Such a marriage contract is invalid, null and void, and is not binding as reported in a hadith transmitted by Muslim and others. It is reported that 'Uthman ibn 'Affan said: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "A muhrim must not contract marriage, nor help others contract marriage, nor get engaged for marriage." Malik, Ash-Shafi'i, Ahmad, and Ishaq are also of the same opinion. They hold that it is not permissible for a muhrim to contract a marriage and regard any marriage thus contracted as invalid. Tirmidhi has also reported it but without the words "nor get engaged for marriage." Tirmidhi considers this a sound hadith and remarks that the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) practiced it.
Some of the reports that say the Prophet (peace be upon him) "married Maimunah while he was a muhrim" are contrary to the report transmitted by Muslim that "he married her while he was no longer in the state of ihram."
Tirmidhi said: "There is disagreement concerning the marriage of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to Maimunah, for he married her on his way to Makkah. Some said: 'He married her before he put on ihram, but the news of his marriage became known while he was in the state of ihram. Later he consummated his marriage with her in Saraf, on the road to Makkah, after he was free from the restrictions of ihram.'
Hanafi scholars, however, hold that a muhrim may contract a marriage, because in the state of ihram what is forbidden is not marriage with a woman, but only the consummation of marriage. Contracting a marriage is permissible, but intercourse is forbidden. (Fiqh us-Sunna, Volume 5, Number 51; ALIM CD-Rom Version; underline emphasis ours)
Notice how Imam Tirmidhi mentions the opinion of some scholars who actually stated the perfect solution to what Shamoun exaggerates to be a big problem. No where in the article does Shamoun even refute this argument and he is the one who cites it himself!
This easily explains the two opposing views found in the hadith.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) married Maimunah right before he put Ihram. So technically speaking, when he married her he wasn't in the state of Ihram. But right after marrying her he became in that state and the rumors spread that the Prophet (peace be upon him) just got married, while he was wearing the Ihram. So this could easily explain why many could have possibly thought that the Prophet (peace be upon him) got married while in the state of Ihram, since they mistakenly thought that if the Prophet (peace be upon him) did marry her before the state of Ihram then they would have definitely known about it.
… Maymuna or Barra as she was then called, yearned to marry the Prophet. She went to her sister, Umm al Fadl to talk to her about that and she, in turn, spoke to her husband, al-Abbas. Al-Abbas immediately went to the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) with Maymuna's offer of marriage to him and her proposal was accepted…. (Source)
Narrated Ibn Abbas:
The Prophet married Maimuna while he was in the state of lhram but he consummated that marriage after finishing that state. Maimuna died at Saraf (i.e. a place near Mecca). Ibn 'Abbas added, The Prophet married Maimuna during the 'Umrat-al-Qada' (i.e. the 'Umra performed in lieu of the 'Umra which the Prophet could not perform because the pagans, prevented him to perform that 'Umra) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 559)
Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:
The Prophet got married while he was in the state of Ihram. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 49)
Ibn 'Abbas (Allah be pleased with them) reported: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) married Maimuna while he was a Muhrim. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3284)
Other traditions were not quite certain whether Muhammad actually married her during this state:
Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with them) reported that Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) married Maimuna in the state of Ihram. Ibn Numair made this addition: "I narrated it to Zuhri and he said: Yazid b. al-Asamm (Allah be pleased with him) told me that he (the Holy Prophet) married her when he was not a muhrim." (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3283)
Yazid ibn al-Asamm reported: Maimuna daughter of al-Harith narrated to me that Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) married her and he was not in the state of Ihram. And she (Maymunah) was my mother's sister and that of Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with them). (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3285)
Yahya related to me from Malik, from Rabia ibn Abi Abd ar-Rahman, from Sulayman ibn Yasar, that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, sent Abu Rafi and a man of the Ansar to arrange his marriage to Maymuna bint al-Harith, and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was in Madina before he had left for umra. (Malik’s Muwatta, Book 20, Number 20.20.70)
The renowned Muslim historian and commentator al-Tabari provides an explanation why Muhammad consummated his marriage with Maimuna in Saraf, after having left Mecca:
According to Ibn Humayd – Salamah – Ibn Ishaq, who said: When the Messenger of God returned to Medina from Khaybar, he stayed there months of Rabi‘ I, Rabi‘ II, Jumada I, Jumada II, Rajab, Sha‘ban, Ramadan, and Shawwal, sending out expeditions and raiding parties during the period. Then in Dhu al-Qa‘dah, the month in which the polytheists had turned him back [in the previous year], he set out to perform the "Lesser Pilgrimage of Fulfillment" in place of the lesser pilgrimage which they had turned him back. The Muslims who had been with him on that lesser pilgrimage of his set out with him. It was the year 7. When the people of Mecca heard of it, they made way for him. The Quraysh spoke among themselves of how Muhammad and his companions were in difficulty, distress and want…
According to Ibn Humayd – Salamah – Muhammad b. Ishaq – Aban b. Salih and ‘Abdallah b. Abi Najih – ‘Ata’ b. Abi Rabah and Mujahid – Ibn ‘Abbas: The Messenger of God married Maymunah bt. Al-Harith on this journey while he was in a state of ritual purity; al-‘Abbas b. ‘Abd al-Muttalib married her to him.
