be taahir (pure, i.e., not menstruating) and her husband should not have touched her (i.e., had intercourse with her), i.e., she should have become taahir following menstruation or nifaas (post-natal bleeding) and before he has intercourse with her. Talaaq in this case is in accordance with the Sunnah.
Fataawa al-Talaaq by Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 1/45-46
So long as he took her back during the ‘iddah, then she is still his wife, because the ‘iddah of a woman who is pregnant ends when she gives birth, and her husband took her back before she gave birth. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And for those who are pregnant (whether they are divorced or their husbands are dead), their ‘Iddah (prescribed period) is until they lay down their burden.”
This is the ‘iddah of the pregnant woman whether she is divorced or widowed. The husband should count this as one talaaq. And Allaah knows best.
Source: Islam Q&A
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
Does a Long Separation Amount to Divorce?
Does Long Separation Break a Nikah in Islam?
Name of Mufti: Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi
Source: IslamOnline.net, August 3 2004
As-Salamu `alaykum. If a husband and wife fight each other and after that they do not talk for 3 to 4 years, does this affect their nikah (marriage)?
Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear sister in Islam, thank you for your question, which shows how concerned you are to abide by the Shari`ah in all details of your life. May Allah help us all lead a righteous life based on Islam!
First of all, it should be clear that marriage in Islam is a solemn contract for which the Shari`ah lays down rules and arrangements to guarantee its stability.
The spouses should avoid fighting or divorce as much as possible. If they have difficulties and problems they should be patient and forbearing. They have to try to work out their differences and seek help from their relatives, friends, or professional counselors.
In response to your question, Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, former president of the Islamic Society of North America, states:
It is not right for husband and wife to break their relations for such a long time. If there are differences, then they should try to reconcile as soon as possible. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) urged Muslims to reconcile their differences within three days. The one who begins the reconciliation receives the greater reward and blessings from Allah.
However a severance due to strained relationship does not affect the nikah, however long it lasts. They are still husband and wife. If the husband does not reconcile with his wife and remains severed from her, she has a right to file for divorce and take a legal divorce through the court.
But if a husband separates from his wife with an oath that he will not have conjugal relations with her, then he has only four months to reconcile. According to the Qur’an, this is called ila’. [In Shari`ah, ila’ means that the husband swears that he will not have sexual intercourse with his wife, either for an unrestricted period or for more than four months.] Allah says, “Those who swear that they will not go into their wives, the waiting period is four months. Then if they go back, Allah is surely Forgiving, Merciful. If they resolve on a divorce, then Allah is surely hearing and knowing.” (Al-Baqarah: 226-227). At the end of four months if he has not reconciled verbally or in action, then the wife has the right seek divorce through the court. And the judge can grant divorce to her.
Sexy secrets of the Syrian souk
By Martin Asser, reporting from Damascus
Reprinted from BBC News Online
Just off the crowded central market in Old Damascus, a sales assistant called Mahmoud is giving me my first introduction into an unusual Syrian speciality – musical knickers.
The garments come in many different shapes and colours, and play little tunes – or other extraneous noises like telephone ringtones – all made by small electronic devices hidden in the lining.
Singing underwear isn’t the only item on sale at the “Fatin Shop for Ladies Indoor Clothing”, where Mahmoud is proudly showing off his product lines.
He’s got knickers with flashing fairy lights, others that glow in the dark, a bra-and-knickers set shaped like manicured women’s hands enveloping the wearer’s body.
In a slightly higher price range, he’s got remote-controlled bras and knickers, designed to spring open and fall to the floor with a clap of the hands or a press of a button.
Welcome to the no-frills world of Syrian lingerie – no frills, but plenty of tassels, and feathers, and zips, and bras which open like curtains, and…
There’s a whole street off the historic Hamadiyeh Souk selling this genre of clothing – all outfits manufactured in Syria, some that Madonna herself might blush to wear, all showing bawdy creativity and a wicked sense of humour.
Forthright displays of the some world’s raciest “leisure wear” have long been a feature of Syrian souks – though many tourists don’t notice the hot knickers and PVC French maid outfits among the more traditional inlaid backgammon sets and textiles.
It stems from the Syrian tradition for brides-to-be to be given a trousseau of exotic underwear – sometimes dozens of items – usually by girlfriends, aunties and cousins, to add spice to their wedding nights, honeymoons and beyond.
With a glint in his eye, Mahmoud, who’s barely out of school himself, says “some ladies keep coming back until their 30s”.
Now two London-based Arab women, Rana Salam and Malu Halasa, are shining a spotlight on this little-known local speciality, with a new book called The Secret Life of Syrian Lingerie.
“They used to tell me at art school: ‘Look within your culture’. So I looked and I was in for a big surprise,” graphic designer Ms Salam told me at the launch in London last month.
“The point of the book is to go beyond politics, to break stereotypes and celebrate Middle Eastern romanticism and pleasure. Call it kitsch, call it whatever you like, but I think this attire is superb, spontaneous, pure art.”
On display at the launch party are a few of the most elaborate (but silent) designs, framed on the wall as works of art, including the “hands” bikini.
“I mean, Jean Paul Gaultier eat your heart out,” she says pointing to another exhibit, a bright red wire spiral bra, with white roses at the center and covered in a host of plastic butterflies.
Is Marriage Through Email Allowed in Islam?
Marriage through E-Mail
Name of Mufti: Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi
Dear Sheikh, As-Salamu `Alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuh. Now, modern means of communication have made things much easier. I’d like to know whether it’s allowed to make Nikah (marriage) via the e-mail or not. Jazakum Allah khayran.
Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Brother, we really appreciate your fowarding this question to us, and we commend your keenness on getting yourself well-acquainted with the teachings of Islam. May Allah help us all keep firm on the Right Path, Ameen!
Brother, first of all, you are to bear in mind the fact that marriage contract, in Islam, is so solemn that it should be concluded in certain way stipulated by Shari`ah so as to set it in order and remove any ambiguity in this regard.
Focusing more on the question in point, Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, former President of the Islamic Society of North America, states:
“According to Muslim jurists, it is not permissible to marry someone by mail or phone. The same thing can be said about the e-mail. Marriage in Islam is a formal legal contract. It should be very clear who is marrying whom. The Shari`ah emphasizes the announcement of marriage and does not allow any ambiguity in this matter. It is for this reason witnesses for Nikah are necessary.
If the parties who want to get married are not present, they can appoint a wakil (representative). The person who is getting married has to appoint his/her wakil. It is permissible to appoint a wakil through telephone, fax or email. The wakil then should do the ijab (proposal) or qubul (acceptance), in person, on behalf of the person who appointed him. Two witnesses who also personally know the party that is not present are necessary for the contract of marriage.”
Allah Almighty knows best.
The Seventy Major Sins – Al-Kaba’ir
- reprinted from TheModernReligion.com
The major sins are those acts which have been forbidden by Allah in the Quran and by His Messenger (SAW) in the Sunnah (practise of the Prophet), and which have been made clear by the actions of of the first righteous generation of Muslims, the Companions of the Prophet (SAW).
Allah Most High says in His Glorious Book:
If you avoid the major (part) of what you have been forbidden (to do), We will cancel out for you your (other) evil deeds and will admit you (to Paradise) with a noble entry. (al-Nisa 4:31)
Thus by this verse, Allah Most High has guaranteed the Garden of Paradise to those who avoid the major sins.
And Allah Most High also says:
Those who avoid the greatest of sins and indecencies, and forgive when they are angry (al-Shra 42:37) Those who avoid the greatest sins and indecencies, except for oversights, (will find that) surely your Lord is ample in forgiveness. (Al-Najm 53:32)
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “The five [daily] prayers, Friday to Friday, and Ramadan to Ramadan make atonement for what has happenned since the previous one when major sins have been avoided.” It is therefore very important to determine exactly what the greatest vices, technically called “the major sins” (Kaba’ir), are, in order that Muslims should avoid them.
There is some difference of opinion among scholars in this regard. Some say these major sins are seven, and in support of their position they quote the tradition: “Avoid the seven noxious things”- and after having said this, the propeht (SAW) mentioned them: “associating anything with Allah; magic; killing one whom Allah has declared inviolate without a just case, consuming the property of an orphan, devouring usury, turning back when the army advances, and slandering chaste women who are believers but indiscreet.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas said: “Seventy is closer to their number than seven,” and indeed that is correct. The above tradition does not limit the major sins to those mentioned in it. Rather, it points to the type of sins which fall into the category of “major.” These include those crimes which call for a prescribed punishment (HADD; plural, HUDUD), such as theft, fornication or adultery (ZINA), and murder; those prohibited acts for which a warning of a severe punishment in the Next is given in the Qur’an or the tradition; and also those deeds which are cursed by our Prophet (SAW). These are all major sins.
Of course, there is a gradation among them, since some are more serious than others. We see that the Prophet (SAW) has included SHIRK (associating someone or something with Allah) among them, and from the text of the Qur’an we know that a person who commits SHIRK will not his sin be forgiven and will remain in Hell forever.
Allah Most High says: Surely, Allah does not forgive associating anything with Him, and He forgives whatever is other than that to whomever He wills. (al-Nisa 4:48 and 116)
01. Associating anything with Allah
03. Practising magic
04. Abandoning prayer
05. Not paying Zakat
06. Not fasting on a Day of Ramadan without excuse
07. Not performing Hajj, while being able to do so
08. Disrespect to parents
09. Abandoning relatives
10. Fornication and Adultery
11. Homosexuality (sodomy)
12. Consuming usury (Ribaa)
13. Wrongfully consuming the property of an orphan
14. Lying about Allah and His Messenger
15. Running away from the battlefield
16. A leader’s deceiving his people and being unjust to them
17. Pride and arrogance
18. Bearing false witness
19. Consuming Khamr (intoxicants)
21. Slandering chaste women
22. Stealing from the spoils of war
24. Highway Robbery
25. Taking false oath
27. Illegal gain
28. Consuming wealth acquired unlawfully
29. Committing suicide
30. Frequent lying
31. Judging unjustly
32. Giving and Accepting bribes
33. Woman’s imitating man and man’s imitating woman (in dress, etc)
34. Being cuckold
35. Marrying a divorced woman in order to make her lawful for the husband
36. Not protecting oneself from urine (being unclean, wearing soiled clothing)
37. Showing-off (boasting of charity or good works)
38. Learning knowledge of the religion for the sake of this world and concealing that knowledge
39. Bertrayal of trust
40. Recounting favours
41. Denying Allah’s Decree
42. Listening (to) people’s private conversations
43. Carrying false tales and rumors
45. Breaking contracts
46. Believing in fortune-tellers and astrologers
47. A woman’s bad conduct towards her husband
48. Making statues and paintings of human beings and animals
49. Lamenting, wailing, tearing the clothing, and doing other things of this sort when an affliction befalls
50. Treating others unjustly
51. Overbearing conduct toward the wife, the servant, the weak, and animals
52. Offending one’s neighbour
53. Offending and abusing Muslims
54. Offending people and having an arrogant attitude toward them
55. Trailing one’s garment in pride
56. Men’s wearing silk and gold
57. A servant’s running away from his employer, violating a contract
58. Slaughtering an animal in dedication to anyone other than Allah
59. To knowingly ascribe one’s paternity to a father other than one’s own
60. Arguing and disputing violently
61. Witholding excess water (hoarding, withholding vital goods from the public)
62. Giving short weight or measure
63. Feeling secure from Allah’s Plan
64. Offending Allah’s righteous friends (disrespecting the scholars and saintly people)
65. Not praying in congregation, missing congregational prayers consistently without an excuse
66. Persistently missing Friday Prayers without any excuse
67. Unsurping the rights of the heir through bequests
68. Deceiving and plotting evil
69. Spying for the enemy of the Muslims
70. Cursing or insulting any of the Companions of Allah’s Messenger
Philly’s Black Muslims Increasingly Turn to Polygamy
by BARBARA BRADLEY HAGERTY for National Public Radio
May 28, 2008
(See also Part 1: Some Muslims in U.S. Quietly Engage in Polygamy)
Polygamy in the U.S. is not limited to remote enclaves in the West or breakaway sects once affiliated with the Mormon Church. Several scholars say it’s growing among black Muslims in the inner city — and particularly in Philadelphia, which is known for its large orthodox black Muslim community.
