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FAQ

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Question:

What is the ruling of someone marrying conjoined twins?

Answer:

Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

Definition of Nikah

‘Nikah’ or also known as marriage literally means meet, assemble and mixing together. According to syarak, it is ‘Ijab and Qabul (‘aqad) which make it permissible for the man and woman to have intercourse. It is done through words meant for marriage, in accordance with the conditions set in Islam.

Evidences of the Sanctioning of Marriage

Allah SWT states:

فَٱنكِحُوا۟ مَا طَابَ لَكُم مِّنَ ٱلنِّسَآءِ مَثْنَىٰ وَثُلَٰثَ وَرُبَٰعَ ۖ فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا۟ فَوَٰحِدَةً أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَٰنُكُمْ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰٓ أَلَّا تَعُولُوا۟

“Then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four.  But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice].”

Surah al-Nisa’ (3)

The desire for marriage is natural for humans created by Allah SWT. Each adult human, physically and mentally healthy would need a partner of the opposite gender, a partner who can fulfil human’s biological needs and the need to love and be loved, and to work and live together peacefully and be happily married.

The Prophet PBUH said:

يا معشر الشباب من استطاع منكم الباءة فليتزوج فإنه أغض للبصر وأحصن للفرج ومن لم يستطع فعليه بالصوم فإنه له وجاء 

"O young people! Whoever among you can marry, should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty (i.e. his private parts from committing illegal sexual intercourse etc.), and whoever is not able to marry, should fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual power."

Sahih al-Bukhari (5066) and Sahih Muslim (1400)

The Ruling for Marriage

The ruling for marriage is divided into 5:

  • Obligatory (Wajib)

If someone is able and have the financial means to pay dowry and provide for his wife (maintenance; expenses and well-being). He has no intention of harming or mistreating his wife if they were to marry. Furthermore, he is certain that he would fall to sin (fornication) due to his strong sexual desires if he does not marry.

  • Sunnah

For people who are able but are able to control themselves from falling into sin. This is the original ruling for marriage.

  • Permissible

For someone who is able and certain he would not commit fornication if he does not marry.

  • Makruh (Undesirable)

When someone is worried that he would mistreat his wife, or if he has a physical weakness, and he is unable to fulfil his wife’s conjugal rights then, even if he is able to financially provide for her it is makruh for him to get married. It is also makruh to get married during wars.

  • Prohibited

For someone who cannot fulfil his wife’s financial and conjugal rights and is certain that he would mistreat his wife.

In answering the question of marriage to conjoined twins, here we first present the definition and explanation of conjoined twins.

Definition of Conjoined Twins

Medically speaking, conjoined twin is a monozygotic twin, where the fertilized egg is separated partially (fission). This happens when the zygote started to separate 12 days after fertilization but failed. It is an extremely rare phenomenon, the occurrence is estimated to range from 1 in 49,000 births to 1 in 189,000 births, with a somewhat higher incidence in Southwest Asia and Africa. Approximately half are stillborn, and an additional one-third die within 24 hours. Most live births are female, with a ratio of 3:1.

Most conjoined twins nowadays are assessed for surgery to separate them into two separate functioning bodies. The separation surgery ranges from easy, to very difficult, to almost impossible depending on the organs or important structures that they share, such as, brain, heart and liver.

The History of Conjoined Twins

During the rule of Caliph Sayyidina Umar bin al-Khattab, there was a girl born with two legs, two vaginas, two bodies, four hands and two complete heads. One of the them asked to get married. Whereas, the other half does not wish for a marriage. The matter was brought to Amirul Mukminin Umar bin al-Khattab to resolve it. He then assembled all his Companions to discuss the issue. However, none of them are willing to decide on a ruling regarding the issue. Sayyidina Umar then ask Sayyidina Ali RA regarding the matter. Sayyidina Ali replied: “Leave the twins for three days.”. After three days, the twin that wanted to get married died. Thus, Sayyidina Umar decides to surgically remove the dead twin’s body. However, the twin who is alive refuses saying, “Do you want to kill me?”. Sayyidina Umar now faced a quandary. Not knowing what to do, he consulted with Sayyidina Ali RA again. Sayyidina Ali RA responded: “Leave the twin for three days.”. And after three days, the other twin also died and thus, the matter is resolved.

According to Islamic jurisprudence, the situation for conjoined twins can be viewed as the following:

  • Considered as two individuals: If they have 2 heads whether they have complete bodies or not, and they have two souls that can communicate and respond with one another, for example, one can be asleep while the other is awake.
  • Is considered as 1 individual: Other than the described above.

The Opinion of Early and Contemporary Scholars

There are several opinions of early and contemporary scholars regarding this issue. We detail their opinions as follows:

  • According to Imam al-Khatib in Hasyiah al-Bujairimi, a marriage with conjoined twins is valid. If one of the conjoined twins marries, whether the twins are both males, both females or of opposite genders. However, it is obligatory to cover and maintain the aurah from being touched or seen by the person who are neither the husband nor the wife as much as he or she is able to.
  • In Qalyubi Wa Umairah, it is stated that, if both twins are complete in terms of private parts, then they are considered as 2 individuals according to syarak, even in the situation when one of them wants to get married, regardless if the twins are both males or females.
  • According to Prof Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Ahmad al-Tayyar’s, for anyone that has a problem such as being a conjoined twin, then it is not permissible for him to marry for the great problem they have. A marriage would make his life worse in terms of movement and aurah between the husband and wife and the lineage of the children that he could probably have.
  • Islamic Research Institute of the Al-Azhar University issued a statement saying that marriage to conjoined twins is not permissible, for it would lead to other prohibitions for the other twin.
  • However, Dar al-Ifta’ Egypt issued a different opinion stating that marriage to conjoined twin is permissible, if it fulfils the conditions and prerequisites of marriage. The reason is, the conjoined twins have different and separate souls and it will not harm the marriage.

Conclusion

According to the above opinions of scholars, we are inclined to state that marriage to conjoined twins is not permissible if they cannot be separated, for the great problems that they would face. This opinion is built from the following basis:

  • Marriage is a relationship that would lead to intimacy between husband and wife and would result to revealing of aurah.
  • Husband or wife who are conjoined twins is unable to fulfil his or her responsibilities entirely.
  • If the conjoined twins are both male or female, there will be doubts as to the lineage of the children that would be born.

Thus, let all us pray to be blessed with pious and obedient children that would be the source of calmness of our hearts, who will in turn contribute to our religion, race and country. Amin.