Marriage in the Qur’an pt.3 – Prohibited Relationships: Imam al-Sa’di

In his book of thematic tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di dedicated a chapter of his book to the issues related to marriage. This series of articles will present the different sub-divisions of this chapter in order. This is the third section, click the links the visit the other sections: 12345678 – 9 – 10

ـ {  وَلَا تَنكِحُوا مَا نَكَحَ آبَاؤُكُم مِّنَ النِّسَاءِ } [ النساء: 22 ]. ثم عدد المحرمات إلى أن قال: {وَأُحِلَّ لَكُم مَّا وَرَ‌اءَ ذَٰلِكُمْ } [ النساء: 24 ]. ـ

وَلَا تَنكِحُوا مَا نَكَحَ آبَاؤُكُم مِّنَ النِّسَاءِ

And marry not women whom your fathers married [4:22]

Allah then proceeded to list the muharramaat (unlawful marital relationships) until He said:

وَأُحِلَّ لَكُم مَّا وَرَ‌اءَ ذَٰلِكُمْ

All others are lawful for you [4:24]

قد استوفى الباري المحرمات في النكاح في هذه الآيات في النسب والرضاع والمصاهرة . ـ

In these ayaat, the Creator has grouped the unlawful marital relationships into categories of: those according to lineage, those according to wet-nursing, and those according to preexisting marital ties.

أما المحرمات بالمصاهرة فإن تزوج الرجل امرأة ترتب على هذا الزواج أربعة أحكام: ـ

As for the unlawful marital relationships due to preexisting marital ties, then for a man to marry a women, this marriage brings about four rulings:

تحريم هذه الزوجة على أولاده وإن نزلوا نسبا ورضاعا

1) This wife is unlawful for his descendants, even if they are far removed [i.e. grandchildren, great-grandchildren] or if they are his children through suckling.

وتحريمها على آبائه وإن علوا نسبا ورضاعا

2) She is unlawful for his forefathers, even if they are far removed [i.e. grandfather, great-grandfather] or if they are his forefathers through suckling.

وحرمت عليه أمها في الحال

3) Her mother is unlawful for him under all circumstances.

وأما بنتها فإن كان قد دخل بزوجته حرمت أيضا، وصارت ربيبة، لا فرق بين بنتها من زوج سابق له، أو من زوج خلفه عليها. ـ

4) And as for any daughter of hers, if he has entered unto his wife then she is unlawful for him also and she becomes his step-daughter. And there is no difference between his wife’s daughter from the previous husband or from a husband to come after him.

وأما المحرمات بالنسب : ـ

And as for the unlawful marital relationships due to blood ties:

فتحرم الأمهات، وهن كل أنثى لها عليك ولادة، وهي التي تخاطبها بالأم والجدة وإن علت من كل جهة

Then his fore-mothers are unlawful, and they are every female in the line of descent above him and they are addressed as ‘mother’ and grandmother’ – even if it is a distant relationship. This is the case under all circumstances.

وتحرم البنات، وهن كل أنثى تخاطبك بالأبوة أو بالجدودة من بنات الابن وبنات البنات وإن نزلن

And female descendants are unlawful, and they are every female who addresses you as ‘father’ or as ‘grandfather’ from the female descendants of your male descendants and the female descendants of your female descendants – even if they are far-removed.

وتحرم الأخوات شقيقات كن أو لأب أو لأم، وبنات الإخوة وبنات الأخوات مطلقا، وتحرم العمات والخالات، وهن كل أخت لأحد آبائك وإن علا، أو أحد أمهاتك وإن علون، وما سوى ذلك من الأقارب حلال كبنات الأعمام، وبنات العمات، وبنات الأخوال، وبنات الخالات، ولهذا ذكر الله هذا الحل والتحريم المهم في موضعين: في هذا الموضع صرح بالمحرمات السبع وقال: { وَأُحِلَّ لَكُم مَّا وَرَ‌اءَ ذَٰلِكُمْ } ، وفي سورة الأحزاب أتى بها بأسلوب آخر، فقال في الحل: { وَبَنَاتِ عَمِّكَ وَبَنَاتِ عَمَّاتِكَ وَبَنَاتِ خَالِكَ وَبَنَاتِ خَالَاتِكَ اللَّاتِي هَاجَرْ‌نَ مَعَكَ } [ سورة الأحزاب: الآية 50 ] أي: فهن حلال، ومن عداهن من الأقارب حرام. ـ

And full-sisters are unlawful, as are your paternal half-sisters and your maternal half-sisters, as well as the daughters of your brother or the daughters or your sister under all circumstances.