No one knows exactly how many people live in polygamous families in the U.S. Estimates from academics researching the issue range from 50,000 to 100,000 people.
Take Zaki and Mecca, who have been married for nearly 12 years. In their late 20s, they live in the Philadelphia suburbs, have a 5-year-old son and own a real estate business.
Zaki also has something else: a second wife.
Two years ago, Mecca told her husband she wanted to study Arabic in the Middle East, which would mean a lot of time away from home. (NPR is not using any full names in this story because some of those we interviewed could be prosecuted for bigamy.)
“We were talking about it,” Mecca recalls, “and the first thing that came to my mind was, ‘I’m going to have to find you another wife!’”
Zaki was game. After all, he had been raised in a polygamous home in Philadelphia. Like many black Muslims, his father subscribed to an orthodox view of Islam that allows a man to marry several women. Zaki says he loved having seven siblings and four mothers, especially at dinnertime.
“I would find out who’s making what that particular night. I know that this mom makes barbequed chicken better than my other mom makes fried chicken, so I’m going with the barbequed chicken tonight. Things of that nature,” he says with a laugh.
Unlike Zaki, Mecca was raised by a single mother and converted from Southern Baptist to Muslim when she was 16.
Finding Another Wife
When it came to finding a second wife, Zaki said he had no one in mind, and he asked Mecca to conduct the search.
“You know, he gave me the baton, and I took it and ran with it,” Mecca says.
Mecca launched a nationwide search. She found candidates by word of mouth. She scoured the Internet. Eventually, she interviewed about a dozen women.
“I had to make sure that she’d be the right fit — not just for my husband, but for our whole family,” Mecca says.
But the ultimate match was right under their noses: 20-year-old Aminah, who was a friend of Zaki’s younger sister. Aminah knew Mecca was looking for a second wife but thought she was too young. That is, until one night after a dinner party when Mecca pulled her aside. Mecca asked Aminah if she would consider marrying Zaki.
“And I said, ‘That’s funny, because I was thinking the same thing,’” Aminah says.
Zaki was the last to know the identity of the final candidate to be his bride. He could have vetoed the choice, of course, but he was delighted.
In October 2007, he and Aminah married in a religious, not civil, ceremony. Many polygamous marriages are conducted in secret and are not legally binding because state laws prohibit them.
Aminah recalls that Mecca helped prepare the wedding feast.
Aminah, who’s finishing college, lives in an apartment a few miles away from Mecca’s house. Zaki moves between homes on alternating nights. But every week after Friday prayers, they get together as a family.
“It can be a variety of things,” Zaki says. “Going to a nice restaurant, catching a movie, going bowling, maybe seeing a concert. All kind of things.”
“I always call it family date night, because it’s one big date,” Mecca says. “We just chill. I always look forward to it. We always have a ball, laughing, goofing around.”
Treating Each Wife Equally
On a recent day, Zaki’s attention is on Aminah. Riding the elevator to her penthouse apartment, he explains that it’s Aminah’s 21st birthday and he’s taking her to New York to see a Broadway show.
“She has no idea what she’s going to do today,” he whispers. And so while Zaki’s second wife is changing for a surprise trip, his first wife is getting the train tickets and making the arrangements.
“See, you got to work as a unit or it’s very inconvenient otherwise,” he laughs.
As Zaki hurries Aminah along, he says he will do something equivalent for Mecca on her birthday. Islam requires that the husband treat each wife equally. Zaki explains that doesn’t mean he gives them the same things. For example, Mecca likes jewelry but Aminah doesn’t.
But, he says, “If I upgrade one, then I have to upgrade the other. But the upgrade may not be the same because you have two different women with two different tastes.”
They’ve worked out a system. Even still, why would a woman want to share her husband?
“Well, I’m looking at it more as a spiritual perspective,” Mecca says. “Zaki is a blessing — just like everything else. He is a loan from God, is the way I look at it. And in my religion, if he’s able and capable to [marry another wife], I wouldn’t want to hold him back. So, why not?”
She acknowledges that there have been “a few bumps in the road.” But she hasn’t once second-guessed sharing Zaki with Aminah.
As Mecca speaks, Aminah nods in agreement.
“I might have certain feelings when my husband walks out the door and I haven’t seen him all day, but I know his responsibility is not only to me. And the respect I have for my co-wife, all that plays a role in how I handle my emotions,” Aminah says.
‘Two, Three, Four’
Zaki believes ultimately, polygamy is good for society — especially in the inner city, where intact families are rare and many kids grow up without their fathers.
“There are a lot of blessings in it because you’re helping legitimize and build a family that’s rooted in values and commitment. And the children that come out of those types of relationships only become a benefit to society at large.”
Many orthodox Muslims agree. You can find them on Fridays at a mosque in South Philadelphia.
The congregation that has gathered in a slim townhouse is largely African-American. The rules are orthodox, and the prayers (if not the sermon) are in classical Arabic.
Abdullah, the imam, has conducted religious ceremonies for a dozen polygamous marriages.
Abdullah says polygamy in Islam dates back to the 7th century, when battles were killing off Muslim men and leaving widows and children unprotected.
As a result, Abdullah says, the Koran specifies that a man can marry “women of your choice: two, three, four, and if you fear you cannot be just, then marry one.”
“And so, a lot of scholars look at it sequentially,” he says. “Two is optimum, then three, then four, then as a last resort, one!”
A Shortage of Men
And while polygamy may seem like a man’s paradise, Abdullah says, often an unmarried woman initiates it.
“Sometimes a woman may be interested in a man, but he’s off limits. That’s not the case in Islam. Does he have four wives? No? Then he’s still available.”
That’s how Abdullah met his second wife. A divorcee, she heard Abdullah preach a few sermons and approached his wife to ask if he would be interested in a second wife. Soon she married Abdullah and now the imam cares for two families — with 13 children and another on the way.
The single women at the mosque say polygamy is a fact of life. But it’s not their first choice.
“Every woman has a preference to be the sole wife,” says Aliya, echoing the sentiments of the others. Aliya is a 28-year-old single woman who is finishing up a master’s degree. She says that South Philadelphia in the 21st century is a little like Arabia in the 7th century. There is a dearth of men to marry.
“We’re dealing with brothers who are incarcerated — that is, unavailable,” she says. “And then unfortunately, you have the AIDS and HIV crisis, where HIV has struck the African-American community disproportionately to others. So when you look at it that way, there is a shortage.”
With this numerical advantage, some men collect wives for the sex. But some men also marry out of altruism. Consider 43-year-old Shaheed, who is married to Alieah.
Fourteen years ago, his friend died. The friend’s wife, Nadirah, was 30 and expecting her third child. That brought her to Shaheed’s attention.
“When we came to the grave site — I remember it as if it were yesterday — what stuck out was that her demeanor was so calm,” Shaheed says.
Nadirah is an elegant, contained woman. After becoming a widow, she decided the only way she would marry again was as a second wife.
“At that point in my life, I was used to being alone,” she says, running her household as she liked, “as opposed to constantly being with someone and attending to someone else’s needs.”
She accepted Shaheed’s proposal. But she quickly saw the tricky relationship was not with Shaheed. It was with his wife.
“We met, and we had dinner, and we had lunch and we went out and shopped and did different things at that point. As the marriage got closer, I think she was more apprehensive and more unnerved by the pending situation.”
“I remember me telling him, ‘Please don’t go,’” Alieah says. “He’s like ‘What do you mean? The wedding is today, you’re telling me not to go today?’ I’m like, ‘Just don’t go!’”
Alieah, who is 40, says she considered Shaheed’s commitment to a widow “noble.” Afterward, however, she considered divorce. She eventually decided she did not want to start over. After two years of misery, Alieah says, she had a spiritual epiphany.
“I literally just got up one morning and said [to God], ‘OK, this is what you want me to do. I’m going to handle it in a civil manner, and I’m going to do X, Y, Z about it,’” Alieah says. “And from that point on, it was the strangest thing, because it never bothered me anymore. I never even thought about it.”
The family began to operate like a well-oiled machine and a model of polygamy in their Muslim community. Shaheed runs his own security company. Alieah teaches first grade, and Nadirah home-schools some of the family’s 10 children.
“We really depend on each other,” says Nadirah, who considers Alieah a friend.
What About the Heart?
There are benefits to polygamy for the wives, Nadirah says.
“She could fill something that even a husband couldn’t fill. It was a cross between a sister and a friend and a co-worker,” she says. “You have a cushion or a help that you didn’t have before.”
At first, the two families lived in separate homes. Now Shaheed, his two wives and nine of his 10 children live in one house. Each wife has a bedroom on a separate floor, but everything else is communal, including cooking and eating. Shaheed says it’s not easy to treat his two very different wives equally, but he tries.
“I’m not going to be overly affectionate with this one as opposed to this one out in the open,” he explains.
And what about controlling his heart when it comes to these two women?
“That’s something that you can’t really control,” he says. “But materially, you want to do that as adequately as possible.”
For her part, Alieah is philosophical about love.
“You cannot blame someone for where their heart lies.”
Did she have a sense of whether her husband was falling for someone else?
“It really didn’t matter,” she eventually answers. “I just knew he had someone else in his life, and it wasn’t me.”
Alieah says polygamy isn’t easy for either wife, though she believes it is harder on the first.
“The second wife is receiving something, where a first wife will feel that something is being taken away from her,” she says. “I mean, I’m devoted to you for my whole life, but you’re only devoted to half of my life.”
Alieah’s youngest child is 4 years old. Her oldest — a 17-year-old daughter — says she’s had a happy childhood in a polygamous family. But she hopes she won’t have to share her husband with anyone else.
Rights of the Husband and Wife in Islam
Based on Hammudah `Abd al-`Ati’s famous book, Islam in Focus, with some modifications.
First of all, we’d like to state that in Islam the marriage of a man and a woman is not just a financial and physical arrangement of living together but a sacred contract, a gift of God, to lead a happy, enjoyable life and continue the lineage. The main goal of marriage in Islam is the realization of tranquility and compassions between the spouses. For the attainment of this supreme goal, Islam defined certain duties and rights for the husband and wife.
For a detailed account of these mutual duties and rights, we’d like to cite the following:
“Piety is the basis of choosing the life partner. Many are the statements of the Qur’an and the Sunnah that prescribe kindness and equity, compassion and love, sympathy and consideration, patience and good will. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, says, “The best Muslim is the one who is best to his family.” Also, he says, “… and the most blessed joy in life is a good, righteous wife.” (Reported by At-Tirmidhi)
The role of the husband evolves around the moral principle that it is his solemn duty to Allah to treat his wife with kindness, honor, and patience; to keep her honorably or free her from the marital bond honorably; and to cause her no harm or grief. Allah Almighty says: “…consort with them in kindness, for if you hate them it may happen that you hate a thing wherein Allah has placed much good.” (An-Nisa’: 19)
The role of the wife is summarized in the verse that women have rights even as they have duties, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree over them. Allah Almighty says, “And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness, and men are a degree above them. Allah is Mighty, Wise.” (Al-Baqaraqh: 228)
This degree is usually interpreted by Muslim scholars in conjunction with another passage which states, among other things, that men are trustees, guardians, and protectors of women because Allah has made some of them excel others and because men expend of their means. Allah Almighty says: “Men are in charge of women, because Allah has made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah has guarded. As for those from whom you fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High Exalted, Great.” (An-Nisa’: 34)
A-The Wife’s Rights; The Husband’s Obligations:
Because the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, have commanded kindness to women, it is the husband’s duty to:
1- Consort with his wife in an equitable and kind manner. Allah Almighty says, “… and consort with them in kindness.” (An-Nisa’: 19)
2- Have responsibility for the full maintenance of the wife, a duty which he must discharge cheerfully, without reproach, injury, or condescendence. Allah Almighty says: “Let him who has abundance spend of his abundance, and he whose provision is measured, let him spend of that which Allah has given him. Allah asks naught of any soul save that which He has given it. Allah will vouchsafe, after hardship, ease.” (At-Talaq: 7)
Components of Maintenance:
Maintenance entails the wife’s incontestable right to lodging, clothing, nourishing, and general care and well-being.
1-The wife’s residence must be adequate so as to provide her with the reasonable level of privacy, comfort, and independence. The welfare of the wife and the stability of the marriage should be the ultimate goal.
2-What is true of the residence is true of clothing, food, and general care. The wife has the right to be clothed, fed, and cared for by the husband, in accordance with his means and her style of life. These rights are to be exercised without extravagance or miserliness.
A husband is commanded by the law of God to:
1- Treat his wife with equity.
2- Respect her feelings, and to show her kindness and consideration.
3- Not to show his wife any aversion or to subject her to suspense or uncertainty.
4- Not to keep his wife with the intention of inflicting harm on her or hindering her freedom.
5- Let her demand freedom from the marital bond, if he has no love or sympathy for her.
B. The Wife’s Obligations; The Husband’s Rights:
The main obligation of the wife as a partner in a marital relationship is to contribute to the success and blissfulness of the marriage as much as possible. She must be attentive to the comfort and well-being of her mate. She may neither offend him nor hurt his feelings. Perhaps nothing can illustrate the point better than the Qur’anic statement which describes the righteous people as those who pray saying: “Our Lord! Grant unto us wives and offspring who will be the joy and the comfort of our eyes, and guide us to be models of righteousness.” (Al-Furqan: 74)
This is the basis on which all the wife’s obligations rest and from which they flow. To fulfill this basic obligation:
1- The wife must be faithful, trustworthy, and honest.
2- She must not deceive her mate by deliberately avoiding conception lest it deprive him of legitimate progeny.
3- She must not allow any other person to have access to that which is exclusively the husband’s right, i.e. sexual intimacy.
4-She must not receive anyone in his home whom the husband does not like.
5-She may not accept their gifts without his approval. This is probably meant to avoid jealousy, suspicion, gossip, etc., and also to maintain the integrity of all parties concerned.
6- The husband’s possessions are her trust. If she has access to any portion thereof, or if she is entrusted with any fund, she must discharge her duty wisely and thriftily. She may not lend or dispose of any of his belongings without his permission.
7- With respect to intimacy, the wife is to make herself desirable; to be attractive, responsive, and cooperative.
8- A wife may not deny herself to her husband, for the Qur’an speaks of them as a comfort to each other. Due consideration is, of course, given to health and decency.”
Polygamy Among American Muslims
by BARBARA BRADLEY HAGERTY for NPR.org, May 27, 2008
(See also Part 2, Philly’s Black Muslims Increasingly Turn to Polygamy)
Although polygamy is illegal in the U.S. and most mosques try to discourage plural marriages, some Muslim men in America have quietly married multiple wives.
No one knows how many Muslims in the U.S. live in polygamous families. But according to academics researching the issue, estimates range from 50,000 to 100,000 people.
You can see some of the women involved in polygamous marriages in the lobby of Sanctuary for Families, a nonprofit women’s center in New York City. It bursts with color as a dozen women in bright African dresses and head wraps gather for a weekly noon meeting for West African immigrants. The women come each week to this support group where they discuss hard issues, such as domestic abuse, medical problems, immigration hurdles and polygamy.
Polygamy is freely practiced in parts of Africa, and almost every one of the women in the group has experienced polygamy firsthand – either as a wife in a plural marriage or having been raised in families with one father who has two or more wives.
Group member Sarah says that in her native Guinea, the husband springs it on his wife that he’s going to marry someone else. Sarah, like the others interviewed for this story, would give only her first name.
“Sometimes he say, ‘OK, I am going to be married tomorrow,’ or ‘I’m going to be married today.’ He’s going ask you like that. It happened to me,” she says.
Sarah begins to cry. Others nod in sympathy. These women are all Muslim. The Quran states that men may marry up to four women. The Prophet Muhammad had multiple wives.
But there’s a restriction, says Sally, another group member. The husband cannot favor one woman over another – with his wealth or his heart.
“You have to love them the same way, share everything the same way, equally,” says Sally. “Nobody can do that. It’s impossible.”
Still, Muslims practice polygamy in the U.S., despite state laws prohibiting it.
