Can I Ask God for the Right Mate?

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.
Ælfwine Mischler
Salam Rosemary,

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:

{And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans, marry of the women, who seem good to you…}  (An-Nisaa 4:3)

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:

{And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your [hearts]: verily in that are signs for those who reflect.} (Ar-Rum 30:21)

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.

You say that it is unjust that you should have to live out the rest of your life without a partner. Yes, it is unjust, but the injustice comes not from Islam but from people who insist on their cultural traditions that disagree with Islam and the traditions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and the righteous early Muslims.

There are several things you can do. First, perform your salah regularly and also supplicate Allah every day to give you a good husband. It seems strange, but many of us forget or neglect to do that most basic thing—ask Allah. And keep asking.

Second, you should try to get to know as many Muslim sisters as you can and let them know that you are looking for a husband. Maybe one of them will know someone who is willing to marry an older woman. The more contacts you have, the more chance you have.

Third, since you are from Belgium, why not look for someone from there? There are several Web sites that have matrimonial services. But do be precautious. Don’t jump into a marriage without meeting the man. Have a male relative (even a non-Muslim) or a friend’s husband serve as a go-between and check him out. Your go-between should try to learn as much as possible about the man’s character, motives, and intentions, especially if he does not have citizenship or permanent residency where he is living.

Remember to keep asking Allah. May He reward you with a good and pious husband! Thank you and please keep in touch.


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