And the paternal aunts and the maternal aunts are unlawful, and they are every sister of any one of your forefathers or any one of your fore-mothers even if they are far-removed.

But all other close relations are permissible, such as the daughters of your paternal uncles, the daughters of your paternal aunts, the daughters of your maternal uncles and the daughters of your maternal aunts. And for this reason Allah mentioned these important lawful and forbidden matters in two different places: 1) in this location He clarified the seven unlawful marital relationships and said:

وَأُحِلَّ لَكُم مَّا وَرَ‌اءَ ذَٰلِكُمْ

And lawful to you are [all others] beyond these [4:24]

and 2) in surah al-Ahzaab He approached it in a different manner, for regarding the lawful relationships He said:

وَبَنَاتِ عَمِّكَ وَبَنَاتِ عَمَّاتِكَ وَبَنَاتِ خَالِكَ وَبَنَاتِ خَالَاتِكَ اللَّاتِي هَاجَرْ‌نَ مَعَكَ

and 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 who emigrated with you [33:50]

– meaning: So these are lawful, and whoever from among the close relatives is outside of these is unlawful.

وأما المحرمات بالرضاع فإنهن نظير المحرمات بالنسب من جهة المرضعة وصاحب اللبن، فالمرضعة أم للرضيع، وأمهاتها جداته، وإخوتها وأخواتها أخواله وخالاته، وأولادها إخوته وأخواته، وهو عم لأولادهم أو خال، وكذلك صاحب اللبن. ـ

And as for the unlawful marital relationships due to wet-nursing, they are analogous to the unlawful marital relationships due to ancestral ties as it relates to the wet-nurse and her husband. So therefore the wet-nurse is a mother to the suckled child; her mothers are his grandmothers, her brothers and sisters are his maternal uncles and maternal aunts, her children are his brothers and sisters, and the child will be the paternal uncle or maternal uncle to her children’s children. And this also applies for the wet-nurse’s husband.

وأما الانتشار من جهة الطفل الراضع فلا ينتشر التحريم لأحد من أقاربه إلا لذريته فقط

But as for these relationships carrying over from the suckling infant onto others, this prohibition does not spread or apply to any of his close relatives except for his offspring only.

وتقييد الآية في الربيبة بقوله: { اللَّاتِي فِي حُجُورِ‌كُم مِّن نِّسَائِكُمُ } بيان لأغلب أحوالها، ولبيان أعلى حكمة تناسب حكمة التحريم، وأنها إذا كانت في حجرك بمنزلة بناتك لا يليق إلا أن تكون من محارمك. ـ

And as for the restriction of the ayah regarding step-sisters made in His statement:

اللَّاتِي فِي حُجُورِ‌كُم مِّن نِّسَائِكُمُ

[and your step-daughters] who are under your guardianship born of your wives [4:23]

this is a clarification of what is the most common situation involving step-daughters, and it was done in order clarify the most prominent reason related to the wisdom of making them an unlawful marital relationship for you, and that is that if your step-daughter is in your house under your guardianship, then it is not appropriate for her to be anything other than an unlawful marital relation to you.

وتقييدها الآخر بقوله: { وَحَلَائِلُ أَبْنَائِكُمُ الَّذِينَ مِنْ أَصْلَابِكُمْ  }  يخرج ابن التبني لا يخرج ابن الرضاع في قول جمهور العلماء

And another restriction comes in His statement:

وَحَلَائِلُ أَبْنَائِكُمُ الَّذِينَ مِنْ أَصْلَابِكُمْ

the wives of your sons who (spring) from your own loins [4:23]

– the adopted son is excluded from this, but the son by wet-nursing is not excluded according to the position of the majority of the scholars.

  ـ { وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ }  أي: ذوات الأزواج، فكل أنثى في عصمة زوج أو في بقية عدته لا تحل لغيره؛ لأن الأبضاع ليست محل اشتراك، بل قصد تمييزها التام، ولهذا شرعت العدة والاستبراء، ونحو ذلك. ـ

وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ

And (also prohibited are) the married women [4:24]

– meaning: those who have husbands, so every female who is under the care of a husband or who remains in her waiting period is not lawful for anyone else, because it is not possible for the role of caring for her to be shared. Rather, the intent is for her to be completely exclusive. It was for this reason that the waiting period and purification was divinely legislated, as well as the likes of that.

وقوله: { إِلَّا مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ } : المراد بهذا الملك ملك السبي، إذا سبيت المرأة ذات الزوج من الكفار في القتال الشرعي حلت للمسلمين، ولكن بعد الاستبراء أو العدة، فزوجها الحربي الذي في دار الحرب لم يبق له فيها حق، ولا له حرمة، فلهذا حلت للمسلمين كما حل لهم ماله ودمه، لأنه ليس له عهد ولا مهادنة. ـ

And His statement:

إِلَّا مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ

except those your right hands possess [4:24]

The intended meaning of this possession is the possession of captives of war when a woman who has a husband from among the kuffaar is taken as a captive in legislated warfare, then she is lawful for the Muslims, but only after her purification or waiting period. For her enemy combatant husband who is in the land of the enemy does not retain any right regarding her, nor is she a spouse for him. So therefore she is made lawful for the Muslims just as the enemy combatant’s wealth and blood is made lawful for them, for he does not have any pact or truce with them.

وقوله: { وَأُحِلَّ لَكُم مَّا وَرَ‌اءَ ذَٰلِكُمْ } أي: ما سوى ما نص الله على تحريمه: سبع بالنسب، وسبع بالرضاع، وأربع بالصهر، فما عداهن فإنه حلال، إلا أنه حرم تعالى الجمع بين الأختين، وحرم النبي الجمع بين المرأة وعمتها، وحرم على الأحرار نكاح المملوكات لما فيه من إرقاق الولد، ولما فيه من الدناءة والضرر العائد للأولاد؛ لتنازع الملاك، وتنقلات الأرقاء، لكن إذا رجحت مصلحة الإباحة فقد أباحه الله بشرط المشقة لحاجة متعة أو خدمة، وأن لا يقدر على الطول للحرة، وأن تكون الأمة مؤمنة بإذن أهلها، فعند اجتماع هذه الشروط كلها يحل للحر نكاح الإماء. ـ

And His statement:

وَأُحِلَّ لَكُم مَّا وَرَ‌اءَ ذَٰلِكُمْ

And lawful to you are [all others] beyond these [4:24]

 – meaning: except for those whom Allah has listed their prohibition, which are: seven due to blood ties, seven due to wet-nursing, and four due to marital ties. But as for those outside of these listed ones, then they are lawful. This is the case except that Allah has forbidden simultaneous marriage to two sisters, and the Prophet  (ﷺ) forbade simultaneous marriage to a woman and her paternal aunt.

And the Prophet also forbade a free person from marrying slaves due to what that entails of the enslavement of the children as well as due to what that entails of lowliness and harm caused to the children due to shifting of ownerships and the transitory nature of slaves. However, when the benefits of its allowance outweigh the harms, then Allah has allowed it – predicated on the condition of hardship due to a dire need for sexual fulfillment or service, and that he is not able to pay the dowry for a free woman, and that she is a believing slave – and by the permission of her owners. So in the case of the combination of all these conditions it is permissible for a free man to marry a slave woman.

[Taysir al-Lateef al-Manaan pg. 205-208]

This article is the second in a ten-part series on Marriage and Divorce in the Qur’an. See our Series Guide to see the other sections and for more details.

Continue reading: Marriage in the Qur’an pt.4 – The Husband’s Roles and Responsibilities: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: Qualities of the Successful Believers – Part 4/7: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

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10 thoughts on “Marriage in the Qur’an pt.3 – Prohibited Relationships: Imam al-Sa’di

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