It is permissible to refuse marriage when there is a Shar'i excuse

Question:

What is the ruling on a Muslim girl refusing to get married? While she is chaste and Islamically committed and hence she finds no needs of marriage? It should be mentioned that she lives in a community whose members disrespect Islam and mock at its committed followers. She is keen on not raising a family in this community for fear that her children may deviate from truth and go astray.

Answer:

Marriage is permitted for both men and women to ensure that they remain chaste, lower their gaze and produce many Muslim offspring. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says in His Noble Book: “And marry those among you who are single (i.e. a man who has no wife and the woman who has no husband) and (also marry) the Sâlihûn (pious, fit and capable ones) of your (male) slaves and maid-servants (female slaves). If they be poor, Allâh will enrich them out of His Bounty. And Allâh is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knowing (about the state of the people).” [Al-Nur: 32]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “O young people! Whoever among you is able to marry, should do so, for marriage will help in lowering the gaze and remaining virtuous. Whoever is not able to marry, is recommended to fast, for fasting diminishes sexual desire.1

He (peace be upon him) used to urge people to marry and prohibit celibacy saying: “Marry women who are loving and very prolific, for I shall outnumber the peoples by you on the Day of Resurrection.2

Consequently, every Muslim, male or female, should obey the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) instructions and hasten to marry to achieve the mentioned above benefits. Staying without marriage entails a grave danger. Hence, it is improper for the youth who can afford marriage to postpone it. Likewise, it is improper for a girl to postpone marriage if a suitable suitor makes her a proposal. Yet, there is nothing wrong with refusing marriage if she has an excuse which she does not want to disclose and prevents her from marriage. She may be born with a genetic abnormality in which the clitoris is so over grown that it protrudes from the genitals, or may have another Shar’i (Islamically lawful) excuse which makes her shun way from marriage.

However, she is prescribed to hasten to marry if there is no impediment and the suitor is compatible with her regarding his Islamic commitment. When she refuses the suitor whose commitment is not acceptable, she is excused. Unworthy suitors who abandon Salah (Prayer), consume intoxicants or commit other sins should not be accepted. It is impermissible for a Muslim woman to marry a person abandoning Salah (Prayer) because he is regarded as a disbeliever. In conclusion, if the suitor is an efficient person, she must accept and hasten to marry him. She should not remain single as it entails danger and going against the Sunnah. If she has a Shar’i excuse (Islamically lawful) which she knows about herself or she cannot find a suitable husband among the corrupted community surrounding her, she is excused.


  1. Narrated by Al-Bukhari, Book on marriage, Chapter on the words of the Prophet (peace be upon him) :”Any of you who can afford it should marry.” no. 5065; and Muslim, Book on marriage, Chapter on desirability of marriage for he who longs for it, no. 1400. 

  2. Narrated by Abu Dawud, Book on marriage, Chapter on the prohibition of marrying infertile women, no. 2050; and Al-Nasa’i, Book on marriage, Chapter on the undesirability of marrying an infertile person, no. 3227.