A similar question has been submitted to His Excellency the Mufty (Islamic scholar qualified to issue legal opinions) of Saudi Arabia, Shaykh
Muhammad ibn Ibrahim (may Allah be merciful to him) to which he replied as follows: Al-hamdu lillah (All praise is due to Allah), Shighar means that a man gives his daughter or sister in marriage on the condition that the other gives him his daughter or sister in marriage under the condition that there is no Mahr. This kind of marriage is called Shighar for it is ignominious. The word "Shighar" is derived from "Shaghar" which literally means that a dog lifts its leg to urinate. All scholars agree on its prohibition and the fact that it disagrees with Allah's Shari`ah and its objectives as indicated in the Sahih (authentic) Hadith. It is recorded in
the Two Sahih (authentic) Books of Hadith (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
on the authority of
Ibn `Umar that the Messenger of Allah (Part No. 18; Page No. 420) (peace be upon him)
“forbade Shighar marriage.”
Shighar marriage is the exchanging of daughters or sisters for marriage with no mandatory gift to a bride from her groom. It is recorded in
on the authority of
Ibn `Umar that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
"There is no Shighar in Islam."
It is also recorded in
on the authority of
Abu Hurayrah who said,
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) forbade Shighar marriage.
Shighar is that a man gives his daughter or sister in marriage on the condition that the other gives his daughter or his sister to him in marriage. It is recorded in
on the authority of
Ibn Al-Zubayr that he heard
Jabir ibn `Abdullah saying,
The Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade Shighar marriage.
On the authority of
`Abdul-Rahman ibn (Part No. 18; Page No. 421) Hurmuz Al-A`raj who said
Al-`Abbas ibn `Abdullah ibn `Abbas married his daughter to
`Abdul-Rahman ibn Al-Hakam and
`Abdul-Rahman married his daughter to him and they made this (exchange) as their Mahr.
Mu`awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan wrote to
Marwan ibn Al-Hakam commanding him to separate between them. He stated in his letter that this was the Shighar which the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) had forbidden.
Scholars (may Allah be merciful to him) held different views regarding the meaning of Shighar and its validity. The author of Nayl Al-Awtar said: There are two kinds of Shighar marriage: Firstly, when the two exchange their daughters or their sisters in marriage without paying Mahr as indicated in the Hadith. The second, when both Waliys (a legally accountable person acting for a woman seeking marriage) stipulate that each gives the woman to the other in marriage. Some scholars see that only the first kind is prohibited.
Ibn `Abdul-Bar said, scholars unanimously agreed that Shighar marriage is not permissible but they held different views regarding its validity. Jumhur (dominant majority of scholars) agrees on its nullification. According to the view of
Malik, (Part No. 18; Page No. 422) this contract should be nullified before and not after consummating the marriage. This was also related by
Ibn Al-Mundhir from
Al-Awza`y. The Hanafy scholars see that Shighar marriage is valid and the Mahr has to be paid. This is the opinion of
Al-Layth. It is also related by
Abu Thawr. In his book Zad Al- Ma`ad,
Ibn Al-Qayyim (may Allah be merciful to him) said: The Fuqaha' (Muslim jurists) held different views regarding Shighar marriage.
Imam Ahmad said that the invalid Shighar is when a man gives his daughter or sister in marriage on the condition that the other gives him his daughter or sister in marriage without paying Mahr. However, the contract is valid in case they specified a certain Mahr.
Al-Khiraqy said that the contract is invalid even if they specify the Mahr.
Abu Al-Barakat ibn Taymiyyah and others from among the students of Imam
Ahmad said that the contract will be invalid if they fix the Mahr but stipulate that the Mahr of each one will be the marriage. However, if this condition is not stated, the marriage contract will be valid. The author of the book entitled Al-Muharrar said, the marriage contract of whoever gives his daughter or sister in marriage under the condition that the other gives him his daughter or sister in marriage without Mahr is invalid and this is considered Shighar. However, the contract is valid if they fix a Mahr.
Al-Khiraqy said that it is not valid. It is also said that it will not be valid if they stipulate that the Mahr of each one of them will be the marriage. Since there are differences of opinions regarding this matter, the most preponderant opinion is that Shighar is exchanging the two women without paying Mahr or paying a small amount of Mahr as a trick. So, this kind of marriage is (Part No. 18; Page No. 423) Batil (null and void) and its contract should be terminated before or after consummating the marriage. The Islamic Shari`ah (Islamic law) concentrated on the prohibition of Shighar marriage as the Waliy gives preference to his own interest over the interest of the one whom he is responsible for. As he, instead of advising and helping her to choose someone who will make her happy in this worldly life and in the Hereafter, the Waliy looks at his interest, neglects and overpowers her. She is not his slave or an animal to compensate her to do something in his benefit. He should make sure to marry her to someone suitable to her for you are guardians and are responsible for your charges. If a Waliy prefers his own interest, his guardianship should be taken from him and it should be given to someone who takes care of her own benefit. As for the saying of the questioner that Shighar marriage is widespread in the tribes of
Banu Al-Harith and others, he should advise people, otherwise, he should refer this matter to the rulers who will take action to (Part No. 18; Page No. 424) establish the truth, abolish falsehood, and preserve the honor of Islam and the objectives of laws, In sha’a-Allah (if Allah wills). May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.