I have a problem being married but not for the wrong reasons. I’m not interested in being with women. It’s the idea of living with a woman every-day and sharing my space. I’m in my fourth marriage and want to leave it. I do not have any big problems but prefer being alone. I’m almost sure that I will divorce my wife as I hate coming home to her. I have tried sleeping in a separate room but that does not help. So, is it possible for a man to be a good Muslim but cannot stay married apparently due to a personality flaw or so?
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
As explained in detail in an earlier post that marrying in normal circumstances is a confirmed way of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace).
The great Hanafi Imam, al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states:
“And marrying in moderate circumstances (halat al-I’tidal) is an emphasized Sunnah (Sunnah al-Mu’akkadah) according to the preferred opinion, thus one would be sinful for not marrying, and rewarded for marrying with the intention of chastity and gaining children. The meaning of “under normal circumstances” is when one has the ability to have sexual intercourse, pay the dowry (mahr) and maintain a wife.”
Allama Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) comments on the above by stating:
“(al-Haskafi’s statement: “thus one would be sinful for not marrying”) because the correct opinion is that, to leave a Sunnah al-Mu’akkadah is considered to be sinful…” (See: Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar, 3/6-7, Kitab al-Nikah)
The above ruling is based on the many texts found in the Qur’an and Sunnah, for example:
Allah Most High says:
“Marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one.”(Surah al-Nisa, V.3)
“Marry those among you who are single, or the virtuous ones among yourselves, male or female: if they are in poverty, Allah will give them means out of His grace: for Allah encompasses all, and he knows all things.” (Surah al-Nur, V. 32)
Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said to us: “0 young men! Those amongst you who can support a wife should marry, for it restrains eyes from casting (evil glances) and guards one from immorality. And those who cannot marry should fast, for it is a means of controlling sexual desire.” (Sahih Muslim, no. 1400 and other Hadith collections)
Sayyiduna Anas (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that some of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) asked his wives regarding the acts that he (Allah bless him & give him peace) performed in private. (After knowing of his actions) one of them said: “I will not marry women” Another said: “I will not eat meat” and one of them said: “I will not lie down in bed. He (the Messenger of Allah) praised Allah and glorified Him, and then said: “What has happened to these people who have said such and such, whereas I observe prayer and sleep too; I observe fast and suspend observing them; I marry women also.” And he who turns away from my way (sunnah), is not from me (i.e. not following way).” (Sahih Muslim, no. 1401)
The meaning of the last portion of the Hadith is that, the one who does not marry out of rejection will be going against the ways and teachings of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), thus will be sinful. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) considered such a person to be not from him.
Sayyiduna Anas (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Whosoever marries has indeed completed half of his faith, thus he should fear Allah in the remaining half.” (Mu’jam al-Tabrani)
The meaning of this Hadith is that when one considers the sins that are committed, one will see that half of the sins are connected to one’s sexual desire and passion. Thus, by marrying, one will be saved from half of the sins that may be committed, and one will need to be vigilant in only the other half on the sins.
Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Marry women who are loving and very prolific (in producing children), for I shall outnumber the (other) nations by you.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, no. 2043 & Musnad Ahmad)
Mulla Ali al-Qari, a great scholar of Hanafi Fiqh and Hadith, (may Allah have mercy on him) states whilst explaining the above Hadith:
“When a loving woman fails to procreate, the aim and purpose of marriage, which is to increase the size of the Ummah, will not be achieved. These two qualities (love & procreation) can be known in virgins by looking at her close relatives, for closely related people are similar in nature.” (Mirqat al-Mafatih, 6/192)
Islam recognises a human’s need for marrying, thus there is no place for celibacy in Islam, because celibacy is against human nature. Islam urges the Muslim to get married as soon as he can, because it is normally difficult for people to be religious and unmarried at the same time.
