Is Marriage Haram For Some People? by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

At a recent dinner invitation, I noticed that most of those present had business relationships with each other. I feared that if there wasn’t some radical intervention, the conversation would center on things like guerrilla marketing and such—not my cup of tea. So I decided to say something radical, hoping to shift the flow of conversation to human relationships instead. I said, “You know, I think that it is haram for many people to marry.”

Heads turned very fast. Some asked me whether I’d lost my mind. Others simply asked me what I meant.

I wasn’t joking, I said. No, I was very serious.

Many people fall into sin by marrying.

Why? Because they enter marriage without understanding the serious responsibility that marriage entails. Then they fail to fulfill their duty as husband or wife, and end up wronging their spouse. Such failure is sinful, even if one’s spouse is similarly remiss.

This returns to an important principle in the Shari‘a that hurting another is worse than hurting oneself. In fact, you have the full right to hurt yourself—in effect, you have the right to go to Hell, if you so wish. However, you have absolutely no right to hurt another—whether materially, emotionally, or in any other way. In marriages, spouses do amazing things to hurt each other, both directly and indirectly—through remissness in fulfilling their rights; and through simple inability to maintain a healthy marital relationship.

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So, what can be done about it?

The answer to this returns to individuals, parents, and society at large. As individuals, we have to develop an understanding of the keys to healthy human relationships in general and healthy marriages in particular—before and after marriage. Parents have to inculcate an understanding in their children, especially in the later teen years and after, of good character, of taking the rights of others seriously, and of how to maintain strong relationships. With that, as parents we ourselves have a duty to be examples of successful marital life for our children. In society, we have a communal responsibility to raise awareness of what is needed to make marriages work—practical manner, not just through yet more lecturing on “The Importance of Early Marriage,” because early marriage without sufficient preparedness is as likely to fail as late marriage, if not more.

We need to train our community leaders, imams, and activists in marriage counseling. Seminars and programs must be held within the community for those seeking to get married and for those married. Trained counseling and suitable literature needs should be made available in accessible ways for those married, especially for those having trouble in their marriages.

There Is Help Out There

People have to be made aware of the (often many) resources available in the wider society on marriage. Often, Muslims are wary of going outside the community for counseling (and yet fail to find capable counseling within the community). We need develop lists of reliable counseling services—services that uphold the core marital values Muslims hold dear (and which they fear for when seeking outside counseling). Likewise, there is a lot of good literature on marriage that those marrying and married should seriously consider reading.

As Dr. Ibrahim Kreps and other leading Muslim counselors concur, one of the very best books on marriage is John Gottman’s The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. This or similar books give practical guidance on improving marriage relationships in our times.

With this, as Muslims we have to look at the radiant example of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) himself. He reminded us that, “The best of you are those best to their spouses, and I am the best of you to their spouse” (Tirmidhi, on the authority of ‘A’isha, God be pleased with her)). We should look regularly and with reflection at the life and example of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), as these give us beautiful examples and clear principles on how to have a successful marriage built on the Qur’anic paradigm of love and mercy, and of striving to live together with a mutual commitment to excellence in dealings.

Originally published in Islamica Magazine


Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered in this comprehensive reader.

Maryland Benefits from the SeekersGuidance “Getting Married” Seminar

Marriage is an act of worship that nearly every Muslim will engage in during their life. Attendees of the SeekersGuidance Seminar on “Getting Married”, held in Maryland on Saturday 24th April, learned that there is much more to this spiritual act than just meeting someone and planning the wedding.

The Seminar was delivered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, who examined the details of the often overlooked legalities of marriage, whilst adding important realistic and practical advice. Attendees found the seminar both enlightening and entertaining, and found the references to the Shaykh’s own family experiences helped to put the study material into a contemporary context.

Why We Should Marry
Shaykh Faraz began with the reasons why one should get married according to Islam, showing proofs from the Quran and Sunnah. He followed this with a fascinating insight into Imam Al-Ghazali’s Five Benefits of Marriage. The possible dangers of marriage and Ghazali’s Eight Considerations to look for in a spouse, were also discussed.

As Shaykh Faraz finished up the third lesson of the seminar, he explained to the audience that we will be taking a break and coming back for the next session titled “How to find?” An attendee protested. “But that’s the most important thing!” More reason to be back on time, Shaykh Faraz replied.

The Steps to Getting Married
The steps toward actually getting married were examined and were explained to be extremely significant due to the very real possibility of entering a marriage devoid of blessings and sometimes the wrong approach can complicate the entire marriage process. Attendees then listened as Shakyh Faraz talked about convincing parents, which is often a challenge for young people when arranging their marriages.

The best ways in which to deal with certain situations was explained, including how to convince your parents that you are ready to get married or to have them accept your choice of spouse, whilst maintaining respect and excellence towards them.

Finally the seminar ended with the detailed overview of the marriage contract and an overview of the keys to a successful marriage, during which the attendees were reminded that ultimately, everything that one does should be a means to closeness to Allah (Most High), and that marriage is one of these means.

Presentation by
The seminar also included an engaging presentation by Abrar Ansari & Vaseem Ansari of, which aims to provide a dignified & discrete platform for Muslims sinCOMPANIONSHIPS Logogles who are seriously contemplating marriage, to meet and be introduced to matrimonial education from an Islamic perspective.

They explained that a good marriage is a divine blessing and that finding a person with whom you can build a home filled with love, respect and reverence to God can itself be an act of worship. This can be a challenge, and Companionships is here to help obtain the blessings of marriage.

Feedback from attendees was very encouraging, and the success of Saturday’s seminar has led Khuram Zaman, SeekersGuidance General Manager, to begin planning regular visits to serve the Maryland and DC community.

Br. Abdul Razzak, a seminar attendee, said:

“The seminar was very thorough in covering all of the things an aspiring spouse or a current spouse needs to know for a successful marriage. Every important topic was discussed…the issues discussed were of a practical nature and included advice that we could all implement in our respective lives to improve our chances of a successful marriage. The combination of Islamic understanding and practical, common sense advice was very balanced and relevant. It was refreshing to have an Islamic scholar who not only knows the Islamic tradition, but also has the wisdom to give practical advice to Muslims in West on how to find a spouse and have a successful marriage.”

The next location for the Getting Married seminar is Toronto, on Saturday 22nd May. For further details, please see

For more information on the services that SeekersGuidance provides, including seminars in your area, visit

10 Ways to Avoid Marrying the Wrong Person! – MentalHealth4Muslims Blog

10 Ways to Avoid Marrying the Wrong Person!


There is a right way and a wrong way to get to know someone for marriage.  The wrong way is to get caught up in the excitement and nuance of a budding relationship and in the process completely forget to ask the critical questions that help determine compatibility.  One of the biggest mistakes that many young Muslims make is rushing into marriage without properly and thoroughly getting to know someone.  A common myth is that the duration of a courtship is an accurate enough measure of how compatible two people are.  The logic follows that the longer you speak with someone, the better you will know them.  The problem with that premise is that no consideration is given to howthat time is spent. Increasingly, young Muslim couples are engaging in “halal dating,” which is basically socializing with each other in the company of friends and/or family. This includes going out to dinner, watching a movie, playing some sport or other leisure activity, etc.  Depending on the family or culture, conversations are either minimal & chaperoned or worse, unrestricted and unsupervised. When you consider these  limitations it makes one wonder when exactly, if ever at all, would the critical conversations take place?  Unfortunately, for many, the answer is never and they live to suffer the consequences.  If you or someone you know is in the “getting to know someone” phase,  the following guide offers advice on exactly what to look for and avoid:

Read more

Love for a Non-Muslim Man & Inviting Him to Islam

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq

Question: What are the rules on marriage with a non-Muslim man? Is it permissible for a Muslim lady to even speak to a non-Muslim man (from her past life) and to introduce Islam to him? And is it wrong to have love for this person after accepting Islam? Is there something she can do to cure her heart? Also, what should one do if they want to get married but cant, due to reasons like parents not stressing it or not giving it attention? Does this mean marriage isnt for her?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. May the peace and blessings of Allah descend on the Prophet Muhammad, his family, his companions, and those who follow them.

