First Cousin Marriages and Potential Hereditary Diseases
Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan
Question: I am interested in sending a marriage proposal to my first cousin. My parents were first cousins, and it has come to my attention that marrying my first cousin may be mukrooh as there are known hereditary diseases in my family that may be transmitted to my offspring. I have made istikhara and the interpretation was positive. I love my first cousin but will not marry her if the marriage would be considered mukrooh or may be displeasing to Allah (swt). Please give me advice on how I should proceed.
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,
I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.
It is permissible to marry one’s first cousin; there is nothing wrong or disliked about it in Islam. However, if for a specific family it is feared that multiple generations of marriage to cousins can lead to hereditary diseases, then it could be disliked or even unlawful to marry one’s cousin due to the potential of resultant harm.
A legal maxim states, “Harm is to be avoided,” [Majalla] based on the saying of the Prophet himself (peace and blessings be upon him), “There is neither harm nor reciprocating harm.” [Ibn Maja, Daruqutni]
As for your specific situation, consult a reliable physician and genetic counselor, and then seek expert legal opinion from a reliable scholar for your specific case.
For more detail, please see:
The Ruling of First Cousin Marriages: A Balanced Perspective
Did the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) Discourage Marrying Cousins?
And Allah knows best.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani