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Marrying someone younger

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

Firstly, thank you for taking the time to answer my question.

My enquiry is with regards to zawaj, marriage. I am a 23 year old Arab male who alhamdulilah feels ready for marriage; financialy, mentally and spiritually. I do not limit myself to superificial qualities when searching for a spouse; factors such as appearance or wealth do not concern me. My main priority is a persons’ character, iman and dedication towards Islam. I firmly believe that if these are in place, everything else will follow.

My parents are quite the opposite. They have strict opinions with regards to a potential spouse’s nationailty, language, family, education, culture, reputation and age. While I do not agree with their perspective and have voiced my disaproval in the past, out of respect and for their well-being I have adhered to their search criteria.

I have recently met a sister who masha’Allah fits these requirments well. Her character and iman is admirable, and her efforts towards Islam are perhaps even better than mine. Likewise, our upbringing is similar so we share the same views on many topics and as a result our compatibilty seems high. In addition, she also matches the critera defined by my parents with regards to nationailty, language, family, reputation, eduication and culture, alhamdulilah.

Despite this, there is one parental requirement she does not meet; this sister is 24, one year older than me. I have not told my parents her age. They have always insisted I find someone who is 20 or younger. Their reasoning is that women age faster than men, in particular due to the stresses of childbirth. They explained that this difference grows and becomes more visible with time, sowing relationship problems if the husband is younger than his wife.

Personally I am not concerned by an age difference of one year, unless there are other islamic or marital reasons outisde of the one mentioned above I am unaware of.

The weight sitting on my chest is that I am deeply lost as to how I should approach this situation with my parents. I would sincerely appreciate any advice as to how I should put forth this person to my parents as a potential candidate for marriage.

Once again, thank you very much for taking the time to answer my question.

Answer

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

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

Your understanding of the above issue is correct and at the same time, your parents’ concerns are understandable.

Firstly, it is important to mention that it is impermissible to speak to the woman in reference, as she is like any other non-mahram woman at this point. Also, one will be sinful in doing so.

Nonetheless, if you truly feel that the women in reference is a suitable match then you may involve other family members in this issue and consider their opinion as well. Most importantly, one of the deciding factors should be isktikhārah and duā’. If you see positive results from istikhārah and du‘ā’, then kindly convince your parents to accept the decision. If need be, you may have other senior family members speak on your behalf in order to convince your parents.

Furthermore, at any outcome, ensure that the wishes, and feelings of your parents are taken into consideration, this point must be taken seriously.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Abdullah Ghadai

Student Darul Iftaa
Michigan, U.S.A 

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

This answer was collected from Askimam.org, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.

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