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But She Must Be a Virgin!

But She Must Be a Virgin!
Though Allah is All-Forgiving of our sins, the harsh reality is that human beings are not so forgiving.

Most Muslim Men Will Judge You

Though Allah is All-Forgiving of our sins, the harsh reality is that human beings are not so forgiving. It is an unfortunate fact that humans are overly judgmental of others, especially regarding matters that they have not experienced firsthand.

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Muslim men must ask themselves at least two questions: “What do I want from life?” and “Who will best help me achieve this?”

“Don’t judge someone just because they sin differently than you,” a popular saying goes. But regarding the non-virgin bride, many Muslim men are judgmental of women whose sins mirror their very own sexual transgressions. And if a potential bride was previously married, the divorce stigma alone carries a stain amongst many Muslims that, socially and culturally, makes divorce as shameful as (if not more shameful than) having fallen into zina.

Not only are these double standards unjust, they are also un-Islamic, as the Qur’an and Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) do not support these views. Moreover, they are generally rooted in cultures and mindsets that are based on misogyny (hatred of women).

Often when a woman is expected to be “pure” before marriage while a man is not, this expectation is rooted in the idea that only men are fully human whereas women are objects that exist only for a man’s pleasure and social image. In this misogynistic view, there are only two categories of females: those who fulfill a man’s sexual needs before marriage, and those who fulfill a man’s sexual and cultural needs after marriage. The former are viewed as “impure” and that latter as “pure.”

Thus, if a man comes from this cultural mindset, most likely he will judge a woman harshly for any past mistakes.

He Doesn’t Have to Marry You Though

However, it’s important to remember that while the culture of misogyny is indeed un-Islamic and sinful, it is not sinful for an individual man to prefer a virgin for marriage, even if he is not a virgin himself. Likewise, a woman who is not a virgin has the right to prefer a virgin man.

However, if men (or women)are living a lifestyle of zina and have not repented, it is sinful for them to marry a chaste spouse, regardless of whether or not the woman or man is a virgin.

Allah (SWT) says,

“The [male] fornicator does not marry except a [female] fornicator or polytheist,

and none marries her [a female fornicator] except a [male] fornicator or a polytheist.

That has been made unlawful to the believers.” (Qur’an, 24:3)

So What’s the Solution?

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said,

“A woman is sought as a wife for her wealth, her beauty, her nobility, or her religiousness, so choose a religious woman and you will prosper” (Muslim). The Prophet also said, “The whole world is a provision, and the best benefit of this world is the righteous woman” (Muslim).

Thus, when looking to solutions, Muslim men must ask themselves at least two questions: “What do I want from life?” and “Who will best help me achieve this?” Those men who want prosperity and success in this world (and the Hereafter)while enjoying the greatest benefit and pleasure on earth will look at potential wives and say, “But she must be a righteous believer” and view this as a foundational requirement for marriage.

Yes, other men will say, “But she must be a virgin” or “She must be extremely wealthy, beautiful, or noble” as foundational requirements for marriage. In that case, Allah will likely give those men what they desire. And in the process, He will protect the truly worthy, righteous women (virgins, non-virgins, and divorced) from falling into the unfortunate situation of having such men as husbands.

First published: August 2014


About Umm Zakiyyah

Umm Zakiyyah is the internationally acclaimed author of the If I Should Speak trilogy and the novels Realities of Submission and Hearts We Lost. To learn more about the author, visit ummzakiyyah.com or subscribe to her YouTube channel.

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