Egypt – Children Who Don’t Exist

I saw this on UmmahWatch. It’s from AlJazeera English on YouTube. I can’t believe this happens over in Egypt. What I’m talking about is this haram marriage called Urfee marriage. Basically the couple says verbally they will marry each other. No mahr, no witness or anything. It’s not from the Qur’an and Sunnah. How the heck do they get away? It’s cuz of the jahil Egyptian society. Anyways check out the video:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Basically Urfee marriage is like “halal” dating. I don’t understand which fiqh says this urfee marriage is valid, becuase there is no mahr.

May Allah (swt) rid this ‘urfee’ marriage from society! May Allah (swt) give the Egyptian government hidaya! Ameen.

43 Replies to “Egypt – Children Who Don’t Exist”

  1. Wow, Subhanallah. Ditto with Tariq. I can’t imagine fathers having the heart of thinking like that about their own daughters. I seek refuge from all of that in Allah. May Allah guide us all! May Allah make us truly thankful of all the blessings we are never aware of!

  2. May Allah make us Muslims. These are the same people who think they are better than others because they are ‘Arabs’. sick!

  3. Amir I understand that the legality of these marriages are certainly questionable and definitely unusual, but I think the bigger discourse should take place around the realities that little girls and women are the unfortunate victims of these marriages. Unless we call for justice for our fellow sister’s in Islam, I don’t think we’re going to really see any change in this practice.

  4. Radeyah on May 1, 2007 at 12:32 am said:

    Amir I understand that the legality of these marriages are certainly questionable and definitely unusual, but I think the bigger discourse should take place around the realities that little girls and women are the unfortunate victims of these marriages. Unless we call for justice for our fellow sister’s in Islam, I don’t think we’re going to really see any change in this practice.

    I agree with you 101! I hope more people watch this video inshaAllah!

  5. 3orfy marriage is upheld by the courts in Egypt, because family courts are sharia-based. These marriages just arent registered legally, but they require witnesses and a contract in order to be considered a marriage. If a contract exists, then a marriage exists. And the Egyptian courts always uphold it- for divorce, inheritance, legitimization of kids, whatever. It just isnt enrolled in the official government records until it goes from a secret marriage to a public one.

    The issue of the woman Hind is different. She had no contract, or even a photocopy of one. She claimed she married the guy in a 3orfy marriage, but he denies it. He says that they were never married and simply committed zina. If she has no document and cant produce any witnesses, then how can the court accept that a marriage actually happened? There’s no evidence that it did, and the husband and wife dont agree that it did. She says that he brought two of his friends to act as witnesses, and that he somehow stole her copy of the document.. but she cant prove any of these claims

    Also, why would 3orfy marriages be haram? They fulfill all the requirements of a marriage, they are just kept secret which is probably not good, but couples do it for alot of different reasons, mostly because of money and family issues. I think that alot of times they do include a mahr, its just a small one, like one egyptian pound or something.

    The problem with unregistered girls is pretty horrible, but Egyptian society is not jahil.

    ws

  6. …isnt that like the shiite ppl does…
    Totally screwed up aqeeedah…
    Whateva it is …
    May Allah SWT protect us from such wrong act , AMEEN

  7. Ahmed Z – The type of marriage you described, wasn’t described in the video. They didnt’ say anything about witnesses or a mahr. But if that is the case, then it is really sad that these men are not ‘maning up’.

  8. Thanks Ahmed Z that clears a lot up! Can some other Egyptians and Arabs out there in the blogosphere comment on the orphee marriages. As a Muslim I’d like to get your perspective and what the reality is really like. Is the al-Jazeera documentary accurate and to the point and what extent are young girls from these marriages really unregistered? Please put this in context for your American counterparts 🙂

  9. salam

    3orfy marriage is what is being described in the video. They must have witnesses or else it is not a marriage. They have to write up a document and have the witnesses sign it. It fulfills the minimum requirements for a marriage- which dont include publicizing the marriage or registering it with the government.

    Zina also happens in Egypt, and some kids are born out of wedlock- like the baby born to Farouk Al-Fishawy’s son and that girl Hind. In those cases there are no witnesses, no mahr, no contract, its just a sinful act, which happens everywhere in the world. Just because that girl claims there was a 3orfy marriage doesnt mean there really was one. Even a 3orfy marriage requires proof, which is why Egyptian courts uphold it and consider it a legal marriage under sharia (and therefore the law).

    I think the government can easily solve the issue of unregistered children by forcing both men and women to have their children registered, regardless of their gender. That way all kids can go to school. But laws like that would probably meet resistance because sometimes people like to keep their kids off the books in order to have them work instead of going to school.

    ws

  10. thanks again Ahmed Z.

    quick comment…I’m not sure if we should be so quick to label what happened in Hind’s case as Zina. None of us can judge that and I don’t think any of us can ever label it as such until it is proven. As far I know, it isn’t proven and we should give both parties the benefit of the doubt.

