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Marriage, An Understanding From Quran

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In the name of GOD, Most Gracious and Most Merciful

The Quran is very clear about all rules dealing with our lives and even details about whom we can or cannot marry. Anything not specifically prohibited in Quran must be considered permissible. God encourages marriage to discourage immorality.

[24:32] You shall encourage those of you who are single to get married. They may marry the righteous among your male and female servants, if they are poor. GOD will enrich them from His grace. GOD is Bounteous, Knower. (See also 24:33)

Below are the permissible and prohibited categories from Quran:

Allowed categories for marriage:

(a) [5:5] Today, all good food is made lawful for you. The food of the people of the scripture is lawful for you. Also, you may marry the chaste women among the believers, as well as the chaste women among the followers of previous scripture, provided you pay them their due dowries. You shall maintain chastity, not committing adultery, nor taking secret lovers. Anyone who rejects faith, all his work will be in vain, and in the Hereafter he will be with the losers.

(b) [33:50] O prophet, we made lawful for you your wives to whom you have paid their due dowry, or what you already have, as granted to you by GOD. Also lawful for you in marriage are the daughters of your father's brothers, the daughters of your father's sisters, the daughters of your mother's brothers, the daughters of your mother's sisters, who have emigrated with you. Also, if a believing woman gave herself to the prophet - by forfeiting the dowry - the prophet may marry her without a dowry, if he so wishes. However, her forfeiting of the dowry applies only to the prophet, and not to the other believers. We have already decreed their rights in regard to their spouses or what they already have. This is to spare you any embarrassment. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful (See also 33:51-52).

(c) [4:25] Those among you who cannot afford to marry free believing women, may marry believing slave women. GOD knows best about your belief, and you are equal to one another, as far as belief is concerned. You shall obtain permission from their guardians before you marry them, and pay them their due dowry equitably. They shall maintain moral behavior, by not committing adultery, or having secret lovers. Once they are freed through marriage, if they commit adultery, their punishment shall be half of that for the free women. Marrying a slave shall be a last resort for those unable to wait. To be patient is better for you. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

(d) [33:37] Recall that you said to the one who was blessed by GOD, and blessed by you, "Keep your wife and reverence GOD," and you hid inside yourself what GOD wished to proclaim. Thus, you feared the people, when you were supposed to fear only GOD. When Zeid was completely through with his wife, we had you marry her, in order to establish the precedent that a man may marry the divorced wife of his adopted son. GOD's commands shall be done.

(e) (In Case of War) [60:10] O you who believe, when believing women (abandon the enemy and) ask for asylum with you, you shall test them. GOD is fully aware of their belief. Once you establish that they are believers, you shall not return them to the disbelievers. They are not lawful to remain married to them, nor shall the disbelievers be allowed to marry them. Give back the dowries that the disbelievers have paid. You commit no error by marrying them, so long as you pay them their due dowries. Do not keep disbelieving wives (if they wish to join the enemy). You may ask them for the dowry you had paid, and they may ask for what they paid. This is GOD's rule; He rules among you. GOD is Omniscient, Most Wise. (See also 60:11-12).

Forbidden categories for marriage:

(a) ( Do Not Marry Idol Worshipers) [2:221] Do not marry idolatresses unless they believe; a believing woman is better than an idolatress, even if you like her. Nor shall you give your daughters in marriage to idolatrous men, unless they believe. A believing man is better than an idolater, even if you like him. These invite to Hell, while GOD invites to Paradise and forgiveness, as He wills. He clarifies His revelations for the people, that they may take heed.

(b) (Respect for the Father) [4:22] Do not marry the women who were previously married to your fathers - existing marriages are exempted and shall not be broken - for it is a gross offense, and an abominable act.

(c) (Incest Forbidden) [4:23] Prohibited for you (in marriage) are your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, the sisters of your fathers, the sisters of your mothers, the daughters of your brother, the daughters of your sister, your nursing mothers, the girls who nursed from the same woman as you, the mothers of your wives, the daughters of your wives with whom you have consummated the marriage - if the marriage has not been consummated, you may marry the daughter. Also prohibited for you are the women who were married to your genetic sons. Also, you shall not be married to two sisters at the same time - but do not break up existing marriages. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

(d) [4:24] Also prohibited are the women who are already married, unless they flee their disbelieving husbands who are at war with you. These are GOD's commandments to you. All other categories are permitted for you in marriage, so long as you pay them their due dowries. You shall maintain your morality, by not committing adultery. Thus, whoever you like among them, you shall pay them the dowry decreed for them. You commit no error by mutually agreeing to any adjustments to the dowry. GOD is Omniscient, Most Wise.

(e) [24:3] The adulterer will end up marrying an adulteress or an idol worshiper, and the adulteress will end up marrying an adulterer or an idol worshiper. This is prohibited for the believers.

(f) [33:52] Beyond the categories described to you, you are enjoined from marrying any other women, nor can you substitute a new wife (from the prohibited categories), no matter how much you admire their beauty. You must be content with those already made lawful to you. GOD is watchful over all things. (See also 33:50-53).

Additional information is available on the site. Please follow the link below for the information. A sample marriage format is also available which the couple may wish to follow.


The basic rules governing marriage are:

(1) Both people are single and Quranically eligible to marry. God discourages polygamy. Polygamy is allowed only under very specific circumstances (please see the appendix on Polygamy for more information).

(2) There must be mutual attraction and dowry. The dowry, after due negotiation, must be paid by the man to the woman accordingly.

(3) There is an interim waiting period for recent divorcees or widows/widowers which must be fulfilled.

(4) Marriage being a sacred institution, the marriage should be fair and equitable to all concerned.

Below are the verses from Quran which deal with the issues mentioned above.

Interim period, for divorcees:

[2:228] The divorced women shall wait three menstruations (before marrying another man). It is not lawful for them to conceal what GOD creates in their wombs, if they believe in GOD and the Last Day. (In case of pregnancy,) the husband's wishes shall supersede the wife's wishes, if he wants to remarry her. The women have rights, as well as obligations, equitably. Thus, the man's wishes prevail (in case of pregnancy). GOD is Almighty, Most Wise. (See verses 2:226 to 2:242 , 65:1-2 and 4:127 for complete details dealing with divorce).

Marriage laws:

[33:49] O you who believe, if you married believing women, then divorced them before having intercourse with them, they do not owe you any waiting interim (before marrying another man). You shall compensate them equitably, and let them go amicably.

[65:1] O you prophet, when you people divorce the women, you shall ensure that a divorce interim is fulfilled. You shall measure such an interim precisely. You shall reverence GOD your Lord. Do not evict them from their homes, nor shall you make life miserable for them, to force them to leave on their own, unless they commit a proven adultery. These are GOD's laws. Anyone who transgresses GOD's laws commits an injustice against himself. You never know; maybe GOD wills something good to come out of this. (See 65:1 and 2:228).

Interim period, for widows:

(You Shall Observe the Pre-Marriage Interims) [2:234] Those who die and leave wives, their widows shall wait four months and ten days (before they remarry). Once they fulfill their interim, you commit no error by letting them do whatever righteous matters they wish to do. GOD is fully Cognizant of everything you do. (See also 2:235-237).

The rights of the children from previous marriage of one’s spouse must be protected as well:

Adopted/Orphaned/Step children must receive equal rights

[4:127] They consult you concerning women: say, "GOD enlightens you regarding them, as recited for you in the scripture. You shall restore the rights of orphaned girls whom you cheat out of their due dowries when you wish to marry them: you shall not take advantage of them. The rights of orphaned boys must also be protected as well. You shall treat the orphans equitably. Whatever good you do, GOD is fully aware thereof." (See also 28:27).

Do Not Change Your Names:

[33:5] You shall give your adopted children names that preserve their relationship to their genetic parents. This is more equitable in the sight of GOD. If you do not know their parents, then, as your brethren in religion, you shall treat them as members of your family. You do not commit a sin if you make a mistake in this respect; you are responsible for your purposeful intentions. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful. (please re-examine this verse to determine what constitutes adoption in this case. See also 4:5-6).

Dowry must be paid:

[4:4] You shall give the women their due dowries, equitably. If they willingly forfeit anything, then you may accept it; it is rightfully yours. (see also 4:24-25, 5:5, 33:50, 60:10).

[2:236] You commit no error by divorcing the women before touching them, or before setting the dowry for them. In this case, you shall compensate them - the rich as he can afford and the poor as he can afford - an equitable compensation. This is a duty upon the righteous.

[2:237] If you divorce them before touching them, but after you had set the dowry for them, the compensation shall be half the dowry, unless they voluntarily forfeit their rights, or the party responsible for causing the divorce chooses to forfeit the dowry. To forfeit is closer to righteousness. You shall maintain the amicable relations among you. GOD is Seer of everything you do.


[2:235] You commit no sin by announcing your engagement to the women, or keeping it secret. GOD knows that you will think about them. Do not meet them secretly, unless you have something righteous to discuss. Do not consummate the marriage until their interim is fulfilled. You should know that GOD knows your innermost thoughts, and observe Him. You should know that GOD is Forgiver, Clement.

Polygamy is discouraged -- contrary to common belief:

(Polygamy discouraged) [4:127] You can never be equitable in dealing with more than one wife, no matter how hard you try. Therefore, do not be so biased as to leave one of them hanging (neither enjoying marriage, nor left to marry someone else). If you correct this situation and maintain righteousness, GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful. (see also 4:128).

(Grounds For Polygamy) [4:3] If you deem it best for the orphans, you may marry their mothers - you may marry two, three, or four. If you fear lest you become unfair, then you shall be content with only one, or with what you already have. Additionally, you are thus more likely to avoid financial hardship. (See also 4:20)

Please also see the article on Polygamy.

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