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Can Muslims Marry Their Cousins?

18 December, 2020
Q As-Salamu `Alaykum can a girl marry her cousin whose mom has breastfed her?


Short Answer:

  • It depends. If your mother nursed him, “according to the majority of Muslim jurists—with the exception of the Hanafis—you are generally permitted to marry your cousin if the case is that his mom has breastfed you less than 5 times.”
  • More than 5 times means you are prohibited from marrying him. Generally, marriage to cousins is permitted but is not recommended.

Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh,

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

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All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Thanks for your question, and we implore Allah to guide us all to the best.

Reading your question thoroughly, we think that two important points ought to be tackled:

  1. The number of suckles from breastfeeding a child that prohibits marriage.
  2. Islamic view of marrying cousins.

How Many Times Did She Nurse Him?

Tackling the first issue, we would like to stress that according to the Hanbalis and Shafi`es, the marriage becomes prohibited after a baby has been nursed 5 times.

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This fact is supported by the Prophetic hadith in which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said:

One suckling or two can’t be considered a prohibition (i.e. of marriage).

Thus, according to the majority of Muslim jurists—with the exception of the Hanafisyou are generally permitted to marry your cousin if the case is that his mom has breastfed you less than 5 times.

In case the number is five or more, then it is prohibited for you to marry him.

Our advice for you is to make sure about the number of times she nursed him before taking any decision and fear Allah Your Lord.

But Can We Marry Cousins in General?

As for the issue of marrying cousins, we can say that originally Islam permits marrying cousins, although it is preferable to choose a marriage partner from outside one’s family.

This is because Islam is generally keen to widen the circle of social bonds.

As for the fear of hereditary diseases in the case where one intends to marry a cousin, it is a good practice to have a blood test before marriage.

If one suspects some hereditary disease or any other problem then he/she should seek the advice of a medical expert in this field.

(From AboutIslam’s archives)

Read more…

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