Delaying Marriage: Pros and Cons

21 August, 2016
Q As-salamu `alaykum. How important is marriage? Is delaying marriage right? The reason for my questions is that I want to have my wedding as soon as possible, but my family is demanding that it be delayed until the end of the year as they believe it would be "wrong" to not have my brother and sisters-in-law attend. They want to wait on their immigration. They are also worried about what people would say if my wedding was done without their presence. I don’t want to delay as we have been holding the other party for about two and a half years. This is unfair to the other party as well as myself; any advice?


Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

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

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear brother in Islam, we commend your eagerness to become well acquainted with the teachings of Islam, which is the way Allah has chosen for the welfare of His servants.

First of all, it should be clear that marriage, in Islam, is a solemn contract for which the Shari`ah lays down rules and arrangements to guarantee its stability.

In Islam, the marriage of a man and a woman is not just a financial and physical arrangement of living together but a sacred contract, a gift from Allah, to lead a happy, enjoyable life and continue the lineage. The main goal of marriage in Islam is the realization of tranquility and compassion between the spouses.

In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states,

Marriage in Islam is a highly important institution. According to the Qur’an, it is the ideal way of life exemplified by the mighty Messengers of Allah, the perfect role models for humanity. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Marriage is my way of life; whosoever shuns my way of life, he does not belong to me (i.e., my Ummah).” (Ibn Majah)

Like all of the provisions of the Shari`ah, marriage has been duly instituted by Allah in order to cater to the ultimate well being of human beings. In other words, it is intended to serve certain essential purposes and objectives such as the following: Protecting people against sexual temptations; granting them emotional and spiritual tranquility, peace and fulfillment through a happy union; engendering cooperation in shouldering their responsibilities as Allah’s vicegerents on earth; and last but not least, propagating the human species on the face of the earth.

While scholars generally agree on the recommended nature of marriage, they have discussed the precise legal status of marriage, which varies according to specific circumstances of individuals. While it may be generally considered as highly recommended in the case of the majority, there may be cases when it is deemed as obligatory, and others when it may be considered as either forbidden or undesirable.

For instance, if a person is so tormented by temptations that he/she fears falling into sin, then it becomes obligatory for him/her to get married. Should he/she fail to do so after having had the opportunity and means to do so, and then falls into sin, he/she is guilty of a double offense. If, on the other hand, a person has no such fear then it is highly recommended for him/her to get married if he/she has the desire and the means to do so.

If, on the contrary, the above is not case, and a person has no desire for union, and does not have the means to do so and is afraid of being neglectful of his/her spousal duties, then it becomes either forbidden or undesirable for him/her to get married.

So you should ask yourself into which of the above categories you fall. If you have the means to get married and are afraid of falling into sin, then it is imperative that you get married and do so without delay. In such a case, the ultimate decision when to do it is left to both of you—the partners—and it is not dependent on the wishes of your parents or relatives. This is so because the main purpose of marriage is your own protection from sin, above everything else.

In cases like these, the role of the parents is simply limited to that of advising or facilitating rather than imposing or dictating their own views or decisions. However, it is important to remember that all of this is conditional on the fact that our choice of a partner is based on valid religious criteria.

Since I understand that is the case with both of you, then you do not have to wait for all the relatives to be present on this occasion, as your family insists, if by doing so you are making unreasonable demands on the other party or both of you feel strongly to get married.

While making a decision, you should never be unduly bothered by the thought of what people would be thinking of your action so long as you have made the right decisions.

So my advice to you is to try to accommodate the wishes of both families as reasonably as possible, while at the same time taking into account your need to get married. If unnecessary waiting seems unbearable for both of you, then you should go ahead with the decision, but do so without being rude or disrespectful to your parents and relatives.

Try to make them understand your difficulties and tell them that you do not mean to hurt them or displease them. Continue to keep good relations with your parents in spite of your differences of opinion in this matter and let them know that you are there for them regardless of this issue.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from:

About Sheikh Ahmad Kutty
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty is a Senior Lecturer and an Islamic Scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada