To stay single, or to not stay single: that is the question!
Staying single certainly has its perks. You have a lot of individual freedom to organize your daily schedule as you see fit. You are not troubled with the worry of taking care of a spouse’s needs. You can have girl parties and potlucks whenever you want and without the hassle of serving the men’s side. You do not have to figure out how to still spend time with your parents and family.
With all these benefits, why in the world would anyone want to get married? It seems like marriage creates the opposite effect: no personal time, more problems, increased responsibilities, and a change in lifestyle. Isn’t staying single better for you? As a matter of fact, because married life is so time-consuming, isn’t it safer to do everything that you want to achieve in life FIRST, and then get married after you’re through with fulfilling your personal goals?
Honestly, no. Unfortunately, these are all false perceptions that society gives single women, which coax unmarried women into staying single. Not even that, hearing ‘bad marriage’ stories can also scare single women away from the thought of even wanting to marry in the future. Yet, remaining single for too long has its repercussions; some of which may critically impact your chances of forming a prosperous married life.
For one, living with another human being requires that you are adaptable and considerate of their circumstances, and being a wife will necessitate this to a larger degree. When you’re younger, like in your twenties, you are more flexible with changing your personal habits and standards. As you age, you often become set in your ways, and this attitude can lead to unnecessary marital conflict.
Secondly, all that time spent on setting out to ‘conquer the world’ may not provide you with the training that you need to form a lifelong bond with a man. Many women realize after marriage that much of what they strove for before married life did not really help them succeed as a wife and a mother; doing that requires a different set of life skills.
Thirdly, purposely staying single can decrease your likelihood of getting married as time passes, which you may regret later on. It could be that you’re receiving proposals now, but you may soon reach a point when potential suitors stop knocking at your door. It is very heartbreaking to have to admit to yourself that it may have been wiser to marry that decent Muslim guy who crossed your path instead of delaying the process.
Lastly, probably the best reason to get married is because it is the sunna.
Marry To Follow The Sunna
The Prophet ﷺ said, “Marriage is a part of my sunna, and whoever does not follow my sunna is not from me…” (Ibn Majah)
In another relation, it is related that a group of three men came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet ﷺ asking how the Prophet ﷺ worshiped Allah, and when they were informed about that, they considered their worship insufficient and said, “Where are we compared to the Prophet as his past and future sins have been forgiven?” Then one of them said, “I will offer the prayer throughout the night forever.” The other said, “I will fast throughout the year and will not break my fast.” The third said, “I will keep away from women and will not marry forever.” Allah’s Apostle came to them and said, “Are you the same people who said so-and-so? By Allah, I am more afraid of Allah and more aware of Him than you; yet I fast and break my fast, I sleep and I also marry women. So he who does not follow my tradition in religion is not from me.” (Bukhari)
The Prophet ﷺ was more fearful of Allah Most High and more obedient to Him than anyone else in existence. If staying single was better, he would be the first to do it. Yet, he ﷺ not only encouraged marriage, but he instructed and urged people to get married.
The Rightly-Guided Caliphs – Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman and ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with them) – married. The commanders of armies, such as ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas, Abu ‘Ubaydah ibn al-Jarraah, Khalid ibn al-Waleed, Shurahbel ibn Hasanah and others (may Allah be pleased with them all) married. The same is true of most of the Companions who narrated Prophetic hadith, such as Abu Huraira, Abu Sa‘ed, Anas ibn Malik, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr and others (may Allah be pleased with them all); they all married.
Marriage is a form of worship to Allah Most High and it is a means to becoming more devout to your Creator. Thus, a woman who denies herself of marriage is denying herself of following the noble sunna. By not choosing to marry or delaying to marry, she pushes herself away from the Prophetic guidance and a chance to grow in her deen.
It must be mentioned that if a single woman wants to get married and Allah Most High does not grant her that opportunity as of yet, then this is not her fault and she will be rewarded for her tremendous patience with Allah’s decree inshaAllah.
However, if she is purposely choosing to not marry, then she must question her intentions. Is it because there is honestly no one there to marry her or is it because she has too many standards, expectations, and unrealistic requests that she’s barring herself from the sunna of being married?
But why deny yourself of the opportunity to develop a relationship with the sunna and the ability to live up to the Prophetic way? You can tell yourself that your reasons are good, but are they any better than the sunna? AlhamduliLlah, there’s only goodness and blessing in following the Prophet’s noble sunna ﷺ.
Marry To Stay Chaste & Contented
The Prophet ﷺ 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), and whoever is not able to marry, should fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual power.” (Bukhari)
If you look at the level of individual exposure to the types of temptations running loose in the modern world, it is obvious that Muslims are living in a time when out of all moments in history marriage is needed as a protection. When people decide to not marry, corruption inevitably spreads, and the risk of falling into illicit sexual intercourse is higher. Indeed, the Prophet ﷺ said that one of the signs of the Last Day is that illicit sexual intercourse will become widespread.
Every human being has that natural, physical need. It may be that a woman waits to marry because she thinks that she can hold out, but as soon as normal bodily functions kick in, she realizes that she also has a desire for that type of emotional connection and physical chemistry with a man. Unfortunately, some sisters who delayed marrying start engaging in unlawful interactions with men in their desperation to marry, or they stay chaste but are constantly struggling with being content with their situation.
Marry To Have Children
The Prophet ﷺ said, “Marry the woman who is loving and fertile, for verily I shall outnumber the other nations by you.” (Abu Dawud)
It is praiseworthy to have as many children as possible for Allah Most High’s sake. The Prophet ﷺ himself had seven children (Allah be pleased with them). It is one of the ultimate delights about marriage: having a chance to start your own righteous family. By raising Godly children, you possess the power to make a difference in the world through your children, and you will share in the reward of all their good actions and the generations that come forth from them. Furthermore, your children and grandchildren will make du’a for you, even after you die inshaAllah.
By staying single, you won’t be able to have your own children. Furthermore, by delaying marriage until your thirties, you decrease your chances of getting pregnant because a woman’s egg quality declines with age. Also, you’re less likely to have many children, build a huge family, and give your children siblings. And as every mother will tell you, it’s better to have children when you are in your twenties because raising them requires enormous amounts of physical energy and time.
After you’ve heard a few reasons for why you should get married, now it’s important to stop and analyze the soundness of your reasons for staying single.
1. Take ten minutes to write down all the reasons why you think staying single may be better for you. When you are done, leave the paper alone and take a twenty minute break.
2. After your break, return to your list and for each reason ask:
- Is my thinking Islamic and according to the sunna?
- Will I regret delaying marriage if it means that I may never marry?
- Will marriage really impact my ability to complete these goals in life?
3. Once you’re finished, now ask yourself: “So, what scares me about getting married?” Write down your answer on a sheet of paper before proceeding to the next section.
(Friendly Reminder: You can also log into the portal page to access downloadable “Action Steps” Worksheets. They are available at the bottom of the portal page for each part of the guide.)