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In the Name of God بسم الله

Marriage in Islam

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Post 1 = Introduction

Post 2 = Article

Post 3 = FAQ

This is an article that I have been writing for the past couple of weeks, in response to some of the brothers/sisters in the forum who had question about the correct way of marrying according to Islam, especially since we are prohibited from being friends with non-mahram before marriage. This is a combination of solutions that I have heard from scholars in Iran, with my own adjustment, so that it becomes more fitting to the situation of the people in other countries. 

This is almost the first draft of the article, so I will be working on it for the next one or two week. Corrections, suggestions, objections, and questions are all welcome and very much appreciated, as I will be trying to make a long-lasting reading material for the people deciding to start a new family. For the same reason I am assigning the third post of this topic to the frequently asked questions; so, please do not shy away from asking your questions. 

I think it might be too much too ask, but I kind of hope that the moderators pin this to the top of a forum so that it is available for further readers, if such a thing is not available already.

Thank you

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Marriage in Islam

I was born in a Sheikh family in Qom, Iran. One of the most religious families of one of the most religious cities of one of the most religious countries in the world. Everything around me was so religious that I barely knew how normal people live. It took me years to understand how normal Iranian families marry their children, and how does their marriage work. When I learned English and started to study and examine Global cultures it was a great deal to me to know how people around the world, and particularly American and European countries get married. Then I got married and in the meantime analyzed how other types of marriage worked. I came to the conclusion that, as always, a God-given path for doing anything is way better than a manmade one.

What is wrong with the conventional method?

This is how marriage in Western countries work, correct me if I am wrong: When children come of age, and even before, they meet people from the other gender. The two partners observe each other's beauty, and get familiar with each other's likes and dislikes, they talk about and examine their tastes in everything, even in sexual preferences. Then they meet their parents and families. If, at any point, they did not match each other's liking they split ways. This repeats until they find their “true love” and get married.

This method for starting a family looks good, and apparently leaves no margin for error. While actually it is not totally flawless. First off, the most obvious issue with this method is the high risk of traumatization. When young people meet a person so good-looking that fits to be their long-term partner, they will start to depend on them and make hopes and wishes around them. And if a party decides to break up, the other party will be left with deep wounds in their heart, as many have experienced it.

For the same reason, the second problem arises. Partners would overlook each other’s disadvantages that would trouble them in the long run, just to avoid this trauma. This could happen consciously or subconsciously. Problems that they overlook, normally turns into future fights, and occasionally ends a marriage in a divorce. So, a method consisting of pre-marriage friendship, mostly ends in emotional problems, no matter it comes before marriage or afterwards.

The third problem is not emotional, but behavioral. A man passes puberty and starts his youth with an eye on every woman’s beauty, and examining every part of their bodies, will have a very hard time looking down, and avoiding women’s beauty after their marriage. Same goes for women who are used to seeking men’s appreciation for their looks, will not be able to keep themselves from showing their beauty to stranger’s after marriage. The system of see-and-be-seen creates a shaky and unstable marital bond, and puts family security at risk. Husbands will end up mad at wives seeking strangers’ admiration of their beauty, and wives will be angry at husbands trying to feast upon unknown women’s looks.

Another difficulty that this procedure causes, appears after their marriage. According to a famous saying, “Nobody is perfect.” Everyone has pros and cons. When a person finally choses a long-term partner and marry them, it is because they have the most advantages. But when the high-tide of love at the beginning of the marriage passes, then partners’ disadvantages start to appear. Disadvantages that were absent from other pre-marriage partners. Even some advantages had stronger presence in those partners. Now, the era of comparison starts, each party is compared to other people in different aspects of personality and appearance. Family fight is a go. Satisfaction from one another is over. Divorce, now, looms large.

The Islamic Alternative

In the Islamic system of family, there is an emphasis on keeping the society pure of sexuality and retaining sexuality from public. The family is the most important unit of society and it must be preserved and strengthened. Therefore, making new families should not conflict with the safety of other families. There are rulings in Islam just to guarantee this result. For example, it is forbidden for people to have intimate talks or to joke with the other sex, if they are not in the family. Women are forbidden to expose and emphasize their beauty through revealing clothes and using jewelry in public. Just as such is the ruling that forbids men from looking at women’s body and beauty. Of course, these rulings only apply to people out of the family. In the family, however, things must be beautiful, lovely, and intimate. Between husband and wife, there are absolutely no boundaries.

But, what is the suggested way for finding a good husband and wife, especially if nobody is allowed to talk to and look at their possible cases of partnership? Well, as I heard from scholars and read in the books, and with some adjustment of mine, here are the steps to finding a good spouse in a Westerns society, the Islamic way.

Talk to your parents, if possible

The first step is to talk to your parents and tell them about your decision of getting married. Not to ask them permission, which is also a good thing by the way, but because you are going to need their help. They acquire most of the primary information that you are going to need. Men’s mother, who has a good grasp of their taste in looks, can give the process a huge boost by eliminating the unfavorable options. If she is asked, she can make a list of good-looking choices. Then she can show them pictures of the possible options to look at, which is also acceptable with no forbidden intentions. Same is true for women’s father, if they felt they felt sensitive of their future partner’s looks.

You can assign your parents and brothers and sisters to survey friends of the possible cases, about their manners, behavior, family culture, and other matters you find important in your future spouse. Of course this is better to be kept secret and subtle if you wouldn’t like everyone to realize your intentions.

When you take these two steps with the help of your family, you will narrow down your list without even getting involved in a relationship, which means no possibility of suffering a heartbreak and zero percent risk of perversion. Now you are ready to make your primary move.

Proposal session

By a proposal session I do not mean a session in which the boy kneels and ask the girl if she would marry him. It is completely different. If it is possible, this meeting must be scheduled by the parents of both parties. The meeting starts with some formal talk of whatever kind they prefer, then the two parties go to a private room, sit, and talk about their preferences, of any kind; the ones that they think has an effect on their future lives. Try not to be trapped in trivial questions, though. It could take your time and attention away from what really matters. However, what is really important about this session is that there should not be any affections involved, or started – to avoid the heartbreak and the blindness of love.

There should be no answer to the marriage request in the session. Both parties should take some time to think through the ups and downs of one another. Then they make their decision, and inform the other, if they want a marriage. I suppose I must note here that while you are very careful not to marry the wrong person, you should not be too picky about the ideal person. Issues like wealth, lineage and properties do not really matter. The likes of family, health and looks are of average importance. But the most crucial criteria of your future spouse are faith, and morality. We all need to have a soul mate who has a deep belief in God, and who always shows good behavior. Then we can be relieved that he or she would not let us down in any aspect of our lives.

Where is love?!

This probably seems like the one obvious problem of this system. If you do not see each other before marriage, and do not make eye-contact, then how can you have love? And what is life without love?

The answer to this question is that love is a flower grown in clean environments. In an open society where strong winds of open relationship blows, magnificent seedlings burgeon, but they are usually blown away before they can fully bloom. On the other hand, in a greenhouse with a warm atmosphere and safe walls, seeds might take some time to germinate, but when they do, they will live so long that they sprout many new small branches and flowers around the core stem.

Enough botany/poetry! What I mean is clear. In a society where looking and exposing has no boundaries, love, or you could say, lust might ignite fast, but it will not last. I wrote some of the reasons in the first part of this article. In this system, however, life does not start with love. Instead it starts with wife and husband’s complete understanding of each other’s pros and cons. They start a life that they know has the potential to become beautiful and last as long as their lives. The potential will come to existence in a short while. This type of life starts with shyness, and then by the passing of time and as the couple experience each other’s physical and metaphysical beauty, they grow to like one another, increasingly. And since there is no obstacle to take away the attention of the two, they will together drift into the realm of love, and live there happily ever after!

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question : is it permissible to contract temporary marriage with a sunni woman without her fathers permission?
since the father is a strict sunni, it is assumed that he does not believe in the legitimacy of temporary marriage and therefore, will not grant permission.

the woman in this case has not been married before however is not a virgin due to having committed fornication before.

answer : 

Islam has introduced temporary and permanent marriage as the legitimate ways of fulfilling one’s needs and desires. Temporary marriage refers to the marriage of a man and woman who have no barriers for doing so. It takes place with the consent of both sides of the contract and a specified dowry and timeframe. According to Islam, the validity of temporary marriage is contingent upon certain criteria being met[1], namely getting the father’s (and in the case of not having a father, the paternal grandfather’s) consent if the girl is a virgin. If the girl isn't a virgin and has lost her virginity through legitimate marriage, her father’s consent is no longer a condition, but if it has been lost as a result ofshubhah intercourse (mistaken/confused/accidental intercourse) or illegitimate intercourse (adultery), it is a preferred precaution to get the father’s consent[2] (although it still isn't mandatory). Also, if a girl wants to get married (temporarily or permanently) and neither has a father nor a paternal grandfather, there will no longer be any need for permission from anyone else (regardless of whether she is a virgin or not).[3]

Of course some mujtahids such as Ayatullah Nouri Hamedani say: “The father or paternal grandfather’s (in the case of not having a father) consent isn't a condition, although it is better for them not get married without having their opinion and permission. Nevertheless, the marriage of a virgin girl who hasn’t reached rushd (the stage in which one can distinguish between good and bad and can tell what is to his/her benefit) without the permission of her father is void.”[4]

As for the marriage of Shia men with Sunni women, there are different viewpoints on the issue in fiqh; the famous verdict being that it is permissible,[5] especially when there are chances of the guidance of the woman to Shiism and the Ahlul-Bayt’s school of thought.[6] Nevertheless, since this girl’s virginity has been lost through other than marriage, she shares the ruling of virgins according to some mujtahids, and must get her father or paternal grandfather’s consent first.[7]

For further information, you can refer to the following:

1- Marrying Sunni girls, Question 1254 (website: 1333).

2- Father’s consent regarding virgin daughter’s marriage, Question 4958 (website: 5248).



[1] Question 1290 (website: 1275).

[2] Tawdihul-Masa’ele Maraje’, vol. 2, pg. 459, issue 2377.

[3] Tawdihul-Masa’ele Maraje’, vol. 2, pg. 387, issue 2376.

[4] Question 1483 (website: 1530).

[5] Naser Makarem Shirazi (kharej fiqh lessons on nikah [marriage], academic year 1381-1382 on his official website); Seyyid Sadiq Rohani, Fiqhul-Sadeq, vol. 21, pg. 469, from the software of this book from the institute of Al-Imam Al-Rohani.

[6] With help from: Marrying Sunni girls, Question 1254 (website: 1333).

[7] With help from: Marrying a Sunni girl, Question 2252 (website: 2376).



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