11 Brilliant Proofs Why Marriage Is Not Wajib in Islam
Marriage is a recommended act in Islam but is not an obligation. There is great ideological polarization among Muslims when it comes to marriage. Muslims who do not marry or do not have the intention to get married are looked down by those who are married or who believe that marriage is a must. It is unfortunate to see this situation because nowhere in Islam does it say that marriage is an obligation. This polarization has led to parents forcing their children especially girls to get married fearing that society would look down on them and would blame the parents for not giving their daughters in marriage. Some parents are selfish enough to force their children especially their daughters to get married because they want to see grandchildren. It is not the child’s duty to become a baby making machine to please parents. The problem we are seeing here is that parents are trying to achieve their selfish goals at the expense of their children. From education, sports to marriage this has been the case where children are forced to do things which they do not like but have to do it to simply please their parents and their peers. Parents have no right to interfere in the lives of children when it especially comes to marriage and this is what Islam teaches. Many of you readers of this blog post would be familiar with the term “marriageable age”. Most forget that the age of marriage should only be determined by the individual and not anyone else and it is subjective. The issue of marriage is arguably one of the most talked about topics among Muslims especially when they are young. Are you married? When are you getting married? Why aren’t you marrying? The questions posed by those who are married towards the unmarried are many. Now the question is, is marriage an obligation or is it a Sunnah? The answer to this is that marriage is a recommended Sunnah and is not an obligation because there is no evidence to prove that the prophet (Sal) declared marriage as wajib. In all the hadiths what the prophet (Sal) said was that marriage is a Sunnah. Let me give you eleven brilliants proofs why marriage is not an obligation in Islam.
Proof-1-The Youth Were Not Forced To Get Married
Abdullah bin Mas’ood (rali), who said: “We were with some youth not finding anything, so the Messenger of Allah, (sal) said: ‘O assembly of youth. Whoever from you is able to get married then let him do so, for it lowers the gaze and protects the privates. And whoever is unable, then it is to fast, for it is a protection”
(Bukhari and Muslim and others)
From the above hadith it is very clear that the prophet (Sal) did not regard marriage as an obligation. He regarded it as a Sunnah because if it was made an obligation then it would have been a hardship upon the ummah. If marriage was an obligation then the prophet (Sal) would have clearly mentioned it as an obligation or a companion would have narrated of the prophet (Sal) stating that it's an obligation.
Proof-2-The Mentioning of “Wajib and Sunnah by the Prophet (sal) Was Clear
For something to be declared as Wajib there needs to be clear text stating clearly that it is wajib. One such example is in the below hadith.
Narrated by Aisha (Rali), the prophet (Sal) said:
"When anyone sits amidst four parts (of the woman) and the circumcised parts touch each other a bath becomes obligatory”
(Bukhari and Muslim)
In the above hadith, in the Arabic text the word "Wajib" (وَجَبَ) is used meaning "obligation" but in the hadiths mentioning marriage the prophet (sal) always mentioned that it is a Sunnah. No one has the right to make something wajib when the text do not clearly mention it.
Proof-3-The Hadith of Abu Hurayrah (rali)
The following hadith sheds a point that marriage is not wajib. The evidence is as follows
Narrated Abu Hurayrah:
I said, "O Allah's Messenger (Sal)! I am a young man and I am afraid that I may commit illegal sexual intercourse and I cannot afford to marry." He kept silent, and then repeated my question once again, but he kept silent. I said the same (for the third time) and he remained silent. Then repeated my question (for the fourth time), and only then the Prophet said, "O Abu Hurayrah! The pen has dried after writing what you are going to confront. So (it does not matter whether you) get yourself castrated or not."
(Sahih Al Bukhari)
If we look carefully at the above hadith, Abu Hurayrah (Rali) told the prophet (Sal) that he cannot marry because he does not have the means to get married. The prophet (Sal) never forced him or told him that he must get married and if marriage was an obligation the prophet (Sal) would have told him to anyway get married. Given the scenario of Abu Hurayrah (Rali) fearing that he could commit zina the prophet (Sal) never commanded him to marry.
Proof-4-Uthman (rali) did Not Want to Get Married
Narrated `Abdullah bin `Umar (Rali):
When Hafsa, `Umar's daughter became a widow because of the death of her (husband) Ibn Hudayfah As-Sahmi who was one of the companion of the Prophet (Sal) and the one of the Badr warriors and died at Medina, `Umar said, "I met `Uthman bin `Affan and gave him an offer, saying, 'If you wish, I will marry Hafsa to you.' He said. 'I will think it over' I waited for a few days, then he met me and said, 'I have made up my mind not to marry at present' "`Umar added, "Then I met Abu Bakr and said to him, 'If you wish, I will marry Hafsa to you.'
(Sahih Al Bukhari)
From the above hadith its understood that when Uthman (Rali) refused Umar (Rali)'s offer to marry his daughter stating that that he does not want to marry at the moment, Umar (Rali) did not tell him to get married. If it was an obligation then Umar (Rali) would have told him to marry.
Proof-5-Explanation of The Hadiths Where The Prophet (Sal) Forbade Celibacy
Some scholars and laymen are of the view that marriage is wajib. This view is based on the hadiths where the prophet (Sal) forbade celibacy to some companions. After analyzing these hadiths it is clear that the context of this prohibition needs to be understood clearly to understand the hadith.
Uthman ibn mahzun and some others made marriage haram for themselves. This is forbidden because it is forbidden to forbid something which Allah has allowed. This is the reason why the Prophet (Sal) forbade celibacy. This should be understood in this context. The context of these hadiths must be understood clearly to understand the hadith. These hadiths are taken out of context like for an example the hadiths on the local moonsighting. Click here to read about the local moonsighting hadith cjislam.weebly.com/local-moon-sighting-is-an-innovation.html
"Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas (Rali) said: The Messenger of Allaah (Sal) forbade ‘Uthmaan ibn Maz’oon to be celibate. If he had given him permission, we would have gotten ourselves castrated".
(Bukhari and Muslim)
Anas ibn Malik said:
"Three people came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asking about the worship of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah 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 Allaah be upon him)? Allaah 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 Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came and said: “Are you the ones who said such and such? By Allaah, I am the one who fears Allaah 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.”
(Bukhari and Muslim)
Anas (Rali) reported:
Three men came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet (Sal) to inquire about the worship of the Prophet (Sal). When they were informed, they considered their worship insignificant and said: "Where are we in comparison with the Prophet (Sal) while Allah has forgiven his past sins and future sins". One of them said: "As for me, I shall offer Salat all night long." Another said: "I shall observe Saum (fasting) continuously and shall not break it". Another said: "I shall abstain from women and shall never marry". The Prophet (Sal) came to them and said, "Are you the people who said such and such things? By Allah, I fear Allah more than you do, and I am most obedient and dutiful among you to Him, but still I observe fast and break it; perform Salat and sleep at night and take wives. So whoever turns away from my Sunnah does not belong to me".
(Bukhari and Muslim).
From the above mentioned narrations it is very clear that on all circumstances the prophet (Sal) said clearly that marriage is a Sunnah.
Proof-6-The Prophet (sal) himself told That Marriage Is a Sunnah and Further Explanation of the Hadiths of Celibacy
Aisha (rali) reported that Allah’s Messenger (sal) said: “
“Marriage is a Sunnah (way) of mine; and whoever does not follow my Sunnah is not of my followers. Marry because I will display your outnumbering the other nations on Resurrection Day. Whoever has wealth, marry, and whoever does not, fast, because fasting is a restraint for him.”
(Sunan ibn Majah, authenticated by Sheikh al – Albani in as – Saheehah)
From face value these hadiths may look like that marriage is an obligation because celibacy was forbidden by the prophet (Sal) but a deeper research proves otherwise. The entire story of the forbiddance of celibacy should be understood by understanding all the available hadiths and verses of the Quran and when everything is taken in to account it would make clear sense that marriage is only a Sunnah. The above hadith has to be taken from the context of the story of Uthman bin Maz’oon (rali) and not face value. Proof 7 will explain this even further.
Proof-7-The Prophet (sal) Forbade Celibacy Because Of Certain Reasons
Aishah (Rali) reported that Khuwaylah, daughter of Hakim Bin Umayyah
Bin Harithah Bin al – Awqas as – Salami (from the tribe of Sulam) visited her.
Khuwaylah was married to „Uthmaan Bin Maz‟oon. Allah’s Messenger (Sal) saw
Her and noticed her messy appearance; so he asked „Aishah, “O Aishah!
What makes Khuwaylah appear so messy?” Aishah (Rali) replied, “O Allah’s
Messenger! This woman's husband fasts during the day and prays during the
Night. So it is as if she does not have a husband, and thus she neglected her
Appearance.” Allah’s Messenger (Sal) then summoned „Uthmaan Bin Maz‟oon
And said to him, “O „Uthmaan! Are you doing that because you dislike my
Sunnah?” He replied, “By Allaah, no, O Allah’s Messenger! Rather, my whole
Interest is to follow your Sunnah.” Allah’s Messenger (Sal) then said:
“Verily, I sleep and pray, fast and breakfast, and marry women. Thus fear and
Revere Allaah O „Uthmaan, because your family has a right upon you, your guests
Have a right upon you, and yourself (body) has a right upon you. So, fast and
Breakfast, and pray and sleep”
(Ahmad and Abu Dawud. Graded Sahih by Sheikh al Albani in Irwa- ul – Ghaleel)
Look carefully at the above hadith. Uthman bin Maz”oon (Rali) was austere in worship and did not have any relationship with his wife although he was married to her. And this is why the prophet (Sal) asked him;
“O „Uthmaan! Are you doing that because you dislike my Sunnah?”
In another hadith Aa‟ishah (Rali), said:
Allah’s Messenger (Sal) said to him:
“O „Uthmaan! Monasticism bas not been enjoined upon us. Do you not have an
example in me? By Allaah, verily I fear Allaah and safeguard His boundaries
More than any of you.”
(Ibn Hibban, Ahmad and at – Tabarani-Graded Sahih by Sheikh al Albani in Irwa- ul – Ghaleel)
The monasticism mentioned above should be understood as Uthman bin Mahzun (Rali) not following the Sunnah of the prophet (Sal).
Proof-8-The Quran Verse Revealed Forbidding Making Unlawful What Has Been Made Lawful by Allah (swt)
From the above hadiths it is clear that some companions including Uthman Ibn maz”oon wanted to practice monasticism by being celibate. They forbade marriage to themselves and this is why Allah (Swt) revealed the below verse in the Quran as explained by Imam ibn kathir in his authentic tafsir.
“O you who believe! Make not unlawful the Tayyibaat (all that is good as regards foods, things, deeds, beliefs, persons) which Allah has made lawful to you, and transgress not. Verily, Allaah does not like the transgressors”
The above verse was revealed specifically when some companions forbade marriage to themselves. Ibn Jareer (Rah) of tafsir at Tabari narrated with his isnad that Mujaahid (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
“Some men, including ‘Uthmaan ibn Maz’oon and ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr (may Allaah be pleased with them) wanted to be celibate, and to castrate themselves, then the above verse (5:87) verse was revealed. From the above evidences It is crystal clear that the forbiddance of celibacy came because some companions went in to extremes in coming closer to Allah (Swt) in worship by going beyond the lenient middle path of our beloved messenger (Sal) and not because marriage is an obligation. There is a difference between forbidding something which is halal and not doing what is halal due to personal reasons. For an example, you can wait without using the miswak due to personal reasons but the line you transgress is when you start forbidding the miswak for yourself and others because you have no right to do that. This is why Allah (Swt) says in the above verse (Surah Verse 87) to not forbid what he has made lawful.
Proof-9- Difference Between Forbidding a Sunnah and Practising a Sunnah
There is a huge difference between forbidding a Sunnah and not practising the Sunnah. Let me give examples.
Anas (Rali) reported that some of the Companions of Allah's Apostle (Sal) asked his (the Prophet's) wives about the acts that he performed in private. Someone among them (among his Companions) said:
"I will not marry women; someone among them said: I will not eat meat; and someone among them said: I will not lie down in bed. He (the Holy Prophet) praised Allah and glorified Him, and said: What has happened to these people that they say so and so, whereas I observe prayer and sleep too; I observe fast and suspend observing them; I marry women also? And he who turns away from my Sunnah, he has no relation with me"
The meaning of what the prophet (Sal) meant by "Marriage is my Sunnah and whoever does not follow my Sunnah is not of me" is because of the above reason. In the above hadith some of the companions tried to bring in something new to Islam by becoming extreme in worship. Islam is in the middle path. It needs to be noted that even in this scenario the prophet (Sal) only said,
"And he who turns away from my Sunnah", meaning that it was only a Sunnah.
