The 17 Benefits of Tribulation

I ‘m A Student and I Want to Marry an Older Woman. Is it a good idea?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

I am studying full-time, working part-time, and want to marry an older woman from a less educated family. My father has his misgivings, but has given me his blessings. My mother is not happy. What do I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

I pray this finds you well. Please forgive me for the delay.


Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that a person said: Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace), who amongst the people is most deserving of my good treatment? He said: Your mother, again your mother, again your mother, then your father, then your nearest relatives according to the order (of nearness). [Muslim]

Sit down and gently address your mother’s fears. Reassure your mother by saying that she has a valid point, and that this difference could be an issue. Explain that you will do your best to treat your in-laws with compassion and respect, despite their differences. Thank her for her concern, and emphasise that the main point is that you have much in common with your future wife. Tell her, through word and deed, that you want her blessings, and you will wait until she is happy before

In most situations, parents will be won over through their adult children showing patience and good character.


Every couple needs to make decisions about how the level of involvement of their in-laws. The Prophetic way is one of balance, in all things. Regardless of how often you plan to spend time with your in-laws, your responsibility is to always uphold good character.


I strongly encourage both you and your prospective spouse to complete the  Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages  course. It is obligatory upon both of you to know the fiqh behind marriage before getting married. This will help you both learn about what your spiritual, emotional, physical and financial rights and responsibilities.


Your parents do have a point. Because you are not working full-time, you will be unable to provide your future wife with the lifestyle she is used to. I see two options if you were to get married:

1) She continues working to sustain her lifestyle
2) She does not work, relies entirely on your financial support, and adjusts to having less disposable income.

it is very possible for college students to marry. I encourage you to plan carefully, budget, and make allowances for unexpected events such as pregnancy and so on. Difficulties will inevitably rise, so please be patient with each other during the transition period. No plan is perfect, but you can strive to do your best and leave the rest to Allah

In a nutshell, you are responsible to provide for your wife’s basic financial needs: food, clothing and shelter etc. If you follow the Shafi’i school of thought, then please refer to Section M of the “Reliance of the Traveller” book. I stress that this is an absolute minimum, and the real life application of fiqh is different.

(A: The rulings of this section are not recommendations for how much to spend, but rather define the minimum permissible, which a stingy husband may not lawfully spend less than. Extra spending on one’s wife is charity.)
M11.2: Food
The husband is obliged to provide his wife’s sustenance day by day. If affluent, he must daily furnish her with one liter of the grain that is the staple food of the town in which they live. (O: By the grain that is the staple food of the town, the author means if people eat it. If not, then whatever they eat, even if it is hardened, dried white cheese. If the wife asks for something other than the staple food of the town, the husband does not have to provide it for her, and if he gives her something besides the staple, she need not
accept it. The staple food is what is obligatory.) If he is not affluent, then he is obliged to provide 0.51 liters of grain a day for his wife; while if between affluence and nonaffluence, he must provide 0.77 liters per day.
He is also obliged to cover the expenses of grinding it into flour and baking it into bread (O: even when she is used to doing it herself, as there would otherwise be need for this expenditure), and to buy the foods that normally accompany bread to make it savory and agreeable, as much as is customary in the town of meat, oil, and so forth (O: such as dates, vinegar, and cheese. The obligatory measures differ with the seasons, it being necessary in each season to provide that which is proper to it. Fruits might predominate in
one season, and thus be obligatory. As for the obligatory amount of meat, one sees how much is customarily consumed in town per week).
If husband and wife agree that he give her compensation in place of the above-mentioned (O: grain and other things she is entitled to, the compensation being in money or clothing), this is permissible.
M11.3: Articles for Personal Hygiene
The wife in entitled to what she needs of oil for her hair, shampoo (lit. “sidr”), and a comb (O: to keep her hair clean, of the kind and amount that is customary in town, in order to prevent harm to herself. If oil scented with rose or violet is the custom of the town, it must be provided, though not things which are merely cosmetic and not for cleanliness, such as eyeliner or henna, which need not be provided, though the husband may provide
them if he wishes. It is also obligatory for him to provide deodorant (lit. “litharge”) or the like to stop underarm odor if water and soap will not suffice), and the price of water for her purificatory bath (ghusl) when the reason for it is sexual intercourse or the end of postnatal bleeding, though not if the reason is the end of her monthly period or something else (dis: m11.1).
M11.4: Cosmetics and Medicine
The husband is not obliged (N: but rather is recommended) to pay for his wife’s cosmetics, doctor’s fees, the purchase of medicine for her, and similar expenses (Although he must pay for expenditures connected with childbirth).
M11.5: Clothing
A wife is entitled to the kind of clothing that is customary in town for dressing oneself (O: and not just anything termed clothing will suffice. What is obligatory is the amount necessary for the woman, which varies according to whether she is tall or short, thin or fat, and with the hot or cold climate of various towns. In the summertime, it is obligatory to provide her with a head covering, shift, underdrawers, shoes, and a shawl, because of her need to go out; and the same in the wintertime, plus a cloak quilted with cotton to
protect her against the cold. If she needs tow cloaks because of the extreme cold, it is obligatory to provide them. If she needs fuel because of the severity of the winter, it is obligatory to buy the necessary wood and coal) and (O: he must also provide the amount customary in town of the) bedding, blankets, and pillows that are suitable for someone of his income. (O: She also deserves cooking implements, and utensils for eating and drinking).
It is obligatory for the husband to give his wife the expenditures for her support at the first of each day, and to provide her clothing at the first of each season (O: meaning the beginning of winter and summer).
If he gives her clothing for a season, and it wears out before the end of the season, he is not obliged to furnish new clothing, though if it lasts beyond the season, he is nevertheless obliged to provided new clothing for each new season. The wife is entitled to dispose of the clothing as she wishes, whether by selling it or other (O: means of disposal, such as giving it away, the reason being that it is her own property).
M11.8: Housing and Servants
The wife is entitled to housing of the same quality as that of similar women. (O: The standard of housing depends on the wife herself, while the standard for her clothing and support takes the state of the husband into consideration. The difference is because the expenditures for her support and clothing become her own property and are not merely
for her use, while housing is solely for use (N: meaning that while she can take compensation in place of food or clothing and buy some other kind, she cannot rent a different house). In any case, she is obliged to stay in the lodgings her husband arranges for her.)
If she had servants in her father’s house, the husband is obliged to provide servants for her.

Please see:

[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.