Episode 43: Genetic impact of marriage between relatives (3/4)


Perhaps whoever will hear these terrifying opinions about the harms of consanguineous marriage would say farewell to marriage between relatives to the point of no return. Therefore I say: Slow down, brother! Not everything they said is true, because:

Firstly: The texts with which they have supported their views on consanguineous marriage have no basis; even they are invalid if we suppose them attributed to `Umar.  But rather the authentic legislative texts stand contrary to what they have concluded. The Almighty said: "O Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)! Verily, We have made lawful to you your wives, to whom you have paid their Mahr (bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage), and those (slaves) whom your right hand possesses - whom Allâh has given to you, and the daughters of your ‘Amm (paternal uncles) and the daughters of your ‘Ammât (paternal aunts) and the daughters of your Khâl (maternal uncles) and the daughters of your Khâlât (maternal aunts) who migrated (from Makkah) with you." [Al Ahzab: 50].

And so did the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him). He married his relatives and got his daughters married to his relatives. Then again, if there was any harm in consanguineous marriage, the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) would have elucidated it.

Secondly: What they mentioned of harms and diseases resulting from consanguineous marriage is not admitted by a number of their fellow physicians.

Dr. Ahmad Shawqi Ibrahim, Dr. Muhamad Kamal Najib and Dr. Sadiqah `Ali Al `Awadhi presented a research work to (The International Islamic Medical Conference on Islamic law and Contemporary Medical Issues)(1), entitled: (Consanguineous Marriage: its negatives and positives ...)(2), where they said: "If we look at consanguineous marriage purely from the genetic side we find that merely consanguineous marriage itself is not considered an influencing factor on human health, but it plays a role like that of the detective inspector in revealing the crime. The role of consanguineous marriage is to accumulate the defected genes [the existing ones](3) in family members, and to promote their impact on the later generation which results from this type of marriage."

Then they added: "Due to the scientific importance of consanguineous marriage the Centre for Genetic Diseases in Kuwait has carried out two research works in this regard:

The first: Determination of the size of the problem related to consanguineous marriages in the State of Kuwait, and the impact of this type of marriages on abortion and foetal mortality, whether prior or after birth. The research concluded the following:  Firstly: Among the 5007 Kuwaiti families surveyed from different areas of Kuwait representing the Kuwaiti family statistically, the total average of consanguineous marriages was 54% while 30.5% of them were cousins.

Secondly: The research has shown a slight increase in the rate of child mortality during the first week and first month resulting from the consanguineous marriages (14.2%, 2.97%, respectively), compared to the ratio of child mortality within this age resulting from marriages between non-relatives (13.97%, 2.54%). However, we note that the difference is not statistically significant.

Thirdly: There is no specific pattern in the increase of abortion and premature birth if the degree of kinship is greater. The conclusion from this research was: there is no pattern in the increase of abortion and foetal mortality if the degree of kinship is greater.

The second research was about the percentage of chromosomal imbalance in the children of consanguineous marriages (Najib, 1984). This was carried out after the announcements made by many authorities about the existence of a relationship between inbreeding and imbalance in the chromosomes. This was supposed depending on the presence of more than one person in the same family suffering from the chromosomal imbalance, thus the cause has been attributed to a recessive gene due to a failure in the separation of the chromosomes during the division that is why the impact of this gene manifests in consanguineous marriages that leads to the activation of (4) this gene significantly in the offspring of consanguineous marriages.


(1) Held in Cairo in 1987 - under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Egypt - in cooperation between Al Azhar and the Faculty of Medicine at Ain Shams University.

 (2) The completion of the title is: (... between prohibition and permission), and this sentence does not agree the search, since they examined the harms of permitted consanguineous marriage.

 (3) An Arabic word “Al Mutawajidah” has been used here to denote the sense of “existent” however, the correct is “Al Mawjudah”; as the word “Al Mutawajidah” has the meaning of “intense feeling”, i.e. grief, according to Lisan Al `Arab (6/4770).

(4) See explanation of this word.

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