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How To Explain Cousin Marriage To Non Muslims?

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Salam o Alaykom,

My friend who is a christian brought up a topic about how disgusting cousin marriages are.

Well, I defended and tried to explain it to him, but wasn't convincing to him.

I felt embarrassed and said to myself that they might think that Muslims are born from, may god forbid, incest.

I was wondering how we can justify this to non Muslims. Are there any biblical references or from the Torah?

Thanks in advance.

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Cousin marriages has only recently been looked down upon in the west. There is nothing wrong with cousin marriages it is not at all incest.

 

And yet they think gay marriages are fine, probably better to just save yourself the effort and work upon yourself rather than trying to enlighten fools.

Edited by Khalilallah

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If we all came from Adam and Eve and their children married each other, then can we marry our cousins?

 

When life on earth began at creation, Adam and Eve were told to "be fruitful and multiply".  The human race started out with only one man and one woman, so their sons and daughters married in order for life to continue on.  So why all the fuss today about people marrying first cousins?  Is it ok with God?

 

Perhaps one of the best ways to look at this question is to consider the purpose for the Tree of Life.  Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden of Eden so that they would not have access to the Tree of Life and thus become immortal sinners (Genesis 3:22).  The book of Revelation tells us that we will one day be restored to the Tree of Life and its special properties will give us eternal life.  We are also told that the leaves of that tree are for the “healing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:2)

 

Well, after Adam and Eve were placed outside the Garden, they had no access to the life giving properties of the Tree of Life, but some of it's effects lingered with the early people of planet earth.  The restorative virtue of the Tree was so great that we read of no disease whatsoever from the creation of Adam and Eve to the flood and the average life expectancy was around 900 years of age!  In fact, so great was the healing power of that tree upon Adam and Eve that in the genealogies of their decedents, only one son died before his father (in terms of old age) and this was recorded in Genesis because it was such an unheard of event for that time.

 

Today, we have degenerated to the degree that we warn people about
 

the heredity from your parents.  For a woman, Breast Cancer is more likely if your grandmother and/or mother had it.  Baldness, hemophiliacs, diabetes, etc. are all passed on in the genes to the next generation, whether expressed or not.  When people breed within their own gene pools, certain flaws and deficiencies tend to emerge.  First cousins are more likely to have a baby with a serious birth defect, mental retardation, or genetic disease.   In fact, the risk is doubled when compared to a standard marriage between two unrelated partners.  Because of disease and the potential for handicaps, the state and federal governments have passed laws limiting who can marry whom. The potential to limit the usefulness and happiness of our offspring is why most states do not allow close relatives to marry.  History tells us clearly what happened to the monarchy in Japan due to close inbreeding.  We just need to use some common sense for this issue.

 

Is it a sin to marry a cousin? The Bible does not specifically forbid it (see chart below), but it's important to remember that many laws do condemn this type of marriage and Christians are commanded to "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.  For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men" (1 Peter 2:13-15, See also Romans 13:1-2).

What specific types of marriage does God forbid?

 

Source: http://www.wordoftruthradio.com/questions/37.html

 

With Duas.

 

Narsis.

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If we all came from Adam and Eve and their children married each other, then can we marry our cousins?

 

 

This is weak reference. That is not true. These kind of references are picked by enemies to light up issues against Muslims. Ask this question to Scholar around you, they will tell you things clearly.

 

Let me remind you again " Allah " is not changing by time. He is constant from the day 1 and will remain constant. It is human nature which need changes as per knowledge revealed to them.

Edited by alirex

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Salam o Alaykom,

My friend who is a christian brought up a topic about how disgusting cousin marriages are.

Well, I defended and tried to explain it to him, but wasn't convincing to him.

I felt embarrassed and said to myself that they might think that Muslims are born from, may god forbid, incest.

I was wondering how we can justify this to non Muslims. Are there any biblical references or from the Torah?

Thanks in advance.

 

You should ask them what exactly made cousin marriage change from an acceptable and normative form of marriage to incestuous marriage in European consciousness over a short period of history. They will never be able to answer this and you'll never need to go further to defend cousin marriage from an Islamic-religious perspective.

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Id say it has to do with how close or distant the cousins are. If its a marriage between first or second cousins, the whole discussion of inbreeding comes into play.  If its about distant cousins, that you need to pull out the family album that dates back to the founding fathers to explain, then its a different story. If a couple is closely related, to the extent it could potentially harm their children, then that may be worth criticism.  But not all cousins are so closely related.

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I won't pretend to be knowledgeable about what other religions' history has to say about cousin marriages, but depending on what exactly the objection against cousin marriages is, I might be able to help with a logical repondre. The majority of objections lean towards the incest argument, and in many cases that could be countered with the other teachings of Islam that complement, and thus make possible, cousin marriages. I refer namely to the prescribed countenance with a non-mahram; technically the difference in dealing between cousins and other non mahrams is to be very little (if at all). I know families where cousins treat each other like any non mahram with minimum interaction after a certain age, (usually a while before bulooghat), and this makes marriage acceptable, socially speaking.

 

It would be interesting to see what their response would be if you asked them what happens when you marry someone and later discover he is your cousin (families may lose touch for a variety of reasons). Does the original objection persist? I suspect against it.

Edited by l'Optimiste

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I won't pretend to be knowledgeable about what other religions' history has to say about cousin marriages, but depending on what exactly the objection against cousin marriages is, I might be able to help with a logical repondre. The majority of objections lean towards the incest argument, and in many cases that could be countered with the other teachings of Islam that complement, and thus make possible, cousin marriages. I refer namely to the prescribed countenance with a non-mahram; technically the difference in dealing between cousins and other non mahrams is to be very little (if at all). I know families where cousins treat each other like any non mahram with minimum interaction after a certain age, (usually a while before bulooghat), and this makes marriage acceptable, socially speaking.

 

It would be interesting to see what their response would be if you asked them what happens when you marry someone and later discover he is your cousin (families may lose touch for a variety of reasons). Does the original objection persist? I suspect against it.

 

The incest argument is, however, touted not because of any moral implications - a lot of the West has, unfortunately, left that boat a long time ago, by either not caring or redefining what is moral - but, rather, the genetic and biological implications. Their problem is research which shows that incestuous relationships and relations between people that are closely related tend to produce offspring with a higher likelihood of genetic defects and that is what their objection is often about.

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The incest argument is, however, touted not because of any moral implications - a lot of the West has, unfortunately, left that boat a long time ago, by either not caring or redefining what is moral - but, rather, the genetic and biological implications. Their problem is research which shows that incestuous relationships and relations between people that are closely related tend to produce offspring with a higher likelihood of genetic defects and that is what their objection is often about.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't research regarding the genetic and biological implications still sub judice?

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Id like to add that, first and second cousin marriages, if they were performed consistently in large numbers, would likely destroy humanity. It is only in recent times, that royalty and family honor has come into play, that consistent close cousin marriages have occurred. And this isn't just an eastern phenomenon, it is certainly found in western history as well.

Edited by iCambrian

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The argument about possible genetics defects is a different ball game and doesn't or shouldn't be sustained through what is perceived in the West as incest. If I talk about myself, and my siblings and other cousins, none of us would consider marrying each other because we are too concerned about the health of our offspring, in the light of scientific scholarship. And that's the basis of rejecting cousin marriage in my family not some ideas about closeness of relations aka incest.

 

And also what @ l'Optimiste said about the social distance between cousins in most Muslim cultures. Traditionally, it's not a problem seeing your first cousin as prospective romance, but so far this has changed to an extent in families where cross-gender cousin relations are rather relaxed, and where cousins mix up and live closely, often against rules of hijab, I have seen that cousins from such families usually dislike the idea of marrying each other.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't research regarding the genetic and biological implications still sub judice?

 

So far as I know the high likelihood of genetic defects does not increase straight up by the mere fact of first cousins getting married but depends on an unfortunate combination of factors one of which is the degree of inbreeding on either parent's side, esp on mother's side, I think. But those cousins who want to get married so very bad have the option to undergo genetic testing which will determine if there is a reasonable likelihood of a defect passing on to their coital fruits. In some cousin cases the likelihood is only as much as in other, non-cousin couples. So that's where it becomes somewhat hazy.

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Salam o Alaykom,

My friend who is a christian brought up a topic about how disgusting cousin marriages are.

