Can a New Convert Marry With a Limited Income?

01 December, 2018
Q I am a revert who doesn't have much wealth. I know that fasting is prescribed for those who "do not have the means" and I have followed this rule. However, I have a medical condition that limits my ability to find better employment. I do have work that let's me live ok but it isn't much. I struggle with haram desires despite fasting and am not getting any younger at 31. I feel I have strong Iman and I give charity even though I am limited myself. Would it be right for a potential spouse, or her family, to reject me based on limited income given my background? I'm worried this stigma will prevent me from marriage for the rest of my life.

Answer

Short Answer: Marriage does not need to be expensive. As a man looking to marry, you are responsible for giving a mahr (a wedding gift) to the woman you intend to marry. And as a husband, you are also responsible for providing for your wife’s (and any future offspring’s) necessities-food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and whatever else she is in need of. Fulfilling these responsibilities does not have to be extravagant.

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Assalamu Alaikum Brother,

Thank you for trusting Ask About Islam with your question and may Allah increase you in all that is good!

As for your question, “would it be right for a potential spouse, or her family, to reject me based on limited income given my background?” the answer is no, it would not be right for a family to reject your proposal because of your income limitations.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“If a man whose religious commitment and moral conduct you approve of proposes for marriage to your daughter, then marry her to him; otherwise, trials will prevail, and great corruption will spread upon the earth.” (Narrated in Tirmidhi & Ibn Majah)

Therefore, the family of a potential spouse has no right to reject you as a suitable match based solely on your income. If you have strong iman, then that is worth much more than the world and all that is in it.

As for your statement, “I know that fasting is prescribed for those who ‘do not have the means’ and I have followed this rule”, I assume you are referring to the hadith,

“O young men, whoever among you can afford to get married, let him do so, and whoever cannot afford it, let him fast, for that will be a shield for him.” (Narrated in Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Men’s Financial Responsibilities

This hadith highlights the fact that marriage is not solely a contract or about fulfilling one’s desires.

It is also a financial responsibility for men.

The Quran says:

{Men are the protectors and maintainers of women […]} (Quran 4:34)

And so, a man who is in poverty, who cannot take care of his own needs, cannot take care of the needs of another and will have difficulty finding a wife to live in this situation so he should fast.

But I am not sure, from what you say, that this is your case.

Limited means is still means and inshaAllah can be means enough to provide for a wife.

Marriage does not need to be expensive.

As a man looking to marry, you are responsible for giving a mahr (a wedding gift) to the woman you intend to marry.

She has a right to ask for whatever she wants, but you do not have to agree to it if you cannot afford it.

You should not go into debt to pay a mahr.

If she asks for an amount that is too much for you, and is insistent on this amount, this should be an indication that she will want to live in a manner that is outside of your means.

And that is fine and her Islamic right. It may just be that she is not the one for you.

And as a husband, you are also responsible for providing for your wife’s (and any future offspring’s) necessities-food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and whatever else she is in need of.

Fulfilling these responsibilities does not have to be extravagant.

Marriage Increases Our Wealth

Additionally, Allah (SWT), in the Quran, recommends people to marry and not to fear being put into poverty from the extra expense.

Marriage is actually one of the ways Allah (SWT) will increase our wealth:

{And marry those among you who are single (i.e. a man who has no wife and the woman who has no husband) and (also marry) the pious of your slaves and maid servants. If they be poor, Allah will enrich them out of His Bounty. And Allah is All Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All Knowing (about the state of the people)} (Quran 24:32)

I hope this is helpful to you and that you will find a righteous wife with whom you can draw nearer to Allah (SWT) and find peace, comfort, and lasting happiness.

Salam and please keep in touch.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity. Find more info in the following links:

Making Allah the Heart of Our Marriage

Top 10 Secrets For a Happy Marriage (Folder)

10 Tips for Revert Brothers Seeking Marriage

 

About Theresa Corbin
Theresa Corbin is the author of The Islamic, Adult Coloring Book and co-author of The New Muslim’s Field Guide. Corbin is a French-creole American and Muslimah who converted in 2001. She holds a BA in English Lit and is a writer, editor, and graphic artist who focuses on themes of conversion to Islam, Islamophobia, women's issues, and bridging gaps between peoples of different faiths and cultures. She is a regular contributor for AboutIslam.net and Al Jumuah magazine. Her work has also been featured on CNN and Washington Post, among other publications. Visit her blog, islamwich, where she discusses the intersection of culture and religion.