Is a marriage valid if the bride is eight months pregnant?
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.
In answering this question, first we have to study the types of woman we are prohibited from marrying, they are known as mawani’ al-nikah. The book al-Fiqh al-Manhaji, explains about this issue as the following:
Types of Prohibition
The prohibition is divided into two, which are eternal prohibition (حرمة مؤبدة) and temporary prohibition (حرمة مؤقتة).
The meaning of eternal prohibition is women that are prohibited to be married forever in whatever situation. There three reasons of this prohibition:
First: Family relationship
The family relationships that one is prohibited from marrying are:
- Mother, maternal and paternal grandmother and upwards. They are the origin of the lineage that are prohibited to be married.
- Daughter, granddaughter from daughter and granddaughter from son. They are known as the branches (الفروع) of lineage that are also prohibited to be married.
- Sister with same mother and father, same father, or same mother.
- Daughter from sister with same mother same father, same father, or same mother.
- Daughter from brother with same mother and same father, same father, or same mother.
- Aunt on father’s side (العمّة), which is father’s sister, great aunt on father’s side (عمة الأب). They are the branches of lineage of the grandparents on the father’s side.
- Aunt on mother’s side (الخالة), which is mother’s sister, great aunt on mother’s side (خالة الأب). They are he branches of lineage of the grandparents on mother’s side.
They are prohibited to be married forever.
This is in accordance with Allah SWT’s statement:
حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمْ أُمَّهَاتُكُمْ وَبَنَاتُكُمْ وَأَخَوَاتُكُمْ وَعَمَّاتُكُمْ وَخَالَاتُكُمْ وَبَنَاتُ الْأَخِ وَبَنَاتُ الْأُخْتِ
“Prohibited to you [for marriage] are your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, your father's sisters, your mother's sisters, your brother's daughters, your sister's daughters,”
Surah al-Nisa’ (23)
If a marriage happens between a man and any one of the women stated above, the aqad is invalid, and whoever permits it is a disbeliever. The same goes for the opposite situation, it is prohibited for a woman to marry the following:
- Father, paternal grandfather, maternal grandfather and upwards the lineage.
- Son, Grandson from son, grandson from daughter, the whole branch of her lineage.
- Brother with the same father and mother, same father, or same mother.
- Nephew from brother or sister.
- Uncle on father’s side, uncle on mother’s side, great uncle on father’s side (عم الأب), and on mother’s side (عم الأم). Uncle on mother’s side to father (خال الأب), uncle on mother’s side to mother (خال الأب).
Second: Relationship by marriage 
There are four types of women that are prohibited to be married because of marriage, which are:
- Step mother, step paternal grandmother, step maternal grandmother. This is in accordance with Allah SWT’s statement:
وَلَا تَنكِحُوا مَا نَكَحَ آبَاؤُكُم مِّنَ النِّسَاءِ إِلَّا مَا قَدْ سَلَفَ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً وَمَقْتًا وَسَاءَ سَبِيلًا
“And do not marry those [women] whom your fathers married, except what has already occurred. Indeed, it was an immorality and hateful [to Allah] and was evil as a way.”
Surah al-Nisa’ (22)
- Daughter in-law, wife of grandson’s son. They are the branches of someone’s lineage.
Allah SWT state in the Quran:
وَحَلَائِلُ أَبْنَائِكُمُ الَّذِينَ مِنْ أَصْلَابِكُمْ
“And [also prohibited are] the wives of your sons who are from your [own] loins,”
Surah al-Nisa’ (23)
The prohibition does not include ex-wives of adopted sons. Jahiliyyah society adopts children and prohibits the marriage to their ex-wives. Islam denies the family relationship of adopted son, thus permitting the marriage with their ex-wives.
This is in accordance with Allah SWT’s statement:
وَمَا جَعَلَ أَدْعِيَاءَكُمْ أَبْنَاءَكُمْ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ قَوْلُكُم ب بِأَفْوَاهِكُمْ ۖ وَاللَّـهُ يَقُولُ الْحَقَّ وَهُوَ يَهْدِي السَّبِيلَ
“And he has not made your adopted sons your [true] sons. That is [merely] your saying by your mouths, but Allah says the truth, and He guides to the [right] way.”
Surah al-Ahzab (4)
Another statement by Allah SWT:
لِكَيْ لَا يَكُونَ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ حَرَجٌ فِي أَزْوَاجِ أَدْعِيَائِهِمْ إِذَا قَضَوْا مِنْهُنَّ وَطَرًا ۚ وَكَانَ أَمْرُ اللَّـهِ مَفْعُولًا
“In order that there not be upon the believers any discomfort concerning the wives of their adopted sons when they no longer have need of them. And ever is the command of Allah accomplished.”
Surah al-Ahzab (37)
- Mother in-law
It is prohibited to marry mother in-law, as stated in the Quran:
“your wives' mothers,”
Surah al-Nisa’ (23)
This prohibition includes all lineage of mother in-law, which are, mother to mother in-law, grandmother and upwards. These three categories of women are prohibited to be married just because of marriage, may there be intercourse or not. If aqad happens with any of these women, then it is invalid.
- Step daughter
Step daughter is prohibited to be married by step father if stepfather has had intercourse with the mother of the step daughter. This is in accordance to a verse in the Quran that states:
وَرَبَائِبُكُمُ اللاَّتِي فِي حُجُورِكُم مِّن نِّسَآئِكُمُ اللاَّتِي دَخَلْتُم بِهِنَّ فَإِن لَّمْ تَكُونُواْ دَخَلْتُم بِهِنَّ فَلاَ جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ
“And your step-daughters under your guardianship [born] of your wives unto whom you have gone in. But if you have not gone in unto them, there is no sin upon you.”
Surah al-Nisa’ (23)
The prohibition includes step daughter that both who do not live with her step father, and also those who live with him. The meaning of ‘step daughters that are under your guardianship’ explains the norm of a step daughter living under the guardianship of her step father and mother.
The same goes for a woman, she is prohibited to marry her step father, son in-law, step son and father in-law.
Third: Milk kinship
There are seven types of woman that are prohibited to be married due to milk kinship. In the Quran, there are only two types stated while the rest is explained in prophetic evidence by the Prophet PBUH. The seven types of women are:
- Milk mother
Milk mother is a woman that nursed another person’s child. She is prohibited to be married to the child that she nursed, the child is also prohibited from marrying the mother of the milk mother, maternal grandmother and paternal grandmother.
- Milk sister
They are the women that nursed with our mother or we nursed with their mother, or we all nursed with one woman.
If a woman nursed with our mother, then it is prohibited for us to marry her, but it is permitted for us to marry her sister, for her sister did not nursed with our mother.
If we nursed with one woman, then we are prohibited to marry that woman and all her sisters. However, our brother is permitted to marry her or all of her sisters, for they did not nursed with our mother, and our brother did not nurse with the woman.
- Daughter of milk brother
- Daughter of milk sister
- Milk aunt on father’s side, which is a woman that is milk sister to father
- Milk aunt on mother’s side, which is a woman that is milk sister to mother
- Milk daughter, which is a woman that nursed with our wife. Hence, we are the milk father of the child.
This is in accordance with a hadith from the Prophet PBUH:
إِنَّ الرَّضَاعَةَ تُحَرِّمُ مَا يَحْرُمُ مِنَ الْوِلاَدَةِ
“As the foster relations are treated like blood relations (in marital affairs).”
Sahih al-Bukhari (2646)
Another narration by Ibn Abbas R.Anhuma, the Prophet PBUH said regarding the daughter of Hamzah:
لاَ تَحِلُّ لِي، يَحْرُمُ مِنَ الرَّضَاعِ مَا يَحْرُمُ مِنَ النَّسَبِ، هِيَ بِنْتُ أَخِي مِنَ الرَّضَاعَةِ
“She is not permissible for me (to marry); she is the daughter of my brother through breast-feeding."
Sahih al-Bukhari (2503) and Sahih Muslim (1444)
The same applies for a woman, it is prohibited for her to marry her milk father, milk brothers, paternal and maternal milk uncles.
The same goes for the prohibition of marrying the following women:
- Milk mother in-law; which is the woman that nursed our wife
- Milk step daughter, which is the girl that has nursed with our wife during or wife’s previous marriage.
- Step milk mother; which is the co-wife of our milk mother
- Milk daughter in-law; which is the wife of our milk son.
Temporary prohibition means woman who are temporarily prohibited to be married due to certain reasons. When the reason is no longer applicable, then the woman is permitted to be married. If the woman is married before the reason become non-applicable, then the marriage is invalid.
Women that are temporarily prohibited to be married are:
- Co-wife of two sisters (الجمع بين الأختين)
Sisters may it be by blood or nursing is prohibited to be married simultaneously, it does not matter whether it is with simultaneous aqad or different aqad. If the aqad is simultaneous, then both aqad are invalid, and if the aqad is done separately, then the second aqad is invalid.
If a woman is divorced and her iddah has passed, or if she passed away, then it is permitted for her ex-husband to marry her sister. This is in accordance with Allah SWT’s statement:
وَأَن تَجْمَعُواْ بَيْنَ الأُخْتَيْنِ إَلاَّ مَا قَدْ سَلَفَ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ غَفُوراً رَّحِيماً
“It is prohibited that you take [in marriage] two sisters simultaneously, except for what has already occurred. Indeed, Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful.”
Surah al-Nisa’ (23)
- Co-wife of paternal and maternal aunt, niece of brother, granddaughter of son and daughter
The fuqaha discussed the women which are prohibited to be married simultaneously according to Quranic and prophetic evidences. A man is prohibited to marry the above women listed simultaneously as stated by the hadith by Abu Hurairah RA, Prophet PBUH said:
لاَ يُجْمَعُ بَيْنَ الْمَرْأَةِ وَعَمَّتِهَا، وَلاَ بَيْنَ الْمَرْأَةِ وَخَالَتِهَا
“A woman must not be combined in marriage with her father's sister, nor with her mother's sister,”
Sahih al-Bukhari (4820) and Sahih Muslim (1408)
The wisdom in prohibiting marrying the women stated before together and made them co-wives is to prevent jealousy among family members. A hadith from Isa bin Talhah RA states that from the Prophet PBUH:
نَهَى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَنْ أَنْ تُنْكَحَ الْمَرْأَةُ عَلَى قَرَابَتِهَا مَخَافَةَ الْقَطِيعَةِ
The Prophet PBUH prohibits the combining of a woman in marriage with her family, fearing that it would break family ties.”
Sunan Abu Daud in al-Marasil and al-Syauqani in Nail al-Awtar (6/147)
- Marrying more than 4 women
A man is prohibited from marrying a fifth woman, if he already has four wives. It is permitted only if one of his wives died or divorced and her iddah is completed.
This is in accordance with a statement by Allah SWT:
فَانكِحُواْ مَا طَابَ لَكُم مِّنَ النِّسَاءِ مَثْنَى وَثُلاَثَ وَرُبَاعَ
“Then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four.”
Surah al-Nisa’ (3)
A hadith from Qays bin al-Harith RA states:
أَسْلَمْتُ وَعِنْدِي ثَمَانُ نِسْوَةٍ فَذَكَرْتُ ذَلِكَ لِلنَّبِىِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ النَّبِىُّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: اخْتَرْ مِنْهُنَّ أَرْبَعًا
“I became Muslim and I had eight wives. I went to the Prophet and told him about that. He said: 'Choose four of them.’”
Sunan Abu Daud (2243)
- Marrying a musyrik (polytheistic) woman
A musyrik woman is someone who practises a religion without a divine book. This woman is permitted to be married if she embraces Islam. This is in accordance with a verse in the Quran that states:
وَلاَ تَنكِحُواْ الْمُشْرِكَاتِ حَتَّى يُؤْمِنَّ وَلأَمَةٌ مُّؤْمِنَةٌ خَيْرٌ مِّن مُّشْرِكَةٍ وَلَوْ أَعْجَبَتْكُمْ
“And do not marry polytheistic women until they believe.”
Surah al-Baqarah (221)
Based on the prohibition above, a woman that is pregnant not because she is divorced, or her husband has died, then it is permitted for her to be married. However, her baby cannot be named as the daughter of the man that is marrying her. However, we would suggest marrying the woman after she has given birth, for peace of mind and soul and avoiding the khilaf by some Islamic scholars.
We would like to include the decision of the 3rd Fatwa Committee of National Council Conference held on 21st- 22nd January 1971 that discusses the topic of marriage to woman who is pregnant out of wedlock. The conference has decided that a woman who is pregnant out of wedlock is permitted to be married, but her child is prohibited from being named as the man’s child, for they have no relationship with each other, the man is not the child’s mahram and the man cannot be the child’s wali.
May God give us all understanding. Ameen.
 In Nizam al-Usrah fi al-Islam, the wisdoms of prohibition are:
- It is in line with fitrah.
- Not denying the wife’s lineage and branches. The same applies to the lineage and branches of the husband that could lead to conflicting family relationships.
- If there is no prohibition by marriage, surely it would lead to the severing of family ties.