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Is it permissible to pursue a woman for marriage, who is older than me, who has sinned in the past, and who has recently divorced?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

Assalaamu-Alaikum Imam. I have a question for you regarding marriage, and seek your advice on the issue inshallah. My problem is this: There is a Muslim sister that I know, and I wish to pursue her for intention of marriage in Islamic way, but there are a few issues that I am unsure about and I am unable to decide whether or not I should pursue this course of action. 1) She is five years older than me. Is it permissible to marry a woman that is older than you, is it undesirable or not recommended in any way? 2) I have learned that she has committed many sins in the past, including sex before marriage, but alhamdulillah, she has repented and is now changing her life and ways to be more Islamic. But is it permissible for me to pursue her knowing that she has committed these sins in the past. 3) She is also recently divorced, as she married a non-Muslim who supposedly converted to Islam before marriage, and this resulted in a painful marriage for her. Is it permissible for me to marry a divorced woman, who has been through a lot of pain. In light of all these circumstances, I still care for her deeply and would still like to marry her, as I feel that she may not have another opportunity for marriage considering her divorce and she has been through a lot of pain, so marrying her will bring her some happiness, and also I can help bring Islam back into her life, and help her live Islamically. Please help as I am unsure whether to pursue this woman or not. Jazakallah

Answer

May Allah Ta’ala reward you for your noble intention of marrying a woman who has undergone immense pain and grief. We also remind you that marriage is a major commitment in one’s life.

While you feel for the woman and care for her, you should also care for yourself. Knowing a person out of marriage and living with the person are two different things. You state the woman is older than you. According to the Shari?ah, it is permissible to marry a woman older than yourself. Rasulullah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] was 25 when he married Khadija [radhiallaahu anha] who was 40 at that time. It is also permissible to marry a woman who has sinned in the past. It is our sincere advise to you to ponder deeply before marrying the person. If you do not condition your mind and do not have the ability to tolerate her, do not marry her. It may well be that you might end divorcing her thus adding to her grief and pain. If you really care and have the tolerance, then marry her and you will be greatly rewarded for granting her comfort.

You should consult with your seniors and also make Istikhaara.

and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Mufti Ebrahim Desai

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

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