Here’s how a man gets around the laws: He marries one woman under civil law, and then marries one, two or three others in religious ceremonies that are not recognized by the state. In other cases, men marry women in both America and abroad.
Many women keep quiet for fear of retribution or deportation.
For example, Sally’s husband moved to the United States from the Ivory Coast before she did. When Sally joined him, she found he had married someone else in America. But without legal immigration papers, she didn’t dare come forward and report him to the authorities.
She said when she arrived in the U.S., her husband and his new wife put her in the basement.
“They told me to cook, clean, do everything. I didn’t speak English. And he told me, ‘Don’t say nothing. You say something, she’s going make you deported. And me, I’m going to be in jail.’”
Eventually, Sally left the house with her children, and now works at a hair braiding salon. But that fear of deportation prevents many from leaving their polygamous relationships.
“Legally, they’re invisible,” says Julie Dinnerstein, a senior attorney for Sanctuary for Families. “If you are the second or third or fourth wife, that marital relationship is not going to be recognized for immigration purposes. It means if your husband is a citizen or green card holder, he can’t sponsor you. It means if your husband gets asylum, you don’t get asylum at the same time. The man is always going to be in a position of greater power.”
In the past decade, Muslim clerics began to notice that some men who wanted a religious wedding were already married to someone else.
According to Daisy Khan, who heads the American Society for Muslim Advancement and is married to an imam, polygamy is more common among conservative, less educated immigrants from Africa and Asia. It is rarer among middle-class Muslims from the Middle East. She adds that nowadays, imams do background checks on the grooms to make sure they’re not already married in their home countries.
Some clerics in the U.S. perform second marriage ceremonies in secret.
Khan, who does pre-marriage counseling, says she always raises the issue of polygamy with engaged couples.
“I also explain to them that as a woman, you have certain rights, and as a man, he may one day exercise his right to have a second wife,” Khan says. “And usually the man says, ‘No, no, no. I’m never going to do that.’ And I say, ‘Well, in case you ever get tempted, how about we put that in the contract?’”
For Others, a Blessing
Abed Awad, a family law attorney in New Jersey, says for many Muslim men, multiple wives means many children — which is considered a blessing in Islam. And since Islam allows for sexual relations only in marriage, polygamy legitimizes the relationship in God’s eyes.
Awad says conservative Muslims argue that in polygamy, “You’re actually responsible for that person as your spouse. And the sexual relationship becomes a relationship of love and companionship as opposed to just a sexual fling.”
Awad stresses he does not condone polygamy. But he says some conservative Muslim women see some advantages — particularly those who are divorced or widowed.
Mona, a Palestinian woman with six children from her first marriage, is happy to be a second wife. When Mona got divorced in 1990, she became a pariah in her conservative Muslim community in Patterson, N.J.
“When ladies divorce,” she says, “the people look down on her — looking to her like [she's] second class.”
Then 14 years ago, a man approached her to be his second wife. She resisted at first but then grew to admire him and agreed to become his wife. She says her problems evaporated.
“When I married the second husband, everybody’s OK,” she says, smiling. “If I go anywhere, I’m free, nobody talks, because I have a husband.”
He provides for both of his families, and he divides time between the two homes. Mona says the first wife was initially angry, but she got used to it.
“What is the problem? If he is not happy with the first marriage, why he stay all the life like this? You know, my religion is good because it gives man and woman another chance to be happy.”
NPR is not revealing Mona’s last name, and her husband would not be interviewed for this story. Her husband could be charged with bigamy.
‘One Is Enough’
At Mam African Hair Braiding salon in Queens, N.Y., husbands are often the topic of conversation.
“Sometimes he doesn’t know who’s who, and he forget the name” of his children and wives, she said.
“He calls them No. 1 and No. 2,” says Dougrou’s husband, Timothy.
Miriam Dougrou does not want Timothy to have a second wife. “Sometime he talked about it — like a joke. But I told him, ‘I’m not joking. Don’t tease me because I won’t be a second wife. I’m going to be the first and last wife.’”
So does Timothy, who’s sitting in the corner keeping awfully quiet, want a second wife?
“No,” he says with a half smile. “One is enough for me.”
(See also Part 2, Philly’s Black Muslims Increasingly Turn to Polygamy)