Repents of Zina with Wife's Mother
Fatwa No: 83583

Question

I committed Zina with the mother of my wife. Now I am living with my wife in another country, and I made sincere repentance. And my wife loves me too much. It may be easy for me that we separate, but not for her. On the other hand, we have three children, should the children be with me or with my wife? Anyway, I am ready for any fatwa solution according to the four Madhabs.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Dear Brother,

The ruling that apply to your situation is derived from the Quran where Allah Says about the women who are prohibited to us for marriage (what means): {…your wives' mothers,…} [Quran 4:23]

In this verse, the word “Nikah”- marriage - is not stated, but is implied since marriage is the matter being addressed.

The word “Nikah” implied in this verse has a linguistic meaning and a religious meaning.

Linguistically, “Nikah” means merely having sexual intercourse, legally or otherwise.

Religiously, “Nikah” means meeting all the conditions of a valid marriage.

Imams Abu Haneefah, Ath-Thawri, Al-Awzaa-i, Ahmad, and some followers of the Maalki school of Fiqh interpreted “Nikah” in this verse according to its linguistic meaning that sex with the mother of one's wife is forbidden. Based on this understanding they ruled that it is forbidden for a man to marry the daughter of a woman with whom he has had sex, and if he did so, he must separate from her.

Imam Ash-Shaafi’i and Imam Maalik, in his Muwatta’, and other scholars from the Maaliki School of jurisprudence, with the exception of Imam Ibn al-Qaasim, interpreted “Nikah” in this verse according to its religious meaning, that conditions of a valid marriage are prohibited between a man and his wife's mother. According to this understanding, they ruled that the man's having sex with the mother had no effect upon the status of the daughter's eligibility for marriage to him, or staying with him should they marry.

So, dear brother, based upon the above evidence, you may choose either opinion. We issued the previous Fatwa for you and others declaring that the daughter becomes forbidden to the man who commits Zina with her mother so that people may avoid such relations and to discourage the ways leading to what is forbidden.

We also strongly support the first opinion over the second because in this time people do not fear that a Muslim ruler will apply the punishment of Sharee’ah for fornication (100 lashes) and adultery (stoning to death). In these days so many people are weak in faith and society has many temptations to promote illegal sexual acts, even child sex abuse and homosexuality. So, our preference for the first opinion is based upon the conditions of this time in which we live and the conditions of the Muslims.

The second opinion, however, is strong, since no clear evidence proves the prohibition of the daughter to the man who commits Zina with her mother. Basically, marriage to any woman is permissible, except those explicitly forbidden in the Sharee’ah.

Finally, since you have a choice in this matter, and if in your present marriage you are able to avoid your previous sinful life, then do not separate from your wife. Always fear Allah and do not violate His Boundaries. Keep in mind that Allah knows our open acts and hidden secrets as well. He knows what we conceal in our hearts.

We ask Allah to make you and us steadfast on the right path.

Allah knows best.

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