If marriage was wajib he would have said that it's wajib but rather he said it was a Sunnah. Some of the sahaba in the above hadith said that they will not eat meat. Refraining from eating meat as a way of being austere in worship is haram because you are bringing a new thing in Islam and you are forbidding something which Allah(Swt) has has made halal. But refraining from eating meat because of personal reasons such as for an example, you were brought up in a vegetarian family before you accepted Islam and you are not used to eating meat is not a transgression because you are accepting that eating meat is allowed in Islam and you are not transgressing. It’s only a personal choice. Similarly if you say: “I don't want to get married because I fear that I won't be able to provide my wife or children” is a fair reason because there is no transgression.
Proof-10-The Hadith of Eating Lizards
The hadith of eating Lizard meat further explains what has been mentioned in Proof-9. The proof is as follows:
Abdullah bin Abbas reported that Khalid bin Walid who is called the Sword of Allah had informed him that he visited Maimuna, the wife of Allah's Apostle (Sal), in the company of Allah's Messenger (Sal), and she was the sister of his mother (that of Khalid) and that of 'Ibn Abbas, and he found with her a roasted lizard which her sister Hufaida the daughter of al-Harith had brought from Najd, and she presented that lizard to Allah's Messenger (Sal). It was rare that some food was presented to the Prophet (Sal) and it was not mentioned or named. While Allah's Messenger (Sal) was about to stretch forth his hand towards the lizard, a woman from amongst the women present there informed the Messenger of Allah (Sal) what they had presented to him. They said:
"Messenger of Allah, it is a lizard. Allah's Messenger (Sal) withdrew his hand, whereupon Khalid bin Walid said: Messenger of Allah is a lizard forbidden? There upon he said: No, but it is not found in the land of my people, and I feel that I have no liking for it. Khalid said: I then chewed and ate it, and Allah's Messenger (Sal) was looking at me and he did not forbid (me to eat it).
And in another hadith 'Umar (Rali) reported:
A person asked Allah's Messenger (Sal) about the eating of the lizard, whereupon he said. "I neither eat it, nor do I prohibit it.
In these two hadiths it clear explains the fact that the prophet (sal) did not want to eat lizard meat because of his personal dislike but never forbade it.
Proof-11-Hadith of the Prophet (sal) Forbidding Himself from Drinking Honey
There is further explanation of what was discussed in Proof-10.
Ubayd bin `Umayr said that he heard Aishah claiming that Allah's Messenger used to stay for a period in the house of Zaynab bint Jahsh and drink honey in her house. (She said) "Hafsah and I decided that when the Prophet entered upon either of us, we would say, `I smell Maghafir on you. Have you eaten Maghafir' When he entered upon one of us, she said that to him. He replied (to her), No, but I drank honey in the house of Zaynab bint Jahsh, and I will never drink it again Then the following was revealed:
"O Prophet, why do you prohibit [yourself from] what Allah has made lawful for you, seeking the approval of your wives? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful".
(Sahih Al Bukhari)
From the above hadith the prophet (Sal) forbade for himself the drinking of honey which Allah (Swt) had made halal. And the above verse was revealed prohibiting this action of his. From the above hadiths it is clear from the prophet (Sal)’s Sunnah that refraining from doing something that is allowed is allowed in Islam as long as it does not transgress the limits. After analyzing all the above evidences we can conclude without doubt that the hadiths used by those who say that its wajib to marry is nothing but a misunderstood idea without understanding all the available evidences. Marriage is only a recommended Sunnah and its not wajib.
Scholars Who Said That Marriage Is Not Wajib
Even after giving the above eleven proofs to prove that marriage is not a must, there are foolish Muslims who will blindly quote the opinions of a few scholars to prove that marriage is wajib. Not all scholars were of the view that marriage was wajib .Ibn Khadama al Maqdisi in his book "Al Mughni" said the following
"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. This is the opinion of the majority of fuqahaa’.”
Scholars like Salih al Uthaymin and Shaikh bin Baz was also of this view. Getting married is a recommended Sunnah of the messenger (Sal) which has many benefits and at the same time it also should be noted that marriage cannot be termed as an obligation based on the above evidences.
After analyzing all the above evidence it is clear that marriage is not an obligation and a Muslim should not unnecessarily force himself and his fellow Muslims to get married and overburden himself of a thing that is a Sunnah. Marriage is a beautiful and recommended Sunnah of our beloved messenger (sal) and that clearly proves that marriage is only a choice and not a must in Islam.