Previously Asked Questions
Marriage Questions:

The Explanatory Notes for Song 38 of the Guiding Helper discuss the issues concerned with marriage in detail.

> Please explain the duties of the husband and wife to each other.
> what exactly is wajib on each of them?

The major wajibs on both the husband and wife are discussed in the
footnotes for song 38 in the Guiding Helper.

Thus the wife must try her best to:

   a) Obey the husband in major matters (e.g., intimate relations,
      not leaving the place of residence without permission, and
      refusing to come back to the residence).  The husband will
      note that these three things give him a major say over the
      wife in and by themselves (for example, this entails that
      the wife cannot work outside the house without his permission).
      As for other commands that the husband gives, we would say
      that if they concern trivial matters (e.g., "Please stop
      using this brand of detergent and use this brand instead."),
      they are mandub for her to follow (unless there is some serious
      consequences involved (e.g., he is seriously allergic to "this
      brand of detergent") - and if the command concerns a matter
      that by custom is considered a major thing or is wajib/haram
      for her anyway (e.g., "I don't want you to invite, such and
      such a strange man into the house when you are alone."), they
      are wajib for her to follow.
      [We would note here that both the husband and wife will be much
       happier if the husband restricts himself and does not command
       a lot of things, but only issues commands rarely when there
       is a real need for them.].
      [We would also note here that any decent husband will give his wife
       general permission to leave the house during the daytime during times
       of general safety for short intervals. Any husband who keeps his wife
       locked up in a restricted room or place of residence especially in his
       absence (such that the place of residence feels like a jail to the
       wife) has transgressed the proper manners of a friendly marriage in
       our din. Such women in such extreme undesirable situations may take
       recourse to the local judge or local Muslim religious leader (if no
       judge has been appointed) to try to remedy the situation.]
      [We will also note here that intimate relations as spoken of in the
       Guiding Helper are not confined to vaginal intercourse. If the woman has
       problems with vaginal intercourse (e.g., vaginal intercourse is painful
       to her, has medical problems, or has another life situation that makes
       getting pregnant often very undesirable), we would recommend that the
       couple learns to satisfy their sexual needs with other than vaginal
       intercourse.  For example, the woman may learn how to perform assisted
       masturbation with her hand on the man (e.g., with a lubricating skin
       lotion and absorbent cloth to catch the ejaculated fluid) and he can
       do so for her also.  Resorting to such non-vaginal methods of intercourse
       will take away the negative feelings many women have associated with
       constant repetitive intimate relations.  As far as the man is concerned,
       he will learn with time that non-vaginal means of intercourse can be as
       satisfying, pleasure-filled, and stress-relieving as vaginal intercourse.]

   b) Take care of the children from the marriage by providing the love and
      care that they need to grow up healthy.  Thus, the wife is responsible
      for making sure that they eat properly, are given medicine, are clothed
      properly for the heat/cold, etc.

And the husband in the marriage must:

    a) Provide financially for his wife and children (this includes paying bills
       for their upkeep and the upkeep of the place of residence)
    b) Treat the wife with respect and avoid abuse (this is wajib for him).
    For example, He must talk to her politely and not play dark tricks on her
    (e.g., scaring her or making her think she is losing her mind, etc.).

This outlines the basic duties and framework for the marriage.
But as we all know there are other things, such as the maintenance
of the place of residence (e.g., who must do the dishes, who must take
out the garbage, who must vacuum the carpet, etc.).  The ruling for
such affairs is found in the Maliki Books of Law, but it is not a straight
forward thing.  We would give the following guidelines based upon
what we know from the Maliki scholars:

    a) If the man is very rich and can afford it, it is wajib for him to
       provide a servant.  Thus, in such a case, the wife is free from the
       responsibility of cooking and cleaning for the husband.  We doubt
       that this applies to most Westerners (but it may apply to countries
       such as India where servants are easily found and cheap). [Of course,
       the wife can still voluntarily cook and clean and opt to not have a
       servant; as that is her right, which she can keep or give up.]
    b) If (a) is not true and if the wife does not work outside the house
      and is not otherwise hampered (e.g., by a disability), she must take
      care of all light-weight affairs that can take place entirely within
      the place of residence (e.g., cooking in the kitchen and cleaning the
      bathroom).  These light-weight affairs must be necessary for the
      upkeep and cleanliness of the house, as for non-necessary affairs
      such as sewing and knitting clothes (when other clothes are readily
      available) or decorating the house, she is not responsible for it.

