“Milkah” Marriages

Question

Asalaamu alaykoem,  I hope this email finds you well alhamdulillah.    Kindly advise on the details and procedures of a milkah marriage as its not very clearly mentioned on the Internet and many people are still confused on how to go about it.    I’d appreciate your help.  JazakAllah 

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

  1. In Islam, marriage is a contractual undertaking from which certain consequences flow.
  2. Some of these consequences are duties and others are rights. The wife has certain duties towards her husband, and he has duties towards her. Concomitantly, the husband has certain rights over his wife, and she has rights over him.
  3. At times, due to specific circumstances, a couple decide to conclude the contractual part of marriage (i.e. the actual nikāḥ), but leave the aspect of cohabitation, with all the rights and duties pertaining to it, for a later time.
  4. This deferment of cohabitation after concluding the marital contract is what has colloquially come to be known as milkah.
  5. In terms of milkah, the married couple will be fully entitled to enjoy the privacy of each other’s company without the need for a chaperone.
  6. The milkah also entails an agreement not to consummate the marriage until a point in the future mutually agreed upon.
  7. This agreement must not be made a formal condition of the marriage. It can only exist as a sort of “gentlemen’s agreement” on the periphery of the actual contract. If included into the fabric of the marriage contract itself it renders the marriage invalid.
  8. Failure to honour the agreement not to consummate the marriage will not be considered ḥarām.
  9. Together with the agreement not to consummate goes the fact that the husband is not liable to provide maintenance for his wife as long as the marriage remains unconsummated.
  10. The couple also typically live separate, he with his family and she with hers.
  11. A milkah agreement does not form a different category of marriage. It is nothing but a temporary suspension of some of the rights and duties associated with marriage. Where it is opted for, it must ideally be restricted to a limited period.

والله تعالى أعلم

And Allah knows best.

MJC (SA)

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