HIV Test Before Marriage: Necessary?

13 October, 2018
Q Dear scholars, As-Salaam `Alaykum. I need an advice from you. As you know, AIDS is affecting millions of people worldwide. Within 30 years, Insha' Allah, there will be an estimated 75 million people infected with HIV. As a result of this widespread Fitnah, is it obligatory for a Muslim(mah) to require his/her marital candidate to get an AIDS test before marrying them? If they refuse, what should one do? In Western countries, it appears that we have a very high divorce rate. By the age of 30, 35, or 40; it is not uncommon for a Muslim(ah) to have been married and divorced 3, 4, or 5 times. Many of the Muslims in the West are reverts: that is, they were not born Muslims, but later embraced the Deen after many years of living a wanton life. So they may have slept with 6 to 20 people in his pre-Islamic life. And those people may have slept with 4 to 15 people. And those people may have slept with 5 to 15 people. Allah knows best. Be mindful, too, that some of their former "lovers" may have been in-the-closet homosexuals and the like. Jazakum Allah khayran.

Answer

Wa`alykum as-salaamu warahmatullahi wabarakaatuh.

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

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


In this fatwa:

Undergoing medical tests as a protection is highly encouraged and advocated; particularly if there are reasonable justifications.


In his response to the question you posed, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

Although Islam commands its followers to have good faith and trust towards other believers, they are to take all possible measures to protect themselves against prospective harm.

There is no doubt that marriage candidates are allowed to probe and ascertain the integrity and compatibility of their would-be life partners before deciding to marry them.

This is generally understood from the sources and traditions of the Salaf As-Salih (righteous predecessors).

However, as Muslims, we are not supposed to harbor unnecessary suspicion without justification because we are required to have good faith and trust towards the believers.

Having said this, if, as you have stated, there are legitimate grounds for suspicion with regard to the past lives of a certain candidate, you are certainly allowed to ask questions and get satisfaction.

Concerning AIDs as well as similar highly contagious diseases, I can say that you have every right to insist on a medical test. It is for your own protection and the protection of the offspring.

One of the higher principles of the Shari`ah is ‘Harm shall not be inflicted nor reciprocated.’

Your insisting on undergoing medical test in such cases clearly falls under this category.

Moreover, Islamic Shari`ah takes into account circumstances of our life and encourages us to take all possible precautions in order to avoid harm and injury.

In conclusion, medical tests in such cases in a milieu or environment like ours as you have stated should be highly encouraged and advocated.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.