     All heavy-weight matters and matters that take place wholly or partly
     outside the house (e.g., taking out the garbage, gardening, lawn cutting,
     grocery shopping, etc.) are the responsibility of the husband
     and not the wife (but the wife may opt to help him in these "outside"
     affairs as the husband may opt to help her in the "inside" affairs.)
    c) If (a) is not true but the wife works outside the house (full-time)
     or is otherwise hampered (e.g., by a disability), the husband and wife
     should both examine how they can help the other out by sharing the
     responsibilities for the upkeep of the house.  Now if they disagree,
     they must then follow the guidelines given in (b) above; so, the
     light-weight activities that can be conducted entirely within the
     place of residence are the responsibility of the wife (even if she
     works full-time or is otherwise hampered) and the responsibility
     for heavy-weight jobs and jobs that take place partly or wholly
     outside the house are the responsibility of the husband.

As a final note, we would say that the husband and wife should not let
their relationship deteriorate to a battle of "rights" and "duties".  Rather
in their love and care for each other, each should try their utmost to
do as much as they can.  But in the case, they do disagree, then the
guidelines above taken from the Maliki scholars should be followed.

References:
    [QF: volume 1: page 192: line(s) 3-10: {book 11, chapter 9, third wajib}]
    And Entries in the Notes of Sources for Song 38 of the Guiding Helper

> This question would perhaps require a lengthy response,
> so I will understand if you do not answer it. But I am interested
> in the question of Mut'a. I have begun reading Abu-l-Qasim Gourji's
> "Temporary Marriage in Islamic Law" which gives first expounds
> the pillars and requisites of marriage in the Maliki, Hanafi, Hanbali,
> Shafi'i, and Shi'a Madhhabs, and then goes into the history of
> Mut'a from the time of Rasul (Sall'al'lahu Alayhi wa Sallam) to
> when it was prohibited by Umar. He goes into Sunni arguments
> for and against Mut'a along with the Shi'i ruling and its reasons.
>  I wanted to find out directly from a Maliki source what the
> Maliki attitude is and what it is based on. Any information or
> direction to other sources would be appreciated.

The Maliki opinion on Mut`ah is summarized by Ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi
(a scholar who lived over 600 years ago in Grenada, Spain) in
his book al-Qawanin al-Fiqhiyyah:

   "As for Mut`ah, it means to get married for only a fixed time period.
    And it is Haram (and was Mubah during the earlier part of the
    Prophet's (May Allah bless him and give him peace) life).  It is recorded
    that the Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace) himself
    abrogated his opinion on the day of Khaybar...."

 A hadith in Sahih Bukhari states:

    `Ali narrated that the Messenger of Allah (May Allah bless him and
     give him peace) prohibited temporary marriages in the year of Khaybar and
     also (recommended against) the meat of domesticated mules.

     [{Bukhari, hunting animals, meat of domesticated donkeys, hadith #5098}]

We believe the disagreement surrounding Mut`ah marriages comes from
later people confusing  two homonyms in the Arabic language:

    (a) Mut`ah:  temporary marriage
    (b) Mut`ah: a type of pilgrimage in which one performs `Umrah and Hajj with
          two different states of sacredness in the same season.  The more common
          name for this type of pilgrimage is tamattu` (and hence the confusion).

One of the hadith which people use to justify temporary marriages is:

    Abu Jamrah said that I asked Ibn `Abbas about al-Mut`ah and he replied,
    "The Prophet enjoined me with it."  And then I asked him about the
    sacrificial animal for Hajj (hady) and he replied, "It may be a slaughtered
    camel, cow, or sheep..."

    [{Bukhari, Hajj, whoever does tamattu`, hadith #1575}]

Now from the context of the hadith, you can see that the questioner was
clearly asking Ibn `Abbas about the laws of Hajj and not about Marriage.

All four schools of fiqh are in agreement in their popular opinions that
the Mut`ah Marriage is not a valid marriage.

As for Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq, we honestly believe he knew that
Mut`ah was abrogated, but his later followers made a mistake in
narration (perhaps from the homonym confusion above or another
confusion).  Also, please remember two things about Imam Ja`far
al-Sadiq:  (1) his star student was Imam Malik ibn Anas and (2)
he wrote no detailed books about Jurisprudence himself.

Please also refer to entry 9 in the Notes of Sources for the main
text of the Guiding Helper.


> About a wife not being able to leave her residence without
> the husband's permission, my concern is for a woman and her
> son locked up in an apartment and the general soverignty
> of a human being.

We would say that any decent husband would give his wife general permission
to leave in times of general safety. Any husband who restricts his wife
in such ways is in need of extensive retraining in the manners one should
adopt as a decent Muslim and as a member of the Prophet's nation.

And for such extreme situations, our din provides the woman a right
to offer her case to the local Muslim judge or local religious leader/imam
(if no judge is appointed).

We believe that the reasoning "`illah" behind such a ruling is more
concerned with safety of women and the keeping together of the family
unit than of restricting the woman.

Practically speaking, married people know that the relationship is much
more stable and happier for both parties if the three requirements
requested of wives mentioned in the Guiding Helper (lines 1488-1490)
are followed.

As for where it is derived from. It is derived from the command of
the Prophet himself:

Salman al-Farsi narrated that the Messenger of Allah (May Allah
bless him and give him peace) said, "Three people whose formal
prayer is not answered are: (1) the woman who leaves her house
without her husband's permission, (2) the slave who runs away,
and (3) and the man who leads a people who dislike him."

[JA: volume 1: page 561: hadith 2664: {al-Matalib, #438}]

The Maliki scholars say here that the first two acts are unlawful
and the third act is simply disliked. They derive this from other
places in the primary texts.

Also in the Qur'an, there is a directive to the Prophet's
wives:

"And stay in your houses and do not display yourselves as
you used to display yourselves in the first Ignorance..."

[{al-Qur'an, chapter 33, verse 33}]

that takes care of leaving the house and not coming back in. As for
submitting to intimate relations:

Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said, "When
a man calls his wife to his bed and she doesn't come to him
so that he spends the night angry with her, the angels curse her until
she wakes up in the morning."

[DR: volume 1: page 190: hadith 283: {Sahih Muslim, Nikah, unlawfulness
of her staying away from him bed; Bukhari, Nikah, when the woman
stays away from the bed of the husband}]

As a final note, we would say that the husband and wife should
live together as friends and fulfill each other's needs out of
love for the other partner. They should not let their relationship
deteriorate to a battle of "rights" or "laws". This is how marriages
are made. They are made first by accepting the other spouse as a
gift and blessing from Allah (albeit their shortcomings) and then
by treating the other partner with respect out of gratefulness for
the gift Allah has given one.

> Note 323 in the Explanatory Notes of the GH encourages people who perform oral sex
> to 'spit or try not to swallow' filth during this practice. It strikes me that it is
> virtually impossible to avoid filth entering one's mouth during this act if one doesn't
> use some sort of barrier (like a condom); is oral sex, as practised without some
> barrier, therefore not prohibited on the basis that one is putting - or most likely
> putting - filth in one's mouth?

According to the Maliki scholars, putting impurities in one's mouth is permissible
while *swallowing* them is unlawful.  Now if one tries one's best, it fulfills the
requirement.

Our personal recommendation for those who practice this act is to use a
device such as a dental-dam (or alternatively a special male condom designed
for cleanliness during oral sex).

Reference(s):
  [KF: volume 1: page(s) 209: line(s) 1-15 {Tahir & Najis, question 11}]

Now please note that this ruling on oral sex in the Guiding Helper is not derived
by us from our own knowledge.  Rather this issue was explicitly dealt with by
the early Maliki scholars.  Perhaps, it is because deep knowledge of the Maliki
school is scarce that people are confused about some of the rulings we give and
question their authenticity.

Now please note that the one of the only reasons we have narrated the ruling
for oral sex in the Guiding Helper is that this act is a common practice of
those of the West.  If you travel in the East, you will find that people abhor
this act and consider it an abomination (again the two groups act differently
due to their cultural biases).

Someone asked this question before and here was our reply:

As for your question, the issue of oral sex was dealt with very early
on by the first Maliki scholars.  The majority view about this subject
was that although oral sex was not among the manners of the
elite, the evidence is not strong enough to declare it unlawful.

Thus, you will find Maliki scholars who have issued the ruling
of mubah for oral sex (this is the popular ruling and the one we
have narrated for the Western populace).  You will find other Maliki
scholars who have issued the ruling of makruh and a few
who have declared it haram (probably in view of the fact that
swallowing impurities (in general) is an agreed upon unlawful act
in the school).

As for the sources that permit it, we will give only three such sources
in view of time constraints:

[We don't know if you know Arabic, but we'll write the transliteration
  for each excerpt just in case.]

Excerpt 1:
    "Yajuzu li kullin mina z-zawjayni n-nadharu li farji l-akhir wa lahsihi
     bi lisanihi wa kadhalika s-sayyidu ma`a amatihi wa qeela bi karahati
     dhalika."

   "It is allowed for each one of the spouses to look at the front genital
     and also to lick-suck (lahs) the genital with his/her tongue.  The same
     is true for the slave master with his  slave-girl.   However, some Maliki
     scholars have declared this disliked."

   [DT: volume 1: page(s) 448: line(s) 18-19: {explanation of verses
    294-300, seventh derivative ruling in section}]

Now, oral sex is what the scholars are talking about here when they
say it is ok to lick the other partner's genitals with the tongue.

Excerpt 2:

Asbagh, an early Maliki scholar was asked about whether looking
at the farj (front genital) of one's spouse was allowed, and
he stated:

     "Na`am. Wa l-yalhashu bi lisanihi"

     "Yes.  Let him lick it with his tongue [for that matter]"

   [KH: volume 3: page 166: line(s) M27-28: {`Adawi's commentary on
    Khurashi's commentary of the Mukhtasar Khalil, Chapter on Marriage,
    Sheikh Khalil's words "And it is lawful for the spouse partners to
    even look at the other's genitals..."}]

This was his way of emphasizing that everything was
allowed [except anal intercourse]; not his way of commanding
such an act.  This statement is the origin of the later rulings
given.

Excerpt 3:

    "yajuzu li r-rajuli an yastamti`a bi zawjatihi
     wa amatihi bi jami`i wujuhi l-istimta`i illa l-ityana
     fi d-duburi, fa innahu haram."

   "It is allowed for the man to gratify himself sexually
    with his wife and with slave-girl via *all* types of
    gratification methods except anal intercourse;  as for
    anal intercourse, it is unlawful."

    [QF: volume 1: page(s) 183: line(s) 13-16: {Book 11, Chapter 6,
     Issue 1, about enjoying spousal relations}]

This is the popular opinion in the Maliki school.


> Are virgin's who are married off by thier father before the age of
> puberty allowed to refuse the mariage when they come of age? I have
> heard that Islam assumes the good judgement of the father (something to
> that effect.) But I would imagine that one would object by saying that
> Islam doesn't assume the good judement of men in financial transactions,
> that's why there are so many laws in place restricting them. How is a
> pre-pubesent girl protected from the bad judgement of her father (i.e.
> being married off to a man who is known to sell lottery tickets, cigarettes,
> alcohol, and who never prays except for Jummah?)

We honestly believe that the time and place for Jabr (a father's forcing his
unmarried daughter or prepubescent son to marry) has passed and it has
become by custom not the practice of intelligent well-mannered people.

As for what is its ruling, almost all previous mujtahid imams have allowed
it.

As always, the local Muslim judge or the local imam can act as a security check
for extreme situations.

[QF: volume 1: page 173: line(s) 13-15: {book 11, chapter 3, summary}]

One of the things you must realize is that almost all laws that the fuqaha' talk
about do not generally include extreme and rare situations.


> I would like to know if it is permissible for a
> non-arab (e.g. pakistani/indian) man to marry an
> arab woman. I have read in the "Reliance of the Traveller"
> (translated by Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller) under the section
> of Marriage that a non-Arab man isn't a suitable match for an
> Arab woman "...(because of the hadith that the Prophet (Allah
> bless him and give him peace) said,``Allah has chosen the Arabs
> above others'')".
> I have also read a fatwa posted on www.ask-imam.com supporting
> what it says in this book (Reliance of the Traveller)
> (see http://www.islam.tc/ask-imam/view.php?q=6225 ).
> This confuses me much as it seems to contradict with
> the Last Sermon of the Prophet (saw) where he said: "...an Arab
> has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any
> superiority over an Arab..." Please kindly explain this matter
> and if possible provide a reference.

There is no such restriction in the Maliki school.  The non-Arab may
marry either an Arab or non-Arab and vice versa.

As a secondary text proof, we will not find any such restriction
in the common books of Maliki Law which allow the race and
status of either party to be of any echelon.

Also in Northwest Africa (where the Maliki school is dominant)
inter marriages between Arabs and Berbers (and also Arabs and
Sub-Saharan Africans - and also Arabs and European-decent people)
is very common - up to the point that race has ceased to be a
major distinguishing feature in the region.  And this is the
goal of our din as mentioned in footnote 2551 of the Guiding
Helper Explanatory Notes.

One primary text reference for this is that the Prophet (May Allah
bless him and give him peace) took on a Coptic woman (Maryam) as
a life partner with whom he had a son (Ibrahim) [{Bukhari}].

Another primary text proof for this is that neither the Prophet
(May Allah bless him and give him peace) in his authentic hadith
nor the Qur'an explicitly forbids non-Arabs from marrying Arabs - and all
acts are mubah (allowed and neutral by default).  As for the hadith
that the Reliance quotes, the words in it neither contain any
command nor prohibition and without such words we are not allowed
to declare something makruh or haram according to the principles
of Imam Malik's Jurisprudence - which is the closest to how the early
Muslims in Madinah practiced the din.

Additionally, upon further research, you will find many examples of the Arab
Companions of the Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace) offering
their daughters and sons in marriage to non-Arabs as the Islamic territory
spread to non-Muslim lands (e.g., Persia, Africa, and Spain).

There are many other proofs for this also such as the Prophet (May Allah bless
him and give him peace) encouraging inter-tribal marriages to
counter tribalism/racism - and the Qur'an stating that the din was sent for
all men (regardless of race).  You yourself can do further research on this and
you will find that there are more evidences supporting the permissibility /
encouragement of inter-racial marriages than can be enumerated.


> Can a husband devide his time between his wives any way he
> see's fit as long as it is equal?? What about if the wives are in
> different countries??

OK.  We can see your line of thinking.  You are asking whether or
not the time spent must be in successive order.  For example, the
simple case of multiple wives living very close to each other (e.g.,
a large house divided into two, three, or four equal complete residential
units - one for each wife) and the husband spending one night/day
with each wife in order.

About this simple situation, there would be general agreement
that the husband is giving each wife her due share - as
the Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace) alternated
among his wives in this manner (although, in his case each was
living slightly farther apart in different homes).

As for wives living in separate countries or very far from each other,
then obviously it will not be possible to spend equal time by alternating
between the wives every 24 hours.  In such a case, the man should
only look at the time which he is *fully in charge of* and is not a
victim of being forced to travel (e.g., mandatory business trip to near
the residence of one of his wives).

He must divide this "free choice time" equally among his wives
to the best of his abilities.  For example, if he has two wives and has
three weeks free choice time in Muharram and then two weeks free choice
time in Safar, and then one week "free choice time" in Jumada al-'Ula,
he may spend 3 weeks' time with wife #1 in Muharram and then
spend two weeks' time with wife #2 in Safar - and then 1 week's time
again with wife #2 in Jumada al-'Ula.  And then, he will have given
each wife equal time for this round of alternations.

And the recommendation here (which we are forwarding) is that if he
is a victim of mandatory "lop-side" traveling to a location close to the
residence of one of the wives, he should explain this to the other
wife and make sure that she understands - and if she is not happy
with the situation, he should give her the option of leaving him.

Also, we would state that a man who cannot possibly spend "near equal"
time in distant locations (e.g., due to a full-time job tied to a specific
location or other obligation) should not take on multiple wives who live
far apart or in different countries - out of his own choice and will.

Reference(s):
   English Reference:  Footnote 2241 of the Explanatory Notes of the
                                Guiding Helper

   Arabic Reference(s): [QF: volume 1: page(s) 184, line(s) 1-11:
                              {Book 11, Chapter 8, Issue 3, About
                               Dividing Up One's Time Equally Among Multiple
                               Wives}]

                        [{Ibn Qudama al-Maqdasi, al-Mughni, Kitab al-Walimah,
                          Mas'alah Qasm al-Ibtida'}]-




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