Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat
If the wife does not bleed on the wedding night can the husband leave her?
I pray you are well.
Bleeding Is Not Always a Sign of Virginity
This is a very sensitive topic. One should not rush to divorce his wife if she does not bleed on the wedding night. The bleeding is caused by the breaking of the hymen – which can be an indication of virginity.
Hymens can break through other means too, however, such as cycling, swimming, or other physical activities. So, it is entirely possible for a lady to have been a virgin before marriage, yet she does not bleed on the wedding night.
Many people wish for their wives to be virgins, and marrying someone who is a virgin is promoted by the Sunna, as it leads to a stronger intimate bond between the couple. Some people desire this deep emotional bond and wish to be married to someone who has not been intimate with another before. This is understandable, and not to be criticized.
However, divorcing her because of the absence of any blood on the wedding night is a hasty move, and one could be wronging her severely. Such a divorce would lead people to have a bad opinion of her, and that stigma could affect her chances of remarrying. This, on top of the pain of getting divorced just after getting married, would be a terrible blow, especially if she had not been intimate with another before.
Assuming the Best
Assume the best of her. Assume the best of her, speak to her – without making it sound like an accusation – and take accept her word on whatever she says. Even if she had been intimate with someone before, it doesn’t mean it was a sin.
I know of cases where ladies have been talked into a secret marriage – which is a problem in and of itself – because their situation wasn’t conducive to making it public. Then the marriage ended one way or another, leaving everyone involved with regrets. Yes, such a person made a mistake; but they can’t be called unchaste, though.
About Past Sins
Even if there was a sin, people make mistakes and repent. They change for the better. Perhaps someone may marry a lady who had sinned in the past, but after her repentance and rectification, their marriage would turn out to be a blessed one.
I realize this could be a lot to accept, but it’s part of how people are: weak and liable to make mistakes. Sometimes, looking past long gone mistakes, and veiling them in this situation, is the best approach. Naturally, there would be plenty of rewards from Allah for this level of good character and understanding.
If you’re someone who would find this situation difficult – and that is understandable – the time to bring it up would be before the marriage when the initial discussions are taking place. Without asking her to reveal any sins, one would just say that this particular matter is important to him, and ask if it would be likely to cause an issue if they were to marry. She can discreetly excuse herself if need be, and even give another reason, without any stigma on either party.
As an aside, there are considerations when it would be better to marry someone who had been married before, as was the case of the Companion, Jabir b. ‘Abdillah. He married someone who had been married before, because he had younger sisters to look after, and a more mature lady was more suitable for this. [Bukhari]
May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.