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Marrying an Adulterer

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Daruliftaa.com

I have read that an adulterer/adulteress may not have sexual relations with none except an adulterer/adulteress or idol worshipper. Does it also mean that, it will be a sin for a non adulterer / adulteress to marry an adulterer/adulteress? If true and say I have married an adulterer/adulteress and have not yet had sexual relations, would be best to divorce and not consummate that marriage or does the conditions of marriage make it Halaal? Please advice.


In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

Let us first look at the translation of the Qur’anic verse, to which you have alluded, in your question.

Allah Most High says in Surah al-Nur:

“Let no man guilty of adultery (or fornication) marry any but a woman similarly guilty, or an unbeliever. Nor let any but such a man or an unbeliever marry such a woman. To the believers such a thing is forbidden.” (Surah al-Nur, V.3)

The meaning of this verse (as stated in various exegeses of the Holy Qur’an) is that normally the effects of adultery and fornication are so severe that they become the nature of an individual. An adulterer will only be content and satisfied if he marries an adulterer or an idolatress and visa-versa.

The meaning of “forbidden” in the verse is either adultery or marrying an idolater / idolatresses, both of which are totally forbidden.

Alternatively, it may refer to marrying those who are involved in adultery, and have not yet repented. This is unlawful, although the marriage itself will be valid.

It is stated in Tafsir Ibn Kathir: “Qatadah and Muqatil said: Allah forbade the believers from marrying prostitutes”.

However, the above ruling refers to the situation where the adulterer and adulteress have not yet repented and are actively involved in their evil ways and practices. If one has sincerely repented, then there is no reason to abstain from marring them. (Ref: Tafsir ibn Kathir and Ma’arif al-Qur’an).

And Allah Knows Best

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

This answer was collected from Daruliftaa.com, which is headed by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam Al-Kawthari. He’s based in the United Kingdom.

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