I Do NOT Want to Get Married or Have Kids!

09 August, 2017
Q I am a 22 years old Muslim girl, and ever since I turned 20, all I have been hearing is that it will be within the next few years that I'll be married anytime! I do not know if it is the right thing to say or not, but I want an answer to my questions so I am speaking it out: I don't want to get married. I have had this thought in my mind since I was 15. To me, marriage sounds like a duty. All my friends or all the people I see who are married, have a typical life: they get married, the next year they have children, and then the rest of their life revolves around their kids. Maybe they find solace in this. Maybe this is what they wanted. But I don't know whether I am a bad person saying this or not, but I DO NOT want to have kids. I don't desire kids. I see people marrying to start their 'marriage life', which always means having kids. It's one of the reasons I don't want to get married in the first place. People advise me to not have kids right away after marriage, but what they don't realize is that what they are saying is that I would have to have kids ultimately if I get married! I believed marriage is much more than having kids and fulfilling the wifely and husbandly duties. I believe it should be based on friendship and spending time together and being there for each other. I thought marriage was much more than how people take it nowadays. I want to be a financially independent woman. To me marrying someone feels like being dependent on the husband. If, for instance, my husband-to-be 'allows' me to work ( I don't like the getting the allowance part either, since I think I have the free will to do what I want), then there will be a time when I'd have to stop working maybe because I'd get pregnant, or for the kids sake because they are little and need attention. I find marriage bonding. It makes me feel like someone will lock me forever and I will not have the life I dream of having. To me, independence and free will is so important that I don't want to marry at all. My friend told me to read a Surah from the Quran which said that fornication is prohibited and what happens if you do it. She said that she persuaded herself to marry after reading that Surah. But when I read it, I realized that I have no such desires. I don't long to be with a man. I will NEVER EVER fornicate. I know me and I know that I have control over me. Here, I need to tell you that I did fall in love with a man. But since I am a Muslim girl, I had no relationship with him or anything. I just fell in love, because I had continuous interaction with him in the office. But even though I love him, I have no desire to be with him. I didn't have control over my feelings, so I fell in love, but I realized that I do have control over how I want my future. He wants a family by the end of the day. He wants to get married and have kids. And I am scared of such a commitment. If somebody talks to me about marriage, it's so haunting that I get ill. I just cannot accept producing kids and living a typical life. That's not how I see myself. If marriage means having kids and having intercourse, then I don't want to marry. There is so much more to this world than marriage. People say that I am just scared of marriage because it brings with it the problems that everyone has to deal with. But I tell them it's not the problems that I'm scared of. Yes, I don't want to get into those marriage problems by choice. Life will give us problems either I marry or not, so why shall I not stay unmarried and solve those problems that will come my way which would solely relate to me? Islam gives a lot of weight to marriage, and I am very upset and worried about how I think. If Allah wants a man and a woman to get married, and if it is a Sunnah, then I don't know how to change my thinking. Sometimes, I think that if I think so strongly about this whole thing and I speak out loud over it, I get scared that what if this whole thing turns against me? For example, it's haunting to think that I don't want kids and I don't want to get married, but what if I find someone so amazing that I really want to marry him, and he makes me see things in a good light, but he wants kids so badly and I can't produce one? You know there's this theory that when you hate something so much either you're doing that by the end of the day or you start to love it and you can't get it ever again. All of this is really upsetting me. I want to know how I can change my views or if it's okay if I don't get married because I want to live a life where I am happy. I want to earn, take care of my family, travel with them, have a house, be closer to Allah, and discover things. The thought of marriage doesn't make me happy. It builds pressure on me about having to take care of not just a grown man that will be attached to me, but also his family. Having to listen to other people's (his family) demands and fulfilling them, having to go through with talks about when the babies are arriving and then to look after them, the husband, his family, the house 365 days every year! Maybe every girl can do this. Even I can do this. The problem is that I don't want to. Another very important thing: you might suggest me to marry, but I don't want to ruin someone's life. Maybe somebody wants to have a family and I don't, and if we marry then things might heat up. That's one of the reasons I don't want to marry too; that if I cannot fulfill someone's desire, then why should I ruin someone's life by marrying him? I have been looking for solutions everywhere, but have not found one to my problem that gives my heart some peace over this topic. Please help me! Thank you.


In this counseling answer:

“Perhaps, sister, you need time to grow, experience life independently as well as getting a chance to see different perspectives regarding marriages. I would kindly recommend also you advise your family you are not ready for marriage at this time and that you do seek counseling to sort out your root issues with not wanting children and feeling no desire for a man. While not wanting children doesn’t mean there is anything wrong, as some women do not want children and it is a personal choice, I just get the feeling there is more going on than just the fear of taking on responsibilities.”

As Salamu ‘Alaikum my dearest sister,

Thank you for writing to us. Your question is most important in terms of your personal choices as a Muslimah and as a young woman. While the norm in Islam is to marry young and begin a family, a few sisters are opting to prolong marriage, pursue careers as well as deciding not to have children for various reasons.

As I read your question, I am wondering if this desire to not marry and take on the responsibilities of a husband, children could be due to your age. Many young women your age are not ready, and that’s okay. As far as I know, there is nothing in Islam saying you have to marry right now. Perhaps, sister, you need time to grow, experience life independently (as you stated you would like) as well as getting a chance to see different perspectives regarding marriages. It sounds like you have been exposed to a great deal of culturally based marriages wherein yes, sometimes the wife is treated un-Islamically. However, all marriages are not cultural or confining in the sense that wives are “slaves” to husbands, children, and in-laws.

In fact, it is not your obligation to be a “maid” to your in-laws (if you marry). You are to be kind to in-laws and treat them with respect, but you are in no way expected to be their servant. Our scholar states that “Second, a wife must be considered as an equitable partner in her relationship with her husband. That means that she cannot be seen as the servant of the husband, the children or the in-laws. A wife is not “here for this purpose” i.e. to cook and clean. It could well be the cultural understanding but there is no sin in revising cultural practices that seem to oppress our sisters.” So as you can see sister, what you may have been observing in other marriages is cultural, not Islamic.

A marriage in Islam is one of joy and comfort, not servitude. However, when we do marry, it is natural that we enjoy taking care of one another and do things that are pleasing to our spouses as well as making the home a comforting place. Even as a single woman, you would want to make your home comfy and nice, wouldn’t you?

Islamic marriages based on Qur’an provide the woman with many rights and freedoms. For instance, you are “allowed” to work and keep your own earnings. The man is to support you and provide for your basic needs. That makes sense unless you want a husband who is lazy and expects you to support him or a man who is sick and unable to provide, but that is another subject. So, in reality, an Islamic marriage is one such as you described that you desire “I believe it should be based on friendship and spending time together and being there for each other”. It is this and so much more!

Husbands and wives are to be a comfort to each other, to uplift each other and protect each other as well as growing together Islamically. While any relationship does entail responsibility, even friendships, marriage in sha’ Allah puts an affection and love between two people and as stated previously, they naturally want to help each other and do nice things for one another. This is not “owning” or “oppressing” but rather it is human nature to care for those whom we love.

There are many benefits in marriage, dear sister, and as you know, it is recommended we marry as a safeguard. Marriage is a safeguard not just for prevention of zina, but in so many other ways. When we marry, we have someone (ideally) who protects us, takes care of us when we are sick, laughs at our jokes, up builds us when we are down, and shares our life. Being single right now may sound exciting and alluring (and it is); however as you get older, you may find loneliness creeping in, you may get tired of doing everything by yourself, you may wish you had someone to talk with late at night, and you may wish you had someone to hold you when times get tough. Marriage should be a beautiful, lifelong experience.

In fact, our scholar advises“the fact that your experience of marriage has been negative does not in any way prove that all marriages are the same. Success or failure of a marriage is dependent, in large measure, on the kind of attitudes of life one brings to it. As Muslims, we believe that the recipe for good life is contained in accepting the sovereignty of Allah and acting upon the guidance He has sent down. Allah says,

“Verily this Qur’an guides (humanity) to a state of being that is most upright (and fulfilling) …” (17: 9)

Concerning your issues with not wanting children, I would suggest dear sister that you spend some time thinking about why it is that you do not want children. Is it because you fear childbirth? Do you feel there are already too many children in the world and perhaps you feel you would like to give an orphan child a home? Do you fear you cannot get pregnant?

While some women do choose to have careers and forgo having children, your choice to do so coupled with your statement “I have no desire” leads me to question the root of your fears regarding marriage. If truly you do not want children, you may find a husband who does not want children either. It will be hard unless he is older, but many young people today are socially conscious and feel that bringing more children into the world is irresponsible when there are so many children who are orphans due to wars and other tragedies. They instead, focus on helping these children as a couple or work together in altruistic ways for charity and solution focused work regarding social issues.

There are so many things which you wrote that need to be addressed besides your wanting to be independent and not having a lot of responsibility in life. These feelings may change as you get older, sister. Once you have a chance to see different ways of life and examples of happy marriages, you may feel differently.

Also, you stated you “feel no desire for a man”. As you are of age wherein our hormones and desires are awakened, I would kindly ask you to examine why you do not feel desire. Desire is a natural and normal thing which Allah (SWT) gave us to help us bond for marriage, and yes, to procreate. I urge you, dear sister to look deeper into these two variables: 1, your not wanting children and 2, your lack of desire for intimacy.

Please do seek out a counselor in your area who can help you sort through these issues. I would kindly recommend you advise your family you are not ready for marriage at this time and that you do seek counseling to sort out your root issues with not wanting children and feeling no desire for a man. While not wanting children doesn’t mean there is anything wrong, as some women do not want children and it is a personal choice, I just get the feeling there is more going on than just the fear of taking on responsibilities.

You are in our prayers dear sister. Please let us know how you are doing.


Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information that was provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, it’s volunteers, writers, scholars, counselors, or employees be held liable for any direct, indirect, exemplary, punitive, consequential or other damages whatsoever that may arise through your decision or action in the use of the services which our website provides. 


About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach.
Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.