Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: I am only 15 and wish to marry an older man. I’ve tried to push the idea away but I can’t. My family is not Muslim so they wouldn’t understand. How can this ever happen in a non-Muslim country? If I were to meet a man, could we arrange to marry when I’m older?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. Dear sister, may Allah bless you with a righteous and loving spouse at the best possible place and time for you. Truly, nothing is difficult with Allah’s help.
Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “O young people! Whoever among you can marry, should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty (i.e. his private parts from committing illegal sexual intercourse etc.), and whoever is not able to marry, should fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual power.” [Bukhari]
Marriage at a young age is a healthy and encouraged in Islam, so long as the couple is responsible, mature enough and supported by their families. Still, 15 is a very young age, so give yourself some time before you make a final decision.
Once registration re-opens, please complete Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life. You must know the Fiqh of marriage before getting married. Knowing what is incumbent upon you before you enter the marriage contract will save you a lot of heartache, inshaAllah.
Also, ask yourself why you want to get married young. Are you lonely? Do you feel that marriage will help you feel supported? The gift of a good husband does help in many, many ways, but even the best of marriages have ups and downs.
Being young while looking for a husband puts you at risk of being taken advantage of by an older man. Your emotional, spiritual and physical safety is extremely important. I am concerned that because you do not have the support of your family, you are at risk of being pressured into a decision. Do you have a trustworthy Muslim family whom you can count on to advocate for you?
Please seek out a known local scholar who is trustworthy and compassionate. Do not get married without his/her approval and involvement. As a young convert to Islam, it is crucial for you to be supported by trustworthy community members, as you do not have your family’s support.
I have heard of unsavoury characters approaching young convert women to be their secret second wife. This is undignified and not befitting of your rank as a woman of honour. Consulting with a local scholar will inshaAllah prevent such issues from harming you.
Please proceed carefully, and please keep trusted individuals in the loop. Often, the best way to meet prospective spouses is through the recommendation of trusted scholars, community elders, mutual friends, or through meeting them in community/charity events.
1) Please perform the Prayer of Need and ask Allah for a husband who has both deen and good character. Trust that Allah will send you a husband at the best time for you, so remain patient and have a good opinion of your Merciful Lord.
2) Look for and consult trustworthy local scholars, and let them know that you wish to get married.
3) When you do meet a prospective spouse, please perform the Prayer of Guidance up to seven times to decide on whether or not to marry him. If Allah grants you ease in marrying him, then this is a positive sign for you. If He places many obstacles in your way, then that is a negative sign for you.
4) Do not marry in secret, no matter how appealing the prospective husband. Do not marry without the blessings of trusted scholars.
5) Continue to treat your non-Muslim family with respect and compassion. If they are open to it, speak to them about how you would like to get married. If they are not, still keep lines of communication open. Even though they are not Muslim, they still love you and are concerned for you.
Please refer to the following links:
Is Marriage Sinful? – Faraz Rabbani
When Love is Not Enough: Reassessing Marriage in the Muslim Community – Mental Health 4 Muslims Blog
Marriage in Islam: A Reader
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah
Should I Marry Fearing to Fall Into Sin but Also Fearing to Be a Wrongdoer in Marriage?
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.