Thursday, 17 January 2013

The Validity of the Marriage of a Woman Who Converts

QUESTION: There is a lady who has reverted, but her husband is still without religion, though he believes in God. I told her that she would have to leave him immediately. There was some discussion and I gave some evidences. Then somebody came with a fatwa from Shaikh Qaradawi, in which he has said that she can stay with her ex-husband for a period (may be the iddat), but not as his wife. I questioned this so he wrote to Shaikh Qaradawi, who has responded with two instances: one from Omar and the other from Ali (radhi Allaho anhum).
Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
The position of Sunni scholarship is that, based on explicit Qur’anic verses, the marriage of a woman who converts but whose husband remains non-Muslim is annulled. The only difference on the matter concerns when the annulment occurs:
In the Hanafi school, the marriage is annulled after 3 menstrual periods (during which time she cannot have intimate physical relations with him). [This is explained in detailed in the answer below.]
As for Shaykh Qaradawi, he is a respected scholar, but he is noted by scholars to frequently diverge from sound Sunni scholarship. The importance of following sound scholarship is explained very clearly by Sh. Nuh Keller and Sh. Abdal Hakim Murad in their articles at Sidi Mas’ud Khan’s excellent site:
In particular cases where leaving her husband may lead a woman to choose to leaving Islam, not emphasizing this point initially may be from applying the principle of, “Falling into lesser harm in order to avoid greater harm.” However, such cases should be referred to learned scholars of understanding, in order to seek their case-specific guidance because counseling and support is often an effective alternative option.
And Allah alone gives success.
Faraz Rabbani
[Source: SunniPath]

Is it Permissible to Show Hair to, Not Just Any Suitor, but Your Future Spouse?

QUESTION: I have heard from my Hanafi teachers that it is impermissible for a woman to show her hair to a suitor, that those who say it is permissible are using a very weak opinion. My husband, however, says that the mashaikh only say this to the 'aam people who may misuse the ruling (to see the hair of every girl that they are not even serious about). His family is mashaAllah very pious, and his brother is becoming a mufti under the tutelage of Mufti Taqi Uthmani. His brother actually told my cousin that it would be permissible to request to see a girl's hair. Also, another one of my husband's brothers saw the hair of his future wife beforehand (when he was reasonably convinced he would be marrying her), and my husband's sister showed her hair (only once) to her future husband (though normally she is in niqab). (Note: they did not do these things with any one else they were considering; only the people they *actually* eventually married). I am very confused. Do people like our respected Mufti Taqi Uthmani allow for this? Perhaps Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam or someone else familiar with him could reply?
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
Looking at someone one intends to marry is not merely something that is permissible, rather it has been encouraged by the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace).
Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) narrates: I was in the company of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) when a man came and informed him that he had contracted to marry a woman of the Ansar. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said to him: “Did you cast a glance at her? He said: No. He said: “Go and look at her, for there is something in the eyes of the Ansar”. (Sahih Muslim, no. 1423)
Sayyiduna Mughira ibn Shu’bah (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that he proposed to a woman for marriage. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said to him: “Look at her, for it may produce love between you.” (Sunan Tirmidhi, no. 1087, Musnad Ahmad, Sunan Nasa’i & Sunan Ibn Majah)
Sayyiduna Jabir (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “When one of you proposes to a woman for marriage, then if he is able to look at what will induce him to marry her, he should do so.” (Sunan Abu Dawud and Musnad Ahmad)
The great Hadith and Shafi’i Fiqh scholar, Imam al-Nawawi (Allah have mercy on him) states:
“…In the Hadith (of Abu Hurayra mentioned first) there is recommendation of looking at the face of the woman one is intending to marry. This is the opinion of our (Shafi’i) School, the School of Malik, Abu Hanifa, all the scholars of Kufa, Ahmad and the majority of the Ulama. Qadhi (Iyadh) has narrated from a group (of scholars) that it is disliked but that is incorrect and contrary to the clear text of this Hadith, and contrary to the consensus (ijma’) of the Ummah…Then, it is permitted for him to look at her palms and face only, for they are not considered to be part of the nakedness (awra), and also because by looking at the face, one is able to determine her beauty or otherwise and by looking at her hands one is able to determine the chubbiness of the body or otherwise. This is the opinion of our School and the view of most others.” (al-Minhaj Sharh Sahih Muslim, p. 1068)
Mulla Ali al-Qari, the great Muhaddith and Hanafi Imam, states in his renowned Mirqat al-Mafatih, quoting from Allama Teebi that the meaning of the Messenger of Allah’s (Allah bless him & give him peace) statement “if he is able to look at what will induce him to marry her, he should do so” (in the Hadith of Jabir recorded by Imam Abu Dawud, quoted earlier) is either wealth, status, beauty and religion (deen).” (Mirqat al-Mafatih, 6/198)
Thus the above explanation by Mulla Ali al-Qari quite clearly refutes the interpretation some people make with regards to the Hadith of Jabir, in that one may look at whatever may induce one into marrying. If such general permission is given, people will demand to see all sorts of body parts.
Thus, the above is quite clear in determining that, it is only permitted for one to see the hands and face of the woman one is intending to marry. This permission is also subject to certain conditions.
Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states:
“It is recommended ……to look at the woman before marriage.”
Allama Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) explains the above by stating:
“Meaning, even if there is desire (shahwa) but this is when one genuinely believes it is possible to get married to her.” (Radd al-Muhtar, 3/8, Kitab al-Nikah)
Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states in another place:
“If one fears desire (shahwa) or has a doubt (m: in attaining desire), then one will be prevented from looking at the face of a non-Mahram woman. Thus, the permissibility of looking is restricted to not having desire otherwise it will be unlawful (haram). This ruling was in their times, in our times however, one will be prevented from looking at a young woman (m: regardless of whether one fears desire or otherwise). The exception for looking and not touching is when there is a need, such as for the judge, witness in the court…and for the one who intends to marry, even with desire but only if one’s intention is to implement the Sunnah (m: and fulfil one’s objective of marriage) not to fulfil one’s desires (m: by looking without really wanting to marry).”
Allama Ibn Abidin, the commentator of al-Haskafi’s Durr al-Mukhtar, mentions the following points in his commentary of the above text:
1) There is nothing wrong in looking at someone one is intending to marry even with desire (shahwa) due to the Hadith of Mughira ibn Shu’ba (Allah be pleased with him) where the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Look at her, for it may produce love between you” and because the aim is to fulfil the Sunnah of marriage and not desire.
2) It is not permitted to touch the face and hands of the woman even when one does not fear desire, for there is no real need for that.
3) The need is only in looking at the woman once, thus more than once would not be allowed, for cases of need are restricted to the actual need. (m: However, if one was uncertain and undecided by looking at her once due to some reason, such as not looking at her properly, etc, then one may look again. This, however, should not be merely having another go at the whip; rather one should genuinely think that marriage is highly likely)
4) Permissibility of looking is only to the hands and face
5) If it is not possible to look at the woman or one wants descriptions of parts of the body that are other than the hands and the face, then one may send a female relative (such as a mother or sister) to look at her and then describe her to him.
6) A woman may also look at the man whom she intends to marry even if there is a fear of desire, rather this is more important. The reason being is that the husband will be able to divorce her whenever he wants if he dislikes her, but the wife cannot do that. Thus, it is very important that she looks and is content with him. (See: Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar, ‘Bab al-Mass wa’l Nadhar fi Kitab al-Hadhr wa’l Ibaha, 6/370)
Thus, to sum up, it is not only permitted but recommended to look at someone one is intending to marry. This, however, is only when one is seriously contemplating marriage with her, and that marriage is possible and likely. This permission is even in the case where one (the man or the woman) fears desire (shahwa), if the right intention is there. Merely fulfilling the desire to look will be unlawful.
It will not be permitted for the man and woman to remain alone in seclusion (khalwa), for there is no need for that. Being alone with a non-Mahram is unlawful (haram) or at the least prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman) and must be avoided.
Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “A man must not remain alone in the company of a woman, and a woman must not travel except that her Mahram is accompanying her.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 2488)
If one decides to marry someone, it is for the man permitted to look at the woman’s face and hands only. This is the opinion of the majority of the scholars (jumhur), including the Hanafis, as mentioned earlier. Some individual scholars (such as Imam al-Awza’i, Ibn Hazam and Dawud Zahiri) did permit looking at other than the hands and face but this is not the mainstream opinion.
As far as the opinion of Mufti Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve him) is concerned, I have not heard anything directly from him, but it is clearly mentioned in his Dars Tirmidhi (3/351) that one is only permitted to look at the hands and face.
And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
Darul Iftaa, Leicester, UK
[Source: SunniPath]

Sinned During Engagement, Families Want Them to Wait... Can They Just Marry in Secret Now Before the Public Marriage Later?

QUESTION: If a guy and girl committed sins during their engagement such as talking to each other on the phone and committing acts that were very close to zinaa, does this mean that their marriage will fail? Also both families don't want them to get married, they want to do nikah and make it halal to talk and see each other but its not possible to do so because of their families. They have tried to limit talking and make it so that they aren't in places where they could commit sins close to zinaa but every time they have asked for forgiveness and tried to avoid it, it still happened. What can they do now to make their marriage successful even after all that they have done?
ANSWER:In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
Allah Mighty and Majestic is Most Compassionate and Most Merciful. He accepts the repentance of his sinful servants and is Most Forgiving. He Himself says:
“Say: “O my servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, for Allah forgives all sins. He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful”. (Surah al-Zumar, 53).
The best of humanity, our beloved Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:
“The one who repents from sin is like the one who has no sins”. (Sunan ibn Majah & Mu’jam al-Kabir of Tabarani).
In light of the above and other texts of the Qur’an and Sunnah, it becomes clear that when a servant sincerely repents to Allah, it is certainly accepted. However, there are three conditions for the repentance to be accepted:
a) to desist from the sin
b) to regret having done it
c) and to resolve never to commit it again (Nawawi, Riyad al-Salihin, 1/88)
Therefore, if the girl and boy in question sincerely repent from the sins they committed during engagement and make a firm resolution never to commit the sin again; there is no reason why there should be no Baraka in their marriage. It certainly does not mean that their marriage will fail due to the sins carried out during engagement. However, they must abstain from any informal interaction prior to the Nikah, as they are considered (according to Shariah) strangers.
Regarding the second aspect to your question, it seems from your question that the couple are engaged, but their families refuse them to get married at present. If this is the case, then first of all, the respective parents should be convinced that there is a possibility of the couple being involved in a sin, thus they should not be prevented from getting married, for there is great Baraka in acquiring the pleasure and consent of the parents. If, however, all avenues in convincing them fail, then the couple may marry in secret provided all the conditions for a valid marriage are met, for which they should consult a reliable scholar, and then later carry out a formal ceremony.
And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari, UK
[Source: SunniPath]

Doesn't the woman need her guardian's approval to marry?

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
It is certainly the sunna and proper way to get one’s guardian’s permission. The danger of going against one’s parents (in normal cases) is that it could well entail ‘being bad’ to one’s parents, which is one of the most serious of major sins.
According to the understanding of the Hanafi Madhhab, if a mature woman contracted her marriage without the approval of her guardian to someone who is considered legally suitable (kuf'u), then the marriage is valid.
However, if she is marrying someone that is not considered legally suitable or compatible, then this will need the approval of the father (or, in his absence, the nearest fit guardian).
The relied-upon opinion is that in the absence of this approval from the guardian, a woman's marriage to a non-suitable man is not valid. If they live together, they are living together unlawfully. As such, if such situations come up, both parties must consult a scholar of recognized knowledge and taqwa for guidance, and to determine what their status is.
This has also been explained in many earlier posts.
And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
Darul Iftaa, Leicester, UK

[Source: SunniPath]

Gifts given During Engagement

QUESTION: I was going to marry someone, but it did not happen. This man gave me money many times. He also gave me a lot of gifts. Now our relationship has been cut. I want to know, should I pay him this money back or not? It’s a big amount by the way for me not for him.
ANSWER: In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
The renowned Hanafi jurist (faqih), Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) sheds light on this very issue in his Durr al-Mukhtar. He states:
“One proposed (and got engaged) to the daughter of a man and then sent her things, but the girl’s father did not marry her off (to him), then in such a case, whatever he sent as dowry (mahr) he may take back, but only the actual items (m: which he sent) even if they had changed due to them being used, or he may take back their value if they no longer exist.

Breastfeeding During Pregnancy

QUESTION: A woman who is six weeks pregnant and who also has an eight month old baby girl, is she allowed to feed her baby her milk? What is the ruling in the shari’ah regarding this?
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful
It is perfectly permissible for a woman to breastfeed her child while she is pregnant.
In a Hadith related by Imam Muslim in his Sahih, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said:
“I considered prohibiting Gayla (Breastfeeding whilst pregnant), but I observed the Byzantines and Persians that they breastfeed their children during pregnancy and their children are not harmed.” (Sahih Muslim)
Therefore, it will be permissible for the sister who is pregnant to breastfeed her eight month old baby.
And Allah knows best

(Mufti) Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester, UK

[Source: Darul Iftaa]