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Is Marrying Someone Who Doesn’t Pray Permissible?

19 November, 2023
Q As-salamu `alaykum. I met a guy who after 2 weeks asked me to marry him. He said he is Muslim (so am I) and that he would do the right thing and ask my family for my hand, which he will be doing. However, I found out that he does not pray very often and he did not fast this year. I know this is not good. But I don't believe I have the right to judge him and tell him he's not a good Muslim, as only Allah has the right to do so. But I also feel if I put pressure on him to be a better Muslim then I will be bad Muslim. He knows I would like him to pray and to fast, but he also knows I would never pressure him. What should I do? Am I allowed to get married to a guy who does not practice his faith? I'm really confused. I try my best not to judge other people regardless of their faith and I'm open-minded, but he is to be my husband.


Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

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

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger. 

In this fatwa:

Tell that man who wants to propose to you that it’s your condition that he observes prayer. If he does not respond or get convinced with performing it, then we would say there is no use of taking such a risk.

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With regard to your question, Sheikh Ibn Salim Bahsham, a member of Moroccan Scholars League, answers,

Islam faith requires action. Thus those Muslims, who do not pray or fast or give Zakah, etc., are sinners. They must repent and correct themselves. It is our duty to give them sincere advice and explain for them the importance of fulfilling the obligatory duties of Islam.

Doing so, we do not judge them or force them but we only show our concern for them and their well-being.

Moreover, you should know that the marriage of a man and a woman is not just a financial and physical arrangement of living together but a sacred contract, a gift of Allah, to lead a happy, enjoyable life and have children.

For the attainment of these supreme goals, Islam has set certain criteria in choosing the lifelong partner, namely piety and good character. Islam directs its adherents to seek their life partners on the basis of the Islamic criteria in order to assure the success of the marriage.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, “If a man comes to propose to your daughter and you are pleased with his religiousness and Islamic manners, then give your daughter in marriage to him, otherwise you would be spreading corruption and great mischief on earth.” (Ibn Majah)

It’s taken for granted that salah (prayer) is the cornerstone of Islam; whoever observes it has preserved his religion, and whoever neglects it has destroyed his or her religion.
When `Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) summoned his governors for advice and instructions he said, “The most important thing you are supposed to take care of is the performance of salah. If someone observes it he will observe any other (religious duty) lower than it; and if one neglects it he will neglect everything else.”

Thus, anyone who abandons prayer is committing a grave sin. This has been confirmed by many hadiths and verses of the Qur’an. Almighty Allah says, “And (ask) of the Sinners: What led you into Hell Fire? They will say: We were not of those who prayed.” (Al-Muddaththir 74:41-43)

Therefore, I advise you, dear sister, to follow the example of Umm Saleem (may Allah be pleased with her) whose dowry was that her husband would embrace Islam. So, tell that man who wants to propose to you that it’s your condition that he observes prayer.

If he does not respond or get convinced with performing it, then I would say there is no use of taking such a risk. You should know that whoever quits something for Allah’s sake, He (Allah) will compensate him/her for it. I advise you to be patient and, insha’ Allah, you will get married to a better person.

For more, see these fatwas:

Can I Marry a Woman Who Neglects Her Prayers?

Fiancée Isn’t Religious; Shall I Marry Her?

Allah Almighty knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.