It is not permissible to delay the marriage of the younger girl

Question:

It is a tradition in our village that the younger daughter cannot be given in marriage before the elder one. Some families refuse to marry off the younger daughter until a suitor proposes marriage to the elder daughter. Is this tradition lawful? What is the ruling on this act?

Answer:

This unacceptable tradition is not permissible. The girl’s Wali (a legally accountable person acting for a woman regarding marriage) has to marry her off if the suitor has a satisfactory standard of religious commitment and good conduct and is accepted by the girl. It is not permissible to delay the marriage of the younger daughter until the elder one gets married. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “If someone with a satisfactory standard of faith and good conduct comes to you seeking marriage, then give him (your daughter or sister) in marriage. If you refuse, that will lead to spread of temptation and great corruption in the land.1

Also, postponing the marriage of the younger daughter until her older sister gets married is a form of injustice. This may even cause both of them to be delayed in marriage or not to get married. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Be on your guard against committing oppression, for oppression is darkness on the Day of Resurrection.2

The Wali is advised to fear Allah, be keen to give the girls under their care in marriage to the suitable suitors, and beware of delaying marriage wrongfully. May Allah grant all Muslims success!


  1. Narrated by Al-Tirmidhy, Book on marriage, Chapter on if someone comes to you whose religion and character you are satisfied with, then marry him, no. 1084. 

  2. Narrated by Al-Bukhari, Book on injustices and unlawful appropriation; Chapter on injustice will be darkness on the Day of Rising, no. 2447; and Muslim, Book on righteousness, upholding ties of kinship, and good manners, Chapter on the prohibition of injustice, no. 2578.