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Chapter twenty-seven » Women with whom marriage is unlawful (ḥarām) → ← Chapter twenty-seven » Conditions of a marriage contract

Chapter twenty-seven » Situations in which a man and a woman can annul the marriage contract

Ruling 2399. If a man realises after the conclusion of the marriage contract that his wife had one of the following six defects at the time of the marriage contract, he can annul the contract:

1.
insanity, albeit intermittent;
2. leprosy;
3. vitiligo;
4. blindness;
5. paralysis, albeit not to the extent of immobility;
6. presence of flesh or bone in her uterus, whether or not that prevents sexual intercourse or becoming pregnant. If the man realises that at the time of the contract the woman had a cloacal abnormality, meaning that her urethral opening and vagina had become one [vesicovaginal fistula], or her vagina and anus had become one [rectovaginal fistula], or all three had become one [persistent cloaca], then for the man to be able to annul the marriage contract is problematic (maḥall al-ishkāl) [i.e. based on obligatory precaution, he cannot annul it].(1) But in the event that he does annul it, the obligatory precaution is that he must also divorce her.

Ruling 2400. If a wife realises after the conclusion of the marriage contract that her husband does not possess a penis, or, if after the conclusion of the marriage contract but before having sexual intercourse, or after it, his penis is cut off, or, if he has a dysfunction whereby he is unable to have sexual intercourse even if the dysfunction develops after the marriage contract and before having sexual intercourse, or after it, then in all of these cases, the wife can annul the marriage contract without getting a divorce.

If a wife realises after the conclusion of the marriage contract that her husband was insane before the marriage contract, or, if after the conclusion of the marriage contract he becomes insane, irrespective of whether this happens after sexual intercourse or before it, or, if she realises that at the time of the marriage contract his testicles had been removed or they had been crushed, or that at the time of the marriage contract he had leprosy, vitiligo, or blindness, then in all of these cases, the obligatory precaution is that she must not annul the marriage contract. But if she does, then the obligatory precaution is that if they wish to continue with their married life, they must conclude another marriage contract; and if they wish to separate, then they must get a divorce.

In case a husband cannot have sexual intercourse and his wife wishes to annul the marriage contract, it is necessary that she first refers to a fully qualified jurist (al-ḥākim al-sharʿī) or his agent. The jurist will give the husband a one-year respite; if he is unable to have sexual intercourse with his wife or with another woman during this period, his wife can annul the marriage contract once the respite period is over.

Ruling 2401. If a wife annuls the marriage contract owing to her husband’s inability to have sexual intercourse, the husband must pay her half of the dowry. However, if owing to any of the other aforementioned defects the husband or the wife annul the marriage contract, in the event that they have not had sexual intercourse, the husband does not have to pay her anything. And if they have had sexual intercourse, he must pay her the entire dowry.

Ruling 2402. If a woman or a man is described to the other as being better than she/he really is so that the other desires to marry her/him – irrespective of whether this happens at the time of the marriage contract or before it – then in case the marriage contract is concluded on that basis and this matter was realised by the other party after the contract, she/he can annul the marriage contract. The detailed laws (aḥkām) of this ruling (masʾalah) are explained in Minhāj al-Ṣāliḥīn.(2)

(1) As mentioned in Ruling 6, the term ‘problematic’ (maḥall al-ishkāl) amounts to saying that the ruling is based on obligatory precaution.

(2) This is al-Sayyid al-Sistani’s more detailed work on Islamic law.
Chapter twenty-seven » Women with whom marriage is unlawful (ḥarām) → ← Chapter twenty-seven » Conditions of a marriage contract
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