    But I see your point with the registration of the kids and the resistance it would cause.

  11. Ahmed Z on May 1, 2007 at 1:14 am said:

    salam

    3orfy marriage is what is being described in the video. They must have witnesses or else it is not a marriage. They have to write up a document and have the witnesses sign it. It fulfills the minimum requirements for a marriage- which dont include publicizing the marriage or registering it with the government.

    Zina also happens in Egypt, and some kids are born out of wedlock- like the baby born to Farouk Al-Fishawy’s son and that girl Hind. In those cases there are no witnesses, no mahr, no contract, its just a sinful act, which happens everywhere in the world. Just because that girl claims there was a 3orfy marriage doesnt mean there really was one. Even a 3orfy marriage requires proof, which is why Egyptian courts uphold it and consider it a legal marriage under sharia (and therefore the law).

    I think the government can easily solve the issue of unregistered children by forcing both men and women to have their children registered, regardless of their gender. That way all kids can go to school. But laws like that would probably meet resistance because sometimes people like to keep their kids off the books in order to have them work instead of going to school.

    ws

    I know it is 3orfy marriage that is being described but they didnt say anything about witnesess or a mahr. All they said it was a verbal agreement between the 2 people. Regardless of the woman Hind. The video says that there are over 1,000s of children without identities due to 3orfy marriages. Mostly girls, because there fathers think that they don’t need an official document from the government. From a Islamic point of view, entering into a marriage contract with the intention of not taking care of the children invalidates the marriage due to the commandment from Allah to men to take care of there families.

    Thus I don’t even think this 3orfy marriage is valid unless fully observed. Also, why is it secret?

    Me, personally, I think 3orfy marriage is just for men and women to fulfill there desires. The name 3orfy marriage just legitimizes what they do.

    But regardless of if the 3orfy marriage is valid or not, Radeyah is right. The focus should be on the children.

  12. Radeya

    In Egypt, kids born out of wedlock have no rights whatsoever. They do not inherit, even if paternity is proven. They dont have child support rights, or anything else. Theyre basically like orphans. I dont know if Islam supports this or not

    As for the registration thing, I really dont know whats behind it, but one thing that I heard is that some people in the villages in Egypt dont like sending their kids to school because they want them to work. Also obviously a girl born out of wedlock will never be registered because the father is not going to even admit that she’s really his daughter. And even if there is a provable marriage, which ends in divorce (like a huge number of 3orfy marriages do), the guy is not obligated to register his daughter because shes under his guardianship. But he has to provide for her for a certain amount of time, and when she gets married he’s her wali.

    I dont know much more… egyptian law is very bad to women, but its been improving alot lately.

    ws

  13. Alot of stuff causes people to get into 3orfy marriages. Mostly its because they want to be together and more open forms of marriage are impossible.

    The situation is very tough in egypt. Young people cant afford apartments to live in, especially in cairo. Jobs are difficult to find. You have to save for many years to be able to start a home. Girls who are 20 are getting marriage proposals from guys in their mid 30s and 40s. Most of these people do want to get married, they just cant. Its easy to date in Egypt, theres no reason to go through the whole act of having a 3orfy marriage unless you want to keep it halal.

    And yeah, what happens to the unregistered children is horrible, but not all of them are from that kind of marriage. Any man can choose not to register his daughter

  14. thanks Ahmed Z for sharing so candidly about the situation in Egypt for youth! I have comments but I’ll reserve them until tomorrow cause I;m working on three papers today…

  15. I agree with MR, in Islam, we do not just look at the superficialness of an action, but also the deeper intention. The intention of these “marriages,” as MR pointed out, is not a loving marriage for the sake of Allah, but rather pure human desire.

    Furthermore, Egypt has been in a state of jahhilya since Nasser began to move away from pro-Islam, to pro-Arab, and obviously a clear difference has emerged. In a true Islamic state, not this sort of garbage, the daughters of Islam would never be treated in such a manner. Marriages of pleasure would be swiftly taken care of by the true religious authority. All we have nowadays are sell-outs, western appointed leaders who run through corruption and fear, rather than legitimate results and Islam

  16. Urfi marriage is also haram because a time period is specified. This is something impermissible.

  17. Ahmed Z on May 1, 2007 at 1:04 am said:

    3orfy marriage is upheld by the courts in Egypt, because family courts are sharia-based. These marriages just arent registered legally, but they require witnesses and a contract in order to be considered a marriage. If a contract exists, then a marriage exists. And the Egyptian courts always uphold it- for divorce, inheritance, legitimization of kids, whatever. It just isnt enrolled in the official government records until it goes from a secret marriage to a public one.

