Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalamu Alaikum,
I discovered in my teens that I cannot have children. I have always wanted to have a family so I hope to get married and raise children through adoption. I understand that most people will not be willing to marry someone like me. Is it wrong for me to want this? What is your advice on how to find a good Muslim spouse, with the limits of my condition?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to SeekersHub.
Your test is a heavy one. I pray that Allah continues to give you the patience and strength to make good on your Islam, through all that you do. Although the door of having biological children is closed to you, there are still many, many doors through which you can lead a fulfilling, God-centered life.
I hope that this gives you some comfort: Infertility: Why does Allah Not Bless Some With Children?
Remember to consign this matter to Allah while having a good opinion of Him. You are doing the right thing by keeping a respectful distance from non-mahram men. Although it may outwardly seem difficult for a practising Muslim woman such as yourself to meet a suitable husband, rest assured that obedience to Allah will only bring about good. Alhamdulilah, many Muslims have met their spouses because they observed the limits of the Shari’ah.
Reflect on this aphorism by Ibn Ata’illah:
“He who is illumined at the beginning
is illumined at the end.”
Have a good opinion of your Merciful Creator. He will never let you down. Please perform the Prayer of Need regularly in the last third of the night, and ask Allah for the blessing of a husband who has both deen and good character.
When registration reopens, please complete this course Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life. I pray that this will give you more clarity on how you can take the means to get married, while balancing it with trust in Allah.
You can start by letting trusted family and friends know that you are interested in getting married, and to ask them to keep a lookout for you. A chaperoned meeting with a prospective husband is something you can consider. In addition to that, go to community events with the intention of doing service as well as meeting a prospective husband e.g. soup kitchens, environmental clean-up days etc. Is there a SeekersCircle in your area which you can attend?
When you do meet a prospective husband, it is important for you to be honest about your inability to bear biological children. It is better to be honest about this from the outset. It will take courage, and you can use his response as a litmus test. Someone who is mature enough to accept you as you are will be worthy of you, another person who cannot look past that is not for you.
Children are a blessing and a trust from Allah, and not a ‘right’, per se. That being said, I know that most Muslim in-laws would want grandchildren. There is so much emphasis on childbearing in Muslim communities, which is beautiful when it is destined, but devastating when it is not.
There are Muslim couples who are healthy, young, and have everything going for them in terms of childbearing. Yet, because Allah has destined it, they do not have children, and it is a test of patience and contentment for them and their families. This is why a husband of deen and good character is so important – no matter what trial you both face, whether it be infertility, financial difficulties, in-laws and so on, a husband who puts Allah first will remember to treat you with respect and compassion. Your role is to also show exemplary character, and to respond to trials in a way which pleases Allah.
As for future in-laws, your future husband and you will need to be on the same page and talk through difficulties until his family is able to come around. There are in-laws who are unhappy when their sons marry someone from different culture, someone older, someone who has been married before, someone with mental illness – the list goes on. Their unhappiness stems from fear of the unknown, wanting what is familiar for their child, etc. The remedy for that is submission to Allah’s decree, and, of course, patience on the part of their child and the person they wish to marry.
I encourage you and your future husband to be honest with his parents about how you cannot have biological children, but you are both happy to adopt. That being said, there would be an advantage to marrying someone who already has biological children (a widower, divorcee etc). The question would then be if you are happy being a stepmother.
We are not in this dunya to have children. We are here to worship Allah, in the way which He chooses for us.
Adopting a child is something from the sunnah, and a beautiful and much-needed practice. I encourage you to read The Fiqh of Adoption. When the time comes, please consult with a doctor about the possibility of taking medication to promote breastfeeding; nursing a baby before she/he turns 24 lunar months will bring about the barakah of a milk child. A breastfeeding relationship with a baby will also bond you both in a deep and lasting way. Your baby might not be genetically related to you, but I pray that your love, and his/hers, will transcend that.
Allah loves you. Your test is a clear sign of that to me. Your genetic condition does not mean you are any less of a woman, a Muslimah, and when the time comes, a wife or a mother. Allah created you exactly how you are meant to be. Trials like yours teach lessons like contentment, patience and gratitude – excellent qualities for a wife and a mother. Your future husband and milk/adopted/stepchildren will be blessed to have you.
This dunya is so fleeting, and I pray that the seeds you plant in this life will come to fruition in the next. In Jannah, you will have everything that you wish for.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani