Is it obligatory, optional or forbidden to get married when you have restrictions on the time/energy to give to a possible wife?

Lets say you work 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, commute 4 hours a day, and sleep/rest 8 hours a day, because you're so exhausted from the 12 hours at work plus 4 hours of commuting.

Basically: You have absolutely no time/energy to give to anyone, and barely have enough energy to pray 5 times a day.

In this instance, is it obligatory, optional, or forbidden to get married according to islam?

  • 1
    If you work 7 days a week and 12 hours a day, you should seriously consider finding a new job. Your life sounds way out of balance.
    – ashes999
    Sep 24, 2012 at 22:14
  • @ashes999, easier said than done.
    – nami
    Sep 25, 2012 at 9:15
  • 2
    I suggest that you have a look at this question and this answer
    – Zahra E
    Sep 25, 2012 at 13:46
  • 2
    I know your question was not about that topic. I just hoped those mentioned verses could help you believe that: If you get married to please Allah, of course he's able to satisfy your financial needs, even if you decide to work fewer hours in order to spend more time with your family. Cause again when you please your family, you are pleasing Allah... He is able to do anything.
    – Zahra E
    Sep 26, 2012 at 8:15
  • 1
    It's not what I said. I just mentioned the importance of Iman(belief in God) in our daily life
    – Zahra E
    Oct 10, 2012 at 9:34

5 Answers 5


Marriage is Sunnah. According to the Hadith of Rasulullah (PBUH) Marriage is my Sunnah and whosoever turns away from my Sunnah is not of me. This is pretty serious.

Another issue is that Allah (swt) tells us to not go near Zina, which means to not create situations where it could lead to Zina. Not being married is one of those situations... and if there is such fear, it becomes wajib (to avoid committing a major sin) to get married.

As for busy life, Islam is the middle way. It teaches us to live in balance. A life such as described in the question is that of extreme and I suppose it would be prohibitively unfavorable. It will put barriers between you and performing your religious obligations such as performing Salah. But I can't just outright make a suggestion like that as I do not know the financial situation of the person/people in question. However, hardship doesn't negate the ruling but at the same time husband must be able to maintain and afford having a family.

So it is kind of a catch 22. From one side earning rizq and providing for the family is obligatory and from other not being married due to financial situation can result committing major sin.

I have to say such people should make a judgement based on their own individual situation with the help of a religious expert/scholar.

Wallahu A'lam


Marriage is Sunnah, if you turn away from it (deny its advantages, not having interest in marriage, and etc.) it will be forbidden , but if you simply postpone it to a better situation it will be ok, you may need to prepare for it or else find a better woman. However, there is a simple rule in Islam an example of which being stated in [17:29] about spending in charity:

Make not thy hand tied (like a niggard's) to thy neck, nor stretch it forth to its utmost reach, so that thou become blameworthy and destitute.

the rule states that commit the encouraged deeds to the extent that you will not then get blameworthy and destitute. According to this simple rule many scholars encourage people to marry only if they have been prepared for it, otherwise know it as discouraged unless it has become obligatory (for example if the person is going to commit a sin). However, this rule never determines a specific threshold for all the Muslims, as not all the Muslims are the same in the sense of faith and trusting in Allah. So that you should decide about your marriage by yourself, but if the question is a general question then we can speak in a way that may be of practical value for some and only of theoretical value to others (no Muslim would ever deny its value anyway, as it would be equal to denying Quran or turning away the holy prophet's tradition). This speaking starts from the following verses in Quran:

وَمَا مِن دَابَّةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ إِلَّا عَلَى اللَّهِ رِزْقُهَا وَيَعْلَمُ مُسْتَقَرَّهَا وَمُسْتَوْدَعَهَا كُلٌّ فِي كِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ

There is no moving creature on earth but its sustenance dependeth on Allah: He knoweth the time and place of its definite abode and its temporary deposit: All is in a clear Record. [11:6]


وَكَأَيِّن مِّن دَابَّةٍ لَّا تَحْمِلُ رِزْقَهَا، اللَّهُ يَرْزُقُهَا وَإِيَّاكُمْ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

How many are the creatures that carry not their own sustenance? It is Allah who feeds (both) them and you: for He hears and knows (all things). [29:60]

which clearly state that sustenance for any moving creature is provided by Allah, that is, any moving creature (say, alive creature in the sense we usually define an alive species) is given its own proportion of sustenance, such that no creature can eat the sustenance put aside for another creature, whatever that you see someone is eating is certainly his own sustenance, we can only make our sustenance licit or ill-gotten. This is very critical to note no one dies before his sustenance (food to eat, air to breath, and etc.) is finished, so that the holy prophet's Hadith stating that eating less would always elongate the life! However, this needs a short comment to be added at this point: according to Ahlul-Beyt --peace be upon them-- sustenance is provided for the aspirant of sustenance, that is, this guarantee is never an encouragement for laziness, Allah doesn't always send the creature its part but usually hides its part in a process for the creature to go for it and reach it where and when it was planned. That providing sustenance to all the moving creatures in general and to humans in particular is guaranteed by Allah is as much important that Allah even use it as a witness that no other god exists aside him:

أَمَّن يَبْدَأُ الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ وَمَن يَرْزُقُكُم مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ أَإِلَٰهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ قُلْ هَاتُوا بُرْهَانَكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ

Or, Who originates creation, then repeats it, and who gives you sustenance from heaven and earth? (Can there be another) god besides Allah? Say, "Bring forth your argument, if ye are telling the truth!" [27:64]


أَمَّنْ هَٰذَا الَّذِي يَرْزُقُكُمْ إِنْ أَمْسَكَ رِزْقَهُ بَل لَّجُّوا فِي عُتُوٍّ وَنُفُورٍ

Or who is there that can provide you with Sustenance if He were to withhold His provision? Nay, they obstinately persist in insolent impiety and flight (from the Truth). [67:21]

You may then ask why some are given more and some are given less? This is what Allah has addressed as follows:

اللَّهُ يَبْسُطُ الرِّزْقَ لِمَن يَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ وَيَقْدِرُ لَهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

Allah enlarges the sustenance (which He gives) to whichever of His servants He pleases; and He (similarly) grants by (strict) measure, (as He pleases): for Allah has full knowledge of all things. [29:62]

and there is a wisdom behind that which is off-topic to this question. According to a Hadith from Imam Ali --peace be upon him-- "اَلدَّهرُ يَومانِ : يَومٌ لَكَ وَ يَومٌ عَلَيكَ فَإذا كانَ لَكَ فَلا تَبطَر وَ إذا كانَ عَلَيكَ فَاصطَبِر" (meaning: time consists of two days, one day for you and one day against you, when it is for you then don't get willful and slaphappy and when it is against you be patient), and this Hadith can well be valid also about the economical issues, that is, the sustenance issue, that is, anyone may experience both a state of being wealthy and indigence, during his/her life, to some extent. Anyway, based on these concept in Islam, when you say "barely have enough energy to pray 5 times a day" it is completely considered as wrong, as Quran says:

وَأْمُرْ أَهْلَكَ بِالصَّلَاةِ وَاصْطَبِرْ عَلَيْهَا لَا نَسْأَلُكَ رِزْقًا نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُكَ وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ

Enjoin prayer on thy people, and be constant therein. We ask thee not to provide sustenance: We provide it for thee. But the (fruit of) the Hereafter is for righteousness. [20:132]

that is, we are guaranteed to earn what is our part if we simply work, the part may be small or large but this is our part, we will not ever earn more than we are hidenly given sustenance by Allah, so it would be better for us to concentrate on the reason we are here in this world, not mainly focusing on how to survive and remain alive in this world, we are here to improve in humanity and get closer to Allah. If someone tries to please Allah by undergoing his rules, then Allah gives him his sustenance from a source he could never have imagined:

وَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَحْتَسِبُ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بَالِغُ أَمْرِهِ قَدْ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدْرًا

And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if any one puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose: verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion. [65:3]

