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The way to radical reform
The Danger of Getting Married without a Waiting Period for Women


The Danger of Getting Married without a Waiting Period for Women


Was published in Arabic in Arabic in November 17, 2015

Translated by Ahmed Fathy


 We have received this email message that we publish here followed by our reply:

 (…I am an American Muslim woman of Egyptian origin, born in the Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria. Yet, I was raised and brought up in the USA like any other American girl. My parents got divorced and I lived with my Mom, and later on, I left her to live on my own. I had several boyfriends, taking every precaution against pregnancy. My relationship with my last boyfriend lasted for four years. It ended when I discovered that he betrayed me with one of my female friends. I was very mad then, and got so terribly shocked and depressed. Within such a crisis, I met an Egyptian man, who was seven years older that I am, who proposed to me. We got married within a month after I broke up with my last boyfriend. After two months of my marriage, I was surprised to discover that I was pregnant. The biological father of the fetus was my boyfriend. I tried to abort the fetus without telling my husband, but this could not be done, for health reasons. Abortion might have been fatal to me. My husband began to feel doubts; he began to quarrel with me as he was quite sure he was not the biological father. I delivered my son who officially bears the name of my husband; my son has similar features of my boyfriend. My husband acquiesced to the fait accompli, but he insisted that we move into another American state, and I readily agreed to please him. He treated my son as if he were his own son, asserting that my boy has the right to have a father; for he is a guiltless baby. For my part, I remained faithful to my husband for the rest of our marriage years. Yet, the issue of my son remained an insurmountable barrier between us. Reaching adolescence, my son has become so rebellious; accordingly, big quarrels between me and my husband ensued. He could no longer treat my son tolerably and patiently. Later on, my husband beat my son and kicked him out of home on several occasions. I used to reconcile them. Eventually, my husband shouted at me in one of our quarrels and said: "I divorce you!'' He divorced me verbally. He spoke to his mother via his cellular, telling her that he divorced me irrevocably. An hour later, he got a heart attack and died in hospital. I discovered that all his possessions have been bequeathed to his mother. He told her that my son is not his, and this son cannot possibly inherit him and so am I, as his divorcée. Our mutual bank account became mine alone. It contains a small fortune, apart from several shares and stocks bought by him to me. My son is guiltless. Can he inherit his ''official'' father? Should the relatives of my late husband inherit some of my money in the mutual bank account and sticks and shares? My late husband did not revoke the birth certificate of my son. He did not disown my son. He treated my boy as if he were his own flesh and blood, satisfying all my son's needs with indulgence. I want to please God, money does not count now. What shall I do?).

 This is our reply:


1- As for abortion, it is forbidden in Islam to abort the fetus after it gets the vital organs (heart, brain, etc.) and can move inside the womb, for this is killing a human soul. Yet, abortion is not forbidden in stages when the fetus is still a piece of meat, a lump or a clot, without a soul and without vital organs. Gynecologists know such stages better. We find in the Quran: "Then We developed the seed into a clot. Then We developed the clot into a lump. Then We developed the lump into bones. Then We clothed the bones with flesh. Then We produced it into another creature. Most Blessed is God, the Best of Creators." (23:14).   

2- In your case, your marriage was illicit and void, because it has been done without a waiting period:

2/1: Marriages are licit without a waiting period in one case: when the bride is virgin. That is why when a virgin bride is divorced without consummation of the marriage, she has not to have a waiting period before she gets remarried: "O you who believe! When you marry believing women, but then divorce them before you have touched them, there is no waiting period for you to observe in respect to them; but compensate them, and release them in a graceful manner." (33:49).

2/2: If a woman's marriage is consummated, and she is later on divorced or widowed, she must have a waiting period to make sure her womb has no fetus; i.e., she is not pregnant. After the waiting period, she can get married. God says in the Quran about the divorced women before reaching the age of menopause: "Divorced women shall wait by themselves for three periods." (2:228) that is to say, three months with three menstruations. If the divorced or widowed woman has reached the age of menopause, she will have a waiting period for three months a well. The waiting period for the pregnant ones is until giving birth to her child. After the waiting period, she can remarry. God says in the Quran: "As for those of your women who have reached menopause, if you have any doubts, their term shall be three months-and also for those who have not menstruated. As for those who are pregnant, their term shall be until they have delivered. Whoever fears God-He will make things easy for him. "(65:4). Thus, when the womb is surely without conception, a woman can marry. This is done for the purpose of protecting lineage and rights of parents and offspring in the Islamic marriage.

2/3: Hence we understand the forbiddance of being married to a fornicator, male or female. The term ''fornicator'' in Islam means someone who has not yet repented from sin forever. Once repentance is done, this man/woman is no longer a fornicator. Otherwise, fornicators are not to get married to those believers who did not commit this sin: "The adulterer shall marry none but an adulteress or an idolatress; and the adulteress shall marry none but an adulterer or an idolater. That has been prohibited for the believers." (24:3). Declaring repentance makes the term adulterer/adulteress dropped from the repentant, then, this repentant can get married to a Muslim. Repentance annuls any punishment by whipping/flogging. If repentance is not sincere, people are not to punish the 'repentant' by flogging; we cannot read into the hearts and minds of people. Yet, the fake repentance will never escape God's Hell in the Afterlife: "…and do not commit adultery. Whoever does that will face penalties. The punishment will be doubled for him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will dwell therein in humiliation forever. Except for those who repent, and believe, and do good deeds. These-God will replace their bad deeds with good deeds. God is ever Forgiving and Merciful. Whoever repents and acts righteously-has inclined towards God with repentance." (25:68-71). Adultery/fornication of women is of two types: sex-workers who get paid for sex with customers and those who take up lovers. Both types are described in the following verse: "…neither committing adultery, nor taking secret lovers. …" (4:25). Hence, boyfriend/girlfriend relationship is forbidden in Islam. This is fornication. After repentance, the ''former girlfriend'' should have a waiting period, like the divorced and the widow, to make sure her womb does not carry a fetus before she can get married. This is one step among others in her repentance from the sin of fornication.

3- Accordingly, you ought to have told your late husband about your relationships before getting married to him. You should have made sure if you were pregnant or not. You should have waited for three months before getting married. Remember the following verse: "…nor commit adultery, nor kill their children, nor commit perjury as to parenthood …" (60:12). God in the Quran command divorced women to tell her former husbands if they are pregnant: "Divorced women shall wait by themselves for three periods. And it is not lawful for them to conceal what God has created in their wombs, if they believe in God and the Last Day…" (2:228). The fetus inside her womb is a trust inside her; a human being with rights, chief among them is to have a father, with other rights of inheritance and marriage as per Quranic rules. This is not just a matter of birth certificates.

4- I am sorry to tell you that your marriage has been void and illegal in the first place.  

5- This case is serious and grave; it recurs a lot among Muslims residing in the West as immigrants. Awareness is required and badly needed. We, ourselves, received at office a young man who wanted us to marry him officially to his girlfriend who was pregnant in her ninth month, carrying his baby! We told him this cannot be done, as per Islamic rules in the Quran. They had to wait until after her delivery. This was her waiting period, as per the Quran. The biological father can give the born baby his name before marriage, of course.

6- Accordingly, you have never been married and divorced. Even divorce without witnesses is wrong, according to Quranist articles we have written here on our website, proving the contrast between divorce laws in the Quran and in the Sunnite creed, which is not Islam at all.

7- Hence, you and your son cannot inherit anything at all.

8- Yet, vid illegal marriages are not considered adultery or fornication – in our opinion – and thus, it does not entail any sort of punishment; it requires a correction of this grave fault.

9- There are many types of illegal marriages that ought to be corrected: A) getting married without a dowry given to the wife: it ought to be given to her, even after getting married for a long while, if the husband refuses to pay I, the marriage is considered annulled and void, unless she concedes this right. B) getting married to a minor female/ a female child: both partners should be move away from each other by force of the law, and once she reaches adolescence, she might get married to him again or to any other man. C) your case: having no waiting periods before getting married despite having sex with several partners before. In such a case, both partners should be move away from each other by force of the law. The woman should have a waiting period and repent faithfully and sincerely, and then she can get married. Even if your marriage is deemed correct in American laws and laws of society, it is not so by God, with dire consequences in the Day of Resurrection.

10- Offspring of fornication or void marriages can carry the name of the biological father with all Quranic laws of inheritance applied to this offspring, in accordance to the following Quranic verse: "That no soul bears the burdens of another soul." (53:38).


 Please remember the waiting period, O Muslim women, and may God have mercy upon us all.                            

The views and opinions of authors whose articles and comments are posted on this site do not necessarily reflect the views of IQC.