Pregnancy: Shortest possible duration

Q505 :I was married to a girl who became a Muslim a few days before our marriage. My parents sent her back when she gave birth only six months after our marriage. Doctors suggest that the baby is not mine, as it is fully matured, weighing 2.5 kg. I am told to divorce her. Should I?

A505 : The first point to be made here is that most Muslim scholars agree that the shortest possible duration of pregnancy is six months, after which a woman may give birth to a developed baby. If a woman gives birth after six months, it is not possible for anyone to accuse her of adultery. At the time of Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) a woman gave birth to a baby after six months. Ali was assigned to inflict on her the punishment for adultery. But Ali (May Allah be pleased with him) whom he had appointed judge, told him that he would be exceeding his authority if he did that. Ali referred to two verses in the Qur'an, one stating that the full period of breast-feeding extends to two years. The other mentioned that the total period of pregnancy and breast-feeding is 30 month. Simple arithmetic shows that a pregnancy for six months is possible. Umar let the woman alone. When you married this woman, you were aware that she was not a virgin. Her past sins are overlooked because she became a Muslim a few days before your marriage. Since you accepted her as she was, then you must not go back on your word and make issue with her about what she did before she married to you or question her. For this period of time, you are able to judge whether she has the features of making of a good Muslim wife or not. Only you can answer this question. If you know her to have become a good Muslim and she has stopped un-Islamic practices since she became a Muslim, then it is probably best for you to keep her. On the other hand, if she has not taken her conversion to Islam seriously, then you should consider leaving her. There is another highly important point to consider. Although the shortest possible duration of pregnancy is six months, she might have been pregnant when you got married to her. Only she can tell. You should, therefore, emphasize to her the importance of knowing whether she was pregnant or not at the time when the marriage contract was made. If she was pregnant, then you should have a new marriage contract, because your marriage is not valid. It is not permissible for a Muslim to marry a pregnant woman until she has given birth. The Prophet says: "Anyone who believes in Allah and the last day must not irrigate with his water a seed planted by another person." You should appreciate the figurative method of expression here. It does not refer to true irrigation because a fetus does not need any such irrigation. It is also reported that a man discovered that the woman he had married was pregnant. He put the matter up to the Prophet who nullified the marriage, gave the woman her dower and ordered the woman to be flogged 100 lashes, which is the punishment for fornication. You have to determine the status of your marriage in the light of the foregoing, but you must not treat your wife with suspicion, particularly if you know her to be honest. If you know her not to tell lies, and she tells you that she was not pregnant at the time of your marriage, you should accept that statement from her.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )