Marriage Comes First
Question: A common custom among the people nowadays is for a woman or her father to refuse a man's proposal so that she may finish high school, college or some specific amount of studying. What is the ruling concerning that? What is your advice for those who fall into that trap? Sometimes, the woman reaches the age of thirty or more and she has yet to get married!
Response: My advice to all young men and young women is to get married quickly if the means to it are made possible for you.
This is because the Prophet (peace be upon him) has said,
"O youthful people, if any of you have the means to, he should get married, as it lowers the eyesight and protects the private parts. Those who have not the ability to do so should fast, as it will be a shield for him."
This was recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim. The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said, "If one whose religion and character pleases you proposes to you, you should marry him. If you do not do so, them will be tribulations in the land and great evil."
This was recorded by al-Tirmidhi with a hasan chain. The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said "Marry the child-bearing, loving woman for I shall outnumber the peoples by you on the Day of Resurrection."
This was recorded by Ahmad and graded sahih by ibn Hibban. Therefore, there are many benefits to marriage which the Prophet (peace be upon him) alluded to, including lowering the gaze, protecting the private parts, increasing the numbers of the Muslim Nation and being saved from great evil and misfortune.
May Allah grant to all what is best for their religion and worldly lives. He is All-Hearing, Close.
Shaikh ibn Baz
Obligation of Marriage on a woman
Is it obligatory for a woman to get married?
Praise be to Allaah.
In response to your question, we will look briefly at what some of the Muslim fuqahaa' have written on this topic. In Mawaahib al-Jaleel it was said: "Marriage is obligatory for a woman who is unable to feed or clothe herself unless she gets married." In al-Sharh al-Kabeer, concerning obligatory marriage it says: "If a person fears that he may commit fornication, it (marriage) is obligatory on him." In Fath al-Wahhaab, it says: "For the woman who has (physical) desires, marriage is sunnah, just as it is for the one who needs maintenance and the one who fears being taken advantage of by immoral persons."
In Mughni al-Muhtaaj, it says: "(Marriage) becomes waajib (obligatory) if a person fears fornication... And it was said that it becomes obligatory if a person has made a vow (nadhr) to get married." Then concerning the ruling with regard to women: "If she needs to get married, i.e., she has physical desires, or needs maintenance, or she is afraid that immoral people may take advantage of her... it is preferable (mustahabb) for her to get married, because this will protect her religion and her chastity, and she can enjoy what her husband spends on her, and other advantages."
Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in his book al-Mughni: "Our colleagues differed as to whether marriage is obligatory. The best-known opinion in our madhhab is that it is not obligatory, except when a person is afraid of committing a forbidden deed if he does not marry. In that case he should make himself chaste (i.e. get married). This is the opinion of the majority of fuqahaa'."
When it comes to marriage, people are of three types, one of which is those who fear that they may commit forbidden deeds if they do not get married. It is obligatory for such people to get married, according to the majority of fuqahaa', because it is obligatory for them to make themselves chaste and protect themselves from haraam. In Subul al-Salaam it says: "Ibn Daqeeq al-'Eed said that some of the fuqahaa' said that marriage is obligatory for the one who fears sin or hardship (because of suppressing physical desires) and is able to marry... and it is obligatory for the one who cannot avoid fornication unless he gets married."
In Badaa'i' al-Sanaa'i', it says: "There is no dispute that marriage is an obligation when desire is strong. If a person has such a strong desire for women that he cannot be patient, and he can afford to pay the mahr (dowry) and support a wife, then if he does not get married, he is a sinner."
From the above discussion, we can see a number of situations in which marriage is obligatory. You might ask: "How can we imagine a woman fulfilling this obligation when usually it is the man who goes around knocking on doors looking for a partner? This is not the woman's role."
The answer is: what a woman can do to fulfil this command is not to refuse marriage when a suitable, compatible man comes with an offer of marriage. Muslim women and men need to understand the high status which marriage has in Islam, so that they will be more keen to marry. There follows a useful summary on this topic by Imaam Ibn Qudaamah al-Maqdisi (may Allaah have mercy on him), from his book al-Mughni:
The basis of the legitimacy of marriage is the Qur'aan, Sunnah and ijmaa' (consensus of the scholars). In the Qur'aan, Allaah says (interpretation of the meanings): '... marry women of your choice, two or three, or four...' [al-Nisaa' 4:3] and 'And marry those among you who are single and (also marry) the saalihoon (pious, fit and capable ones) of your (male) slaves and maid-servants (female slaves)...' [al-Noor 24:32]. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
"O young men! Whoever among you can afford it, let him get married, for this will lower his gaze and protect his chastity. Whoever cannot (get married), then let him fast, for fasting will be a protection for him." (Agreed upon). There are many other ayaat and reports like these. The Muslims agree that marriage is legitimate.
Ibn Mas'ood said: "If I only had ten days left to live, and I knew that I would die at the end of them, and I was able to get married, I would do so, for fear of fitnah (temptation)."
Ibn 'Abbaas said to Sa'eed ibn Jubayr: "Get married, for the best of this ummah are those who have more wives." Ibraaheem ibn Maysarah said: "Taawoos said to me: 'Either you get married, or I will say to you what 'Umar said to Abu'l-Zawaa'id: There is nothing stopping you from getting married but either impotence or immorality!' According to al-Mirwadhi, Ahmad said: 'Celibacy has nothing to do with Islam. Whoever calls you not to get married is calling you to something other than Islam.'"
Then he said (may Allaah have mercy on him):
The benefits of marriage are many. They include: protecting one's religion and helping one to adhere to it; protecting and taking care of women; and producing offspring and increasing the ranks of the ummah, thus achieving the pride of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), etc. [Translator's note: there is a hadeeth which indicates that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) will feel proud of the large numbers of his ummah in the Hereafter, so Muslims are encouraged to marry and have many children.]
It should now be clear that the benefits of marriage are many. No wise Muslim woman would hesitate to get married, especially if an offer of marriage comes from a person who is strongly committed to Islam and is possessed of a good character and morals.
Ruling Concerning a Young Lady who Refuses Marriage in Order to Finish Her Studies
Question: A common practice today is for a young lady or her father to refuse one who proposes in order for the woman to finish her high school, college or study of certain years. What is the ruling concerning that? What is your advice to those who do such, given that many times the woman reaches the age of thirty or more without getting married?
Response: This practice goes against what the Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
"If one whose religion and character pleases you comes to you [for proposal], then marry him."
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) also said,
"O youth, whoever of you has the means to get married should get married for it lowers the gaze and protects the chastity."
By preventing marriage, one loses out on the benefits of marriage. I advise my brother Muslims who are the guardians of women and my sister Muslims not to keep from marriage due to finishing school or teaching.
In fact, the woman may put a condition upon her husband that she may remain studying until she finishes her studies or she remain teaching for a year or two, given that she does not become busy with her children. There is no harm in such an act. However, a matter which needs further consideration is where the woman is continuing her studies in an area that is not truly needed. In my view, when a woman finishes the elementary stages and has the ability to read and write, thereby being able to benefit from her knowledge through reading the Book of Allah, its tafseer, the hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and their explanation, that is all she really needs. Unless, of course, she is continuing her studies in an area that the people need, such as medicine and similar fields. This is also conditional that the study not involve aspects which are forbidden, such as mixing with men and so forth.
Shaikh ibn Uthaimin
Premarital sex, and is it the parents' obligation to arrange marriage for their children?
Q. I have heard that it is parents obligation to arrange for marraige of adult children and if they fail to do so, punishment for any sin committed by children is given to the parents.
Secondly, if anyone indulges in sex (not intercourse) with honest intentions to marry that person later, then is the sin committed by them forgiven? How bad is it for a muslim to do so?
Praise be to Allaah.
In answer to your second question, to say that it is not permissible for a man to engage in a premarital physical relationship (even if it does not include intercourse) with a woman who is not permissible for him, claiming that he intends to marry her in the future, is total and utter nonsense. This can never be allowed by sharee'ah, and there can be no legitimate relationship until after the completion of a legal marriage contract according to Islamic law (i.e., nikaah). I sent your first question to Shaykh 'Abd-Allaah ibn 'Abd al-Rahmaan al-Jibreen, and he wrote back to me with the following answer:
Yes, it is a duty on the father to keep his children chaste by arranging their marriages, and spending on them and clothing them, if he is able to do so. If he is not able to, but the mother, grandfather or grandmother is able, it becomes that person's duty to arrange the marriage. If the son cannot afford it but he has the ability to earn a living, it is his obligation to do so, in order to keep himself chaste.
And Allaah knows best.