19

While I know that Islam allow a man to marry four wives at the same time, it prohibited men from marrying specific women, such as mother.

My question is, who are those women that are prohibited for a man? And are they prohibited forever?

Thanks in advance.

0

4 Answers 4

34

These two Ayas are the key source:

وَلَا تَنكِحُوا مَا نَكَحَ آبَاؤُكُم مِّنَ النِّسَاءِ إِلَّا مَا قَدْ سَلَفَ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً وَمَقْتًا وَسَاءَ سَبِيلًا

And do not marry those [women] whom your fathers married, except what has already occurred. Indeed, it was an immorality and hateful [to Allah ] and was evil as a way.

حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمْ أُمَّهَاتُكُمْ وَبَنَاتُكُمْ وَأَخَوَاتُكُمْ وَعَمَّاتُكُمْ وَخَالَاتُكُمْ وَبَنَاتُ الْأَخِ وَبَنَاتُ الْأُخْتِ وَأُمَّهَاتُكُمُ اللَّاتِي أَرْضَعْنَكُمْ وَأَخَوَاتُكُم مِّنَ الرَّضَاعَةِ وَأُمَّهَاتُ نِسَائِكُمْ وَرَبَائِبُكُمُ اللَّاتِي فِي حُجُورِكُم مِّن نِّسَائِكُمُ اللَّاتِي دَخَلْتُم بِهِنَّ فَإِن لَّمْ تَكُونُوا دَخَلْتُم بِهِنَّ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَحَلَائِلُ أَبْنَائِكُمُ الَّذِينَ مِنْ أَصْلَابِكُمْ وَأَن تَجْمَعُوا بَيْنَ الْأُخْتَيْنِ إِلَّا مَا قَدْ سَلَفَ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا

Prohibited to you [for marriage] are your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, your father's sisters, your mother's sisters, your brother's daughters, your sister's daughters, your [milk] mothers who nursed you, your sisters through nursing, your wives' mothers, and your step-daughters under your guardianship [born] of your wives unto whom you have gone in. But if you have not gone in unto them, there is no sin upon you. And [also prohibited are] the wives of your sons who are from your [own] loins, and that you take [in marriage] two sisters simultaneously, except for what has already occurred. Indeed, Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful.

Surat An-Nisā' Aya 22-23.

Allah prohibited 14 classes of women, 7 due to blood relationship, and 7 for others.

Those because of blood relationship are:

  • Mothers: every direct female ancestor for you (note that she might on the side of your father too, for example, your father's mother). This includes not only ones mother, but also ones grandmother, great-grandmother, and so on no matter how high her level is.
  • Daughters: every direct female descendant of you (again, note that she might be on the side of your son, for example, your son's daughter). This includes not only ones daughters, but also ones granddaughters, great-granddaughters, and so on no matter how high her level is.
  • Sisters: every female that shares with you your father or mother (or both of them). This includes half-sisters which share only one parent.
  • Aunts: both
  • Sisters of every male ancestor for you (even on the side of your mother, such as the sister of your mother's father), and
  • Sisters of every female ancestor for you (even on the side of your father, such as the sister of your father's mother).
  • Nieces: every female descendant of your brothers and sisters, no matter how low her level is (this count 2 out of 7). This completes the list of women prohibited because of blood relationship.

Now we come to those prohibited because of milk relationship (breastfeeding), there is a basic hadith here:

The Prophet said about Hamza's daughter, "I am not legally permitted to marry her, as foster relations are treated like blood relations (in marital affairs). She is the daughter of my foster brother."

حَدَّثَنَا مُسْلِمُ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، حَدَّثَنَا هَمَّامٌ، حَدَّثَنَا قَتَادَةُ، عَنْ جَابِرِ بْنِ زَيْدٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ قَالَ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي بِنْتِ حَمْزَةَ ‏ "‏ لاَ تَحِلُّ لِي، يَحْرُمُ مِنَ الرَّضَاعِ مَا يَحْرُمُ مِنَ النَّسَبِ، هِيَ بِنْتُ أَخِي مِنَ الرَّضَاعَةِ ‏"‏‏.‏

Sahih al-Bukhari 2645 (with many, many other riwayat [versions] ).

And, depending on that hadith, there is a basic rule in Shariaa:

يحرم من الرضاع ما يحرم من النسب

What's prohibited (for marriage) because of milk relationship are the same as what's prohibited because of blood relationship.

Other translation: Marriage prohibition because of milk relationship is similar to marriage prohibition because of blood relationship.

Now if a woman breastfeeds a boy, then she is considered (in marital affairs) as his own mother, and blood-relationship prohibition rules are applied with all of her family. And the husband of this woman at the time she breastfed the boy is considered (in marital affairs) as his own father, and (again) blood-relationship prohibition rules are applied with all of his family.

Also milk sisters are prohibited, they're every female breastfed by your (blood) mother or your mother in law (your father's wife). And she is considered (in maritial affairs) as your own sister.

But, the amount of breastfeeding that makes these rules applied is not the same for all scholars, and I'm not going to explain this now. (general speaking two pleasing breadfeeds are enough to make these rules applied).

Now we come to those prohibited because of affinity, they're:

  • Wife's mothers: every female ancestor of the wife. And they become prohibited just if the marriage contract is made (even before any intercourse).
  • Wife's daughters: every female descendant of man's wife from another husband. At the condition of making an intercourse with this wife, i.e, marriage contract is not enough to prohibit these daughters, an intercourse is needed to make the prohibition applied.
  • Daughters in law: the wife of any male descendant, no matter how low her level is.
  • Milk Sons' wives: wives of man's milk sons (the rule of milk prohibition applies here).
  • Mother in law: the wife of any male ancestor, no matter how high his level is. Also these three classes have some differences in scholars' views, in affairs of intercourse or just marriage contract... etc. But again, I'm not going to discuss these now.
  • Sisters of current wives: a man is not allowed to marry two sisters at the same time, if he marry a woman, then all of her sisters are temporarily prohibited for him. If she die, or they divorce, then her sisters become un-prohibited for him, he can marry any of them (after the divorce period عدة of the wife is over).

And finally, of course he can't marry a married woman! if she divorce, then he can marry her after her divorce period عدة is over.

Sources: Tafseer Al Qurtubi, Ahkam Al-Quran by Ibn Arabi, and Ahkam Al-Quran by Alkia Alharrasi (may Allah be merciful to them all). Especially Tafseer Al Qurtubi 5 [105-134].

P.S: this is not a complete list or explanation, for example, I've not mentioned prohibited slave females (because there is no slavery anymore, thank Allah, and because they're very few), and I haven't mentioned some rare cases. If I want to explain and take care of every case and scholar view, this post could run into pages (full of information not interesting for everybody).

4
  • 5
    Just a note: Slavery still exists in present days. Quoting from Wikipedia : "There are more slaves today than at any point in history, remaining as high as 12 million to 27 million." Muslim people (e.g. in Sudan and Mauritania) are suffering from this wrongdoing.
    – overcoder
    Commented Jul 7, 2012 at 7:48
  • 1
    Very concisely put, @TamerShlash, the part about the ascendants and descendants. Worth marking this answer as favourite!
    – Najeeb
    Commented Feb 25, 2014 at 10:28
  • "there is no slavery anymore" - it depends on how you define slavery
    – user31217
    Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 6:52
  • @overcoder how is slavery a bad thing? Islam prohibits it under certain conditions.
    – user44632
    Commented Sep 29, 2021 at 21:23
3

In the aye (verse) below , Quran says who you cannot marriage:

حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمْ أُمَّهَاتُكُمْ وَبَنَاتُكُمْ وَأَخَوَاتُكُمْ وَعَمَّاتُكُمْ وَخَالَاتُكُمْ وَبَنَاتُ الْأَخِ وَبَنَاتُ الْأُخْتِ وَأُمَّهَاتُكُمُ اللَّاتِي أَرْضَعْنَكُمْ وَأَخَوَاتُكُم مِّنَ الرَّضَاعَةِ وَأُمَّهَاتُ نِسَائِكُمْ وَرَبَائِبُكُمُ اللَّاتِي فِي حُجُورِكُم مِّن نِّسَائِكُمُ اللَّاتِي دَخَلْتُم بِهِنَّ فَإِن لَّمْ تَكُونُوا دَخَلْتُم بِهِنَّ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَحَلَائِلُ أَبْنَائِكُمُ الَّذِينَ مِنْ أَصْلَابِكُمْ وَأَن تَجْمَعُوا بَيْنَ الْأُخْتَيْنِ إِلَّا مَا قَدْ سَلَفَ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا ٤:٢٣

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;-

2

It is forbidden to marry the following women:

Relatives through blood:

These include:

  • a female ancestor. Such as a person's mother, grandmother (both paternal and maternal) , great-grandmother (both paternal and maternal) and so on.

  • a female descendant. Such as a daughter, granddaughter (both paternal and maternal), great-granddaughter (both paternal and maternal) and so on.

  • female descendants of one's father and mother. Such as one's sister, half-sister, niece, grandniece, great grandniece and so on.

  • immediate children of grandparents and further ancestors. This includes the paternal aunts and maternal aunts.

These are mentioned in verse 4:23

Relatives through marriage:

These include:

  • wife of an ancestor. Such as a wife of the father, paternal grandfather, paternal great-grandfather, maternal grandfather, maternal great-grandfather and so on.

  • wife of a descendant. Such as the wife of a son, paternal grandson, maternal grandson and so on.

  • ancestor of a wife. e.g. the mother-in-law, the mother of the mother-in-law, the mother of the father-in-law.

  • descendants of a wife. her daughters, grand-daughters (daughters of her sons and daughters) and so on.

These are mentioned in verse 4:22 and 4:23

Note that according to some madhabs this relationship is established not only through marriage but also due to zina or even looking\touching with lust.

Relatives through breastfeeding:

Under Islamic law, when an infant is fed the milk of a woman then a bond between them is formed that is equal to a biological relationship. The suckled infant and all its descendants (but not ancestors or siblings) will become equal to the descendants of the wet-nurse and her husband. In this new family every pair which would be mahrams due to lineage or marriage would be mahrams to each other.

Some of these are mentioned in verse 4:23 and the rest are evident from the sunnah such as Bukhari 2645 and Bukhari 5239.

Other cases:

  • If a man does Li'aan with his wife and is separated from her because of it then he can not remarry her. According to the majority this prohibition is permanent while some hold that it can be revoked if the man confesses to have lied.

Women who are temporarily forbidden:

The following women are also forbidden to be married, however the prohibition is temporary and ceases when certain conditions are met:

  • A current wife's sister. She becomes lawful to marry if the wife dies or is divorced. — 4:23

  • A current wife's (paternal and maternal) aunts and nieces, as long as the wife has not died or been divorced. This is similar to the case of marrying the sister of the wife.

    نهى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أن تنكح المرأة على عمتها أو خالتها

    Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) forbade that a woman should be married to man along with her paternal or maternal aunt.

    Bukhari

  • A woman who is observing iddah from divorce or death of her husband. — 2:235

  • Any woman if marrying her would bring the number of current wives to five. — 4:3

  • A former wife who has been divorced thrice. It only becomes permissible to marry her if she happens to gets divorced from another marriage. — 2:230

  • A fornicator. Depending on the madhab it is forbidden to marry her before she repents and before istibra — 24:3

  • A non-muslim until she accepts Islam. Jewish and Christian women are an exception. — 60:10 , 2:221

  • An apostate until she returns to Islam. It does not matter which religion she has converted to, even Judaism or Christianity.

  • Slaves:

    • According to most scholars, it is forbidden to marry a slave woman who is a disbeliever (even if she is a Jewess or Christian). This prohibition is lifted when the slave woman accepts Islam or is freed. — 4:25
    • It is forbidden for a free male to marry a slave woman if he already has free wives. According to most scholars, it is forbidden to marry any slave woman unless the person risks committing zina or is unable to afford marriage to a free woman. The prohibition is lifted when these conditions are fulfilled or when the slave is freed. — 4:25
    • It is invalid for a male slave to marry his mistress (owner) since the rights and duties of a slave are incompatible with the rights and duties of a husband. This prohibition is lifted if the slave is freed or sold to someone else.
    • It is invalid for a free male to marry his own slave woman since ownership is a stronger contract than marriage which entitles him to get more than what marriage entitles him to do. This prohibition is lifted if the slave woman is freed. Note that Concubinage is permitted with one's own slave woman.

Can I Marry X:

We are not a fatwa site. Consult a Mufti for personal verdicts.

In general the rule is that any woman who is not mentioned as prohibited in the Quran or Sunnah is by default permissible to marry. Hence one should examine whether that woman fits any of the criterion of prohibition, if no such prohibition can be found then that woman can be married. The default rule is evident from the Quran:

وأحل لكم ما وراء ذلكم

And lawful to you are [all others] beyond these

Quran 4:24

وأنكحوا الأيامى منكم

And marry the unmarried among you

Quran 24:32

فانكحوا ما طاب لكم من النساء

Then marry those that please you of [other] women

Quran 4:3

The following are some women who are permissible to marry, I am mentioning them here because of how frequently they are asked about:

Cousins: Paternal and Maternal cousins are permissible to marry. That is because they are not mentioned among the mahrams and so they are permissible by default. Also because marrying them is explicitly known to be permitted: The Prophet ﷺ married his cousin Zainab bint Jahsh. Umar married his cousin Atiqa etc. It is also explicitly permitted in the Quran:

وبنات عمك وبنات عماتك وبنات خالك وبنات خالاتك

the daughters of your paternal uncles and the daughters of your paternal aunts and the daughters of your maternal uncles and the daughters of your maternal aunts

Quran 33:50

Children of Cousins: When cousins can be married then the children and grandchildren of cousins can also be married as they are a more distant relation. Ali ibn Abi Talib married Fatimah, the daughter of his paternal cousin i.e. the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

1

Aside from the answers already I would also like to quote this ayah

Quran, 33:53

O believers! Do not enter the homes of the Prophet without permission ˹and if invited˺ for a meal, do not ˹come too early and˺ linger until the meal is ready. But if you are invited, then enter ˹on time˺. Once you have eaten, then go on your way, and do not stay for casual talk. Such behaviour is truly annoying to the Prophet, yet he is too shy to ask you to leave. But Allah is never shy of the truth. And when you ˹believers˺ ask his wives for something, ask them from behind a barrier. This is purer for your hearts and theirs. And it is not right for you to annoy the Messenger of Allah, nor ever marry his wives after him. This would certainly be a major offence in the sight of Allah.

So according to this ayah, the believers are not allowed to marry the wives of the Prophet (PBUH) ever even after he has died.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .