Repents of Zina with wife's mother
Fatwa No: 83583

Question

I committed Zina with the mother of my wife. Now I am living with my wife in another country, and I made sincere repentance. And my wife loves me too much. It may be easy for me that we separate, but not for her. On the other hand, we have three children, should the children be with me or with my wife? Anyway, I am ready for any fatwa solution according to the four Madhabs.

Answer

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the World; and blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.
Dear Brother,
The rulings that apply to your situation are derived from rulings from the Qur'an Surah An-Nisa, ayah 23 [4:23] where Allah Says (interpretation of meaning): {Forbidden to you (for marriage) are: …your wives' mothers…}.
In this Ayah, the word "Nikah"- marriage - is not stated, but is implied since marriage is the matter being addressed.
The word "Nikah" implied in this verse has a linguistic meaning and a religious meaning.
Linguistically "Nikah" means merely having sexual intercourse, legally or otherwise.
Religiously "Nikah" means meeting all the conditions of a valid marriage.
Imams Abu Hanifah, Thawri, Al-Awzai, Ahmad, and some followers of the Malki school of Fiqh interpreted "Nikah" in this ayah according to its linguistic meaning that sex with the mother of one's wife is forbidden. Based on this understanding they ruled that it is forbidden for a man to marry the daughter of a woman with whom he has had sex, and if he did so, he must separate from her.
Imam Shafi and Imam Malik, in his Muwatta, and other Malkites, except Imam Ibn al-Qasim, interpreted "Nikah" in this ayat according to its religious meaning that conditions of a valid marriage are prohibited between a man and his wife's mother. According to this understanding, they ruled that the man's having sex with the mother had no effect upon the status of the daughter's eligibility for marriage to him, or staying with him should they marry.
So, Dear Brother, based upon the above evidence, you may choose either opinion. We issued the previous Fatwa for you and others declaring that the daughter becomes forbidden to the man who commits Zina with her mother so people may avoid such relations and to discourage the ways leading to Haram.
We also strongly support the first opinion over the second because in this time people do not fear that a Muslim ruler will apply the punishment of Sharia for fornication (100 lashes) and adultery (stoning). In these days so many people are weak in faith and society has many temptations to promote illegal sexual acts, even child sex abuse and homosexuality. So, our preference for the first opinion is based upon the conditions of this time in which we live and the conditions of the Muslims.
The second opinion, however, is strong, since no clear evidence proves the prohibition of the daughter to the man who commits Zina with her mother. Basically, marriage to any woman is permissible, except those expressly forbidden in Sharia.
Finally, since you have a choice in this matter, and if in your present marriage you are able to avoid your previous sinful life, then do not separate from your wife. Always fear Allah and do not violate His Boundaries. Keep in mind that Allah knows our open acts and hidden secrets as well. He knows what we conceal in our hearts.
We ask Allah to make you and us steadfast on the right path.
Allah knows best.

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