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It is stated that Umar used to say that “a sackcloth in the corner of the house is better than a beautiful but barren woman.” (Bennat, 1987). Are these correct and authentic hadith?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

I have a question in regards to the nikkah of woman who is medically considered to be barren or infertile. I had come across a book called ?The Muslim Woman? written by Maulana Mufti Ahmed E. Bennat. In it is discussed the status of woman who are barren. It is stated that Umar (R.A.D) used to say that ?a sackcloth in the corner of the house is better than a beautiful but barren woman.? (Bennat, 1987) The book goes on to say that ?It is on this account that certain ulema have written in accordance with prophetic statements that ?a barren woman is inauspicious? (unfavorable).? Also, I have read in the same book that Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) has called a woman inauspicious only when she is not procreative and is not able to help achieve the man’s objective. Are these correct and authentic hadith? Imam, after taking the above quotes to be true, is it necessary for a believing Muslimah, to give ehsan upon the Muslim brothers who are looking for a good wife and sacrifice oneself so that they may find a woman that has the ability to bear children? Would it be wrong for a man to take such a woman as a wife, especially if that relationship were to be monogamous? Upon finding out that a perspective woman is barren, should a Muslim man then look for a woman who can bear children for him? What about adoption, if the couple marry is it possible that they foster children (as adoption in the western sense is not permissible)

Answer

We were unable to trace the authenticity of the mentioned narrations. However, there are other autyhentic narrations which imply the similar meanings, such as the Hadith of Sayyiduna Ma?qal ibn Yassaar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) that a man once came to Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and said, ?O Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) I have found a beautiful woman but she is barren, should I marry her?? Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) prevented her from doing so, this person came for the second time and was prevented once again. He, then asked for the third time and was prevented, then Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, ?Marry such women who are loving and that can bear children, for verily I hope to se you (my Ummat) as a lost (on the day of Qiyaamat).

(Sunan Abu Dawud Hadith2043; Sunan Nasaaie Hadith3227 and Sahih ibn Hibbaan vol.9 pg.364 Hadith4057)

and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Moulana Muhammad ibn Moulana Haroon Abbassommar
FACULTY OF SPECIALTY IN HADITH

CHECKED AND APPROVED: Mufti Ebrahim Desai

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