Difference of Opinions About Marriage Law in Islam

Hi all readers! In this article, I will explain the differences of opinion of Islamic legal experts about marriage law in Islam. The difference of opinion I mean is about whether marriage is mandatory, recommended, or just something that is allowed. Of course, there are different legal consequences in each legal status of marriage.

But before I explain this theme further, I want to say that the factor that caused Islamic law experts to disagree about marriage law is the hadith that I quoted in the previous discussion. In hadith, there is the word فليتزوج (then he must get married). Even more clearly, does the phrase “then he wants to get married” means an order, suggestion, or statement to express something that is allowed?

I found four different opinions of Islamic legal experts about the law of marriage. The explanation is as described below;

First Opinion About Marriage Law in Islam; Marriage Is Something That Is Permissible

The first opinion is that marriage is something that is permissible. The meaning is, that marriage is not an obligation and not a suggestion. Thus, the person who is not married does not sin.

One basis for this first opinion is as follows;

يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا تُحِلُّواْ شَعَٰٓئِرَ ٱللَّهِ وَلَا ٱلشَّهۡرَ ٱلۡحَرَامَ وَلَا ٱلۡهَدۡيَ وَلَا ٱلۡقَلَٰٓئِدَ وَلَآ ءَآمِّينَ ٱلۡبَيۡتَ ٱلۡحَرَامَ يَبۡتَغُونَ فَضۡلٗا مِّن رَّبِّهِمۡ وَرِضۡوَٰنٗاۚ وَإِذَا حَلَلۡتُمۡ فَٱصۡطَادُواْۚ وَلَا يَجۡرِمَنَّكُمۡ شَنَ‍َٔانُ قَوۡمٍ أَن صَدُّوكُمۡ عَنِ ٱلۡمَسۡجِدِ ٱلۡحَرَامِ أَن تَعۡتَدُواْۘ وَتَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى ٱلۡبِرِّ وَٱلتَّقۡوَىٰۖ وَلَا تَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى ٱلۡإِثۡمِ وَٱلۡعُدۡوَٰنِۚ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَۖ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ شَدِيدُ ٱلۡعِقَابِ ٢

O you who believe! do not violate the signs appointed by Allah nor the sacred month, nor (interfere with) the offerings, nor the sacrificial animals with garlands, nor those going to the sacred house seeking the grace and pleasure of their Lord; and when you are free from the obligations of the pilgrimage, then hunt, and let not hatred of a people– because they hindered you from the Sacred Masjid– incite you to exceed the limits, and help one another in goodness and piety, and do not help one another in sin and aggression; and be careful of (your duty to) Allah; surely Allah is severe in requiting (evil). (Al-Ma’idah [5]; 2).

Second opinion About Marriage Law in Islam; Marriage is a suggestion

The second opinion says that marriage is a suggestion. That is, a person who is married will get a certain kindness, because he follows the advice of the Prophet Muhammad, as stated in hadith in the previous discussion. But if there are people who are not married, then he is not sinful.

This opinion is the opinion of the majority of Islamic legal experts, especially ash-Shafi’i, Ahmad, Abu Hanifah, Malik, and so forth.

One basis for this second opinion is the word of Allah;

وَإِنۡ خِفۡتُمۡ أَلَّا تُقۡسِطُواْ فِي ٱلۡيَتَٰمَىٰ فَٱنكِحُواْ مَا طَابَ لَكُم مِّنَ ٱلنِّسَآءِ مَثۡنَىٰ وَثُلَٰثَ وَرُبَٰعَۖ فَإِنۡ خِفۡتُمۡ أَلَّا تَعۡدِلُواْ فَوَٰحِدَةً أَوۡ مَا مَلَكَتۡ أَيۡمَٰنُكُمۡۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَدۡنَىٰٓ أَلَّا تَعُولُواْ ٣

And if you fear that you cannot act equitably towards orphans, then marry such women as seem good to you, two and three and four; but if you fear that you will not do justice (between them), then (marry) only one or what your right hands possess; this is more proper, that you may not deviate from the right course. (An-Nisa’ [4]; 3).

According to them, based on the above verse, Allah gives a person choice, whether he marries one woman, two women, three women, four women, or slave girls he has. The information about freedom of choice in the verse explains that marriage is a suggestion, not an obligation.

Third Opinion About Marriage Law in Islam; Marriage Is an Obligation

The third opinion says that marriage is an obligation. Among those who say that are Abu Daud, Ibn Hazm, and some who are textualists. They say that because they consider that the commandments in Quran and Hadith explain the obligation, not the advice let alone something that is allowed.

Fourth Opinion About Marriage Law in Islam; Marriage Law Is Related To Other Matters

The fourth opinion says that marriage law is related to other matters. The meaning is, that there are certain factors that influence the law of marriage. Simply, the legal status of marriage is conditional.

The conclusion of this fourth opinion is as follows;

First; Getting married is an obligation.

Marriage is an obligation for people who are able to get married, both materially and psychologically, and he is afraid of adultery.

Second; Marriage is a prohibition.

Marriage is forbidden for people who cannot fulfill the things of a husband and wife (such as sex and making a living) and he has no money to get married.

Third; It’s better not to get married.

This third status is because there is a definite analysis, that if someone is married, then he will not be able to worship, can not learn, and so forth. The default is, if he can’t do good things because he’s married, then it’s better he doesn’t get married first.

Fourth; Marriage is a suggestion.

If someone is able to get married, he wants to get the benefits of marriage, then he is encouraged to get married.

Fifth; Marriage is something that is permissible.

If there are people who are materially capable, he is not impotent, he does not do negative things if he sees women, such as masturbation, then marriage is something that is permissible for him.

All Readers! That is an explanation of differences of opinion about marriage law. If you want to ask, please ask!

I think that’s enough for this article. May be useful! Amen

See you in the next article!


Musthafah Muhammad Abu ‘Imarah, al-Inarah fi Ahaditsi Mukhtarah bin Shahihi al-Imam Muslim, al-Iman Publishing, Cairo, 2017, p. 22-24.


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