Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
Question: Assalamu alaykum
I am a practicing sister, alhamdulillah and have been wanting to get married for quite some time. SubhanAllah, for various reasons I have not been able to find a suitable partner until now, in my late thirties.
Recently, I connected with a person and we speak on the phone with the permission of my parents. He seems very nice and most importantly, he tries to follow the deen and loves the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and give him peace. He has now told me that he does not want to have children due to the several reasons.
I have read that a Muslim woman should not refuse a proposal of a pious man. In my opinion, he seems like a pious man. He has not proposed to me however, because we both know this is one of the last hurdles. I have tried to reason with him but he is very hesitant to change his mind. Also, I have always wanted to have children, with the understanding that it is up to Allah, Most High to grant me that blessing or not.
My parents have left this decision on to me. I find myself incapable of making this very important decision alone and am very emotionally distraught. I am praying to Allah SWT every day to guide me to the right decision. I would appreciate some guidance from an Islamic perspective. JazakAllah.
Answer: Assalamu alaykum sister,
Thank you for reaching out to us and for trying to make the best decision. I want to commend you for speaking to this brother in a permissible way and taking the correct steps before marriage. You have considered his piety before everything else, this is the most important thing.
The decision that you face is a difficult one. It certainly is permissible for him to choose not to have children, whether he is right or wrong. It also permissible for you to choose to marry him or leave him based on his request. I personally have witnessed many couples that can’t bear the pain of not having children. They turned to adoption or in vitro fertilization. Couples have even divorced over the issue.
You mentioned that you are praying Istikhara, this is good. Pray it for another 21 days, and see how you feel after that. You must come to a decision soon so that you don’t get emotionally attached to him. If it is negative, don’t hesitate to turn him down and trust that Allah will send you someone better.
I believe that if he truly doesn’t want to have children, you should ask him how he plans to do this? What form of birth control is he planning to use? He may find that he is not comfortable with some forms of birth control, and I believe it could be harmful for you to go on birth control pills. The side effects are numerous and it might have an effect on your future fertility.
If you do decide to go ahead with this marriage, keep in mind that things change. Pregnancy is one of those things that you can’t completely control. It may be that he changes his mind after marriage. It may be that you become impregnated despite taking measures. It may be that a child is born healthy. There is a long list of probabilities.
Should you settle for this man?
Absolutely not. You don’t need to settle for anyone that you are not happy with, or with any one factor that you are not happy with. His being pious doesn’t mean that you have to say yes without looking at all the factors. Keep this in mind when you make your decision. Raising a new generation of believers is a tremendous act of worship, and you don’t need to compromise on that.
Take means before rash decisions
I suggest to your potential suitor that he take medical tests to verify what he fears. He owes you that much. I feel not testing himself is being disrespectful of your wishes. I believe he should also find out if there are any possible cures for what he has. Instead of making a blanket statement like, “I won’t have children”, he should put a bit more research and try to find out the exact problem and solution. He should get different opinions and try natural medicine. He should talk to others and see if they found a cure. Not investigating is like refusing to help oneself. He must be proactive.
Finally trust in Allah. He brings about what is best for us, in ways we know not. May Allah give you success and a pious and happy family.
Allah says, “[…]Once you make a decision, put your trust in Allah. Surely Allah loves those who trust in Him.“ [Qur`an, 3:159]
Please see the following links for more information on the subject.
Is Pre-Natal Genetic Testing Permissible?
In Vitro Fertilization
Struggling to Have Children: Ten Key Etiquettes of Du’a
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterwards, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.