A man and his father-in-law suckling from his grandmother
Q: Seven years ago, I married the daughter of my full paternal uncle, Husayn. I have another paternal uncle called Sayyid who is of the same age as me. We were breastfed together by my grandmother many times due to my mother's absence when I was in the age of breastfeeding.
My wife (Part No. 21; Page No. 90) gave birth to two children. Her father - my paternal uncle - was breastfed by my grandmother.
All of us know this fact. Nevertheless, I discovered, to my surprise, that there is an impediment to the continuance of this marital life, namely, the breastfeeding. Therefore, I seek your guidance, to preserve my religion, which is the safeguard of my affairs. What is the ruling on the following: A- If your Fatwa is to separate; should this be through declaration of divorce? Should I wait till I return to my country or should I do this on the spot and how?B- If your Fatwa is to separate, what is my status with my female cousins i.e. How should they appear before me? As for my wife, should she observe `Iddah (woman's prescribed waiting period after divorce), despite my absence for more than three years and I am still abroad?C- As for the children, who should be given custody of them?
If it is really that the father of your wife was breastfed by your grandmother five times in his first two years and you were breastfed by this woman, you are not permitted to marry his daughter, for you are her milk uncle. Thus, your marriage to her is Batil (null and void) and she is permitted to get married after she has had three menses after the last intercourse that took place between you. (Part No. 21; Page No. 91) It is not necessary to pronounce divorce, for your marriage is Batil and there is no need for divorce. She and all your female cousins are considered Mahrams (unmarriageable relatives) for you, for you are their milk uncle, and a milk brother to your paternal uncles - Husayn and Sayyid. As for the children your female paternal cousin gave birth to, they are your legitimate children, for you were ignorant that you are forbidden to marry your paternal cousin on account of the said breastfeeding. As for the custody of the children; whether they should stay with their mother or you, if you fail to settle it peacefully, refer it to the court for proper judgment.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet, his family, and Companions.