This needs a Muslim to trust in Allah, this needs more that being a Muslim merely while speaking, but a believer with a true faith in hearth. Then Allah states that:

قُلْ تَعَالَوْا أَتْلُ مَا حَرَّمَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ أَلَّا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُم مِّنْ إِمْلَاقٍ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُكُمْ وَإِيَّاهُمْ وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ ذَٰلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُم بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ

Say: "Come, I will rehearse what Allah hath (really) prohibited you from": Join not anything as equal with Him; be good to your parents; kill not your children on a plea of want;- We provide sustenance for you and for them;- come not nigh to shameful deeds. Whether open or secret; take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom. [6:151]

That is to say, to any child Allah specifies a sustenance, so that no matter how many child a person would have Allah would provide the family with enough sustenance (enough in the view of Allah is not always as expected by people!). Even if people want Barakat in their money they may try to make more and more children, because Allah will put their sustenance in the family's basket! (Note that guests eat in the host's house, consuming their foods and maybe even some other goods, but they are also introduced as sources of barakat) Also mention the following verse:

قَدْ خَسِرَ الَّذِينَ قَتَلُوا أَوْلَادَهُمْ سَفَهًا بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَ*حَرَّمُوا مَا رَزَقَهُمُ اللَّهُ* افْتِرَاءً عَلَى اللَّهِ قَدْ ضَلُّوا وَمَا كَانُوا مُهْتَدِينَ

Lost are those who slay their children, from folly, without knowledge, and forbid food which Allah hath provided for them, inventing (lies) against Allah. They have indeed gone astray and heeded no guidance. [6:140] {I doubt if this verse is usually translated and even interpreted in a precise manner! Allah has put a sustenance for the family and they are destructing this opportunity with their own hands}

Keeping in mind all the above witnesses and reasonings, now I grab your mention to the following verse:

وَلْيَسْتَعْفِفِ الَّذِينَ لَا يَجِدُونَ نِكَاحًا حَتَّىٰ يُغْنِيَهُمُ اللَّهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ وَالَّذِينَ يَبْتَغُونَ الْكِتَابَ مِمَّا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ فَكَاتِبُوهُمْ إِنْ عَلِمْتُمْ فِيهِمْ خَيْرًا وَآتُوهُم مِّن مَّالِ اللَّهِ الَّذِي آتَاكُمْ وَلَا تُكْرِهُوا فَتَيَاتِكُمْ عَلَى الْبِغَاءِ إِنْ أَرَدْنَ تَحَصُّنًا لِّتَبْتَغُوا عَرَضَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَمَن يُكْرِههُّنَّ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ مِن بَعْدِ إِكْرَاهِهِنَّ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Let those who find not the wherewithal for marriage keep themselves chaste, until Allah gives them means out of His grace. And if any of your slaves ask for a deed in writing (to enable them to earn their freedom for a certain sum), give them such a deed if ye know any good in them: yea, give them something yourselves out of the means which Allah has given to you. But force not your maids to prostitution when they desire chastity, in order that ye may make a gain in the goods of this life. But if anyone compels them, yet, after such compulsion, is Allah, Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (to them) [24:33]

So that anyone who is afraid of getting married like when feels not to be yet ready for that may instead try to keep himself chaste, and of course if someone is afraid of committing a sin (not able to keep himself chaste) this verse is not for him!



According to Fiqh of Shia Islam Marriage is basically recommended and not obligatory provided not marrying does not cause any sin (for example masturbation). But if not marrying cause any sin it becomes obligatory for him/her to marry.

There are many hadith from prophet (SAWW) and Ahl ul-Bayt saying a Muslim should distribute his times for himself and God and family. Working too much is not an Islamic method of life and a Muslim should consider time for family and prayers and resting. Allah gives Barakat to income and life of believers. Barakat means that money/food/needs you have does not finish soon and God make it remain for more times and you have more benefits from what you have.


This Fatwa at Official website of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi

Principles Of Marriage & Family Ethics by Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini

  • I'm shocked that it's still optional. I would have thought it would be forbidden as that is no way for a wife and children to live, i.e. only ever see their father sleeping... Plus I can't imagine such a marriage lasting, it would probably end in a divorce anyway. So I am kind of shocked to hear that it's still optional.
    – nami
    Sep 25, 2012 at 9:18
  • @nami such human does not have trust to God: tanzil.net/#65:3 Sep 25, 2012 at 13:28
  • So completing half your deen is optional?
    – nami
    Oct 7, 2012 at 10:42
  • 1
    @nami the problems like time and work and money have no effect on ruling of marriage in Islam. a Muslim should have time for family. and all working is not Islamic. marriage is Mustahab (optional and recommended) but if it causes other sin it becomes obligatory. Oct 7, 2012 at 13:38
  • But if you don't get married, you die with "at most" just half your deen complete. Is just half your deen enough to get into paradise? Seems strange to say that half your deen is optional if you don't sin...
    – nami
    Oct 8, 2012 at 14:56

Others have answered exceptionally well, but in each of the responses you seem to have commented in a way to completely object the advice:

I would have thought it would be forbidden as that is no way for a wife and children to live, i.e. only ever see their father sleeping... Plus I can't imagine such a marriage lasting, it would probably end in a divorce anyway.

Or try to preempt any answer:

Lets say you work 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, commute 4 hours a day, and sleep/rest 8 hours a day, because you're so exhausted from the 12 hours at work plus 4 hours of commuting.

You seem to have already decided on your answer, and are looking for approval, but Allah knows best.

There are a few options I see for you, and I'll lay them out as practically and candidly as possible.

  1. Continue on as you are, scraping by with money and provision, as well as your deen. You will barely make it through this life, and no time to put anything set aside for the next life, subhanAllah.
  2. Let go of whatever is requiring you to work 12 hours a day, be it many small things (one few drink while at work) or big things. It might be such a large thing that it feels impossible, but Allah is the doer of the impossible. In part I'd like to say that you must be exaggerating somewhat as you have found time to spend on this site. I'm not saying you have enough time for a wife, but enough time perhaps to sort your life out, little by little. Your story reminds me of a hadith:
**Narrated / Authority Of: Abdullah bin Amr**
Allah's Apostle was informed that I had taken an oath to fast daily and to pray (every night) all the night throughout my life (so Allah's Apostle came to me and asked whether it was correct): I replied, "Let my parents be sacrificed for you! I said so." The Prophet said, "You can not do that. So, fast for few days and give it up for few days, and pray and sleep. Fast three days a month as the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times and that will be equal to one year of fasting." I replied, "I can do better than that." The Prophet said to me, "Fast one day and give up fasting for a day and that is the fasting of Prophet David (Daud) and that is the best fasting." I said, "I have the power to fast better (more) than that." The Prophet said, "There is no better fasting than that."

The man overworked himself fasting, and was 'told off' by the Prophet, may peace and blessing be upon him. What do you think he would say to you today if he saw you over working yourself over this dunyah?

3 (My favourite option) Find a wife who can work with your life! A wife is not , and should not be just a drain on resources. If you commute 4 hours, find a wife who can commute with you. If your are struggling to provide for yourself, find a wife who can help you provide for yourself (either she works also, or she can help you save/live more efficiently). A good wife who suits you should understand the constraints of your daily life. A great wife will appreciate the hard work you put in, and try and make your life easier. At least make dua to Allah, to find you this wife, or one who will help you out.

And may Allah help you and guide you, brother.


Maybe this should be a comment, but i cannot comment:

"Commute 4 hours a day" - this is very bad. your behavior is not correct behavior! so of course you have problems! Muslim should not make israf/waste/(wasteful expenditure)! You are probably making some sort of israf! do you go to work on bicycle or on foot? if so, you are wasting your time and organism. If you are going with a car, you are probably wasting petroleum. etc. cannot you make a temporarily place to live near your work? Maybe you should write an article or start a petition voting in a newspaper or site of your country saying that maybe 12 hours of work should be prohibited.

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