In former times, especially in Iran, marriage between close relations was a normal thing; even brothers and sisters married. The Qur'an definitely prohibited kinship marriages. Impediments are of three sorts; namely, the category of those related by blood, like brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, the status of those related by marriage like sons-in-law and daughters-in law, and the category of such close related persons like wet nurses. In marriages between persons related by blood the incidence of genetic malformation is rather high. Although cousins and nephews are not among the prohibited matrimonial ties, exogamy is the practice of choice.

The Qur'an stressed the importance of mother's milk. This has such a great bearing that the wet nurse who has suckled a baby for two years become automatically related to that family and consequently was among the candidates for whom marriage was prohibited. Even today, the physical properties that mother's milk provides the baby with, is not properly known.

It is furthermore indicated that the persons who attributes partners to God and those who are promiscuous and immoral should not be considered as candidates for marriage.


And marry not women whom your fathers married,- except what is past: It was shameful and odious,- an abominable custom indeed. Prohibited to you (For marriage) are:- Your mothers, daughters, sisters; father's sisters, Mother's sisters; brother's daughters, sister's daughters; foster-mothers (Who gave you suck), foster-sisters; your wives' mothers; your step-daughters under your guardianship, born of your wives to whom ye have gone in,- no prohibition if ye have not gone in;- (Those who have been) wives of your sons proceeding from your loins; and two sisters in wedlock at one and the same time, except for what is past; for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful;- Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess: Thus hath Allah ordained (Prohibitions) against you: Except for these, all others are lawful, provided ye seek (them in marriage) with gifts from your property,- desiring chastity, not lust, seeing that ye derive benefit from them, give them their dowers (at least) as prescribed; but if, after a dower is prescribed, agree Mutually (to vary it), there is no blame on you, and Allah is All-knowing, All-wise. (4/22-24)

During the pre-Islamic times, a man might contract marriage with the wife of his father in order to inherit the legacy of the father. Islam abolished this custom. The following are the people considered taboo: mothers, daughters, brothers and sisters, maternal uncles and paternal uncles, nieces. The list of the people prohibited because of conjugal ties is: mothers-in-law, fathers-in-law, sons-in-law, and daughters-in law, step mothers, step- daughters; the list also includes relationship through suckling, foster brothers and sisters and other people tied to each other by foster kinship. Simultaneous marriage with two sisters and with women married to another and who has not been divorced.


Do not marry unbelieving women (idolaters), until they believe: A slave woman who believes is better than an unbelieving woman, even though she allures you. Nor marry (your girls) to unbelievers until they believe: A man slave who believes is better than an unbeliever, even though he allures you. Unbelievers do (but) beckon you to the Fire. But Allah beckons by His Grace to the Garden (of bliss) and forgiveness, and makes His Signs clear to mankind: That they may celebrate His praise. (2/221)

… They are not lawful (wives) for the Unbelievers, nor are the (Unbelievers) lawful (husbands) for them … (60/10)

Heathens: These were Meccans who attributed partners to God; the Ka'aba contained an infinite number of idols. These people had to be considered as outcasts not allowed marrying the believers. A pagan woman could not marry a Muslim, no matter how beautiful or rich she may have been. Regardless of her nationality these pagans were governed by the same law. This prohibition contributed to the healthy development of the Muslim community.

Christian and Jewish Women were allowed to be taken as wives. This day are (all) things good and pure made lawful unto you. The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them. (Lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book, revealed before your time,- when ye give them their due dowers, and desire chastity, not lewdness, nor secret intrigues if any one rejects faith, fruitless is his work, and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good). (5/5)

An example for this may be the marriage of the Prophet to Safiyya, a Jewish woman.

Could the same principle be applied in the case of women? In other words, can a Muslim woman marry a suitor from among the people of the Book? No explicit rule is set down in the Qur'an to this end. The Qur'an warns against such a tie: It is never the wish of those without Faith among the People of the Book, nor of the Pagans, that anything good should come down to you from your Lord. But Allah will choose for His special Mercy whom He will - for Allah is Lord of grace abounding. (2/105) Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book is a portion that stand (For the right): They rehearse the Signs of Allah all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration. They believe in Allah and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works: They are in the ranks of the righteous. Of the good that they do, nothing will be rejected of them; for Allah knoweth well those that do right. (3/113-115)

Under the circumstances it seems plausible that a Muslim girl marry an honest and beneficent Christian or Jew. However, if such be the case, the parties should know each other well before they contract a marriage. The Qur'an gives calls Islam the entire revelations since Abraham. Under these circumstances, a Christian and a Jew should also be considered as Muslim. Say: "We believe in Allah, and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus, and the prophets, from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another among them, and to Allah do we bow our will (in Islam)." (3/84) A contemporary religious council should be formed to decide on this matter.


Let no man guilty of adultery or fornication marry and but a woman similarly guilty, or an Unbeliever: nor let any but such a man or an Unbeliever marry such a woman: to the Believers such a thing is forbidden. (24/3)

Licentious people are not allowed as candidates for marriage. Fornication is human sexual intercourse other than between a man and his wife, sexual intercourse between a spouse and an unmarried person. God deems this one of the capital sins. . Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils). (17/32) People should marry morally chaste believers. Women impure are for men impure, and men impure for women impure and women of purity are for men of purity, and men of purity are for women of purity: these are not affected by what people say: for them there is forgiveness, and a provision honorable. (24/26) However, a woman who had been promiscuous before but who repented afterward may be eligible for marriage.

In the contemporary society it is regrettable to observe that especially in major urban areas cohabitation has become everyday occurrence. May God help our community and protect us from committing such sins!