Marriage between certain relatives is not possible according to the Qur’an. Please give me the list of relatives between whom marriage is forbidden. Also tell me why such marriages are forbidden.
According to Surah Al-Nisa 4:23, the relations prohibited for marriage are as follows:
- Relations by Birth (or Direct Relations):
- Indirect Relations:
- Father’s sisters;
- Mother’s sisters;
- Sisters’ daughters; and
- Brothers’ daughters;
- Relations by Fosterage:
- Foster Mothers; and
- Sisters on the basis of fosterage1
- Relations by Marriage:
- Wives’ mothers;
- Wives’ daughters, if conjugal relation has been established with the wife;
- Wives of real sons; and
- Wives’ sisters, while the wife is still in marriage2
- General Prohibition
- Wives of other men, as long as they remain in their marriage.
These are the relationships expressly prohibited by the Shari`ah. The reason for declaring these relations prohibited for marriage is to secure the development and maintenance of a sound family and social structure. It is imperative for the creation of a sound and stable family and social structure to give sanctity to a few relations and to remove all kinds of sexual interaction between these relations. Thus, the stated prohibition secures the existence not only of mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters but also that of aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, in-laws and foster relationships. All these relations are sanctified by the Qur’an and have, therefore, been declared prohibited for marriage.
November 13, 2000
- It is clear from the stated extension of the prohibition of the foster mother to foster sister, that all the other direct relations of the foster mother, that is her mother and her sister (besides her daughter, which has been expressly mentioned) shall also stand prohibited. Thus, relations prohibited by fosterage include the mother of the foster mother, her daughter and the sister of the foster mother. [↩]
- On exactly the same basis, on which it is prohibited to combine two sisters in marriage (even though the other sister is not permanently prohibited for marriage), it is prohibited, as a corollary, to combine in marriage a woman with her maternal or paternal aunt (sister of her father or her mother). As a further extension of the stated principles, marrying the foster-sister of one’s wife, while the wife is still alive should also, in my opinion, stand prohibited. [↩]