“When are you going to marry ?”, “ For GOD’s sake please agree to marry now”, “ what are you waiting for now ? you have a settled business, have a house of your own, going over age, for what reason you are still delaying your marriage? “ and many such other sarcastic questions I had to face every day  by my family. After death of my father in my young age, I became the only earner of my family as I was the elder most. I had responsibility of 3 younger sisters and 2 younger brothers on my shoulder. This burden was so heavy that it took almost 15-20 years of my life to take it off. All these years I was busy earning for my family ,to provide them better living standards and to educate my siblings. Now Alhumdulillah , my sisters have been married and re spending their lives happily with their husbands and children.

In all this hustle and bustle , I spent my youth , and did not marry. As marrying would increase my burden, I wanted to educate and marry my siblings at first to get free from their responsibility.  Now , I am above forties and obviously its hard to find a virgin spouse at this age. The most matches I find are either widowed or divorced. And I am confused would marrying a widow be a good descision or not ? what should I do, while my family Is forcing me to marry as soon as possible.

Many of us can face similar situation, when one is offered to marry a spouse who is already divorced or widowed. Islam is not a monastic religion. In historic Judaism and Christianity, widows were vulnerable because the Old Testament recognized no inheritance rights for them. In the Eastern world, for example India and China, a widowed woman faces severe obstacles. She might be unwanted by her deceased husband’s family and even her own family. She is seen as a burden. In fact, in India there is a city where widows go to live in poverty until they die.

How ever, if you come across such a situation, following are some points which can help you in making a right decision, whether to marry a widow or not .

1)      Your first choice should be of marrying a virgin spouse. Reason is, fertility , level of energy and adaptability of unmarried one. It was narrated that Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asked me, ‘Have you got married?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘A virgin or a previously-married woman?’ I said, ‘A previously-married woman.’ He said, ‘Why not a young girl, whom you could play with and she could play with you?’ I said, ‘I have sisters and I wanted to marry a woman who could gather them together and comb their hair and take care of them.’ He said: ‘You will reach, so when you have arrived (at home), I advise you to associate with your wife (that you may have an intelligent son).’” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1991; Muslim, 715)

2)      In Islam, re-marriage of widows has been greatly emphasized. At the same time, it has also been often stated that people, who bring up orphans, are very dear to Allah (swt). This should give a very good idea, as to what is the reward for someone who gets married to a widow and supports her children from her deceased husband.

A giver of maintenance to the widows and the poor is like a giver in the way of Allah (swt), an utterer of prayers all night and fasting during the day.” (Bukhari)

3)      Be care full you can not marry a women in iddah. Let her complete her idaah , mean while you can get time to reconsider and improve your decision about marring .

4)      Marriage brings a lot of changes in your life. Be care full, An unmarried spouse would be easier to modify according to your choice as compared to a married one. As he/she would be mature , would have developed habits according to previous husband/wife. So he/she might take time to adjust with you. Be patient and try to be cooperative

5)      Be aware. There would be a lot of comparisons ! Although it would be a new start over for your spouse, And your spouse would try to minimize the interference of his/her previous marriage in this new relation. But what ever you do, reality is, he/she had a previous relation. My be he/she doesn’t speaks about it, or doesn’t reacts , but there would be lot of comparisons going on in minds. Any harsh or strict attitude of your’s can remind her/him previous conditions.

6)      You should marry her/him feesabillaah to please Allaah. As you have no surety of your good deed being accepted and rewarded. Never ever taunt your spouse about his/her previous marriage.

7)      Be very careful in the case your spouse has already children. It would double your rearward in sigh tof ALLAH, but it would be very much demanding to manage . especially when you are going to have children of your own too.

8)      A spouse having second marriage with you, can prove her/him self much better if he/she determines to make this relation better than previous one. Such a spouse if wise can prove her/himself better then the one having first marriage with you. By deciding not to repeat the mistakes done in previous matrimonial relation.

In the end, I would say, that marrying a widow or  widower is an act of high reward. As one is preferring a widow over a virgin spouse. But this adds to your responsibility . You would have to be more careful and tolerating with your spouse as compared to if he/she was having first marriage with you. Best option is to do istakhara if you are confused about your decision. May ALLAH guide us to right path . Ameen.

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