Can a Widow remain unmarried?

Question:

A young widow under 40 does not wish to marry after the death of her husband because she loved her late husband and would like to be with him in the life hereafter. Is it ok? What rewards will she get for her sacrifice?
Jazakallah in advance.

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

In principle, it is permissible for a woman to remain unmarried so that she may be the wife of her deceased husband in paradise.[i] This is established from the practice of the Sahabah. Consider the following Ahadith:

عن ميمون بن مهران قال: خطب معاوية رضي الله عنه ام الدرداء, فأبت ان تزوجه و قالت سمعت أبا الدرداء يقول: قال رسول الله ﷺ المرأة لآخر أزواجها ولست أريد بأبي الدرداء بدلا (الطراني:3130)

Translation: Maymoon ibn Mahraann narrated that Mu’aawiyah ibn Abi Sufyaan proposed marriage to Umm al-Darda’ after Abu’l-Darda’ had passed away. Umm al-Darda’ said: I heard Abu’l-Darda’ say: that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said that a woman would be with the last of her husbands. I would not choose anyone over Abu’l-Darda’. (Tabarani: 3130)

عن حذيفة رضي الله عنه أنه قال لأمرأته: إن شئت أن تكوني زوجتي في الجنة، فلا تزوجي بعدي، فإن المرأة في الجنة لآخر أزواجها في الدنيا (البيهقي)

Translation: Hudhayfah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said to his wife, “If you want to be my wife in paradise, do not marry anyone after I die, for in paradise a woman will be with the last of her husbands in this world. (Bayhaqi)

Similarly, the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)  has praised the woman who remains unmarried to take care of her orphaned children. Consider the following hadith:

عَنْ عَوْفِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ الأَشْجَعِيِّ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ أَنَا وَامْرَأَةٌ سَفْعَاءُ الْخَدَّيْنِ كَهَاتَيْنِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ وَأَوْمَأَ يَزِيدُ بِالْوُسْطَى وَالسَّبَّابَةِ ‏”‏ امْرَأَةٌ آمَتْ مِنْ زَوْجِهَا ذَاتُ مَنْصِبٍ وَجَمَالٍ حَبَسَتْ نَفْسَهَا عَلَى يَتَامَاهَا حَتَّى بَانُوا أَوْ مَاتُو (رواه أبو داود: 5149)

Translation: Awf ibn Malik al-Ashja’i’ (Radhiyallahu Anhu) narrates that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: I and a woman whose cheeks have become black shall on the Day of Resurrection be like these two (pointing to the middle and forefinger), i.e. a woman of rank and beauty who has been bereft of her husband and devotes herself to her fatherless children till they go their separate ways or die. (Abu Dawud: 5149)

Accordingly, if you choose to remain unmarried to take care of your orphaned children, you  would be rewarded for doing so. Similarly,  you would be rewarded for any hardship you bear in remaining a widow if you bear those hardships for Allah’s sake. In addition, by remaining unmarried you would emulate Umm Ad-Dardā (Radiyallahu Anha). Hence, it is hoped you would gain reward for emulating her practice.

However, it is important to note that in the times of fitnah, where one would fear falling into Zina or one fears protecting their chastity, one should get remarried. This is because remaining unmarried is merely a recommended act, while saving one’s chastity is obligatory. Thus, protecting one’s chastity by getting married would take precedence.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mirza-Zain Baig

Student – Darul Iftaa

Montréal, Québec, Canada

Checked and Approved by,

Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

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