    The issue of the woman Hind is different. She had no contract, or even a photocopy of one. She claimed she married the guy in a 3orfy marriage, but he denies it. He says that they were never married and simply committed zina. If she has no document and cant produce any witnesses, then how can the court accept that a marriage actually happened? There’s no evidence that it did, and the husband and wife dont agree that it did. She says that he brought two of his friends to act as witnesses, and that he somehow stole her copy of the document.. but she cant prove any of these claims

    Also, why would 3orfy marriages be haram? They fulfill all the requirements of a marriage, they are just kept secret which is probably not good, but couples do it for alot of different reasons, mostly because of money and family issues. I think that alot of times they do include a mahr, its just a small one, like one egyptian pound or something.

    The problem with unregistered girls is pretty horrible, but Egyptian society is not jahil.

    ws

    JazakAllah Khayr for clarifying it! i got scared since mufti said that Urfee marriages are legal by shariah and i was like how are they lagal? lol

  18. I thought this discussion would benefit from some scholary opinion, so…

    “The stated requirements of marriage in Islam are as follow: Full consent of both partners to the marriage, expressing the above consent through ijab (offer) and qabul (acceptance), finally the presence of two reliable witnesses. Apart from the above, in the case of females, their guardian’s consent has been considered essential for the validity of marriage according to the majority of imams and scholars. Imam Abu Hanifah, however, is of the view that a mature woman is fully capable of contracting her own marriage. Thus in his view, marriages finalized without guardian’s consent shall be considered as valid so long the woman has chosen someone who is considered as compatible.

    Furthermore, scholars are also in general agreement to the fact that marriages should not remain a secret affair; rather they should be publicized. Another important integral of marriage is the bridal gift; although it is not essential to stipulate it in the marriage contract, nevertheless it must be paid either before consummation of marriage or after.”
    -Excerpted from Sheikh Ahmad Kutty’s fatwa on Islamonline.net

    On the topic of secret marriage, I found this on Islam Q&A:

    “Do you not know that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Any woman who gets married without the permission of her guardian, her marriage is invalid,” three times. Narrated by Abu Dawood, 2083; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood. So how can you think of this invalid marriage that is not pleasing to Allaah and His Messenger, and then claim that your love is for the sake of Allaah?

    Do you not know that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded that marriages be announced publicly? He said: “Announce marriages publicly.” Narrated by Ahmad from the hadeeth of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn al-Zubayr. Al-Albaani said: (it is) hasan.”

    All that I have read and all that I know lead me to believe that 3orfi marriage is prohibited in Islam. We have to ask, who is this marriage being kept secret from? Is it the women’s wali? If so, than I can’t imagine anything more haram in regards to nikaH. Is a 3orfi “marriage” meant to conceal the union from the public in general? If so, then we have to ask what the motives are, and I can’t think of a single one that would be halal. At the VERY best, this type of marriage REAKS of DOUBT.

    Ahmed, I am also from Egypt and I know all the troubles that potential grooms face these days, specifically in regards to exoribtant mahrs. But that is no reason to go against the tenets of nikaH as prescribed by the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammed (Sallah Allahu Alayhi Wa Salaam). Wa Allahu Alam.

  19. Salam

    I didnt say that 3orfy marriage is something good or desirable, it leads to alot of problems. I was just explaining why it happens and clarifying alot of the untrue assumptions that people were making.

    By the way, the Egyptian scholars who ruled on 3orfy marriage and said it was halal also argued that a woman can sign the contract for herself without a wali. Whether they based it on the opinion of Imam Abu Hanifa or some other source, I have no idea.

    Anyway, I was just explaining that the marriage is considered halal and legal by Egyptian religious and government authorities, as long as the proper document exists and there were witnesses. Children born from these marriages are not illegitimate and have rights, and women that get into these marriages do have rights when the husband tries to divorce her.

    People keep 3orfy marriages secret mainly to hide it from their parents who would disapprove of them being married at a time when they are not financially ready to have a family (or who would disapprove of them marrying a man who is not financially ready to open a home). The practice does definitely cause alot of conflicts within families.

  20. What you have to remember is that Egypt is not an Islamic country. And its unfortunate that it happens and I pray that they are guided insha’Allah.

    A lot of this happens in America too actually. At FOL the insructor mentioned that this happens a lot on college campuses …

    May Allah guide us all. Ameen.

  21. salams,

    I hate to differ with you Ahmed Z but i totally disagree…Egypt like many other Arab countries hve abandoned th Haq and Allahs law…and made a their own mix therefore are in the peaks of jahil…

  22. W/Salam Akhi Ahmed,

    I didn’t mean to imply that you were in favor of 3orfy marriage, sorry if it came off that way. I simply meant to say that the reasons for this type of marriage, while perhaps factually accurate, are nonetheless Islamically baseless(despite what the Egyptian scholars say). Heck, we could validate mut3a marriages on the same basis, i.e. that for the purposes of avoiding zina or foregoing a proper mahr one can engage in mut3a to make things “halal.” Give me a break. These guys who do 3orfy marriages need to MAN UP and make dua that Allah (SWT) guides them.

