Praise be to Allaah.
First on the test tube babies:
The ‘ulamaa’ in this organization – The Department of Scientific Research and Fatwaas and Da’wah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – have issued fatwas stating that this is not allowed, because it involves uncovering women’s ‘awrah, touching the private parts and tampering with the uterus, even if the sperm used is that of the woman’s husband. In my opinion, people should accept the ruling of Allaah, may He be exalted, which is (interpretation of the meaning):
“… and He renders barren whom He wills…” [al-Shoora 42:50].
Al-Lu’lu al-Makeen min Fataawaa al-Shaykh ibn Jibreen, p. 56
Undoubtedly children are one of the blessings and adornments of this world, and one of the greatest purposes of marriage is to produce offspring. A righteous child is a treasure for his parents in this world and in the Hereafter, and his righteous deeds will be recorded in the balance of his parents’ deeds. A man or a woman may be faced with lack of children or delay of having children. What they must do is be patient and seek reward, and say a lot of du’aa’ and prayers for forgiveness. They should understand that Allaah only decrees things for a reason. If a person has available Islamically acceptable means of getting children, there is nothing wrong with his pursuing that. But the Muslim should beware of false ways involving sihr (witchcraft) and myths, and he should beware of doctors who do not fear Allaah and whose main aim is to make money from those who want to have children. Hence some of them switch eggs or sperm. This is why some scholars have forbidden these methods of having children or have stipulated very strict conditions.
Mut’ah marriage means that a man marries a woman – either Muslim or from the people of the Book – and specifies how long the marriage will last, for example five days, or two months, or half a year, or many years. The beginning and end of the marriage are specified, and he pays her a small mahr (dowry), and after the specified time is over, the woman exits the marriage. This kind of marriage was permitted during the year of the Conquest of Makkah for three days, then it was disallowed and prohibited until the Day of Resurrection. This was reported by Muslim (1406).
The wife is the one with whom one stays on a long-term basis, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“… and live with them honourably …” [al-Nisaa’ 4:19], but in the case of mut’ah a man does not live with the woman for long.
The wife is the one who is called a wife in sharee’ah, with whom the relationship is long-lasting. She is mentioned in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):
“Except from their wives or (the slaves) that their right hands possess, ¾ for then, they are free from blame” [al-Mu’minoon 23:6] – the latter (a slave whom one’s right hand possesses) is not a wife according to sharee’ah, because her stay is limited to a short time.
The wife is the one who inherits from the husband, or from whom the husband inherits, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“In that which your wives leave, your share is a half if they have no child…” [al-Nisaa’ 4:12]. But the woman in a mut’ah marriage does not inherit, because she is not a wife, since she spends such a short time with the man.
On these grounds, Mut’ah marriage is considered to be zinaa (adultery or fornication), even if both parties consent to it, and even if it lasts for a long time, and even if the man pays the woman a mahr. There is nothing that has been reported in sharee’ah that shows that it may be permitted, apart from the brief period when it was allowed during the year of the conquest of Makkah. That was because at that time there were so many people who has newly embraced Islam and there was the fear that they might become apostates, because they had been used to committing zinaa during the Jaahiliyyah. So this kind of marriage was permitted for them for three days, then it was made haraam until the Day of Resurrection, as was narrated by Muslim, 1406.
You may pray the du’aa’ of Zakariya (peace be upon him), who said:
“Rabbi laa tadharni fardan wa anta khayr ul-waaritheen (O my Lord! Leave me not single (childless), though You are the Best of the inheritors).” This is a beautiful du’aa’ which is very appropriate in this case. Also suitable is another prayer of Zakariya: “Rabbi hab li min ladunka dhurriyyatan tayyibatan innaka samee’ al-du’aa’ (O my Lord! Grant me from You a good offspring. You are indeed the All-Hearer of invocation).”
The story of Zakariya contains valuable lessons for us. Allaah has told us this story in several places in the Qur’aan. For example, in Soorat Aal ‘Imraan, where He tells us about Maryam (peace be upon her) He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“So her Lord (Allaah) accepted her [Maryam] with goodly acceptance. He made her grow in a good manner and put her under the care of Zakariya. Every time he entered al-mihrab [a praying place or private room] to (visit) her, he found her supplied with sustenance. He said, ‘O Maryam! From where have you got this?’ She said, ‘This is from Allaah.’ Verily, Allaah provides sustenance to whom He wills, without limit.
At that time Zakariya invoked his Lord, saying: ‘O my Lord! Grant me from You a good offspring. You are indeed the All-Hearer of invocation.’
Then the angels called him, while he was standing in prayer in al-mihrab, (saying): ‘Allaah gives you glad tidings of Yahya, confirming (believing in) the Word from Allaah [i.e., the creation of ‘Eesaa], noble, keeping away from sexual relations with women, a Prophet, from among the righteous.’
He said, ‘O my Lord! How can I have a son when I am very old and my wife is barren?’ Allaah said: ‘Thus Allaah does what He wills.’
He said: ‘O my Lord! Make a sign for me.’ Allaah said: ‘Your sign is that you shall not speak to mankind for three days except with signals. And remember your Lord much, and glorify (Him) in the afternoon and in the morning.’”[Aal ‘Imraan 3:37-41]
In Soorat Maryam, Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“(This is) a mention of the mercy of your Lord to His slave Zakariya.
When he called out to his Lord (Allaah) – a call in secret,
Saying, ‘My Lord! Indeed my bones have grown feeble, and grey hair has spread on my head, and I have never been unblest in my invocation to You, O my Lord!
And verily! I fear my relatives after me, since my wife is barren. So give me from Yourself an heir, -
Who shall inherit me, and inherit (also) the posterity of Ya’qoob [inheritance of religious knowledge and Prophethood]. And make him, my Lord, one with whom You are well-pleased!’
