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Assalamu Alaikum Brothers in Islam,

I found myself a bit queasy reading what the Great Imams and Scholars of Fiqh had to say regarding Al-Kafa'a.

Here are some of their views,

Imaam Abu Haneefah (RA) has stated: وقال أبو حنيفة لا تكافئ العجم العرب ولا العرب قريشا

“A non-Arab is not suitable in marriage for an Arab, nor is a non-Qurayshi Arab (suitable) for a Qurayshi.”

And Imaam Nawawi (RA) says in his Minhaj at-Talibeen that: فالعجمي ليس كفء عربية ولا غير قرشية ولا غير هاشمي ومطلبي لهما And the non-Arab male is not suitable in marriage for an Arab female, nor is a non-Qurayshi male or a non-Hashimi male suitable in marriage for a Qurayshi or Hashimi female

Apparently out of the 4 Great Imams of Fiqh, All of them except Imam Malik (RA) subscribed to such a discrimination.

Is this proven from the Sunnah? How can this be accepted to be part of Islam when our beloved Prophet (Saw) was sent to dismantle all types of discrimination?

  • Note that marriage outside of Kafa'ah is also valid, but it requires the agreement of the woman and her family. Kafa'ah includes various considerations for suitability of marriage, and even the Malikis take into consideration some of these such as piety. – UmH Dec 25 '18 at 13:39
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You're looking at a single aspect of a more comprehensive discussion. Many great scholars had the view that there should be compatibility when it comes to various factors such as wealth, social status, ethnic background, etc. The reason they had this view was because they held that the more similarity and equality of the two spouses, the more likely the success of their marriage.

On the other hand, there were also great scholars who believed that religion should be the only criteria. This is a clear difference in opinion. As you study more, you will see that there are many issues on which there are differences in opinion among the scholars. The view that is accepted is the one backed by most evidence from the Qur'an/Sunnah.

Because Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, "If there comes to you one with whose religious commitment and character you are pleased, then marry (your female relative under your care) to him, for if you do not do that there will be tribulation in the land and great mischief" (Tirmidhi, 1085) among other instructions, the best/most correct view is that religion should be the only criteria.

That said, I do believe that when you have multiple options for marriage and everyone is about the same when it comes to religion/character, then consideration should be given to "compatibility" and the most similar option should be selected to break the tie.. because more similarity means more understanding of each other.. exactly as the scholars of the first group argue.

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