Dear Sister,

Assalamu alaikum,

Thank you for your question. I pray you are in better spirits these days.

I wasn’t quite clear on what obstacles to marriage you are facing, but let me try to address the points you have raised.

First, it sounds like you are still in love with someone you knew before you became Muslim. While you certainly cannot control your feelings, you can control what you do with them. It may be difficult to be rational about this, but what is the basis for the attraction you feel? If you are meant to be with this person, then Allah will guide him to Islam. No amount of da’wah you give is going to make a difference. And given how emotional you are about this, it is best not to speak to this person. Why put yourself through that kind of heartache? If he’s genuinely interested in Islam, there are a number of resources he could seek out.

Second, ask Allah to give you what is best. Ask Allah to guide this person to Islam and let you marry him if it is best for your deen and dunya. And ask Allah to remove this attachment from your heart if this person is not the best for your deen and dunya. It was reported that the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, used to say, “O Allah, o controller of hearts and eyes, make my heart firm upon your religion.” You should make this dua, keep constant with your prayers, and always strive to be in a state of remembrance of Allah.

Third, it’s very premature to conclude that marriage is not for you. And while lack of a Muslim community or Muslim family members poses a problem, there are ways around this. However, before you even consider trying to find a Muslim husband, you need to resolve your feelings for this individual. You can’t seriously discuss marriage with a Muslim brother when you have these feelings about someone from your past.

I hope this is helpful.

May Allah reward you,
Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq
March 22, 2010/Rabi’ al-Thani 7, 1431

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Marriage & Obedience to Parents

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq

Question: [1] If one’s parents have two children. They have allowed the son to marry and migrate and the girl receive offer to marriage inclusive with migration. Is the girl allowed to accept this offer, in view that if she does leave, no one will be able to be around to take care of the parents? [2] I am really caught in trying to retain my responsibilities towards my parents. I have always tried to be obedient; I have given up my right to marriage due to racial and economic reasons for them. I have, allowed marriage proposals to pass by so that they would not be angry. Simultaneously, I have initially rejected their attempt to marry someone I did not like; however, when I realized that my choices were also a cause for conflicts, I attempted to compromise on two occasions. The results were rather emotionally devastating. With regards to my offers of marriage in another country, my parents insist that if something bad was to occur that no one would be there to assist me. The truth is I prefer to risk it. Now, I have an offer in front of me (with a suggestion of support to study Islam). I really don’t want to reject this offer but I am also concerned that I might be punished for neglecting the rights of my parents over me.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. May the peace and blessings of Allah descend on the Prophet Muhammad, his family, his companions, and those who follow them.

Dear Sister,

Assalamu alaikum,

I pray you are in good health and spirits. I apologize for the delay in writing back.

Obedience to one’s parents is not unconditional. Just as your parents are entitled to obedience, respect, and good treatment, you are entitled to marry a righteous spouse. By prolonging your single status and compelling you to reject good suitors, your parents are going against the Prophetic directive, “When someone with whose religion and character you are satisfied, asks to marry your daughter, comply with his request. If you do not do so, there will be corruption and great evil on earth.” (Tirmidhi)

There is a solution to this situation. You can consider the following:

* Asking your potential spouse to consider relocating to your country

* Asking your parents to relocate to your new home

* Spending half of your time in one place, and the other half in the other

* Visiting as often as you can

* Making sure your parents receive financial support, if needed

Finally, please confer, as a family, with a counselor, or a balanced, knowledgeable Imam or community elder.

May Allah reward you,

Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq

February 24, 2010

Rabi’ al-Awwal 11, 1431

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Marriage Decision: Following One’s Heart

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: I’m having trouble deciding on whether to marry a particular individual–and I’ve had this trouble before. He is good in his religious practice, seems compatible (I quite like him), and is financially stable. But…

Answer: Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.