(Allaah said): ‘O Zakariya! Verily, We give you the glad tidings of a son. His name will be Yahya. We have given that name to none before (him).’
He said, ‘My Lord! How can I have a son, when my wife is barren, and I have reached the extreme old age?’
He said, ‘So (it will be). Your Lord says: It is easy for Me, Certainly, I have created you before, when you had been nothing!’
[Zakariya] said: ‘My Lord! Appoint for me a sign.’ He said, ‘Your sign is that you shall not speak unto mankind for three nights, though having no bodily defect.’
Then he came out to his people from al-mihrab [a praying-place or private room] and told them by signs to glorify Allaah’s Praises in the morning and in the afternoon.”[Maryam 19:2-11]
In Soorat al-Anbiya’, Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And (remember) Zakariya, when he cried to his Lord: ‘O my Lord! Leave me not single (childless), though You are the Best of the inheritors.’
So We answered his call, and We bestowed upon him Yahya, and cured his wife (to bear a child) for him. Verily, they used to hasten on to do good deeds, and they used to call on Us with hope and fear, and used to humble themselves before Us.”
Thinking about the story of Zakariya (peace be upon him) is very beneficial for anyone who is infertile. One may also ponder the story of Ibraaheem and his wife Saarah, whom Allaah rewarded for their patience with Ishaaq when Ibraaheem was very old. He was also given another son, Ismaa’eel. Allaah tells us that His khaleel (friend) said (interpretation of the meaning):
“All praises and thanks be to Allaah, Who has given me in old age Ismaa’eel and Ishaaq. Verily! My Lord is indeed the All-Hearer of invocations.”[Ibraaheem 14:39]
In all situations, the Muslim should accept and be content with the decree of Allaah, even if he is to remain infertile for the rest of his life. It could be that his patience may be better for him than a child. Everything that Allaah decrees has wisdom and a reason behind it, and everything is subject to His Will and Command. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“To Allaah belongs the kingdom of the heaven and the earth. He creates what He wills. He bestows female (offspring) upon whom He wills, and bestows male (offspring) upon whom He wills.
Or He bestows both males and females, and He renders barren whom He wills. Verily, He is the All-Knower and is Able to do all things.”
Another alternative can be for the man to marry another woman; however he must do perfect justice between both of you. She will have all the rights you have.
The first wife’s distress when her husband marries another wife is to be expected, and Allaah has set out rules and regulations to reduce these feelings or remove them altogether, by enjoining justice, patience in the face of adversity, and so on. Whatever the case, the fact that these feelings of distress and the dislike of polygamy exist does not justify condemnation of polygamy. Islam came to serve and increase people’s best interests, and to reduce harmful things and render them ineffective. There is no doubt that polygamy, when practised properly in accordance with Islam, achieves many things that are in people’s best interests (such as maintaining the chastity of the man who is not satisfied with one wife, taking care of and maintaining the chastity of the woman who has no husband, increasing the offspring of the Muslims, solving the problem of widows and spinsters, and of the reduced numbers of men after times of war, and so on). As regards the bad things that happen in cases of polygamy, either they are very small when compared to its benefits, or they stem from bad application of this practice. One of the rights which Islam gives to women is that a wife should have her own house, so the two wives do not have to live together under one roof.
A woman’s being patient in obeying her husband is one of the means of entering Paradise, as it says in the hadeeth narrated by Ibn Hibbaan: “If a woman offers her five daily prayers and fasts her month (i.e., Ramadaan) and guards her chastity and obeys her husband, it will be said to her: ‘Enter Paradise from whichever of the gates of Paradise you wish.’” This hadeeth was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’ al-Sagheer, no. 660.
Her patience in putting up with her husband’s marrying a second wife will bring a special reward over and above that, for several reasons:
1 – Her husband’s marrying another wife is regarded as a test and trial for her, and if she bears that with patience she will have the reward for being patient in the face of a trial, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full, without reckoning”
According to the hadeeth: “No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, not even a thorn that pricks him, but Allaah will expiate his sins thereby.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5642; Muslim, 2573, from the hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed and Abu Hurayrah.
Al-Tirmidhi (2399) narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Trials will continue to befall the believer, man or woman, concerning himself, his child and his wealth, until he meets Allaah with no sin on him.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, no. 5815.
2 – If a woman accepts that and treats her husband and the other wife well, she will have the reward of al-muhsineen. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, he who fears Allaah with obedience to Him (by abstaining from sins and evil deeds, and by performing righteous good deeds), and is patient, then surely, Allaah makes not the reward of the Muhsinoon (good‑doers) to be lost”
“Is there any reward for good other than good?”
“And verily, Allaah is with the Muhsinoon (good-doers)”
3 – If she feels angry because of that, but she controls her anger – and controlling one's tongue is part of controlling one's anger – Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“…who repress anger, and who pardon men; verily, Allaah loves Al-Muhsinoon (the good‑doers)”
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:134]
This reward is in addition to the woman’s reward for obeying her husband under ordinary circumstances.
A wise woman should accept whatever Allaah decrees for her, and she should realize that her husband’s marrying another woman is something permissible, so she should not object to it. It may be that this (second) marriage will make him more chaste and prevent him from doing something haraam.
It is very unfortunate that some women object less to their husbands doing haraam things than to their marrying another woman in a permissible manner. This is a sign of their lack of reason and religious commitment.
Women should follow the good example of the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his companions, who were patient and sought reward even though many of them felt jealous. If your husband goes ahead and takes a second wife then you have to be patient and content and treat him well so that you can attain the reward of the patient and the doers of good.
Note that this life is the life of trials and tests, and how quickly it ends. So congratulations to the one who is patient in obeying Allaah in this life until he attains eternal delight in the gardens of Paradise.