Is It Permissible to Fantasize About a Hypothetical Marriage?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick 

Question

Is it permissible to think about an emotional relationship with your future spouse? By future spouse, I don’t mean your fiancé/fiancée. I mean a person you imagine to be your spouse. I also don’t mean thinking about having sexual relations or anything sexual. For example, a woman thinking about hugging her (imaginary) husband or a man thinking about meeting the “girl of his dreams” and getting to know her. Is this permissible, especially if someone cannot get married due to their circumstances?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah guide us to that which pleases Him, Amin.

It is permissible to have a vision for one’s future and the qualities one would like to have in a spouse. Imagining unlawful actions, such as hugging and kissing (other than one’s spouse),  is impermissible, as thoughts are the precursors to action, and Allah knows best.

We humbly advise that you channel such thoughts and imaginations about your desired future into turning to Allah in supplication, imploring Him to grant you the best in this life and the next. Turning to Allah in prayer is beneficial for your heart, and Allah will grant you that which is most beneficial for you.

“Getting hung up” on thoughts, dreams, and imaginations is dangerous as your mind (and heart) may venture into the unlawful, and they have no positive bearing on your present or future life, whereas Allah (the All-Powerful and Majestic) is in complete control of everything.

Voluntary and Involuntary Thoughts

Passing thoughts which does not settle in one’s mind are overlooked by the agreement of the scholars (ijmaʿ). One has no control over involuntary thoughts, and there is no way for one to avoid them altogether. [Nawawi, Adhkar]

Allah says: “Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. It will have [the consequence of] what [good] it has gained, and it will bear [the consequence of] what [evil] it has earned. Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred. Our Lord, and lay not upon us a burden like that which You laid upon those before us. Our Lord, and burden us not with that which we have no ability to bear. And pardon us, and forgive us, and have mercy upon us. You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people.” [Quran, 2:286]

Accordingly, thoughts that are entertained or intentionally brought to mind will not be overlooked, and one would be held accountable for that, and Allah knows best.

I pray this is of benefit.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan. 

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.