Islam: Seeking Knowledge


This is the second article of the series. In the first article, we demonstrated and discussed the accounts that were wrongly attributed to the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) regarding the issue of the post-fornication or post-adultery marriage. We also discussed therein another important idea – the analogical inference of linking the issue of the post-fornication or post-adultery marriage to the issue of stealing a fruit from someone’s garden. While stealing, the thief is caught and accepts to buy it from the owner. It has been suggested, on this basis, that the illegitimate act of stealing the fruit does not render the lawful act of selling and buying the same fruit unlawful. We have seen, however, that this analogy is not accurate.

In this article, we shall briefly survey two of the narratives ascribed to some of the Sahabas as evidence in an attempt to prove the permissibility of the post-fornication or post-adultery marriage.



In his Al-Musannaf, Abdul-Razzaq narrated the following account:

عبد الرزاق عن شيخ من أهل المدينة قال سمعت بن شهاب يحدث عن عبيد الله بن عبد الله بن عتبة قال سئل أبو

بكر الصديق رضي الله عنه عن رجل زنى بامرأة ثم يريد أن يتزوجها قال ما من توبة أفضل من أن يتزوجـــــها

خرجا من سفاح إلى نكاح


From Abdul-Razzaq from one Sheikh among the people of Madina said: ‘I heard Ibn Shihab tell a narrative from Ubaidi-Lahi bin Abdillahi bin Utbat that he said: ‘Abu Bakr Al-Sidiq, may Allah be pleased with him, was asked if a man has committed a fornication or an adultery with a woman then he wants to get married to her (is it permissible)? In reply, he said: ‘There is no better repentance than to marry her; they have left an adultery or a fornication and entered into a legal marriage.[1]

In his book entitled Al-Nikah, Sheikh Mustafa Hamu Arshum has mentioned this account as one of the narratives which the exponents of the opinion of legalizing post-fornication or post-adultery marriage have put forwards as their evidence.[2] However, while doing my humble research, I could not find even one piece of writing that gives proof on this issue by referring to the above mentioned narrative. It is true that the account has been mentioned in Al-Musannaf by Abdul-Razzaq, but it is also strongly possible that the advocates of the post-fornication or post-adultery marriage did not rely on it in this issue. Probably, the reason behind that is the weakness of its sanad (chain of narrators). The account, as seen, has been told by an unknown man. The anonymous Sheikh mentioned as: “One Sheikh among the people of Madina”, makes the sanad unreliable, for nobody knows who this sheikh is! The account, therefore, is classified as inauthentic and so unacceptable.


Another narrative which has been used to base the reasoning by some of those who are firm in their opinion of the permissibility of the post-fornication or post-adultery marriage, states thus:

بينما أبو بكر الصديق في المسجد إذ جاء رجل فلاث عليه لوثاً من كلام وهو دَهِشٌ فقال لعمر: قم فانظر في شأنه

فإنّ له شأناً ، فقام إليه عمر فقال : إنّ ضيفاً ضافه فزنى بابنته ، فضرب عمر في صدره وقال قبَّحك الله ألا سترت

على ابنتك؟ فأمر بهما أبو بكر فضربا الحد ، ثم زوَّج أحدهَما الآخر وغرّبهما حولا

As Abu Bakr sat in the mosque, suddenly a man came in and beat about the bush, and he was stunned. He (Abu Bakr) said to ‘Umar: ‘Stand up, listen to his case, verily he has an important issue’. ‘Umar stood up for him and he (the man) said to him (‘Umar): that ‘He welcomed a guest, then he (the guest) committed a fornication with his daughter’. ‘Umar stroke his chest and said: ‘Woe be to you! Why not cover up (the sin of) your daughter?’ Abu Bakr ordered that they would be flogged with stripes as a prescribed punishment and then he coupled them together in a marriage and exiled them for a period of one year.

This account has been narrated by Ibn Hazm in his Al-Muhalla[3] and Al-Bayhaqi in his Al-Kubra,[4]and quoted by many others who believe in the permissibility of the post-fornication or post-adultery marriage. Al-Imam Ibn Al-‘Arabi Al-Maliki in his Ahkamu Al-Qur-an[5] and Sheikh Muhammad Al-Sabuni in his Rawai’u Al-Bayan,[6] are among those scholars who have based their argument upon it. In his words, Ibn Al-‘Arabi has even claimed that the account has been proved to be authentic. Even though, the survey made on its sanad (chain of narrators), has shown otherwise – his  assertion is erroneous, for one of its transmitters – Muhammad bin Is-haq, has been classified as a weak and deceitful narrator. Ibn Abi Khaithama, an expert at the Prophetic Traditions,   reports thus: “I heard Ibn Ma’in say: ‘Muhammad bin Is-haq is not so bad…he is not such (reliable one)…he is weak…he is not strong”.[7] Al-Maimuni, on his part, quotes Ibn Ma’in as saying that Muhammad bin Is-haq: ‘Is weak”.[8] Al-Nasai, one of the most reliable collectors of the Prophetic Traditions, says about Muhammad bin Is-haq that he: ‘Is not such strong”. [9]Al-Imamu Ahmad bin Hanbal says: “He used to cheat”. [10]

