Marriage in the pre-Islamic era
Fatwa No: 195983

  • Fatwa Date:2-4-2013 - Jumaadaa Al-Oula 22, 1434
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Question

what is the method of marriage before Islam in Arabs

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Slave and Messenger.

 

The mother of the believers 'Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her clarified this matter in the Hadeeth reported by Al-Bukhari on the authority of 'Urwah ibn Az-Zubayr  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him that Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her (the wife of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )) informed him that there were four types of marriage during Jaahiliyyah (pre-Islamic period of Ignorance)  was of four kinds:

1- One type was similar to that of the present day, i.e. a man asks the hand of a woman from her guardian or her father, and he gives Mahr (dowry) to her and then he marries her.

2- The second type was that a man would say to his wife after she had become clean from her period. "Send for so-and-so and have sexual intercourse with him." Her husband would then keep away from her and would never have sexual intercourse with her till she got pregnant from the other man with whom she had sexual intercourse. When her pregnancy became evident, he husband would  have sexual intercourse with her if he wished. Her husband did so (i.e. let his wife  have sexual intercourse with some other man) so that he might have a child of noble breed. Such marriage was called as Al-Istibdaa'.

3- Another type of marriage was that a group of less than ten men would assemble and enter upon a woman, and all of them would have sexual relation with her. If she became pregnant and delivered a child and some days had passed after delivery, she would send for all of them and none of them would refuse to come, and when they all gathered before her, she would say to them, "You (all) know what you have done, and now I have given birth to a child. So, it is your child O so-and-so!" naming whoever she liked, and her child would be attributed to him and he could not deny him.

4- The fourth type of marriage was that many people would enter upon a woman and she would never refuse anyone who came to her. Those were the prostitutes who used to fix banners at their doors as a sign  [that they are prostitutes], and he who would wish, could have sexual intercourse with them. If anyone of them got pregnant and delivered a child, then all those men would be gathered for her and they would call the Qaa'if (some person skilled in recognizing the likeness of a child to his father) to them and would let the child be attributed to the man (whom they recognized as his father) and she would let him adhere to him and be called his son. The man would not refuse all that. 

But when Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) was sent with the truth, he abolished all the types of marriages observed in Jaahiliyyah except the type of marriage the people recognize today [i.e. the Islamic marriage that fulfils all the conditions and pillars of marriage]."

Allaah Knows best.

 

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