I am planning to get married to a divorced woman with a child from her previous marriage and I have some questions that I would like some clarity on.
I have a teenage brother and sister who are living with me currently. The woman I am marrying feels that living with my teenage brother is not permissible because of herself and four year-old daughter. Is she right?
She is still married legally (according to the law of the country) since she married in the constitutional court and we are living in a non-Muslim country. Do we need to wait for her divorce proceedings to be completed before we get married or engaged?
My late mother appointed me as a guardian of my brother and sister (they are from my mother’s second marriage and we are from different fathers), now my future wife feels that I don’t need to provide for them. However my brother and sister’s father does not provide sufficient maintenance for them. I am struggling to legally force him to maintain them adequately. More than 90% of their provision comes from my salary.Â Does my future wife have the right to feel the way she does?
My answers to your questions follow:
Your brother can live with you in the same house. Living in the same house is not prohibited by the Shari`ah. However, the Shari`ah has prescribed etiquette of interaction between males and females, which should be adhered to, whenever such an interaction is to take place1.
You should not get married to the woman, till the time that she is legally divorced according to the law of the land. I would further recommend that after the woman is legally divorced, you should wait for her to complete her Iddah (the prescribed waiting period of three menstrual cycles) and only after the expiry of her Iddah should you marry her. Thus, marriage or engagement with the woman may be contracted only after the woman is legally divorced and preferably after the expiry of her Iddah, following her legal divorce.
Even if your mother had not appointed you as a legal guardian over her children, it would still have been your moral obligation to help, support and provide for them according to the best of your abilities. Our relatives in need are most deserving of our attention and our moral, emotional and financial support. Our wives and other relatives may feel the way they do, we must always try to determine and fulfill all our obligations, especially our moral obligations, to the best of our abilities. We are promised to be greatly rewarded for recognizing and fulfilling these obligations, in the hereafter. Although your wife has all the right to feel any way that she does, yet ideally both of you should support and help each other in fulfilling the other’s obligations toward God as well as toward our fellow human beings.
I hope this helps.
January 26, 2001
- For my explanation of these etiquettes prescribed by the Shari`ah, please refer to one of my earlier responses to a question titled ‘Regarding the Etiquette of Interaction Between Men and Women‘. [↩]