Is it obligatory for men to get married in Islam?

Praise be to Allah.

The ruling on marriage for men differs according to their situations and circumstances. Marriage is obligatory on the man who is able to marry and longs to get married, and fears “hardship” otherwise, because it is obligatory for him to protect himself from doing haraam deeds and to keep himself chaste – and this can only be achieved through marriage.

Al-Qurtubi said: if a person is able to marry and fears that he may be harmed or his religious commitment may be adversely affected if he remains single, the only way to prevent this harm is through marriage, and there is no difference of opinion among the scholars – they agree that marriage is obligatory on such a person.

Al-Mardaawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in his book Al-Insaaf: Part Three: the one who fears “hardship”. In the case of such a person, marriage is obligatory, and this is the unanimous opinion of the scholars… “Hardship” here means zinaa (fornication), according to the correct opinion. Or it was said that it means being doomed by committing zinaa… What is meant by “Unless he fears that he may fall into committing forbidden actions” means, if he knows or thinks that he will do that. In Al-Furoo’ it says: (marriage) becomes obligatory only when he is sure that he will do that.

(Al-Insaaf, part 8; Kitaab al-Nikaah, Ahkaam al-Nikaah).

If he wants to get married but is unable to spend on a wife, then he should adhere to the words of Allaah (interpretation of the meaning):

“And let those who find not the financial means for marriage keep themselves chaste, until Allâh enriches them of His Bounty” [al-Noor 24:33]

So he should fast a lot, because of the hadeeth narrated from Ibn Mas’ood who said that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “O young people, whoever among you can afford to get married, let him do so, for it helps one to lower the gaze and protect the private parts (i.e., remain chaste). Whoever cannot afford it, let him fast, for it is a protection for him.”

‘Umar said to Abu’l-Zawaa’id: “Nothing is stopping you from getting married except incapacity or immorality.”

(See Fiqh Al-Sunnah, 2/15-17)

Marriage is obligatory on anyone who is single and committing sin such as looking or kissing. If a man or women knows or thinks it most likely that if he does not get married he will commit zinaa – or whatever comes under the same rulings or is similar to it, such as masturbation, then marriage is obligatory. It is still obligatory even if a person knows that he will still commit sin after marriage, because once he is married he will be less likely to commit sin, because he will be distracted from it at least part of the time, whereas if he remains single he will commit sin all the time.

Anyone who looks at the state of things in our times, how there is so much immorality and so much temptation, will be convinced that the obligation to marry is even more important now than at any time in the past. We ask Allaah to purify our hearts, keep us away from haraam things and help us to be chaste. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.

  10th September, 2022
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