Fatwa ID: 02851
Answered by: Maulana Moinul Abu Hamza
Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah
Is it permissible in Islam to remain unmarried? I do not wish to get married when I get older, because of a couple of reasons.
1- The main reason is that I do not want to have children. Children these days are exposed to many fitnahs, and also, I fear that I shall either be too strict or too soft and spoil them. I do not want them to become disobedient and unmindful of their deen.
2- Inshallah I will be travelling to seek knowledge, and I think that if I marry, then I will have to stop seeking knowledge and "settle down".
3- I am afraid that I might choose an unfaithful spouse
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful
To answer your question plainly, for anyone who has the desire for the opposite sex, it is obligatory to marry if he fears that desire will lead to sin, from gazing at others unlawfully leading to Zina. Even if one were to control one's desires, one has missed out on the great reward of marriage1 and the children that are potential for continuous reward. Even in this life, there are practical reasons as the aim of marriage is to have children and children are those who are expected to take care of you in your old age.
As for your worries and apprehensions:
1- This is in Allah (swt) hands just as much as you are susceptible to fitna without Allah (swt) 's help. The reward you can earn without children and marriage is outweighed by the reward you can earn with marriage and children with mistakes2. This is because Allah (swt) rewards us for following the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) and for the responsibility that comes from it.
2- Travelling to seek knowledge does not necessitate settling down. If it helps, my spouse is an Alimah and we travelled to various countries across the world to study with children and it actually benefited our studies as it will with you if you can find a wife that has interest in being a companion on the same journey.
3- Many times, when we have doubts about practising a sunnah or taking responsibility that have no grounds, this is the whisperings and suggestions of Shaytan. The Prophet (pbuh) said: "Leave that which gives you doubt to that which does not lead you to doubt"3. There is much to doubt your concerns as there is no hard evidence or basis for them as they either have not happened or they were matters not in your control. Rather you should be more sure that this highly encouraged Sunnah has khayr (good) in it and that the rewards for responsibility are greater than when they are avoided.
Only Allah knows best
Written by Maulana Moinul Abu Hamza
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham
1) It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "There are three whom Allah is bound to help: the mujaahid who strives (in jihad) for the sake of Allah, the mukaatib (a slave who has made a contract of manumission with his master) who wants to pay off his manumission, and a man who gets married, seeking to remain chaste." Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (1655), classed as Hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.
2) It was narrated from Anas ibn Maalik (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Whomever Allah has blessed with a righteous wife, He has helped him with half of his religion, so let him fear Allah with regard to the other half. Narrated by al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak (2/175), al-Tabaraani in al-Awsat (1/294) and al-Bayhaqi in Shu'ab al-Eemaan (4/382).
3) "I remember that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said: 'Leave what makes you in doubt for what does not make you in doubt. The truth brings tranquillity while falsehood sows doubt."
" دَعْ مَا يَرِيبُكَ إِلَى مَا لاَ يَرِيبُكَ فَإِنَّ الصِّدْقَ طُمَأْنِينَةٌ وَإِنَّ الْكَذِبَ رِيبَةٌ "
Tirmidhi Vol. 4, Book 11, Hadith 2518
Ibn Mas'ood said: If I only had ten days to live and I knew that I would die at the end of them, and I had any desire to get married, I would get married, for fear of fitnah (temptation).
قال ابن مسعود لو لم يبق من أجلي إلا عشرة أيام ، وأعلم أني أموت في آخرها يوما ، وليَ طَوْل النكاح فيهن [ أي : القدرة عليه ] ، لتزوجت مخافة الفتنة.
It was narrated that Sa'eed ibn Jubayr said: Ibn 'Abbaas said to me: "Have you gotten married?" I said: "No." He said: "Get married, for the best of this ummah are the ones with the most wives." Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5069).
سَعِيدِ بْنِ جُبَيْرٍ قَال وعَنَْ: قَالَ لِي ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ: هَلْ تَزَوَّجْتَ ؟
قُلْتُ: لا !!
قَالَ: فَتَزَوَّجْ ؛ فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ هَذِهِ الأُمَّةِ أَكْثَرُهَا نِسَاءً. رواه البخاري (5069)