According to Ibn Ishaq: The Messenger of God stayed in Mecca three nights. On the third day, Huwaytib b. ‘Abd al-‘Uzza b. Abi Qays b. ‘Abd Wudd b. Nasr b. Malik b. Hisl came to him with a group of Quraysh: Quraysh had deputed Huwaytib to make the Messenger of God leave Mecca. They said to him, "Your allotted time is up; so depart from us!" The Messenger of God said to them: "How would it harm you if you left me and I celebrated the wedding feast among you? We would prepare food for you, and you would attend it." They said, "We do not need your food; so depart from us!" The Messenger of God departed leaving behind Abu Rafi‘ his mawla to take charge of Maymunah. Abu Rafi‘ brought her to him at Sarif, and the Messenger of God consummated his marriage with her there… (The History of al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam, translated by Michael Fishbein [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1997], Volume VIII (8), pp. 133-134, 136-137; bold and underline emphasis ours)
The Prophet married Maymunah in Sarif [a place] ten miles from Mecca. She was the last woman he married, in the year 7/628, during the lesser pilgrimage of the Consummation (‘umrat al-qadiyyah). (The History of al-Tabari: Biographies of the Prophet’s Companions and Their Successors, translated by Ella Landau-Tasseron [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1998], Volume XXXIX (39), p 185-186; bold and underline emphasis ours)
Here are the traditions:
Chapter 5: MUHRIM (ONE WHO IS IN THE STATE OF IHRAM) IS FORBIDDEN TO MARRY AND THE DISAPPROVAL OF GIVING THE PROPOSAL (IN THIS STATE)
Nubaih b. Wahb reported that 'Umar b. Ubaidullah intended to marry Talha b. 'Umar with the daughter of Shaiba b. Jubair; so he sent a messenger to Aban b. Uthman to attend the marriage, and he was at that time the Amir of Hajj. Aban said: I heard 'Uthman b. 'Affan say that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) had stated: A Muhrim must neither marry himself, nor arrange the marriage of another one, nor should he make the proposal of marriage. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3278)
Uthman b. 'Affan reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) had said: A Muhrim should neither marry himself, nor should he become married to anyone, nor should he make the proposal of marriage. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3280)
Nabaih b. Wahb reported that Umar b. 'Ubaidullah b. Ma'mar intended to marry his son Talha with the daughter of Shaiba b. Jubair during the Pilgrimage. Aban b. Uthman was at that time the Amir of Pilgrims. So he ('Umar b. Ubaidullah) sent someone (as a messenger) to Aban saying: I intend to marry Talha b. 'Umar and I earnestly desire you to be present there (in this ceremony of marriage). Aban said to him: I find you a block-headed 'Iraqi. I heard 'Uthman b. 'Affan say that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: A Muhrim should not marry. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3282)
Section: Marriage in Ihram
Yahya related to me from Malik, from Nafi, from Nubayh ibn Wahb, who was from the tribe of Bani Abd ad-Dar, that Umar ibn Ubaydullah sent a message to Aban ibn Uthman (who was amir of the hajj at the time), while both of them were in ihram, saying, "I want to marry Bint Shayba ibn Jubayr to Talha ibn Umar and I want you to be present." Aban told him that he should not do that and said, "I heard Uthman ibn Affan say that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'A man in ihram should not marry, or give in marriage, or get betrothed.'" (Malik’s Muwatta, Book 20,Number 20.20.71)
Yahya related to me from Malik, from Da'ud ibn al-Husayn, that Abu Ghatafan ibn Tarif al-Murri told him that his father Tarif had married a woman while he was in ihram, and Umar ibn al-Khattab had rescinded the marriage. (Malik’s Muwatta, Book 20, Number 20.20.72)
Yahya related to me from Malik, from Nafi, that Abdullah ibn Umar used to say, "Someone in ihram may neither get married, nor arrange a marriage for himself or others." (Malik’s Muwatta, Book 20,Number 20.20.73)
Shamoun even provides another proper solution to the 'problem'...
A Muslim may raise the objection that this prohibition came later because there was no hajj or umra before that time. This one was the first time that Muslims were permitted to enter
on pilgrimage, which means that subsequent pilgrimages would have taken place after this time. Thus, Allah couldn't have forbidden marriages during a state of ritual purity before Muslims started making trips to Mecca . Mecca
Shamoun tries to refute this by saying...
The problem with this position is that an all-knowing deity could have informed Muhammad during his first pilgrimage to
after his migration that contracting marriages with women during this time is absolutely forbidden. At the very least, Allah could have sent down a revelation shortly after Muhammad desired to marry Maimuna that such a proposal is prohibited, and that he must wait until his period of ritual purity was over. Mecca
This is a weak answer. There is no reason for us to believe that Allah should have made this law applicable during the first pilgrimage. Allah in His divine wisdom chooses when is the most appropriate to reveal His laws and have them implemented.
Similarly, we can ask Shamoun why the Biblical God did not immediately declare all foods to be clean since Jesus said that they don't make you impure in the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 7 (according to the Christian understanding of this verse).
Thus, we see that Shamoun has offered a proper solution to the argument that he has raised himself, yet wasn't able to refute it properly with rational evidence! Instead, his own subjective personal opinions don't like the idea of Allah gradually revealing and imposing laws upon the Muslims over time. But that is no argument!
We congratulate Shamoun for being the first missionary getting involved in Islamic apologetics!
Also, let us say for sake of argument that none of the solutions above work and that Muhammad (peace be upon him) really did do what was forbidden for the rest of the Muslims. So what? There are already examples of these kinds of things.
One example being that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was allowed to have more than 4 wives, while the rest of the Muslims don't. Wow! Should I become an apostate now? This is a privilege bestowed upon him from God and who am I to question it? (See this)
To use this as evidence against the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) is to commit the fallacy ofcircumstantial ad hominem. Just because it appears that Muhammad (peace be upon him) might have a motive for doing something, that doesn't make that something false.
Plus, I can give several examples of my own, which show that certain laws and commands found in the Qur'an and authentic Prophet traditions were not in the favor of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). So if I show these, will Shamoun accept them as valid circumstantial evidence for Muhammad's Prophethood? He definitely will not and will simply reply back by saying that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is only pulling an act to make his 'lie' more believable to the people.
Well then, how can we get through to people like Shamoun that have already made up their minds concerning Muhammad (peace be upon him)?
Also, this issue that Shamoun is raising up is not something so significant and he is really exaggerating the implications of his argument. Yes, we have differences amongst our scholars, while each one has his own valid pieces of evidence to support his position. There is enough room for differences of opinion. Even the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) had differences amongst each other. This in no way compromises on the veracity of our faith.
If it did, then Shamoun's faith would also be proven to be false since there are plenty of differences of opinion on several issues regarding the interpretation of the Bible.
So we ask Shamoun to be consistent in his methodology and start providing more serious arguments than this one.
We also ask him to not refute his own arguments and to leave that job to Muslim apologists such as myself.