Assalamalikum. What is the ruling if a spouse in a marriage expresses doubt in faith (like not being completely sure or fully confident that the Qur’an is the book of God)? Later, he realized his mistake and repented. Is this marriage valid? If there is a difference of opinion among the scholars, what is the ruling according to Shafi Madhab?
Wa alaykum al-salam
Thank you for writing to us.
Disbelief or Satanic Whispers?
It is important to distinguish between thoughts of disbelief and satanic whispers, on the one hand, and doubt, on the other. If a person doubts whether the Qur’an is the word of Allah, he is neither confirming nor rejecting this. As he has not accepted the word of Allah, he is not considered a Muslim.
A person who has thoughts of disbelief or experiences satanic whispers, while believing in his heart that the Qur’an is the word of Allah, has not left the fold of Islam. [Nawawi, Kitab al-Adhkar]
The Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Certainly, Allah has overlooked for my ummah what arises in their minds as long as they do act it out or vocalize it.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Has He Left the Fold of Islam?
Accordingly, one must determine whether the spouse doubted in the above-mentioned sense, or whether he or she merely had thoughts of disbelief or experienced satanic whispers. In the former case, the spouse has left the fold of Islam. In the latter case, he or she has not.
The Status of the Marriage
In the case where a spouse, whether husband or wife, has left the fold of Islam, the spouses must be separated immediately, and the marriage will continue to exist pending the expiration of the woman’s iddah. If the iddah expires while one of the spouses is an apostate, the marriage is dissolved. If the apostate spouse accepts Islam at a later stage, the marriage will have to be performed afresh. However, if the apostate spouse returns to Islam during the iddah, the marriage continues to exist. [Nawawi, Minhaj al-Talibin]
And Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Abdurragmaan received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.