Must I Marry My Cousin?

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil is asked about being urged to marry a cousin when one is interested in someone outside the family.


Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I really like a girl from outside my family and I believe that she will be a good partner for me. My family wants me to marry my cousin. Although she is also good, I’m not comfortable with her.

However, there is no suitable match for my cousin if I don’t go for her, and she may suffer if I say no. What do I do? Am I Islamically and morally bound to marry my cousin?


Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.


You are not Islamically and/or morally bound to marry your cousin. Please do not marry her out of guilt. Marriage is a sacred contract, and you must take responsibility for who you choose to marry. You need to talk honestly with your family about how you are not comfortable with marrying your cousin.

Please know that Allah is Most Merciful, and He will not let your cousin down. I pray that she marries a kind and pious man who will cherish her.


You are probably under a lot of pressure to marry your cousin. May Allah make this easier for you. Because of this, be realistic and expect your family to be unhappy about your intention to marry outside of your family.

Please do the groundwork by completing the course Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages and reading the book Before You Tie The Knot.

If you go ahead with this, then the woman you have in mind must be strong enough to withstand the disapproval of her in-laws. That stress could break a marriage.


I encourage you to perform the Prayer of Need, and the Prayer of Guidance, in the last third of the night.

Family Ties

Please do everything in your power to maintain family ties if you choose to marry outside of your family. Bring in a respected family elder to advocate for you, if need be.


If you can find it in your heart to consider marrying your cousin, then I encourage you to at least give it a shot, to bring happiness to your parents’ hearts.

Please see Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered and Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long.

May Allah bring you the clarity to do what is most pleasing to Him.



Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.