Well, I defended and tried to explain it to him, but wasn't convincing to him.

I felt embarrassed and said to myself that they might think that Muslims are born from, may god forbid, incest.

I was wondering how we can justify this to non Muslims. Are there any biblical references or from the Torah?

Thanks in advance.

Just something general to keep it mind when it comes to inter faith dialogue - nothing works as good a defense as a good offence. Observe the rules of respect and decency, of course, but meet prejudiced assertions with patience, and most importantly a refusal to be put on the spot. Knowledge goes a long way here; how convinced you are about what you believe in impacts your argument, directly or indirectly. This way, you will only need to convince him that this is the opinion of your religion, not why it is so. I say this fully aware of the power of using logic to persuade, and this is closely related to having knowledge, but my approach will, if nothing else, save you the discomfiture.

 

I remember this lecture series I attended regarding answers to common objections raised at our religion, and the A'lim began the first session with this piece of powerful advice (admittedly, he explained it much better than I attempted to!). He said, "When they ask you why you prostrate on a piece of earth or append your prayers, start by saying: 'The Prophet (saws) did it; why don't you?' 

 

This, of course, would be most appropriate when the purpose of the inquiry is to humiliate, or in some cases idle curiosity; as opposed to a genuine desire to know. I thought I'd mention it since your experience seemed to fall into the former category.

 

Anyway, apologies for the digression; this is not a thread on the ethics and tacks of inter faith dialogue. 

Edited by l'Optimiste

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Aside from the discussion of passing on genetic defects, genetic diversity protects us from all sorts of viruses and bacteria. Marriage within a family can limit genetic diversity in that families gene pool, which would subsequently lead to them becoming sick more frequently from disease and bacterial infection.

 

More susceptible* to disease and infection may be a more correct way to state that.

 

So even if two family members were to intermarry, and neither carried a particular defect that would come about through recessive genes, they would still be potentially putting themselves into a less ideal position in the long run.

Edited by iCambrian

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Yes, the other thing is also diversity in the gene pool.

 

I'm, however, interested in how Imam Ali and Lady Fatima were also sort of cousins. It was the Prophet and Imam Ali who were truly first cousins and Lady Fatima was his daughter so I'm not sure what the relation would be - cousin uncle? - but they were also closely related. If it was so bad for the gene pool, why did they do it?

 

Perhaps, it's not about absolutes and what Marbles has said above, that it's just one factor and that sometimes it can lead to problems and sometimes it won't.

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Tell your friend that 99 percent of the population of Iran is the product of cousin luvin', and we all turned out OK.

lol. Cousin marriages are very common in countries such as Iran, Afghanistan and etc, and still nothings wrong with their offsprings for the majority. I've only heard just a few stories that couples were cousins and they're children turned out to be mentally retarded or had a physical defect. 

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Heres a bit of material i was taking a look at, that could be useful for the topic.  I could quote it, but there is quite a bit to read.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cousin_marriage#Biological_aspects

 

Although isolated cousin marriages may pose little risk, repeated consanginous marriages within a group are more problematic. After repeated generations of cousin marriage the actual genetic relationship between two people is closer than the most immediate relationship would suggest. In Pakistan, where there has been cousin marriage for generations and the current rate may exceed 50%, one study estimated infant mortality at 12.7 percent for married double first cousins, 7.9 percent for first cousins, 9.2 percent for first cousins once removed/double second cousins, 6.9 percent for second cousins, and 5.1 percent among nonconsanguineous progeny. Among double first cousin progeny, 41.2 percent of prereproductive deaths were associated with the expression of detrimental recessive genes, with equivalent values of 26.0, 14.9, and 8.1 percent for first cousins, first cousins once removed/double second cousins, and second cousins respectively.[188]

Even in the absence of preferential consanguinity, alleles that are rare in large populations can randomly increase to high frequency in small groups within a few generations due to the founder effect and accelerated genetic drift in a breeding pool of restricted size.[189] For example, because the entire Amish population is descended from only a few hundred 18th-century German-Swiss settlers, the average coefficient of inbreeding between two random Amish is higher than between two non-Amish second cousins.[190] First-cousin marriage is taboo among Amish but they still suffer from several rare genetic disorders. In Ohio's Geauga County, Amish make up only about 10 percent of the population but represent half the special needs cases. In the case of one debilitating seizure disorder, the worldwide total of 12 cases exclusively involve Amish sufferers.[191] Similar disorders have been found in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, who do allow first-cousin marriage and of whom 75 to 80 percent are related to two 1830s founders.[192][193]

 

A BBC report discussed Pakistanis in Britain, 55% of whom marry a first cousin.[196] Given the high rate of such marriages, many children come from repeat generations of first-cousin marriages. The report states that these children are 13 times more likely than the general population to produce children with genetic disorders, and one in ten children of first-cousin marriages in Birmingham either dies in infancy or develops a serious disability. The BBC also states that Pakistani-Britons, who account for some 3% of all births in the UK, produce "just under a third" of all British children with genetic illnesses. Published studies show that mean perinatal mortality in the Pakistani community of 15.7 per thousand significantly exceeds that in the indigenous population and all other ethnic groups in Britain. Congenital anomalies account for 41 percent of all British Pakistani infant deaths.[197]

 

 

The video above references the cheetah, but some common information can apply to people as well.

 

And obviously humanity never went through an extreme disaster scenario in which the population was "bottle necked", but first and second cousin marriages are almost like an...like an artificial bottle necking, and it is something that would inevitably lead to great harm to the people involved. Perhaps not too noticeable in one or two generations.  5 or 10 generations however, or even 20-30, and you're compiling the risk. Even while probability of harmful occurrences may be low, all it takes is one bad situation to ruin a persons life, or to even end it.


k, just finished editing.

Edited by iCambrian

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lol. Cousin marriages are very common in countries such as Iran, Afghanistan and etc, and still nothings wrong with their offsprings for the majority. I've only heard just a few stories that couples were cousins and they're children turned out to be mentally retarded or had a physical defect. 

 

It is proven that marriages between first cousins have a slighter higher chance of carrying a genetic disorder in their offspring but the percentage between a non-related couple having the same problem and the first cousin's couple is not that high. I read one day this: 

 

"First cousins are somewhat more likely than unrelated parents to have a child with a serious birth defect, mental retardation or genetic disease, but their increased risk is nowhere near as large as most people think, the scientists said." http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/04/us/few-risks-seen-to-the-children-of-1st-cousins.html

 

So at the end of the day, yes, there is a higher chance but Allah's will surpasses everything. Each of us will get the offspring that Allah swt has commanded us to have and if HE did not say that marrying cousins is haram, then perhaps the only reasons someone would avoid it is due to family ties being damaged or things of that sort, but if its common to do so in certain countries, then again nothing wrong with it because it's not a sin nor should they worry about their offspring if that's what they want to do. 

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It is proven that marriages between first cousins have a slighter higher chance of carrying a genetic disorder in their offspring but the percentage between a non-related couple having the same problem and the first cousin's couple is not that high. I read one day this:

"First cousins are somewhat more likely than unrelated parents to have a child with a serious birth defect, mental retardation or genetic disease, but their increased risk is nowhere near as large as most people think, the scientists said." http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/04/us/few-risks-seen-to-the-children-of-1st-cousins.html

So at the end of the day, yes, there is a higher chance but Allah's will surpasses everything. Each of us will get the offspring that Allah swt has commanded us to have and if HE did not say that marrying cousins is haram, then perhaps the only reasons someone would avoid it is due to family ties being damaged or things of that sort, but if its common to do so in certain countries, then again nothing wrong with it because it's not a sin nor should they worry about their offspring if that's what they want to do.

Ugh what??

You just admitted that it increases the risk of genetic abnormalities in children (in fact it is not merely "slightly" higher and is much more problematic in countries where cousin marriages are practiced generation after generation) and then you just dismissed it all as irrelevant. Anyways, its quite amazing how God just so happens to will that children born to cousins should have a higher rates of genetic abnormalities. I'm sure you're not just excusing bad behavior by blaming the consequences on God.

This is a dangerous and destructive road to travel and Muslims seem perfectly content to continue taking it.

P.S. Fatalism might be Sunnis orthodoxy but it is not a part of Shia Islam. Just thought you should know.

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