Breaking an oath

Q: At the beginning of 1986, I proposed to my cousin. A dispute arose within the family, because I asked my cousin not to continue her education as we would not need her future job. The reason behind my refusal that she should not continue her academic education was because of the free intermixing of men and women which, unfortunately, had spread in my country Morocco. It happened that my maternal uncle suddenly told us that we had been breast-fed from the same woman. Upon this, some members of the family sought the Fatwa (legal opinion issued by a qualified Muslim scholar) of a scholar, who told them that we were not. He advised them to put their trust in Allah (Exalted be He) and proceed with the marriage. So we did with the consent of her father that she would not continue her education. We fixed a date (Part No. 23; Page No. 92) for the marriage contract. On that very day, an unexpected event took place. When we went to the Ma'dhun (marriage registrant) to sign the marriage contract, my maternal uncle abruptly said, "O shaykh! Write down in the contract that my daughter would continue her academic education". By then, my mother disagreed as that was contradictory to what they agreed upon earlier. My uncle replied that he wanted his daughter to continue her education. Here the dispute came to its peak. We all left the Ma'dhun without signing the marriage contract.When we returned to my uncle's house, the discussion continued between him and the members of the family concerning his new decision. They asked him about the reason which made him change his mind, but his answer was nothing more than he just wanted to ensure the future of his daughter. One of his sons reminded him of the fact that all things are submitted to the Will of Allah, whether good or bad. He felt regret for what he did and asked us to forgive him saying that by tomorrow we would sign the marriage contract without any preconditions and that he would not interfere with my relation with his daughter anymore. I told him that after my return from Saudi Arabia, we would sign the marriage contract and consummate the marriage.Your Eminence, Shaykh Ibn Baz, I resorted to you because after performing `Umrah (lesser pilgrimage), I swore by Allah that I would not marry a woman that may mix with men in her job. We fixed a date for marriage the next year after the season of Hajj. However, my fiancée sent me a letter saying that she would not stop her education (Part No. 23; Page No. 93) and would work for the Ministry of Justice until receiving her M.A. In law. As you know the laws of Morocco are man-made laws that have nothing to do with Shari`ah (Islamic law). Your Eminence, Shaykh Ibn Baz, these are my questions:1. Does Shari`ah permit a married woman to go out of her house for work? What is the evidence?2. If Shari`ah permits a woman to go out of her house for work, do you advise my cousin to seek a job or to stay at home?3. If it happens that I refuse their condition and tell them that I no longer want to marry this girl, am I considered a hypocrite or just have to offer Kaffarah (expiation)?4. If we get married and she pursues her career in practicing law, am I supposed to offer Kaffarah for swearing in the Ka`bah that my wife will not work in a job where she may mix with men? Your Eminence, Shaykh Ibn Baz, I hope you would be the exemplary model that guides people toward the right path and removes ignorance and darkness away from our understanding of religion. Kindly advise. May Allah reward you with the best!

A: First, if you sign the marriage contract with your cousin and afterwards she works in a job where she mixes with men, you have to offer Kaffarah for breaking your oath. The Kaffarah involves feeding ten Miskins (needy persons), or providing them with clothing, or (Part No. 23; Page No. 94) emancipating a believing slave. If you are unable to afford any of these, you must observe Sawm (Fast) for three days.Second, if you refuse to marry your cousin because she works in a job in which she mixes with men, there is no blame on you, because you will be considered as having broken your promise as a result of a Shar`y (Islamically lawful) excuse.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.