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I'm wondering what after happens if, after getting married and the wife revealing her body for the first time, her husband is not satisfied.

Question: What if a husband is displeased with his new wife's body after getting married?

I'm talking about a situation where the husband really does not like her body, and no longer wishes to remain married as a result. He does not foresee a compatible future together.

This could result in divorce and turn into a failed marriage and effect the wife's perceived purity. After all, a man would have seen her unveiled. And having a divorce to one's name is not great either. These might have a negative impact on a possible future husband.

I'm trying to get a better mental picture here. It seems to be a significant risk.

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    Seems more like a sociological question (I could be wrong). There are Islamic advices but that would make this question opinion-based. (better be discussed in Islam Meta). – Bleeding Fingers Dec 14 '16 at 21:39
  • I'm not really after advice, more just what would (ordinarily) happen in these circumstances. It seems like they would have to choose between two poor options ("put up with it" or divorce). There's also some aspects to unconsumated divorce which might be pertinent. – Rebecca J. Stones Dec 14 '16 at 23:10
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    If you're interested in what would ordinarily happen, then this question might be off-topic here, I think; seems like that would make it about Muslim culture, not Islam. Could you clarify? – G. Bach Dec 15 '16 at 15:15
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    I think a man can see and know how the future wife is. If something is hidden as a result of rejecting then the case might be different. But being not attracted to future partner body is more sociological then religious because society want us to see a perfect V shaped body and no fat vice versa. In the end the person matter and not body because body is merely a vessel which will grow old, you might get bad teeth, get sick etc and she "perfect wife" will leave you saying same. So I think it's is more connected about how you feel and thinking. – Nofel Dec 27 '16 at 14:48
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    One of the answers which I felt was good (now deleted) points to this link (under "Seeing the Woman to Whom One Proposes Marriage") – servant-of-Wiser Dec 29 '16 at 19:54
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Allah says:

... And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them - perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good. (4:19)

And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought. (30:21)

Living together in kindness is the key to a happy marriage and a happy marriage is built on affection and mercy between the spouses!

Some people say that a marriage has already been planed in the heavens (by Allah) so none of us know what good or bad we may expect to come, but Allah.

On verse 4:19 ibn al-'Arabi said in his tafsir:

قال ابن العربي عند تفسير هذه الآية الكريمة: "المعنى إن وجَد الرجلُ في زوجته كراهية، وعنها رغبة، ومنها نفرة من غير فاحشة ولا نشوز، فلْيصبرْ على أذاها وقلة إنصافها؛ فربما كان ذلك خيرًا له"
(My own translation take it with the necessary care)
The meaning is if a man (husband) found his wife something he disliked, or make him avoid her or not having need (lust?), without a reason such as fahisha فاحشة (some say it refers to zina) nor nushuz نشوز (for example arrogance). Then he should be patient and support her (any thing he considers as bad from/in her) and he injustice, as maybe it is better for him

Before marriage one should try to see whether one would like the future spouse or not

Usually during the engagement the future husband is allowed to see his future wife unveiled and they are permitted to ask or tell about their bodies as long as this wouldn't cause a sexual arousal -all this only in presence of a mahram of the lady-. So one should be able to ask or tell about things ...

Some evidences:

  • A lady came to Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) and said, "O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! I have come to you to offer myself to you." He raised his eyes and looked at her and then lowered his head. ... (Sahih al-Bukhari)
  • I was in the company of Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) when there came a man and informed him that he had contracted to marry a woman of the Ansar. Thereupon Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said: Did you cast a glance at her? He said: No. He said: Go and cast a glance at her, for there is something in the eyes of the Ansar. (Sahih Muslim)
  • When one of you asked a woman in marriage, if he is able to look at what will induce him to marry her, he should do so. He (Jabir) said: I asked a girl in marriage, I used to look at her secretly, until I looked at what induced me to marry her. I, therefore, married her. (Sunan abi Dawod)
  • ...'When Allah causes a man to propose to a woman, there is nothing wrong with him looking at her.' (Sunan ibn Majah)

So usually such problems could and should be solved before marriage as the husband at least would see the shape of his future wife's body. Note that ibn Hazm even allowed the fiancé to do as much effort as he can to see as much of the body of his future wife as he can (even naked). This indeed goes beyond the permission given by the majority of scholars who allow them to see the face, hands, feet, neck, legs, hair, etc.. (the further this list goes the lesser the majority of scholars allows it).

What to do after marriage?

So if this situation you are describing occurred what should be checked is if this could be a reasonable or valid reason for divorce. If you read the fatwa islamqa #96704 you'll discover that a divorce can be the last solution, if both can't live together in kindness. The mufti here quoted a lot of arguments recommending to keep a marriage with a woman which isn't beautiful, but religious such as:

  • Imam al-Tabari (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
    “and live with them honourably. If you dislike them”
    perhaps you dislike them but if you keep them, Allaah will grant you a great deal of good because of your keeping them even though you dislike them, such as a child you are blessed with through them, or your kindness towards them although you dislike them.
    Tafseer al-Tabari (8/122) on verse (4:19)

  • A believing man should not hate a believing woman; if he dislikes one of her characteristics, he will be pleased with another. (Sahih Muslim)

  • "A woman is married for four things, i.e., her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. So you should marry the religious woman (otherwise) you will be a losers. (Sahih al-Bukhari and other hadith collections)

He also covered solutions were the wife may forgo for some of her rights in order to stay married, like allowing her husband to marry a second wife and forgoing of rights in order to keep him pleased! As a main reference he quoted the hadith which can be found in both sahih books:

regarding the Verse: 'If a wife fears cruelty or desertion on her husband's part ...') (4.128) It concerns the woman whose husband does not want to keep her with him any longer, but wants to divorce her and marry some other lady, so she says to him: 'Keep me and do not divorce me, and then marry another woman, and you may neither spend on me, nor sleep with me.' This is indicated by the Statement of Allah: 'There is no blame on them if they arrange an amicable settlement between them both, and (such) settlement is better." (4.128) (Sahih al-Bukhari)

which seems to be the reason for revelation for verse (4:128)!

And if a woman fears from her husband contempt or evasion, there is no sin upon them if they make terms of settlement between them - and settlement is best. And present in [human] souls is stinginess. But if you do good and fear Allah - then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.

Divorce and it's acceptance

Allah says:

But if they separate [by divorce], Allah will enrich each [of them] from His abundance. And ever is Allah Encompassing and Wise. (4:130)

A former divorce in Islam shouldn't be a reason for a woman to become "unwanted" for marriage, also note that in this situation it could be a divorce before nikah have been consumed which shows that it was a disagreement between spouses. So any issue a woman who has been divorced in a similar situation would confront doesn't come from Islam and is a cultural issue in first place.

  • Interesting answer! Please forgive my ignorance on the subject, but I have two questions regarding this: 1. Is engagement required before the unveiling occurs? It seems like a lot of embarrassment could be avoided if this happened after the engagement is decided, but before it is publicly announced. (Otherwise people may discover the reason why the engagement was called off which could be embarrassing to the woman.) 2. Does it matter if the woman is unhappy with the way her future husband appears, and could she call off the engagement due to this? (I hope my questions are not considered rude.) – TTT Dec 26 '16 at 20:44
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    @TTT nope the unveiling is not permitted before the fiancé officially wants to engage. But hadiths and especially ibn Hazms "fatwa" allow to try to look (hidden) at the future wife or a girl you may get to know or to get married with. Of course my wifes sister ended an engagement because she disliked the fact that her fiancé said or did things she disliked. It is not necessary to tell about an engagement unless somebody asked for the hand of an engaged girl, so engagement can be secret to some extent of course the parents of the girl must know... – Medi1Saif Dec 27 '16 at 14:44
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A man has the right to divorce a wife and is under no obligation to declare why. If he does not like her body or if he does not like her soul makes no difference. You never know another person's soul before you have lived together for some time, nor do you know their body. Your question seems to focus on just a tiny aspect of married life. Marriage is so much more than the bodily contact and there is no way to guarantee a successful marriage in beforehand. Both husband and wife should look on their marriage as a very serious undertaking. If they do, what you bring up in your question should not be a problem. If it still happens, there is unfortunately not much you can do. This problem is therefore one that should be prevented rather than solved.

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