Assalamualaikum- My husband and I were both divorced with children when we married several years ago . We did not have children of our own because I previously had a tubal ligation. He knew that before marriage and we discussed in detail and he found this acceptable.
On many occasions people born Muslim- including my husband and his family (I’m a convert Alhamdulillah) have said or hinted that marriage without a child doesn’t make you “family” and that siblings, adult children from previous marriage, and all blood relatives will always remain family while a wife won’t necessarily always be maharem – and because of that the feelings, needs and dignity of blood relatives comes first. Is this a cultural practice or do these ideas have Islamic importance?
بسم الله الرحمٰن الرحيم
الجواب حامداً ومصلياً
As-salāmu ʿalaykum wa-raḥmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
The sentiments that have been expressed towards you are extremely unfortunate and have no basis in Islām. The obligations that a man has to his wife are greater than those to some, if not most, relatives.
Rasūlullāh ﷺ himself did not have children from any of his wives other than Khadījah رضي الله عنها. Did that diminish their relationship to Rasūlullāh ﷺ in any way? Absolutely not! In fact, regard the wives of Rasūlullāh ﷺ, Allāh says:
النَّبِيُّ أَوْلَىٰ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ ۖ وَأَزْوَاجُهُ أُمَّهَاتُهُمْ (سورة الأحزاب: ٦)
“The Nabī is closer to the believers than themselves, and his wives are their mothers.” (33:6)
Can there be any relationship closer than that of a mother?
Children are gifts from Allāh. He grants them to whomsoever He wills.
لِّلَّهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ ۚ يَهَبُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ إِنَاثًا وَيَهَبُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ الذُّكُورَ. أَوْ يُزَوِّجُهُمْ ذُكْرَانًا وَإِنَاثًا ۖ وَيَجْعَلُ مَن يَشَاءُ عَقِيمًا ۚ إِنَّهُ عَلِيمٌ قَدِيرٌ (سورة الشورى: ٤٩-٥٠)
“Allāh has control of the heavens and the earth; He creates whatever He will– He grants female offspring to whoever He will, male to whoever He will, or both male and female, and He makes whoever He will barren: He is all knowing and all powerful.” (42-49-50)
One of the beauties of marriage is to create new bonds and relationships are formed. This is a sign of Allāh’s power.
وَهُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ مِنَ الْمَاءِ بَشَرًا فَجَعَلَهُ نَسَبًا وَصِهْرًا ۗ وَكَانَ رَبُّكَ قَدِيرًا (سورة الفرقان: ٥٤)
“It is He who creates human beings from water, then makes them kin by blood and marriage: your Lord is all powerful!” (25:54)
In the preceding verses, Allāh mentions many natural wonders of the world but does not comment on His power. He mentions amazing phenomena one after the other and continues to move on. However, when He mentions familial bonds – both by blood and marriage – He comments that He is powerful. To join two people and two families of different backgrounds together so that they become a cohesive unit is truly a sign of divine power.
وَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِهِمْ ۚ لَوْ أَنفَقْتَ مَا فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا مَّا أَلَّفْتَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِهِمْ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ أَلَّفَ بَيْنَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ (سورة الأنفال: ٦٣)
“He brought their (believer’s) hearts together. Even if you had given away everything in the earth you could not have done this, but Allāh brought them together: Allāh is mighty and wise.” (8:63).
Culture, unfortunately, supersedes religion in some circles. Allāh says to this:
أَفَحُكْمَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ يَبْغُونَ ۚ وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ مِنَ اللَّهِ حُكْمًا لِّقَوْمٍ يُوقِنُونَ (سورة المائدة: ٥٠)
“Do they want judgement according to the time of pagan ignorance? Is there any better judge than Allāh for those of firm faith?” (5:50)
May Allāh ease your situation and allow us all to act upon the guidance provided to us by Allāh and His Messenger ﷺ.
والله تعالى أعلم وعلمه أتم وبه التوفيق
And Allāh Taʿālā Knows Best
Muftī Mohammed Wahaajuddin bin Salauddin
(May Allāh forgive him and his parents)