Fatwa Question or Essay Title:
What is the Shia stance on a father-in-law who rapes his daughter-in-law?
If a father-in-law sexually exploits his daughter-in-law, she will not become the 'mother' of her husband since she is not the wife of her father-in-law. According to Shariat, rape does not affect family lineage. Just as in the rulings of Sharia, an illegitimate child is not considered a legitimate child and therefore has no claim to inheritance. An illegitimate person cannot lead prayers though prayers are mandatory on him. Therefore, the father who raped the daughter-in-law is 'illegitimate so how could his action of rape turn the halal (lawful) marriage into a haram (unlawful) one?
Furthermore, when we are uncertain of a ruling we should refer back to the Prophet's hadith (sayings). The hadith states, "Do not break conviction for suspicion." In the referred case of Imrana being raped by her father-in-law, our opinion is that before the rape by her father-in-law, Imrana [see note below]was legally wedded to her husband. After the rape, the question arose whether she is still "halal" (legally wedded) to or husband or not. The question itself is unfounded in the light of the abovementioned hadith and she will remain "halal" (lawfully married) to her husband. According to the Shia sect (of India), Imrana is "halal" (lawfully married) to her husband. The conviction for the rapist of a legally wedded wife is that he should be stoned to death.
Imrana is a 28 year old Muslim woman living Muzaffarnagar India. She was raped by her father-in-law on June 6th 2005 after which Deoband issued a controversial fatwa which ordained that Imrana and her husband be seperated and their marriage to be nullified. They were interpreting the Quranic verse, "And marry not what your fathers have married" (4:22). Many women activist groups and as well as Muslim organizations condemned the fatwa as exemplified above.
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