“Do not marry unbelieving women (idolaters), until they believe: A slave woman who believes is better than an unbelieving woman, even though she allures you. Nor marry (your girls) to unbelievers until they believe: A man slave who believes is better than an unbeliever, even though he allures you. Unbelievers do (but) beckon you to the Fire. But Allah beckons by His Grace to the Garden (of bliss) and forgiveness, and makes His Signs clear to mankind: That they may celebrate His praise. This verse is not speaking of Jews and Christians who are called People of the Book, ahlul kitaab, even in the Qur’an. If Allah intends ahlul kitaab here He would have mentioned them, because He has always made that distinction between Mushrikeens (idol worshipers, Pagans, Polytheists) and ahlul kitaab in the Qur’an. Examples: “It is never the wish of those without Faith among the People of the Book, nor of the Pagans, that anything good should come down to you from your Lord.” (al-Baqarah, 2:105) “Those who reject (Truth), among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, were not going to depart (from their ways) until there should come to them Clear Evidence,-” (alBayyinah, 1) So, there has always been a distinction between Mushrikeen and ahlul kitaab. In another verse, Muslim men are allowed to married women ahlul kitaab, but women are not permitted to marry non-Muslim men whether polytheists or ahlul kitaab. “(Lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book, revealed before your time,- when ye give them their due dowers, and desire chastity, not lewdness, nor secret intrigues.” (al-Maa’idah, 5)
So, the permission is there; but we should look at this more closely in respect of lineage as it affects our progeny. The womb is a repository that ensures the continuity of genealogy. There are good examples of men who married ahlul kitaab and live happily ever after. There are other examples that are not benign. Yes, it is lawful, but not all lawful things are approached without certain conditions, like eating of carrion for who is forced by necessity where no other option is available. Muslim scholars analysed the verse further and said, since Allah instructed the men not to marry, and not to give their daughters in marriage to polytheists, then the issue of a marriage contract is the exclusive reserve of men, and thus a woman cannot give herself out in, or contract marriage for another. “Do not marry unbelieving women (idolaters), until they believe:” “Nor marry (your girls) to unbelievers until they believe:” Within this verse two instructions were directed at the menfolk – not to marry, and not to give their daughters in marriage to polytheists. Marriage To Mushrikeen In another verse also instruction on marriage pertains the menfolk only: “Marry those among you who are single,…” (an-Nuur, 32) So, they supported their position with many of such verses as directed men to contract marital unions.
No marriage is valid without a guardian… the guardian could be her father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and so on; her son, grandson, great-grandson, and so on; or her brother… but according to them, a woman cannot give herself out in marriage. Other scholars said, yes, a woman can give herself out in marriage provided she is sane, matured, able to discern what is best for her, and her choice must be a person having an equal background and social status as hers. Having a guardian as mentioned in the hadeeth brought, as evidence, by the first group of scholars, is what is preferred, but not a necessity. That is another opinion. For a marriage to be valid, the woman’s consent must be obtained. An adult woman who has been previously married should be consulted before marriage and her acceptance should be shown: “A woman who has been previously married (thayyib) has more right to her person than her guardian. And a virgin should also be consulted, and her silence implies her consent.” It is incumbent upon a young woman’s guardian to ask his daughter’s opinion and it is a sin for him to compel her to marry: It is reported on the authority of Khansaa Bint Khizam that her father gave her in marriage when she was a thayyib and she disliked that, so she went to the Messenger of Allah (SAW) and he declared the marriage invalid. One hadeeth will also suffice: on the authority of Abu Hurairah (RA) that he said, ‘The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:
“The orphan girl’s permission should be sought regarding proposals of marriage, her silence being construed as her acceptance, but if she refuses, it is not permissible to marry her.” “There is no marriage except with a waliyy and two honest witnesses. If they disagree, then the Sultan is the waliyy for one who has none.” We have learnt that consent of both man and woman is important for the validity of the marriage. From this hadeeth waliyy is also necessary as advanced by those scholars who said a woman cannot give herself in marriage. And again from this hadeeth whoever has no waliyy then the Sultan assumes that responsibility. The scholars disagreed on the presence of two honest witnesses in contracting a marriage. Let us have this example: A man marries a woman in a shariahcompliant process; everything is in order, only that he binds the two honest witnesses to secrecy concerning the union; he does not want people to know about the marriage. The entire process is unannounced, unknown to the public. Yes, he and the woman are agreed to come together as husband and wife, and they have witnesses, only that they desire a clandestine union. The scholars, some of them, said the marriage will be set asunder; it is null and void, but the witnesses will not be sanctioned. This type of marriage, according to these scholars, is not allowed because one of the conditions of acceptable marriage in the eyes of the Shariah is publicity; secrecy is zinaa…. This is so central to this group of scholars that they even aver that should a man contract marriage with a woman without witnesses, but who then comes out and announces to the public that he is married to that woman, such a marriage, said the scholars, is valid! It is as if a whole group of people were witnesses to the union.
So, the proponents of this view among the scholars see marriage without witnesses as valid provided the contract will be made public afterwards. But if the marriage contract was conducted in secrecy with only the couple and witness in a hidden place so that knowledge of the union is confined to only these people, the marriage is invalid. If the marriage is consummated the woman is entitled to the sadaaq of a woman of similar status, but the marriage must be set asunder. The difference between zinaa and proper marriage is publicity! This is the majority opinion. The minority is saying that once the marriage is witnessed by two trustworthy witnesses whether in secret or in public, the marriage is valid. Because according to them the condition of publicity is met by the presence of two witnesses. This clandestine marriage is prevalent today, where a man will meet a woman and arrange the union in secret. He is not afraid of Allah, but he is afraid of his first wife, or children, or some other people. Usually, the secret wife will be in another town other than the one in which the real wife stays. He calls two of his close friends to serve as secret witnesses to the secret marriage. This kind of marriage is morally ambiguous. “Thus he who avoids doubtful matters clears himself in regard to his religion and his honour, but he who falls into doubtful matters [eventually] falls into that which is unlawful,..” Therefore, before you contract a secret marriage think twice about the complications you will leave behind after your death, or the tumult that will ensue when your wife knows that another woman shares her husband in secret, or your children discover that there are other children claiming the same parentage as they are.
Ustaz Abubakr Siddeeq Muhammad Focus On Faith 08076760011 (sms only) www.abubakrsiddeeq.com, email: email@example.com
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