  23. Subhan’Allah. Allah (Swt) may have blessed the Egyptians with beauty, but it seems like their beauty has caused them to neglect Hayah.

  24. I’m very disturbed by this practice or 3orfy marriage, and by the hardships it places on innocent children, but I have to say that it is not fair to condemn the whole of Egyptian society based on this issue. The government there deserves our disdain, but the society at large is suffering and deserves our dua. Despite all the hardships that people face, they are still, on the whole, becoming more pious by the day and this one video shouldn’t be taken as evidence of a deviant society. SubhanAllah I spent last ramadan in Cairo and Alexandria and I’ve never felt such sakeena outside of the haramein; and I’m sure Ustadh Suhaib Webb would agree with me, inshAllah.

    A lot of things in Egypt need to change, but there is still a great deal of baraka in that land. May Allah (SWT) grant our brothers and sisters in Egypt hidaya and sabr. Ameen

  25. SubhanAllah, may Allah protect the women of Egypt and make them strong in their eman. The thing that really scares me is that the women are being taught that Islam justifies the way they are being treated. How easy is it for them to turn away from Islam if they believe it is the status of women?

    May Allah protect them.

  26. Urfee marriage does sound similar to muta and muta is no longer allowed. Mahr is compulsory and should be agreed upon by both parties. If there are women ready to give up their maher, then the marriage is still valid as far as I know but a marriage should be documented. I agreed with what was said in the video in regards to the reason that majority on the youngsters consider urfee marriage as an excuse to have a relationship.

    Regarding that actor, I am suspicious of him. If the child is not his, why did he refuse a DNA test? If he committed zina, why isn’t he in jail?

    I feel sorry that the fathers are refusing to educate their daughters. I think every child has the right to be treated fairly, to be loved and taken care of by the parents. It seems like these fathers consider their daughters to be just a burden. They just didn’t bury them alive like they used to.

    May Allah (swt) guide us all to the straight path. Ameen

  27. Salaams all,
    I think the Egyptian scholars who came up with the justification for this type of marriage were probably well learned and had a justification for doing so. You guys are acting like a lot of people who just quote stuff straight out of a Hadith book and try to apply it to specific situations without knowing exactly what went on behind those rulings etc…
    So, for me i am not sure whether those marriages are halal or Haram because i am not learned in Islamic Jurisprudence and i will guarantee that most of the people with comments above are not, unless i hear it from a well learned scholar about the whole history behind the ruling of those marriage Halal in Egypt, i will not come out blazing how this is so Haram, Egypt is not a muslim country, Arabs claim to be better muslims than us and look at what they are doing.. just the comments that came out above were really surprising.

  28. Alsalamualaikum akhi (aw oukhti) anonymous,

    In my post above I quoted two scholars from two sites with differing perspectives on Islam that, nonetheless, were in agreement that marriages done in secret, especially in the absence of the wali of the woman, go against the sunnah. True, this evidence is not, as you requested “the whole history behind the ruling of those marriage[s] [being] Halal in Egypt,” but it is also not “like a lot of people who just quote stuff straight out of a Hadith book.”
    Moreover the hadith that the second scholar provided is as straight forward as it gets: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Any woman who gets married without the permission of her guardian, her marriage is invalid,’ three times. Narrated by Abu Dawood, 2083.” I really can’t find a shred of ambiguity there.

    Again, this practice and its terrible outcomes should not be used as a condemnation of Egyptian society at large. Moreover, and I should have made this clearer, my vehement disagreement with the scholars in Egyptian who authorize this type of marriage is, again, not meant to undermine the entire scholarly community there, or even the specific ulema’ who gave this fatwa. In fact, I pray that Allah guides and perserves the true ulema’ in Egypt who are much more learned in the deen than I will ever be. It is simply my observation that there are many other ulema who have different views on 3orfee marriage than those in Egypt, and it is my preference to accept the former opinion.

  29. it is not only practice in Egypt.. but sadly throuhout Arab countries… This Urfee MArriae thing has bn around in ages..only now, the UK documentaries wnt to expose how insulting d muslim or Arab communities are. Nauzubillah!!!

    May Allah SWT enlighten us with straight path and guide our heart to d part of jannah, AMEEN

  30. Every one of those kids, and every one who’s been led into this dhulm, will inshaAllah on the day of judgement, stand before God, as witnesses against the terrorist mob that is Mubarak and the organised criminals around him. One day the world will see what happens to criminals who enslave whole populations – Egypt will be an example

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