Monday 13 Shawwal 1445 - 22 April 2024
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Is It Prohibited in Islam to Not Get Married?

Question

I am a young man and I do not want to get married. What should I do?

Summary of answer

1. The basic principle that marriage is prescribed applies to all people but it may be more important in the case of some people than others. 2. If you fear that you may commit prohibited things if you do not get married, you are obliged to get married. 3. Marriage is recommended for the one who feels desire but there is no risk of his engaging in prohibited actions. 4. We advise those who do not want to get married to be resolved and put their trust in Allah, and Allah will help them, and will provide them with a righteous wife who will help them to obey their Lord and He will bless them with righteous offspring who will be a stored treasure for them with Allah in the Hereafter.

Praise be to Allah.

Is marriage compulsory in Islam?

You should note that people are not equal in the matter of marriage. They share the fundamental principle that marriage is prescribed, which is from the guidance and practice of the Prophet, peace be upon him. Then, its importance varies in some cases more than others.

Ibn Qudamah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: 

With regard to marriage , people are of three types: 

  • Some fear that they may commit prohibited things if they do not get married. Such a person is obliged to get married, according to the majority of jurists, because he has to keep himself chaste and protect himself against engaging in prohibited actions, and the way to do that is getting married. 
  • For some, marriage is recommended. This is the one who feels desire but there is no danger of his committing prohibited things. It is better for him to get married than to devote himself to optional acts of worship. This is the view of Ashab Ar-Ra`y and it is the view  and practice of the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them). 

Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said: If I only had ten days to live and I knew that I would die at the end of them, and I had any desire to get married, I would get married, for fear of Fitnah (temptation). 

Sa`id ibn Jubayr (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said to me: “Have you gotten married?”  

I said: “No.” He (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “Get married, for the best of this Ummah are the ones with the most wives.” (Narrated by Al-Bukhari, 5069) 

Ibrahim ibn Maysarah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “Tawus said to me: “Either get married, or I will say to you what `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said to Abu Az-Zawa’id (may Allah have mercy on him): Nothing is keeping you from getting married except impotence or immorality.”  

  • Those who have no desire, either because they were not created with any desire, such as one who is impotent, or they had desire but it has disappeared due to old age, sickness and so on. There are two opinions: 
  1. It is recommended to get married because of the general meaning of what we have discussed.
  2. It is better for him to remain single because he cannot achieve the purpose of marriage, and he would be preventing his wife from becoming chaste by marrying someone else. Also, he would be harming her by keeping her for himself, and he is exposing himself to obligations and duties that perhaps he cannot fulfil, and he is distracting himself from seeking knowledge and worship with something that is of no benefit to him.

Ibn Qudamah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “The apparent meaning of the words of Ahmad is that there is no difference between the one who can afford it and the one who cannot. He said: a man should get married and if he can afford to spend he should spend, and if he cannot then he should be patient.  

This applies to one who is able to get married. As for the one who cannot, Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And let those who find not the financial means for marriage keep themselves chaste, until Allah enriches them of His Bounty” [An-Nur 24:33].” (Al-Mughni, 9/341-344) 

Reasons why marriage is so important

At this point, we would like to ask you about the reason for this aversion to marriage. 

  • If you think that not getting married is an act of worship by means of which you can draw closer to the Lord of the Worlds, and you think that if you avoid marriage this will raise you in status before Allah, you are mistaken and there is the fear that you may be sinning. 

Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Three people came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asking about the worship of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). When they were told, it was as if they regarded it as too little. They said: Who are we in comparison to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)? Allah has forgiven his past and future sins. One of them said: As for me, I will pray all night forever. Another said: I shall fast all my life and never break my fast. Another said: I shall keep away from women and never get married. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came and said: “Are you the ones who said such and such? By Allah, I am the one who fears Allah the most among you and I am the most pious , but I fast and I break my fast, I pray and I sleep, and I marry women. Whoever turns away from my Sunnah is not of me.” (Narrated by Al-Bukhari, 5063, and Muslim, 1401)

  • If you do not want to get married because you have no sexual desire, or you think that you are not able to fulfil the duties of marriage, and you are afraid of falling short in meeting a wife`s needs, I say to you: In that case there is no sin on you if you do not get married, but do not rely on your thoughts and notions. Rather you should consult a specialist doctor and ask him for advice, for he is most able to diagnose your condition, and he may have some advice for treatment that has never crossed your mind. So do not hesitate to visit him and do not let shyness stop you, for matters of medical treatment are not the place for shyness. 
  • If you say that you are afraid because you are poor and do not have enough wealth to look after a family, I say to you: Try your best to earn a living and be content and think positively of Allah, for He has promised on the lips of His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that He will help the one who wants to be chaste and seeks that which is halal by getting married. 

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “There are three whom Allah is bound to help: the Mujahid who strives (in Jihad) for the sake of Allah, the Mukatib (a slave who has made a contract of manumission with his master) who wants to pay off his manumission, and a man who gets married, seeking to remain chaste.” (Narrated by At-Tirmidhi (1655), classed as sound by Al-Albani in Saheeh At-Tirmidhi)  

  • If you have something that you want to achieve – such as a certificate, a position, a project and so on – and you say that you want to achieve that first, then you will get married, we say to you: Why are you ignoring marriage for that reason? 

Marriage has never been a barrier to achieving things, rather in most cases it is a support and a help. That is just the whisperings of the satan, which he has instilled in the minds of many young men so that it has become prevalent in our culture and society, and you hear many of those who have delayed their own marriages or the marriages of their sons and daughters saying such things, and our society has become burdened with problems resulting from large numbers of single men and women, and the delay of marriage. However, despite that we have not seen any achievement, development or progress, whereas the first generation of Muslims used to hasten to do good and they did not delay marriage, and their achievements were the greatest and most complete of achievements. 

Shaykh Ibn Baz (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Majmu` Al-Fatawa (20/421): 

“What is required is to hasten to get married, and no young man or young woman should delay marriage for the sake of studies, because marriage does not prevent any such thing. It is possible for a young man to get married in order to protect his religious commitment and morals, and enable him to lower his gaze . Marriage serves many purposes, especially in this day and age. Because delaying it is harmful for both young women and young men, every young man and every young woman should hasten to get married if there is a man who is compatible with the woman, and if a man can find the right woman.”

  • Over and above all that, how about if you realise that marriage will protect half of your religion? 

Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whomever Allah has blessed with a righteous wife, He has helped him with half of his religion, so let him fear Allah with regard to the other half.” (Narrated by Al-Hakim in Al-Mustadrak, 2/175), At-Tabarani in Al-Awsat, 1/294) and Al-Bayhaqi in Shu`ab Al-Iman, 4/382) Al-Hakim (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “This is a Hadith with an authentic Isnad (chain of narrators), although they (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) did not narrate it.” Adh-Dhahabi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in At-Talkhis: it is authentic. It was classed as sound by Al-Albani in Sahih At-Targhib, 2/192)

  • How about if you realise that by getting married, you will have followed the advice of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) when he said:  “O young men, whoever among you can afford it , let him get married, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and guarding one`s chastity.” (Narrated by Al-Bukhari, 5065, and Muslim, 1400)
  • How about if you realise that by producing a righteous child, you will have ongoing charity (Sadaqah Jariyah), if you raise him with good morals and upon faith, and you will be rewarded for your marriage if you seek reward with Allah for that
  • By getting married, you will be protecting yourself, lowering your gaze , and closing the door to one of the greatest means by which the devil deceives people. You may not feel the seriousness of that now, but Fitnah (temptation) may come from places a person does not realise, so you should be keen to close the door before it is opened without you realising it.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “I have not left after me any Fitnah more harmful to men than women.” (Narrated by Al-Bukhari, 5096, and Muslim, 2741).

  • Marriage is a source of tranquillity and peace, and it is the best of the pleasures of this world. In it, is that which Allah has made a sign for His slaves, and He has mentioned it in His Book so that they may think and ponder the greatness of His Might, may He be glorified and exalted. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.” [Ar-Rum 30:21]

Can there be any hesitation after this? 

Be resolved and put your trust in Allah, and Allah will help you, and will provide you with a righteous wife who will help you to obey your Lord and He will bless you with righteous offspring who will be a stored treasure for you with Allah in the Hereafter. 

And Allah knows best.

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Source: Islam Q&A