AL-ISLAM FATWA BANK – (MARITAL ISSUES)
Delaying Marriage: Pros and Cons
Question: How important is marriage? Is delaying marriage right? The reason for my
questions is that I want to have my wedding as soon as possible, but my family is
demanding that it be delayed until the end of the year as they believe it would be "wrong"
to not have my brother and sisters-in-law attend. They want to wait on their immigration.
They are also worried about what people would say if my wedding was done without their
presence. I don’t want to delay as we have been holding the other party for about two
and a half years. This is unfair to the other party as well as myself. Any advice?
Response: It should be clear that marriage, in Islam, is a solemn contract for which the
Shari`ah lays down rules and arrangements to guarantee its stability.
In Islam, the marriage of a man and a woman is not just a financial and physical arrangement
of living together but a sacred contract, a gift of Allah, to lead a happy, enjoyable life and
continue the lineage. The main goal of marriage in Islam is the realization of tranquility and
compassion between the spouses.
In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at
the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
“Marriage in Islam is a highly important institution. According to the Qur’an, it is the ideal
way of life exemplified by the mighty Messengers of Allah, the perfect role models for
humanity. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Marriage is my way of life;
whosoever shuns my way of life, he does not belong to me (i.e., my Ummah).”
Like all of the provisions of the Shari`ah, marriage has been duly instituted by Allah in order
to cater to the ultimate well being of human beings. In other words, it is intended to serve
certain essential purposes and objectives such as the following: Protecting people against
sexual temptations; granting them emotional and spiritual tranquility, peace and fulfillment
through a happy union; engendering cooperation in shouldering their responsibilities as Allah’s
vicegerents on earth; and last but not least, propagating the human species on the face of the
While scholars generally agree on the recommended nature of marriage, they have discussed
the precise legal status of marriage, which varies according to specific circumstances of
individuals. While it may be generally considered as highly recommended in the case of the
majority, there may be cases when it is deemed as obligatory, and others when it may be
considered as either forbidden or undesirable. For instance, if a person is so tormented by
temptations that he/she fears falling into sin, then it becomes obligatory for him/her to get
married. Should he/she fail to do so after having had the opportunity and means to do so, and
then falls into sin, he/she is guilty of a double offense. If, on the other hand, a person has no
such fear then it is highly recommended for him/her to get married if he/she has the desire
and the means to do so. If, on the contrary, the above is not case, and a person has no desire
Source: www.al-islamforall.org 1
AL-ISLAM FATWA BANK – (MARITAL ISSUES)
for union, and does not have the means to do so and is afraid of being neglectful of his/her
spousal duties, then it becomes either forbidden or undesirable for him/her to get married.
So you should ask yourself into which of the above categories you fall. If you have the means
to get married and are afraid of falling into sin, then it is imperative that you get married and
do so without delay. In such a case, the ultimate decision when to do it is left to both of you—
the partners—and it is not dependent on the wishes of your parents or relatives. This is so
because the main purpose of marriage is your own protection from sin, above everything else.
In cases like these, the role of the parents is simply limited to that of advising or facilitating
rather than imposing or dictating their own views or decisions. However, it is important to
remember that all of this is conditional on the fact that our choice of a partner is based on
valid religious criteria. Since I understand that is the case with both of you, then you do not
have to wait for all the relatives to be present on this occasion, as your family insists, if by
doing so you are making unreasonable demands on the other party or both of you feel strongly
to get married.
While making a decision, you should never be unduly bothered by the thought of what people
would be thinking of your action so long as you have made the right decisions.
So my advice to you is to try to accommodate the wishes of both families as reasonably as
possible, while at the same time taking into account your need to get married. If unnecessary
waiting seems unbearable for both of you, then you should go ahead with the decision, but do
so without being rude or disrespectful to your parents and relatives. Try to make them
understand your difficulties and tell them that you do not mean to hurt them or displease
them. Continue to keep good relations with your parents in spite of your differences of
opinion in this matter and let them know that you are there for them regardless of this
Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.muslims.ca
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty
Source: www.al-islamforall.org 2