What do the scholars and muftis of the noble Shari’ah say regarding the following matter; can a sayyidah (descendent of the Prophet ) woman marry a non-sayyid man? Is doing the vice-versa of this (i.e. a sayyid man marrying a non-sayyidah woman) permissible? Please elaborate in detail.  

Questioner: Talhah from UK


بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب

If a sayyidah woman is married to a non-sayyid man with the permission of her guardian, i.e. her father or if he is not alive then her grandfather, then this nikah (marriage contract) is absolutely valid. A non-sayyid man is not a kufu (suitable partner) of a sayyidah woman, but kafa’ah (suitability) is the guardian’s right. Thus, when the guardian agrees on marrying the woman in an unsuitable family, there is no legal issue in such a marriage. It is stated in al-Durr al-Mukhtar:

وَ الْكَفَاءَةُ هِيَ حَقُّ الْوَلِيِّ لَا حَقُّهَا

[al-Durr al-Mukhtar, vol. 3, pg. 93]

If a sayyidah woman marries a non-sayyid man without the consent of her guardian, and the man is a Sunni with proper beliefs and a practicing scholar, then the nikah is valid, legally permissible, and contracted. A male scholar is a kufu for a sayyidah woman. The excellence of knowledge is superior than that of lineage.

Answering a similar query, Imam Ahmad Rida Khan (may Allah have mercy upon him) explains:

نعم اذاکان دینا متدینا لان فضل العلم فوق فضل النسب

Translation: “Yes, if the non-Arab Islamic scholar is a practicing individual. Because the excellence of knowledge is superior than that of lineage.”

Allah ﷻ states:

یَرْفَعِ اللہُ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا مِنۡکُمْ ۙ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ اُوۡتُوا الْعِلْمَ دَرَجٰتٍ

Translation: “Allah will raise those in ranks who believe from amongst you and who are given knowledge.” [Surah al-Mujadilah, 11]

He ﷻ also states:

قُلْ ہَلْ یَسْتَوِی الَّذِیۡنَ یَعْلَمُوۡنَ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ لَا یَعْلَمُوۡنَ

Translation: “Can those who have knowledge and those who do not be alike?” [Surah al-Zumar, 9]

It is mentioned in al-Wajiz of Imam al-Kurdi:

العجمی العالم کفو للعربی الجاھل لان شرف العلم اقوی وارفع، وکذا العالم الفقیر لغنی الجاھل، وکذا العالم الذی لیس بقرشی کفو للجاھل القرشی والعلوی

Translation: “A non-Arab Islamic scholar is a kufu of an ignorant Arab because the excellence of knowledge is strongest and most superior. Likewise, a destitute Islamic scholar is a kufu of an ignorant wealthy person. Similarly, a non-Qarashi Islamic scholar is a kufu of an ignorant ‘Alawi and an ignorant Qarashi.” [al-Wajiz of Imam al-Kurdi, printed on the marginalia of al-Fatawa al-Hindiyyah, vol. 4, pg. 116]

It is related from Jami’ al-Imam Qadi Khan in al-Fath and al-Nahr:

العالم العجمی یکون کفوا لجاھل العربی والعلویۃ لان شرف العلم فوق شرف النسب

Translation: “A non-Arab Islamic scholar is a kufu of an ignorant Arab and an ignorant ‘Alawi because the excellence of knowledge is preponderant over that of lineage.” [Fath al-Qadir, vol. 3, pg. 190]

وفی النھر والدر جزم بہ البزازی وارتضاہ الکمال وغیرہ والوجہ فیہ

Translation: “It is mentioned in al-Nahr and al-Durr that al-Bazzazi has affirmed it and al-Kamal has chosen it, and the reason for doing so is evident.” [al-Durr al-Mukhtar, vol. 1, pg. 198]

وفی ردالمحتار عن الخیر الرملی عن مجمع الفتاوی عن المحیط العالم یکون کفو اللعلویۃ لان شرف الحسب اقوی

Translation: “It is related in Radd al-Muhtar from al-Khayr al-Ramli, who relates from Majma’ al-Fatawa, who relates from al-Muhit, that an Islamic scholar is a kufu of an ‘Alawi woman as the excellence of position is the strongest.” [Radd al-Muhtar, vol. 2, pg. 323]

[al-Fatawa al-Ridawiyyah, vol. 11, pg. 714]

It is necessary for the Islamic scholar to be a Sunni with proper beliefs. It is also necessary that he is not from an extremely lower section of the society. Imam Ahmad Rida Khan (may Allah be pleased with him) states:

قلت وانما قید نابکونہ دینا متدینا لانہ ھوالعالم حقیقۃ واما اصحاب الضلال فشرمن الجہال فان الجہل المرکب اشنع واخنع وصاحبہ فی الدارین احقر واوضع، صغارھم کالانعام بل ھم اضل وکبارھم کالکلاب لابل اذل

Translation: “I say: ‘We shall limit a scholar to a scholar of the religion and a religious scholar. Because in reality, a scholar is a religious scholar. Deviant scholars are worse than ignorant folk. Compound ignorance is utterly evil and disgraceful. Its bearers are lowly and disgraced in both worlds. Those of a lesser rank among them are like animals, in fact worse than them. Those of a greater rank among them are like dogs, in fact more disgraced.’”

ثم اقول یجب التقیید ایضا بمااذا لم یکن من المتناھین فی الدنائۃ المعروفین بھا ،کالحائک و الدباغ والخصاف والحلاق  ونظرائھم، فان المدار علی وجودالعار فی عرف الامصار کما صرح بہ العلماء الکبار۔ قال المحق علی الاطلاق فی فتح القدیر الموجب ھواستنقاص اھل العرف فید ورمعہ

Translation: “I further say: ‘It is also necessary that the Islamic scholar is not from an extremely lower section of the society. For instance, he should not be a weaver, barber, cobbler, one who colours leather, etc. Basically, he should not be considered lowly as per the custom of the area. This has been explained by the major scholars. It is stated in Fath al-Qadir by the great researcher, ‘The people of custom considering something defective is a cause. Thus, the ruling will be based on it.’’” [Fath al-Qadir, vol. 3, pg. 193]

[al-Fatawa al-Ridawiyyah, vol. 11, pg. 716]

There is no problem in a sayyid man marrying a non-sayyidah woman. It is mentioned in Bahar-e Shari’at: “A mature male can marry a woman of unsuitable kin if he wishes to because in this case, suitability from the woman’s side is not significant.” [Bahar-e Shari’at, vol. 2, part 7, pg. 53]

واللہ تعالی اعلم ورسولہ اعلم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم
کتبہ ابو الحسن محمد قاسم ضیاء قادری

Answered by Mufti Qasim Zia al-Qadri
Translated by the SeekersPath Team

Read the original answer in Urdu here – [Q-ID0440] Can a sayyidah woman marry a non-sayyid man?

Also see:

[Q-ID0670] Who is classed as a Hashimi or Sayyid and can we give Zakah to them?

[Q-ID0277] Should we respect Sayyids who hold incorrect beliefs?

Share this with your family & friends: