What should a person who cannot get married do?

ⓘ Supported by Al Medina 313.



Islamic Text

A person who cannot get married should fast. He or she should also work on resolving the issues that are preventing marriage.

عَنْ عَلْقَمَةَ، قَالَ: بَيْنَا أَنَا أَمْشِي، مَعَ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ، فَقَالَ: كُنَّا مَعَ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، فَقَالَ: مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ البَاءَةَ فَلْيَتَزَوَّجْ، فَإِنَّهُ أَغَضُّ لِلْبَصَرِ، وَأَحْصَنُ لِلْفَرْجِ، وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَعَلَيْهِ بِالصَّوْمِ، فَإِنَّهُ لَهُ وِجَاءٌ

(Imam) Alqama said while I was walking with Abdullah (Ibn Masood, May Allah Most High be pleased with him) he said: we were in the company of the Prophet ﷺ and he said, ‘Whoever can afford to marry should marry, because it (marriage) helps one to lower the gaze and helps protect one from immorality. Whoever is not able (to get married) should fast, as fasting will be a means to restraining desire for him.’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, 1905).

In the Hadith above we find the Holy Prophet ﷺ encouraging people to get married. Although it is not usually an obligation for Muslims to get married, it is a strongly encouraged Sunnah. In certain situations it can become obligatory, which has been alluded to in the Hadith. A person who fears sin, must get married in order to protect one’s chastity. Sometimes people do not have the means to get married, in such circumstances one is encouraged to fast to curb the desire.

يريد أن الصوم يقطع الشهوة

It means that fasting decreases desire. (Imam al-Khattabi, Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari).

Imam al-Khattabi explained this point in his commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari when explaining the Arabic word Wijaa, as seen above. Therefore, a person who cannot get married should fast. At the same time one should work on the barriers to marriage.

So if one cannot marry due to a lack of income one should find a suitable means of income. If it is due to a lack of maturity or understanding of the responsibilities of marriage, then one should study, reflect and discuss in order to better understand marriage and all the responsibilities it comes with.

And Allah Most High Knows Best

-Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (12.04.2022)

See also:
What does the Hadith fasting is a shield mean?

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