Saturday 14 Muḥarram 1446 - 20 July 2024

Is it permissible for a woman to ask for a divorce if she is afraid of bearing children who are affected by vitiligo?


I got married to a man who has an inheritable skin disease, namely vitiligo, in which the skin is white from birth. The brothers of this man have children who have this disease, but he hid this defect from me when he proposed to me. On the engagement day, after we asked him, he said that his brothers’ disease was the result of trauma, but after marriage I found out the exact opposite, that this disease had been with them since birth. Is divorce permissible in my case? Please note that I cannot stand this disease, and when I see them it upsets me, but I am not objecting to Allah’s decree. I am taking contraceptive pills, because I could not bear to see my own children like that.


Praise be to Allah.

If it has become clear that the children of your husband’s brothers are afflicted by vitiligo – which is hereditary – and you are afraid of having children with the same problem, it is permissible for you to seek divorce, because this is a valid reason. The fuqaha’ have stated that one of the reasons that make it permissible to seek an annulment of the marriage is if the husband or wife has vitiligo that it is feared may be passed on to any offspring.

Ibn Qudaamah (may Allah have mercy on him) said in al-Mughni (7/185): Why these defects in particular are listed as valid reasons for annulment of the marriage is because they prevent enjoyment of intimacy, which is the purpose of marriage. Vitiligo and leprosy provoke revulsion and prevent one from coming near the afflicted person, and there is the fear that it may be contagious or may be passed on to any offspring, which is an impediment to intimacy. End quote.

Ahmad (22440), Abu Dawood (2226), at-Tirmidhi (1187) and Ibn Maajah (2055) narrated that Thawbaan (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said:

“Any woman who asks her husband for divorce when there is no problem, the fragrance of Paradise will be forbidden to her.”

This hadith was classed as saheeh by Ibn Khuzaymah and Ibn Hibbaan, as was stated by al-Haafiz in al-Fath (9/403). It was also classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, and by Shu‘ayb al-Arna’oot in Tahqeeq al-Musnad.

Psychological distress is included under the heading of the problems which make it permissible to seek divorce.

For more information, see the answers to questions no. 21592 and 13243 .

And Allah knows best.

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Source: Islam Q&A