Verse of Maharim
|The Prophet (s) marriage with Zaynab bt. Jahsh|
|Related Verses||Qur'an 24:31|
Verse of Maḥārim is verse 23 of Sura al-Nisa which introduces the mahrams (relatives with whom marriage is forbidden). In this verse, several groups of women are mentioned with whom marriage is forbidden including seven groups due to blood relationship, two groups due to milk kinship and four other groups due to being mahram through marriage or blood relationship.
Text of the verse and its translation
Verse 23 of Sura al-Nisa’ introduces those with whom marriage is forbidden.
حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمْ أُمَّهَاتُكُمْ وَبَنَاتُكُمْ وَأَخَوَاتُكُمْ وَعَمَّاتُكُمْ وَخَالَاتُكُمْ وَبَنَاتُ الْأَخِ وَبَنَاتُ الْأُخْتِ وَأُمَّهَاتُكُمُ اللَّاتِي أَرْضَعْنَكُمْ وَأَخَوَاتُكُم مِّنَ الرَّضَاعَةِ وَأُمَّهَاتُ نِسَائِكُمْ وَرَبَائِبُكُمُ اللَّاتِي فِي حُجُورِكُم مِّن نِّسَائِكُمُ اللَّاتِي دَخَلْتُم بِهِنَّ فَإِن لَّمْ تَكُونُوا دَخَلْتُم بِهِنَّ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَحَلَائِلُ أَبْنَائِكُمُ الَّذِينَ مِنْ أَصْلَابِكُمْ وَأَن تَجْمَعُوا بَيْنَ الْأُخْتَيْنِ إِلَّا مَا قَدْ سَلَفَ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا
Forbidden to you are your mothers, your daughters and your sisters, your paternal aunts and your maternal aunts, your brother’s daughters and your sister’s daughters, your [foster-]mothers who have suckled you and your sisters through fosterage, your wives’ mothers, and your stepdaughters who are under your care [born] of the wives whom you have gone into—but if you have not gone into them there is no sin upon you—and the wives of your sons who are from your own loins, and that you should marry two sisters at one time—excluding what is already past; indeed Allah is all-forgiving, all-merciful.
|— Quran 4:23|
Occasion of revelation
According to al-Shaykh al-Tusi in al-Tibyan, a part of verse 23 of Sura al-Nisa’ (“…and the wives of your sons who are from your own loins,…”) was revealed when the Prophet (s) married Zaynab bt. Jahsh, the wife of Zayd b. Haritha (the Prophet’s (s) adopted son) after he was killed in the battle of Muta, and the polytheists began whispering and talking about it.
As stated in Tafsir-i nimuna, the Prophet (s) married to Zaynab in order to eliminate one of the customs of the pre-Islamic era, which considered all the rulings related to non-adopted children also applicable to adopted children, and considered it reprehensible that a person marries the wife of his adopted son - after his death or divorce.
Mahrams are those who, because of their special relationship, are allowed to look at each other and show their adornment, and their marriage is forbidden. The verse Maharim indicates those, having blood relationship, relationship through marriage and milk kinship, with whom marriage is forbidden:
- Blood relationship: It is a kind of kinship obtained through the birth of one or more people from another. The jurists, with reference to the above verse, have considered the marriage of seven groups of men to seven groups of women forbidden due to blood relationship:
- Mother and grandmother; paternal and maternal
- One’s daughter and his child’s daughter
- Nephew (brother’s daughter)
- Niece (sister’s daughter)
- The sisters of one’s father and mother
- Milk kinship: It is a kinship resulting from the breastfeeding of a child by a woman other than her mother. In the above verse, only the prohibition of a man’s marriage with his breastfeeding mother and milk sisters is mentioned. The jurists, bring argument from a narration from the Prophet (s) which said that “everything that is forbidden through blood relationship is also forbidden in milk kinship”, have ruled that regarding those women marriage with whom is forbidden through blood relationship, the marriage with them is also forbidden if there is a milk relationship involved.
- Relationship through marriage: By reciting the marriage formula between a husband and the wife, in addition to them, some of their male and female relatives become mahram to each other, who are called mahram due to relationship through marriage. The verse of Maharim mentions four of these women including the woman’s mother, rabiba (the woman’s daughter from her other husband (only if she had intercourse with him after their marriage)), the wife of one’s son (the bride), and the marriage with two sisters at the same time.
According to some commentators, the phrase “…and that you should marry two sisters at one time—excluding what is already past;...” in the above verse refers to the fact that marriage with two sisters at the same time was common during the Age of Ignorance, and with the revelation of this verse, those who had such marriages in the past were considered not liable to punishment, but they had to choose one of the two sisters and leave the other. According to Allama Tabataba'i in al-Mizan commentary, it is possible that the exception is not only for a marriage with the two sisters, but also for all the ones mentioned in the verse; because, in the past, there were people among non-Arabs who married some of the women mentioned in the verse (mahrams), and with this exception, Islam considered those marriages valid and ruled the children born out of those marriages lawful. Of course, Allama Tabataba’i finally considered the first possibility (applying the exception in the verse to the marriage with two sisters) more likely.
According to Makarim Shirazi, the final phrase of the verse “… indeed Allah is all-forgiving, all-merciful” has agreement with the second possibility. In Tafsir-i nimuna, it is stated that the philosophy of prohibition of marriage with two sisters in this verse is to prevent emotional conflict between them, because due to their blood relationship, they have a strong emotion toward each other, but when they become rivals, they cannot maintain that love, as the forces for love and competition in them would constantly be in conflict.
- Main article: Verse of Hijab
Also, the verse 31 of Quran 24, known as the verse of Hijab, while giving some commands to women, has mentioned some of their mahrams:
وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ...وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا ۖ وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِهِنَّ ۖ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَائِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَائِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ...
And tell the faithful women...and not to display their charms, beyond what is [acceptably] visible, and let them draw their scarfs over their bosoms, and not display their charms except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers, or their brothers’ sons,
|— Quran 24:31|
- The material for this article is mainly taken from آیه محارم in Farsi WikiShia.