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Question & Answer » Adultery

1 Question: A man lived with a woman whom he intended to marry and also had sex with her without entering into a marriage contract (‘aqd); thereafter he married her in the proper religious way. Is their co-habitation before the ‘aqd considered marriage in the eyes of religious law? Does the subsequent ‘aqd have retroactive effect? What will be the status of the children born before the ‘aqd?
Answer: In [an Islamic] marriage, the spousal relationship is established by the verbal expression of the proposition and the acceptance (Nikah 'aqd). More over no action or deed that reflects the intention of marriage can be a substitute for the spoken words. Consequently, the marriage mentioned in the question is not valid except after the pronouncement of the religious marriage formula that does not have any retroactive effect.
As for the children, they will be considered legitimate if the parents did not know the law [requiring the ‘aqd] because their relationship will be classified as “wat’i bis-shubha”. But if both were aware of the law, their relationship is considered adulterous. Consequently the children will be deemed illegitimate. However, if only one knew about the law without the other, the children will be deemed legitimate in relation to the ignorant parent only.
2 Question: What is the meaning of the expression used by the jurists that “there is no waiting period (‘idda) for an adulterous woman because of her adultery”?
Answer: It means that she is allowed to marry after having committed adultery without observing the ‘idda; and, if she is married, then it is permissible for her husband to have sexual relations with her without observing the ‘idda, she would need to seek repentance and forgiveness.
3 Question: What is meant by the expression “an adulterous woman known for adultery”?
Answer: It means that such a woman is known among the people for committing adultery in which case, it is not permissible to marry her as an obligatory precaution, unless she seeks repentance.
4 Question: If a married woman commits adultery with a man, what would be the ruling about them.
Answer: The married woman becomes permanently forbidden for him (obligatory precaution).
5 Question: If an unmarried lady and a man have had pre-marital sex, are they allowed to enter marriage contract (Nikah) with each other?
Answer: Yes, they are allowed, after their repentance.
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