Download PDF: Sayyidah Rabi_a_s Refusal to Marry

Once someone asked Sayyidah Rabi’a Basariyyah Radi Allahu ‘Anha the reason she never got married. She replied, “There are three things which have become a source of sadness for me and if you can remove these three things, then I would gladly marry:

  1. Will I die as a Muslim or not?
  2. On the day of Meshar, will my record of deeds be handed to me in my right hand or left hand?
  3. After the day of Meshar, will I enter among the people of the left or among the people of the right?


The person replied that they did not have any answers to these questions. Sayyidah Rabi’a Basariyyah Radi Allahu ‘Anha then replied, “Please show me, if a person has such sadness and concern, will they ever choose to get married?” (Tadkiratul Awliyah, 51)




If there is no valid Shari’ah reason, then to marry is a Sunnah of the Holy Prophet May Allah send peace and blessings upon him. However, if there are any Shari’ah reasons prevalent, then the rules pertaining to this do change. The ‘Ulama also explain that at times it is Haraam to marry.


In “Durre Mukhtaar” it is mentioned, “If a person has this fear that if he marries he would not have the means to support (his spouse), or he will not be able to fulfil those aspects which are necessary in marriage, then in this case, it would be Makruh to marry.”


At the same time, if he knows that he will definitely never be able to fulfil these things, then in that case, it would be Haraam to him to marry.


Since Sayyidah Rabi’a Basariyyah Radi Allahu ‘Anhu was also someone well learned in Qur’an and Hadith and this knowledge was certainly bestowed upon her and she had certainty in this regard, therefore, having such knowledge disallowed her from marrying. She also fully understood that since she had this constant fear in her, she would never be able to fulfil her rights as a wife. In this case, since there would one partner in this marriage that would not be able to fulfil their marriage rights, hence, marriage no longer remained a Sunnah. This is the reason that no one ever condemned her for having never married.


It is reported that among the verses which created this immense fear in her was the following verses. In Surah Haqqa, verse 18 to 32, the Qur’an states:


“On that day all of you will be brought forth, so none among you wishing to hide will be able to hide. So whoever is given his book in his right hand – he will say, “Take, read my account!” “I was certain that I will confront my account.” He is therefore in the desired serenity. In a lofty Garden – The fruit clusters of which are hanging down.  “Eat and drink with pleasure – the reward of what you sent ahead, in the past days.” And whoever is given his book in his left hand – he will say, “Alas, if only my account were not given to me!” “And had never come to know my account!”  “Alas, if only it had been just death.” “My wealth did not in the least benefit me.” “All my power has vanished.” It will be said, “Seize him, and shackle him.” “Then hurl him into the blazing fire.”  “Then bind him inside a chain which is seventy arm-lengths.”


The Holy Prophet May Allah send peace and blessings upon him said, “There are some people who perform deeds like the Ahle Jannah, yet they are (people) of Hell. There are some who perform deeds like the people of Hell, yet they are people of Jannah. Without doubt, the foundation of deeds and actions is as per the end of that person.” (Bukhari Shareef; Muslim Shareef)


This Hadith Shareef proves that it does not mean that when a person continues to do good deeds, it will necessarily mean that the person will die as a believer. There is a chance that the person would become guilty of committing such a deed or act which would take him away from the folds of Islam and through this, all his good deeds will be destroyed.


Our Muslim sisters should continue to pray for safety in their Imaan and also strive to be like the pious Muslim sisters of the past.