Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 06:30
Question and answer details
|As-Salamu alaykum, dear scholars. Thank you for your great efforts in answering the many varying questions put to you. It is a very satisfactory way of learning. My question concerns marriage. I recently reverted to Islam and have found much solace and peace of mind. As a Muslimah, I understand the reasons why I should not marry a non-Muslim. However, I live in a country (Belgium) where Muslims of my age group (40+) are of a very different culture and tradition with very different expectations of marriage. There is very little integration within this age group. I am past the childbearing age, so the reason for marrying within the faith is largely non-existent. It seems rather unjust (forgive my Western mind) that I should have to live out the rest of my life without a partner. This cannot be what Allah intended. The reference I find in the Quran regarding marriage pertains strongly only to young people and those living in a Muslim country. There are many other women in the same situation, so what do you suggest for people my age? Thank you for your kind reply.|
Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
First, I would like to welcome you to the Muslim community! May Allah always guide you and help you to live according to His laws.
It is true that different cultures and traditions have different expectations of marriage. It is also true that in some cultures, marriage of middle-aged or older people is almost unheard of. But this has nothing to do with Islam, and it is unfortunate that such traditions persist contrary to the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). It is well known that most of his wives had been previously married, and at least one of them had children from her previous husband. Among the early generations of Muslims, it was rare for a widowed or divorced woman to remain unmarried.
I don’t know why you feel that the Quran refers to marriage of young people. I have never seen anything in the text, translations, or explanations, anything which indicates that that is what is meant. Possibly you are thinking of this verse:
Here the word women does not refer to the orphans but to their widowed mothers, so this verse is not referring to marriage of young people.
You say that the reason for marrying within the faith is largely non-existent because you are past childbearing. But the reason a Muslim woman is required to marry a Muslim man is not only for raising the children but for her own spiritual good. The Quran explicitly says that God has created mates for the person to find rest and tranquility in one another within the institution of marriage. Allah says in the Quran what means:
On the other hand, a wife is supposed to obey her husband; what would she do if he asked her to do something that contradicted her religion? It is even preferable that the woman marry someone whose faith is stronger than hers so that he can lead her.