Marriage is a noble bond which Allah Almighty has legislated as a mercy to His servants, in order to build humankind and to regulate the impulses that He has entrusted within us.
Marriage is one of the emphasized recommended acts; rather, it is disliked to abandon it.
The marriage may either be permanent or temporary. The following rules apply to permanent marriage:
This type of marriage is limited to a specified period of time, and on the expiry of this period the marriage ends without the need for a divorce.
There is no divorce for this type of marriage. It ends with the end of the specified duration, or by the husband surrendering the remaining duration.
There are several causes for the unlawfulness of matrimony between a man and a woman:
(1) Relation by Blood
Ruling 629: A man cannot ever marry the following women:
(1) his mother and grandmothers, however far removed;
(2) his daughters and all female offspring, however far removed;
(3) his daughters and all female offspring, however far removed;
(4) his sisters;
(5) the female offspring of his brothers and sisters, however far removed;
(6) the sisters of his parents and his grandparents however far removed;
A woman is prohibited to marry similar male relations.
(2) Relation by Marriage, and Related Issues
Ruling 630: A man cannot ever marry the following women due to his relation to them by wedlock:
(1) the wives of his father and grandfathers, however far removed;
(2) the wives of his sons and grandsons, however far removed;
(3) the mother of his wife, however far removed;
(4) the daughters and granddaughters of his wife (i.e. his step-daughters), however far removed, provided that the marriage with this wife was consummated.
Ruling 631: A man cannot be married to two women who are sisters at one time – i.e. he cannot marry his wife’s sister while she is still his wife, or even while she is in the waiting period of a revocable divorce.
Ruling 632: A man cannot marry the niece of his wife (her brother’s or sister’s daughter) without his wife’s permission.
Ruling 633: If an adult man commits sodomy with another male the latter’s mother, sister and daughter become forbidden for him to marry.
Ruling 634: Whoever marries a woman who is already currently married, his marriage is void, and she becomes permanently forbidden for him to marry. However, if he did not know that she was married, he will not be permanently forbidden to marry her unless his invalid marriage was consummated. The same applies to a man marrying a woman during her waiting period (iddah).
Ruling 635: It is disliked to marry a woman known to be adulterous, before her repentance.
Ruling 636: Whoever fornicates with a married woman – whether the marriage is permanent or temporary – or if she is within the revocable waiting period of a divorce, she becomes forbidden for him to marry forever as an obligatory precaution, even if he was ignorant of her situation.
Ruling 637: It is forbidden for a person in the state of ihram to marry, and such a marriage is void. If a man in the state of ihram did so intentionally and knowing this, she will become permanently unlawful for him to marry. The same is the case of a woman in the state of ihram, as an obligatory precaution.
Ruling 638: It is unlawful for a man to have more than four wives at a time, by way of permanent marriage.
Ruling 639: The wife is permitted to stipulate in the marriage contract on her husband not to marry again. If he did, the marriage is invalid.
(3) Wet-Nursing and Related Issues
Ruling 640: All those relations that are unlawful by blood relationships will become unlawful through wet-nursing, provided that the following conditions are fulfilled:
(1) The child should suckle directly from the breasts of the wet-nurse, rather than through any other means;
(2) The breastfeeding should be complete, such that the child is fully satiated.
(3) That the wet-nurse breastfeeds in a sufficient quantity, and this can be achieved in one of three ways:
(a) That the child is breastfed fifteen times successively, without a gap in which somebody else breastfeeds him. If the child is fed in some other way during this period, then this will not cause a gap between the fifteen breastfeeds, as an obligatory precaution.
(b) That the child is breastfed for a day and night whenever the child requires it. During this period the child should not require any further breastfeeding, nor should he be breastfed by any other woman and fed in any other way.
(c) That the child is breastfed in such quantity that due to it his bones become fortified and his muscles grow in a noticeable manner. It is of no consequence if the child is breastfed by another woman or is fed by another means, unless it is of such great quantity that it cannot be conventionally said that the aforementioned development is due to the wet-nurse’s breastfeeding.
(4) The afore-mentioned quantity of breastfeeding that creates such relationships – e.g. the wet-nurse becoming his mahram – should be from that wet-nurse only, and the breastfed milk should be entirely due to the birth of a child of one particular father only, if the production of her milk is due to pregnancy; therefore, for example: if the child is breastfed fifteen times by two women who are married to the same man, then neither breastfeedings will make them mahram. The same will apply if, for example, one woman breastfed a child fifteen times over the course of the child’s first two years, but the milk was the produce of two pregnancies from two separate marriages.
(5) That the milk should have been produced due to a legitimate birth; if it was due to adultery it does not form any mahram relationships as an obligatory precaution. If the milk has been produced without a birth, then it has no effect in creating any mahram relationships.
(6) The breastfeeding should occur before the child becomes two years old. Rather, as an obligatory precaution, it should be before the child stops suckling and before the passing of two years after the wet-nurse has given birth.
Ruling 641: It is prohibited for the father of the wet-nursed child, as well as his grandfathers however far removed, to marry the female offspring of the wet-nurse’s husband – who is the father of the child whose birth produced the milk for the wet-nursed child – whether they are his offspring by way of blood relation or by breastfeeding. The same prohibition applies with marrying the wet-nurse’s female blood offspring from other marriages.
Ruling 642: Wet-nursing may be proven by having knowledge of it, or by two adil male witnesses.
Li’an refers to a sworn allegation of adultery without the necessary number of witness. The details of this are given in the more comprehensive books of Islamic law.
This is if the divorce is pronounced nine times. The details of this will be mentioned in the chapter of divorce.
Ruling 643: It is not permissible for a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim. And it is not permissible for a Muslim man to marry a non-Muslim except a woman from the People of the Book.
Ruling 644: It is not permissible to marry a nasibi – one who bears animosity with the Imams of the Ahlul-Bayt (peace be upon them) – as an obligatory precaution. Similarly, if a person belongs to another Muslim sect and if misguidance is feared, one should not marry him or her, even if such a marriage is not void.
Defects and Conditions
Ruling 645: A marriage is a binding contract, which cannot be annulled by mutual agreement, or by a clause in the marriage contract, or by a violation of a condition. However, the option to annul the marriage is available in particular cases.
Ruling 646: A wife has the right to annul the marriage due to her husband’s insanity, whether he became insane before or after the marriage, even after the marriage was consummated.
Ruling 647: A wife has the right to annul the marriage if her husband is unable to have sexual intercourse with her, provided two conditions are fulfilled:
(1) That he never had sexual intercourse with her, not even once.
(2) That he is unable to have sexual intercourse with any other woman besides her from the beginning or after having been able to do so.
If these two conditions are fulfilled, she cannot hasten to annul the marriage; rather, she has to raise her matter to the hakim shar’i who will give him a period of one year. During the year, if he has intercourse with her or with any other wife, she will not have the right of annulment; otherwise, she will.
Ruling 648: A wife also has the right to annul the marriage if her husband is emasculated since the marriage.
Ruling 649: If a woman married a man on the basis that he was from a particular tribe, but it appeared later, whether the marriage was consummated or not, that he is not from that tribe, she also has the right to annul the marriage.
Ruling 650: A husband has the right to annul his marriage if he finds his wife to have any of the following defects, provided that they existed before the marriage:
(1) She is insane;
(2) She has leprosy;
(3) Her body is mutilated;
(4) She has any other defect which obstructs him from having sexual intercourse with her or makes it difficult for him;
(5) Her vaginal and anal passages have combined;
(6) She is blind;
(7) She is a cripple;
(8) She commits adultery.
Ruling 651: It is not necessary to exercise the right of annulment for either of the spouses immediately, but this right is dropped if the spouse waives it, or by being satisfied with the marriage after knowing of the defect. It is sufficient for the husband to show his satisfaction by engaging in sexual intercourse with his wife after knowing of the defect, and for the wife – as an obligatory precaution – by allowing him to do so after knowing the defect.
Ruling 652: If the marriage is annulled before consummation, the dowry is also annulled, and the husband has the right to have it returned to him, except if he is impotent in which case the wife will keep half of the dowry, and the same is the case if he is castrated as an obligatory precaution. If the marriage is annulled after consummation, the wife will keep the whole dowry if there was no misrepresentation or deception; otherwise, he may seek the return of the dowry from whoever deceived her.
Ruling 653: If a man marries a woman on the basis that she is a virgin, but he comes to know later that she is not a virgin, he does not have the right of annulment, but he may deduct from the dowry an amount proportionate to the usual difference in the dowry for a virgin and a non-virgin.
The dowry may be anything which has a value and which is permissible to earn from – e.g. by selling or leasing – whether it is much or little, or whether it is a tangible item or a service like the teaching of the Holy Quran. As for those things which are not permissible to make one’s earning by, such as musical instruments or pigs, it is not permissible to make them the dowry.
Ruling 654: It is necessary to transfer the ownership of the dowry to the wife in the marriage contract; so if its ownership, or that of a part of it, is transferred to somebody else, the marriage contract becomes void.
Ruling 655: It is necessary for there to be a dowry in a marriage. If a marriage is based on there not being a dowry, the marriage is void. If the mention of the dowry was omitted in a temporary marriage contract, it will be void; if it was a permanent marriage, then the contract is valid but she is to be given a dowry that corresponds to a dowry that is given to a bride of her status in similar circumstances.
Ruling 656: The wife will take ownership of the dowry at the time of the marriage contract, and if the passing of the dowry to her is in absolute terms, she should be paid as soon as possible. She has the right to withhold herself from her husband before taking possession of the dowry. However, if he has intercourse with her before he passes the dowry to her, she cannot withhold herself in the future, and the dowry will become a debt like any other.
Ruling 657: If the dowry is deferred in absolute terms, the wife does not need to be paid until she is divorced or either’s death. However, if the deferment period is stipulated, it must be acted upon.
Ruling 658: If the wife is divorced or either one of them dies, before consummation, half of the dowry is dropped. After consummation, the dowry will be full.
Ruling 659: The dowry is not dropped nor any part of it in a temporary marriage by the ending of the marriage period or by the death of either of them, before consummation.
Ruling 660: It is disliked to set a high dowry, and it is a cause of misfortune for the wife as it is mentioned in some narrations; rather, it is disliked to have the dowry more than what is prescribed by the Sunnah, which is five-hundred dirhams, i.e. 1,487.5 kilograms of silver.
Ruling 661: It is obligatory for the husband, when he is not travelling, to spend the night with his permanent Muslim wife once every four nights as good company.
Ruling 662: A wife may waive her right for a particular night for any reason; however, she can withdraw her waiver afterwards, unless her waiver is stipulated within a binding contract.
Ruling 663: A permanent wife has the right of sexual intercourse once every four months. If her husband contravenes this right out of anger towards her, she may raise her case to the hakim shar’i who will order him to fulfil this right or to divorce her.
The same is so in the case of temporary marriage as well as an obligatory precaution, unless the marriage contract was based on there not being any sexual intercourse.
Ruling 664: It is obligatory on the wife to allow her husband to enjoy her sexually – except anal intercourse – and to remove anything that may cause obstruction or repulsion; rather, she should prepare herself with perfume and beautification by the means made available to her by her husband and which he requests.
Ruling 665: It is prohibited for a wife to leave the house without her husband’s permission, or without being certain of him being agreeable to her leaving the house.
Ruling 666: If the wife does not fulfil her marital duties with her husband, he may advise her, and if this is of no avail he can abandoning her bed by turning his back to her and shunning her. If she still continues then he is permitted to hit her without causing her to bleed or breaking a bone.
Ruling 667: If the husband does not fulfil his marital duties with his wife, she cannot dismiss her own marital duties, but she may raise her case to the hakim shar’i, who will order her husband to fulfil her rights or to give her a divorce. If he refuses to do so, the hakim shar’i will divorce her on his behalf. It is possible for her to abandon some of her rights to conciliate with him and to avoid trouble and hardships, such as divorce.
The Laws Pertaining to Children
Ruling 668: A son will be regarded that of the person whose seed he was born from, whether conception was through sexual intercourse or by any other means. As such, all the laws of fatherhood and motherhood will take effect in respect to him, except in the case of inheritance of an illegitimate child. However, as an obligatory precaution, the obligation of the parents providing for an illegitimate child, and vice-versa, will remain.
Ruling 669: The unborn child will be regarded as the son of the husband of the pregnant woman, on the condition that the pregnancy resulted in sexual intercourse – or by any other alternative means – and that the child is born fully developed with stable life, after six months since the intercourse and before a complete lunar year. The same applies if the child was born out mistaken sexual intercourse.
Ruling 670: It is impermissible for a man and a woman to adopt a child who was not born from either of them; but it is recommended for them to nurture and sponsor him.
Ruling 671: On the birth of a child it is recommended to recite the adhan in his right ear and the iqamah in the left ear. On the seventh day, it is recommended to have the boy circumcised and to hold the aqeeqah, i.e. a sacrifice of a sheep, cow or camel. It is recommended to have the child breastfed for two whole years.
Ruling 672: The mother has priority in the raising of the child during the period she is breastfeeding him, except in the following cases:
(1) When she is not competent to do so, by reason of illness or insanity;
(2) When she asks for a remuneration for her breastfeeding the child which is higher than the cost of wet-nursing;
(3) When she is no longer the wife of the father of the child and marries somebody else.
Ruling 673: The father is the guardian of the child. It is not permissible to hit the child to discipline him without the permission of the guardian. The mother may waive her right of raising the child, but the father cannot waive his right of guardianship, as long as he has not become incapable by death, illness or insanity.
Expenses and Financial Support
A person is obligated to provide for two groups of people:
(1) His wife, by permanent marriage;
(2) His children and their offspring, and his parents, as well as their parents as an obligatory precaution.
Ruling 674: The obligation of a man to provide for his wife is dropped if she fails to uphold her marital duties, whether she did not allow him to enjoy sexual pleasure with her, or she left the house without his permission and without any justifiable necessity.
Ruling 675: It is obligatory to provide for one’s wife who he has divorced revocably while she is in the waiting period, and for one’s pregnant wife who has been divorced irrevocably.
Ruling 676: What is meant by ‘providing’ is the provision of food, drink, clothing and residence, in a manner that is common, as well as what she requires in fulfilling his demands from her in cleaning and beautification.
Ruling 677: The aforementioned relatives must be provided for with the following two conditions:
(1) One has the financial ability to do so, even if it is by earning it by work or by taking a loan – provided that he has wealth to cover it;
(2) The relatives are poor and in need of it.
Ruling 678: What is obligatory to provide for them is food, drink, clothing, residence, medicine and all other things which they require for their livelihood.
Ruling 679: It is recommended to provide for other relatives, such as brothers, and it is recommended to be generous in providing for his family without being extravagant or squandering.