Is it Makruh to marry a cousin in the Hanafi Madhab?

Quran

Hadith

Islamic Text

It is permissible to marry a cousin due to clear evidence in Quran and Hadith. I have not come across any evidence in Quran or Hadith, nor any statement of classical scholars of the Hanafi Madhab stating it is Makruh.

يَاأَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّا أَحْلَلْنَا لَكَ أَزْوَاجَكَ اللَّاتِي آتَيْتَ أُجُورَهُنَّ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ يَمِينُكَ مِمَّا أَفَاءَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكَ وَبَنَاتِ عَمِّكَ وَبَنَاتِ عَمَّاتِكَ وَبَنَاتِ خَالِكَ وَبَنَاتِ خَالَاتِكَ اللَّاتِي هَاجَرْنَ مَعَكَ

O Prophet! We have made lawful to you the wives to whom you have given their dowers; and those whom your right hands possess from that which Allah has assigned to you; and the daughters of your paternal uncles and the daughters of your paternal aunts, and the daughters of your maternal uncles and the daughters of your maternal aunts, who have migrated with you. (Surah al-Ahzaab, 50).

It is important to keep in mind that the onus is always on the person making a claim. If someone says, “Allah Most High said…” or “the Prophet (peace be upon him) said…” or “it is Haram to do such and such”, then such a person must provide evidence to support their statement. It is not part of our methodology to task a person to prove a negative.

So in our case, we must put the onus on the person claiming it is Makruh to marry a cousin, to provide evidence. Unfortunately, many people are not educated in the Islamic sciences and do not understand such fundamentals of the Islamic tradition. Thus people will say, ‘prove that it is not Makruh to marry a cousin.’ Although there is proof for this, as seen below, it must be clarified that it is incorrect to ask people to prove a negative. Rather the onus is on the claimant.

Similarly many people will ask people to prove a Hadith they have narrated is not authentic. This is nothing but ignorance. The onus is upon the one attributing something to the Prophet (peace be upon him) to prove it is authentic.

The Quranic verse above clarifies that it is permitted for one to marry a cousin. There are other verses of the Holy Quran that clarify this point too, as well as numerous Hadith. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) himself married Sayidah Zaynab bint Jahsh, and she was the Prophet’s paternal aunt’s daughter. There are numerous examples of this practice in the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and thereafter.

فَأَمَّا ابْنَةُ الْعَمِّ وَابْنَةُ الْعَمَّةِ وَابْنَةُ الْخَالَةِ وَابْنَةُ الْخَالِ فَمِنْ جُمْلَةِ الْمُحَلَّلَاتِ. (المبسوط).

As for the daughter of the paternal uncle, daughter of the paternal aunt, daughter of the maternal aunt and the daughter of the maternal uncle, they are amongst those that are permitted to marry. (Imam al-Sarakhsi, al-Mabsoot).

ثُمَّ أَخْبَرَ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى أَنَّهُ أَحَلَّ مَا وَرَاءَ ذَلِكَ بِقَوْلِهِ: {وَأُحِلَّ لَكُمْ مَا وَرَاءَ ذَلِكُمْ} [النساء: 24] وَبَنَاتُ الْأَعْمَامِ وَالْعَمَّاتِ وَالْأَخْوَالِ وَالْخَالَاتِ لَمْ يُذْكَرْنَ فِي الْمُحَرَّمَاتِ فَكُنَّ مِمَّا وَرَاءَ ذَلِكَ فَكُنَّ مُحَلَّلَاتٍ. (بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع).

Then He (Allah) Most High informed us that He (Most High) has permitted everyone other than that. And Halal for you is everyone other than that. (Surah al-Nisa, 24). The daughters of paternal uncles, paternal aunts, maternal uncles, and maternal aunts were not mentioned amongst those that are prohibited for one to marry. Therefore they are amongst those that are not prohibited. Thus (they are) permitted to marry. (Imam Ala al-Deen al-Kaasaani, Badai al-Sanaa’i).  

In the Nusoos above the Hanafi Imams have mentioned the permissibility of marrying a cousin, but no mention was made of it being Makruh. This is not categorical proof that it is not Makruh. However it does allude to it, and unless someone can provide a reference from a classical Hanafi scholar establishing it is Makruh, then this should be considered to be the Hanafi opinion.

وفي ” الذخيرة “: أولاد الأعمام والعمات والأخوال والخالات من المباحات لِقَوْلِهِ تَعَالَى: {وَبَنَاتِ عَمِّكَ وَبَنَاتِ عَمَّاتِكَ وَبَنَاتِ خَالِكَ وَبَنَاتِ خَالَاتِكَ} [الأحزاب: 50]. (البناية شرح الهداية)

And in al-Dhakheerah (it states): The children of paternal uncles, paternal aunts, maternal uncles and maternal aunts are amongst those that are permitted (to marry). This is due to the words of (Allah) the Exalted: And the daughters of your paternal uncles and aunts, and the daughters of your maternal uncles and aunts, who have migrated with you. (Surah al-Ahzaab, 50). (Imam Badr al-Deen al-Ayni, al-Binayah Sharh al Hidaayah).

In this Nass (text) Imam al-Ayni uses a different term (Mubaah, instead of Halal), which ones again strengthens the position that it is not Makruh. Anyone claiming it is Makruh must provide evidence and authoritative Nusoos.

And Allah Most High Knows Best.

– Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (04.01.2022)

See also:

Hadith about marrying cousins

See also (video):

Is it sunnah to marry your cousin?