This would appear to be a case where you should follow the words of the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk), “Seek an answer from your heart, even if people give you answer after answer.” [Ahmad, and others]

Asking your heart entails asking yourself what decision honestly appears to be most likely to be most pleasing to Allah in the immediate and long term. This is also at the essence of what we seek in the prayer of seeking guidance (salat al-istikhara), if you reflect on its words.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) advised us to seek someone of religious concern (deen) and good character.

The sign of religious concern is that they appear to strive to seek the pleasure of Allah in their worship, conduct, and life dealings.

The sign of good character is that they’re gentle, easy-going, and can control themselves in anger and negative situations. Marrying such a person will facilitate for you the good of this life and the next.

May Allah facilitate for you the right choices, and place blessing and good in them for you, your family, and humanity.

And Allah alone gives success.
Faraz Rabbani

Performed the Marriage Contract (nikah) But Not Yet Living Together: Can We Still Talk to Each Other?

Answered by Ustadha Sulma Badrudduja

Question: I just had my nikah done and my husband lives in canada whereas i live in pakistan. We talk daily and there is a year till we start living together. Should there be any restrictions while we talk? He wants to talk about everything we’ll do or wont after marriage … What do i do?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

May Allah Most High bless your marriage!

According to the shari`ah there are no restrictions on your interactions because you and your husband are legally married. It is good to have regular contact since you are now married in order to begin establishing your relationship.

And Allah Most High knows best.


Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Women, Debts, and Marriage

In this video, Shaykh Faraz relates an interesting anecdote relating to marriage contracts during the question and answer session at the 23rd Annual conference hosted by the Islamic Council of New England at Boston University. This years conference centered on Islamic Finance and Shaykh Faraz presented two sessions: one on the definition of riba and the other on the question of the permissibility of conventional insurance.

Letting Go of the Past & Secret Marriages

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq

Question: I have two situations that i think i have dealt with in the wrong way but want to put it right and act the way the Prophet Muhammed (saw) would or should. The first situation: My cousin has been asking to marry me for the last four years. I avoided giving him a clear answer so he resorted to making harassing phone calls. A friend of mind offered to talk to him. Things improved until I realized that my friend had married him. My cousin knows I know what happened, but my friend has no idea.

The second situation: My brother married someone in secret. We have ties with his wife’s family and this marriage has caused a lot of acrimony in both households.

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. May the peace and blessings of Allah descend on the Prophet Muhammad, his family, his companions, and those who follow them.

Dear Sister,

Thank you for your questions.

My answer to both situations: Move on with your life and don’t dwell on the past. If you didn’t want your cousin before, then why are you upset he married your friend? Let him and your friend move on and wish them happiness in their marriage. Yes, it was wrong for your cousin to make harassing phone calls to you, but you should have given him a clear answer and then referred the matter to your father.

As far as your brother’s secret marriage is concerned, he needs to rectify the situation by announcing his marriage and dealing with the consequences. I think everyone involved in this situation has some growing up to do.

Focus on learning from these situations and, hopefully, avoiding any drama if and when you choose to get married.

May Allah reward you,

Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq
October 6, 2009
Shawwal 17, 1430

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Is it Prohibited to Marry Someone Guilty of Adultery/Fornication?

Answered by Sidi Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: A girl and I committed zina a few months back. We are in the process of getting married very soon.

Is it permissible for me to marry the girl I committed zina with?

Is it obligatory for her to repent before we get married ?

She will definitely repent but I want to know if its required in order us to marry.

Answer: All praise is to Allah Most High who has shown us right from wrong, in order that we may benefit both in this life and in the next life.

Zina (either illicit fornication for those never-before-married, or adultery for those who have been married) is one of the vilest and gravest sins a Muslim can commit, after ascribing partners with Allah, murder, and disobedience to one’s parents. In the Qur’an, right after the prohibition of killing one’s children, Allah Most High says:

“And do not even go close to Zina! Truly, it is a gross obscenity and an evil path (to go down).” [al-Quran, 17:32]

This verse is not just about prohibiting the act of zina itself, rather, we are told not even to go near it through anything that may lead or invite to it. This is why the pre-marital contact of an unrelated man and woman for unnecessary reasons is not allowed in Islam, even if marriage is the eventual goal.

However, if anyone has fallen into committing this act (and may Allah save us), know that Allah is so Merciful and He is ready to accept the repentance of those who are truly remorseful and commit themselves not to repeat the act again. He, Most High, says:

“And those who, after they had committed a gross obscenity [ie. zina], or wronged themselves [by what approaches it, such as kissing], remembered Allah, and then sought forgiveness for their sins – and who forgives sins except Allah? – and they did not continue in committing it, knowing fully-well [it was a sin]:

For those people, their recompense is a great forgiveness from their Lord! And gardens underneath which rivers flow! They will be in there forever!  What a wonderful reward for those who act for Allah!”

[al-Quran, 2:135-136, interpretation from Jalalayn and Tabari]]

It is definitely a step in the right direction that you both have turned away from this and are now working to get married soon. Both of you, not just the woman, should repent from what has passed and make a firm commitment not to come near to a situation where it might happen again. However, the direct answer to your question is that it isn’t a legal requirement that one repent (which is an inward act between a servant and Allah) in order for the marriage to be valid (which is an outward action).

That being said, it is still obligatory to repent in any case, and to do so before marriage is not so much of a technical requirement as some opinions say, but rather something strongly encouraged for the couple get on the right footing with Allah Most High as they embark on the sacred journey of being husband and wife. Now, we’ll look at the reasons why the majority of scholars say this, and the verse of the Quran which concerns the issue.

The Verse Concerning Marriage With Those Who Commit Zina

Allah Most High says:

“A man guilty of adultery or fornication does not marry other than a woman guilty of adultery or fornication, or an idolatress, and as for a woman who committed adultery or fornication, no one but a man who committed adultery or fornication, or an idolater, marries her.  And that has been prohibited for the Believers.” [al-Quran 24:3]

The opinion that you read says that this verse is a prohibition against the marriage of a Believer with someone guilty of zina, until the adulterer repents, thereby being cleansed of the sin and no longer being an adulterer. This is based on the taking the statement “it has been prohibited” at one of its literal and apparent meanings and applying it to marriage. Some Hanbali scholars held this view.

However, the majority of scholars have said that this is not a prohibition in terms of validity of marriage, but rather they interpret the verse in many different ways.

Al-Suyuti in Tafseer al-Jalaalayn points out that the beginning of the verse speaks about who is appropriate for marriage to another due to their character; that the only person who would want to marry an adulterer is one who has similar inclinations or makes light of the sin of zina, or a person who is not a Muslim and therefore does not see zina as being unlawful and sinful in the first place. The suitability of a man and woman of this nature is repeated twice to show emphasis on how detestable the act and its consensual perpetrators are, and it also highlights that this stigma is not attached only to the male or female alone (as is sometimes sadly observed in some cultures).

Al-Suyuti goes on to say that the prohibition on the Believers was initially meant to address a situation in which some very poor Muslim Emigrants to Medina had wanted to get married to women who were pagans and known prostitutes, so that they might benefit from those women’s earnings to survive. Hence, the verse was revealed to prohibit this, and he says that the prohibition of marrying anyone who had once committed adultery was abrogated by a later command which said “and marry the single ones from amongst you.” [al-Quran, 24:32]

That does not mean however, that it is of no consequence to marry someone who is unrepentant about their adultery, nor that a chaste person should marry such a person.

Al-Shaukani in Fath al-Qadeer lists 7 different interpretations, one of them being that the verse is simply commending the most commonly observed trend, which is that a chaste person would not usually want to marry someone who was unremorsefully unchaste. He also mentions that the verse is in reference specifically to people to whom zina has become a way of life and even a way of earning. Some transmissions of prohibiting the marriage of two fornicators to each other exist from some Companions, but conflicting narrations from some of those same Companions and the rulings of many of the Imams of the Salaf (such as al-Shafi’i and Abu Haneefa) who knew the Companion’s opinions better than we do today, show that this prohibition was not conclusive or absolute.

Ibn Katheer in his tafseer quotes a narration attributed to Ibn ‘Abbas which indicates that the word “to marry” in this verse (yankiHu) actually takes its other literal meaning, which is “to have intercourse”, so that the verse reads “(illicit intercourse) is prohibited for the Believers”. Al-Tabari says that the verse was revealed to speak about a specific brothel which was frequented by non-Muslims and adulterers, and that the Muslims were forbidden from visiting houses the likes of those. Al-Baghawi even mentions specific people for whom the verse was revealed initially.

To summarize, a casual glance through many other tafseers will reveal that while most mufassireen (commentators on the Qu’ran) reported a variety of reasons and interpretations of the verse, the most common interpretations were either one compatibility and censure, or a prohibition that was later abrogated in that same surah.

Some Reports on this Issue

Reports of the sayings of the Companions and Followers on this issue are plentiful.

Daraqutni reports, in part of a hadeeth, from Aisha that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was asked about a man who committed zina with a woman, and then wanted to marry her. Part of the reply was, “Something unlawful (zina) does not make prohibited that which is lawful (marriage)…”

He also reports that Ibn Abbas, regarding a man who had committed zina with a woman and then married her, said, “The first part of [the relationship] was fornication (al-sifaaH) and the last part of it was lawful Islamic marriage (al-nikaah). The first part was unlawful, and the last part was lawful.”  In another riwayah, he said “there is no harm in it”, and that a similar meaning had been reported from ‘Umar, Abu Hurayara and Jabir (may Allah be well pleased with them all), though saying there is “no harm in it” doesn’t necessarily show that it is liked or recommended.

‘Abd al-Razzaq in his Musannaf also relates from Ibn ‘Abbas, on the same issue that a man committed zina with a woman then married her, that he said, “Then that (marriage) is better”, and in another narration, “Now he did the right thing!”, and “What’s disliked about that?” He goes on to report that Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) said, “There is no better repentance than that he marries her- (after all) they both went from fornication to Islamic marriage.” [This last report contains an unidentified narrator but its concept and wisdom is amply supported by other reports]. Although there are few reports about ‘Aisha and Ibn Mas’ud not allowing such a marriage, perhaps they can be interpreted as recommendations rather than laws, or that the wisdom is for both people to start fresh with other people rather than build their marriage on wrong actions or to discourage the validating of pre-marital relationships. Either way, repentance as a technical requirement to validate the marriage is not established according to the majority.

Amongst the Sunni schools of law, the Hanafi school (as well as the Shafi’i and Maliki schools) rules the permissibility of the marriage of two adulterers [Tabyeen al Haqaiq, al-Zayla’i].  One proof says that the verse in the Quran intends to prohibit intercourse rather than marriage with an adulterer, as it would otherwise seem to recommend that a fornicating muslim can actually marry a non-believing idolater, and there is no such valid marriage between the two as is decisively established in Islam, and so the meaning is carried upon intercourse in order to outlaw zina, and not marriage, to an adulterer.

However, the opinion of some Hanbali jurists that repentance is required is good in its meaning because it forces the two people to recognize their wrong and repent to start their marriage on a fresh footing. One might say however, that the intention to make up for the wrong one has done by doing in its place what is good and chaste, by getting married, is itself a commendable act that shows regret for what was done in the past, though correcting a wrong must be joined by sincere taubah and a promise never to return to the sin again.

It should also be clear that there is also no obligation for the two parties to continue on with marriage after an illicit relationship; rather, one should marry someone who they feel has a good Islamic character and a desire to live a righteous life.

And Allah knows best,

And His help is sought,

Abdullah Misra

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani