Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Is marriage with my cousin safe or is it not?

Cousin Marriages

Cousin Marriages

I'm gonna start from the beginning.

My maternal aunt wanted me for marriage to her son. Her son and I decided to talk to each other before we could decide if we wanted to marry each other. We talked for a couple of months and found out that we really liked each other. We got engaged and everything was fine. It wasn't forceful or anything, we decided that we really wanted to be with each other and it just so happened that no one had an objection to it.

We're very much in love. I feel like we're perfect for each other. We do talk regularly (our family knows about this) and we have this special connection, I believe. I thank Allah whenever I can because I think of him as a great gift to me. I want both of us to help each other be better Muslims, as for me, my religion is very important. I pray 5 times a day, fast in ramzan, give money to the poor whenever I can, do hijab and generally try to refrain from bad deeds.  And I also pray for the well-being of my fiance, that he too can become a better Muslim.

Now, the problem is, I heard that there's a lot of problems in cousin marriages where the children can have genetics defects and everything. My maternal aunt is also married to her first cousin, so her son is a product of first-cousin marriage, making him my first and third cousin as well.

My parents are not related in any way nor has there been any other cousin marriages in my dad's side of the family and the only first cousin marriage on my mother's side(to my knowledge) is that of my above mentioned maternal aunt. I have done much research and I have come to the conclusion that we are 13.38% related, whereas normal first cousins are 12.25% related.

Also, I am a carrier of CF from my father's side, but my fiance got checked anyway and he is not a carrier of CF. Also, there are no severe illnesses on my mother's side so far, only high blood pressure.

~ Hijabi101

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14 Responses »

  1. Salaam sister
    What is wrong with marriage to someone who is not related to you? Allah created many of us to make new families change surnames and so forth inchallah I think you should reconsider what your doing as Down syndrome is a very unreversable thing, so may Allah protect our familys and us inchallah Aameen. I am sure your subject is quite sensitive but think of this if your marriage was to breakdown I hope not but their would be world war three between your blood relationships with family. Pray to Allah inchallah Istikhara and may Allah guide you with patience for Allah to choose someone else for you not related inchallah.

    • Same question can be asked; Whats wrong with marrying someone related to you ?.

      Anyways changing surname is haram/forbidden in Islam.

    • Assalam'alaykum,

      Islamically it is permissible/halal to marry cousins. Birth/Child defects can happen to anyone, related or non related marriage cannot give gurantees. I personally have no problem with cousin marriage. Infact all my life I'm yet to see a cousin couple with a 'weak/defected' child , for all I know, 7 of my distant cousin brothers and sisters have some kind of sick/problem/defects with them and their parents are not related in any way, they're not cousins. Complete stranger. My friend aunty has a son with defected eyes and they are not related as well. Others whom I know of have 'weak children' but none of them are related. Allah controls and gives everything whether healthy or otherwise and nothing can change that. Thats one of His way of testing people. I also wouldn't go with scientist theory that it causes 'birth defect' and I have my own reasons for that, but coincidently/fortunately there are other scientists who have refuted them as well. Here in middle-east, the doctors said, it has no connection. Basically, scientists say many things, some contradicts Islam some don't and some are neutral. Scientists also explained darwin's theory of evolution very nicely that they are still teaching them to our children in school. As one of my Imam said, the whole humankind started from inbreeding itself. This is really a sensitive topic and everyone can have their opinion. Just agree to disagree.
      Basically, cousin marriage is more stable compared to marrying a total stranger. The chance of divorcing is less due to the wide presence of families. Problems like huge financial demands or evil mother-in-law or father in law or fear of being desserted/abandoned or fear of being divorced/insecurites or etc are very much less in cousin marriage due to the closeness of fmailies and the support during mediation. I would encourage you to go ahead with your plan as you both seem compatible and both families are happy which is also important. You seem religious masha'Allah, so ask Allah for forgiveness, blessings, guidance and mercy. Don't ponder so much on the " future what ifs ". Don't make the unseen an obstacle. Allah will give as He wishes.
      If you still confused, Its best to perform salat al Istikhara so that Allah may guide you, make lots of repentance and Insha'Allah you prosper.

  2. assalamalaikum-
    Al-hamdu lillah (All praise be to Allah). There is no objection whatsoever in the Islamic religion for a man to marry any of his relatives except al-maharim (those forbidden for marriage) whom Allah mentioned in surat al-nisaa', 4:23 (interpretation of the meaning):

    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 breast-fed you), foster-sisters (who breast-fed from the same woman as you); your wives' mothers; your step-daughters under your guardianship, born of your wives with whom you have consummated marriage, no prohibition if ye have not consummated; (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; for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

    Thus, when Allah mentioned for us the relatives to whom marriage is forbidden, we then come to know that there is no objection for the remainder of the family relations. Furthermore, there is no condition that it be the last resort as indicated in the question. Among the most prominent evidence of this fact is that the Prophet (peace be upon him) married his daughter Fatima to Ali (may Allah be pleased with them) and he is the son of her father's uncle, as well as the marriage of the Prophet himself to Zainab bint Jahsh (may Allah be please with her) and she is his aunt's daughter (i.e. his cousin); and there are many other such examples.

    However, a different question may be asked, namely: "Is it better or preferable for a Muslim to marry someone he is not related to rather than a relative?"

    The answer to this question varies from case to case, and perhaps it may be preferable to marry people who are non-relations, for example if one aspires to form new social ties or bonds, and regards the existence of a marriage relationship with a different family as constructive in widening the circle of social bonds.

    Cousin marriage is explicitly allowed in Islam as seen in chapter 4 verse 23 of the Qur'an:
    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 ye have gone in,- no prohibition if ye 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; for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful;-
    Qur'an 4:23
    So everyone besides these relatives named can be married. Such marriages in Muslim majority countries are often preferred and even encouraged in some regions

    "Marriages between first cousins are allowed in Islam. In surat an-Nisa' (4:22-24), Allah mentioned the women who are forbidden for marriage and then He said, "… Lawful to you are all beyond those mentioned, so that you may seek them with your wealth in honest wedlock…" In surat al-Ahzab (33:50), Allah mentioned to the Prophet that he may marry the daughters of his uncles and aunts from the father's side or the mother's side. It is the consensus of the jurists that this permission was not only for the Prophet, but it is also a permission for other believers. Muslims have practiced marriages between first cousins in all countries since the time of the Prophet.

  3. Salam Sister,

    There are blood work ups that you can have done to determine if there are any genetic issues between the two of you. As this is something of concern to you (as it should be), I would advise a doctor complete any testing necessary for each of you to put your mind at ease. Anyone can have a child with downs syndrome, you need not be related in order for that to be. I wouldn't focus so much on the "what if's" right now. Get yourselves the correct testing you need and go from there. Remember, nothing happens but by Allah and if you are meant to be together...nothing will stand in your way.

    I know from a religious point of view, some may disagree with my thoughts regarding blood work. However, I personally know of several families who married cousins and have children with mild to severe disabilities. I do not know what the statistics are for birth defects for non related couples versus cousins however...having the blood work could only be a good thing and if anything at all, it will set your mind at ease.


  4. Salam sis.

    It is risky. My sister got married to my uncles son and her kids have learning difficulties and speech problems. Even though its allowed in islam i personaly dont approve. science says its not good to get married to cousins/blood relations..

  5. My sister marry my aunt cousin marsallah they have two healthy daugthers, everything is in Allah hands honestly. Then a other friend of mine marry her 1st cousin they have a little girl who can't talk never walk the nurses take care of her all the time, so she was told that her and her husband are realtives, and that they have the same blood.

  6. Salaam,

    Marriage to your cousin is permissible in Islam. There may be legal issues depending on your country, as in some countries a marriage between cousins would not be able to be registered as legal. Islamically, though, it is allowed.

    You will hear lots of personal accounts of cousins marrying and having children - some will say the children were fine, while some will say there were disabilities or illnesses. For this reason, you need objective advice.

    Genetics suggests that when people who are closely related have children, there is an increased chance of recessive genetic disorders manifesting themselves. However, there is conflicting opinion in the scientific community regarding whether first cousins having a child significantly raises the risk of this happening.

    What you can do is speak with a genetics doctor or counsellor, who can review you both and possibly carry out genetic profiling. There would be a case for this as you have a family history of CF, so it would be reasonable to request that your doctor arrange this.

    Midnight moon editor

  7. Salaams,

    It's too late to now but this issue should have been dealt with prior to investing an emotional attachment to each other.

    You're better of seeking advice from medical professionals rather than gathering opinions online.

    However, I'll give you my opinion still. A family in my fathers village had several children who died and the four remaining offspring have all been afflicted with madness. Their parents are first cousins.

    In-breeding is known to produce defects. It may be permissible to marry cousins but just because it is, doesn't grant that there won't be risks with regards to children.

  8. Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    If he is good in deen and good in character, go ahead and marry him.

    If you are going to have a child with genetic defects, it was decreed by Allah already so there isn't any way out.

    So marry him because it is good for you inshaa Allah.

    • Salam Gibran,

      In this day and age, there are blood tests available in a situation such as this to help a couple to determine if their blood will contribute to a child with genetic defects. Due to the risk involved here...why chance it? I have seen children severely deformed dumped off at hospitals in the Middle East cause their parents were either ashamed of them or couldn't be bothered with them. Right now as I type this message, I know of at least four families...all with children with severe birth defects that quite possibly could have been avoided. They are all married to cousins and a simple blood workup could possibly have helped them make an informed decision regarding getting married in the first place. You do not have to be related to have a child with disabilities that is a fact I know. However, I have seen first hand the devastation in some of these families and it is the children who have suffered horribly through it all. I have to wonder if a blood test were offered to them prior to marriage if they would consider it. It can only be seen as a good thing and save a lot of heartache and sadness. Allah hu Alem.


  9. I think its fine people have been doing it for years

  10. Dear Sister, Just Think Again We All Know The Risks In Cousin Marriage But What Can Really Happen When ALLAH Is With You.
    I Too Love My Cousin(First Cousin) And She Loves Me Too Our Parents Know A Little About Us But We Constantly Pray For Each Other And Only Ask ALLAH That We Will Be United In The Near Future.

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