Is Cousin Marriage Allowed in Islam?
Generally, cousin marriage is allowed in Islam. However, there are fixed rules for who is allowed and who is not allowed to marry. In some cultures, cousin marriage is considered incest, and it is still practiced. It is also called by different names in Arabic and other languages, depending on gender.
It keeps property in the family
One of the most important benefits of cousin marriage is that it keeps family property in the family. In pre-Islamic Arabia, the practice of marrying a paternal cousin is documented in several ancient Arabic sources. One of these sources, Kitab al-Aghani, tells of Qays ibn Dharih who was forbidden from marrying a beautiful maiden of another tribe.
Although cousin marriage is not strictly forbidden in Islam, there are a number of specific rules and conditions that must be met. According to Islamic law, a spouse may only marry a first cousin, not a second cousin. However, some Muslim groups outside of the Middle East still practice cousin marriage.
Cousin marriage is common in the Muslim World, particularly in East Asia. This custom is allowed because it is in the interest of the family to maintain the family’s wealth. Islamic canonical law, based on the teachings of the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet, was developed in the early centuries of Islam. It culminated in the 9th century. Following this period, the Muslim World began to embrace Western legal systems in order to modernize. However, reforming family law was frowned upon, as it was deemed un-Islamic.
It increases chances of birth defects
Studies have shown that children born to parents who are closely related have an increased risk of developing birth defects. One study of 13 million people found that close relatives share an average of 12.5 percent of their DNA. In the Bradford study, the incidence of birth defects was more than twice the UK average of 1.7 percent. Therefore, it’s important for prenatal health services to include information about the risks associated with marriage among close relatives.
The chances of birth defects are highest in children born to first cousins, according to the study. The risks also increase with the relatedness of the parents. This is why it’s best to avoid marrying first cousins. While cousin marriage may seem socially acceptable, it is still considered unethical in many cultures.
However, the risks associated with a subsequent sibling who is not consanguineous with the parents are relatively low. For example, the risk for a subsequent sib from nonconsanguineous parents is only 15 percent, while that for subsequent siblings of first cousins is 36 percent.
It reduces social discrimination
In the Indian subcontinent, where cousin marriage rates are 22%, the Muslim minority constitutes about a fifth of the population. This may be a result of the partition of the subcontinent, but there have also been significant Muslim migrations from the eastern parts of the Punjab. Some of these immigrants claim Arab traders as their ancestors, but most Indian Muslims are the result of Hindus converting to Islam during the 16th century.
It’s less risky than uncle-niece marriage
A cousin marriage is much less risky than an uncle-niece marriage, according to Islam. A cousin shares twelve percent of a person’s genes, whereas an uncle and a niece share twenty-five percent. Thus, a cousin marriage is safer than an uncle-niece marriage, which has a higher risk of childbirth and infertility.
Moreover, cousin marriage is legal in Islam. However, the question of whether an adult niece or a teen cousin should be married depends on the circumstances. Some people are inclined to marry someone outside their family, and in these cases, the issue depends on the nature of the relationship.
In Islam, a cousin marriage is not considered incest, though it carries a high health risk. It has been shown that marriage between first cousins causes abnormal babies. However, it is still permissible, as the Quran highlights the benefits of cousin marriage.