Saudi Mufti Issues Fatwa Against Saudi/Non-Saudi Marriages Without Permission

The MEMRI Blog

24 December 2009

Senior Saudi cleric Abd Al-Muhsin Al-‘Abikan has issued a fatwa banning Saudi citizens from marrying women who are not residents of the kingdom without obtaining a permit from the authorities.  He stated that marrying foreign women is for pleasure purposes only, and that when this is done without official permission, it harms the ruler’s authority.



Published by

Tara Umm Omar

American married to a Saudi.

14 thoughts on “Saudi Mufti Issues Fatwa Against Saudi/Non-Saudi Marriages Without Permission”

  1. >Marrying women for pleasure is not right, but what about marrying women to complete half our emaan?And if one finds a foreign Woman who has the qualities mentioned by the Prophet (SAH) to seek in wife, Is it haraam?Well i know the answers to my questions any way, Alhumdulillah.


  2. >Abu Abdullah- I couldn't agree with you more. A long time ago, someone once told me that marrying a Saudi before one gets permission is rebelling against the rulers which is haram. But did this person understand that the very rules of the Saudi marriage permission goes against the true teachings of Islam? I don't excuse those who just marry for pleasure and then cast aside their wife/husband as if they are a piece of commodity. However, which is the lesser of the two evils, someone MARRYING for pleasure or someone fooling around for pleasure without marriage aka zinaa?


  3. >Assalaamu alaikum.i am trying to give the shaikh the benefit of the doubt, or maybe i mean make excuses for him according to the hadeeth, mainly because i respect the shaikh a lot. however, this one seems hard to defend! sigh..shariqAllah knows best.


  4. >am perplexed to see the blog in the new form! where are those funfilled commentsanyway, coming back to the present post – i feel if one has to stay in that land, law of land has to be obeyed :), whether it is liked or not.


  5. >Shariq- Wa alaikum salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh. I know what you mean. I can disagree with a shaykh's ruling but I still respect them. They aren't perfect and can make mistakes however he will still get one reward if he's wrong and Allah knows best!Srinivas- Welcome back to FHWS. What you say is true. I'm not advocating anyone going against the laws of the ruler in any way. On the other hand, I would like to see the Saudi 'ulema speak up against the unfairness of the Saudi marriage laws since they are the ones of knowledge inherited from the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the main ones whom a ruler would be more apt to listen to bi'idhnillah.


  6. >@tara: I agree with you on the Zina part also..@Sreenivas: The problem here is that the marriage permission process is marketed under the garb "Islamic Marriage rules" which is what i cannot agree too.Islamic Marriage rules are absolutely different than what is implemented here.


  7. >Too much! Basically I think this scholar is making something haram that God has allowed. It is a MAJOR sin in Islam. I think this scholar, and many like him, are pressured by the authorities. Part of the problem is that, I believe, scholars are vetted and supported by the state in KSA so there is a grave conflict of interest here. Being a Westerner married to a Saudi I think as long as the marriage is done under Islamic law and this can be proven that should be it. I have gone round and round with Saudi officials over this issue and have been privately told that this issue is more about tribal law/rules and keeping money within the family than it is about anything else. Sad that in the home of Islam they stray so far from the religion.


  8. >Abu Sinan- It did cross my mind that some of the mashaykh are supported very well financially by the government and would understandably not want to bite the hands that feed them. Maybe they would feel more empathy if they themselves or their children experienced the troubles that non-Saudi/Saudi couples have to go through trying to get permission to marry. Then they would realize that it is a form of oppression.


  9. >Anonymous- Welcome to FHWS and thank you for commenting. I usually don't approve anonymous comments with no name but I made an exception this time. Please use a name next time, thanks :-)I assume the original article was in Arabic so you'd have to search for it in Arabic. Otherwise you can contact Al-Arabiya or MEMRI Blog. Insha'Allah you'll find it!


  10. >Assalaamualaykum ha rahmatu Allah. I think this Sheikh is wrong to make something haraam that Allah (Subhanana wa ta'ala) has made hala. In fact I am bothered that so many "Muslim" women are against polygmy knowing the reasons for it and why Allah (SWT) made it hala in the first place! Anyone who lives in Saudi and knows how high the dowry can be to marry a Saudi woman (car +big house+servants to take care of the home+driver+nanny for the future children + lots of gold jewelry + up to 50,000 USD) knows that many Saudi men find it impossible to marry inside the Kingdom which is why some Saudi men choose to marry outside the Kingdom. Perhaps if the dowry wasn't so high then maybe more Saudi men would want to marry Saudi women, I do not know. But from my experience, not all Saudi men marry non-Saudi women for "pleasure" as this Sheikh claims. I think it is oppressive that Saudi which "claims" to be an Islamic country makes it illegal for a Saudi man to marry outside the country and forces Saudi men to go through all these rules to get married which can take forever.


  11. >Sunny- Wa alaikum salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh. Welcome to FHWS and thank you for commenting. By "hala" I assume you meant halal as in permissible?You know I told my husband that I keep reading complaints about the high dowry to marry Saudi women. He said that most of the time the amount is set by the woman's father!


  12. >أبو سنان said…"Sad that in the home of Islam they stray so far from the religion." -This just goes to prove, that a house is just a house until the occupants make it a home…and how can it become a home, when it's occupants observe too many loopholes and inconsistencies that stem from the decisions made, which stem from what one man or a group of people decide is 'best' for all? Is he saying that Saudi men NEVER marry for pleasure within their own race/ethnicity/country? Are all marriages within Kingdom based on what Quran dictates? Hardly! Get real, Sheikh!! Left and right, weddings themselves are obnoxiously flambouyant, outrageously overpriced, materialistically superficial to say the least! Newly wed husbands are high in debt for the rest of their lives, from the first night of their so called marriage based on Islamic guidelines. Newly engaged brides constantly feel they must 'outdo' the other in the obscenely high priced planning of their Cinderella Weddings! I think before fingers are pointed at foreign wives of Saudi men, (who by the way, hardly even request a miniscule percentage of what many if not most Saudi brides demand for their wedding celebration and what should 'come' with life after the party ends..)the eyes should be focused on trying to make the whole concept of married life, and the wedding prior to it – something of real 'value' and integrity which the Saudi husband can honestly feel blessed to enter into – not something he is stressed out on figuring out his finances as to how he will ever accomodate the 'high end' married life not to mention the outrageous waste of money spent on the wedding celebration, to compete with the rest of the newlyweds, victimized by a false pretense on what marriage should be. If you get it right, Mr. Sheikh, perhaps you wouldn't have to blame it on foreign women being the "seducer". Once again, are women to blame? The so called foreign wives of Saudis that were chosen 'for pleasure' – that I know of in this life – have come a long way to keep a well running household and raise good kids into responsible adults, caring meanwhile, for their Saudi husbands and also playing a respectable role to their inlaws, following the rules of the land, the culture, – and all without the grand cinderella wedding, without the Parisien Honeymoon, without the closet full of designer merchandise and abundance of gold that could burst at the seams…many foreign wives even handle their entire household without a house maid! And it isn't because their Saudi husbands CAN'T provide them or don't want to provide them with it all – but simply because their marriage was not based on 'pleasure'… or 'what can you give me?'


  13. >MsksaDharan- Welcome to FHWS and thanks for commenting. I appreciate your defense of non-Saudi wives. I am one of those who made my mahr low to make things easier on my husband and to obtain the blessings from Allah. I also function without a maid and driver. I do not work, my home and family are my full-time job. Masha'Allah our marriage was certainly not based upon pleasure but love for the sake of Allah.


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