Allah Most High says:
“But the Monasticism which they invented for themselves, We did not prescribe for them.” (Surah al-Hadid, V. 27)
Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “There is no celibacy in Islam.” (Sunan Abu Dawud & Mustadrak of al-Hakim, no. 2720)
The early scholars also advised against remaining celibate. Ibrahim ibn Maysara said to Ta’us: “Marry, otherwise I will say to you what Umar (Allah be pleased with him) said to Abu Za’id: “Nothing is preventing you from marrying except (sexual) incapability or wanting to sin.” (See: Sharh al-Kabir)
Therefore, marriage is highly recommended. It is considered to be an act of worship (ibadah), and is more virtuous (according to the Hanafi School) than engaging in optional (nafl) worship.
Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states:
“There is no worship prescribed for us since the time of Prophet Adam (peace be upon him) and will continue in the Hereafter except faith (iman) and marriage.” (Radd al-Muhtar, 3/3)
Thus, in normal circumstances, one should not abstain from marrying. In certain cases, marriage becomes obligatory (fard) or necessary (wajib), and in other circumstances, prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman) or unlawful (haram), as was explained in an earlier post.
If one fears falling into fornication, marriage becomes either obligatory or necessary, depending on the level of desire. And if one fears being unjust or oppressive to one’s spouse, it will be either unlawful (haram) or prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman) to marry, again depending on the level of one’s fear. If a man does not fear being unjust but is not capable to maintain a wife financially, then marriage will not be obligatory or necessary upon him.
If one has sexual desire, but at the same time one feels that one will be unjust or oppressive to one’s spouse, then in this case also, marriage will be unlawful, for the rights of the servants of Allah come before the rights of Allah Almighty. (Radd al-Muhtar)
In light of the above (and the detailed earlier exposition on the subject), if you have sexual desire to the point that you fear committing a sin, it will be sinful for you to remain unmarried. It will also be sinful, though to a lesser degree, not to marry without fearing falling into the unlawful, for not practising on a confirmed Sunnah is also considered to be sinful.
The only way remaining single would be justified is, if you fear being unjust or oppressive to your wife, or you are not capable of financially supporting her. You state that you are in your third marriage and cannot remain in a relationship for long, thus in such a case, it may be permitted for you not to marry.
The reason being is that this may be considered being unjust to your wife. She will marry you on the conviction that you will give her all her rights and keep her in your marriage all your life. However, you state your incapability of remaining in a marriage, thus if you are unstable and not in a position to give her, her rights, then this may well fall into the category of being unjust.
Then there is another aspect to the issue also, which is that, according to some scholars, such as Imam Shafi’i (Allah have mercy on him), dedicating one’s self for worshipping Allah Most High, studying, etc, is preferred over marriage, provided one does not fear committing a sin.
Imam al-Nawawi (Allah have mercy on him) states in his al-Minhaj:
“Marriage is recommended (mustahab) for the one who has a need to marry and the financial means. If one does not have the financial means, it will be recommended to abstain from marrying. If one has no need to marry, then it is disliked (makruh) to marry if he does not have the financial means, otherwise (m: one has the financial means but no need), it will not be disliked but devoting one’s self for worship (m: and not marrying) is better.” (See: Mugni al-Muhtaj ila Ma’rifat ma’ani alfaz al-Minhaj, 2/168-170)
Some great early scholars also chose to remain unmarried and dedicate themselves for studying and teaching. Scholars such as: Imam al-Nawawi, Imam Bishr al-Hafi, Imam Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Imam Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi, Imam Ibn Taymiyya, Imam Ibn Jama’ah, Imam Tahir al-Jaza’iri and many others (Allah be pleased with them all) remained single all their life in order to devout themselves to sacred knowledge and worship. The great scholar of recent times, Shaykh Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda (Allah have mercy on him) compiled a whole treatise on the biography of such scholars titled al-ulama al-uzzab allazina A’tharu al-Ilm ala al-Zawaj (Celibate scholars who preferred sacred knowledge over marriage)
Thus, in conclusion, there is nothing drastically wrong in you remaining unmarried given the circumstances you find yourself in. If you think that you will be unable to fulfil the rights of your spouse, it would be best to remain unmarried.
And Allah knows best
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK