Should I Live with My Cousin at University since Our Families Can’t Afford to Live Apart?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad


I’m 20 years old, and, I completed my A levels in Pakistan along with my male cousin who’s also 20. We both have been childhood best friends, and I’ve always treated him as my brother since I don’t have one. We both worked hard to make it to our dream university MIT & and it’s a dream come true, alhamdulillah. We only got a minimum scholarship, and our families are unable to afford the rent, so the only choice is to share one room for a few months until we find part-time jobs. Can we share the same room for a year? Or shall we get married? I fear marriage would give him a license to get attracted or demand sex, which I don’t want right now.


Thank you for your question. You truly are in a unique situation, and I ask that you look at all your options, surely neither option sounds good to me.

Living Together

If you lived together under one roof, it would be haram as you are not mahram to each other, and may not be alone together. If you got married, you would be obligated to have intercourse with him if he requested it. Neither option sounds right for two people who just got into their dream school. Congratulations, by the way!


The vast majority of first-time international university students find roommates to live with and lower their costs. Another option is to borrow money from a relative or friend whom you can pay back. I am sure that if you explore, you should be able to find a way to make workable living situation for yourself. Did you join the Muslim Facebook group for MIT Muslim housing? They probably have one. Please don’t pigeonhole yourself into a stressful or sinful living situation and cause your education to suffer and take the baraka out of the whole thing. Make du`a that Allah Most High opens a way out of you, He will, if you are determined to do this right, with good intentions.

Know that Allah’s promise is true in the Quran: “[…] And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide for him from sources he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Indeed Allah has set a measure for all things.” [Quran, 65:2-3]

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May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin and completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.