Several times, when I was reading the biography of Muhammad bin Is-haq, I came across other statements by Ibn Ma’in which were apparently contradictory to his previous quotations about Muhammad bin Is-haq. In his previous quotations, as seen, Ibn Ma’in says that Muhammad bin Is-haq is weak, while in other places you will find that he refers to him as a thiqa (reliable narrator). It is important to know that, lest you may be confused, when such apparently contradictory statements are found, they are usually reconciled in order to avoid contradiction between them. And so, when Ibn Ma’id said: “Muhammad bin Is-haq is weak” he meant that he had poor memory; and when he said: “He is a thiqa (reliable narrator)” he meant that he was reliable in terms of his truthfulness, piety and religiosity. But, again, care should be taken not to confuse between truthfulness, piety and religiosity on one hand, and reliability in the narration of accounts on the other hand. If a narrator suffers from poor memory, he is classified as a weak narrator regardless of whether he is pious or otherwise.

In a nut shell, the experts at the Prophetic Traditions have had different opinions in whether Muhammad Ibn Is-haq’s narratives are regarded as being authentic or not. But it is important to know that on the basis of the fundamentals of the science of the Prophetic Traditions, when scholars differ in opinions as to whether a narrator is reliable or not, the idea that his accounts are to be disregarded takes precedence over the counter-idea. It is for this reason that Al-Imamu Al-Daraqutni says: “The Imams have held various opinions about Muhammad bin Is-haq, yet he is not a hujja (his accounts are not worthy as evidence)”. [11]

But Muhammad bin Is-haq has another defect which disqualifies him – deception in the narration of account! On the basis of the measures and laws laid down to study the Prophetic Traditions and Accounts, we learn that an account narrated by a deceitful narrator is not acceptable. But again, deceitful narrators fall into two categories. One includes those who, besides of their being deceitful, are weak because of their poor memory. An account exclusively narrated by such narrator is not acceptable anyway. Another category includes those who have strong memory but have the habit of cheating purposely. The accounts narrated by such narrators are rejected only when they use in their narration any form of words showing that they did not hear the accounts directly from the narrators before them. Among the forms of words which may imply that a narrator did not hear an accounts directly from the narrator before him, is where he uses the Arabic preposition ‘anعن which can be translated as: “From”. Muhammad bin Is-haq, in this account, says:

مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ إِسْحَاقَ عَنْ نَافِعٍ عَنْ ابْنِ عُمَرَ

Muhammad bin Is-haq from Nafi’i from Ibn ‘Umar.

An account which has, in its chain of transmitters, an Arabic preposition عن ‘an “From”, is referred to as hadithu mu’an’an. Such account is rejected if narrated by a deceitful narrator, like Muhammad bin Is-haq, because it is possible that he has deleted a weak narrator and mentioned the next narrator, who is reliable, so that the chain of transmitters may look strong, fine and acceptable. In conclusion, therefore, we may say that both narratives attributed to the Sahaba are not authentic – the former has been received from an unknown narrator; the latter has been narrated by unreliable narrator.


The second account discussed herein, has been again narrated by Al-Bayhaqi, Abdul-Razzaq and, according to some researchers, was also narrated by Al-Imamu Malik. But there has been a strong contradiction in its chain of transmitters as well as its texts. This subject will dominate the next article in shaa Allah.


To be continued in Article no. 3.

Juma Al-Mazrui.



[1] – Abdul-Razzaq Al-Musannaf Vol: 7, p. 160, narrative no. 12849.

[2] – Mustafa Hamu Al-Nikah p. 248.

[3] – Ibn Hazm Al-Muhalla Vol. 11, p. 35.

[4] – Al-Bayhaqi Al-Kubra Vol. no. 8, p. 223, tradition no. 17428.

[5] – Al-‘Arabin Ahkamu Al-Qur-an Vol. 3, p. 339.

[6] – Al-Sabuni Rawai’u Al-Bayan Vol. 2, p. 50.

[7] – Ibn Hajar Tahdhibu Al-Tahdhib Vol. 9, p. 38, biography no. 51.

[8] – Op. cit.

[9] – Op. cit.

[10] – Op. cit.

[11] – Ibn Hajar Tahdhibu Al-Tahdhib Vol. 9, p. 40, biography no. 51.


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