Rulings pertaining to sisters
Are the paternal and maternal grandfathers of a woman’s husband unmarriageable kin (mahram) for her?
Mufti Abu Muhammad Ali Asghar Attari Madani
Question: What do the honourable scholars say regarding the following: Just as a woman’s father-in-law falls under the category of unmarriageable kin for her, are her paternal and maternal grandfathers-in-law, meaning, her husband’s paternal and maternal grandfathers, also unmarriageable kin for her?
بِسْمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِیْمِ
اَلْجَوَابُ بِعَوْنِ الْمَلِکِ الْوَھَّابِ اَللّٰھُمَّ ھِدَایَۃ الْحَقِّ وَالصَّوَابِ
All forefathers of the man that a woman marries, i.e. father, paternal grandfather, maternal grandfather, etc., become unmarriageable kin for her. Therefore, her paternal and maternal grandfathers-in-law—in other words, her husband’s paternal grandfather and maternal grandfather—become unmarriageable kin for her.
In referring to women who are unmarriageable kin, Allah Almighty states:
وَ حَلَآىٕلُ اَبْنَآىٕكُمُ الَّذِیْنَ مِنْ اَصْلَابِكُمْۙ-
And (forbidden are) the wives of your own sons
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 4, Surah Al-Nisa, verse 23)
Extrapolating from this verse, Allamah Kaasaani رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْـه states: حلیلة الابن من الصلب وابن الابن وابن البنت وان سفل Translation: ‘The wives of sons, paternal and maternal grandsons, all the way down, are also unmarriageable kin.’ (Badai’i Al-Sanai’, Vol. 3, p. 419) In the exegesis of this verse in Tafseer Na’eemi, it is stated: ابناء refers to the entire offspring: son, paternal grandson, maternal grandson, etc.’ (Tafseer Na’eemi, Vol. 4, p. 577)
Elaborating on the matter of unmarriageable kin, Faqih Abu al-Layth al-Samarqandi رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْـه states:
وحلیلة ابن الابن وابن البنت وان سفلن لقوله تعالی وَ حَلَآىٕلُ اَبْنَآىٕكُمُ الَّذِیْنَ مِنْ اَصْلَابِكُمْۙ-
Translation: ‘It is not permissible to marry the wives of one’s paternal or maternal grandsons, on the basis of the saying of Allah Almighty: And (forbidden are) the wives of your own sons.’ (Khizanah Al-Fiqh, p. 103)
The Imam of Ahl al-Sunnah, Imam Ahmad Raza Khan رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْـه was asked, ‘The women of which relatives is one allowed to marry? And with whom is marriage impermissible?’ In response to this question, the Imam of Ahl al-Sunnah رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْـه said, ‘It is Haram to marry the wives of those relatives whose offspring he is, such as his father, paternal grandfather or maternal grandfather. [Similarly,] marrying the wives of those relatives who are his offspring is [also] unlawful, such as his son, paternal grandson or maternal grandson.’ (Fatawa Razawiyyah, Vol. 11, p. 467) In the discussion regarding women who are unmarriageable kin, it is stated in Bahar-e-Shari’at, ‘The wives of [one’s] son, paternal grandson and all the way down (furū’).’ (Bahar-e-Shari’at, vol. 2, p. 22)
وَاللہُ اَعْلَمُ عَزَّوَجَلَّ وَ رَسُوْلُہٗ اَعْلَم صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم